Peugeot 306 GTI6
The 1997 Phase 1 Peugeot 306 GTI6 was acquired in November 2013 with a shade under 53k on the clock. It had recently been put back on the road after being sat for 9 years. Currently it is on 63k and has recently had new Koni Yellow shock absorbers on all four corners, a rebuilt rear torsion-bar suspension assembly fitted, new eibach springs upfront and brembo discs and pads all round among several other tasty upgrades. It was then put through its paces at Prescott Hillclimb. It was an absolute hoot to drive, and it performed very well judging by the tripod pic below, not bad considering it turned 18 years old shortly after the start of 2015!
In the Beginning
This was a nice car with a lot of potential, however it really did need a LOT of TLC which it began to get right away, starting first of all with a very thorough wash, dressing all of the plastics and fitting osram nightbreaker plus bulbs to improve the night-time visibilty for those late-night b-road blasts this car is famous for.
The most noticable issue was that the power steering pump was whining under load, such as during large turning inputs when moving at slow speeds.
There were lots of other things that needed seeing to as well, such as fixing the leaky sun roof and leaky rear lights. When opening the boot the carpet looked slightly stained in one corner, however lifting it up revealed that all of the sound deadening had gone completely mouldy! This was promptly ripped out and the boot floor cleaned. Peugeot’s OEM sound deadening is surprisingly heavy, being made of matted fabrics and a plasticky, bitumen type top layer. Fortunately, a pair of mint, barely used rear lights that had been dry stored since the mid 90s were sourced for 2.99 from a well-known auction site! A bit of vaseline on the seals (top tip!) to soften them up and no more water was leaking into the boot.
One indicator lense was missing missing and both are full of algae, as were the headlights! The headlight glass (yes, actual glass!) can be removed from the unit, so this was done and the algae removed. The indicator lenses are plastic and adhered to the casing of the unit. Fortunately, new indicators are available for 6 or 7 pounds each so these were promptly replaced. With the lights all cleaned out and reassembled with decent quality bulbs fitted it was becoming possible to see where you were going at night. The car was also given a service, with Total 9000 fully synthetic oil (recommended by Peugeot), a genuine oil filter, NGK spark plugs and a change of the transmission oil using the correct grade of Total oil for the job, which made a nice difference to the gear changes.
Next on the list was sorting out the absolutely atrocious audio quality. After pulling off the speaker grilles it was evident that the water ingress problems were not just limited to the boot, the speakers were very water-marked and the paper cones full of holes and were crumbling into even more pieces at the slightest touch. One of them was even going slightly mouldy. Some replacement speakers were fitted from another 306. For good measure while I was there I also swapped the parcel shelf from the newer 306 over as 306s have speakers mounted in the parcel shelf as standard. All of this with the addition of a lovely Alpine headunit massively improved the sound quality and added the ability to play music with a USB stick and control an ipod with the OEM steering column audio controls.
Unfortunately, this audio was somewhat drowned out by the holey, welded bodge job of an exhaust that wasn’t particularly connected together at the joints in any way! This was pulled off and a full, genuine system fitted with no holes in it, which not only quietened the car down a lot, it also sounded rather nice in a subtle way and it also significantly improved low-down torque, as 306s are particularly sensitive to any holes or leaks around the catalyst area and centre section.
From driving this around a little bit more and with my senses not completely drowned out by farting exhaust holes and totally distorted audio, I began noticing some other issues. Namely, the driver’s seat wasn’t properly bolted down to the base so under braking it moved quite a bit. This was clearly dangerous so a bolt from another 306 was fitted and tightened immediately. The car also hesitated at low revs, particularly from cold. A new Magnetti Marelli idle control valve sorted this out right away.
After being flashed a few times by other vehicles at night I realised the mechanical adjuster for the driver’s side lamp was missing. Fitting a new one allowed the beam aim to be lowered slightly to avoid blinding oncoming drivers. A couple of other small faults were also rectified: the broken LCD clock in the centre console was replaced with a working one and I then set about rectifying the non-functioning eletric wing mirror adjustment. Upon removing the switch panel from the door and examining the wiring, the switch was simply unplugged from the loom! Clipping the plug back into place and whipping the switch panel back on and another easy fix was complete.
A set of rare Cibie fog lamp covers was found on ebay brand new in the dealer bags for very cheap as nobody was bidding on them! They came in Jaguar branded bags as the same Cibie lamps were fitted to multiple cars of the era including various Peugeots and Jaguars.
A good hoovering out of the interior, brand new Uniroyal Rainsport 3 tyres all round, aero wipers and replacing all of the tired interior bulbs and sidelights with good quality LEDs and bulbs and the car was now starting to be in a very nice state to drive and enjoy.
Driving it and enjoying it is precisely what happened for several months. In that time a very tarnished, dirty mongoose exhaust was purchased and slowly returned to its former glory before fitting. A K&N filter was also fitted on the end of the standard intake pipe with a piece of alloy to shield it from any splashing water from the road. This along with the exhaust really brought the soundtrack of the XU10 J4RS alive.
Mongoose exhaust before:
Mongoose exhaust after a lot of elbow grease: