Buying My First MR2

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HenryVIII
Posts: 2
Joined: 06/08/20 18:38

Buying My First MR2

Post by HenryVIII »

Hello,

I have experience owning various 1960s cars in my early twenties, but now I'm in my late twenties, I want something fun, but more reliable and less prone to rot than the cars I'm used to.

I was initially looking at MX5s, but MK2s/NBs seem to all suffer with rot worse than my 1960s Triumph, and even the MK3s/NCs I've seen are quite frilly, unless you look at ones approaching £4k, and I don't really require all the refinement and equipment that you are partly paying for.

So that's when I started looking at the MR2 MK3, and thus have the following questions:

1. Do MR2s really rot significantly less than MX5s?
2. Pre-cat; I know there's lots out there on this, but I'm still not clear. The pre-facelift cars are much cheaper (and therefore more appealing), but why is this? Wouldn't most car over around 60k miles have had the pre-cat removed or replaced with a less fragile system by now? If not, how much would it cost to get this sorted?
3. Related to the above question, but I've also heard about these cars burning oil, so are these cars really that reliable? I don't want to be rebuilding engines or replacing them, I just want a car I can buy, service and drive.
4. A slightly more trivial point, but is it possible to get a luggage box for these cars, for when I want to do camping trips?

Many thanks in advance!



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MR2DI4
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Re: Buying My First MR2

Post by MR2DI4 »

The MK3 is like many of your exwives Henry need I say more ?

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SonicSW20
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Re: Buying My First MR2

Post by SonicSW20 »

1. I've seen a lot more rusty MX5's of the same era than Mk3 MR2's.

2. Prefacelifts are more likely to suffer from oil burning issues (facelift is not immune though), and are older so will always be cheaper. Precats are for warm up emissions, so you will not have issues with MOT emissions if you removed them. You can replace the manifold with a stainless steel item, or simply break up all the material in the precats and remove them that way. If you do that you must ensure you get all the material out.

3. 1ZZ is generally reliable, but earlier models do have issues with oil supply due to the piston design. This is rectified in later models.

4. Storage in them is useless. The front storage is near useless if you have the spare tyre in there, and the space behind the seats is limiting. Engine lid mounted rack would be the best option if you need the space.
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Topic author
HenryVIII
Posts: 2
Joined: 06/08/20 18:38

Re: Buying My First MR2

Post by HenryVIII »

SonicSW20 wrote:
07/08/20 13:12
1. I've seen a lot more rusty MX5's of the same era than Mk3 MR2's.

2. Prefacelifts are more likely to suffer from oil burning issues (facelift is not immune though), and are older so will always be cheaper. Precats are for warm up emissions, so you will not have issues with MOT emissions if you removed them. You can replace the manifold with a stainless steel item, or simply break up all the material in the precats and remove them that way. If you do that you must ensure you get all the material out.

3. 1ZZ is generally reliable, but earlier models do have issues with oil supply due to the piston design. This is rectified in later models.

4. Storage in them is useless. The front storage is near useless if you have the spare tyre in there, and the space behind the seats is limiting. Engine lid mounted rack would be the best option if you need the space.
So in essence if I buy a post-facelift model, and get the pre-cats replaced with a new manifold, it should be pretty bullet proof? Any idea on costs for parts and labour for having the precat replace with new manifold?

In terms of on boot storage, is there any issue with luggage getting very hot or it restricting ventilation from the engine below?

Thanks

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vinp182
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Re: Buying My First MR2

Post by vinp182 »

Just do the usual checks for rust that you’d do on any other car. Rear subframe and in the frunk under the plastics are known for getting rusty

Age doesn’t really make a difference for rust. I’ve had a 2005 in the past and it was by far the worst condition mk3 I’ve ever had
Cars suck donkey balls


themissingelf
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Re: Buying My First MR2

Post by themissingelf »

I went on exactly the same car buying journey just over a year ago. I year anniversary of owning my 94k mile MK3 (£2k paid) and I have no regrets.

Inspected several MX5s of various versions - all rusting or showing signs of poor repair work. The thing that finally put me off is the MX5s propensity to rot from INSIDE the box sections so you don't see the problem until it is too late. Also, due to their popularity, they tend to be more expensive than a good MK3 MR2.

In terms of driving... MR2 Mk3 is excellent. I was set on the MX5 for it's "classic" look and cabin before I took the MR2 for a drive and was instantly won over by the MR2!

The MK1 MX5 is definitely a nostalgic drive. Mk2 is dull. Mk3 is less involved - the more numb feel of a modern car.

MK3 MR2 is just such good fun to drive. Spent a straight six hours out on an evening drive recently, enjoying the sunset etc, and every minute was just spot on! FWIW - I'm in my 50s and have owned many cars - MR2 is probably my favourite of all of them - including some owned from new / nearly new; closely followed by my previous favourite - an Opel Manta GTE Coupe.

Buy facelift version. Check rear subframe/crossmember. Check for crash damage (they're lively in the corners and I'm fairly certain a fair few have spun and gone tail end first into the undergrowth). I'm not an expert but believe the panel stickers missing / not matching are a giveaway. Also... Check for damp in the cabin and, if it smells funky, check for water in the bins behind the seats caused by the drain plugs for the soft top not being cleared (easy job - just gets neglected). After that, all the usual 2nd hand car checks.

(My only complaint is the cabin smell in mine. May just be the way they smell - kinda old car with leather interior and a soft top. Having eliminated many possible causes I'm not concerned it's caused by anything serious if anything at all.)

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