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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,
I'm going to look at an MR2 turbo today. After talking to the guy on the phone it sounds well kept and well maintained, but we all know how that goes. He said the only problem is the paint is a little dry (whatever that means). What should I look out for on these cars? I've tried searching but I'm having trouble using the search feature. How could I tell if the turbo is in good shape? (i've never owned a turbo car before) A friend said rev the car up and listen to the turbo when the rpm drops back to idle. It should have a smooth sound? Also, would it be a good idea taking the car to a Toyota dealer to get it inspected? Or would a Toyota dealer not know what to look for in Turbo MR2s because they are getting old now. Any MR2 experts in North NJ want to help me look at this one? He said the car is well maintained, the timing belt has been replaced at 90,000 miles and it now has 110,000 miles. The T-top does not leak because he keeps the seals clean. He said its been tuned up and when I asked him what It'll need in the future (couple thousand miles) he said it will only need a tune up. This sounds kind of odd to me, (how frequently should an MR2 be tuned up?) but I might be wrong about him telling me its been tuned up and that might have been a different MR2 I was interested in. What would be a good price for this car, and what would be a great price? The entire car is stock except for a K&N filtler, comes with 4 snow tires on steel wheels, and 4 normal tires on OEM wheels. I'm thinking of offering $3500 and then working from there. Hes asking $5500
 
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Discussion Starter #3
My primary concern is the condition of the turbo. I have checked the FAQ but it doesn't go into detail about what to look/listen for to determine the condition.
 
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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I saw the MR2 today. Here is what I noticed:
The paint is very faded (except both doors), however both fenders, both doors, and the trunk have the VIN sticker, so the car has not been in a serious accident.
The drive was relatively quite. There was a small, faint whistle coming from the drivers door. When I floored it, the turbo would come on and the boost guage went up, I hit the clutch to disengage everything and let the rpm drop on its own. Everything was silent when this happened. If I did the same, but didn't hit the clutch and left the car in gear when I got off the throttle, there was a slight noise (difficult to describe). Does that mean the turbo is dieing? I popped the engine hood and revved the engine, sounded smooth and clean the noise I mentioned earlier only happened when full boost hit, and i quickly got off the accelerator while leaving the car in gear. Could this sound also be the factory blow off valve? I have no idea what it sounds like, I have never owned a turbo car before. Other than that, the bottom of the engine was a little wet with oil. Is this normal for older MR2s like this? The guy said when the timing belt was replaced a couple seals/gaskets were replaced as well. The bottom of the engine was moist with oil, but no droplets were developing on the oil pan. The drivers black leather seat was a little worn and some white was showing, but there were no rips. Transmission never grinded, and I didn't notice any clutch slippage. He told me the turbo is original and doesn't think anything is wrong with it. He said he only notices very little oil leakage after an oil change. Timing belt cost $800 at dealership and all work/maintenance has been done at the Toyota dealership. This guy owned it for 4 years and since 60,000 miles. 2 owner car, so he put about 60,000 miles on it in 4 years and said no mechanical problems just did maintenance.
 

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FIRST OFF DO A CAR FAX....then DO A CAR FAX....oh dont forget to do a CARFAX
do not skip what i just said, it cost like 10-20 bucks online and they do a check on the VIN number....will tell u if it's salvaged (been in a flood, hurricane, etc.,) been in an accident, major repair (engine replacement) etc., it will save you a great deal of pain later if you find out later it is not what the seller says it is. It will also check if the mileage is correct. PLEASE DO IT!!!! even if you like the car u get leverage if the carfax shows it's been in a fender bender and those panels have been bondoed. if they have been bondoed you can use a magnet over the panel to prove it, bondo is not metal so the magnet wont stick over those spots.
Now, factory blow off valve sounds like a big deep fart. very possibly the sound u heard, same concern i had. as long as nothing happens to the car at the same time as that noise it most likely is your bov. leaking oil distributer cap is very common. get a seal kit for 20 bucks, inlcudes o-rings etc., can buy from twosrus on the parts vendor page. I think someone is selling a new one on the parts swapper for 30 bucks. the distributer kit from twosrus should work fine though. but make sure its coming from that....look under the distributer for oil. i dont really hear anything when i put the clutch in and go to idle like your friends says. you should hear it spool up when u hit the gas and it sounds like something spinning faster and faster kinda a high pitched sound but not annoying. white is mold, means the car has been sitting for a little bit, not necessairly long though. can come clean with good leather cleaner. DONT USE ANY DEALERSHIPS THEY ALL SUCK WORKING ON MR2s....look for a local mr2 owner who works on his own car or a specialist with mr2s, not other turbo cars. Trust me it will save you money. when u check the turbo, make sure u let the car warm up (temp gauge should read in the middle) then start boosting. the stock gauge needle should go all the way to the top, and by the time u hit 5500 rpm (in like 3,4 and 5th gear) your boost should go down cause the stock turbo doesnt get enough exhaust out fast enough. as long as acceleration is smooth and it spools up to full boost i would say it's fine. 5500 is a good deal but the paint is bad, try and work him down as low as you can go or feel comfortable paying. It is a used car and will be sold as is, no take backs, no matter what the seller says, if something breaks after 100 miles he is not responsible and even if he said he would help, he wont. I would pay maybe 4000-4500 and say i am offering lower so i can paint the car....although the snow tires are a nice throw in. Check the t-tops if you can, inspect and make sure they are springy and fit together like a glove, any gaps means they will leak.hard to tell unless it's raining outside, i live in florida and dont know if snow melts while ur driving and drips into the t-tops. you have to put a hose to it for a while to make sure it doesnt leak, a simple cup of water wont show a small leak, which turns into a big leak if you leave it outside in the rain over night just like a leaky faucet that waists gallons of water overnight.
 

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4500-5000 seems like a fair price.

I dont think its a horrible idea to take it to a dealership, or at least some other shop...you could have them run a compression test or leakdown test, check out the oil leak...also the leaking oil could very well be the valve cover gasket...i think most everyone's leaks over time unless they get the two's r us bolts.

sounds like a pretty good deal if you get it for the right price :)
 

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if its just a thin film of "oil it could just be road grime. but definately do a carfax. the price sounds good. i wish MR2s were cheap like that out here in arizona.
 

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BUYIN A 2

look on this site for for sale cars 1st off and not to sure where you live but finding a turbo in cali your lucky if you can find one for 5500.00 that didn't need lots of work hopefully someone on these boards lives by you and can come take a look at it . whatever you do don't jump on it you'e taken the right steps so far stick to your plan.
 
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I forgot to mention. The windshield has a crack, and the rear brakes freeze if you use the parking break. While I was driving the "brake" light was on but when I first got in it was off because he didn't use the parking break. He told me in the winter they could freeze and it takes a day or two for the light to go off. So i'm assuming it needs new rear calipers? He told me he had the pads and rotors replaced recently. I'll take a look at where the oil is coming from. I don't think its a valve cover gasket because when he popped the hood everything looked dry, but when I crawled under the car i saw some oil on the side of the block/oil pan. The engine has lots of oxidation on it (like intake manifold?) He said the only thing that bothered him was when Toyota replaced the timing belt they messed up a screw or engine mount but its been fixed free of charge. I also wouldn't take the MR2 to a Toyota dealer for work, he said he'd get pissed when the techs would ride it into the garage and they stall. But this does sound attractive because it looks like he didn't spare any expenses. We all know how ridiculous the prices are at dealers. I've also driven it on a 35mph road but haven't really pushed it. The boost guage went up to a little over half because I didn't red line it and stayed in 2nd, but before I buy it i'll be sure the red line in 3rd. Then the boost guage should go up all the way? as if it were a fuel guage reading a full tank of gas? (OEM boost guage looks kinda gay, no numbers at first I thought it was a fuel guage)

Oh, I think i'm going to pick it up today for $4000. So I have to hope the oil is coming from the distributor and everything should be fine? If the turbo peaks out at 3/4 the guage, how bad is that? The car felt like my 240sx powerwise, but on the highway it maintained its power while my 240sx feels slow. 240sx has a 2.4L N/A engine so at lower speeds it feels like the turbo 2.0L MR2 where the larger torquey motor is needed. Turbo might have been quicker down low, I didnt really push it. Its really hard to say I drove my friends auto TT supra and wasnt too impressed with that. (feels faster when your in the passenger seat) There is a point where if you dont really push the cars, they feel the same. Though, I know for a fact the supra is a scary fast machine and smoked my 240sx badly.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
matadorCE said:
be sure to have another 4K or so on tap to keep that car on the road...
Why do you say that? are they not reliable? My friends 93 TT supra seemed reliable. Are MR2s built worse? I will be driving the car everyday
 

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zpmada said:
Why do you say that? are they not reliable? My friends 93 TT supra seemed reliable. Are MR2s built worse? I will be driving the car everyday
First of all, the turbo on that car is probably gone or will be soon and that's not a cheap fix. I'm not trying to discourage you, but I'm just trying to point out that it sounds like the car needs some work which may/may not be expensive.
I just bought a car in December which was similar to the one you're considering, and I already put in more that half of what I paid for it in fixing problems (some I knew already, some I did not), changing old parts, and some upgrades.
 
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
hmm damn. I love MR2s and wanted one but had to settle for the 240sx because I couldn't find a well maintained one. My family keeps telling me 91 is old and the miles are too high, it'll be trouble. How important is a turbo? If the turbo goes wont it just be like running an n/a car? Or am I going to be hurting something? I do have money for repairs but i'd like to drive it for a while and see if I like it, and how everything else holds up. what do you guys think? i really don't want to settle for a civic because of reliability, those cars have no character.

ok, well i told the guy tomorrow so i bought myself an extra day to think about things. he assures me the turbo is fine, but i'll do that test. So you saying it'll be full boost redling 3rd gear? or should it be at full boost anytime you floor it at any rpm? I'm located in NJ if anyone would like to look with me.
 

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Even new cars, like used ones will give you trouble every now and then. Getting a 15 year old car expect to have do more maintainence on it. If you don't mind putting up with an old car go for it. I say stay with your $4000 offer and tell him why. Replacing/installing the turbo is not cheap. Have you had him drive the car and punch it while you watch from outside. Check for a blueish smoke or excessive white smoke. Could be a blown head gasket or something else even more serious.
 

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zpmada said:
hmm damn. I love MR2s and wanted one but had to settle for the 240sx because I couldn't find a well maintained one. My family keeps telling me 91 is old and the miles are too high, it'll be trouble. How important is a turbo? If the turbo goes wont it just be like running an n/a car? Or am I going to be hurting something? I do have money for repairs but i'd like to drive it for a while and see if I like it, and how everything else holds up. what do you guys think? i really don't want to settle for a civic because of reliability, those cars have no character.

ok, well i told the guy tomorrow so i bought myself an extra day to think about things. he assures me the turbo is fine, but i'll do that test. So you saying it'll be full boost redling 3rd gear? or should it be at full boost anytime you floor it at any rpm? I'm located in NJ if anyone would like to look with me.
You can't drive around with a blown turbo (at least I wouldn't). The seals leak oil and if the bearings in the turbo get worn enough, the impeller will hit the housing which will most likely send metal into the engine and bye-bye engine.
 
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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
matadorCE said:
You can't drive around with a blown turbo (at least I wouldn't). The seals leak oil and if the bearings in the turbo get worn enough, the impeller will hit the housing which will most likely send metal into the engine and bye-bye engine.
so that oil leak could be coming from the turbo? where would it leak oil? on the manifold where the turbo is attached?


and we already agreed to $4000 because i told him paint will be 2,000-3,000
 

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If the turbo is leaking oil you'll see it on the turbo outlet from turbo to intercooler right above the turbo air intake inlet. Mine was leaking oil from there and I drove for a while like that, luckily the blades did not shatter on me. I eventually got a new turbo. This maybe pushing it but see if you can get him to lower it another $500 because of the oil leak you saw under oil pan that is definately not from the turbo.
 

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If the turbo is the only problem I wouldn't be too worried. It's fairly easy to replace a turbo if you have any mechanical experience. You could get a used CT20B turbo (upgrade) for $600. Not sure how much CT26's go for but I would guess around $300.
 

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Yeah but we're talking a 15 year old car with a turbo untouched since it left the factory. I bet they're plenty of seized/stripped bolts that could make this job turn into a nightmare in a hurry, not to mention tight spaces and angles to get wrenches in.
 

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Where in Jersey are you. I'm about 5 minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel and 15 minutes from the George Washington Bridge. I've been looking for another Mr2 to compare mine to. Some things I think might just be the car and nothing to worry about, but i'm not sure because no one else has one. My email is [email protected] (used to have a corolla)
 
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