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Guide To Buying A Mk4 Supra (93-02)


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#1 Leeky

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:33 PM

We have had hundreds of people coming onto TOC asking about mk4 Supra's. So here is a rundown on the in's and out's of choosing one, looking at one and maintaining one.

Before we start lets just clear up that the car only came as non turbo and twin turbo. Any supra which is single turbo must have been converted since. So if i reffer to 'turbo' i mean twin turbo and not a single turbo version. We will not be going into details on single turbo conversions.

So first off lets have a look at the Models and the Specs.

Between 1993-1996 the Supra mk4 (JZA80) was sold here in the UK.

It was available in Twin Turbo guise only and came with 326bhp as standard. The car was available with either a 6 Speed Manual Transmission or 4 Speed Automatic with Manual Override.

Straight out of the showroom the car was capable of around 180mph but was electronicly restricted to 155mph. Leather was standard, as was traction control, electric windows, electric/heated mirrors, ABS, Power Steering, Airbags Etc - Typical Equipment for a Luxury GT Cruiser.

Approx only 600 UK Supra's were made and the colours were Red, Dark Blue, White, Black and Silver.

Red, Blue came with Beige Leather interior and the others came with a Black one.

Between 1993-2002 the JZA80 was sold in japan and the majority of Supra's you find on the roads today are Grey Imports.

Just like the UK car it was available with the 6 speed manual or 4 speed auto, but also there was a 5 Speed manual which was only available on the Non Turbo variant of the car - but we will come back to that one in a minute.

So the import Turbo comes in 3 models -

RZ - Basic Turbo, equipement is pretty random on imports so best to check what the car has as the japanese got lots of optional extras etc
RZ-S - Later version of above, again check the equipment. Later versions got VVTI.
GZ - Top of the Range Import with Leather and the optional Aerotop removable roof. Available in AUTO ONLY.

Now there is also the non turbo models.

SZ - 225bhp non turbo with 5 speed manual or 4 speed auto. Like the RZ equipment could be anything. Aerotop was optional.
SZ-R - Later model which had optional 6 speed gearbox as well as the two others.

The JDM (Import Version) Supra was rated at 280bhp. Now i know this is 46bhp less than the UK car but in the real world when JDM Supra's are Dyno'd over here in the uk they usually produce around 300bhp.

The reason for the power difference is the ceramic turbo chargers, smaller injectors and different cams compared to the UK car which generally got bigger everything and steel turbos.

There are other differences between UK are JDM but those are the biggest.

Because of the ceramic turbos which actually spin up faster than the heavier uk steel ones, the JDM supra has more torque and is pretty much just as fast 0-60 as the uk car which is approx 4.8secs for the manual and 5.3 for the auto.

Imports are all limited to 120mph but it is simple to delimit these completely.

Imports came in same colours as UK car but with a few extra which are - Royal Blue, Gunmetal Grey, Bronze Brown, Yellow, Green. There may be a few more but these are the only ones i can think of at the moment.

Ok now onto Inside and Outside

Easiest way to tell a UK car from an import is the Bonnet Vent, the Horns (Headlight sprayers) and the big brakes.

These can be added to an import easily and i have seen it in the past so dont assume that just because a car has these things that its a UK car. Always check the car out and get proof.

The UK car got 17" wheels and bigger brakes - 4 pot front and 2 pot rear. The Import also had these as an optional extra but as standard the imports all come with 2 pot fronts and 1 pot rears with smaller discs and 16" alloys.

Imports sometimes dont have spoilers, was a deletable option.

Imports sometimes have whats called the Aerokit - dont confuse this with the removable roof. The Aerokit is a set of side skirts and rear spats simply for styling only.

This can be fitted to UK cars and i had them fitted to both my UK car and my import. But you cannot buy them brand new from Toyota as they stopped making them years ago. You will need to track down a used set.

From the back the UK car has different rear clusters as it has a fog light built in. UK cars have the clear reverse lights second along from the centre, imports the clear reverse lights are in the centre of the boot.

Imports have plastic headlights, uk cars have glass ones. These are interchangable.

UK cars got the Active Spoiler (electronic spoiler that drops down under the nose of the car at high speed) as standard, was optional on imports.

Imports got electric folding door mirrors, not available on UK cars but im sure could be retrofitted.

Under the Bonnet

Right from here on it gets technical guys, so pay attention.

UK Supra Engine is the same as a JDM engine except for the following -

Steel Turbo internals vs jdm ceramic
550cc Injectors vs jdm 440cc
Different duration cams - 233deg duration & 8.25mm lift vs jdm 224deg duration & 7.8mm
EGR - Exhaust Gas Recirculation - Fitted on all UK cars to bring emissions down, pumps hot gases back into engine - bad bad bad and once again bad. Better to remove this system from your UK car. Did it to mine.
Bigger downpipe and cats, these are not interchangable between uk and jdm.
Additional gearbox oil cooler.
Different ECU
Better Traction Control

Auto Vs Manual
Lets be honest here - Manual will give you all the control and will ultimatly be more fun. Auto is just as good a box but is better for commuting to and from work with the minimum of fuss. Manual is a little hard and agricultural and the auto is smooth and silky but at the end of the day they are pretty much the same 0-60 and top speed. Manual UK cars are very hard to get hold of in good condition.

Aerotop
Only available in RHD Auto Turbo or RHD Auto Non Turbo. In the US LHD cars had the option of manual aerotops. With the roof out it makes the chassis bendy and not much good for driving hard. With the roof in they drive identically to a normal car.

Modifying

First thing is first, get a better exhaust system - standard ones is rubbish. HKS Super Dragger and Blitz Nur Spec R are the most common.

I personally went for the Tanabe Super Racing Medallion because the pipe was 3.5" vs the others which are about 3" also sounded meaty and cost less.

Once you have the exhaust done then move onto removing one or both of the catalitic convertors. I went for the Megan Racing one as it was only £60 and was also 3.5" which matched the exhaust.

Be aware that removing the cats means that the car will not pass its MOT so you will need to put them back in for the MOT and then remove them again.

The other option is to remove only one and use a smaller downpipe. The car will still pass the MOT on one cat and you will be able to run higher boost. Not as much obviously as removing both cats but its a good trade off. This is the route i am taking with my Aristo (same engine as the supra).

Note - The JDM supras will hit fuel cut (engine safety feature) with no cats in as the wastegates aren't that good. A 2.5" restrictor plate can be fitted to combat this.

Ok so now we have a supra with a performance exhaust and one or no cats. So lets improve breathing, this can be done via either a performance panel filter from TRD/BLITZ/APEXI/HKS etc or via an induction kit from the same kind of makes.

The standard airbox can flow up to 500bhp so unless you are going to go above this an induction kit is a waste of time.

Next you need to fit a Fuel Cut Defender - Thor's TRL FCD is by far the best at around £60. This device overrides the ECU's max safe boost limit so you can push up the power. Look into this yourself and do this only at YOUR OWN RISK as done incorrectly it could destroy your engine.

Fit a boost controller, either mechanical or electronic. Mechanicals are cheaper. Electronic ones are safer and overall better.

This is the basics and from here on out you'd better speak to a tuning company to plot out the route you are going to take to bigger power.

Envy Performance, Fensport, Prolex, Whiftbits, TDI are amoung the best. There is another company which has a big presence on the mk4 websites who i shall not name but i would advise you to ONLY go to these 5 places above as the place i have not mentioned is run by cowboys. You know who you are! :lol:

Tyres
I'd recommend either Goodyear Eagle F1's or Toyo Proxies - dont go for cheap tyres on a supra or the supra will kill you plain and simple :thumbsup:

Insurance
Because most Supra's are over 10years old they can be insured as Classic/Cherished Cars which costs a lot less. Also try Sky Insurance who will give you a discount if you are a club member. I personally go with Elephant myself as they have always been the cheapest for me.

Looking at one
Firstly, dont be put off by high mileage. As long as they are properly maintained the 2JZ engine will last forever.

Check for accident damage, knocking sounds from suspension/engine. Check for uneven tyre wear. Tyre wear on the inside is normal for a supra but if its on the outside then something is up.

Get to start the car up from cold and check for smoke. If you see any then the valve stem seals are worn but this is common and to be honest something you dont really have to worry about as long as the smoke is only there for a short time when cold. When normal temp there should be no smoke.

Take the car out for a spin, make sure the car doesnt pull to one side and also give it a boot and check in the mirror for smoke. If you see any the turbos may be on their way out.

First turbo comes on boost from about 1500rpm and second if i can remember correctly about 4000rpm. Listen for a loud whining sound, if you hear it the 2nd turbo may be dead/dying. All you should hear is the faint whistling of the turbos. Boost should be smooth and progressive.

Slam on the brakes at about 60mph and make sure it doesnt pull to one side. Also lightly press them at 60mph and check for juddering - if this happens the discs are most likely warped and need changing.

Check oil levels and look under the rad cap and oil cap for a creamy mayonnaise type stuff. If you see this then the car may have a dodgy headgasket but its not really heard of on the mk4 - more a mk3 thing.

Generally make sure its straight and neat and goes as it should.

Check the engine light comes on and goes out, this is orange and looks like a gearbox/engine.

As far as maintaining one is concerned you'd be best doing an oil/filter change every 3k miles. Tyres last between 6-12k. Brake pads approx 6k and discs 80k.

If anyone has any other information they would like to add to this thread then please feel free but please keep it factual :thumbsup:

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#2 SamDept

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 01:21 PM

Thanks this is great information :)

#3 jdm-decker

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:17 PM

what about LHD supra's?

#4 Karma Supra

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:59 AM

The LHD ones are actually made by Daewoo. Not a lot of people know that.

They are also made of a different metal compound that is said to be much stiffer offering a sharper drive, but if you drive form somewhere very hot to somewhere very cold quickly, they can crack (or Vica Versa)

#5 jdm-decker

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:35 AM

The LHD ones are actually made by Daewoo. Not a lot of people know that.

They are also made of a different metal compound that is said to be much stiffer offering a sharper drive, but if you drive form somewhere very hot to somewhere very cold quickly, they can crack (or Vica Versa)


by deawoo?

and the engines? are those the same as the uk one's with the steel turbo's en bigger injectors?
or other engine's?

#6 iron maiden

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 04:30 AM

bro!!!!!! karma vigo's !!!!!very good jason

#7 Karma Supra

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 04:05 PM

I have re-read this several times...

I give up....

Say what? :blink:

#8 Lozmachine

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 10:27 PM

Just found this, was SO helpfull
Cheers :D

#9 gavmc88

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 05:57 PM

Good info cheers ;)

#10 ColinBarber

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 08:21 PM

Approx only 600 UK Supra's were made and the colours were Red, Dark Blue, White, Black and Silver.

Red, Blue came with Beige Leather interior and the others came with a Black one.


The silver vehicles also had a beige interior

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