Non boaty ... Clio bonnet catches

VicS

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Any body got any views or had any problems regarding the business about Clio bonnet catches as highlighted by BBC Watchdog. Confirmed life partner's one now approaching 3 years old so a bit concerned.
 

Cliveshep

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Don't know about Clio's bonnet catches, our older one (now long gone) was fine. However, our Laguna goes into the workshop annually because by the end of the year we simply cannot get the bonnet open and the shop have to change cables etc.
 

richardandtracy

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My view is that the CE Safety cert on the Clio2 & derivative should be withdrawn immediately and only be re-instated when Renault has :-

a) proved it's safe [manifestly impossible given the scale of the reported problem]
or
b) withdrawn all faulty catches and replaced all in service catches.

It won't happen because the UK authorites are gutless wonders who only try to stamp on those who they believe can't stand up to them.

It cannot only be happening in the UK, so it's the EC that should be taking a lead Europe wide.

Regards

Richard.
 

Barr Avel

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A funny one because in France where there are zillions more Clios, I can't find a reference to the problem.
Renault insist that in most cases they have seen it is because the bonnet hasn't been closed properly (probably because the catch needed oiling). Strange, it does sound like a bit of a design fault, but I wonder why it seems to be localised in the UK?

Marc.
 

reeac

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[ QUOTE ]
Any body got any views or had any problems regarding the business about Clio bonnet catches as highlighted by BBC Watchdog. Confirmed life partner's one now approaching 3 years old so a bit concerned.

[/ QUOTE ]

Don't know about Clios but I had the bonnet [rear hinged] on an old Mini pop open in the dark on a dark rural road once and I don't recommend the experience. Firstly I had to realise why suddenly I couldn't see anything then secondly I had to discover that I could get a sliver of visibility between the edge of the bonnet and the extreme righthand edge of the windscreen. This sliver enabled me to steer safely to a stop. If you have a car which has this tendency then I advise you to check that you have a little bit of visibility when the bonnet is open as it could be a lifesaver. If you haven't got this visibility then you really need an additional means of bonnet fastening.
 

Poignard

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Apparently Renault claim it only happens if the bonnet catch is not "serviced" properly. I have owned many cars during the forty years I have been driving and I can't recall any that needed any kind of servicing of the bonnet catch, nor have I ever had one fail. Doesn't say much for Renault design team if they can't come up with a foolproof bonnet catch! Not exactly cutting edge technology is it?
 

Bodach na mara

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Having converted both a Morris Minor and a Cortina to square rig (who said this isn't boaty?) my next car was a Renault 12. The bonnet opened from the rear. Obviously better for safety. Wonder why more cars are not built that way. After all, how many rear-hinged doors do you see?
 

duncanmack

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[ QUOTE ]
Any body got any views or had any problems regarding the business about Clio bonnet catches as highlighted by BBC Watchdog. Confirmed life partner's one now approaching 3 years old so a bit concerned.

[/ QUOTE ]


Ahah!!

I MOT'd one today and the bonnet secondary catch was faulty - a not unusual state of affairs.
You "pop" the bonnet and lift it - the little bit at the front which you are supposed to pull out gets seized.

The hinge isn't the problem, the attachment on the catch for the wee handle is the problem. 30 secs with WD40 (TM) and problem solved. Til the next time......
 

Spyro

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Had the same prob with my sister-in-law's clio. had to do it twice over the last few years Like you say a squirt of wd40 does the trick. makes you wonder why it is only clios that seem to be affected. Must be something to do with position and exposure to the elements
 

VicS

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Having started the thread I suppose i had better say what I have found and what conclusions I reached.

Our Clio is just short of 3yrs old, in fact I had it MOT'd yesterday, but has not yet quite done 18K but was serviced at 2 years as per the schedule.

I had heard about the bonnet catch problem a few weeks ago but I belive it was first reported by Watchdog some months ago and I had asked about it at the local independent MOT station when I had my own car done. So while I was checking the car over pror to the MOT in made a point of looking at the catches.

IMO they are of a satisfactory design but since i cannot determine the forces they are subjected to at high speed or measure their strength I can only compare them visually with the catches on the similar cars that I have owned. There was no sign of any lubrication however but since not is called for in the service schedule that is not entirely a surprise. While both operated perfectly well I did notice that the safety catch could be jammed if pulled hard. It did appear to be the plastic handle on its slide that caused the problem rather than where it wa attached to the catch. That is different to Duncanmack's finding. A little Vaseline on the sliding plastic part, and some oil on all the other moving joints made it operate freely. I also lubricated the the main catch but bearing in mind Cliveshep's experience with a Laguna I think I will remove the catch and make sure the cable gets some lubrication as well.

Clearly for a bonnet to fly open both catches must fail. There was a suggestion that corrosion of the catch was a factor and that it was caused by poor plating of the components but if all these bits are greased or oiled as appropriate I cannot see any problem arising.

My feeing is, therefore, that the root cause is lack of lubrication. IMHO it should be on the service schedule. In days gone by all the locks and hinges were down to be lubricated but I know that Renault is not alone in omitting it. The Clio's predecessor was (well still is ) a Peugeot 106 and there is no mention of lubrication of any catches, locks or hinges on the Peugeot service schedule either.

For something in excess of 40 years I have done practically all my own routine servicing and much of the major repairs as well and I have always lubricated all the locks and hinges regularly, including the 106.

My advice to any one would be to ensure that the bonnet catches on any car with a front opening bonnet are lubricated sufficently frequently to keep them operating freely and free of corrosion and especially catches on Clios for some unknown reason. I do not think WD 40 will do that adequately. It is good for freeing siezed bits and pieces but it is not a good lubricant and dries to virtually nothing so gives no long term benefit at all. Also sensible IMO to make sure the lid is properly closed and latched after it has been opened. You would not walk away from the front door when going out without making sure it is properly locked would you?
 

Avocet

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There's a thread running on the Pistonheads website about it at present:

http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?f=160&t=372966

I'm interested because my wife has an Alfa 156 and they've had the odd incidence of bonnets popping up too!

As has been said, lubrication seems to sort it but I don't think that should get Renault off the hook! Most other car manufacturers can make a bonnet that doesn't need maintenance to stay shut so I'm sure Renault could!

The reason (I'm told) why few cars have front-hinged bonnets is (ironically) safety. In a front-end smash, the back edge of the bonnet is more likely to pop up a little and cut into the screen pillars. It's easier to have the hinges at the back so that the bonnet buckles as the front of the car crumples but it doesn't damage the "A" pillars.
 

Kilter

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Friend of mine had the bonnet fly open recently. The car was on its way back from service and MOT. Bonnet badly crumpled and dents in the roof. Fortunately she manged to stop safely.
 

VicS

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Thanks for the link. It is clearly a mystery why Clios in particular should need special attention but as I said I have always lubricated the catches as a matter of course. It was an item that was on the service schedules at one time and in my opinion should still be.
 

Ruffles

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I've owned Polos and Golfs. Now have an Octavia. All, including the current one have had sticky bonnet catches. Not to the point of flying open but with a definite reluctance to engage on closing.

I know the VAG garage I took my old Golf to would grease the bonnet catch at the pivot. But this can make it worse. It attracts dirt and generally gums it up with dead flies etc. The catch on the Octavia is now a black sticky mess. Now you've reminded me I'll give it the toothbrush and paraffin treatment and then oil it.

BTW one garage told me the way to shut a bonnet is from a decent height. Seems to overcome the friction.

VicS, do you do your own brakes and discs? I've always thought this is something I should be able to do.

Rob.
 

VicS

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[ QUOTE ]
VicS, do you do your own brakes and discs

[/ QUOTE ] Generally yes but every once in a while there is something that requires special equipment or more brute force than I can muster. I could not get the 106 front discs off for example when one cracked. Some are easy some are not. The springs in drum brakes can sometimes be a pain. Possibly the worst though were the inboard rear disc brakes that were fitted to the old Rover 2000 etc back in the 1960s and 70s

Trouble is I almost always find something wrong, sometimes minor but other times not so minor, when I have had work done by a garage. My DIY car maintenance all started with my first car which just refused to start the morning after a main dealer service. The choke cable had been clipped back incorrectly but they should not have touched that any way. They could not explain why I always found at least one plug lead not clipped on properly or why the air cleaner was usually loose. I realised that routine servicing was by and large something that anybody could do in a Saturday morning on popular cars.

In recent years I found the bolts securing the front suspension left loose after a clutch renewal ( Fiesta) The screws that retain the dics on the 106 were not replaced after after the disc renewal. Not important until you change a wheel then the disc comes loose and muck and dirt falls behind it so that it then runs out of true and it also makes it a fiddle to line up the holes in the wheel, the disc and the hub when refitting the bolts.

The most expensive cock up by far was the local garage's efforts to replace the cylinder head gasket on the 106 (diesel) In my youth I would have done it myself but on this occasion I guessed the head would also need skimming so decided not to. Cost about £400, then about a year latter it all had to be done again. You can skim the head once and fit a thicker gasket but 2nd time round a lot of remachining of the head has to be done. Refitting the valve seats, refitting swirl chamber liners shortening the valve stems things like that. Cost this time (by a better garage) £900 and they passed on the comments from the firm who reconditioned the head about the quality of the previous work!

Just a few examples of why I prefer to do my own maintenance when ever possible. With the routine servicing I always work through a check list to be certain I dont forget anything.

I've done a couple of complete engine strip downs and rebuilds and a couple of other heads at least one bottom overhaul and other partial rebuilds. 3 gearbox overhauls (it would have been 4 if I could have got the bits I needed) Apart from the 106 discs, all the brake maintenance hydraulics and pads/ shoes. Wheel bearings. Cluches on several. Various other bits on steering and suspension. One alternator which over the years need new brushes, rectifier, regulator and slip rings and a starter motor. Never touched a rear axle though!

Yes the recommended method of closing the bonnet is to drop it from several inches. Personally i would prefer to press it shut firmly until i heard the catch close but the metal is so thin these days that you risk denting it.
 
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