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Avantime. Dynamique upgraded to Privilege spec. Mars Red. WK52 NNL

edited January 26 in Owners History Files
Owner Ungarsee.

He owned the car for several years. Final work he had done, was wheels and roof rails refurb and a stainless steel exhaust. At approx 80,000k he booked the car in for a cambelt, and sadly it broke before the service and destroyed the engine. He decided to cut his losses and sell the car as a non-runner.

The car was purchased by Avantime4Mike and he replaced the engine with one out of HY02 WSV, which belonged to Gary Roberts. Luckily, the mileage on the two engines was very similar and a new cambelt was fitted. The spec of WK52 NNL was very high already despite being a dynamique. The original owner had all the options available - fitted. So Mike upgraded the seating and added cruise control and electric mirrors and badges to complete the Privilege upgrade.

I then purchased the car off Mike in 2015 as a birthday present to myself.


  • My Avantime.
  • The car had been to France at a car show just before i got it, so it was nicely presented. So my initial work was a mechanical check over. I replaced a few perished exhaust mounts, and had a drop link replaced and a driveshaft oil seal replaced.

    Then after several months of use, i decided on another cambelt replacement. This was due to the auxiliary belt slipping and jumping on its pulley slightly in heavy rain. So in view of the cars history with cambelts, i opted to have the whole lot replaced. Having done all that, i dont think its made any difference..... just peace of mind. And the camshaft oil seals were replaced at the same time.
  • Cosmetically the car looked great except for the sun bleached grille, which had been lent on and broke by a mechanic. This was removed, repaired, repainted and looks great.
  • The following summer i decided on new plugs and coils. The mechanic tried to be too concensus and due to the cockeyed renault gearbox dipstick, he overfilled it with the wrong oil which spoilt the smoothness of the gear change. This was drained and refilled with the correct oil, but the gear change quality has never fully recovered on the 3rd to 4th gear. So i guess a rebuild is on the horizon.
  • My car is not a daily driver, it gets stored over the winter and then gets used for weekends or days away in the summer, car shows and the big summer holiday - if that involves touring (which Avantime excel at). So it usually gets MOT just before its winter lay up, so its good to go in the spring. A pet hate is advisories on MOTs.... i want clean passes. My mot kept showing corroded rear dampers, even tho the corrosion was superfiscial and on the metal cover. So those got changed and at the same time, the steering was bugging me - the car was wandering on uneven road surfaces and the steering felt lumpy. First job tracking!... tracking was fine but had it redone with the steering wheel set up straight (the wheel was pointing slightly left on a straight road)... well that brought on the traction warning light on every journey after 10 mins driving!... realised that by having the steering well centred this way - i had thrown out the steering angle sensor... which thought the car was turning, but the ABS speed sensors were disagreeing and throwing up the warning!. Anyway, retracked the car back to centre and moved the steering wheel back to centre and normality was restored!... that will teach me to be picky!.
    After all this faffing about the steering was no better and i was about to go on the summer holiday cruising..... the tyres all had 2.5mm of tread, but i thought as a safety thing for the holiday to get 4 brand new Falken tyres.... they transformed the car!!!.... the wandering stopped, the steering became smooth and linear, less road noise too and better more stable braking.
  • 2017 - Car was going really lovely - it averaged 37mpg on the touring holiday, and on my return i treated it to a full underbody clean and a suspension paint of rust converter - the underside of it still shows the galvanised chassis finish... so obviously its one of the good ones, that has lasted well. Whilst under there, i notice the engine undertray was absent (which probably exasperates the wet aux/cambelt noise). So i got one of those, and noticed the exhaust was rubbing slight on the rear axle. So i got the exhaust modified and it dosent rub in regular running - just when i have a full load on board (and it didnt before!).
  • Car came out of storage and i hadnt bothered to start it monthly!. Battery was flat and had the usual faff at trying to get in it, without damaging it. Anyway - got in, jump started it, drove home - but battery wasnt holding charge - so got a new battery. Car drove well and was just waiting for the big holiday now. A week before the holiday i started using the car daily as a test for the holiday (i do 90 mile a day normally).... and lo and behold the car lost power at speed and throttle pedal stopped working and the engine revs stuck at 2500revs. Confidence in car spoilt, Avantime got me home but stayed there and i holidayed in daily driver. Its a known issue and needed a replacement throttle body. This cured the problem but left a high idle speed when replaced. More investigation revealed an air leak on the throttle body gasket, a new £5 gasket sorted that and confidence was returned.
  • Later in the year i did the washer conversion whereby washer jets are added to the scuttle panel and the wiper washer pipes are shortened to connect to them and the washer spray bars become obsolete... this mod appealed because my washer pipes were leaking at the wiper connections, and i wanted to fit smooth looking flexible wiper blades of the one peice variety (more of this later)... as i can see the main wiper when i drive - and its ugly.

    With hindsight, the washer mod wasnt the best thing. I regularly park under trees, and the scuttle fills up with leaves and other debris and regularly causes them to fire anywhere but at the screen. Also the small washer jets must create more back pressure in the washer system, and it pushed a pipe off in the engine bay that seem to fire water over the engine coils. And finally, i always fit new wiper blades for the MOT as a matter of course and avoid the advisory..... well the brand new 1 piece, spray bar less wipers, were too bendy and didnt clear the screen properly - so it failed its MOT!...so i had to refit the old ones to pass!.

    Anyway. I will probably fit a third (double) washer jet to the system to reduce pressure and have got into the habit of regularly scooping out leaf debris from the scuttle.
  • edited January 26
    and then lockdown!.... car came out of storage, yes with a totally flat new battery totally buggered.... luckily it had 2 days warranty still on it!....cue one very unimpressed kwik fit owner handing over a fresh one.

    As i suddenly had loads of time on my hands, but no opportunity to drive the Avantime, i decided to do a project on her. I have always loved the EP interiors and have a model of my Avantime in red with the red interior. However i think the Standard EP red is a touch bright, so decided to paint mine in the mars red... its a bit browner than the standard EP red and i figured it would work. Several years previously i had purchased and stored another cars interior panels that had been painted blue (but the owner didnt like it). so i spent weeks rubbing them down, prepping with a special flexible primer, then a normal primer, then several coats of mars red, without the lacquer finish as i wanted an egg shell finish not a gloss finish.

    The end result was amazing.... i totally love the look of it. It contrasts lovely with the black leather, i also fitted a central binnacle top which held the sat nav. I got a standalone sat nav that fitted the Avantime binnacle perfectly and looks great (despite the binnacle being at the perfect angle to pick up every stray reflection and render the unit pointless!).

    I would seriously recommend everybody to paint their interiors - it looks that good!... but i am not going to - because fitting it into the car was the stuff of nightmares!. This forum has several wonder tutorials for taking the car to bits.... but nothing prepares you for the aged plastics of our cars becoming brittle, the mounting lugs breaking, little metal clips pinging in each and every direction.... and trying to replace the passenger airbag cover, that literally reduced me to tears!.

    Yes with hindsight i could probably do it again much easier, and the likes of Avantime4Mike and Renoman1975 would probably do it in their sleep.
  • edited January 26
    So whats next?.... i have already missed out several bits and pieces that have been done along the way... new coils and new oil and filters at least twice.... i think i have had the exhaust adjusted 2 other times - but it still rubs slightly. The headlamps need a refurb, and the headlamp washers just make a noise and a puddle!.... so they may get addressed next.

    And i may well try and do a mod to make the rear valance of the car more similar to the concept car with double slot outlets and modify this exhaust to suit and not rub once and for all.

    Long term.... i have a few stone chips on the nose, a bit of lacquer lift on the headlamp eyelids - so maybe get that addressed. I had the gearbox flushed again after the first gearbox cockup and the gear changed improved yet again, and its only sluggish and notchy now when its cold, fine when warm, but its done over 90k and a few owners have discussed doing part gearbox rebuilds on the forum - so maybe that will happen in time. For now - just want lockdown over and to be back using her.
  • Coloured Interior.
  • I can see why you're pleased with the interior. It compliments the paint beautifully.
  • edited January 26

  • That’s a fantastic write up, well done.
    Love the interior but then my favourite car is my Mars Red EP2
  • edited January 26
    Well you played a nice part in a lot of that - cheers Sandy.
  • Always a pleasure 👍
    Have been up and down the road three times this month and will be good to meet up with other owners again while on route.
  • Tempest said:

    The car had been to France at a car show just before I got it

    I didn't know that!

  • I'm not one for commenting publicly on social media stuff, but that interior is stunning! Wouldn't work with my Nocturne, but the red is really smart.
  • Tempest said:

    The car had been to France at a car show just before I got it

    I didn't know that!

    When you showed me pics of it with the camera on the roof, I assumed it was abroad... where was it then?.

  • Murray said:

    I'm not one for commenting publicly on social media stuff, but that interior is stunning! Wouldn't work with my Nocturne, but the red is really smart.


  • Tempest said:

    The car had been to France at a car show just before I got it

    I didn't know that!

    Just found the photos and it looks like Silverstone. My mistake.
  • Correct, I thought you meant Phil had taken her over there.
  • edited January 27
    Great to see her still on the road and in such great condition! Just to clarify, I did get the cambelt done but the auxiliary belt was not changed for god knows what reason! It was the auxiliary belt that snapped and then trashed the engine.

    I’d love to get another but may have to wait a few years.
  • edited January 27
    Nice one, glad your still around... i have seen your name on other forums, but never managed to contact you. Yes the Avantime is running nicely, and your refurbs are holding up well... she is looking good.
  • A new accessory belt and cam belt was fitted when I fitted the replacement engine.

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