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Unread 04-26-2013, 01:17 PM   #1
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Arrow Newb question about improving an old car

Hi everyone, thought I'd join this forum seeing as everybody seems to be very helpful with any car related questions...

I have my eye on a toyota mr2 from around 1992 or 1993, seen a couple on autotrader. My question is how much would it cost to get one of these running like an absolute dream? They all have around 70k+ miles on them and I imagine it will run llike ****, but I think they look fantastic and a lot of people I've asked say they are great fun to drive!

Budget wise I have a couple k to spend on it, but can't work much atm because of college but I'd end up upgrading it over a long period of time if need be.

Thanks in advance, Michael.

Last edited by Mike_9; 04-26-2013 at 01:19 PM.

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Unread 04-26-2013, 01:37 PM   #2
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Firstly, the odometer never has been and never will be a hard and fast "This engine has Y months left to live" meter. 70,000 miles might be absolutely knackered or it might be 'just broken in'. What does matter is maintenance history, initial build quality, and whether or not it's been abused during its life. My '85 F150 and the '96 Dodge Caravan we have sitting idle are proof enough. The Ford has twice the mileage the Dodge has, yet the Dodge barely runs(It forgets it has four forward gears more often than it doesn't, major problem, highly likely to strand whoever's in it) while the Ford runs great.


Secondly, while the Mr2 wasn't Toyota's best car in the world, it's still a Toyota. If it's been maintained and hasn't been run into the ground daily it should run just fine as-is. Do the basic mechanical checks, make sure it runs right before you put a single greenback on the table. If you want I'll try to dig up the checklist I use when I'm looking at a car. May take quite a while to find it, though.

Thirdly, don't be afraid to spend more on a healthy car. Trust me on this, I have firsthand experience. Buy the car that's already in good shape. Unless you're after a project car, and since you're still in college you don't have time to do a project car correctly, you are better off shopping around and potentially spending a few hundred more on a healthy car. Maintenance is cheaper than repairs, you'll save money long-term.


If you can't find a Mr2 that's in serviceable condition, perhaps a Pontiac Fiero will also work? Iron Dukes, the stock engine in a Fiero, are nearly indestructible, and Fieros are a similar type of car. The V6s are pretty good, too. Matter of fact the Fiero was the Mr2's main competition in America back in the day.
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1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
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Unread 04-26-2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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Fiero is a pain to work on the MR2 is not. Although I prefer the Fiero. Main issue with both are parts are hard to find and can get pricey.
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Unread 04-26-2013, 07:06 PM   #4
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Some useful tips there Kenny. Mind if I get that checklist? Not completely what to ask about when checking out the car except that it actually works properly and nothings broken/rusted to **** etc. Gonna give it a long test drive.

I'm really not too fussed for the fiero... my hearts set on the mr2!

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Unread 04-26-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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MR2 is a great fun car, my son had an '89. Early years rusted bad but the mechanical is solid Toyota and common with other models.
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Unread 04-26-2013, 08:12 PM   #6
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Why do'nt you toss us some links and we'll tell you what we think.

70k miles is just getting broken in, I would call that low miles. Very low, for a car that age. I bought a 1996 model with a multiple of that...
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Unread 04-26-2013, 08:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lautinjr View Post
Fiero is a pain to work on the MR2 is not. Although I prefer the Fiero. Main issue with both are parts are hard to find and can get pricey.
I don't doubt any of that. I've been wrist deep in a 4cyl Fiero before helping a friend sort out why his throttle was an on/off switch. Not fun. Can't imagine trying to change a clutch in one, or do plugs on a V6.

Great little cars though. I wouldn't mind either one TBH.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_9 View Post
Some useful tips there Kenny. Mind if I get that checklist?
I'll see if I can dig it up. It does require that the person have a basic knowledge of how a car works, though, but I'm assuming you have that since you're willing to try to work on one yourself.

Quote:
Not completely what to ask about when checking out the car except that it actually works properly and nothings broken/rusted to **** etc. Gonna give it a long test drive.
Maintenance history, and if its at a dealer get them to run a carfax. If it isn't, jot the VIN down and post it here. We have a guy that runs carfax reports for us gratis. Carfax may not be perfect but if it's been in a major wreck it will show up, and if it does you know to either steer clear outright or make sure the repairs were done right.

Quote:
I'm really not too fussed for the fiero... my hearts set on the mr2!
Heh, fair enough.
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My rigs:

1985 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci OHV inline six | 4-speed OD manual | 310K | No power brakes | Running 100% - It hasn't driven this good in 15 years!

1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

Last edited by Kenny McCormick; 04-26-2013 at 08:24 PM.

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Unread 04-27-2013, 07:43 PM   #8
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Nooooooo...

Never mind the maintenance costs, I just looked at insurance and its pretty much all upwards of 4k.

18(nearly 19) years old with just under 1 year no claims this sucks so much.

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Unread 04-27-2013, 07:46 PM   #9
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What can be done to bring it down except wait? Advanced driving course?

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Unread 04-27-2013, 08:03 PM   #10
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Insurance is gonna be super expensive for sports cars pretty much until you're 25. The only thing you can really do is go off your parent's insurance, if they'll let you.
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