Vel Satis Cambelt Replacement in the North West

Those of you who own a 3.0 dV6 Vel Satis with the 3-litre Isuzu-sourced diesel engine, should be planning to get the cambelt (timing chain) replaced as your Velsatis approaches 10 years in age or 120,000 miles. Those of you who can afford to do so may be in a position to pay for this major job sooner and if you’re someone who has done this, we commend you.

It’s true that many Renault main dealers or franchise network dealers/garages will quote Vel Satis 3.0 dV6 owners figures of between £800 and £1,750 for cambelt replacement. The kit itself, with the tensioners and other components, isn’t cheap on its own, at about £200 for a ‘pattern part’ kit and £300-500 for an official Renault kit.

Renault Vel Satis 3-0 dV6 diesel engine cambelt timing chain replacement SaabTec Glossop specialists

So Renault Vel Satis owners in the North West of the UK and in nearby North Wales may be particularly interested to know that the VSOC founder-manager Oliver and his father David have both had the cambelt in their 3.0 dV6 Initiale Vel Sati replaced, several months before they technically needed to do so if going by their Renault service booklet intervals.

‘Good for them!’, you might be thinking. But the gem is, it only cost them in the region of £600 (each) to get the cambelt in their 3-litre Renault Vel Satis cars replaced. And no, it wasn’t at some back-street garage with no experience of this type of engine whatsoever. It was actually at a Saab specialist, the relevance being that Saab used a 3.0 diesel engine in some of their 9-5 models, which is very similar indeed to the 3.0 engine in the Renault Vel Satis. Vauxhall also used a very similar ‘lump’. We provided the SaabTec team with a print-out from Renault’s own technical manual, giving them the instructions on how to do it, involving the removal of the driveshaft, etc.

The garage? SaabTec, independent Saab specialists in Glossop, Derbyshire. Glossop is fairly convenient as it is very close to Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire and would only take 60-90 minutes for Vel Satis owners in North, West and South Yorkshire and Liverpool to reach. David and Oliver would like to extend a big ‘Thank you!’ to Richard and his mechanics at SaabTec and we hope some more Renault Vel Satis owners will make use of their new-found Vel Satis cambelt replacement expertise! It may even be worth the trip ‘up north’ for many of you Vel Satis owners in the South…


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Trust PistonHeads’ Community to Largely Lay Into the Vel Satis! It’s their SOTW

In case you’re not already familiar with it, is one of the largest car forums and websites out there. And one feature which has really gained momentum since they introduced it is “Shed Of The Week” (SOTW for short) in which they sum up a bargain motor someone’s spotted for sale.

PistonHeads SOTW shed Renault Vel Satis 1

This week, much to my delight, our beloved Renault Vel Satis fills this feature. And my goodness has it attracted some attention, to say the least. The author, Tony Middlehurst, is very fair in his summation of the Vel Satis, singing its praises on the one hand, and pointing out its many flaws, and high running costs, on the other. Here are some highlights:

  • “Unabashedly ugly but utterly wonderful, this week’s Shed is a barge de choix”
  • “It rode like a Roman chariot, its new-age suspension having cleverly substituted jarring choppiness for the old-gen Renaults’ silky compliance.”
  • “As a kind of Citroën DS de nos jours, the Vel Satis was richly endowed with Gallic ‘up yours’ ugliness. It’s a timeless sort of ugliness though, one that looks no worse now than it did then.”
  • “For trivia fans, that’s the wood Fender has used for its Stratocasters since the 1950s.”
  • “The auto ’box never gives up in its ceaseless search for optimum torque, an admirable trait in one way but a pain in the backside in another.”
  • “As with last week’s Peugeot 406 Coupé, running costs can catch you out.”

PistonHeads articles attract a lot of forum discussion and the Vel Satis SOTW feature has already reached 8 pages within 24 hours of its publication! And, well, if you’re a Vel Satis lover like most of us here are, you might want to ensure you’re seated comfortably before reading the thread. Actually, you might want to pour yourself a stiff drink, too. No, the majority of the comments are far from favourable. But it’s good to see our very own 3.5-owning Dave Ardley sticking up for the Vel Satis, along with an earlier post from me, which happened to reap no responses whatsoever!

PistonHeads SOTW shed Renault Vel Satis 2

As far as the Vel Satis, we all just need to remember that ‘no publicity is bad publicity’, to coin a phrase. Anyway, “enjoy” – if that’s the right word…

Oliver Hammond

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500 up! Our Register of UK Vel Sati hits a milestone


Yes, that’s right – if the figures provided by are anything to go by, our vehicle Register here at the UK Renault Vel Satis Owners Club now includes comfortably over 50% of the remaining population of Vel Sati in the UK! With 837 Vel Satis cars still registered in the UK and 77 currently SORNed, we are very proud to have fastidiously collated and maintained a list which has now reached 500 Vel Sati out of the total 914.

Back in March, we published version 3 of our Register, with 368 vehicles listed – which means we have added a staggering (in Vel Satis terms, of course!) 132 extra cars in the last 8 months or so. The Register is all down to ‘our Luke’ who updates and maintains it. The rest of the club representatives and members alike are appreciate of Luke’s hard work. If you like in the UK and your Vel Satis is missing, or even if you used to live in the UK and the Vel Satis you once drove isn’t listed, we’d love to hear from you. Contact with your vehicle’s details.

To view and download the latest 500-strong version of the Register, you need to be registered. Then you just need to visit this page – simples!

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Vel Satis Owners Club UK Meet November 2012 – Sywell Aerodrome

Date: Saturday November 24th 2012
Location: Sywell Aerodrome & The Aviator Hotel, Northamptonshire
Weather: Very wet and foggy!

A warm and sincere ‘thank you!’ goes out to all those who braved the elements and travelled from far and wide to attend the Vel Satis Owners Club meeting today at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire. We really appreciate your efforts and it was wonderful to spend time with you all, meet your cars and go for a drive. Loads of photos (mostly from Kasia, Robert and Izzy!) and our official write-up can be found by clicking here

Renault Vel Satis Owners Club UK Meet November 2012 - Sywell Aerodrome Aviator Hotel Northamptonshire - photo group at museum

Renault Vel Satis Owners Club UK Meet November 2012 - Sywell Aerodrome Aviator Hotel Northamptonshire - photo group at Pitsford

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Will the Citroen DS5 become the new Vel Satis in time?

Our founder Oliver has driven the DSport Airdream version of Citroen’s DS5 diesel-electric hybrid, with its electronic-automatic gearbox, 4WD and very plush interior.

SMMT Test Day North Wetherby 2012 Oliver Hammond SimonsCarSpots road test review drive blogger writer photo - Citroen DS5 front

Some are heralding it as the modern-day Vel Satis and it’s on sale for similar money to what the Vel Satis was RRP’ed at, offering high spec’ levels to rival the Germans, but with a French luxo-barge badge – so you may be interested in the DS5. Read the mini-review here:

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Spare parts for cars in online shops

If you type these key words “auto parts on-line buying” in a known searching engine, you get a number of suppliers, who sell auto parts online. The range of products of some suppliers encloses more than 500.000 different auto parts of all kind, like windshield wiper, fuel filter and bodywork parts to complete engines, gear etc.

The navigation on the respective web pages is very simple. First enter the vehicle manufacturer, afterwards the model and then the type. You will see the list of parts available. Online shopping is a good alternative for owners that fiddle around with the engine for hours. They can order spare parts for Fiat Brava or Opel Meriva online and install them. If you have necessary knowledge, skills and tools, you can replace damaged car parts without any assistance and save money on repair.

It is worthy to compare several suppliers as regards assortment, delivery terms, prices, forwarding expenses and payment process. It is very important to read the small print. Many suppliers grant a two-week-long right of return, many give a guarantee from up to two years. Registered customers often receive discount on certain offers. One more thing is if there are contacts (telephone, e-mail) to get answers for all questions you face.

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Whenever possible install original parts

Unfortunately, many drivers have no idea how to repair their car. However, there are drivers, who are able to do this as this is their hobby. Often such drivers have a small workshop where they have a variety of spare parts. Those, who manage to mix business with pleasure (hobby and profession), have the possibility even to make money.

Most manufacturers say that you should install only original car parts. This is not entirely true. Nowadays, there are a few vehicles that can fit car parts of another vehicle. For example, Opel Vivaro and Renault Traffic are practically identical.

At the same time, manufacturers are right, when recommend installing only original parts. In this case there is a guarantee that brake discs, master cylinders or spark plugs will serve you for a long time. You will be sure in parts operability and safe driving.

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£400ish Vel Satis V6 Diesel Initiale (Top Spec) Unearthed in Manchester

** SOLD within 2 hours of the advert going live **

To save this Vel Satis from going to auction where they are often unappreciated, contact for more details…

Renault Vel Satis V6 diesel Initiale for sale cheap auction spares repair Lancashire Manchester photo

I accompanied my wife this morning when she took her VAG car for a service and to my surprise, a 3-litre Initiale Vel Satis was sat there in the yard. I asked the servicing guys about it and they tell me it was left with them as a part exchange in the last week or so. I told them about the club and they gave me the key. I fired it up and it the engine sounds fine. I didn’t drive it, though, as it’s not taxed (ran out at the end of August). It’s a 53 plate with just over 167,000 miles, in silver, with the beige leather interior. Here’s the low-down:

  • 53 plate
  • Initiale top spec (leather, parking sensors, sat nav, 6CD changer, dual zone climate control, etc)
  • Automatic gearbox with manual override
  • V6 diesel (Isuzu) good for about 40mpg+ when running properly
  • 167,250ish miles
  • Four budget brand tyres
  • Silver exterior
  • Beige leather interior
  • Has a comprehensive service history – the folder is crammed full of documents (some photographed below)
  • Owners handbook manual and leather folder present
  • Original Carminat sat nav CD and plastic case present
  • Keycard is in a bad state with the buttons missing. The car auto-locks and still opens by pressing the relevant place on the card.

As you would expect from a car of this age, there are signs of wear on the outside and in, such as a few random scuffs on the bodywork and grubby marks on some of the seats, and the headlight washer jet flaps have been replaced with black ones. It has also suffered from the common fuel injection warning faults, occasional black smoke and loss of power and also issues with the alternator and handbrake motor, which was replaced in recent years. So it’s admittedly not a pristine example and someone has even stuck ‘Initiale Paris’ stickers underneath the wing mirrors…

…but, it could potentially be a tremendous find for any current Vel Satis owners who are looking for a donor car from which to pilfer spare parts. All kinds of parts from the leather seats and sat nav CD drive to the 6CD changer, parking sensors and even the owners handbook and wallet, can fetch good prices on eBay. Alternatively, if you’re always wanted to get into Vel Satis ownership, are a dab hand with mechanics and fancy a challenge, you could restore this one to its former glory.

The garage is looking for about £400 and I reckon you would have to arrange for it to be taxed. If you’re in a position to save this poor Vel Satis from being sold at auction to someone who isn’t as fond of them as we all are, email for more details.

** SOLD within 2 hours of the advert going live **

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Ben Harrington Meets Renault Vel Satis

This morning I had the pleasure of spending a few hours catching up with fellow motoring writer Ben Harrington of DrivingTorque. The first time I met Ben in the flesh was at this year’s SMMT Test Day at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. We exchanged quite a few quips and short conversations throughout the jam-packed day, so it was nice to sit down properly and have a good old natter over an Americano or few.

Ben Harrington DrivingTorque Car Blogger Writer meets Oliver Hammond Vel Satis 01

Being an absolute car nut like me, Ben and I discussed a plethora of cars and generally caught up with each other. As writers, we both drive lots of different cars on a regular basis, but one car Ben had never been a passenger in, let alone driven, was a Renault Vel Satis. So he was pleased when I told him I’d driven down in my Vel Satis. He was impressed by its stylish, different design, sheer proportions and generous amounts of space on offer, the comfort from the big leather seats and the mannerisms of the 3-litre diesel engine mated to the automatic gearbox.

Ben Harrington DrivingTorque Car Blogger Writer meets Oliver Hammond Vel Satis 02r

He’s still not going to let a Vel Satis get in the way of his saving up for a late 1980s Porsche 911 as his next car, but it’s warming to know that a fellow motoring writer appreciates the Vel Satis’ unique appeal, even if not many other people do! For Ben’s own very appreciative piece on the Vel Satis after his ride with me today, click the link below and enjoy!

Ultimate Satisfaction – True love for a Renault Vel Satis


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Forgive the quick plug!

It’s very rare that somebody would buy a Renault Vel Satis if they didn’t appreciate cars as, let’s face it, the Vel Satis is an unusual beast to say the least. As the Vel Satis Owners Club founder and a proud Vel Satis owner myself, I thought some of you might be interested to know that I am also a busy motoring writer, pumping out articles for a variety of online outlets – and I also produce road test reviews of new cars, each vehicle being in my custody for a week at a time. My reviews are published on a few websites but the primary one is, which I also founded. My recent batch of reviews includes a handful of interesting French cars in the form of the 508, RCZ, 3008 and 308CC models from Peugeot. And if you go back further, I’ve reviewed all kinds of other cars from a powerful Mitsubishi Evo X FQ 330 SST, to a Volvo XC90 SUV.

2012-08-03 SCS plug on Vel Satis Owners Club site Oliver Hammond car road test reviews

I am currently busy with the early stages of planning the next official Vel Satis Owners Club meet for later in 2012, likely in October. So watch this space, and in the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of my reviews!

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