MR2 SpyderChat banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
221 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am shopping for a spyder and had decided on a 2000-2002 car as I like the looks better and it had 15's all around. The wheel size issue isn't important to me anymore as I've decided on a different autocross class, so now I am trying to decide between an early and late car on a more practical basis.

Earlier cars are cheaper.

Later cars have an engine that isn't as prone to exploding.

So, is it worth it to pony up the extra $3k or so to get the newer car for the peace of mind on the engine? Are the early engines really that problematic or do we just see a larger than representative slice of failures on this board?

Any thoughts would be appreciated, A spyder is a big expense for me and I want to make the right choice.

take care,

GM
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
731 Posts
From what I've been reading on here (great information) here are some of the details. I haven't been on here long/owned my 2 long enough to know too much, so some of the older members will be able to give much better details.

03+ are, like you said, less prone to pre-cat failure

03+ (depending on exact manufacturing date) has lower arm bracing that is not present on prior years

03+ = new paint options/colors available, 16" stock rear rims added from factory, new seats, facelift bumpers, trim, color-matched side vents, standard power antennae, standard fog lights, minor changes to dash trim, etc. (no real difference if you're tracking the car anyway, though)

If you want 6-speed SMT with slightly faster shifting , you'll want to find an 03+ (SMT has it's issues, but I think they are over-represented on forums as we really only hear about the negative experiences . . . for the most part, SMT's are very reliable)

03+ also saw new springs and MacPherson struts

There are probably a lot more differences, but I'll let the more experienced guys chime in. Best of luck in purchasing one you like! I would definitely recommend spending the extra on a newer model, but in the end that is up to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,543 Posts
"So, is it worth it to pony up the extra $3k or so to get the newer car for the peace of mind on the engine? Are the early engines really that problematic or do we just see a larger than representative slice of failures on this board?'

Another vote for Yes, unless you buy it from a member here that decatted when the car was relatively new or had low miles. The 03+ cars had an engine design change that reduced the incidence of failure ( I believe it was improved piston rings). If you're spending for the Spyder, get the best, newest example you can find.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,029 Posts
Looking back, I wish I had got an '03+. The engine tweaks, bracing, headlights, tail lights, and facelifted bumpers/side vents are worth the extra cash.

But, when I went looking to buy (and I looked at a bunch) the absolute best example was the one I bought... a 2000. Go figure. High compression figures, intact precats, passed a 5 hour inspection with flying colors.

So I would suggest doing that. Find the car that's in the best shape.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
644 Posts
I have a 2003. i bought it thinking i would avoid engine issues.

when I gutted my precats, slight breakdown was present, and my car burns oil. coincidence? nope

so now that i know, sometime down the line i will need to replace my engine, if i could do it all over again i probably would have bought a 00-02 with a blown engine for really cheap and swapped something in.

i got a super good deal on my '03. but in my opinion, any year spyder you buy, make peace with maybe having to put a new engine in. its a shame, but, thats life
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,750 Posts
No. Buy a newer car if that's the car you want, but the failures are vastly over-represented here. That doesn't mean they don't happen, it's just that people tend not to seek out a forum in order to ask questions about a car that isn't broken. We don't have a "my car is running great!" list. Total failure rate might be in the 1% range and that might even be on the high side.

Even so, it would be prudent to at least check out the condition of the pre-cats in the older car. Only takes a minute. Besides this, I don't think there's any really compelling reason to go with a newer car if the older one suits you just fine. The other changes made were notable, but ultimately do not really change the character of the car. They're not things you can really point to while driving and say, "that's definitely better". I think you could have an equally positive experience with either set of years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,986 Posts
03+ doesn't looke nicer...

03+ has this stupid smile, while my '00 has more of an angry look.

Taillights are nice looking though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,851 Posts
Are you clever enough to replace an engine on your own? If you're seeing 3k difference across the board do the math, 1zz engines aren't exactly expensive If the previous owner has done due diligence and killed the evil precat long ago you should be free and clear of the issue - personally with that much coin on the line I'd take the bet. The nice thing about blowing a 1zz is replacing it with a 2zz anyway.

-Spargo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
221 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
You sound like you money is tight and that in and of itself tells me this is not likely the car for you period. If you do get one then Getting one as new as possible is wise.
I used to have a Lotus and compared to that the Spyder is a bargain, though oddly enough a bit more unreliable. I can afford it if the engine blows, I just don't want to have to.

Logic says to buy a newer car is the better option, but I like the looks of the earlier car better. :unsure:

thanks for all your input, I really appreciate it.

take care,

GM
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
439 Posts
If overall condition between the cars were the same, I would take a high mileage 03+ over a low mileage pre facelift. Also, I believe there were gearing changes so the 03+ gets better gas mileage.

Oh, if you buy a red car, you get extra 5 hp :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,750 Posts
No this is wrong 100% wrong.

Engine was upgraded 03-05 Oil retention rings do not need precats to fail. many here have older cars no precats and oil issues - add that to the 1% of precut failures and it is a much higher number

03+ better bracing and it looks nicer.

04+ you can maybe score an lSD

An 04 is already an 8-year old car with 8-year old problems. Older cars more problems. 12 year old stuff will need replacing ( 12 year old struts, 12 year old water pump, 12 year old alternator, ......)

The newer the better. have a car fund regardless because you will be fixing it as much as modding it.

You sound like you money is tight and that in and of itself tells me this is not likely the car for you period. If you do get one then Getting one as new as possible is wise.
Well, I'd argue that you're 100% wrong. If those 2 sticks worth of "extra bracing" is worth $3k to you, then I've got some swampland you may be interested in. Head on over to Che and spend $30 if you want the same effect, which is very, very little.

As for "might score an lsd", well, that sure is compelling. The possibility of getting something that is not only incredibly rare, but is also pretty much worthless for anyone not driving on a track. Would I take one if offered? Yes. Would I spend $3k more on a car for it? No.

For all the small changes that were made to this car over the years, there is not one thing there which clearly improves or detracts from the experience of the car. It makes the same power, it handles the same, stops the same, and looks pretty much the same. Again, if the older car suits him just fine, I don't see any compelling reason why he should spend $3k extra for a car that will provide virtually the exact same experience. It's not a knock to the new car, but clearly this $3k matters to him, so it makes a lot of sense to consider the older car if possible.



Ultimately, he didn't ask whether or not a newer car is better than an older one. He asked whether the precat issue was so widespread that it would be a mistake to even consider an 00-02. I think saying "yes" to that evidences a very biased opinion based on an absurdly confounded sample of cars from this website. The truth of the matter is, it happens, but extremely rarely. Maybe at or less than 1%. This guy knows what to look for already, so I don't see any problem with it at all. The overwhelming majority of 00-02's are still out there, buzzing around without issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,029 Posts
Breathe in.... Breathe out....

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,317 Posts
best condition

I went with a 2001 as it was a decent price for the excellent condition it is in. 47k and it doesn't burn oil yet. I like the stock engine performance and when the time comes I will replace it with another 1zz. I have added some bracing and bushings and now working on getting Koni struts on it. The MR2 Spyder is a very nice package. When tires are needed I will go with RE-11's and 15x6.5 OEM wheels all round. 195/50's in front and 205's in the back. Mine is a daily driver that I have put 2k on in the last month or so. Any excuse to drive and I am there.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top