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Mk2 Buying Guide


Dan H
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Im looking tommorow at three black t-bars. Trouble is i haven't gorra clue what to look for. A lad at work reckons the back axels go because they're alliminium (sp?!). He also reckons that the switches under the front will give me nightmares. Is he right or should i slap him?! What else should i look for? Cheers, Dan :thumbsup:

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Dan,

I haven't heard any stories about axels going, and I don't believe that Aluminium would be strong enough for an axel anyway. I’m not too sure what you mean by front switches? Anyway, here's a list of things to look for (this is probably no where near extensive, but a guide). I'm assuming you're looking at MK2 cars i.e. 1990 (G) +. Right in no particular order:

Before driving the car:

1. Check for leaking in the boot, a common problem with MK2's. Normally water travels either through the boot seal, or through the holes where the nuts that attach the spoiler go.

2. Check in both the boot, and the front section for any sings of accident damage. Check the nuts that hold the various body panels on, are they marked (look removed) do they look like they have been painted recently. This will tell you whether or not the panels have been removed at any time.

3. As a general rule, try and avoid cars that have been heavily modified i.e. engine upgrades, 'loud' body' kits etc. This especially applies to imports, which are regularly raced hard in Japan.

4. Listen to the engine for any tapping noises, i.e. a clicking sound during idling and load. This will tell you whether the tappets are noisy, which could mean a high mileage engine with worn cams etc. Listen for any knocking noises, which could mean worn big end bearings a complete engine rebuild (lots of money).

5. If the car has air conditioning and other additions, make sure they all work correctly, and dock the price you offer accordingly. This applied to alarms, central locking, heated rear windows, interior fan, power steering, abs brakes etc.

6. May sound stupid, but check the tyre treads, these can cost anything up to £200 per corner, so new tyres are a definite plus. While you're at it check the condition of the alloys.

7. With the ignition on (turned to the point where the warning lights illuminate, but the starter motor doesn't engage) check that all the warning lights are working - my car isn't with me at the moment, so someone else on the forum will have to tell you how many should come on. A common trick is to remove bulbs to hide malfunctioning equipment.

8. When you start the car check for any warning lights that stay on. Important ones are Power Steering (indicated as P/S in orange), if fitted to the car, Engine cooling system (red engine light with a fan in front), ABS (if fitted) - orange illuminated text reading ABS, engine warning light (red illuminated engine I think).

If the power steering light stays on, it could be the relay that's stuck, try turning the key from ignition on (warning lights on, but a notch before starting the engine) back to off twenty or more times in quick succession. This should clean the relay and stop the light from coming on with the engine started.

9. Check for tampering to the speedometer. Have the dashboard screws been removed. If so, ask why. Any fob off, leave the car well alone.

10. Other general things are check for blue smoke coming from the exhaust pipes (signifying burning Oil which could mean sloppy piston rings or sloppy bores) again another indicator of a high miler.

11. Start the car and let it idle for a while. The temperature gauge should travel half way up the gauge. Make sure it is working and not reading too high, or not registering (disconnecting the engine heat sensor is a cunning trick some sellers use to hide overheating engines).

When driving the car,

1. Make sure it all feels right and that there are no knocking sounds from the suspension etc.

2. Does the car travel in a straight line if you release the steering wheel?

3. Do the brakes work properly? (they should bring the car to an abrupt halt if pushed.

4. Does the steering feel tight and precise?

Phew, that's about all I can think of at the moment (bit of an essay there) there's probably much more, but I suspect others on the forum will endeavour to supply further information.

Hope this helps,

Good Luck,

Damien.

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If your any7where near oxford drop a post im off out but would be more than happy to look at some 2's if would be a help :D

Spot on for checks also check the cross mount struts, rear of boot either side behind passenger compartment as they're prone to rust and of course the t-bar seals - see if they'll give you a bucket of water to throw at the car :D :D :D

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Wow!!

As a prospective MR2 Buyer can I just say thanx! Thats a great guide. I spoke to a couple of discerning Toyota types earlier and its good to know the thoughts are consistent.

*Wondering what the heck he is getting into*

Just so you know, I will either be bringing madness and mayhem to this forum or.... I will be Joining the Lotus 7 Replica owners club.... Touch choice but I hope to get sorted before the month end.

Thanks again.

Loz :thumbsup:

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Actually one small addition, take a magnet with you. Pass it over the metallic part of the bodywork i.e. door panels etc. The magnet will tell you if the car has been filled with bodywork filler i.e. the magnet won't stick to these areas. Don't forget that parts of an MR2 are fibreglass - the rear bumper, front spoiler and side air vents, so the magnet obviously wont stick to these areas. Again as Rhains says check for rust in struts etc. also check for signsa of rust in general. MK2's don't tend to rust much, and it's not hard to find a clean one thats thirteen or more years old.

Also while I'm on the subject of bodywork, check the spoiiler for paint blistering (little bubbles) this is quite a common Toyota paint fault (mainly occurs on Red cars) can be fixed easily with some spray paint, but will be an extra cost to consider.

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Dude,

You know my Budget! But in retrospect I think £2k is a better budget as it allows for some "mods" and I should still be able to find a nice Mk2 T bar with a few miles on her..., Right?

failing that I will have to seriously consider the MK1 SC you mentioned, assuming its still around... :drool:

Loz :thumbsup:

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Went for a coule of test drives yesturday, nothing perfect. Theres a white 90 T-bar with 140k for 2 grand near me. Leather seats, a/c etc wadda you reckon? I can have it resprayed for 500 sheets, but is 140k too high? Dan :huh:

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Loz, 140K! Its abit of a starship. Could be a whole can of worms. I'd rather pay an extra grand and wait for a sub 80k T-bar. Don't know about you, but i can't afford to have a car off the road whilst its having work done. Just out of interest, whats the average sort of mile you guys have got. is over 100k normal? Dan

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You know my Budget! But in retrospect I think £2k is a better budget as it allows for some "mods" and I should still be able to find a nice Mk2 T bar with a few miles on her..., Right?

I hope u are kidding.. I dont think there are many good Mk2 T-bars out there for £2K, even with high milage :wacko::wacko:

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You know my Budget! But in retrospect I think £2k is a better budget as it allows for some "mods" and I should still be able to find a nice Mk2 T bar with a few miles on her..., Right?

I hope u are kidding.. I dont think there are many good Mk2 T-bars out there for £2K, even with high milage :wacko::wacko:

There's a good few, trouble is you have to be patient...

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Not been to see either of them, but i have the owners numbers if you want them. They were both white t-bars with leather. one had 140k, the other 95k, at 2.6k and 2.9k both is a little too high for my liking, but im not sure if this mileage is normal. Anyway, if you need their numbers then pm or email me, xr3i_id_rather_walk@hotmail.com

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I would try and get a car with less than 140K, the vehicle I've mentioned in the thread 'Need a new engine, advice...' has a knackered engine on 200K (the car hasn't been driven harder than the average) which gives you around 60K to play with.

Of course not all cars are the same so you may get more or less than this. Remember though at high mileage things like suspension, clutchs, drive shafts, gearboxs get worn, and may need expensive work.

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Dan H - like the email address :D

IMHO, I would try and avoid red as a colour (I know I'll get slated for that), but the 94 one I had was fading and it was taking alot of polish to keep it at bay! I have a 94 GT4 now and it's going the same way.

When checking tyres, note that the fronts wear on the inside alot faster than the outside.

...I ended up getting rid of mine as it had an erratic idle which sometimes stalled, spent £1500 trying to fix it (all the normal bits, and at a main dealer) before I got fed up with it. A bit disappointing as I'd probably still have it now otherwise...

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