7 Serious Renault 1.2 TCe Engine Problems (D4FT Engine)

Once the era of legendary Renault 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6 16V naturally aspirated engines ended, Renault introduced the smaller, turbo powered TCe engines that seemed amazing on paper. But not long after their introduction, the first problems appeared. This is your complete guide to all the common Renault 1.2 TCe engine problems.

Putting up your sleeves and doing good research is mandatory when it comes to buying a new or a used car. There are cars that have a lot of problems and knowing how to avoid these problems is the key in order not to get ripped off by mechanics. There are problems that can cost thousands. So, that’s why we are here to help you out with your trouble.

First, we are going to learn the specs of the 1.2 engine and see what kind of power this engine makes. Then, we are going to learn more about the Renault 1.2 TCe engine problems and see what troubles this engine the most. Lastly, we will cover the models that have this engine. So, let’s dive into the article.

Basic Renault 1.2 TCe Engine Specs

The 1.2 TCe is also known by its official name D4FT. This is an engine that belongs to the D family of engines developed by Renault in the 90s.

But as time progressed, this engine design evolved into the D4FT. This brings up the following question. What does the T mean in its name? This means that the engine is turbocharged.

That’s right in 2007, Renault saw the need to create a turbocharged application in order to satisfy the needs of the market. Customers have become really frustrated with the poor performance of the regular D4F engine and wanted more performance from the engine. And they got more consequently. This 1.2 TCe turbo engine was rated at 105 hp.

When it comes to the design of the engine, this is an inline-4 with a displacement of 1.2L. Pretty small engine but that was its purpose, to serve purpose in mini cars.

The block is made of cast iron, while the cylinder head is made of aluminum. This means that it is a pretty lightweight engine. Which is needed when it comes to fuel economy.

The head is SOHC, which means that the engine implements a single overhead camshaft layout. Also, there are a total of four valves per cylinder, making it a total of 16 valves.

But here is the list of specs of the 1.2 TCe engine.

  • Engine Configuration: inline-4
  • Displacement: 1.2L
  • Bore: 69 mm
  • Stroke: 76.8 mm
  • Block Material: Cast Iron
  • Head Material: Aluminum
  • Head Design: SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Compression Ratio: 9.8
  • Fuel Injection: MPI
  • Turbocharger: Yes
  • Horsepower: 100 – 105 hp (55 kW)
  • Torque: 105 N-m (77 lb-ft)

Common Renault 1.2 TCe Engine Problems

Common problems with the Renault 1.2 TCe engine include:

  • Spark Plug & Ignition Coil Failure
  • High Oil Consumption
  • Timing Chain Stretching
  • Timing Chain Tensioner Failure
  • Oil Leaks
  • Coolant Leaks
  • Fuel Pump Failure
  • Turbocharger Failures
  • Camshaft Sensor Failure

We listed the common issues with the Renault 1.2 TCe engine, now let’s move on and further elaborate on these problems.

Spark Plug & Ignition Coil Failure

The first problem on our list is related to the ignition components. Ignition components are the ones that most frequently tend to fail and cause problems. These problems are probably the most frustrating since you can be left without the possibility to start the engine.

You probably know about spark plugs. These are the components that create spark and ignite the fuel. On the end that is exposed in the cylinder, you have the electrode. And these electrodes can become polluted by foreign materials that can damage them.

So, they can get covered in carbon, they can get covered with oil if the engine consumes oil. Coolant if the car is burning coolant, or gas if the car is running rich.

All of these situations can spoil the spark plugs and make them malfunction.

In addition to this, there is also the coil. On these engines, you have a single coil for all four cylinders. This coil is basically an electric transformer that transforms the low current into something more powerful and produces a strong spark.

Whenever these components fail, you will get a check engine light, engine misfires, rough idle, poor performance, and poor fuel economy.

Luckily, replacing them is not that expensive and this is also a simple DIY job.

High Oil Consumption

Another more serious problem with this 1.2 TCe engine is the high oil consumption. These engines tend to consume more oil than recommended and this pissed off a lot of the owners.

So, what they did was filing for a lawsuit against Renault and Nissan, which are basically one company. There were 1,100 people participating in this lawsuit.

The problem reportedly is caused by a problem with the piston rings. For those who don’t know, the rings are the ones that seal the piston. There are compression rings and one oil control ring.

It is probably the oil control ring that did not do its job well and caused this oil consumption in this 1.2 TCe engine.

So, before buying, make sure that the engine you intend to buy is not a serious oil consumer because if it is, it could be one very frustrating ownership.

Timing Chain Noise

Another thing that we would like to note and add to our list is a problem that is pretty expensive to fix. The Renault 1.2 TCE engine is known to have problems with the timing chain. Yes, a timing chain and not a timing belt.

The timing chain on this engine requires regular service. This service involves replacing the timing chain and tensioner. We wouldn’t call that a service but rather a big maintenance ticket that is rather costly.

This service must be done once you start experiencing rattling noises from behind the timing cover. These rattling noises appear once the timing chain is already stretched, and the noise is most profound during the first 4 seconds of a cold engine start up.

When stretched, the timing chain can jump, skip and throw off engine synchronization, which can lead to catastrophic engine damage. The valves and pistons will collide and get bent. Make sure you keep this problem under control and fix it as soon as possible.

Oil Leaks

Oil leaks are common on the 1.2 TCe engine, and these leaks can come from a variety of different places.

The most common place is the oil dipstick. Many people are simply not aware that they should seat the dipstick properly. You need to hear a click for the dipstick to be properly seated and you don’t have leaks.

Other places where these engines can leak include the oil cap that does not seat particularly well and can allow oil to leak. Also, the front and rear main seals can leak but not so often.

More frequent oil leaks are the ones that come from the valve cover gasket and the oil pan gasket. Oil pans are notorious for leaking oil.

Now let’s move on to the next Renault 1.2 TCe engine problems.

Coolant Leaks

Coolant leaks are also common on these 1.2 TCe engines. So, what is coolant and why does it leak?

Engine coolant is the fluid that is intended for the cooling system. Each engine has a cooling system and each engine has a water pump, radiator, and radiator hoses.

What can happen is that there can be leaks created. The hoses have fittings that can leak, there can also be leaks from the radiator if it gets damaged. As well as the water pump can leak if the pump fails.

But coolant can also leak internally if you have a blown head gasket. That’s why if the engine loses coolant and you can’t find the leak externally, the head gasket can be the possible cause for this issue.

The important thing is that you should not let the engine overheat in these cases. Because if you do, there can be some permanent damage done to the internals.

Fuel Pump Failure

The last problem on our list is the fuel pump failures. These engines have very sensitive fuel pumps that can fail frequently.

For those who don’t know, this fuel pump is located in the fuel tank, and it has a purpose of pumping fuel. This is an electronic pump that can fail internally.

So, whenever your pump fails, the engine would stall while driving, or you will not be able to start the car since there will be no fuel pressure.

The solution is to replace the pump, which can be somewhat expensive.

Other Problems

Other problems of the 1.2 TCe engine include turbocharger failures, which is definitely considered to be serious and expensive to fix and camshaft sensor failure, which are not as serious but still common and annoying.

Turbocharger failures and problems mostly occur due to a clogged wastegate (those carbon deposits are a real problem, trust us), worn bearings (to be expected on higher mileage examples) and due to oil starvation (to stay healthy, a turbocharger needs a constant flow of fresh engine oil).

Camshaft sensors are vital to the correct operation of the engine, since they measure the position and the rotational speed of the camshaft. However, considering how important they are, you would be surprised at how cheap they are to replace. This sensor usually fails due to corrosion, and other issues brought upon electronic components due to their exposure to the outside elements.

A failed camshaft sensor may cause issues when trying to start the engine, it may engage the engine warning light, reduce the engine’s power, and it can even leave you by the side of the road.

Which Models Have The Renault 1.2 TCe Engine?

  • 2007 – 2014 Renault Twingo
  • 2007 – Present Renault Clio
  • 2007 – 2012 Renault Modus
  • 2010 – 2013 Renault Wind
  • Renault Captur
  • Renault Megane
  • Renault Scenic
  • Renault Kadjar
  • Dacia Sandero
  • Dacia Lodgy
  • Dacia Logan
  • Dacia Duster


What Are The Common Problems Of The Renault 1.2 TCe Engine?

Common problems with this engine include oil consumption, problems with the ignition components like spark plugs and coils, oil leaks and coolant leaks are also common. Overall, besides the oil consumption problem that some owners experience, there are no serious problems with the 1.2 TCe engine.

Is The Renault 1.2 TCe Engine Reliable?

Yes, the 1.2 TCe performs decently when it comes to reliability. The biggest issue is the high oil consumption that was noted, there was also a lawsuit against Renault for this specific problem.

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