Sable daily workhorse

Started by B_Tank88, August 6, 2019, 09:48

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B_Tank88

Hi all,

Been on the forum a while but not showed pictures of my MR2 yet.

I run 2 cars, a weekend car which is currently an E46 M3, and a daily which will do at least 60 miles a day. My daily needs to be reasonably cheap in both purchase, running costs and maintenance.

I have had a 2005 Corsa 1.2 to do this duty for the last couple of years, and in short, it's been terribly unreliable. It has had so many problems from serious to niggles, I've fixed them every time, but they keep coming. I've had enough of it and I'm getting rid now.

So while browsing I came to realize how cheap MR2 Roadster's had become. Not all were cheap, but I felt some bargains were to be had.

It is a 2004 facelift, with 93k. Red leather seats. Pretty much bone stock. So good and bad points when I went to view it:

Good
Bodywork very good condition
Wheel corrosion not too bad
Very little corrosion on subframe
Very little corrosion all around to be honest, mainly just surface rust
Bridgestones on the front
Head unit with bluetooth hands free already fitted. But bluetooth doesn't work!
Plugs, oil and air filter done recently
Coolant very clean
Nappy still there
Drove very well. Brakes straight and true

Bad
NO documentation at all. Nothing
Front foglight broken
Headlights badly faded
Front foglights not working
Continental on rear.. and a Landsail on the other side
Roof has rips. Replacement needed
All clips missing from frunk cover, but jack and wheel present
Countless creaks and rattles from interior
The engine cover prop was in the wrong grommet and couldn't hold it up..(!?)
Handbrake useless

So after making the judgement call, I decided that the bad things were all fixable for a reasonable price, and most importantly the car felt mechanically very good. I felt the important/expensive things were in place. For 1400 pounds.. I had to buy it.

So.. the list of things I have got sorted so far.

New red roof from Jack Smith last weekend
Replaced broken foglight housing
Front headlights restored
Sorted the engine cover prop
Made another remote key thanks for the guide on this forum. I now have 2 working keys with fob
Did handbrake adjustment, pleased to say it has improved tenfold. Did the full remove seats job. However I am suspicious one of the cable is seized..

Things still to do:

Investigate why foglights don't work. Need to check fuse
While I went around replacing old bolts on nappy with stainless steel ones, one sheared. So I need to cable tie this bit!
The bluetooth doesn't work on the head unit because a bluetooth adapter is missing, I need to remove head unit and fit a bluetooth adapter to the back of it

After all this is finished.. I will be completely happy with it for the time being. I just need it to be reliable.. I know there is nothing wrong with it now mechanically, so let's see how it fares. I will be doing 60 miles a day in it, in all weathers. Snowy weather will be interesting!! I need that famed Toyota reliability to shine through!

Furthermore I get 40mpg.. that's very impressive, and it's very difficult to drive this engine conservatively, so I don't!

2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG

jonbill

Good buy. Only remaining thing to confirm is oil consumption!

househead

Nice example for a very good price, I'd say! I paid a fair bit more for mine same year/mileage but tbf it had a fair bit done to it and everything worked out of the box.

Does this car still have the manifold pre-cats intact? That would be high on my list to gut them or replace manifold with an aftermarket one.

Also possibly would suggest a hardtop if you're going to be using it all year / all weather. The heaters in these cars are damn good though!
2004 Sable Red Edition, TTE Twin Exhaust, Toyosports Manifold

Chilli Girl

Ex owners of Chilli red facelift 52 reg called Chilli, silver 55 reg called Foxy and blue pfl W reg MR-S called Sapphire. Now 2 less!

B_Tank88

Quote from: jonbill on August  6, 2019, 10:24Good buy. Only remaining thing to confirm is oil consumption!

Quote from: househead on August  6, 2019, 10:30Nice example for a very good price, I'd say! I paid a fair bit more for mine same year/mileage but tbf it had a fair bit done to it and everything worked out of the box.

Does this car still have the manifold pre-cats intact? That would be high on my list to gut them or replace manifold with an aftermarket one.

Also possibly would suggest a hardtop if you're going to be using it all year / all weather. The heaters in these cars are damn good though!

I had an eye out for smoke during the viewing and didn't see any and haven't noticed any yet, but I'll keep an eye on the consumption. I'm hoping considering it hasn't been a problem for 90k miles it won't rear its head now.. also I thought this was fixed in the facelift? One of the main reasons I was only considering facelift.

The cats are still present and I think it's still original manifold.

I've never had a soft top before so not sure how it will be in winter but I'd hope I can manage with the soft top and the heaters, let's see how it goes.

If I'm honest apart from routine maintenance I don't want to spend much more on the car. I made that mistake with the Corsa and it kept letting me down..
2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG

househead

#5
@B_Tank88 You'll read in many places such as buyer's guides etc that the pre-cat issue was fixed on the FL models, but on here I think you'll get different answers. Some will say the problem was only *really* fixed in the last run of engines (>2006?).

You can gut the pre-cats out of the existing manifold without too much hassle, there is a guide on here somewhere on how to do that. You can also inspect the current state of them with even less hassle by removing the o2 sensors (which you need a special socket for but will only set you back a tenner or so if you don't have it). If you have your heart set on keeping them, I'd at least check they haven't degraded.

My original manifold came off at 96k miles (I bought at 94k). They were not at all degraded on mine, but that's not to say they'd have stayed that way forever!
2004 Sable Red Edition, TTE Twin Exhaust, Toyosports Manifold

jonbill

Most of the oil burners don't smoke, and if you bought of one of the many who rarely use their 2, then they genuinely wouldn't known if it burns oil or not. You though will find out quickly!

Bossworld

Can't have been a million miles from mine from the factory/registration - I also have an NJ04

B_Tank88

Quote from: househead on August  6, 2019, 11:10@B_Tank88 You'll read in many places such as buyer's guides etc that the pre-cat issue was fixed on the FL models, but on here I think you'll get different answers. Some will say the problem was only *really* fixed in the last run of engines (>2006?).

You can gut the pre-cats out of the existing manifold without too much hassle, there is a guide on here somewhere on how to do that. You can also inspect the current state of them with even less hassle by removing the o2 sensors (which you need a special socket for but will only set you back a tenner or so if you don't have it). If you have your heart set on keeping them, I'd at least check they haven't degraded.

My original manifold came off at 96k miles (I bought at 94k). They were not at all degraded on mine, but that's not to say they'd have stayed that way forever!

I like the idea of checking the state of the pre-cats. I had a read on the sticky over here, I will give this a go next week. If this doesn't give me confidence, then I can go the gutting route. That won't cost much!
2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG

1979scotte

1zz oil control ring issue wasn't fixed until 06.
As long as precats are intact oil use isn't a big deal.

You don't want or need a hard top they are no use and get in the way of fun.

Can't belive you've still got the M3 big lardy 5 seater that it is
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Free Ukraine 🇺🇦

Carolyn

Sometimes one should listen to Scotte.  Oil control rings; correct.  Oil use not a big deal; spot-on (can run happily for years using oil).

On hard-tops, on the other hand, don't listen.  I love my soft-top in summer, i can get all the open air enjoyment of my local countryside.  I love my hard-top in winter, it changes the character of the car in a very pleasant way. (Quieter, better rearward vision, stiffer chassis.....)
Perry Byrnes Memorial Award 2016, 2018.  Love this club. 
https://www.mr2roc.org/forum/index.php?topic=63866.0

1979scotte

Quote from: Carolyn on August  6, 2019, 18:27Sometimes one should listen to Scotte.  Oil control rings; correct.  Oil use not a big deal; spot-on (can run happily for years using oil).

On hard-tops, on the other hand, don't listen.  I love my soft-top in summer, i can get all the open air enjoyment of my local countryside.  I love my hard-top in winter, it changes the character of the car in a very pleasant way. (Quieter, better rearward vision, stiffer chassis.....)

I've always thought your judgement was suspect 😜
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Free Ukraine 🇺🇦

StuC

Quote from: Carolyn on August  6, 2019, 18:27On hard-tops, on the other hand, don't listen.  I love my soft-top in summer, i can get all the open air enjoyment of my local countryside.  I love my hard-top in winter, it changes the character of the car in a very pleasant way. (Quieter, better rearward vision, stiffer chassis.....)

As another daily driver. I like using my hard too in the winter months. The soft top can deal with it no problem. I just prefer using the hardtop.
Plus it gives the car another look.

Looks like you have a bargain with you new 2 though. :) 
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B_Tank88

So went to get headlights polished the other day. One now looks brand new, but the other looks milky still, while the yellowing has gone. The guy said come back tomorrow and we'll have another go at the milky one.

Tried it again and still no improvement. Maybe the milkyness is happening from the inside.. any thoughts?

It bothers me now because the other light looks brand new!
2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG

Topdownman

Sounds like a good car for the money. Its done the same mileage as mine and my headlights never really polish up well. People say they detiorate on the inside too on the fl lights because the sunlight reflects back off the reflector. No idea if thats the reason but I think mine are bad inside.

I havent found anything that works to stop them going milky again straight away though so just polish them up once in a while.

I suspect new headlights are the only way for me but put off by the cost!
"Racing" tax disc holder (binned), Poundland air freshener, (ran out), Annoying cylinder deficiency,  (sorted),
Winner of the Numb bum award 2017
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B_Tank88

Quote from: Topdownman on August  9, 2019, 15:18Sounds like a good car for the money. Its done the same mileage as mine and my headlights never really polish up well. People say they detiorate on the inside too on the fl lights because the sunlight reflects back off the reflector. No idea if thats the reason but I think mine are bad inside.

I havent found anything that works to stop them going milky again straight away though so just polish them up once in a while.

I suspect new headlights are the only way for me but put off by the cost!

I'm also put off by the cost, I'll just live with them I think. Can the lens on these not be replaced only?
2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG

Topdownman

People have heated the lights up to split them to polish the inside as the lens are held on by a type of glue/sealant that can be pulled apart when softened. This makes it a bit of a risk so I doubt you can buy lens only.
"Racing" tax disc holder (binned), Poundland air freshener, (ran out), Annoying cylinder deficiency,  (sorted),
Winner of the Numb bum award 2017
Readers Ride

06 not V6 readers ride

B_Tank88

#17
Quote from: jonbill on August  6, 2019, 10:24Good buy. Only remaining thing to confirm is oil consumption!

Quote from: househead on August  6, 2019, 10:30Nice example for a very good price, I'd say! I paid a fair bit more for mine same year/mileage but tbf it had a fair bit done to it and everything worked out of the box.

Does this car still have the manifold pre-cats intact? That would be high on my list to gut them or replace manifold with an aftermarket one.

Also possibly would suggest a hardtop if you're going to be using it all year / all weather. The heaters in these cars are damn good though!

Quote from: househead on August  6, 2019, 11:10@B_Tank88 You'll read in many places such as buyer's guides etc that the pre-cat issue was fixed on the FL models, but on here I think you'll get different answers. Some will say the problem was only *really* fixed in the last run of engines (>2006?).

You can gut the pre-cats out of the existing manifold without too much hassle, there is a guide on here somewhere on how to do that. You can also inspect the current state of them with even less hassle by removing the o2 sensors (which you need a special socket for but will only set you back a tenner or so if you don't have it). If you have your heart set on keeping them, I'd at least check they haven't degraded.

My original manifold came off at 96k miles (I bought at 94k). They were not at all degraded on mine, but that's not to say they'd have stayed that way forever!

Quote from: jonbill on August  6, 2019, 13:36Most of the oil burners don't smoke, and if you bought of one of the many who rarely use their 2, then they genuinely wouldn't known if it burns oil or not. You though will find out quickly!

Right then.. err.. let's talk about pre-cats? :(

First of all thanks to all above who gave me a bit of pressure and convinced me to check the state of my pre-cats. Had I have ignored, I would have randomly ended up with a seized engine I reckon in the very near future.

So, I was due to check the cats today, I had ordered the O2 sensor removal tool earlier in the week and it arrived. Engine was still hot when I got home, and sprayed some Liquid Wrench on the sensors to loosen them up. Fumes everywhere! Looked like engine was on fire.

Fortunately, both sensors came off without any trouble at all. Didn't mess about and went straight for the breaker bar, no problem.

So stuck my phone into the left hand side pre cat first, and took a video trying to get as many angles as possible:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/VUxZiQWcSEpYDVsy5

Looks great!

Next, the right hand side one:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/PnhVus4ZehUsRyU87

Oh **** :(

I checked the oil next. Got the dipstick out, gave it a wipe and inserted it and removed it.

Bone dry.

So, one of the pre cats has a huge chunk missing. There is no oil on the dipstick.

When I viewed the car over 2000 miles ago, there was definitely oil on the dipstick. Probably roughly at the half way mark if I remember correctly.

Big alarm bells sounding right now.. First thought was, I need to get oil in here asap. It is 7:45pm and Halfords closes in 15 mins, I can get there if I leave now. I had to take the MR2, as can you believe it, my Corsa sold only yesterday.

Got there and bought a funnel and 4l of Castrol 5w30 and a funnel. Oil was on offer for half price so that's good.

I had to put in just over 2 litres to get to the full mark on the dipstick. This suggests it had less than half the capacity in if the oil capacity is 3.7l as Google says.

As I've said before this is my daily, and the Corsa was taken away just yesterday. I still have my M3, and the wife's CLS that I can use occasionally.

I got back without the engine seizing, now I'm in deep thought.

What do I do?
2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG

1979scotte

Don't use it.
Either gut existing manifold or buy an aftermarket one.

Monitor oil use religiously and hope its not so bad.

Cars can run fine using oil for years its only when the cats really brake down that the engine is damaged so get them out ASAP.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Free Ukraine 🇺🇦

B_Tank88

Quote from: 1979scotte on August 14, 2019, 05:46Don't use it.
Either gut existing manifold or buy an aftermarket one.

Monitor oil use religiously and hope its not so bad.

Cars can run fine using oil for years its only when the cats really brake down that the engine is damaged so get them out ASAP.

I could probably do this work myself, but I'd have to set aside a good chunk of time for it which I don't have at the moment.

I am based near Leicester, which garages can I contact who can get this work done for me? I'll contact D1 Customs today but if there's any others I'll contact them too.
2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG

Carolyn

D1 customs is not operating at present, which is a real shame 'cos Steve is one of the good guys.

Any decent local family-run garage that is well respected locally can do this work.  You don't need a specialist.
Perry Byrnes Memorial Award 2016, 2018.  Love this club. 
https://www.mr2roc.org/forum/index.php?topic=63866.0

B_Tank88

That's a shame..

I don't actually know any nearby garages, might have to take a punt and start calling around.
2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG

Carolyn

Quote from: B_Tank88 on August 14, 2019, 09:20That's a shame..

I don't actually know any nearby garages, might have to take a punt and start calling around.

Ask you neighbours for recommendations, older folk will all have a regular garage they use..
Perry Byrnes Memorial Award 2016, 2018.  Love this club. 
https://www.mr2roc.org/forum/index.php?topic=63866.0

B_Tank88

Quote from: Carolyn on August 14, 2019, 09:22Ask you neighbours for recommendations, older folk will all have a regular garage they use..

I gave Rogue Motorsport a call as they are only 30 mins away from my work so actually convenient, they will let me supply the cheap manifold from eBay and will charge one hour of labor if everything goes fine.

This sounds ok to me and I have booked it in for ASAP which is Tuesday morning.

I'm going to order the manifold now straight to them.

Now to worry about the oil consumption..
2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG

B_Tank88

So the manifold was swapped over this morning, obviously took longer than expected due to rusty and seized bolts but not too bad.

The pre cats were actually fine on the bottom side, and the debris from the top was nowhere to be seen. This means the engine has already eaten it, no idea how long ago.

So new manifold, new oil and filter, and I'll be keeping a close eye on the oil consumption. It's all a question now of how much damage has been done and if the oil consumption is tolerable or not.

Redeeming factors are the engine sounds ok, it revs well and pulls well. No smoke that I have seen.

I read quite a few reports when researching of people mentioning the pre-cat breakup/oil consumption issue was fixed on post facelift. This mainly why I wasn't as worried as I should have been about this problem.

This definitely isn't the case!
2004 MR2 Roadster Sable/Red<br />2005 Corsa 1.2<br />2003 E46 M3 Coupe SMG