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pony5oh 04-06-2009 01:47 AM

New to MKIII's, what to look for when buying
I am new here, and was told you guys would be able to point me in the right direction. I am looking to buy a new project car and am currently torn between a 80's-90's mustang and a mkIII supra. I know mustangs and have had a few, but I currently have an '03 IS300 and love it. I have been super impresed with what boosted toyota inline six's can do...

What should I look for when buying a mkIII? I am going for a turbo model, but other than that what should I avoid or make sure is included? What commonly goes out on them?


mirage83 04-06-2009 02:38 AM

First and foremost, unless you really luck out and buy one that's been really well taken care of be prepared to spend money on it above and well beyond what you paid for it.

BHG's (blown head gaskets) are probably what 7M's are most notorious for. Put it this way, people who've been around Supra's a while say there's two kinds of 7M's... those which have had a bhg, and those which are going to have a bhg. With machining and such, you'll be looking about $600 to replace a head gasket with an oem or equivalent and a set of ARP headbolts or head studs. The ARP's are HIGHLY recommended.

The CT26 is a good turbo, but they definately have a limited lifetime, more so if they've really been beaten up on. Check for both radial and axial play in the shaft of any Supra turbo you consider buying. Chances are that unless it's a recent rebuilt/upgrade it'll have one or both problems. There are some good places to rebuild/upgrade it if it needs it.

The stock exhaust on the MkIII is pretty restrictive. If you want your Supra to breathe properly plan on going with a 3" turbo-back system, to include a divorced or recirculated downpipe. The difference between that setup and a stock exhaust is amazing.

Check for rust: rear wheel wells; in the spare tire well; around the edges of the doors; around the mountings for the radio antenna, hatch wiper arm, spoiler, tail lights, and hatch glass trim. These places are all susceptible to leaks and water accumulation and can rust out pretty badly.

MkIII's commonly have cooling issues. Check and/or be prepared to get a new radiator and fan clutch, making sure that whoever it is sells you the clutch for a turbo model. Having the splash guard for the engine is a good thing also, as it will help with air-flow through the radiator and engine bay.

As I think of other things I'll post them for you.

mirage83 04-06-2009 02:48 AM

More general info...

The targa seals can leak and be a real pita to resolve the problem. If you're going targa you might want to plan on replacing all the seals (4 of them) if the old ones have gouges or tears, or are already leaking though you might be able to work through that by cleaning them and the tracks up good.

Body flex. Again related to the targa top model. With the targa in the body is pretty solid, just a hint of flex and twist. Not as solid feeling as a hard-top, but close. With the targa out, you'll have a noticable amount of body twist and flex. Some people find that disturbing but get used to it since riding with the targa out is just one of those things you gotta do (person opinion).

The TEMS system, active suspension control system. Some people swear by it, others don't care for it. The only shocks which will work with the TEMS system are Tokico Illumina II's, about $400 for a set of four. Now, if the car doesn't have TEMS or you don't care if it works or not, you have a lot more shock choices.

Brakes. MkIII's are heavy for their size and for the size of their brake systems. You'll want to use quality rotors and pads and bed them properly to have good braking abilities. There are even some aftermarket kits to go with larger brake rotors and caliper assemblies.

pony5oh 04-06-2009 03:15 AM

Thanks for the great info!

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