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Is a 172 for me?


ferrisb
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Hi guys,

 

I currently have a little piece of 'S' city runabout (my second car, only does ~3500kms a year) and want to replace it with something that doesn't make me depressed every time I get into it.

 

Have been dreaming of owning a Clio Sport for ever since the first batch of 85(?) landed in Oz, and am so tempted to try and pick up a cheapie 172.

 

Was hoping to pick up a Clio really cheaply. Don't mind a bit of a battered body or crummy interior, as long as mechanicals are solid. I must admit I don't have the biggest budget for maintenance but could afford to cover regular servicing and the occasional blow-out.

 

Firstly, am I just asking for trouble trying to buy a cheapie and hoping nothing major goes wrong?

Secondly, who can you recommend as a Frenchie specialist mechanic in Melb (like a Melb equiv of Paul V - who you guys seems to love in Syd)

Thirdly, does anyone have a Clio fit for a buyer on a budget (ideally in VIC). I want service history and no major mods, but don't mind if it's looking tired...

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A well maintained Clio is no more troublesome then any other performance car. The interior WILL rattle. It's a given - they were built to a cost. But the mechanicals are reliable.

 

Given that, the question now, is can you afford to maintain a performance car?

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Maintenance is more $ than a non euro, or performance car. But if you aare willing to import your own parts, you can save a lot.

 

Main maintenance cost is the timing belt, after that the regular things like oil, etc. are at a bit of a premium for synthetic, but not drastic. If you go the 172 on 15s, decent tyres can be had for $100-130 each.

 

Other things are a bit hit and miss. At the budget you are talking - lets say $6-7k, you can get an 02-04 172 with 100-120k on the clock. Like mine.

 

It could need a new engine mount, new steering or suspension bushes (rubber breaks down with age) and the suspension might be on the way out.

I've also had to change the Power steering pump, my alternator is loud, and the AC wasn't working (cheap to fix fortunately - main cost was new gas).

 

If you are willing to live with a few "niggles" and fix them progrssively, you can be onto a good thing. Mine still goes hard, gives me a smile every day!

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Appreciate the feedback domlebo and marvel!

 

The whole rationale of buying my current car was to JUST maintain a crappy little shopping trolley, so I must admit the thought of maintaining a 'performance car' is a little daunting.

 

I guess I had hoped it might cost only a little more upgrading to a euro hatch, but am probably being a little too optimistic there.

 

Having said that, changing the timing belt is not a regular thing, and I don't mind paying for regular servicing or the idea of importing my own parts. I can put up with plenty of niggles, but I'm not keen on major work like needing to replace the suspension.

 

Aaaaarrrrghh!!!! My head says no, my heart says vrrrrrooooooommmm....

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The pleasure in ownership will far outweigh the hip pocket nerve's occasional tender moment. Do it. There's a reason why us 172/182 owners are so fond of them. Many sell them only to buy another down the track, or regret parting with them. I don't think I can recall anyone who was actually happy to get rid of a Clio!

If it will only get occasional use, then it won't cost a great deal to maintain anyway.

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Suspension isn't crazy expensive and generally wears rather than breaks. OEM pads and rotors are relatively cheap and easy to install. Fluids need changing like any other car. Timing belts chew up money or engines, c'est la vie.

 

Main issue is finding a cosmetically rough one that somebody has lavished sufficient mechanical care on. Is it better to find one with a decent history, maybe belts done in the last couple of years, and pay what you would on servicing a dodgy one up front?

 

Whatever, even with two major services completed in the past two years on my 182, it is ridiculous fun for the price.

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Should you get a 172? -- Of course!! Everyone should! :)

 

Buying a cheap and cheerful example is a bit less clear. I paid $6500 for mine which had 96k on the clock but had not had timing belt done, had a few minor shopping centre dings on the outside and few of the typical wear and tear things others have mentioned (engine mount, worn rear shocker broken reverse light and hazard switches). I figured these were relatively superficial, the Kays were low, maintenance history was good and interior had been looked after, so even with a bit of work it was a good proposition.

 

Then I dropped another 3.5k getting timing belt, 100k service and all of those things fixed at a dealer and I became less sure.

 

Since then I found Virage in South Melbourne from the forum and after speaking to them realised I could have spent a lot less getting the niggles fixed. But if you ask me now would I have been better spending 8 - 10 on one that has 110,000 kays, perfect condition and timing belt done, yeh I think I would have been.

 

That said, all of the doubts evaporate every time I take it for a drive! :)

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Welcome!

 

I guess I had hoped it might cost only a little more upgrading to a euro hatch, but am probably being a little too optimistic there.

 

You're talking about a Euro performance hatch, not a Euro shopping trolley. It's set up in a higher state of tune than a regular car so needs a higher level of maintenance, though not hugely more.

 

Having said that, changing the timing belt is not a regular thing, and I don't mind paying for regular servicing or the idea of importing my own parts. I can put up with plenty of niggles, but I'm not keen on major work like needing to replace the suspension

 

The suspension is minor work compared to the timing belt and should happen less frequently than a belt change, dependant on km driven.

 

Good luck but I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a mechanically A1 but aesthetically rough example. Being an enthusiast vehicle, they're usually well maintained all round.

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I found myself asking the same questions, but once you drive one, it is hard to go past one. It is just such a great car. Some suffer from rattles, though I have been lucky enough with my 172. If its on the cards, get the owner to take you for a spin, check out his clutch work, gear changes, you can tell a lot about how the car was treated this way.

 

Don't be tempted to go for a cheap one because it goes well, as they nearly all do. A good service record is really important, make sure belts were done and correct oils used etc. At some point every 172 has been driven hard, but they love it, and if the owner has loved the car, it shouldn't give you grief. Regardless of where you are there are specialist mechanics that will do fantastic jobs for significantly less than dealer costs.

 

As soon as some good ones come up in your area, check them out, this is by far the best way to pick a good example. In the clio 2 section you will also find some great buyers guides and things to look out for. As mentioned above things like engine mounts and the likes can have issues, but comparing cars is the best way to evaluate condition.

 

Best of luck mate!

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Thanks to everyone for their responses / advice.

 

I guess it's no surprise that the best course of action will be to save up, take the plunge and buy a decent 172.

 

It's just that I hate being patient and responsible, hehe.

 

Anyway, hope to join the crew some time next year.

 

Cheers all

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Oooh, one question about wheels.

 

If/when I buy a 172, I'm not planning to make major mods (if any). However, I was looking through the Clio pics page, and saw some beatuies (ClioF1, I'm lookin at you).

 

So, what are the ramifications of changing standard wheels? If I am getting rid of stock wheels, is there much difference between 15" and 16"?. I guess it depends on tyres somewhat...

 

I don't want to play with suspension, wheel arches or paying mega bucks to get super light wheels. Am also not planning on using my car on the track.

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I have stock sized 16's on my 182 Cup , 16's fit fine on a 172, but really 15's are just as grippy, lighter, you have greater tyre choice at a better price. That said, you'd likely be able to sell the 15's on (to me for example!!) for somebody to have for the track.

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With wheels, there are plenty of options for both 15s and 16s, you just need to be careful on sizing. A couple of the guys have put 16s on their 172, and many have just changed to different (more stylish) 15s. Check out "Bender" in members rides to see how a 172 should look :)

 

Tyres are more expensive in 16s, and sometimes less range available.

 

My advice is just consult one of the experts on here if there are any you want to consider - I am no expert!

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I don't want to play with suspension, wheel arches or paying mega bucks to get super light wheels. Am also not planning on using my car on the track.

 

Best good looking and strong wheels that are affordable would be the Speedline 2118s. In my opinion of course.

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Best good looking and strong wheels that are affordable would be the Speedline 2118s. In my opinion of course.

 

Agree, 2118's are the best looking wheel for a phase 2 :drool: check out Domlebo's car if you want to see what they look like.

 

Other popular wheels are Speedline Turini's, Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2's, or if you can afford it go for some OZ's!!

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I don't want to play with suspension, wheel arches or paying mega bucks to get super light wheels. Am also not planning on using my car on the track.

 

Best good looking and strong wheels that are affordable would be the Speedline 2118s. In my opinion of course.

And mine :)

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Some great suggestions. I am officially in love with the Turinis...

 

Oh, and griff, I must have logged in to look at that pic you posted about 20 times already...

 

Looks like I will be making the for sale section of the forum part of my daily routine! Would love to buy off an OZRS member.

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16s on a 172 do look great, but I think I'm going to stick with 15s as the differnce in price for tyres is nearly 50% (ie $100 for 15s, $150 for 16s). But its really up to what you want.

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Honesty man it's not easy, but worth it!

I'm a uni student and part time worker, and all my savings and wage goes on the car or things I want for that car.

 

I got mine with very low Kay's, it's taken around 2.5-3k to get it to a decent way, and I'm still having issues along the way. These cars are sports cars, end of. In saying this servicing is normal, parts and finding a good spanner is the only tough thing my man

 

Like all the lads said to me- go in prepared man, research h

Your car and desired work shops like no tommorow and make a smart choice- the cars are amazing and worth it if planned correctly.

 

Main things though:

 

- find a good mechanic

- get him to do a safety check

- mounts and timing belt are a must

- Truley work out your budget- at times it gets a bit hefty, so make sure your prepared!

- enjoy a rare car thAtll give bigger, louder and common cars a run!

 

Good luck mate.

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I'm going to disagree with them being expensive to maintain, own and run. My car is pretty well known, has a huge amount of k's, a questionable history, but was extremely cheap. I might have my head inserted somewhere, and I haven't owned cheap Japanese or Korean runaround cars. I really think the whole it's a performance car and european = expensive maintenance thing is a myth.

 

Can someone give me an example of something on the car that is not in-line with a Japanese hatch in terms of cost? A front wheel bearing for a Clio from Renault is ~$140, the same for a Corolla from Toyota is ~$160. A timing belt change on a Clio would be a similar cost on a Subaru if I'm not mistaken? Do I really live in a fantasy world? I picked up a set of OEM brake pads for $70 (thanks Walkie) and a set of DBA slotted rotors for $125 delivered.

 

Mine runs 16's,I think they are crappy BSA's, but painted satin black they look pretty good, I run Kumho KU31's which can be had in 205/45/16 for $120 a corner and are arguably as good as anything in that size.

 

Oh, and mine doesn't rattle. Dom, I know you don't believe me, if you are ever in Sydney I'd be happy to show you!

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Oh, and mine doesn't rattle. Dom, I know you don't believe me, if you are ever in Sydney I'd be happy to show you!

I don't not believe you. I just think there's three MAIN logical possibilities, one of which is much more likely than the other two :P :

 

Your car was built to a higher standard and does not rattle.

Your definition of rattle varies and does rattle according to my definition.

Your car has endured a very easy life and does not rattle.

 

You've said the car has had a "questionable" history. There's no reason for it to have been built to a higher standard. That leaves me suspecting our opinion on what constitutes a rattle... differs somewhat :P My car doesn't rattle much (does a bit) on smoothish suburban roads. But on a bumpy road the whole interior shakes.

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I'm going to disagree with them being expensive to maintain, own and run. My car is pretty well known, has a huge amount of k's, a questionable history, but was extremely cheap. I might have my head inserted somewhere, and I haven't owned cheap Japanese or Korean runaround cars. I really think the whole it's a performance car and european = expensive maintenance thing is a myth.

 

Can someone give me an example of something on the car that is not in-line with a Japanese hatch in terms of cost? A front wheel bearing for a Clio from Renault is ~$140, the same for a Corolla from Toyota is ~$160. A timing belt change on a Clio would be a similar cost on a Subaru if I'm not mistaken? Do I really live in a fantasy world? I picked up a set of OEM brake pads for $70 (thanks Walkie) and a set of DBA slotted rotors for $125 delivered.

 

Mine runs 16's,I think they are crappy BSA's, but painted satin black they look pretty good, I run Kumho KU31's which can be had in 205/45/16 for $120 a corner and are arguably as good as anything in that size.

 

Oh, and mine doesn't rattle. Dom, I know you don't believe me, if you are ever in Sydney I'd be happy to show you!

 

Hey man, each to their own I guess.

 

I payed $1700 for belt, pump, a mount + labour. My friend did this on his type r for $800 if I recall correctly.

Paul charges $800 for a full service + inspection, again, around $500 for a jap performance car.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bagging our cars, I love mine, but it's very important you take it to a specialized mechanic, do your research on the car and what it's had done to it, and at times this is morew pricey then your regular vehicles out there. Power Steering Pump in my car is around $1800 quoted by Paul, again a lot cheaper for others.

 

At this point I am young, and I am enjoying it, as I said most my funds go onto the car because I don't have many other commitments apart from general savings, for others it may be a different situation so it may effect them more off- something like the belt HAS to be done, and while a specialist is at it, he's probably gunna find something else wrong with it too- coughing up $1200 plus for a MUST need part can hurt at times!

 

Anyway, this is just my RS experience, and so far for $5k (the car at 78,000 kays), and around $2.5k for repairs bringing it up to good standard, I can honestly say I feel pretty good about it because I love my car.

 

So, FerrisB, I am not in ANY way trying to scare you off bro, they are amazing cars and are pretty cheap to PURCHASE, but repairs for me can be heavy at times, so my advice as a newbie just like yourself is to find one that has a decent history and pay the extra $100-200 to have it inspected by a good mechanic (not a service/inspection, just a safety one/ diagnoses), if the car is decent enough or the repairs aren't too harsh enjoy for all it's worth my man, they're f**king awesome!

 

Ps Matt, I am sydney based and always looking to meet up with fellow RS drivers- my friends own 200sx's, s2000's, Ralliart Colt's, XR4's and an XR8, so at times it's tough for me haha!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all the feedback guys (and girls?).

 

Given I don't drive my car often, I had started off with the idea of buying a banger/project car for under $5k and just doing the minimum to maintain it - maximum thrills for minimum bills I guess.

 

But after reading plenty of posts on this forum, I am becoming so passionate about the 172 (when I don't even own one...) that I'm coming round to the idea of doing it properly. So, am now going to save up for an example that I won't regret buying (plus enough left over for some Turinis!).

 

As for maintenance, I guess after budgeting for timing belt/mounts, owning an RSC isn't going to be cheap, but it shouldn't be too expensive either (unless something major goes wrong, which can happen to any car).

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