There are many variations of the Renault Trafic and the Renault Master. This article deals with the Renault Trafic T1000 Panel vans offer good headroom and a hightop panel van avoids the need to fit a special high top roof
On the down side you will have a certain amount of heat loss from the single glazed window units and high tops do lack the interior space of the larger coachbuilt models. However, with the older Renault Trafic high top camper vans, no one could argue, you get value for money .
Typically a high top van from new will cost almost as much as a dedicated coach built version. Fitting out a panel van with all its angles and solid frame is actually more difficult and very labour intensive. Be aware that many of the Renault Trafic camper vans are not built with toilet facilities. This one is no exception.
The Renault Trafic was first available in the UK in 1980 and is still in production today ( although radically different from the earlier versions ). The Renault Trafic and its various models were different from your average transit van of the 80's. Its sloping front bonnet and stylish design made it an instant success
The Trafic shown in this article is a 1989 model with a 1721 cc petrol engine. This vehicle is easy to drive despite the fact it does not have power steering. The seats, driving position, large windscreen cannot be faulted and it is a pleasure to take out on the road. On the down side it has no interior light, no cigarette lighter and is very basic as far as the cab equipment goes. It also has a manual choke which takes a bit of getting used to if you drive a modern car. Economy wise this vehicle is not one of the best in its class but on a long run it should return about 30 mpg .
The accommodation is classed as a four berth and it is ideal for a couple with small children but I wouldn't want to try anything more than a one night stop over if I had two strapping teenage lads to cope with. That would be too cramped .
The accommodation features a double berth over the cab, a double bed conversion, adequate seating, a table, sink, cooker, gas grill and hob, heating system and hot and cold running water. The on board water boiler is exceptionally good, as is the fridge. This vehicle has been well thought out and every available space has been utilised in a most effective manner. I have not had it verified but I am pretty certain that the coachwork inside this vehicle is from Autosleeper which has a good reputation in terms of quality of build.
Buying a Renault Trafic
One of the main things you should look out for is rust. Check the sills, chassis and underneath of any vehicle very carefully. There are some terrible rust buckets out there. Check also the bottoms of the doors, particularly the rear doors and the front and back valance of the vehicle.
A Renault Trafic petrol engine in good order will drive smoothly and quietly for a van of this size. Oil leaks should be given particular attention. Upper cam seals on this vehicle are a well known problem but your leaky unit could also be as a result of a front crankshaft oil seal or more expensively a head gasket problem.
Vehicle identification is from two plates in the engine compartment. You should be able to locate a rectangular plate ( up to 1990 ) on the right hand side of the engine compartment. You might find the oval shaped plate on the right hand inner wing panel. The paint code is a little more tricky. Look for a sticker on the left hand bulkhead.
Services should take place every 10,000 miles or once a year if the vehicle is not used often.
A very basic service would include the checking of wheel nuts for tightness and the tyre pressures including the spare of course. You should also change the engine oil and the oil filter. The oil sump should be checked for leaks and if necessary tighten the bolts underneath if they are showing signs of being too loose. Cam seal leaks are common so check for any leaks around the timing cover.
A garage in the course of a service would also check and carry out the following tasks; re tighten cylinder head bolts, adjust valve clearances, re tighten carburettor securing nuts and float chamber cover, check throttle and operation of linkage, tighten inlet and exhaust manifold nuts, check fuel pump nuts, tightness of top cover of fuel pump.
You should also check the air cleaner element and replace it if it is dirty. Check the condition of the spark plugs and clean or replace if necessary. You should also check the points, engine idling speed and adjust the engine timing if necessary.
The clutch and transmission oil should be drained and refilled every 20,000 miles. This also applies to the rear axle. Drive belts for the alternator and water pump should be checked and adjusted if necessary. The tension of the water pump belt should be checked.
You should also check the tyres for wear or uneven wear which might be caused by incorrect tracking. Drive shafts, rubber gaiters, shock absorbers and all running gear, including an inspection of the exhaust system is recommended although much of this will be included in an MOT.
The brakes should also be checked for wear or leaks in the cylinders. The flexible brake hoses should also be checked. You can actually take your vehicle to one of the many national chains offering free tyre, brake and exhaust checks. I do this each year and at the same time I manage to get a good look underneath to inspect the underneath of my vehicle.
Don't forget, your motor home has two tanks underneath it. One is for fresh water and one is for waste water. Don't forget to drain these or you might have probems if the water freezes. Also check your anti freeze.
Camping and Caravanning Club
Renault Trafic Motor Home Register
Motor Home Facts
History of this vehicle
Renault Trafic: T1000
First registration: 31.05.1989
Registration Plate: F Registration
Private / Light Goods (PLG)
2400 KG Gross weight
1721 cc Petrol Engine
2 axle rigid body
Previous Owners : 7
02.06.1993 / 54,049
22.03.1994 / 63,082
23.02.1995 / 67,115
01.03.1996 / 71,190
07.03.1997 / 75,714
19.03.1998 / 79,488
11.03.1999 / 82,552
22.02.2000 / 85,752
01.03.2001 / 89,345
13.03.2003 / 94,825
30.04.2004 / 96,641
14.10.2005 / 96,953
24.11.2006 / 97,496
When looking over the vehicle you have to appreciate that this traffic was built in 1989. It did have rusty sills and some of the bodywork obviously was in need of some tender loving care. Considering its age and apart from the sills the underside structure was still intact and in good condition.
There was also some evidence of rust around the wheel arches. It is important to get one of these vans in good mechanical condition as Renault parts from new can be quite expensive. If you know a bit about mechanics or are prepared to buy second hand parts then you may not find this a problem.
This van was purchased without and MOT but the previous owner was honest and fair in his selling of this vehicle and being a mechanic he had kept it well maintained and used it for occasional family trips out. In the past three years it had not travelled much. There were no unpleasant surprises later.
I spent a lot of time stripping the rust out and patching it up. The sills were replaced or filled where minor rust bubbles existed and the whole underside was treated in black hammerite. The vehicle starts easily and runs smoothly. After spending a lot of time t cutting back the paintwork and patching up rusty areas properly with drilling and filling, the vehicle has been somewhat restored to its former glory. Faded and tatty paintwork on the front of the vehicle resulted in a front end respray
The vehicle leaked oil on purchase but this was found to be the crankshaft seal and a fault oil pressure switch rather than a suspected cam seal. The OHC 1.7 litre engine is also used in other Renault vehicles such as the Renault 21, Volvo 440 and the Renault 5's so engine parts can be found in most scrapyards.