Our Fleet: Peugeot 205 GTi

Our Fleet: Peugeot 205 GTi

ON THE outside, J39 JMR looks showroom fresh, mostly thanks to an extensive refurbishment that saw her stripped down to her birthday suit and given 100 hours of lovingly-applied paint in the workshop.

However, that same care and attention was never lavished on the engine – resulting in a car with supermodel looks, but tramp internals.

It was really quite apparent it needed an overhaul when a round-Britain trip resulted in a return to Peugeot on the back of an AA truck.

Sadly, even the experts at Peugeot gave up on fixing the 205 GTi’s dodgy running and idling issues before it was returned to me in much the same state as it left. After that it languished in the work lock-up slowly gathering dust until I finally decided to do something about it.

What with Peugeot 205 GTi values rising faster than the London skyline, I thought spending a few quid on it would be a wise investment. So, a call to Matt Kendall over at our trusted local independent workshop, White’s Motors, in Southsea, was made.

Matt popped over and picked the Peugeot up – which itself wasn’t without its problems.

A new battery was supplied by our friends from Yuasa to help get it started – the old one was completely shot. What’s more, the uprated cell would help it start as it’s often left for long periods without moving.

Matt got it going and kangarooed back to Portsmouth. The 205 had developed a terrible surge on over-run, while the idle would hunt up and down in traffic. In fact, I was glad Matt was driving it back, not me, as he looked like a first-day-on-L-plates learner.

Over the next couple of months I received sporadic updates from Matt as he attempted to tackle the rough running Frenchie. As I wasn’t in a particular hurry to get it back – because, let’s face it, I wasn’t exactly racking up the mileage – I told Matt to take as much time as he needed.

The Peugeot’s now back after a considerable amount of fettling and is running better than ever. After the new battery was fitted, Matt tackled the idling – on the way back to Portsmouth it was hovering around the 2,000rpm mark, but now sits at a steady 1,000rpm. A connector had come off the throttle position sensor, apparently. It was also getting rather hot, which was sorted by replacing the radiator fan switch and sorting a leak on the thermostat cover.

On start-up it had developed a nasty rattle, which was cured by retightening the cambelt. The distributor had issues too, which were resolved by sending it away for refurbishment, likewise the air flow meter.

‘The problem with the 205 now is that parts are hard to come by,’ Matt explained. ‘I sourced a lot from the other 205s I have handily lying around the workshop – you’ll be pleased to hear I picked the best bits for yours.’

It’s good to have a friend like Matt…

With the running issues resolved there were a few minor things to sort ahead of its MOT.

Matt described them as ‘mostly typical French electrical gremlins’.

‘I fixed the horn, it worked for the MOT, then stopped working again,’ said Matt. ‘We’ll have to tackle that next time!’

The absence of a horn hasn’t diminished my love for it returning, though. I’ve been driving it everywhere. I say everywhere, what I mean is mostly to Costa and the shops, but it’s better than it being wrapped up again in the garage gathering dust. It’s running superbly – so much so, I now notice every rattle in the cabin… Oh, and the
fact the interior light falls out of its housing after every bump in the road. I might tackle that myself, but then we all know how that goes (see bike problems a few issues ago).

Matt’s taken the XR2 away now for similar treatment. Apparently, that was close to overheating on the way to Portsmouth while also leaking fuel, so the chances are that could be pricey too. The 205 bill came in at £628.93. Ouch.

Model: Peugeot 205 GTi 1.9
Owned by: James Baggott
Engine: 1.9-litre
Bought for: £1,200
Mileage: 130,601
Money spent this month: £628.93
Highlight of the month: Finally getting it back and running properly again.

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James Baggott
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