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Supra Buyers Guide
When you first get there
- When you first get there, ask to see the log book
and match up the chassis number. - If there's anything questionable
here, walk away. - Don't wait for excuses
- Find out what oil the use, and how often (don't
trust their answer unless they have receipts/proof)
- Ask them if they have had any work done to it.
If they have owned it for several years, and say they have done
nothing to it, don't take that as being a completely good thing.
- Ask if it has ever had modifications, and what.
- Make sure it still has the spare tyre, jack and
spanners, owner’s manual, and targa wrench.
- Try to get the repair records - If the owner refuses
any of this, be suspicious.
- With the bonnets open carefully put your hand down
to the exhaust manifold to see if the cars been run recently. -
If it's cold, ask him to start the car up while you're at the back
and look at the exhaust. A small puff of blue smoke is OK, but anymore
than a puff and walk away. If it's cold, expect some white smoke.
It shouldn't be excessive though. If the car is warm, it should
only give a small blue puff at worst.
- If cold, the engine should start and idle at about
1200 rpm for about 2 minutes then drop to 1000 for another couple
and be stable at 700 after another couple. - The engine should idle
smooth and purr happily with no misfires or rattles. (The flywheel
can rattle, but this should go if you press the clutch down. - Indicating
a new clutch/flywheel is on the cards)
- Let the car warm up and continue to stand behind
the car checking for smoke
- Now go back and watch the exhaust for smoke, have
someone blip the throttle, while you watch for smoke, let it idle
between the blips
- Now do the same but have them mash the gas and
rev it up till like 5000rpm or so
- Check all of the fluids; make sure the fluid isn't
terrible. Open the oil fill cap, and look inside for sludge build-up
(you shouldn't see any
- Make sure to test every last switch in the car
to make sure it works (power windows, locks, turn signals, light
switch, dome lights, power seat, cruise control, everything). Use
all the functions on the A/C and make sure they all work. Go from
HOT to COLD A/C and make sure it's getting very hot, and very cold.
If it has a factory alarm, make sure the key-fobs work.
- Check the interior for excessive wear
- Make sure the rear hatch opens and closes fine,
and that is stays up on it own.
- Make sure all the doors open and close smoothly
- When checking under the car for leaks, don’t
be alarmed by an oily sludge on the transmission and differential.
That’s a greasy undercoating that Toyota applied. But check
for fresh oil leaks, and check the rear CV joint boots for cracks.
- If possible, look at the spot where the car normally
parks. Check for fresh oil puddles or spots. If they say their other
car caused the spot, don't believe them if it's a clean 1-2 year
old car they are blaming it on.
- Check the wheel rim, inside and out, for curb rash
or bent rims.
- Check for excessive or uneven wear on the tires
- Check for cheap or miss-matched tires
- Look into the driver side front air duct and you
should see the stock intercooler. For a Jap car it shouldn't be
corroded, but may be dented. Look around here and inside the main
bumper opening for over spray and/or accident damage.
- Look under the rear of the car. You should be able
to see most of the exhaust system, check for undercarriage dents/scrapes.
Again look for overspray/accident damage.
- Look to see if all the little plastic panels and
parts under the car all line-up, and are attached, and that paint
is not where it shouldn't be (cracked under trays are not uncommon,
don't be alarmed). Spend a fair amount of time on the ground; don't
be afraid to get a little dirty. Also all the major body panels
have the original VIN number visibly stuck on them, make sure they
are all still there and are the right number. Look for missing,
non-original, or out of place fasteners. All these things are possible
signs off a collision.
- Check the condition of all the exposed rubber on
the suspension joints
- Make sure the gaps in the body panels are all even,
if it has a badly fitted kit, it could be a badly fixed crashed/damaged
- Walk all around the car, and look at each panel
at different angles. Looks for small dents and dings, and make sure
the paint matches all around.
- Look over the paint condition very closely
- Another good place to specifically check for overspray
is on the plastic surrounds on the side windows. This is such a
difficult area to mask and evenly get paint into that a simple run
of the finger just under the plastic will reveal a rough (over-sprayed)
- Check around all the glass to see if it has been
replaced. Check the manufacturer information on the glass to see
if they are all the same.
- Make sure all the exterior lights work
- Check the headlamps for cracks, fogging/yellowing
especially if it’s an Import (UK Car does not have this problem)
- Make sure the power steering is smooth and quiet
- Now have a friend follow behind you in another
car while you go for a test drive
- Have him watch for smoke while you drive-Put it
in 2nd gear, let the rpm drop to about 1500, and then stomp on it,
and stay on it till redline, and then let off. Your friend should
be watching for "grey/blue smoke". Just grey/black smoke
- Smoke at cold start-up, leaving a traffic light,
or throttle blipping from idle is valve stem seals. Smoke under
boost, or after letting off of boost, or maybe when revving full
throttle, is turbo seals. Smoking for no good reason, or if it doesn't
stop pretty quickly is piston rings (may get better or worse when
- Your job while at full throttle in 2nd is making
sure the turbots boost fine (smoothly), that you can feel full boost
by 4000rpm or near it, and that you don't hear bad noises (slight
turbo whistle/whine is ok, if it has an intake it will be noticeable)
- Use all the gears in the transmission, and make
sure it shifts fine (if it is a 6spd, it is going to feel and sound
clunky too you, that’s normal. If the transmission makes "ball
bearings in a can" sounds at idle or low speeds, that is 2-piece
sprung flywheel and is normal)
- While driving with the windows down, listen for
clicking or popping noises coming from outside the car. (A POP when
starting or stopping, or making a sharp low speed turn (maybe up
a hill), is the drivers side engine mount. A clicking sound under
initial mild acceleration or deceleration, that lasts for only a
second or two then stops, and sounds exactly the same regardless
of speed, is the rear upper control arm bushings. A clicking that
changes with speed is wheel bearings)
- Make sure the brakes work smoothly and reasonably
quietly. When coming to a stop take your hand slightly off the wheel
and make sure it stays straight.
- Make sure the car tracks straight on flat roads.
- A creaking noise from the hatch when turning up
hill means it needs rubber hatch bumpers.
- Rattling from above you means the targa is loose
(make sure the targa bolts loosen, and tighten back down smoothly)
and make sure the targa wrench is there.
- If you can really smell the exhaust when coming
to a stop, it has no cats
- If when flooring it, the car pulls smoothly till
~4000rpm, and then rockets forward like getting hit with a truck,
then it's BPU and not stock. If you can hardly feel a change over
from the 1st turbo to both, then it's stock.
- When you drive the car, the first turbo should
be noticeable as a whistle, and the 2nd turbo should come in at
3800-4000rpm. You shouldn't be able to hear either turbo at high
rpm. The engine should be louder! - It's normal to get a slight
hesitation as the 2nd turbo comes in but it should be very minor.
- If you can, get up to 100 mph and apply the brakes
consistently down to about 40 mph. You should feel no judder from
the wheels or pedal. The Jap brakes warp easily
Try to take a level-headed friend with you who
you can trust. This may sound like a lot to do, but really it's not,
most of these things take no more than a second to do. Make sure to
always go look at a car on a bright sunny day, and make sure you and
the seller will have plenty of time (don't rush anything) Any problems
you find (and your likely to find a few) should not mean you shouldn't
buy the car. But you need to know what you are getting into, and whether
the price is reasonable. Always negotiate. People are almost always
willing to come down some on their asking price. And be prepared to
walk away as hard as it may be.
I hope you may have found this guide
of some use.
If you bought
the car. Go And Enjoy It!
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