Product Type: Peugeot cars
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106 Rallye-Fun City!
Peugeot 106 GTi
Member Name: gavwright
Peugeot 106 GTi
Date: 30/11/00, updated on 04/12/00 (17553 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap performance, thrilling handling
Disadvantages: Too raw for some
I bought a black 106 Rallye in August 1995. This was the 1.3 injection - 1294cc producing 100bhp @7,200 rpm and 80lbft of torque @5,000 rpm. It was to be a second car for my wife, as I already had a Renault 19 16V saloon (Mark 2) as a company car.
The Rallye replaced a Citroen AX GT 500 - a very nice car that I had modified to produce 85bhp at the wheels, so about 100bhp at the flywheel. Quite quick, and very agile. Once I got the Renault, though, I passed this on to my wife as it just couldn't compete with 137bhp (+ Superchip), which made the 16V really fly from 5,000rpm.
I chose the Rallye as I had previously owned a 205 GTi (1.6) and later on a 309 GTi. Personally, I preferred the 205 to drive and never really enjoyed the 309 - not as much as the 205, anyway! I needed a car that would be fun to drive, and was reasonably cheap. I considered the top of the range 106 (at the time) - 1.6i XSi with 105bhp. There were three reasons I finally went for the Rallye over the XSi; 1) XSi was slightly over my budget 2) XSi had gadgets coming out of its ears - I like gadgets, but then again in a car I prefer a 'pure' driving experience. Fewer gadgets mean less weight, less cost, less fuss - more money spent on the things that matter - the engine and chassis. 3) The Rallye had uprated suspension from the XSi, as it was actually developed for rallying. I believe it had a particularly enthusiastic following and its own race series in Australia.
So - although the Rallye had less power than the XSi - with slightly less weight and uprated suspension, it should be more fun to drive.
Less Power, Less Weight, More Fun!
The Rallye arrived, and I decided I would alternate between the Rallye and the 19 16V for going to work - a rather nice half hour run through the country and into town, with long straight bits, very twisty bits and no '30' or '40' signs. Suffice t
o say it wasn't long before I was taking the Renault less and less. It was an absolute pleasure to pick up the Rallye's keys, jump aboard, and blast off down those country lanes. On a straight road, the Renault would be able to zoom away - on the twisties, it would have a job keeping up with the Rallye.
In my opinion, the 106 Rallye 1.3 was very much the 'spiritual successor' to the 205 GTi. Like a little go-kart, you could point and squirt it to your heart's content. The more you took it by the scruff of the neck, the better it responded. In all the 45 months (to the day!) I owned the Rallye, it was never 'found wanting'. Some cars, when you push them, start to get a bit uneasy, edgy, nervous. They don't like being treated that way. On the other hand, the Rallye revelled in it. Whatever you wanted to do, however you wanted to attack a bend or a twisty piece of road, it was ready and willing.
Don't Try This At Home!
There is a favourite motorway roundabout of mine where, with only a 'national speed limit' restriction you can power round, just about reach 70mph on the straight before braking hard and throwing it left into a wide exit lane. Depending on your entry speed and position (and how playful you're feeling!) it's possible to go through with a bit of understeer, if you just want to get home, oversteer if you're in 'loony' mode and boot the throttle and yank on the wheel before the apex, or, if you're feeling smooth, a beautifully controlled 4-wheel drift. If in oversteer mode, just steer into the way you want to go and boot some more. Without a twitch it'll pick itself up and carry on up the road at a rate of knots. There's only one time while I had the car that I 'lost' it, and that was at, or less than, 30mph round a wet roundabout when I had my spare tyre (of different size) on one rear wheel. I just did a gentle pirouette, which
reminded me of 'lesser' cars that are not so forgiving as the marvellous 106 Rallye.
There was only one thing wrong with it. It was begging me for more power. The standard Rallye is gutless below about 5,000 rpm. It goes, but there's no serious push, It perhaps feels like a 'normal' sort of family 1.6 litre, or a mildly tuned 2 litre. Once above 5,000rpm, though, it starts to fly. There is a very strong 'on-cam' feeling, and it storms towards the 7,400rpm rev limiter. 100bhp may not sound that much, but in the lightweight 106 Rallye every horse makes itself felt.
So - what to do. Obviously the first add-on would have to be the ubiquitous K & N filter, in the form of a 57i induction kit. Simply unbolt the standard air box and attach the K & N to the remaining large plastic tube leading to the air inlet. Some metallised expanding ducting is supplied which is intended to go from the nearside foglight hole - normally blanked off, but this can be removed by undoing two large staples holding it to the body - to near the air filter. It's held in place by a couple of large cable ties. I suggest you don't 'try this at home' unless you can get underneath the car properly. It's murder! My friendly local ATS fitted mine for me.
The results - extra power? Not really. However, this was but the first stage of a planned assault on the car. Obviously, looking at it the standard air box is rather restrictive, so I wanted to make sure that when I made future modifications enough air would be able to get to the engine. The sound, however, was a different matter. Now it was beginning to sound a bit more like the 'Rallye' car I wanted it to be.
Better The Devil You Know….
Next up was a Devil exhaust, which came about partly by accident. I went into Automotif (in Manchester - main Devil importers
) one day and incredibly enough they had a second hand straight through Group 'N' full exhaust system for a 106 Rallye they would be willing to let me have for about half price. AND give me a year's warranty.......The deal was done. I booked it in the next Saturday morning, drove over from West Yorkshire, and went for a walk while they sorted it out. Of course, they had to take the catalytic converter off, and that takes a long while to cool down. So, about three hours later, after doing a bit of shopping, back I went. Being Manchester, Automotif's workshop is in a railway arch. There was my baby sitting just where I left her, with one subtle difference. A 3" shiny pipe sticking out from under the bumper where previously there had been none. No body modifications were needed, it's just that the standard exhaust pipe curls down behind the bumper.
I Have A Headache….
They fired her up. Gordon Bennett! Now that was a *serious* noise! It reverberated around the enclosed workshop and I started wondering about what the neighbours would think..... Tee Hee!
But It's Worth It
It was a lovely drive home across the tops - previously the 'on-cam' feeling came at about 5,000 rpm - it now started at 4,000 rpm. There was noticeably more go. £150 very well spent. When pushed, the car now sounded for all the world like a Formula Ford race car. Very nice! Not the way to go if you are a bit sensitive in the hearing department, but if you're an enthusiast, very pleasant indeed. I can't claim it was as thrilling as a Ferrari, but certainly going through a tunnel it was now the sort of car where you would change down a gear and gun it!
If you think the standard exhaust's loud, I would NOT get one of these. To be honest, I loved it, 'cos it gave that 'Rally Stage' effect – bit of popping, loads of rorty sounds. It also helped the power - at the
top end - you could feel it pulling better - but mainly it improved mid-range torque. I would say it was Money Well Spent. The downside is it is Very Loud, and there is a deal of boomy-ness around 3,000rpm. Bear in mind also that it replaces the cat, and hence will NOT pass an MOT test.
Time For A Brake
That modification lasted me for about three months before the next stage, when I decided to uprate the brakes. These are rather soggy as standard, so from previous experience with my AX GT I knew that replacing the brake hoses with braided items would really tighten up the feel. So I had the hoses replaced with Peugeot Sport items, Peugeot Sport racing fluid put in, Peugeot Sport harder pads put on - and, for good measure, a Peugeot Sport strut brace fitted, to ensure the front of the body would flex as little as possible under hard cornering.There's one thing to note when fitting this strut brace – and maybe other types – there are three fixing holes on the brace at each end, and four holes around the suspension turrets on the car, of which three are used. Unfortunately, only two of these are in common with the strut brace fixings. In order to use all three, the suspension must be turned round. This I did. Only later did I find out that there are, indeed, two ways of mounting the suspension. One for cars WITH power steering, one without. The toe-in is slightly changed between the positions. So when I had the brace fitted, I had unwittingly changed the toe-in AND made the steering slightly heavier. That was the only difference I could feel, but I thought it best to revert to standard at the earliest opportunity.
Water, Water Everywhere
The brake mods worked a treat - much better, more progressive feel, although after a while the performance seemed to fade a bit. I think the racing fluid wasn't really suitable for the road - VERY hygroscopic, so it would absorb water soon as look at it! I should really have use
d silicone fluid, but my local garage didn't think it would be suitable. It worked alright in my AX, though. Anyway, I changed this for Castrol Dot 5 fluid later on - feel was still good, but it was longer lasting.
Wheel-y Great Win!
Next up - I had a stroke of luck. I won a Max Power (sorry!) competition - four alloys of my choice, up to £400, and the tyres to put on them. Michelin Pilot SX GTs. Yum! I agonised whether or not I should go for 15", rather than the standard 14". Seeing as I had a 320mm MOMO Corse steering wheel on, I was very conscious of steering effort. If I had gone for 15" I would have to run 195/45 tyres to obtain the correct rolling radius. Seeing as the standard tyres are 175/60, and the steering was already quite meaty, I thought going to 15" would be a bit *too* much. There would also be a question mark over the ride. As I had now decided to lower the suspension, to tighten the car up, then I felt that overall I should stick with 14". So a set of black Compomotive MOs were placed on order. Black to match the car, and make it as inconspicuous as possible. As an aside, I later on had to replace two tyres - I tried Yokohama A510s. In my opinion, the Pilots are much better - they are much more progressive, with a better feel.
Before this happened, my 'Rallye' decals had started to fade, so rather than let them deteriorate further, or replace them (and probably have to do so again in the future), I decided to have them taken off. At this point I discovered that the final coat of paint on the doors had been applied *after* the decals had been applied. There was a ridge in the paintwork! Some contact with Peugeot Customer Services later, the doors were resprayed free of charge and all was well. I took this opportunity to also replace the red bumper inserts with black ones, and replace the standard long roof aerial with a 306-style stubby one.
is Killing Me
So - off to my friendly local Peugeot garage to get the suspension sorted before going down the road to ATS to have my wheels fitted. The reason for adjusting the suspension was partly to make the wheels look better - at least that was what swung my decision in the end, having won the wheels – but mainly to improve the handling. As standard, the Rallye tended to lift under acceleration and dive under braking - in common with most other cars. I had the torsion bar changed one notch, which lowered the rear by 35mm, and replaced the front springs with Spax (fixed rate) items, while retaining the standard Peugeot shock absorbers. This lowered the front by 30mm.
Duck And Dive
If I had gone for variable rate I felt that the car would still rise and dive, the initial rate being perhaps close to standard. With the fixed rate springs I figured that I should be able to get rid of most of this. Perhaps a slightly harsher ride, not as much comfort when driving 'normally', but giving me just what I wanted when driving the Rallye as it should be driven. The shock absorbers I retained as Peugeot design/make their own shockers, with multi-valving. I reckoned that these would still be able to perform well with the slightly shorter springs. Only the first stage of damping would be removed, and this was the 'soft' stage I wanted to get rid of!
Absolutely Fabulous, Dahling
The net result - absolutely marvellous. It was obvious the ride was firmer, but the trade-off was tremendous stability under acceleration and braking - and turn-in. Where before there would always be some movement - up, down, body roll - now it travelled virtually flat whatever you did with it. We were really getting somewhere!
Next modification, now eighteen months after I first bought the car, was a Superchip. I had the air filter, I had the exhaust - time for the Chip. So it was booked in to Well L
ane Turbo Centre for a transplant. Rolling road figures post-operation showed I was now getting 115bhp @7,000rpm, with 96lb ft of torque from 5,800rpm - 7,000rpm; 80% of which was available from 2,100rpm.
This car was starting to get seriously quick. The chip smoothed out any hesitancy, improved the mid-range noticeably and added some more oomph at the top end. Now the 'on-cam' feel dropped further to ~3,500rpm. Whereas the standard car was great fun, but a little slow, I was now beginning to have great fun wherever I went - not only round corners, which it was even better at than originally, but in a straight line also.
Just because I felt like it, and I was trying to really optimise the performance, I tried a Ramair air filter. Going in between this and the K & N 57i I had previously, I could tell that the Ramair had more poke right up at the top end and was smoother, whereas the K & N concentrated more on fattening up the mid-range - but it seemed a little restrictive. The sound also changed accordingly - the Ramair 'screamed' more up top, the K & N had a more 'rorty' sound. I must say, however, that if you didn't test them back-to-back, then it's unlikely you would be able to feel any real difference. I also installed some Splitfire Triple Platinum spark plugs. I had previously fitted a set of the standard Splitfires on the Renault 19 16V and (amazingly enough) - I could actually feel a slight improvement in response. They didn't seem to do a lot for my Rallye, though.
Time for a Discussion
After a while, my discs warped, so I took the opportunity to fit a set of G-Force Sport 2000 drilled and grooved discs, along with Sport pads. These did give marginally better stopping power than standard, although I think the 'Sport' pads were too soft - they tended to fade under hard braking. I would certainly recommend harder pads if you want to use
the performance to the full. Unfortunately, these discs also lasted only just over a year (ie out of warranty......).
Back To The Future?
After I had been the proud owner of my flying machine for about two and a half years, it was time to think of the future. Did I want to get a new car after three years, bearing in mind mileage would by then be 54,000? I loved the performance and handling of my little beauty, and in my heart I wanted to keep it for ever......but I was beginning to get *too* used to the performance, and it would make sense to change the car. I wanted more….
Blowing Hot and Cold
However, at the end of the day, I didn't have the heart. Mainly because I couldn't think of a car to replace it! I considered various options, including supercharging, and finally I plumped for an L.A.D. cylinder head conversion. I would have liked to go the supercharging route, but the guy I was in contact with had 'problems with the casting', and furthermore he didn't seem to know much about the engine management side of things. In my mind, even though a supercharger would, effectively, be a 'bolt-on' goodie, still it would require a different form of map to standard. This guy said he had been in touch with Superchips who 'didn't know what they were talking about', and then another firm in Lancashire who said they could offer a chip from an Escort Cosworth which could be used, as it had the extra mapping required for boost. Considering I was going down (from Yorkshire) to the guy (in Somerset), and leaving the car with him for a week, then I couldn't imagine this firm from Lancashire meeting up with my car and setting it up on the rolling road. After all, a chip for an Escort Cosworth was NOT going to suit my little 1294cc baby, however fast she would be! So no supercharger. A great pity, as the potential was for 150bhp/150lbft. Ah, well!
I also ha
d contact with a well known firm of Peugeot tuners in Derbyshire who were going to port the head and fit a cam. I discussed what was required, got a firm quote, and I asked them lots of questions, such as 'why a particular cam', 'what are you doing that for', and 'if you've quoted for all the bits separately, why £40 for extras'. For some reason they took offence at this, and decided they didn't want the job. I only wanted to know what was going on, and gain some more knowledge about engines from them!
Ernie & The L.A.D.s
So I ended up with L.A.D.. I spoke with them on the 'phone and they seemed really knowledgeable and helpful. I had the option of going for a 1450cc conversion or simply a head job. The head job would give a claimed 20bhp and cost £750 (although I, in my 'realistic' mode thought this should be closer to 12-15bhp, considering I was already showing 115bhp). The 1450cc conversion, on the other hand, would give a claimed 28bhp (possibly 20-25bhp true), with a great increase in torque, down to the extra capacity. BUT - this cost £2,449! I calculated this should do 0-60 in 7 secs or thereabouts, with a power-weight ratio of ~155bhp/ton. However, that was a LOT of money, and my insurance would rise accordingly. The cheaper conversion would mean no increase in premium (through Boncaster).
Just before this, the Devil exhaust gave up the ghost and I replaced it with an OMP item, again a straight through Group N exhaust, with no catalytic converter. It had very similar performance to the Devil, but the characteristics were changed. Now, where the Devil brought good mid-range torque and improved the top end, the OMP had less in the mid-range but more at the top. It made the engine 'peakier'. Not unduly so, but I felt the Devil was better suited to this car. After all, it was a French exhaust designed for a French car. Another downside was the OMP was even louder
than the Devil – it 'shrieked' more, rather than sounding 'woofly'. And it had a terrible boom around 3-4,000 rpm – worse than the Devil.
I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside….
April 1998 and off I trotted to Morecambe, leaving my baby to return a week later. Ernie (Larton) followed me back to the hire car place round the corner, and then drove me back. It seemed a little sharper - not a great increase, as I was perhaps expecting. Now - before I left my car, I replaced the Superchip with my standard chip. Ernie had said that the conversion would consist of gas flowing the cylinder head and optimising the fuelling by re-programming the chip. When the time came to pay the man, he said that he hadn't done this, as there was no need. I pointed out that I normally ran a Superchip, and I would put this back in, and he said this would make no difference. He also said that 'replacing the ECU would cost a few hundred quid' - obviously totally on the wrong lines, as the only real cost was for an EPROM - a couple of quid – and the expertise to program it. I wasn't too impressed by this, as I thought the final price of just short of £1,000, including car hire, etc., was a bit much just for a head job to be done. If I'd known that was all he would do, then things might have been different. Essentially, he improved the performance, but it was not a cost-effective improvement. I felt it could have been better. Certainly from all the magazine reviews about his cars.......He said that it had been on the rolling road and achieved 92bhp at the wheels. I was looking for more like 100bhp.....
…..But There's No Place Like (Driving) Home
I had a better drive back from Morecambe - it certainly was different - there was obviously more power up at the top end, but unfortunately this was at the expense of mid-range torque. The 'on-cam' feel had now risen back to ~5,000 rpm. I w
as pleased, but not 'happy'. I felt that more could have been done. Suffice to say that when I got home and re-fitted my Superchip (optimised for a standard engine, remember) there was a definite increase in performance. I was disappointed that Mr Larton had not reprogrammed the engine management to suit the new conversion. However - the deed was done, and it was certainly quicker. I now timed a 0-60 at ~8.3 seconds, with a 30-70 at a solid 8.5secs. Better than standard, and it certainly felt much quicker than the 'cheeky puppy' I started out with. Full of verve, lively, etc., but without too much bark. Having the first engine mods done made it grow up into a 'baby brother', say - liked to chuck its weight about, could sometimes do a bit of damage, but had to be really wound up(!). Now it was like a petulant teenager - always on the lookout for trouble and with enough clout to back it up. It was now a Quick Car. In conjunction with the OMP exhaust, the car now gave an unbelievable rasp, and cackled and pops like a cackly poppy thing on lift-off!
I can't pretend it was a real giant slayer, but it was livelier throughout the rev range and really flew towards the rev limiter from 5,000+. The most obvious comparison was from 90mph in 5th. Previously, you could accelerate from here and it would reach 100, and 110 if possible, reasonably easily. Now you could feel *proper* acceleration. In any gear, from 5,000 rpm it really flew. Timings showed that it rivalled the 106 GTi in a recent test ('Car' magazine, I believe). Essentially, the car now had enough power for the chassis so it can really 'dig in' to corners. Having said that, with the suspension changes the ride still stayed flat. Superb!
(Don't Tell Anyone)
An aside to mention the standard Magneti Marelli ignition system. It coped with all changes – air filter(s), exhaust, gas flowed head, Super unleaded, octane booster
– with no problem. It just accepted whatever was thrown at it and kept on working. No pinking, no struggling – just power, power, power all the way. What a system!
Oh My – Poor Quality
3 months later, my OMP exhaust failed around a weld, so Demon Tweeks replaced it for me under warranty. Unfortunately, the first I knew of the failure was when it was on a ramp at the MOT station, having had the cat re-fitted for the occasion. It failed, but passed OK with the replacement. 3 months later, the replacement failed in the same place. This time I got them to replace the exhaust with a full Magnex system – which they did with no problem. I cannot fault Demon Tweeks' service. As I had to re-fit the standard system before I could fit the Magnex, I could do a back-to-back comparison of the OMP system (with cat – for MOT), the standard system (without cat) and the Magnex system (again, without cat). The standard system noticeably dulled the performance, and it was much harder to accurately blip the throttle. The Magnex was a bit quieter than normal – it does get a bit throaty, and the note is perhaps a bit 'sweeter' than the standard. A bit more subdued. The car is *slightly* more responsive. In conclusion - for £200+ you get a nice shiny exhaust to pose with that appears to do little else. If I'd just bought this exhaust (rather than having it as a replacement for a dodgy one), then I'd be very disappointed. After a while you hardly notice it's there.
Well, that's about it. I finally sold my car at 64,000 miles, 45 months to the day after buying it (sob!), as I imported a Peugeot 306 Rallye – but that's another story. Comparisons
Ford Puma 1.7
I drove this for a short period in direct comparison to my (modified) 106. The Puma has a much shorter gear change – I believe Skip Brown can supply a quickshift for the 106 – and h
as very similar performance to the 106. Lower down, the extra torque of the Puma's 1.7 litre engine can be felt, but once the Rallye hit 5,000 rpm then it would leave the Puma behind. Puma – very good handling, perhaps better than the Rallye as standard, but the lowered Rallye has it over the Ford. The Rallye also, although the suspension is lowered and stiffened, has better ride quality than the Puma. I liked the Puma, but although it was certainly entertaining it wasn't as 'good' in my eyes as the 106 Rallye.
Citroen Saxo VTR
I drove against this car, driven by a friend, to compare the performance directly. I was very surprised to see that the VTR went away from the Rallye from rest – it only has 90bhp – but, again, it has the extra torque low down that the Rallye, even when modified, does not have. You'll never give a 1294cc engine the same amount of torque as a 1598cc engine, and that's what gets you moving. Once under way, the Rallye would start to reel the Saxo in, but the Saxo would be ahead until the 106 hit 5,000 rpm. Then the tables would be decisively turned. Handling of the 106 is also much better than the Saxo, especially around long sweeping motorway bends. The Rallye can really power round these with no feeling of nervousness, where you may be tempted to ease back in another car.
Ford Cougar 2.5 V6
Again, I drove against a friend in the Cougar and on the same sweeping curve the Rallye pulled away from the Cougar.
I cam across a friend who was driving this car, and on an open road, with sweeping bends, I was surprised at just how little the BMW managed to pull away. At slow speeds, torque (or lack of it) was making itself felt, but once the Rallye was wound up the Beemer pulled away from it very slowly. The Rallye had better braking, so could catch up under braking.
Fiat Punto 55S
The Rallye whups the pants off it J (I only
included this as it's what the wife drives)
The Peugeot 106 Rallye rated as the best car I have owned – including 205 Gti, 309 Gti, BMW 320, Citroen AX GT, Renault 19 16V. It was just a shame I eventually needed a bigger car for the family. The jury's still out on the 306 Rallye – although it is undoubtedly a good car. Even better now I've lowered the suspension……..it's just a pity the seats/driving position are awful!
Standard car Good points
Almost everything! Performance Handling, adjustability Turn-in Seating position (if you're 5'2")
Fuel gauge – It's not so bad if you're driving along sedately (?!) - but if you give it a bit of welly, then it flashes on and off like crazy. Usually when I got fed up of this and filled up I could only get about 38 litres in max (capacity 45 litres).
Modified Car Essentials
Small leather steering wheel – I found 320mm perfect Mobil 1 oil – to look after your engine Straight through exhaust – or at least a cat replacement pipe (don't forget it won't pass the MOT, though) K & N 57i filter or similar (if only for the noise!) Braided brake hoses Harder brake pads Suspension modification – lower 30/35mm Superchip Super unleaded petrol (with optional octane booster)
Drilled disks Dot 5 brake fluid Mobilube gearbox oil Gas-flowed head
Exhaust manifold – very few people make these, perhaps for the reason that I've heard from various sources that standard Peugeot manifolds (especially on models such as the Rallye) are very good, and you can actually end up LOSING power with a replacement