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Discussion Starter #1
Hi y'all,

I sold my daily (07 bimmer 525xi) and am now looking for a car that I can get my hands dirty and have fun with. Below is the description of a mk3 nearby I found on facebook marketplace asking for 6.5k

"1989 mk3 supra hard top. 7mgte/r154. Fresh headwork, OEM headgasket and ARP head bolts. 6 puck clutch. Close to factory except for brand new driftmotion 57 trim turbo. Boss audio double din touch screen radio with new speakers to install. Cube short throw shifter. Has all ac parts on the car but needs new lines and a charge. The front and rear bumper need fresh paint and theres rust in the spare tire compartment, pretty common for these cars."

This seems to be a pretty solid car to me. But it "needs new (AC) lines and a charge" and has "speakers to install,"
1) are these jobs manageable for a beginner? I'm reasonably inquisitive and handy but have no experience working with cars.
2) is this a good deal? Anything I need to be careful when inspecting/purchasing?
3) do you think it important to build relationship with local mechanics? if so where can I usually find them?
4) Any general tips?

buncha thanks!
 

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Do I understand that you sold your daily driver car, a newer more reliable vehicle for potentially an older, less reliable vehicle; and now you are seeking advice on if one car is better than another?

To take it point by point:

1 Yes these maintenance jobs are manageable to beginner but this is my opinion and I can’t cite a source for you. Define beginner and all previous repairs performed.

2 Rust and leaks and then more rust and leaks. I reserve the right to edit this and insert a forum link here: Toyota Supra MK3 as a reliable first car.

3 The car sounds modified so definitely if you’re concerned, I’m also concerned. Start making friends with grease monkeys quick yo

4 Get a reliable daily driver if you no longer own one --> Number one priority.
 

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beginner and 30 year old Japanese cars are a recipe for failure.

Part acquisition for these cars is nearly imposible especially for OEM parts. That AC lines have probably not been made in a long time so you would have to purchase used, meaning that they might also be bad. As always, check with Toyota themselves, there are still some new old stock floating around for certain things and the AC lines might be one of those.

These cars are starting to exhibit electrical failures, meaning you have to have at least some GOOD basic electrical troubleshooting knowledge (basic knowledge of how 12vdc system in automotive application works, how to trace wires, read schematics, etc).

Local mechanics can work on basic items and suspension all day but when it comes to engine. They have to know the 7m and all their shortcomings intimately otherwise it is not going to workout long term.

In short, these cars are not for novice mechanics AND definitely not for your only car. To own an MKIII Supra requires one other car that is your actual daily driver.
 
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As someone who also has an 06 530xi AND an 86.5 MKIII, i can attest that the modded Supra will be more reliable than the Bimmer !!! That BMW is a wiring HELL with it's biodegradable wire coverings !!! $1000 per headlight to replace because of the sheating on wires gone and shorting !!! VANOS crap failing because of wire shorts, DTC wiring bad....

Get the Supra ! The problem with AC lines are HOPEFULLY the O-rings. Get a Honda beater. Supra will b your toy.
Thank me later.
 

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Looks to be fairly decent, but needs a thorough inspection for rust. The passenger side door strike appears to have some rust around it, which may be indicative of a greater rust issue than just the spare tire well.

Also:
are these jobs manageable for a beginner? I'm reasonably inquisitive and handy but have no experience working with cars.
Walk away.

If you lack the knowledge to work on these things you're going to have a tough time.
 

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Here is my concern and opinion. The current owner looks like he went through a full rebuild and put an oem headgasket in but an upgraded turbo what? Why? To me it’s not done right he should’ve went mhg block looks like it was machined I’d be worried he used the wrong bearing too! As clean as it looks I’d walk away and keep shopping..
 

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I would never even consider daily driving a 30 year old car, especially one that has already had work done to it by someone else. The ultimate truth is you don't know the quality of work performed. You don't know how hard the guy drove it. You don't know about all the random leaks, wiring issues, rust it may have or could develop soon. I've heard someone say this before: the best mod for your MK3 Supra is a Corolla to drive every day while the Supra sits in the garage. I love working on my car, but I'd never daily drive it at any point, even when it's "done" (which we all know never happens). Buy the Supra if you want. It's a fun project and is extremely satisfying to make progress on. MK3 turbo R154 cars are starting to go up in value a bit. Don't trash it by daily driving it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow thanks for the replies, what a community! Makes me wanting to buy the car even more just to hang around.

"Don't daily it", yes, point taken. But it's unfortunately unrealistic for me to own two cars - 1) I'm in my mid-20s and insurance is still costly and 2) I usually live in Boston and don't have a garage space for a second car. However being pretty lucky I can work from home most of the time, so I don't have to rely on it a lot. The other question seems to be the scarcity of parts, which makes Mk3 quite un-novice-friendly, especially when I don't know what I'm doing...

I'm really falling for this car, one of the best looking imo and has a lot of potential. But it seems caring for this particular car will be quite a challenge(given what Marios90mk3 said) and requiring a lot of determination - tbh I don't know if I'm up for it. Perhaps if I can find a well maintained one I still have a chance? They seem to cost between $10000 ~ $15000, do you guys think a WTB post would help?

I'm also considering fiat 500 Abarth (~2017) and the new Mazda 3 turbo hatch, love to hear what you guys have to say about those two.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
As someone who also has an 06 530xi AND an 86.5 MKIII, i can attest that the modded Supra will be more reliable than the Bimmer !!! That BMW is a wiring HELL with it's biodegradable wire coverings !!! $1000 per headlight to replace because of the sheating on wires gone and shorting !!! VANOS crap failing because of wire shorts, DTC wiring bad....

Get the Supra ! The problem with AC lines are HOPEFULLY the O-rings. Get a Honda beater. Supra will b your toy.
Thank me later.
So true! The bimmer visits shops more often than I visit pharmacies. If I could find a good local Mk3 mechanic and learn from them it's possible to make a solid car out of it right? Sadly I can't get a beater though...
 

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I wouldn’t say you can’t daily it, but it’s a fair warning that your getting from this forum be prepared to be left on the side of the road and be prepared to spend more time fixing things. I bought mine to daily drive it but I also own 5 vehicles if and when it goes down I simply drive one of the other and can take my time to fix it no problem why because I have some what the knowledge and would due the worn myself.
 

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I wouldn’t say you can’t daily it, but it’s a fair warning that your getting from this forum be prepared to be left on the side of the road and be prepared to spend more time fixing things. I bought mine to daily drive it but I also own 5 vehicles if and when it goes down I simply drive one of the other and can take my time to fix it no problem why because I have some what the knowledge and would due the worn myself.
I think your situation isn't representative of what people here are saying, Mario. Daily drive typically means the only car you have to drive daily. I'd never have a Supra as the only car I own to get me around. And zagreus, I think you're really trying to convince yourself on the Supra. I did the same multiple times when I was still in college. First I wanted to mod the 350Z I drove daily, then I wanted to sink any money I had on the MK3. I ended up waiting until after graduation and picked up the MK3 as my second car. I guess it's just something to think about. Are you going to want to drive the Supra in Boston in the winter? Most people around here who live in colder climates garage their cars in the winter, I'd say. As for learning about the car from a MK3 mechanic, how're you going to do that? I'm still clueless half the time with my car, but I have the luxury of not having to have it run to go to work in the morning. Maybe if you were a seasoned garage mechanic like some of the older guys around here, it would be more feasible. I'm not trying to keep shitting on you or anything, but man, you could end up regretting sinking your money into a problem. It's just a lot easier to have a project car when your life is set up to support one.
 

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When i purchased my 87 Turbo back in 94... it was my only daily driven car. Purchased in Rapid City, SD. I drove that thing through snow, negative weather, hurricanes, torrential rains.

The one thing it never did was leave me on the side of the road. It did have the OEM radiator fail from the plastic top, mechanical fan stopped working, and AC compressor clutch fried. But stranded, never. Of course the car was newer AND I was keeping up with maintenance on it daily. That Supra lasted to about 225,000+ miles before #2 rod bearing ceased to exist in 04 (i pulled slivers of rod bearing from the rod). I kept the car up until 2010 but life had other plans for me.

man i remember the stroker kit... what a dumb direction of me that was to go. lol
 

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man i remember the stroker kit... what a dumb direction of me that was to go. lol
On the bright side, that made me research the whole engine stroke thing and realize that it wasn't a feasible option, saving me the headache and wallet burning. At least I think that was you. Or maybe it was one of the stroker cranks that SIP racing did. I don't remember, but someone else found out the hard way for me.

Regarding the daily driving bit: I daily drove a 600whp 7M MK3 for a few years and I currently daily a mostly stock 87T. It is entirely do-able but you have to consider the enormous skill and experience gap. I had been into MK3s for quite awhile before managing to squeeze 600hp out of a 7M reliably and as you can imagine there wasn't a whole lot of things I hadn't done at that point. And even still, it's a 30 year old car with a large amount of discontinued parts. I had the recent pleasure of trying to track down a hatch glass for my daily and the only reason I was able to get the 87 back on the road is because I had the 89 that I could steal the hatch glass from.

Don't daily it", yes, point taken. But it's unfortunately unrealistic for me to own two cars - 1) I'm in my mid-20s and insurance is still costly and 2) I usually live in Boston and don't have a garage space for a second car.
Hate to say it, but it needs to be said: I don't think you're in a position to have a car that has a high possibility of needing some major work down the road. If you can't afford the insurance, you likely can't afford the maintenance costs. The living in Boston may be your only real saving grace, assuming there is a somewhat functional mass transit system.
 

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...Or maybe it was one of the stroker cranks that SIP racing did. I don't remember, but someone else found out the hard way for me.
Might have been "Adjuster" as I know he was trying on an NA basis. I know IJ got it to work after machining the oil pump shaft down after i confirmed of the interference of the pauter rods. Honestly looking back, for the price it was NOT worth it.
 

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Might have been "Adjuster" as I know he was trying on an NA basis. I know IJ got it to work after machining the oil pump shaft down after i confirmed of the interference of the pauter rods. Honestly looking back, for the price it was NOT worth it.
Wasn't Adjusters build as I remember it being a GTE build. Not sure if it was someone on the forums or just someone on the forums posting on behalf of the owner. Trying to dig through SM to find it but not seeing it, keep getting the 101mm GE build thread....

I do know the Pauters may hit the oil pump drive shaft on the stock crank too, depending on conditions. This has me considering a dry sump setup as I used to run to 8k rpm, but I've done quite a few other things that IJ and Duane didn't do to strengthen things up a bit.
 

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I'm also considering fiat 500 Abarth (~2017) and the new Mazda 3 turbo hatch, love to hear what you guys have to say about those two.

Thanks again!
Personally I avoid companies that get in bed with Chrysler whenever possible, but Mazda? I've yet to drive a Mazda I didn't like. Have had a handful of Miatas over the years, my wife has a Mazda3, and her parents have had a couple different Mazda3's.

My only gripe about the new Mazda3 turbo is that it's only offered with an automatic. I'm sure it drives great, I just love my manuals. If I had to have one car and only one car, and could swing the payment and insurance and upkeep on one... I think a Mazda3 turbo would be highly considered. Great chassis, and that 2.5L turbo puts out some serious grunt. The awd might help ya out if you have to get somewhere in one of those famous nor'easters haha.

But a Mk3 as my only car? I've been playing with these cars for 15+ years now, and know them quite well at this point. They're not a car for a beginner. Don't let me be the one to talk you out of it, but if you do decide to go down this route, know this... it will make a mechanic out of you, one way or another.

Wasn't Adjusters build as I remember it being a GTE build. Not sure if it was someone on the forums or just someone on the forums posting on behalf of the owner. Trying to dig through SM to find it but not seeing it, keep getting the 101mm GE build thread....

I do know the Pauters may hit the oil pump drive shaft on the stock crank too, depending on conditions. This has me considering a dry sump setup as I used to run to 8k rpm, but I've done quite a few other things that IJ and Duane didn't do to strengthen things up a bit.
Bringing up some names I haven't seen in a looooong time... hope all those guys are doing well these days, I haven't talked to Ian in... gosh, probably 8 years now.

As for the dry sump idea, in your case, I think the cost to value discussion is one that we're probably way, way, way past the point of even making any sense, like my car haha. I will warn you that the plumbing is a nightmare, but that could just be my install. Lots of rather large hoses...
 
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s for the dry sump idea, in your case, I think the cost to value discussion is one that we're probably way, way, way past the point of even making any sense,
Oh you have no idea.

will warn you that the plumbing is a nightmare, but that could just be my install. Lots of rather large hoses...
Wouldn't be my first forte with a dry sump system, and this is actually the only reason I haven't dove head first into a setup. I am already tight on space and while I can cleanup and arrange the hoses to have minimal effect on space, I don't have anywhere to put the tank except in the back of the car. That's less than ideal.
 

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Oh you have no idea.


Wouldn't be my first forte with a dry sump system, and this is actually the only reason I haven't dove head first into a setup. I am already tight on space and while I can cleanup and arrange the hoses to have minimal effect on space, I don't have anywhere to put the tank except in the back of the car. That's less than ideal.
I'm not sure whether to offer a high five or a hug, considering we've both passed that point where the costs sunk into our development on our cars was even remotely justifiable... I swear I'm gonna park my Mk3 next to a Ferrari someday and have to face the reality that I could have had an Italian if I had been able to resist he siren's call. :p

On my car, I'm considering moving the tank to where the stock muffler is, and routing my exhaust out the other side. Idea here being that it keeps the exhaust as far as possible away from fuel, oil, and brake lines. However, my car has a fuel cell, which while it presents its own hurdles, it opens up an opportunity for exhaust routing.

If you were to put the tank in the back of the car, where would you even do that on a stock fuel tank car? Or do you mean inside the car? I was cautioned against doing that for the extremely remote risk of a tank rupture.
 

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I'm not sure whether to offer a high five or a hug, considering we've both passed that point where the costs sunk into our development on our cars was even remotely justifiable
Nah it's fine, I'll just, cry in the corner...

If you were to put the tank in the back of the car, where would you even do that on a stock fuel tank car?
Up over the differential, just in front of the axle can fit a moderate sized tank.

Or do you mean inside the car?
Oh hell no. Fluids stay out of the passenger compartment unless the interior is totally gutted and an active fire suppression system is installed in a completely non-street driven car.
 
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