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post #198 of (permalink) Old 6th August 2006
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I am an electronics technician, but have learnt quite a bit maintaining my own car.
I don't have a clio but saw the watchdog thing and I am concerned about this dangerous problem.
My partner had a hire car, chevolet kalos, with work recently and it had the same type of bonnet catch (without the plastic safety catch handle) so I had a good look at it and oiled it up well before letting her use it.

I have had VW/Seat fob me off before when the brake vacuum pipe split and the gearbox packed in at 50k miles, so know how car manufacturers lie and won't acknowledge problems.

It seems to be agreed by everyone that the safety catch can jam in the not engaged position, due to the plastic handle. There is no way of checking if it is in the correct position when the bonnet is closed and is not positively forced into the correct position as with other types of catches.

The main catch is located in a recess and seems to collect dirt and water causing it to become stiff or partially sieze if not cleaned and lubricated regularly.
Again it is not forced into the locked position by closing the bonnet, relying on the spring to pull it into the latched position.
This is what I think could be happening - If the catch does not return fully (to the closed/latched position) it can still be enough to hold the bonnet when it is closed, but due to torsion of the car body when cornering or vibration then the bonnet spike can move enough relative to the catch to become free of the catch and the bonnet will be released.

It does seem unlikely that both main and safety catch jam/fail at the same time and there are many other clios that have not experienced this problem (yet!), but looking at the design of the catches and their tendency to sieze suggests that this can happen, and has to over 10 separate cars. Even if half of these had the bonnet not fully closed then the others still need explaining.
I don't believe that the bonnet was not fully closed, but it is impossible to prove and renault are using this to deny responsibility, which is not acceptable.
I think it will be a battle to get them to admit anything, but hope this helps somewhat.

Currently in andy_tech's garage:
Ford Mondeo

Last edited by andy_tech; 6th August 2006 at 11:33 PM.
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