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Progress Report on my Renault Ondine in Bolivia


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I mentioned on my Corvair thread that I had started restoring a Renault. Here it is, with a brief summary.

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It has been sitting in this garden for about 25 years. Recently the guy dug it out of the garden and was doing some body work on it.

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I haven't had much time since I bought it, (I divide my time between two cities 450 miles apart) but I've stripped it down (brakes were full of mud) and sandblasted, welded, straightened and painted the suspension and brake parts. Had to fabricate the front spindles and bearings.

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A couple of weeks ago I got back to Tarija and had a little time Saturday morning, so with the help of a neighbor, I tied a fire hose around the engine and a post, and we lifted it out of the car. 3 hours later I had it apart to start cleaning.

It appears that it has very few miles since a rebuild, just that they messed it up. Block was welded on the side, but not the top, so the sleeves became ovaled and the pistons scraped the sides. I left it with the welder. Next month I'll get back to paint and assemble as much as I can.

Looks like it never had antifreeze in it

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Anyway, it's on its way. I've located a steering wheel in a junk yard in Argentina so I'll go there in January and get it.

Lots more pics on my site.

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Richard,

I went to your website to take a quick look at it..........and ended up spending an hour+ reading and viewing the pics. :D

Great site, and some great cars. Can only imagine the issues related to finding parts for the Corvair. I admire your perserverance in restoring these cars.

I'll check back often.

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Good for you for restoring this car; that will be quite a challenge. You'll have something very unique when you're finished. Can't wait to see more of your progress.

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The wheel cylinders are supposed to be 22mm up front and 19mm in the back. All I've been able to find are 23.8mm, so I'll end up replacing the proportioning valve with an adjustable one so that I can set up the stopping.

I'm sure the original 50 kg proportioning valve is shot anyway.

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  • 2 months later...

Well, I've been back in Tarija for a couple of weeks, using spare moments to do a little at a time. At this point I now have about everything ready for reassembly. I went to Argentina for the steering wheel and they had sent the car to the crusher. I did get a few other parts from someone else, just driving the streets and asking who has seen "a car like this" (showing a picture).

I had the block re-welded and it now looks good. Pulled the rest of the power train and cleaned and painted it, using some Rustoleum Rust Reformer where needed.

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I also cleaned up the intake manifold

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Unfortunately the front crossmember is welded in, so I had to restore it in place, but now it is ready to assemble.

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The cracked motor mount had to be welded, and of course the CV joints cleaned up a bit.

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More on the site. This afternoon I'm going to start assembling. Though I haven't decided where to start yet.

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  • 3 months later...

Got a few more things done after posting that, then finished up the other day when I got back to Tarija for 3 days. I'm going back next week and will have the parts I ordered, so the engine will go together and I'll see where I wander with it.

I've ordered everything I need to make it 12 volt, as well as other misc items.

Instead of assembling things, I decided to take apart the transmission. A little more difficult since my manual is for a 3 speed and my transmission is 4 speed, but with the help of a few dozen pictures, I got it back together.

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Here are the before and after of the intake and exhaust manifolds. Exhaust is done with rust restorer and BBQ black.

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Also got a set of aluminum rear grills that needed a little cleaning up and welding

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But nothing that couldn't be sanded out and polished

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At least there is enough to do that I can switch projects and not get bored.

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Christmas in June. My cyber friend came through and sent me parts from Buenos Aires.

All I need for the 12 volt conversion, plus water pump and thermostat, steering wheel and lighting controls I never had, plus a few other things. Turn signal switch is NOS.

I decided to go 12 volt since the generator was trash and no one sells 6 volt batteries here.

Something to work on this weekend.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A little done this week

Of course that alternator has to sparkle, so I took some buffing compound and Meguair's to it.

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Then I took apart the steering rack I picked up in Argentina a couple of months ago. Inside was almost new, so I'll use this one.

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A little honing of the new cylinder sleeve

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And sanding off the scratches from the pistons. This engine was only run a few miles after the last rebuild, then sat for about 25 years. The new pistons were scratched from the cracked bridge between the 2nd and 3rd cylinders allowing the block to expand and the sleeves to oval.

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The machine shop broke their 12mm x 18 in bit making my water tube, So the engine will have to wait for me to come back in a couple of weeks.

Might as well get started on the trim, right?

I'm not sure how this is supposed to come off, but this spring steel did the trick

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Of course there were some dents in the stainless (lots more detail on my site)

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I wish I could dedicate enough time to mine to progress faster. Running my business with 40% annual growth takes up a major portion of my time.

You are doing great, and although I don't post much, I like to follow your comments and progress. It reminds me of my restoration of the TR-3, when it was my daily driver. By Monday morning it had to be running, no matter what.

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Congratulations on the 40% annual growth! That's going in the right direction, and I'm sure, takes up plenty of your time. But you are dauntless - if I looked at that little truck or the Renault, I would throw up my hands and surrender. Too much for me to take on!

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  • 4 months later...

Got a little work done on the car in the last three weeks. I decided I could do office wok from home from 6:30 to 8:00, car from 8 to noon, then office from 1 to 7 or 8 pm. Very productive

Lots of parts to assemble

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Found one broken oil control ring (since they were "new" I hadn't pulled them yet) so I ordered a new set.

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Several missing or defective gaskets in the "complete" set I had bought, so had to make a few.

Had to replace a few studs and cut them down to fit, but got the engine assembled

Here is a before and after

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Also adapted the filter housing to fit a 3/4" filter rather than the 16 mm original.

Here is the transmission/differential assemble before

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and after

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Anyway, more pics on my site, but here is the power train installed

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And a rear brake

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Thanks. No, my French is not that fluent anymore. I did review some of the on-line information. Some help has come from a forum in Spain and some from a couple of forums in Argentina, a little from a US forum. I've downloaded a French parts manual and workshop manuals for the US version and the Spanish version. Since the Spanish version did not come with the 4 speed, I used a lot of pictures and common sense for the trans rebuild. I just recently got the US manual, but there are differences for the US.

The basic design for the water tube came from the French site, but it had inconsistencies between text and drawings.

Makes it more interesting.

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  • 1 month later...

Got some more done this week, taking the seats to my upholsterer so he can have the framework and cushions ready for me to buy the fabric at the end of the month.

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Also got my body guy turned on to cutting out the rust and making replacement panels.

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My brother-in-law will be sending me updates these next two weeks while I'm away.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Back in Tarija and got some pics at the body shop this morning. He has done a nice job of replacing the left side frame, rockers and sills. The doors actually close now that it is not sagging.

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Now he has been working on the right side, where he had to replace a long section of the rail, then rocker, and then will be putting the final sills on.

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He has been cutting up some Toyotas, Nissans and Mitsubishis for steel. Once the rockers and sills are done, he will cut out the front floor and replace it.

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Floor is now finished. Tomorrow we start on the body.

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Also bought the upholstery materials. Brown vinyl for the seat and panel edges and backs, ivory imitation suede for the center of the seats and door panels. I'll probably put them on the dash in some form or another.

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  • 1 month later...

I haven;t been able to get back to Tarija, but they finally sent me some pictures of the progress on the insides. The floor is now patched and primed. Once the body shop has finished I'll cover the floor with fatmat and carpeting.

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Watching your progress brings back a lot of memories. I bought 1959 Renault Dauphine when I was just out of High School, probably around 1962. It was an almost new, low mileage car, but had been hit in the front end.

We cut it in half just in front of the front seat and at the window posts and grafted a new front end on it. We found a car at the wreaking yard that had been rolled but the front end was perfect. They wanted $175.00 for the front end, but would sell me the whole car for $200, as they didn't want to go to the trouble of cutting it in half.

As luck would have it, another guy happened along that was looking for an engine for a Renault. We struck a deal at the counter, I purchased the car for $200, the other guy gave me half, and we split the car..!

I took it home and cut the front end off and he picked the remains and off he went. One of those lucky days when things went right..!!

Years later I worked at a foreign car parts store. Customers would come in and request a water pump for a Renault, and our first question would be, is it 6V or 12V. That always drew some strange looks, but the same time the factory changed voltage, they also changed water pump design, so the easiest way to determine which pump they needed was to ask what voltage is was..

It was a fun, inexpensive car to drive, I enjoyed it while it lasted.

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You are right, Roger, and the parts for my Mini are mostly coming out of the UK. Japanese tires, mounted on UK wheels in the UK, shipped to Oklahoma by air, Houston by truck, Chile by sea, Santa Cruz, Bolivia by truck, the last 450 miles to Tarija in my Grand Cherokee.

Most of my Renault parts are coming out of Argentina for the moment. I'm a little concerned about the temperature sender, since I've discovered other parts where the thread were different in different countries.

Oil happens to be my passion. I really hate to see people get ripped off and ruin otherwise perfectly good engines and transmissions by myths and marketing slogans. I will soon add something to the one on motor oils, since a cyber-friend has donated a sealed can of oil from the 60's. I sent it off to the lab to see what was really in the oils of the time.

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Guest luxetransport

Great post for restoration of old car, you really work hard on it which is very appreciable. Thanks for sharing it.

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  • 3 months later...

I've been concentrating on the Mini, so not much done on the Renault. Got some more parts for the Renault from Argentina, and cleaned off all the old paint from the speedometer glass, taking a template to a local sign shop and having them match the template onto the glass.

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  • 9 months later...

I finally grabbed some time and assembled the front suspension parts I had fabricated, plus the front brakes. Then, since the seats were so bad, I got a "new" set sent from Buenos Aires and stripped it and painted for upholstery.

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  • 2 months later...

A little more to report on the seats at least. Foam is cut and trimmed and most of the upholstery sewn together. Now it is time to fit it all together. That is a brown vinyl with an ivory synthetic suede in the middle. I was going to use leather, but it wouldn't look 60's with leather.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Richard. Your surgery on the Renault and Mini have to be seen to be believed. Xclnt.

On a side note, related to your business activities, can you direct us to information about changing from a bypass oil filter made for a 1930 vehicle to a modern bypass filter that would do the job? My car is a 1930 Dodge 8 and originally had a Purolator EF-half. I have been unable to find a replacement. Ideally I want a look-alike, one that would do the job would be xclnt. Later I would like to open up an original and hide a modern filter inside.

Thank you for any help you can offer. Thank you also for your oil White Paper; I learnt a lot and will use oil closer to your recommendations in the Dodge and 1939 Studebaker.

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)
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I am not an expert on those filters. I've seen some that the top comes off for replacement elements, which would probably be easy to find a replacement element, and some that I didn't see if they came apart. There are several kits available, I've seen people mention Amsoil kits, and I know a lot of people have put something on VW's that had no filter.

Unfortunately The only really antique I found, but couldn't find a way to sneak into the country was a 27 Chrysler Pickup, but I never got far enough with the project to look at all the parts.

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