Second hands


It was conducted by an experienced auto mechanic.

Felix BARANSKY, Kiev

I remember a reader from Monchegorsk praised the newly-bought 1989 Peugeot 405 as “one of the most successful family cars” (ZR, 1998, No. 12). I wonder if he has since changed his mind? I think yes. I serve as a "home mechanic" several cars of this model and testify that their owners had initial euphoria replaced by deep disappointment.

In order not to describe in detail all five machines, I will highlight two typical ones for clarity.

Number 1. Released in 1990. My client bought it more than two years ago in the German "autohouse" for 5, 000 marks. Mileage was 90 thousand km, since then he has run over another 40 thousand.

Number 2. Year of manufacture - 1989. Purchased in 1997 at the Kiev car market. Odometer readings - 130 thousand km, it seems, were honest. Since the purchase has passed 50 thousand km.

I'll start with car number 1. The German seller prepared it well: replaced the oil and filters, hoses in the engine compartment, brake pads. After the inspection, all that was left was to congratulate the new owner: I thought that a car with such a biography would drive without problems for a long time. But it was not there!

After 1000 km, it was found that the oil level dropped sharply - to bring it to the dipstick to the previous level, it was necessary to add almost half a liter. But apparently everything looked safe: the engine did not smoke, did not leak. I unscrewed the candles - normal.

- What is the reason? - the owner was perplexed.

- An autopsy will show …

Having removed the cylinder head, I was convinced that the piston rings are excessively worn and the valve seals are numb. But worst of all, due to wear and tear, the valves staggered in the guide bushings.

I replaced the rings and seals. The same could have been done with valves and bushings, but repairs would have cost the owner too much. Another option associated with valve spraying would be time consuming without quality assurance. I chose the third way - I restored the bushings with a special tool from Neway, which makes it possible to reduce their inner diameter using a carbide roller. After repair, oil consumption decreased to 1 liter per 10 thousand km.

Machine No. 2 also required the same work. In addition, it had to replace one valve, which was slightly bent and did not fit well on the seat, not providing proper compression in the cylinder …

Weak, at least for our roads, turned out to be the fastening of the engines, which was stated during acceleration-braking and on bumps a heavy knock in the engine compartment. For two years, I changed the mounting pads in each of the cars, and in the first, "German" - twice.

Every year I had to tighten and adjust the steering rack. The ends of the steering rods and the rods themselves serve in our road conditions for up to one and a half years (with fairly intensive use). According to my statistics, the life of silent blocks is about two years. I emphasize that this is not about fakes, but about "native" French details.

Another Achilles heel proved to be the rear suspension. If you can see that the wheels are not parallel to each other, this is not so bad: it is enough to replace worn bearings. But if the jacked wheel can be lifted by hand effortlessly, the thing is bad - it requires the replacement of a torsion bar or the entire suspension. At this stage, a characteristic knock is heard in it during riding. Of my five clients, four (including the owner of the "German" car) have already changed the rear suspension. The owner of car number 2 so far managed to avoid this, monthly coming to me for inspection …

All five are pestering the rattling of plastic door trim. My attempts to calm the upholstery by gluing, installing gaskets, etc., yielded only a short-term result. Plastic warping is to blame, although it probably doesn’t create such noise effects on smooth European highways.

And now about defects that are not dependent on road pits.

At 100–130 thousand kilometers in four cars, a red light began to wink on the instrument panel. I replaced the brushes of the generators with “Zhiguli” ones (the latter, of course, had to be filed locally). With the same mileage in all cars, burned-out mufflers required replacement.

The hand brake cable annually soured in the guide tubes in the rear wheels, released it with considerable torment. All cars in two years cracked covers that protect the calipers and the brake pads of the front wheels. The dirt that got into the mechanism, interfering with the normal movement of the pads, caused the car to pull away when braking.

Dust and dirt also penetrated into the rotation unit of the heater fan, from which it made grunting and crying sounds. I had to sort out the mechanism in each of the machines, and in one, where it did not help, replace the fan.

In four out of five cars, the central lock refused - in return, I installed the "second-hand" …

On this list of typical faults, perhaps, ends. But each car also had its own - it is not surprising that the Peugeot 405 came to me for repairs almost as often as the Cossacks. Paradoxically, the owner of car No. 1 was unlucky most of all: his ABS went out of order, and a tooth at the differential satellite broke off in the gearbox.