OK so for a good while now my 2002 Clio 1.2 16v has been having trouble starting, it turns over fine but doesn’t always fire and start up. Also to get it to start you normally needed a bit of gentle gas on the accelerator. Idle was a bit rough, but I wasn’t too worried about that. Anyway last night it finally refused to start. I’d been putting off dealing with it as there was no rhyme or reason to when it started and when it didn’t, but I had convinced my self it was worse when it had been in the sun all day. I also knew of many notorious Clio immobiliser issues, which if you need a new key will cost £160 per key – not good.

Lots of searching on forums led me to the following probably issues:
1) Keys, immobiliser, ignition socket, etc.
2) Fuel pump
3) Coils
4) Shorts in the wiring loom
5) TDC (top dead centre) or Crank Arm sensor (this is a hall effect sensor that tells the engine when to spark)

The Diagnosis
1) Immobiliser – spoke to a service guy at Renault (S J Cook & Sons in Bristol). He said if you put your keys, get to ignition 2 the red light should go out. If when you turn the engine over the red light flashes at twice the rate it flashes when the cars is locked and immobilised then it is an immobiliser/key fault. If that doesn’t happen it isn’t. So far so good – no flashing light
2) Fuel pump – logic would say if the pump had gone it wouldn’t intermittently start. I can also hear the relay click when the pump is primed at ignition 2.
3) Coils – these were replaced last year, shouldn’t have gone again so soon.
4) Shorts – visual inspection of everything I could see looked fine.
5) So that leaves the TDC sensor. Turns out it is a £28 part from Eurocarparts and fairly easy to change. Given all of the above this has to be the best place to start before you start racking up a big bill at the garage. Also if the sensor is dodgy it can be worse when the engine is warm, which may support my hot day theory.

The Fix
1x 10mm ring spanner
1x 10mm socket & ratchet
1x small flathead screwdriver (for releasing the sensor from the harness)
1x TDC sensor. Depending on the age of your Clio Renault changed the part which means if you buy a genuine part you have to splice the cables from the harness as the new sensor doesn’t fit the old harness. If you buy from Eurocarparts or GSF it will go straight on.
1x torch
1x large piece of cardboard or hardboard

0) Place the hardboard on the floor under the engine – if you drop anything it will be much easier to find.
1) Unclip the coolant overflow pipe from the air filter unit
2) Release the air hose from the air filter unit
3) Using the 10mm socket remove the 2 bolts from the top of the air filter housing and remove the air filter & casing. This frees up space to work.
4) The sensor is located where the engine meets the gearbox on the passenger side of the car. It sits just above the flywheel. It is a black cylinder on a steel curved bar held on with 2 10mm bolts. Take a picture of it so you can be sure you put the new one in the right way round
WARNING: Do not remove the hoses just above the sensor to make more space – you will empty the engine coolant over your feet!
5) There are two wiring loops that run across the from of the sensor. Unclip the securing clip of the large one to give a little slack. There should be some slack in the thinner one.
6) Using a combination of a 10mm socket on the front bolt and a 10mm ring spanner on the rear bolt release the TDC sensor
7) The bolts have long shanks and are not threaded all the way so they should not fall out once fully undone
8. Carefully move the sensor out from between the harnesses and hoses
9) Using a small flathead screwdriver one the the precision ones) release the sensor from the harness
A quick comparison with the new part and you will see the little magnetic tip will look very tired compared to the gleaming new one.
10) Connect the harness to the new sensor making sure it is pushed all the way home
11) Making sure you have the correct orientation manoeuvre the sensor into place#
12) Starting with the rear bolt using your fingers locate the bolt and get its thread started
13) Do the same on the front
14) Use your spanners and socket to tighten it all up
15) Reconnect the harness into its securing clip
16) Replace the air fliter unit, its 2 bolts and air hose.
17) Replace the coolant overflow pipe into its holder on the air filter housing
18) Visually check you have not forgotten anything and have nothing left over
19) Start the engine

Mine started first time and idled better than ever.

Hope this helps someone.

Thanks to the following websites for all the tips and good advice:

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No Satellite

Spotted today as I left the M32. South Glos seems to have it in for orbital platforms – they are not welcome here.

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Wednesday 15th February 2012 at 1657. This was the time that my life changed.

Today my wife Laura went shopping for my clothes, and not just in any shop – in M&S.

I have now moved from one phase of my life to the next. It’s downhill all the way to BHS from here.

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This weekend I passed the 10,000 image mark with my Canon 450d.

That is quite a lot of pictures.

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Being on paternity leave with a two year old to look after and a wife who has had a C-section brings a whole slant to everything as i am doing all the cooking, cleaning, washing etc. So i’d thought I’d ring the changes starting with a man-grade laundry basket from Ikea. This 11 gallon bad boy is called a Skoghall.

I’m living the dream.


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We were hoping to see Cars 2 before Elliot was born, but with his early arrival that now won’t be happening (I don’t think they make 3D glasses in newborn size).

So it seemed only fitting that as Dad I got him a Lightning McQueen as he was born the day before the UK release.

Ka Chow little guy, I’m very proud of you.

Lightning McQueen

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You have to love the imagination of a 2 year old. I walked into the lounge today to find my mouse mat (technically a mouse rug) being utilised as a blanket for dolly who was enjoying a rest in the bouncy chair.

The bouncy chair is a Tiny Love Gymini, by the way. My parents kindly bought it for our son who has just been born. Having looked at a lot of bouncers and deciding they were a lot of money for what they are, were generally wobbly and badly built we were really impressed with this one. It has an upright and a lie back position (easily adjusted) and the unique toy arches allow them to easily move out of the way to get to baby, but equally moved in position so baby can play with the toys on them.

The toys can be moved on the arms and the light and sound crab is self contained so it can be taken out and about on a pram or car seat. The crab has a starfish under it that when pulled activates the lights and sounds. You can select 2 modes for the crab: interactive mode (pull the star) or continuous mode when it plays sound and flashes continuously. It also helpfully has a mute button which turns off the sound but leaves the lights on. This works in both modes.

You can also add other toys to the stitched in loops on the arches. Tiny Love obviously recommend you add toys from their range. We have a Tiny Love play mat with similar arches and all the toys would be compatible. I guess the nicest thing about the arches is that the toys will actually be able to be reached at all stages of our son’s growth, whereas with other bouncers we looked at the child would have no chance of ever reaching the toys to interact with them.

Knowing we were going to have a small baby we were keen that a bouncer had good support for something so tiny. Before purchase we were worried about the lack of a separate head support, but our son is fine in it and he is only 2.7kg (6lb, 2oz). One reviewer suggested it was an issue but as long as it is reclined it is not a problem at the moment.

It is available for about £50 and the cover is machine washable as well. It comes very strongly recommended.



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I had my first telephone conversation with my two year old daughter today. Up to now I have always been greeted with silence when I try and speak to her.

It went like this:

Me: Hello little girl, how are you
Eloise: OK
Me: Have you had a nice day?
Eloise: Yes
Me: What have you been up to?
Eloise: Grandma’s house today

She got bored at that point and gave the phone back to Mum, but it was very cool and very cute all the same.

I will now spend the rest of my life trying to get her off the phone no doubt.

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To celebrate the Royal Wedding Uncle Rob got Eloise the Happy Land Royal Wedding set for her birthday.


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Star Wars and Cake, what more could you want?

More Star Wars Cakes on the Flickr Blog

Lego Millenium Falcon Cake

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