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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys. I’m trying to get my hands on a 2003 MR2 spyder. Went to check it out. Looks great, not much wrong I could find. But the steering does fell weird. I’m new to this kind of old school sport cars so I’m not sure if it’s how it’s supposed to be, or somethings wrong with the electrical power steering system. The steering is hard, and it’s not smooth. It hardly returns to the center by itself also. I’d appreciate any help since I’m really excited to join the MRS club. Love the car.
 

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Must be something wrong with it. The Spyder uses an electric powered hydraulic pump and full hydraulic power rack so it feels like any good hydraulic setup.
 

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Hi guys. I’m trying to get my hands on a 2003 MR2 spyder. Went to check it out. Looks great, not much wrong I could find. But the steering does fell weird. I’m new to this kind of old school sport cars so I’m not sure if it’s how it’s supposed to be, or somethings wrong with the electrical power steering system. The steering is hard, and it’s not smooth. It hardly returns to the center by itself also. I’d appreciate any help since I’m really excited to join the MRS club. Love the car.
That sounds like the rack itself is bad. I had a car that the rack went out on and it would stick wherever you turned it. It was kinda funny but a PITA for sure and a bit dangerous actually. Had to constantly correct it on the highway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you. That’s what I thought also. It feels like there’s air in the system.
Must be something wrong with it. The Spyder uses an electric powered hydraulic pump and full hydraulic power rack so it feels like any good hydraulic setup.
How hard
That sounds like the rack itself is bad. I had a car that the rack went out on and it would stick wherever you turned it. It was kinda funny but a PITA for sure and a bit dangerous actually. Had to constantly correct it on the highway.
How much did it cost you to replace it? The dealer is asking $15k, 2003 with 66k miles. I got them down to $13500 but if it’s a bad rack I need to get them down even more lol. I was hoping it was just some air in the system
 

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The power steering should only be active at low speeds, and should substantially disengage during highway driving. If the steering is noticeably hard when turning corners or parking, then the PS is probably inoperative. Any problem with highway handling characteristics is likely to be due to tires or alignment. I suggest that you make sure that those are right before you dig into the steering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The power steering should only be active at low speeds, and should substantially disengage during highway driving. If the steering is noticeably hard when turning corners or parking, then the PS is probably inoperative. The highway handling characteristics that you describe, such as steering not centering, is likely to be due to tires or alignment. I suggest that you make sure that those are right before you dig into the steering.
The power steering should only be active at low speeds, and should substantially disengage during highway driving. If the steering is noticeably hard when turning corners or parking, then the PS is probably inoperative. The highway handling characteristics that you describe, such as steering not centering, is likely to be due to tires or alignment. I suggest that you make sure that those are right before you dig into the steering.
We’ll actually I didn’t even get onto the highway 😂. The steering feel was so bad I didn’t even want to try it. It’s hard and it’s not smooth, like I have a mustang and it’s also hard but it’s smooth. The steering on the mr2 I tried out was hard, and there were hard spots when you steer.
 

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.... I got them down to $13500 but if it’s a bad rack I need to get them down even more ...
You have no idea about the rack until the power steering is working. And this is a dealer that is trying to sell you a broken car? FFS! :oops: I would not touch it unless they are willing to fix it first, let alone lay out over $10k. Then at least you could take it for a meaningful test drive.
 

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Yeah tell them the PS is broken and have them fix it. Can you hear the whine of the PS pump from under the front hood, between the spare tire opening and left tire?
 

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A Spyder probably shouldn't have a steering problem at 66,000 miles. It would be wise to get a Carfax or other history on the car to verify it hasn't been in an accident or had other damage. At the asking price, I wouldn't focus on them fixing the problem, but finding why it has the problem in the first place. It could be the tip of an iceberg of issues.

The question on any relatively low mileage car is why does it have low mileage. 66,000 works out to about 3,500 miles per year which wouldn't be unusual for a car driven just for fun in nice weather, but it is possible the low miles could have other causes, like a long period in storage, or being repaired.

As the value of low mileage cars goes up, there is a incentive to resurrect and refurbish less pristine cars. A common issue in the old muscle car world is faked cars, or cars rebuilt from wrecks. There have been a couple low mileage "clean" Spyders show up with parts from the wrong years, like 2000-2002 seats in a 2003, or a Carfax showing a car got almost 0 miles for a couple years. Was it sitting in a barn, or waiting to get repaired?

As for the problem itself, it isn't all that odd to have weak self-centering as our Spyder does self center, but not strongly because of the alignment. But it should be nice and smooth through the full turning radius.
 

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How hard

How much did it cost you to replace it? The dealer is asking $15k, 2003 with 66k miles. I got them down to $13500 but if it’s a bad rack I need to get them down even more lol. I was hoping it was just some air in the system
That car I sold but but the 2003 rack is between 300 and 400 off RockAuto. And you will need the car aligned.
 

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My 2001 has about 170k on it. The power steering is smooth and fairly light. I have driven it from a push start which didn't activate the PS pump. The steering was very hard but smooth.

I would have the dealer fix the issue before spending 13.5k or walk away. I have found from my impatience that another one will always show up.
 

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There's 1 screw/bolt on the steering rack that adjusts how strongly the pinion comes in contact with the rack. It's hard to adjust it without trial and error. I've screwed it too tightly before, and it makes turning the wheels much harder, and prevents the wheels from returning to the center. If someone messed with the steering rack, this might be the problem. It's a very simple fix. Just loosen it a bit. That red circle:
Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive exterior Gas Auto part
 

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The question on a 66,000 mile car isn't what is wrong, but why is anything wrong? The stock steering system is very reliable and should require no maintenence at that mileage.
 

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The question on a 66,000 mile car isn't what is wrong, but why is anything wrong? The stock steering system is very reliable and should require no maintenence at that mileage.
Zero maintenance on most of these units until an accident. Hell, mine still has the original fluid at 150k miles. If/when it craps out I will be converting to a Prius electric assist with an aftermarket GPS/Accelerometer based variable assist controller. They are all over eBay. Its a pretty common thing for hot rods.
 
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