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Hugh's 406 Coupe Projects

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So.....

I have three of these things.  One in Canada that I rescued from being crushed in Moline, Illinois, and two sitting in storage in Liverpool, England.

The 406 Coupe was styled, as well as assembled by Pininfarina.  It was the last car that Pininfarina created for Peugeot, and I consider it their masterpiece. 

The one in Canada (at Cayley with most of my other Peugeots) is a 2000 2.0L 5-speed model, powered by the EW10J4 engine (137 bhp).  It is an "S" trim level, with no sunroof, cloth seats, and 15" wheels.  Basically, it's a "base" model, which still means it's very well equipped.  It's painted in Ariane Blue (Bleu Riviera).  The front and rear bumpers are cracked in several places, and it has some body damage on the right side.  The interior is in excellent shape.  So far, all I've done to it is replace the steering wheel with the Nardi that I originally bought for the 505 STX.  It bolted right on and looks terrific.  Here are a few pictures.

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It's a beautiful car (if a little rough) and it drives really well.  But it weighs basically the same as a 505 and frankly it's underpowered with the EW10 engine.  I became involved with an excellent UK 406 Coupe club, and in the process of seeking ways to source parts, support and upgrades for my 2.0, I became aware that these cars are very seriously undervalued in the UK at the moment.  I was able to purchase two nice RHD models, almost identical in specification, very cheaply.  Both are 5-speed cars powered by the 3.0L ES9J4 V6 (194 bhp).  Both have sunroofs, and both are the same colour as the 2.0 I already had.  I was looking for some commonality, because it is likely that two of these cars will become one at some point.  Let me explain.

It appears that it is relatively easy to change one of these cars from RHD to LHD.  So, once I get the two RHD V6 cars home, I intend to have a good look and see if that's true.  If so, the 2.0 will donate its LHD-specific parts to convert the better of the two UK cars.  If it is not realistic, I will use the drivetrain from the rougher of the two UK cars to convert the 2.0 to a 3.0.  Whichever way I go about it, the goal is to wind up with one LHD V6 Coupe, and I want to use this as the basis for a high-performance street car.  I'll detail my plans for this build in a future comment on this thread.

What will become of the others two cars?  Rest assured that I have no plans to part out or scrap either one.  I may sell one at some point to finance the performance build.  At this point I have not made any decisions about that.

Before I forget, here are some pictures of the UK cars in storage:

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Now, I just have to get them home.... More to come in the near future.

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Wow - that’s the first I’ve seen of the UK cars! Any interior pics of the leather seats?

Genius having them the same colour - hopefully getting them over can happen soon.

Any chance Borek has any relationships with logistic shipping companies you can leverage?

Rabin

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Rabin, I had some specific criteria for the cars I bought, and I am happy to say that I think I got almost everything I was after.  I wanted the same colour, the ES9/ML-5 drivetrain, sunroofs, and no rust.  As far as I can tell, neither car has any corrosion.  Neither car is super low mileage (around 150K miles on each) but these engines are apparently very durable and I plan to renew seals, cam belts etc. as necessary to ensure they stay that way.  I will also replace all the suspension bushings etc. on the car I keep, so when I'm done with it I think it will be much like a new car.  These parts are almost all still available from various shops in Europe and the UK.

One UK car is an "S" trim level with the exact same seats I have in my 2.0.  That was one of the reasons I sought out that particular one.  This way I will have an identical set of spare door cards and seats. Here's an interior shot:

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The other car is an "SE" trim level, which means leather seats with electric adjustment and headlight washers plus a few other little upgrades.  The seats in this one are not my favourite colour and show some wear, but the car has something else very special that made it the right choice - it has the AMVAR electronic suspension system.  This was an option in the 406C, and it's somewhat rare.  Basically it employs various sensors to determine how the car is being driven, and it can switch the dampers between two different rates.  So while the standard dampers strike a nice balance between ride and handling, these electronic units are softer than the standard units in "normal" mode but can instantly switch to being much firmer than the standard units in "sport" mode.  The driver can also manually select the mode.  This is important because I eventually want two 406Cs - one light, simple, high-performance summer DD, and one pristine example that incorporates the best OEM components and the highest trim level, but is essentially stock.  Basically one to use and one to show.  At this point I am not sure if this SE will form the basis for the latter or not.  It does have at least one little ding in the LR fender that needs attention, and I will have to examine the car in more detail before I make that decision.  Anyway, here's a picture of the interior.

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I had some specific equipment in mind for the "show" car - specifically the "Tacoma" 16" factory wheels and the Cobalt-blue leather interior (as well as the AMVAR system and the SE headlight washers).  Those seats and wheels are actually quite rare, but I lucked out and managed to find a set of both from a guy in Belgium who was parting out his Coupe.  Here are some pictures of those components before they were removed from his car.

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Eventually I was able to get these items delivered to Liverpool and now they sit in the same space as my UK cars.  It makes me happy to know that I'll have all this stuff coming over at the same time.

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Unfortunately, it is going to be pretty expensive to get all this stuff shipped.  Last time I checked, somewhere around $5K CAD.  I don't think Kenn Borek Air (my employer) has any relationships with shipping companies that I can take advantage of.  So I am scraping the money together at the moment and hopefully I can get all this across the pond this year and start working on this project in earnest.  I do need to source a few more items (cam belt kits, seals, bushings, and a few aftermarket parts) but those are mostly small items and don't need to come across in the sea can with the cars.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I also got a spare ML-5 manual transmission and a spare set of the Brembo front calipers that were standard equipment on the V6 cars.  So I think I've got a good start going!

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The coupe's are beautiful cars, also because of the cast iron front suspension pretty durable, the rear sway bar links are a bit on the weak side and are prone to rust maybe because of the pininfarina connection, i'm sure you've checked them for chassis rust, they are known to rust from the inside out and have beautiful paint but be only hold by the floor pan. As far as the AMVAR electronic suspension system. If it works right it is a fantastic, i have the more advanced system in my 605 that can vary the dimpers many times in a second, but replacement parts are extremely expensive and second had parts are no good because every parts car has 500 000 km and more.

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19 minutes ago, Goce said:

The coupe's are beautiful cars, also because of the cast iron front suspension pretty durable, the rear sway bar links are a bit on the weak side and are prone to rust maybe because of the pininfarina connection, i'm sure you've checked them for chassis rust, they are known to rust from the inside out and have beautiful paint but be only hold by the floor pan. As far as the AMVAR electronic suspension system. If it works right it is a fantastic, i have the more advanced system in my 605 that can vary the dimpers many times in a second, but replacement parts are extremely expensive and second had parts are no good because every parts car has 500 000 km and more.

Being UK cars I was concerned with rust.  The sills (rocker panels) in particular can develop significant corrosion inside and not be visible for a long time.  Luckily they're not structurally critical, and they can be cut out and replaced if necessary.  I've had these two cars looked at and I believe they are corrosion-free.  They're definitely very clean underneath.  Hopefully when they get here I will find that to be the case, but it's always a crap shoot buying a car overseas without getting a chance to look at it yourself.

Worst case, I've bought two expensive parts cars and I can use them to convert and upgrade my 2.0.  But I don't think that will be the case.

I love the 605, and I really want to find a good Phase I SV24 for my collection at some point.  I realize that this is going to be very expensive and probably a long process, but it is one of the cars that stayed on my list after all the cuts I had to make.  I envy you having one of your own, especially with the electronic suspension!

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No want you want and need is a 605 series 2 1995 -1999 closer to the end of the production better with ES9 3.0 that is a 60 degree v6 like in the 406 they are rare but worth it, the suspension make is exceptional to drive. On the other hand on my car the electric suspension failed about a year ago and now i'm on conventional shock absorbers, still drives better than most of modern cars, on the roads i'm traveling normal car like a vw passat or chevy cruze falls apart in 4-5 years the 605 is on its 23 year and 6 years in my hands still solid as a rock, jumping speed bumps, knee deep potholes often overloaded it does not care, probably most solid car peugeot made. Forget about the SV24 everyone has engine trouble, the 60 degree ES9 is a more reliable engine and less weight.

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Goce, I have heard the same thing from others, and I don't doubt you are correct.  But I know exactly what I want for my collection, and any Phase I 605 SV24 that is still around today will have had most of its issues ironed out.  I am not looking for a daily driver, or I would definitely do as you suggest.  I have been driving behind PRV V6 engines ever since I got my licence, and even with all its issues I think of the ZPJ4 as the ultimate development of that engine (Well, almost.  The 24V DOHC PRV version used in the Oxia concept car is the ultimate, but I will never be able to afford that!).

Basically I fell in love with the 605 SV24 the first time I saw it in a brochure.  I love the turbine wheels.  I love the individual exhaust header pipes on the ZPJ4.  I love the look of its intake runners.  I love the non-airbag steering wheel.  I love the look of the Phase I bumpers, before the Phase II versions that look bland and generic to me.  Everything about the Phase I SV24 appeals to me.  My interest in Peugeots is not a rational thing.  So I will spend whatever I need to, one day, to find a nice one just like I first saw two decades ago, and bring it across.  And I'll drive it from time to time, but mainly it will be one of the jewels in my collection, alongside a pristine 406 Coupe and my mint Eagle Premier.

If I ever have a bunch of money I might buy a Phase II to drive regularly, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about this and I know what my goals are.  They may not make sense to most people, but they are right for me.

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5 minutes ago, Goce said:

I just took a look at that one.  It's really nice.  I'd buy something like that to drive.  Also, I should mention that I already own two cars with ES9J4 engines, so it's not like I'll miss out on that experience.  I have heard they're great, and I can't wait to drive behind one.

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I understand you now, keep your eye on this site in germany they have solid cars and often ship them especially dealerships but most of the SV24 have been scraped or parted out, i still see them come and go, they do sell alot cheaper than the ES9 cars.

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Thanks for the tip, Goce.  I will do so.  The fact that they're relatively cheap is the best news I've heard all day.  I don't expect it to be easy to find a good one.

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Germans do appreciate good things and take good care of them the trick is to buy it from a german, I know twin otters are not for long flights but you need to find yourself a line to flight more towards central europe, cars that can be find on dealer lots is 5x cheaper and in better condition.

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Get them home and start all your projects.  Believe me, life is short even for one!

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15 minutes ago, Mike T said:

Get them home and start all your projects.  Believe me, life is short even for one!

That's good advice if I've ever heard it!  At 44 years old now, I've become aware that I probably only have a couple of such projects in me, and I'd like to finish them while I still have some energy and time to enjoy them.  Your own project is inspiring, Mike.  Your level of attention to detail is very, very high and that 404C of yours is going to be something really special once it's done, even among its peers.  It's great that you had the foresight to hold on to it.

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So I've given considerable thought to the way I'd like to build the high performance 406C.  There are three basic elements to performance - acceleration, braking, and cornering.  I plan to enhance all three, and I've put together a four-point plan to achieve this.

  1. Weight reduction.  The simplest way to enhance all three performance elements is to reduce weight.  To this end, I'll remove unnecessary equipment (without gutting the car, mind you) and centralize mass as much as possible.  As one example, I am planning to replace the electric sunroof (if the car I choose for this has one) with a simple fixed skylight or manual tip-up sunroof.  This car will have cloth seats with manual seat adjustments, and minimal power options.  If I can shave 200 lb from the empty weight of the car I'll be very happy.  This may be ambitious, but I'm aiming for that.
  2. More power.  Here's a link that describes what I'd like to do with the engine: https://www.dp-engineering.nl/projects/peugeot-406-v6-turbo  No internal modifications required, which is great.  In this case they managed 317 bhp with mild boost levels. I'll base my power goals on what the ML-5T manual transaxle can reliably handle, but 250-300 bhp would be more than adequate.   Big power is fun, but not if you're replacing your gearbox every few months.
  3. Brakes.  The 406C V6 already has four-piston Brembo calipers up front, and these have plenty of power.  What I'll do is fit slotted and/or drilled rotors and replace the rubber brake hoses with braided stainless-steel ones.  I think these minor changes will be more than enough, especially coupled with the reduced weight of the car and the wheels and tires I plan to fit.
  4. Cornering.  The 406C V6 already comes with a factory strut brace, but given the extra weight of the V6 engine it is basically an understeering car when pushed hard.  My goal is to achieve higher cornering speeds while also making the car's behaviour more neutral at its limits. I plan to reduce the front-end weight bias by relocating a few items and focusing most of my weight-reduction measures on the engine bay.  As well, I am looking at possibly fitting coilovers (306 GTI-6 units can be made to fit, apparently) so that I can tune the preload and damping rates etc. as well as play with the suspension geometry.  The whole car will be lowered by about 25 - 40mm for CG reasons as well as aesthetics.  I am also planning to fit 17" or 18" wheels, with lower-profile high-performance tires.  The two wheel choices I like best at the moment are the Sparco Tarmac (discontinued but still available from some retailers) and the OZ Racing HyperGT HLT.

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The Sparco wheel is my first choice, but the HyperGT HLT also looks great on a 406C, as shown below:

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A few interior enhancements (the Nardi steering wheel, an improved shifter, and some aircraft-style instruments and switchgear for example) and this car will be complete!

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Hugh, your mods on paper sound great, but in reality is a lot of work, some time expensive some time just takes a lot of time to get it right, for weight reduction i'll suggest look into switching front  subframe and control arms from a 407 they weigh almost nothing, don't remove insolation and make it a ratling box on wheels.

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Yeah, I know this is all going to be a lot of work, and very expensive.  But I think the results will be worth it.  You're absolutely right about the insulation.  I won't remove that.  I like hearing the engine but I'm not trying to create a race car.  Carpets will stay as well.  I'll give you some examples of the kind of thing I'm thinking of though; the electric seats are quite a bit heavier than the manual ones, so I'll use the manual ones instead to save weight.  Leather is heavier than cloth, so cloth seats.  I'll use the "S" bumper without the headlight washers and eliminate the weight of that system too.  I'm looking at lightweight battery options.  Those are the kind of things I'm looking at.

Your idea of switching the front subframe and control arms to 407 units is really interesting.  What is the difference, and will they interchange?

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I've had them both in my hands but never thought to grab a tape measure and find out, the 406 ones are almost identical to a 405, the aluminium ones from a 407 are incredibly light 1/3 of the weight the holes are in the same place but i haven't measured them, i'm sure there are other members here that have access to diagrams that can confirm this.

 

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Goce, that's some great information, if they will swap.  That would go far towards my weight reduction goal, and it's weight removed from the area I most want to lighten.  I will ask about this on the UK 406C forum and see if anyone has done such a swap.

On another subject, as most of you know I am a professional pilot and I love most things associated with aircraft.  I am contemplating some changes to the instruments and switchgear, as well as an aftermarket engine management system that I can tune easily.  Rabin has suggested a local (Calgary) company that makes a nice EMS for experimental aircraft and race cars.  It's one option, but of course there are a few others.  I plan to run coil-on-plug ignition on the ES9J4, which was only fitted to the later ES9J4S.

On the electrical end of things, I am thinking about a greatly simplified wiring system using aircraft-style buses and circuit breakers in place of fuses.  Done right, it should be simpler and lighter than the OEM wiring harness.

I'd also really like to fit a custom instrument panel using mainly aircraft instruments.  Here is the current setup, with the Nardi 350mm steering wheel:

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I've been designing a new panel that incorporates only one automotive gauge - a 4-3/8" Speedometer in the centre, flanked by RPM and Manifold Atmospheric Pressure (vaccuum/boost) gauges as well as six smaller gauges.

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The circle represents the diameter of the Nardi wheel, which of course being somewhat closer to the driver should not obstruct the view of any of the instruments.  Dashboard lights will be kept to a minimum - running lights, high beam, signal lights (just one, like a 604) and fog lights.  There will be just two warning lights: an "EMS Fault" light indicating a problem with the engine management system, and a "Master Caution" light that can be triggered by any one of the engine instruments exceeding a critical limit.  Basically, if that light comes on then the driver checks the engine instruments to determine what the problem is and takes the appropriate action.  I will build in some safeguards too.  For example, if the oil pressure drops below a critical value the EMS will be programmed to shut down the engine.

These are a few of the ideas I'm working on right now.  Since the cars aren't actually here yet, I might as well dream, right?  If I attempt to do all this at once I will wind up with a car that I can't drive for a very long time, so I'll probably just start driving it first, then tackle one of these sub-projects each winter while the car is off the road.  Or drive the other one while I build this one.  At this point I just don't know exactly how I'll proceed.

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Hugh, i know what it means to seat in a car that you've customised especially with the commands, but newer cars, like the Xo6 peugeots have real problems with this, on most of them immobiliser code is in the instrument panel, also all the other systems like airbags, AC, body control module interact with the instrument panel so unplug it or changing it  will disable the car or cause so many error codes that half your staff won't work.

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Agree with Goce - But it’s a sweet plan for a series 2 505 dash, or the 604. Way easier proposition with an analogue car.

My only caveat is that on a “proper” performance car the tach should be front and centre, and the speedo off to the side.

Rabin

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The "Danielson" 505 and the 604 will probably get similar treatments.

Basically I want to use one of the D8 Coupes for this because they don't have multiplexed wiring harnesses, and so will be easier to rewire.  Since the EMS will be new and standalone, and I am planning a new wiring system for the whole car anyway, I don't think it much matters if I replace a bunch of legacy equipment.  In fact, the less stuff I re-use the more spare parts I will have for the other car.  This includes the instrument cluster, many of the switches, etc. etc.... If I build the harness myself it will be less of a mystery to me when I encounter electrical issues because I'll understand how it's put together.  As for diagnostics - the standalone EMS will allow troubleshooting and tuning by laptop.  The ABS will require some thought, and its own independent harness.

I am not completely sold on the instrument panel layout I showed above.  Usually the tach gets a more prominent position in a performance car, as Bean pointed out. This panel is aircraft inspired, and so the "performance instruments" (speedometer in this case) take center stage while the "control instuments" (RPM and MAP) are on either side.  An aircraft is controlled thus: Attitude (pitch/roll/yaw achieved with the flight controls) plus Power (engine output) equals Performance (airspeed, rate of climb, etc.).  Expressing this idea in a car means that steering input (equivalent to Attitude) plus Power (RPM and Manifold Pressure) equals Performance (speed). The Speedometer is the primary performance instrument in this case, reflecting what is done with the throttle and quantified in the RPM and MAP.  I'm not sure if I'm expressing this idea clearly, but it's the reason for setting the panel up as I did.

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