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Newbie from Canberra with a 2004 Clio Sport


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Greetings this is Damian from Canberra Australia.

I am, for the last two days, the proud owner of a little black 2004 model Clio Sport.

I believe it is the 172 version as it has the 15" wheels. It has the stability control button, but was disappointed that it didn't have the cruise control / speed limitter feature.

I bought the car for $6990 with 125,390kms on the clock.

It has a few car park dents, a beautiful interior and a very good log book service history.

I will be working on the car myself wherever possible.

I previously owned a 1996 Suzuki Baleno GTX 1.8 which was traded for the Clio. Sadly the Baleno was getting long in the tooth and needing a lot of work... Not economically viable.

I have, in the distant past, owned many things including a 2000 model Suzuki Baleno 1.6 with a custom turbo conversion, 2001 Pug 206 GTi and 2002 Pug 307 HDi, several Balenos a Swift GTi a Toyota T-18 and old Alfa 1750 Berlina as a first car many years ago. I am a Suzuki tragic but am new to the Renault.

I intend to buy the special cam and crank locking tools such that I can change the timing belt and pulleys, etc. myself.

This Clio comes just prior to my 40th birthday so it can be viewed as my mid-life crisis car. Hahaha! That is what I tell the Wife.

The car does need new front rotors as they are visibly quite hammered, though pads are good.

My question for the gurus is regarding the timing belt. My books state the timing belt was replaced on 20th April 2009 @ 74,706kms. The car is now at 125,400kms. Should I be worried right away? I intend to replace the timing belt, water pump and such myself but firstly I need to read up on the things and download manuals. I am new to these things but as a tech can do all mechanics myself.


That will do for now... I will try to post some pics in the near future.




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Welcome. Will be interested to hear your view on the car or time as it's a bit different to those in your history.


The belts a very important and appear to be over from a time rather than kms perspective. I guess it depends how quick you think you can get to doing it yourself ... it's generally not a DIY job but not sure of your experience in that area.


There was recently a photo journal of a belt change posted on here, which may help.



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Welcome to the Canberra crew Damo - are you northside or southside? Belt is due on time, talk to Wolf on here for cheaper genuine parts. Canberra drive days are few and far between, but we do get together occasionally. Also there is another Canberra member, EvilB, who has a few wrecks if you're after bits and pieces - comes in handy.

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Hello, thanks for the replies.

I may need to swallow my pride and get the timing belt done prior to my learning about the car, acquiring necessary special tools and such.

I will ring alpine motors tomorrow to ask about having the service and timing belt, acc. belt and water pump replaced.

The service book states the car was serviced by alpine motors for the second half of its life... 2nd owner.

The thought of a $1000 plus bill is depressing.

The dealer salesman stated that the person who traded in the Clio bought a new white Pug 208 GTi.


In any case my new Clio will enjoy an easy garaged life as I try to take the bus to work whenever I can or tag along in the wife's Tarago to be dropped off after the school run and take the bus home, I digress.


My impressions of the car;

It is gorgeous, rapid, handles well and rides well.

The ride is superior to most cars with sporty intents


The fact I have a 172 with 15 inch wheels does not phase me. The car has more ability than I. The tyres for 15s are also cheaper than the 16s.

I find the seats and seating position to be fine, it has more headroom tgan my Baleno which had a sunroof and is far more comfy than my memories of my old 206GTi that I owned back when it was new.

The negatives are really in regards to the fact I am not familiar with it mechanically. The design is not really mechanic friendly. My Baleno 1.8 also had a timing chain so none of this timing belt nonsense.


I look forward to happy motoring and the social aspects of the forums.

I also plan on joining the family up to the Renault car club.


Cheers, Damian

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You will find the car not to bad to work on once you learn the nuances. Things like brake pad changes are a cinch. Oil filter looks hard to get to, but the fuel rail guard comes off at the from with 2 bolts; it's easy to get to after that! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I fitted the new RDA dimpled and slotted front brake rotors, plus brake pads this morning.

I have also put never seize compound on bolts during reassembly, including wheel studs front and rear... Everything torqued up correctly with torque wrench. Damn tyre shops and rattle guns.

I went for a short drive to start bedding in the new pads / rotors.

It makes me grin whenever I drive the car.

The car is off to Alpine Motors tomorrow morning for its service and timing belt replacement.

I have also placed my first order through Wolf imports. RSC carpet floor mats, oil filters and washers, gear box drain plug washers, air, cabin and fuel filters, plus a clutch cable...

Cheers, Damian

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I got my car back yesterday afternoon.

In addition to the service, timing belt and accessory belt replacement the little car also required a new top engine mount and reverse light switch. Gearbox oil was also replaced as part of replacing the reverse light switch.

I am glad the gearbox oil was replaced as this is one less thing I have to be immediately concerned about.

On arriving home yesterday my parcel from Wolf was also waiting.

The car now has it's new RSC floor mats fitted (with old cheap mats on top of them) and the other parts are stored in the garage for later.

I gave the little car a wash and it ventured out for it's first trip to work today. I was sure to arrive early in order to get a nice corner parking spot. It is only a once off as I will normally try to take the bus.

However, the more I drive it the more I want to drive it.

I will be going along on Saturday to the Canberra French car day with family following in the Tarago.



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Nice work, Damo. She must feel like new now 8)


Any pics of the work or finished product?

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... I will normally try to take the bus.

However, the more I drive it the more I want to drive it.




Ummm ... this is a common problem. Soon you find yourself creating spreadsheets to prove how expensive public transport is and how much quicker you get home to your family if you drive. It's unavoidable, you may as well just succumb now. :twisted:

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Upon arriving home from work this evening I replaced the cabin filter, the one in the car was really quite grubby. I also replaced the engine air filter, it was a little dirty, but not as be as the cabin filter. I also gave the throttle body/butterfly a quick clean/wipe out with carbie/throttle body cleaner.

Next job is the fuel filter. The car was filled with fuel prior to my taking delivery. I wonder if they put decent 98 fuel in it? I am sceptical. I will use up this fuel and add some 98 before changing the fuel filter...

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Yeah, I am always rather obsessive with my cars, but I do love this car quite a lot. :)

I am delighted to own such a special little car... As I have a young family (four young kids) it has been quite a few years between my having a decent / special car.

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The Canberra French car day went well and I was able to meet a few of the folks from the forum.


I have a few more items of Clio related woe.

1. I discovered that my ECU mounting bracket is broken.

I am sure this has only just happened. Anyway, I have researched the fixes and have added it to my to do list.


Of much greater concern and woe is:


2. Engine oil in spark plug holes.

My car has 125,500kms on it and I was wondering whether the spark plugs had ever been changed since the car was new.

Alpine Motors, who serviced the car with the previous owner have no record of them being done.

Yesterday afternoon I had a rush of blood and decided to have a look.

I removed the inlet manifold half with throttle body, etc.

It was fairly grubby underneath so I decided to do a light degrease.

Upon removing spark plug leads and spark plugs:

Cylinder 1: Spark plug old, electrode worn and rusty around base and sealing washer.

Cylinder 2: Spark plug old, electrode worn.

Cylinder 3: Upon removing lead it was drowned and dripping with engine oil. Spark plug was covered in oil.

Same again for cylinder 4.



Anyway I mask everything up, plug manifold and spark plug holes, etc. and give it a light degrease.

Ignition leads cleaned up, spark plugs cleaned up and never seize applied to threads.


After the light degreasing and cleaning up everything was reassembled, using the old plugs.

Car started and ran fine, albeit with a bit of smoke at first due to oil entering combustion chambers and smoke from exhasut manifold due to degreaser.


I am rather annoyed at myself as the car just had the timing belt and all done plus minor serivce.

Had I asked Alpine to also replace the spark plugs they would have found this problem and fixed it.

It is obviously the camcover / rocker cover gasket leaking.


I am actually amazed that the car ran fine and with no misses like this. :shock:

I have never seen anything like it.


Upon reading up on the problem it seems that the job of resealing the cam cover / rocker cover is almost, if not more painful than doing a timing belt. Aparently the timing belt needs to come off in order to remove the rocker cover.

Can anyone comment / confirm this?


I wonder how long it was like this / at what rate is it leaking?

I don't fancy shelling out another $1000+ for this after just paying for the belts.

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Thanks, from what I can gather and from looking at the workshop manuals.

Unlike most cars the camcover is also actually the top of the cam bearing / carrier.

Why it couldn't have cam bearing under the rocker cover like any other car, god only knows.

I suspect this wasn't touched in the timing belt replacement and simply wasn't seen.

I will give Alpine I ring and see what they say. If I am lucky they may feel sorry for me. Haahaa!!

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OK, Luis has advised that I shouldn't be too concerned about it.

It only becomes a big problem if spark plugs crack due to hot oil.

Also, as the car has NGK plugs they must have been changed at some point. Originals from factory were not NGKs.

I will keep an eye on it.

Add to the list of things to look out for prior to purchase / prior to a timing belt replacement.

It is a big job, as timing belt and dephaser pulley need to come off, but not huge in addition to a timing belt replacement. Hopefully someone else can benefit from my woe.

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