• Pop… bang… ouch! 1991 Peugeot 405 Sri

    Car #1991 / #Peugeot-405-SRi / #Peugeot-405 / #Peugeot / #1991-Peugeot-405 /

    Owned by Sam Dawson, news editor (sam_dawson)
    Time owned 10 months
    Miles this month 13
    Costs this month £22
    Previously Halted the spread of the sill rust

    It all started so straightforwardly. After the NEC Classic Motor Show, where the Peugeot Sport Club invited me to the 405’s 30th anniversary bash at Prescott in summer 2018, I thought I’d make sure all was well under the bonnet. I’m in the middle of moving house at the moment so I’m a little preoccupied, plus it’s all too easy to neglect your classic in the middle of winter when a quick glance out of the window can suddenly take the shine off any weekend-drive plans.

    Anyway, I’d planned to drive the Peugeot to KartMania at Silverstone (more news on this some other time) with half a mind to taking a long diversion via Ryton-on-Dunsmore, where the car was made, on the way home. The Rootes-era factory has long since been replaced by Jaguar Land Rover’s slick Special Vehicles department, but I figured it would still be a great destination anyway.

    Noticing the coolant level was low and with the stark warnings I’d put in my own 205 GTi buyers’ guide the other month about looking after the XU engine still fresh in my mind, I fired up the 405 and headed to Halfords to buy some more. It ran fine all the way there, but the fuel gauge needle was dropping a lot. Oh well, probably just finding its feet, it had been a while.

    It first coughed at a big motorway roundabout, a sudden cutting-out. The needle dropped yet further. A few splutters later and the cabin was full of pungent petrol fumes. With the fuel gauge now red-lining, the car having gone through £10-worth of fuel in little more than 10 miles, I pulled into the office car park and popped the bonnet. And promptly got a jet of neat petrol in the face. The old fuel hoses running from the underbody lines into the injection system itself were perished. Then I remembered another thing I’d written in the guide, about oil and petrol ingress into the distributor. I opened everything and let the petrol evaporate.

    Replacing the fuel hoses is the sort of job covered in the Haynes manual with, ‘Unfasten the jubilee clips. Remove old hoses. Replace’. The reality is a little different of course. It’s more like ‘Rummage around in the dark behind engine. Accidentally snap battery terminal cover with trapped elbow. Swear. Remove clip by mangling with screwdriver. Free hose by slicing with craft knife. Stab self in finger. Swear. Get petrol all over hands. Swear.’ But I got there in the end. I missed the drive to Ryton, but it snowed anyway.

    Speaking of leaks, there’s a minor one somewhere in the power steering system, so I’m giving this new Prestone Power Steering Fluid & Stop Leak a go. Working on a similar principle to the puncturehealing Slime I put in my mountain-bike tyres, it’s got an additive in it that promises to relubricate hardened seals in danger of perishing. It may not be a full-on cure, but it’s worth a try, especially because I need to get the driver’s side front wing straightened out before the 405’s 30th birthday party. Oh, and move house…

    Replacing the fuel lines wasn’t quite as easy as the workshop manual hinted. Perished lines meant unwelcome fuel spraying.