Stories & Photos: R16 TX restoration from Holland
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Peter de Vries from Holland is restoring this R16 TX from 1979.
The car is imported to Holland from the south of France and Peter has owned it for 2-3 year.
This picture was taken the day he bought the car.
When Peter bought the car his father doubted that the engine would run.
It was so rusty and dirty. Luckily he was only partly right, the engine didn't
run good, but it did at least run!
After a good cleaning of the engine (inside and outside) Peter checked and
adjusted the valves, changed oil in engine and gearbox, and serviced the
carburettor the engine, and now runs nice, quietly and smoothly.
The only major part that needed replacing was the radiator.
The engine compartment was a bit rusty, so after a good cleaning and
removing all the parts it was resprayed in original silver-grey metallic (620)
on a zink based primer.
Due to all the parts and cables in the engine compartment it is a lot of work
to restore, but with everthing cleaned, painted and back in the car it all seems
Many parts, like the rocker cover, has been resprayed in black.
The left sill was already repaired, maybe after an accident (after all the R16
was imported from France), but Peter didn't like the look of it, it had simply
been welded together.
Anyway, Peter replaced the front part of the sill with a new part.
Some rust in the front of the other sill was also found, and there was also a
dent in it. Since Peter had a new sill in stock he decided to replace this side
The lower rear edge of the rear door is a famous spot for rust. The inside and outside
are very close together, so dirt and water gets trapped here with inevitable result, rust.
Both the inside and outside were in a very bad condition on Peters car so he had to make
some new pieces to repair this section.
The outside of the door is still in primer, after all is done Peter will take the R16
to a professional sprayer.
The interior, seats, dashboard and the carpets were very dirty. Peter cleaned everthing,
he even removed the seat covers and put them in the washing machine. After cleaning most
was OK, but the carpets were worn so Peter replaced them with new grey velour carpets.
The red plastic on the side panels also had to be replaced.
Several instruments and lights in the dashboard was not working properly.
Some things remains to be completed, like the horn and the right rear door, which is in
much the same shape as the other side.
Update from Peter:
Because large parts of the isolation of the bottom were released, I decided to remove all the isolation and cleaned the bottom. It was a hell of a job. Smaller parts of rust are fixed and treated with Fertan and sprayed in Zink spray.
A lot of small dents are repaired (remember, it was originaly a French car). Finally at the end, the bottom is painted (2 times) in a Dinitrol coating to protect against moist and dirt.
Now the bottom looks new and I know for 100% there is no rust or weak parts. It's a good and save feeling.
All the original wheels are mechanically cleaned and sprayed in Zink spray and special wheel spray. The black parts were painted by hand and finally new tires (Michelin MX-P) were fitted. Because the wheels are tubetype, 4 new inner tyres are fitted. The tires are filled with nitrogen.
Anti Rust Coating
All internal parts of the chassis are sprayed in Dinitrol ML.
Backdoor at the right-hand side
It was the same problem as the left-hand door, because of water inside the corners of the door there was a lot of rust. The previous owner(s) had repaired it with filler (priming), but did not solve the real problem, so after a few years the rust was visible again at the outside and even now there were even holes in the door. I decided to remove the lower outside parts of the door and the left and right corner of the door and replaced it by a new plate. for the outside part I used a piece of original replacement plate. For the inside corner two small pieces of plate was made in the right shape.
First the small part was welded on the door. The outside plate is welded at the top. The edges are bent. The seam is filled with kit and rubbed carefully.
At the end the inside is sprayed with Dinitrol ML to prevent rust and the outside is sprayed in Zink spray as coating. Now it's waiting for the final paint.
When I wanted to start the engine, there was a loud scream and the engine did not want to run. After a short inspection, it was clear the water pump was temporarily blocked. To take no risk, I bought a new one (difficult to get one) and fitted it.
Next job is to replace the exhaust pipe for two reasons:
1. The old pipe is very rusty and almost leaks.
2. Behind the pipe there is also a lot of rust at the bottom. So it is easier to remove the pipe, treat the bottom and place the new pipe.
I painted the new exhaust pipe in heat resistance paint to protect the pipe against rust.
Another update from Peter (2005-05-15):
The petrol tank is removed to check the inside of the tank and the compartment of the tank.
Both were without any serious rust. I cleaned the compartment, and also the outside of the tank. I sprayed the tank with Zinc-spray and finished it with black paint at the top and Dinitrol Metallic at the bottom. I also treated the compartment with Dinitrol.
Nice detail: I heard a loud noise inside the tank. There was something big inside the tank. Finaly I saw a part of a tankcap inside!
Because the handbrake was not functioning very well, I renewed the handbrake cables and also sprayed the lever.
Earlier in time I saw the brake compensator was bleeding some brake fluid. I tried to repair it but the problem was not solved, so I needed to buy a new one. The problem is a small rubber ring inside the compensator.
Some plastic interior parts fade to yellow and showed “old”. I removed it and sprayed it with “warm” white paint. The result is a beautiful “new” interior.
Safety check and the first ride
After 3 years it was time to make a appointment for a obliogated safety inspection.
All the checkpoints were OK, so I can make my first ride!
At the highway I saw that the speedometer was not function property. When the speed exceed 80 km/u, the speedometer was decreasing to 20 km/u. When I stopped and accelerated again the speedometer was good till 80 – 90 km/u, but decrease after a few km.
The problem was a bad connection between a shaft and the magnet, inside the speedometer. It was not possible to repair it, so I bought a other one. I changed the km to the original distance and the problem was solved.
Now the next job is to spray some outside parts of the car.
Another update from Peter (2007-05-27):
Since last two year the car was almost driving well. During the winter stop it was time to finish some work.
Brake compensator update.
The brake pressure limiter was leaking some oil and is renewed.
I sanded the front, fixed some dents and sprayed the whole front first in Zinc spray and finally in the right color (620 metallic with blanc coating) before I went tot the Renault meeting day in Ommen 2005. It was the first real ride after 3 years, so pretty exiting. Everything was function well.
All the suspensions parts are 26 years old too; some rubbers and dust covers were dried out.
All parts were rusty and looked very old. So the next job was to clean and spray the suspensions parts.
I only have renewed the dust covers of the suspension upper ball joint and the rubbers of the shock absorber.
Cleaning and spraying of the rest was enough for a fresh new look. See the results before and after of the
hand steering arms, the suspension arms, the shock absorbers etc.
The General Regular Safety Inspection (the APK), 2006 -2007.
Each car must be checked for it safety in Holland once a year. Because this R16 drove only 1200 km last year, I didn’t expect any problems. The inspector only found one small mistake; the return hose of the petrol pump to the tank was bleeding a little bit. We all know this is a main course of fire accidents by Renaults 16’s. I renewed this 10 cm hose and it is allowed to drive the car another year. In 2007 and 900 km later; everything was perfect.
The back of the car.
The last part were I didn’t have worked on was the rear of the car.
A big part of the paint let loose and was already disappeared. So, I have dismantled the bumper,
lights etc, start sanding all the smaller parts, spray and replace all the parts again.
All the parts are as good as new now. I get experience in this type of work.
Outlet valve and rubber gasket
During driving the engine was not running smoothly some unbalance was noticed, and also some oil was leaking
through a rubber gasket just below the head. The compression test shows a leakage in cylinder 3: 7 bar instead
of 10.5 –11 bar in the other 3 cylinders. After some testing it was clear: a valve was causing the problem and
a rubber gasket must be renewed. I removed the cylinder head and a professional company renewed the outlet valves.
The rest was still in perfect condition. After fitting a new set of gaskets everything could be replaced.
What a power and what a smooth engine! This was also a nice opportunity to clean the engine outside.
Gearbox and differential
Now, only one technical job left, to solve a small oil leakage of the gearbox front house and to optimise the gear changing.
The parts (a messing sleeve bearing and a rubber oil-retaining ring) are small and cheap, but it’s a lot of work.
Remove the gearbox and stirring house, replace the radiator.
I replaced the messing sleeve bearings and the rubber oil-retaining rings and made the right adjustments of the
crown wheel with a micrometer (0.12 – 0.25 mm).
The paper gasket between the differential and gearbox was missing, so I made a new one. The rubber silent blocks
of the clutch cable were old and dry out, and so they are replaced too. I found out that the local Renault dealer
could also deliver two original new (second) types of oil-retaining rings of the drive shafts (instead of the
Changing the gear is much better now and also the differential is running soundless. Again: the Renault 16 is
each times a much better car than I expected before.
I have decided to bring the car to a professional sprayer to do the paint job again, because I find out
that one of the former owners have sprayed the whole car in the wrong 620 color, and even worse the quality
of the paint job isn’t good. Some parts of the paint even let loose and they filled some rust holes only
with filler! After several dents and rust spots are now really fixed, there are now several color shades on
the car caused by spraying with an airbrush. It’s strange; there are two different shades of 620 gray-metallic;
a standard and a lighter gray. Now the car is light 620 gray metallic, but it should be back to the standard
gray color. For the time being manually spraying with an airbrush is good enough, it protects the body against
rust and it looks much better then only zinc-spray.
Magnus Bjelk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last revision 2007-05-27