Monday, August 8, 2016

Friggin' SW8: 1992 Peugeot 505 SW8 Wagon

Peugeots have always been for the eccentrics. My next door neighbor growing up had one. He also had a telephone booth sitting in his overgrown front yard and yelled at people for burning leaves, citing emissions concerns. So why not drive a mobile excuse for your strange behavior? Let others say "Oh, he drives a Peugeot, that's why he does that" with this 1992 Peugeot 505 SW8 for sale in Portland, OR for $1,500 via craigslist.

The seller provides a pretty in-depth description of the transmission issues, what days of the week they occur, seances performed, yadda yadda. I'll save you the tldr; it needs a transmission. But replacing a fried automatic is like ripping out your deceased grass and planting dead sod. Or swapping out poor departed Fluffy with another expired animal. Why not swap in a 5-speed with that funny little Peugeot factory shift knob that looks like a duck's head? The gear handle alone should be enough motivation, aside from the fact that this car has the lowly 2.2i motor which will need any form of assistance it can get. But rest assured that once the gearbox issue is rectified, this 505 will likely outlast the planet.

My impression was always that Peugeot left the US in 1991, however, this car is claimed to be a 1992, so I could be incorrect or this could be leftover dealer stock. The last few years of the 505 had bumpers that didn't look like black rubber diving boards, instead having sleek, low, and pretty things to hit people with. Sealed beam headlights planted inside a translucent housing - which is trickery if you ask me - help to give this away as a US market car, however, smooth Euro lamps would further clean up the look. The 505 was a very cleanly styled car which, even in it's worst early 1980's iteration, still looked great.

You won't find 7 people oddly qualified enough to ride with you but the '8' in SW8 referred to the number of cohorts one could cram inside a 505 wagon. In addition to the 'way back' seats, Peugeot interiors are pretty swanky in a reserved, yet eccentric kind of way, providing a relaxing place to discuss, say, policies of Juan Peron, existentialism, or which Pavement b-sides album is best. The switches usually have funny drawings on them which may or may not accurately depict their function, if they are still wired to anything. Peugeots of this age, like many of their contemporaries, are subject to electrical apparitions. However, there exists on the Book of Faces a very helpful Peugeot owner's group who will happily walk you through diagnostic steps or just give you their parts car. The seats are insanely comfortable; plus this one even has cloth seats which must be quite rare.

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  1. Instead of making a Volvette like the other hipsters you could make a Peuvette by installing an LS1 and auto trans. Then every time you saw a guy with a hipster beard in downtown Portlandia you could yell Merde! and do a big burnout...

  2. Instead of making a Volvette like the other hipsters you could make a Peuvette by installing an LS1 and auto trans. Then every time you saw a guy with a hipster beard in downtown Portlandia you could yell Merde! and do a big burnout...

    1. My recollection is that the engine compartment of the 505 seems to have a lot of ancillary stuff placed in positions that'd make a V8 swap difficult. There's room, but you'd have to move/reengineer a lot of electricals, HVAC, etc.

  3. The last of the 'bush taxi' Peugeot wagons.

    The 505s were very comfortable cars, and the Turbos were surprisingly successful showroom-stock racers.

    As for this one's transmission troubles - well, 156K miles is a pretty good life for a ZF 4HP18. Many of them blew up quite early, as they'd tend to croak sometime shortly after being run at 2500RPM in neutral for a prolonged period.

    You know, the way smog tests were done in the days before the dyno.

    Our Saab 9000 was still on its original 4HP18 when we parted with it at 210K or so and had survived ten or so such tests, but the Saab transverse-FWD case was unique and mounted the transmission guts upside-down. I surmise that having the valve-body and hydraulics on top might have provided enough drainback to help with lubrication in that situation.

    1. Very insightful, mrkwong!! I remember seeing this issue all the time on e28s and other 4HP equipped cars when I was working at a BMW garage. This was a direct result of the NC emissions testing.

    2. These Pugs are of some interest. The wagons are stick-axle, the N9T turbos crack heads, there's lots of good and bad throughout the line, and in the end an E34 or E39 BMW is physically an easier LS swap though the electronics and - in the E39 case - OBD fecal matter more troublesome.

  4. A diesel 604 with a manual is more to my liking.

  5. Whatever dudes. Just stop at any friendly shop with a green cross and this Peugeot is going to look even awesomer.

    I would love to have a 404 Wagon. I had one eons ago and mechanically it was superb but rust wise it was Brie.


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