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How To Release Bonnet With Snapped Cable On Laguna 1

A couple of weeks back we had the dreaded 'ping' and the bonnet cable snapped!

Promised I'd report back on getting it open so here it is:

***( MODS feel free to re-locate post if you feel this is useful / should be elsewhere.... Spiro')***

(This is of course for a Laguna Ph1 so I have no idea how applicable [or not] this is to other Renault models); Anyway.......

Firstly, it wasn't that bad - (if you know what to push/pull/yank), BUT it does mean getting under the front because I really don't think its possible to do this from outside the car.

DO bear in mind that the cable could 'go' at the lever end so check that first....(upside down under the dashboard bit!)
If it has gone there you should be able to get a pair of grips on the cable end and be able to give sufficient pull to release the bonnet.


The two catches on the Laguna are quite exposed, probably don't get much maintenance and as a consequence be in poor order. Its likely then that the cable will snap at the catch end.

The main cable goes from the lever, through the bulkhead, around the near (left) side of the engine compartment and terminates at the near (left) catch, (see pic 1)

There is a linking cable between the left and right hand catches which is pulled at the same time as the main cable - hence opening both catches at once.

This can give a strong clue as to which bit has 'gone'.....

1) If neither catch opens then it will likely be:

Main cable broken at lever (see above)

Main Cable broken at near-side catch (see pic 2)

2) If nearside catch opens but not the driver-side then its the linking cable that is likely to have broken.

IF its broken at the n/s catch but still attached to the o/side catch then pulling the outer cable from underneath is likely to release it.

If its broken at the o/s catch it gets a bit more fiddly !

From the design of the bonnet release system the most vulnerable point appears to be the attachment of the main cable to the left hand catch (cable end snaps off!) or, possibly the plastic moulding has deteriorated and snapped letting go of what is otherwise an OK cable.

You can see these rather fragile mouldings in the pics.

GOOD point.....the same moulding is used on each catch but the left hand one utilises both cable points - more strain more likely to break. The right hand one only connects to one cable and is less stressed. They are a push-fit onto the metal peg and may be swapped around - which might get you out of trouble (?).

You WILL need a bit of room so try and get the front of the car about a foot or so off the ground (ramps?).

You WILL need a long flat-blade screwdriver (at least 18 inches) or a similar rod with a small hook on the end......and of course a torch!

Referring to Pic 3 ........

If neither catch opens work on the driver's side first (lot easier). It may help if you have an assistant to push down on the bonnet to take off some of the catch tension.

Peer upwards above the main headlight and you will see the catch bolted to the front scuttle plate.

Identify the release lever at the front face of the needs to move from the RH side of the car towards the left.

You can :

1) Use the screwdriver to PUSH the catch from right to left (As viewed from under the car - feet sticking out), or try to:
2) Use a hook to PULL the inner cable visible on the left hand side of the catch, or try and:
3) Detach the interlink cable from its clips under the scuttle and give it a firm pull. The outer cable needs to pull out of its end-cap at the catch in order to tension the inner cable and release it........(this worked for me).

SORRY, no pics from underneath the weather was foul and it was bad enough doing this let alone waving a camera about!

General Layout (Pic 1)

Right hand catch (near-side) close up ( Pic2) as viewed from front (Ignore brass modification - that was my 'fix' to the snapped cable end!)

Similar Pic but for Driver's Side catch.....The one thats easier to get at!

Releasing the Driver's Side Catch..........

Releasing the Near-Side catch...............

Once the Driver's side is released you can now move to the near-side. This is harder to get at, but not impossible. I think that cars fitted with air-con may have a lot more 'hardware' in this area making it even more difficult. On ours I needed to temporarily unhook and move the 3" plastic air pipe out of the way, (don't forget to put it back afterwards).

You MUST push/pull the release catch towards the left hand side of the car. As per above it may well help if you have an assistant to press down and take tension off the bonnet not to accidentally close the off-side catch.


Assuming you've got bonnet open..........

1) Identify whats broken!

2) Examine catches they're 'orrible!

Unclip plastic shrouds if present.....

Undo the two bolts on each catch and ease backwards out of hole(s)

3) Unclip / hook cables and remove catches

4) Its in your interests to give these a good clean, (paint?) and greasing.

5) Check catch operations by pressing down on hook with a screwdriver shaft and assuring it snaps shut. Conversely check that hook snaps open when release lever is shifted from left to right.

6) Remove and check interlink cable (comes out easily) - is it OK or as stiff as hell? If its bad consider replacing OR if it was broken you'll have to change it.

7) Check main cable - this is probably the one that caused the trouble.

On mine the cable end had snapped off at the catch - I didn't fancy mucking around putting a new one in at the time so you can see the small gubbins I made to re-attach the cable. (I do have a workshop).

8) Layout components on the scuttle, re-route interlink cable, re-attach cable(s) to catches, ease catches back into slots, add bolts and tighten.

9) IF you are replacing the main cable completely then the following doesn't apply......but......

If the cable end has disappeared up inside the outer and you can't get it back out, then try......

Clamp loose end of cable in a small vice (careful with battery terminals). Carefully cut the outer cable only about 9inches up from the end......and remove this bit of outer which should reveal the inner cable.

Use a pair of pliars / grips to pull the inner and retract back any slack that occurred when it broke (pulls cab lever back into place).

With a good cutter, snip off any frayed ends cleanly - but the bare minimum possible.

Reduce the piece of cut-off outer cable by a suitable amount (say inch and a half?).

Ease polythene cable liner over cable and slide back onto the should now have a couple of inches of inner cable protruding from the outer......with which you might(?) be able to effect a repair, (Thats how I did it).

The joint in the outer cable should be securely taped-up although I made up a small nylon sleeve.

Last Point......

IF you resorted as I did to yanking the interlink cable to release the driver's side catch than its almost certain that the outer cable will have come out of its end-cap......These are black plastic mouldings about 1.5" long.

Originally there is a small plastic peg present tapped in to hold the two together....this (if still present) will probably stop the outer cable pushing fully home and give cable length / adjustment problems.

I took the pegs out completely and used a small blob of superglue to hold them once pushed fully together.

The length of the cable outer is very important here....get it wrong and one catch will open and the other not.

(If they don't work properly and you shut the hood you'll be starting all over again! )

Anyway, Hope this took me about 30 mins to get the hood open and about 90 mins to make the repair.

It works absolutely fine but maybe replacing the cable would have been quicker.

Currently in spirochete's garage:
Jaguar V8 Sport / Mercedes 'E" / Laguna 1.8RT

Last edited by spirochete; 1st December 2006 at 03:47 PM.
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