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I'm new to this board and new to Spyder ownership (2 months). After reading/hearing about the pre cat issues I'm hoping someone will have a link to procedure for replacing and a good parts source. I have average mechanical skills and would like to do this myself. Mine is an 02 with 60K miles. All is fine but want to be pro active. Any help is appreciated.
Remember not everyone subscribes to the pre-cat failure theory. More problematic is not checking your oil and running spirited with low oil level
 

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Piston rings on my 2000 pooped the bed around 140k. Car still runs but drinks oil about as fast as it drinks gas. Brand new short block from Mr. T sitting in garage as I collect more parts.
 

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I was going to do pre cat gut, but couldn't get the bolts off. So I asked my subbie certified mechanic to stop over my house to look at the car. He asked why I was doing it, and showed him the posts. He basically said don't do it. If for some reason they did decompose, the exhaust pressure would force them to clog up the main Cat. He said for the engine to suck exhaust back into the cylinders would be for some unknown reason. Something would have to fail with the cam, valves, and pistons for the engine to suck air in through the exhaust. it made sense to me and still have them, and no oil usage.

Now I'm sure others will chime in with their opinions. OBTW pull out the O2 sensors and take a peek at them via the O2 hole
 

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Gutting the OEM manifold costs you nothing while being slightly illegal. I wouldn't recommend it if you are in a state that tests your exhaust gasses during smog tests....the precats play a large part in cleaning your exhaust. If you live in such a state, see if you can buy one from someone here and gut it. That way you have a working precat in case it's needed at smog time.

Headers are a mixed bag and they turn the conversation more performance-oriented. If you can't locate someone else's header to buy and gut, a CHEap header is a decent alternative, but don't expect high quality.
 

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Old guy pre-cat issues

I had about 99,000 on a 2001 when a big clunk noise came from the rear of the vehicle. I stopped, found no dogs, cats or midgets lodged under the bumper. I listened to the motor, sounded okay, no transmission sounds while driving. Life was okay. Then came a check engine light...it was a vacuum code that didn't trigger any catastrophic warnings to the tech...clearly he had never dealt with a Spyder...a few days later, loss of power, oil light....and death.

I never raced it or even red-lined it. Just drove it like a roadster.

Rebuild engine with after market cat (sans pre-cats) in emission free zone. Throwing EVAP codes as it took some custom work for the generic cat, but it drives as well as it ever did, so no worries.
 

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2000 Spyder

Year:2000
Miles:128k
Driving Style:just bought the car
Cats replaced?: no; just gutted pre-cats
Engine replaced?: block just rebuilt
Type fuel used: now using 91; don't know what previous owner would run
Type oil used: don't know what's in there; will start using mobil 1 or castrol syntec 5w-30
Frequency of oil change: don't know how often previous owner changed
 

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Year: 2001
Miles:103,000
Driving Style: robust
Cats replaced?: Nope. All still intact
Engine replaced?: Nope. Original engine
Type fuel used: Regular
Type oil used: Synthetic, what ever I have a coupon for. Mobil one or Shell
Frequency of oil change: 3000-5000 miles range. Usually twice a year.

I change my own oil. I check the oil level often and on all of my vehicles. And since we have a wet sump system in the car, I would never drift it. ( not that I would do so )
 

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Year: 2000 (happened in Sep '14)
Miles: 135k
Driving Style: fair weather daily driver (NC) mostly highway (80-90)
Cats replaced?: not to my knowledge
Engine replaced?: believed to be original, now looking at options
Type fuel used: 87
Type oil used: synthetic (various)
Frequency of oil change: 3-5k

I have read about the pre-cat issue, but am undecided since I don't drive it "too" hard. It always ran great, had great power, started easy...

Toward the end was putting a quart of oil in every other tankful, and monitoring so suspected engine work was potentially looming, but it went downhill very quickly one day.

I am leery of a factory/dealer rebuild, since it seems to me it would likely do the same, eventually. Want something a little stronger with perf exhaust and air intake, but not really looking to go turbo -- yet
 

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Have you researched the 2zz swap?
I have read several of the posts about that topic, and have spoken to a couple of shops locally that were recommended to me. Generally the advice I'm getting there is to replace the 1ZZ with a fresher one, either as is or with stronger internals... My initial thinking was the 2ZZ, so I wanted to see what the pros/cons to both approaches would be.
 

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Are emission testing a concern? I think a 2zz works best with a pfc. I would think a 2zz change would cost more than finding a decent used 1ZZ which I have seen priced at $1500 from a JDM advertised seller. Personally I would not change the internals.
 

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Toyota MR2 Spyder 2001
Stock 1ZZ engine, 5MT
Mileage: 82,000 miles
Precats Condition: Matrix is intact in both precats from o2 sensor hole point of view. Did not check from other side yet. Will be gutted in the next 2 weeks
 

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Year:2002
Miles:91000
Driving Style: 5 times a week for a few miles
Cats replaced?: ~70k miles -
Engine replaced?: no
Type fuel used: unleaded regular
Type oil used: 20w 50
Frequency of oil change: 4-5k
 

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Year: 2000
Miles: 125xxx
Driving Style: Virtual redline at 4k. City+freeway weekend cruising
Cats replaced?: Gutted the precats last week
Engine replaced?: Original engine
Type fuel used: regular 87 octane
Type oil used: Synthetic 5w-30
Frequency of oil change: Unknown as I just got the car about a month ago. Plan to change every 5000-6000 miles

Precat on the left side was perfect, right side's top started to change shape and the bottom just started to disintegrate. No noticeable motor oil consumption for about 5xx miles, engine is still in healthy condition.
 

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I was going to do pre cat gut, but couldn't get the bolts off. So I asked my subbie certified mechanic to stop over my house to look at the car. He asked why I was doing it, and showed him the posts. He basically said don't do it. If for some reason they did decompose, the exhaust pressure would force them to clog up the main Cat. He said for the engine to suck exhaust back into the cylinders would be for some unknown reason. Something would have to fail with the cam, valves, and pistons for the engine to suck air in through the exhaust. it made sense to me and still have them, and no oil usage.

Now I'm sure others will chime in with their opinions. OBTW pull out the O2 sensors and take a peek at them via the O2 hole
Your Subie certified mechanic doesn't understand that the exhaust pulsations can cause ceramic particles coming off the precat to get ingested into the cylinder. I have seen this happen on other engines on the dyno.

Dave
 
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