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Buying one

Remember the Renault 5 GT Turbo is one of the worst cars for people getting rid of because they have major problems so look over any potential purchase with great detail and take some-one with you who knows about these cars as they are not your average small hatchback.

When looking at a Renault 5 GT Turbo Check the following things:

With engine off

1. Check the coolant bottle for signs of oil in it (rainbow effect on top of the coolant). This means that either the head gasket has blown or there is a crack in the head itself (Very Expensive to repair).

2. Also following on from no.1 another sign that the head gasket has blown is that if you pull the dipstick out and there is a creamy substance on it the head gasket has gone.

3. Start the car up and get some-one to go and watch the exhaust, if a puff of blue smoke comes out it means that the Turbo is on it's way out (£250 for a recon plus fitting £80-£100)

4. Inside the car when you turn the ignition(Not start the car), make sure that the oil light/Battery light and Handbrake light comes on, and that the oil pressure gauge shoots up. This acts as an oil level reading until the engine is switched on and then it turns into an oil pressure gauge. When you start the car give it a little rev and make sure that the oil pressure gauge moves up and down with the revs. The higher the oil pressure the better. If the pressure gauge is sitting flat on the bottom it either means there is no oil pressure and that the head gasket has gone or something major internally wrong with the engine, or the gauge is simply not working. So take some-one with you who knows about these cars to make judgement. Also because the 5 uses a chamical sealant in the front windscreen they are known for coming away from the rubber because of the movement in the A-pillars so when in the car just push the windscreen with a little pressure to see if it moves.

5. Check that all the electrics inside work as French 80's/90's cars are not the best when it comes to electrics. Also the trim is flimsy so make sure everything is bolted on properly. Also make sure that the seats don't wobble about to much as the seat frame under the seats are known for braking.

6. Check that Damage to the body work as these cars are like tin cans and the metal work is really thin so look for any covered damage. Check alignment of Body panels. Rust on rear wheel arches, wings, tailgate, doors and floorpan. More specific common places for the 5 to rust are along the bottom of the front windscreen which is not a good place to get rust. Check the rear windscreen rubbers for rust near these. Also check around the body kit around and under it for signs of rust especially along the sills.

7. Once the car has been running for a while switch the engine off after about 5 minutes listen out for the perc fan to cut in (A slight humming sound). This is located on the right side of the engine bay. What it does is cool the fuel in the bottom of the carburettor and aids starting of the car after it has been switched off. The reason it needs this is because these cars run so hot when you switch the car off the engine is hot and it makes the fuel in the bottom of the carburettor hot making the car hard to start, the perc fan cools this petrol making the car start better.

With engine running

8. Leave the car running at idle for about 10 mins and make sure that the cooling fan cuts it, make a note of how long it took to cut in and also where on the temperature gauge it cut in. If you take it for a test drive, while driving normal make a note of where the temp gauge sits at (Just below halfway - halfway is ok). Remember the cooler these cars run the better. If a 5 has a dodgy thermostat and the fan does not cut in the car will overheat "DANGER" if you let a 5 overheat then chances are you'll either blow the head gasket or warp the Alloy Head which then has to come off and be reskimmed (Expensive mistake).

9. If while on idle the cars starts puffing out smoke it means that the oil seals on the Turbo are gone. Time to get a new Turbo(£250 plus fitting).

10. When the car is warmed up try to put it into reverse, if it crunches like hell then its new clutch time(Not cheap to be done properly with the engine being dropped out £500 approx). Can be done for £250 with just dropping the gearbox out but getting correct alignment is almost imposible so chances are you'll have to replace it again soon.

11. The 5 Turbo with it's now old pushrod 1397cc Engine is prone to the tappets making a bit of a noise but this is not something to be worried about. If you listen to the engine and it sounds at bit tappety then don't think that it has something major wrong with it as this is common amoungst GT Turbos. The noise to worry about will be a slightly more deeper sound than the tappets and this is the Camshaft. If the pospective GT Turbo has this then it means the Camshaft is worn and than it won't be long before you have to replace it (No cheap as this involves the Head coming off to replace it).

On test drive

12. When out on a test drive put the car in 5th gear at about 35mph and put your foot on the accelerator and look in your rear view mirror. If you see a cloud of blue/white smoke then also the turbo is on it's way out.

13. While out for a test drive make sure that you drive the Vehicle. Because these cars handle so well chances are if its been owned by a boy racer then its had the arse raged of it. Take a series of turns left and right. While going round the corner listen out for a knocking coming from the opposite side you are turning into. If you hear a knocking the Driveshaft needs replacing. Not that expensive to replace but if you like the rest of the car and everthing seems fine then mention it when haggling over the asking price.

14. When driving along at about 30mph on a flat road put the car into 4th gear so the car is underload and with the window open listen for a knocking noise coming from the engine. This is the big end bearings knocking and if you do hear this then walk away from the car. (Needs engine rebuild). Very expensive.

15. Also listen for the wheel bearing (A huming coming from the wheels at about 40mph, this is when you normally start to really notice them). Again not terribly expensive to replace but also something to haggle the price down.

16. Once the car has warmed up and the car gets to about 2 1/2 thousand revs put you foot down and feel the turbo kick in and enjoy but also watch the boost gauge on the dashboard and see how far up the gauge it goes. If it goes up to about 2 3rd of the way (this is standard), if it goes up past this then someone has either altered the wastegate actuator to increase the boost or the car has a Hybrid Turbo which is set to run more boost. But the more boost run the more strain you put on the head gasket. So if the car is running more boost then the Head Gasket should be uprated to handle it.

17. Make sure that the car does not mis-fire on boost (ignition timing problem or serious engine fault).


Check the cars service history. Make sure that the oil has been changed at least every 6,000 miles. Make a note of where the car serviced and get in contact with them and ask their opinion about the car. Check when the work was carried out. Was there any other problems with the car and was it rectified.

Remember if the car is owned from new by an old age pensioner with 50,000 miles on the clock and a full Renault Service History you know that you are getting a good buy.

Lastly do a HPI check on the vehicle, because of the nature of these cars they may have been in accidents and so on. So just to be on the safe side get it checked.

If you have checked all the above and are satisfied then haggle a good price which suits you and the owner and hopefully enjoy the thrills and spills of owning a

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