How to fix the alarm on the 106 GTi

Ultrasonic Alarm sensorThe GTi is the only car in the 106 range to have a factory fitted alarm system. However French electrics being what they are often means the alarm system more often than not can cause trouble over the years. You may find yourself wearily having to get up in the middle of the night to turn off the alarm as your neighbours curtains twitch and give you the evil eye! Fear not the solution is actually easier than you may think. For almost a year now I’ve been disabling the ultrasonics (the sensors that detect air movement inside the car when the alarm is activated) every time I got out the car. This is obviously far from ideal. So I finally decided to stop being lazy and fix the issue. You’ll need to buy 1 or 2 new ultrasonic sensors (I had a pair from a friend – buying two means you can be sure you’ve cured the problem).

  • Start by removing the top of the door seal and pulling the A pillar trim back from its clips. This will expose the sensor wire.
  • Remove the sensor from the trim
    Troublesome alarm
  • Cut the sensor wire about halfway down and strip back the wires.
  • Pull the spades from the plug on the new sensor
  • Clip two spade connectors onto the car wiring.
  • Plug the spades into the new connector
  • Wrap up the wiring with some electric tape if necessary to keep it tidy
  • Connectors

  • Now before packing away the wiring, I suggest waiting for a time when you will be in the house all day so you can lock the car and check that the alarm doesn’t go off without cause.
  • If the new sensors work, carefully place them back into the A pillar trim and refit the trim.
  • Refit the door seal
  • Now test the alarm by sitting in the car and locking it with the key fob and waving your arms. If the sensors are functioning the alarm should go off.
  • Pack up and enjoy the peace and quiet


Prepare your car for winter

We’re well into Winter and it’s helpful to be reminded of those simple tasks we can do to keep our cars in tip top condition and prevent breakdowns in bad weather.

  • Winter roadTyres – Check your tyres; The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm, but make sure there’s more than enough grip for torrential and even snowy weather. Ideally a set of Winter tyres is preferable. These outperform so called normal summer tyres at temperatures below 7 degrees, clearing water and snow effectively. A spare set of cheap wheels with Winter tyres fitted could be cost effective and last for years, meaning you can run your summer set when the weather warms and get all the performance and feedback of summer tyres without the poor grip in Winter.
  • Aircon – Run the aircon once a week, even in Winter to keep the system seals lubricated. This means you won’t be replacing the aircon system, come summer time.
  • Visibility – Do yourself and everyone a favour – clear the whole windscreen of ice before setting off in a morning when setting off. It means getting up 5 minutes earlier, but it could also be the difference between knocking someone off their bike or being pulled over by the Police and not. Change your wiper blades every 12 months – check them regularly for wear and tear.
  • Lights – Make sure all your lights are clean and fully functioning. Don’t forget to check your rear lights, brake lights and indicators.
  • Screenwash – Check the levels and use screen wash with suitable additive – this will reduce the chances of your washer fluid freezing and help clear grime, dirt and ice.
  • Coolant – Check your antifreeze levels to avoid your engine freezing and cracking. Also make sure you use the right antifreeze, usually indicated in your vehicle handbook.
  • Electrics – With French electrics temperamental at the best of times its a good idea to check your battery. If it’s over 5 years old, it may not be holding a charge as well and may need replacing. A voltmeter should show 12V with the engine off and around 14V when running.
  • Breakdown cover – taking it out now can be a lot cheaper than calling from the side of the road to sign up.
  • Snow socks – these inventions are relatively cheap and make all the difference when trying to ascend or descend a hill. It can be handy to have a set stored in the boot should there be heavy snowfall.

Winter car pack checklist

Carrying some or all of these items below will help, should you get in trouble during heavy snowfall or bad weather this year:

  • Deicer
  • Small pieces of carpet to put under wheels if stuck
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow socks
  • Emergency blanket
  • Warm coat and gloves
  • First aid kit
  • Spare bulbs
  • Tow kit
  • Pen paper, camera, tape recorder useful in the event of an accident
  • Petrol can useful if you get stuck in a traffic jam
  • Cigarette lighter phone charger or spare battery
  • Breakdown cover details

MOT passed!

I put the 106 in for another MOT at a council MOT test centre conveniently located next to the office. Unfortunately it failed again. This time it failed on:

  • Rear brake efficiency
  • Ball joints too much play
  • Emissions over on CO.

The play in the ball joints was only evident on an MOT rig that shook the car, the tester said a crowbar wasn’t enough to budge them. I asked if he could test it with a crowbar then!
The emissions  issue was solved by swapping the Cat over which I had luckily bought months ago as a spare in the garage.
The rear brakes were doing about 25% of the effort they should have been, this turned out to be the rear brake compensator. This device alters how hard the rear brakes work  depending on the load of the car. E.g. if you fully load the boot with 70kg of kit, the compensator will ensure the rear brakes work harder. Unfortunately these often seize and regularly fail the MOT on older cars.

I decided to take it into the garage since the rear brake efficiency was definitely going to be the rear brake compensator not working as designed, and as it is tucked up behind the rear beam, it’s not a easy job when you don’t have a hydraulic ramp. Also, if the compensator needs removing and you round off one of the brake pipes, its a real pain to sort out.
I can recommend JP Auto Technics, in Swallownest as a fast, efficient garage. Theses boys have seen all sorts of motors from everyday cars to fire breathing high spec Rally cars. They sorted out the jobs in no time and got it MOT’d with no hassle.

Clutch change

In preparation for the next trackday at Oulton Park I wanted to change the clutch as the last one was slipping at the last trackday at Anglesey.

So I got the car up in the air on axle stands and set about clearing the decks of wiring looms, the battery, and airbox etc. The hub nuts were a pain to remove, but once off, I drained the gearbox of oil and removed the driveshafts to give me more space.

Gearbox metal shavingsBox off Snapped linkage mount

I took out the wishbones, purely because I always find it quicker than trying to get the balljoingt out of the hub any other way. Once the gearbox was easily accessible I removed all the allen key bolts that hold it to the block as well as the starter motor 13mm bolts and supported the gearbox on a jack. I removed the offside gearbox mount and gently lowered the ‘box down. After a lot of wiggling and pulling the ‘box eventually came off exposing the clutch. It didn’t looks in too bad a condition for 136,000 miles with just some signs of overheating on the cover plate. The friction plate was worn but would have kept going in road use for another 20-30,000 miles im sure.

Old clutchI grabbed the 2nd hand clutch id bought months earlier only to discover the cover plates were different and the mounting holes don’t match! Typical!  Turns out I have been sent the clutch for a  year 2000+ model and my car uses the older style clutch. So I placed and order at Peugeot for a new clutch which came to £100 + VAT which wasn’t too bad. I always prefer to use genuine Valeo clutches as they have a good reputation and last well. However this meant I had to leave the car unfinished on what was a good day, weatherwise, leaving me only 3 and a half nights of available work in bad weather.

I was happy to see Peugeot had got the right clutch, and so I removed the old one in no time and carefully torqued up the new one using the included alignment tool to keep the plate centred.

Now the real pain! With the days running out until the Oulton Park trackday I spent 4 evenings in the rain and cold, getting the gearbox and all the ancilliaries back on the car. The gearbox was a real pain to get lined back up and over the chassis  at the back of the engine bay. Eventually we got it back into place. Be sure if you do this, that the release bearing on the clutch fork stays in place, as it can fall off easily if you turn the fork while manhandling the ‘box.

Clutch comparisonClutch comparison

With the gearbox back on and bolted in place, I reattached the clutch cable and linkages  and tested it in the car. I could select gears which was good!

I reinstalled the driveshafts and wishbones leaving two problems:

1) I had damaged the near side driveshaft thread when removing the hub nut

2) The ball on the gearbox that the lowest gear linkage attaches to had snapped on when removing it.

Problem one took about 15 minutes to sort with a file, carefully filing down the threads until the new nut went back on.

Broken mountProblem two was more of a pain; Peugeot had initially told me they could get me a new bracket no problem. Turnsout two days later there was no stock available for 5 days. So I took the bracket to be welded, only to bolt it to the ‘box and find out the gear linkage wouldn’t stay on no matter what I did. The weld wasnt 100% in the exact place, and the linkage kept popping off, even when cable tied to the hilt. After a 2 minute test drive down the road, the linkage came off, leaving the gearstick flopping around and I lost patience…

So I gave up  at 7.30 pm on the day before the trackday – in a bad mood, and decided to load up the Evo with tools and tyres and set off for the hotel I’d booked. All that hard work in freezing and raining temperatures and I still didn’t make it.

Bad times…

Fitting a new throttle cable

Throttle CableEver since buying the car the throttle has been pretty stiff in its operation. I noted when doing a service that the path of the accelerator cable from footwell to throttle body looks very easy to change, being high up on the offside of the engine bay. So with a couple of hours set aside, I quickly set about removing the old cable and replacing it with a brand new one from Peugeot. Since the car is 10 years old, it makes sense to replace cheap parts like this now, rather than risking them snapping in the future and leaving me stranded at the side of the road, awaiting recovery, hence the clutch cable is also on the list for a future job.

I spent £20 at 106 and a cable arrived after a couple of days. The kit comes complete with the whole assembly including outer cables etc. I decided I was only going to replace the inner cable as that would make the most difference and is a lot easier than replacing the whole thing.


Swapping the inner cable over is a straight forward job. First locate the throttle body at the back of the engine bay where the air filter hosing goes in toward the inlet manifold. Turn the throttle butterfly and remove the cable. note how frayed and old my old cable was. Now open the drivers door and press down the accelerator. You should be able to push the plastic clip out which holds the pedal to the throttle cable.  This part is optional: Tie some string to the end of the cable and pull the cable through the footwell to remove it. When I did this i found the string came off anyway.

Old frayed cableNew cable pulled through

Take the new cable and lying the old and new side by side check it is correct. Tie the string to the new cable and pull it through the firewall into the car. Alternatively (as I did) just feed the new cable back through the outer cable and it will appear in the engine bay.

Its a bit fiddly but attach the new clip to the pedal and from the engine bay route the cable and offer it up to the butterfly so you know where to cut the cable short. Once cut, you can fit the clamp onto the end of the cable and refit to the butterfly. You may need to adjust the clip on the throttle body end of the cable to take up/give some slack as necessary.

Pedal clip

Now take it for a drive!

What a difference! The accelerator is now feather light and smooth. I’m actually convinced it will help the fuel economy as it now feels adjustable by a minute degree rather than the feeling you had to stomp on the thottle before.

Oil Change time

Probably one of the important, yet easiest jobs to carry out on your car. With just a basic set of tools you can ensure your engine is running on clean oil, lubricating all the moving parts. Given the 106 gets tracked regularly, I like to change the oil every 6 months or 6-8000 miles at least.

Having used a washing up bowl for years, I decided to go upmarket and buy a proper oil drain pan with spout to stop the annoyance of spilling the used oil when trying to get it back into a bottle. I found a pan on ebay for £13.95 delivered.

I used:

Oil filter Part no. 1109.N2

10W40 semi synth oil

Copper crush washer

24mm socket

Oil drain pan

Start by ensuring the engine is warm (not hot you dont want to burn yourself on the oil). Jack up the nearside of the car and getting an axle stand under the chassis to ensure you can get underneath safely.

Place the oil pan underneath the sump and undo the sump plug. I use a 24mm socket to start it off, and carefully unscrew it.

Withdraw the plug, and let the oil drain into the pan.

If your oil pan is big enough like mine, move it forward so it is both under the sump plug and under the oil filter. You can now unscrew the oil filter and let any oil drain into the oil pan. I use a reliable set of Halfords oil filter pliers I bought years ago, far easier to use than any chain tool.

Replace the filter with a new one, careful not to overtighten it.

Replace the sump plug with a new copper crush washer.

Clean up the sump with newspaper or cloth.

Oil and filter

Refill the engine with new oil, checking the dipstick regularly.

Start the engine, let it warm up and check the oil level again. Top up if necessary.

Job done 🙂

Wishing Well

With the rush on to get the car ready for the Anglesey trackday , I ordered two new wishbones from a retailer on ebay for the reasonable sum of £71 delivered. These came complete with all bushes and balljoints. I don’t usually buy non OEM wishbones and balljoint as the Peugeot ones seem to be made of sterner stuff, but they were asking ridulous money. I was hoping this would cure the knock I was getting coming on and off the throttle, as well as some tramlining on the motorway.

I knew I needed another balljoint on the car when I replaced the driveshaft a few months ago. I had to get the old one out of the hub before which took some persuasion, and even though I was careful removing it, it was clear the joint was old and tired and needed replacing. Since the balljoints are pressed in, I decided to replace the entire wishbone as it makes for a much easier job as well as renewing the wishbone bushes which wear frequently and would save me a job later on.

So I whipped off the wheel, and undid the pinch bolt (16mm). I levered the balljoint free of the hub, undid the wishbone bolts (16mm rear, 18mm front) and withdrew the complete wishbone. The rear bush was very worn and fell off the wishbone when I removed it! It had clearly never been replaced before as the foam covering the wishbone bolts in the cabin was intact. The near side wasn’t as bad and had clearly been replaced before.

The best technique I found for getting the new wishbone back in was to put the rear bush bolts back in first – ideally have a friend inside the cabin to put the nuts on the first few threads. Then line up the balljoint and fit that into the hub. Finally jack up the front bush and place the bolt through and tighten all the bolts.

Be careful not to pull the hub outward and toward you with the wishbone removed, or you may pull the driveshaft out of the diff (on the passenger side anyway). and pour transmission oil everywhere and that my friends is one of the foulest smelling oils there is!

With the car lowered back down on its wheels, I took the car for a drive, the difference is quite astounding. Everything feels tighter, no more clunking over bumps and no more wandering on the motorway for instance. The shunt coming on and off the throttle has disappeared and the handling is now sublime, roundabouts are so much fun!

The balljoints and bushes tend to suffer with abuse from trackday kerbs and potholes, so I’ll have to see how long these ones last and report back.

For £71 and some elbow grease this is definitely one of the best and cheapest ways to freshen up the car’s handling and performance.

Shake baby shake…

I noticed at , how much the engine moved on it’s mounts when the operator came on and off the throttle. This is usually a sign of worn engine mounts, so I placed an order at for 2 new mounts. Other symptoms of worn mounts include a ‘shunt’ when coming off and on the throttle, often accompanied by a clunk from the engine bay. You can also often feel shaking inside the cabin when the engine is idling.

I decided against choosing group N harder rubber mounts as I’m not a fan of the increased vibrations they transmit into the cabin. It was also slight overkill for a road and occasional track car. So armed with the new mounts to fit I set about swapping them over. This job is very often overlooked as part of maintenance, as garages don’t often recommend to owners to change the mounts and, if you’re not au fait with cars, are hard to identify as a problem. This is not as daunting job as it sounds and with a few simple tools is very easy to do yourself.

I’ve written a guide to changing the mounts .

The gearbox mount was visibly worn, having ovalled the rubber, however the lower mount looked in good condition when compared with the new one.

Having successfully swapped over the gearbox and lower mounts, I took the GTi for a spirited drive down one of my favourite roads, throwing it into corners coming on and off the throttle abruptly and braking hard. The difference was noticable but there was still some driveline shunt present as you came on and off the throttle. So next on the list is a wishbone and top engine mount change, hopefully one of which will cure the problem. I’m pleased to report however the in-car shaking seems much reduced, so at least there was some benefit from the change!

Rear Brake renewal

For weeks I’ve noticed the rear brakes sticking on, particularly at the beginning of a journey. I finally got round to ordering some brake discs from BuyPartsBy for the princely sum of £21 delivered. Since I already had  a spare set of rear brake pads from the 306 which shares the same rear caliper, it was time to get started and sort out the rear brakes.

With the sun shining it wasn’t too much of a chore. I timed it right as the pads on the nearside were almost down to their backing plate and were clearly not contacting the disc 100% of the way across.

I removed the pad carrier, cleaned it out, replaced the pads and greased the sliders. I then wound back the caliper pistons which were extremely stiff, but loosed up eventually with a little persuasion and copper grease. I noticed the dust boots need renewing at some point in the future but I’ll leave that for now. A bit of threadlock on the bolts and the car was dropped back down on it’s wheels.

I took the car for a drive and the difference was notable, no drag from the brakes, and the car felt livelier and more responsive – clearly it was being held back quite significantly before. Hopefully eliminating the binding brakes may well help to improve the fuel economy as well (see mpg post )


Another day another noise! Seems like owning a Peugeot is a constant battle keeping it knock and noise free. This time the noise was clearly eminating from the exhaust causing a loud rattling sound.

I narrowed it down to the Catalytic Convertor rattling, as shaking it produced the noise. I convinced myself that the cat had collapsed due to the exhaust temperatures and abuse it got at the last trackday and that the internals were probably shot. So armed with a second hand OEM Cat (£20, bargain!) I got the car up on stands, removed the cat and had a look inside.

Rattling around in there was short length of tubing. The impressions on the end suggest it was attached at some point, though where, I’m not exactly sure.

Since the cat looks non OE, I have a hunch it was a used as a bit of a bodge job by a garage to seal the exhaust up.

I removed the part, replaced the cat and carefully clamped up the join with a generous helping of exhaust paste. Running the engine for 10 minutes helped ‘cure’ the join and a test drive beckoned.

The beautiful sound of silence. Another problem solved for pennies. 🙂

Driveshaft woes

The culpritAn annoying noise started to plague me not long after the last trackday at Brands Hatch. The symptoms were a whining, grinding type noise that increased with wheel speed. Dipping the clutch/putting into Neutral when moving caused the noise to appear instantly. This seems to point to a driveshaft or brake problem. The offside brake disc was getting hot on the back which pointed to a binding brake caliper.

A visual inspection revealed a damaged rubber caliper boot but nothing that won’t last until I sort larger calipers in a month or two.. I decided to take off the caliper and give the brakes a good clean.

Happily, this solved the binding but the noise was still present. It was difficult to locate when listening under the car, but it seemed liked the driveshaft was the next logical culprit.

Having placed the order from Peugeot for a new offside driveshaft, not only was my wallet was considerably lighter but I was told there was a 2 week lead time! Luckily the part arrived next day, and I could set about fitting it.

Sub-zero temperatures didn’t make it an enjoyable task but the swap was straightforward apart from the wishbone balljoint needed a lot of persuasion to come out. I refilled the gearbox with transmission oil, and took it for a test drive.

Noise gone! Result.

An inspection of the old shaft showed little of interest, other than a jubille clip had been used on the outer joint instead of the correct clip, which can’t have helped. I hadn’t seen a worn driveshaft display symptoms like this before, as they either usually shake the gearstick or cause the steering to pull if the CV joint is badly damaged and lost its grease. Of course, trackdays put extra stress on suspension and drivetrain components so work like this is not unexpected.

Peugeot employ a exchange policy on driveshafts so the old shaft is now winging its way back to them for some TLC to see use on another 106 one day 🙂