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Discussion in 'The Garage' started by xaeniac, Apr 19, 2012.
Wow these things command a hefty entry price. These cars have held their values good.
Yep, shame Honda killed production. I would have to loved to have seen what kind of power a 2013 model would have been able to produce.
Of course, they are fairly 'cheap' to say, for what you get: very unique sports car with top-notch engineering. Arguably best naturally aspirated I4 engine*
* it does have high fuel consumption though
from what I understand , they're not very safe in crashes.
I love the S2000
Summary of common S2000 problems that could significantly affect the value of a car:
Oil banjo bolts were revised
Cracked retainers after mechanical over rev
Spark plug torque issues
Axle nut torque issues
Pops out of 2nd, 4th, or 6th gear
(06+) Dash has bubbles, blisters or wrinkles.
Wheel bearings can go bad and are pricey.
Shifting problems. Don't skip shift
Oil consumption. This is difficult to evaluate prior to buying but potential owners should read up on it.
Soft top tears and holes
Using incorrect jack points
Questions to ask a private seller over the phone:
(A used car dealer would not know the answers to most of these questions, you’re on your own there. If you are buying an out of warranty car from a dealer -don't- take their word for anything mechanical on the car. It's the buyer's responsibility to make sure they know what they are buying, not the dealer's.)
Check the VIN for theft or salvage here.
How many miles are on the car?
How many miles were on the car when you bought it?
How long have you owned the car?
Why are you selling?
Where did you buy it?
What maintenance records do you have?
What recent work has been done to the car?
What work does the car need as it sits?
Has the car been in any minor or major accidents?
When was the last time the oil was changed?
How often is the oil changed?
How often does the oil need to be topped up?
Has it ever been run low on oil?
Casually ask them how long the tires last. That can give you an indication of how it has been driven.
Has the car ever been raced?
Has it ever been overreved due to a mis-shift? This can lead to cracked retainers on AP1s.
Where was the car stored? A garage is ideal.
Things to check before leaving for a test drive:
Bring something to take notes on and write down any pluses or minuses for each car you look at. After you see a few it can be hard to keep them straight without notes.
Ask the owner to not start the car before you arrive to see it. Some problems will only be evident when the car is cold. If you know how to not burn yourself, hold your hand next to the engine or header to verify the engine is cold when you arrive.
Try to get a look at their garage. The condition of their garage can (but not always) indicate how well the owner takes care of their car.
Check for any leaks where the car is parked. Keep in mind there could be funk on the ground unrelated to the car. I prefer to see where the car is normally stored.
Check the oil for level and color. Dark oil is not ideal but can mean it just needs to be changed. Oil below the low mark is very bad. Oil that is cloudy or milkshake colored can indicate a blown head gasket or cracked head and that you should pass on that car.
Check the coolant for level and color (Don’t open the radiator cap on a hot engine!) Coolant that is low is not ideal, but may not be a big deal. Coolant that looks like a milkshake can indicate a blown head gasket and that you should pass on that car.
Look under the oil cap and into the valve cover. Ideally it should look like the oil on the dipstick. Sludge or a milky color can indicate lack of maintenance.
Check the brake and clutch fluid color and level. These can get dirty fast so dark isn’t always a problem. If they are low that could indicate brake or clutch trouble and bills in the $100-300 range at an independent mechanic. Much less if you can DIY.
Look at the battery terminals. If they are corroded that indicates lack of maintenance by the owner. A battery is cheap and easy to replace, but this sort of thing can help you determine if the car has been well cared for or not.
Take a quick look at the tires, especially the rears. Bald rear tires have caused many S2000 crashes, and uneven wear on the tires can indicate anything from bad alignment to parts that need replacing or an accident.
During the initial test drive:
Drive on the highway and around town like you normally would. Shift up and down through each gear. Take the car to redline without abusing it or breaking the law. Try braking from different speeds. Let car decelerate in gear from several gears at different speeds. Pull into a parking space. Use reverse. Try to make it show you any faults.
Does the car start and idle normally when cold?
Does the car start and idle normally when hot?
Do any idiot lights flash or stay on during the drive? Oil, CEL, ABS and EPS lights should warn you of potentially expensive repairs. A flashing oil pressure light (not the AP2 oil quality indicator) is very bad, I would probably walk away from that. The others could cost upwards of $1k or more to repair. Adjust the price accordingly if you're buying a car with these lights on.
Does it shift smoothly through all gears including reverse? There are many causes of S2000 shifting problems ranging from very inexpensive to very expensive.
Is there obvious blue smoke or –lots- of white smoke coming from the tailpipe? Both are probably deal breakers. A small amount of white smoke is normal.
Find an empty road, get up to about 30 in third gear and floor the accelerator. If you can see the engine RPMs climb independent of the car accelerating, the clutch likely needs to be replaced.
On the same empty road, brake from highway speeds with a light grip on the wheel. Does the car pull to one side? If it’s not caused by the crown of the road that could be things like tire pressures, alignment or bad brake calipers.
Is the steering wheel straight when you’re going straight down the road? This is a pet peeve of mine and can be caused by a variety of problems, some inexpensive, some expensive.
Does the cruise work?
Does the emergency brake work?
If it’s an AP1 is there clutch buzz?
Find an empty parking lot and do slow figure eights both forward and reverse. Listen for any strange noises. In a FWD car you can check CV joints this way.
Now park the car and inspect the following:
Now that the car is warm, is the engine making any unusual sounds?
(AP1 only) With the engine off, check the engine serial number for the banjo bolt upgrade. All engines after #1025386 in '02 and all '03 should have the new bolts.
Is the engine serial number is within 10-15 digits of the car’s VIN. If it isn’t, the engine might not be original.
Pull the air filter out, is it clean or dirty?
Is the wear on the steering wheel, pedals, shifter, carpet, seats, etc consistent with the miles on the odometer? This is a good way to confirm that the odometer hasn't been tampered with and can give you an idea of how the owner takes care of the car.
Do all the keys work all the locks and start the car? Do the key fobs work?
Does the top go up and down smoothly?
Are there any holes or excessive wear marks on the soft top? Look inside and outside.
Are the seats worn excessively? These are expensive to replace.
Do all the seat controls and compartment doors work smoothly?
Does the radio work? Stock AP1 radios are garbage.
Look under the dashboard on both sides for non-stock wiring that could indicate modifications. This may or may not be a big deal, but it’s worth being aware of and asking the owner about.
Is there water in trunk or under the trunk tools? Put your hand on the interior carpet near the footwells. Is there any evidence of wetness or water intrusion?
Now take a look under the car
Are there any signs of leaking from the engine, transmission or differential?
Any signs of rust in the wheel wells or underbody? If possible, check behind the rubber strip at the rear wheel arches.
Any damage from bottoming out, accidents, improper jacking, etc?
Torn axle boot, tie rod boots, or ball joints. If a boot is not dry that part probably needs replacing
Exhaust leaks or damage. Leaks can usually be identified by black soot where two exhaust parts join.
Look at the brake rotors. If they are scored with deep grooves the brakes likely need replacing. If you are confident the brakes are cool, you can run your finger over the edge of the rotor to feel how worn they are.
Run your hand along each tire’s tread at both the inside and outside of the tire. Tires can look fine on the outside tread and be worn bald on the inside. Worn more or less in the middle usually means incorrect tire pressure. If the tread feels “choppy” and not smooth there is likely an alignment or suspension problem. This could be anywhere from a $100-1000+ repair, not including the cost of tires.
With the steering wheel unlocked, grab each wheel or tire at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock and shake or push-pull it as hard as you can in and out. If you feel clunks that can point to things like bad tire rod ends or wheel bearings. Do the same at 12 and 6. If there are clunks or strange noises, expect a $100-300 bill at each corner, more if it's wheel bearings.
Check for signs of body work or accidents
Verify that all the VIN stickers are in place and match the car’s VIN.
Look at the S2000 logos on the fenders. Are they lined up properly?
Open the hood and look at the bolts holding on the front fenders. Often there will be paint worn off of these if the fenders were removed.
Same with the door and trunk hinges.
Look at the radiator support. Does the paint look strange or is there evidence of replaced parts? Poor repair work from a front end collision can be visible there.
Look for overspray onto any black panels near a painted body panel. Fender liners and door/windshield trims are good places to look for overspray.
Check door and panel edges for paint lines.
Check the sides of doors or door jambs for bodyshop stickers.
Check that body panel gaps are even. This includes the bumpers.
Look at adjacent panels from different angles and in different light. Poor paint work can show up as inconsistent color or texture between panels.
Check the glass for Honda logos. Glass could be replaced due to minor things like rock chips or it could be a result of theft damage or an accident.
If you're getting a professional pre-purchase inspection:
-Don't- let the selling dealer or private seller arrange the inspection. Take it to an independent shop. Your local S2000 community can help you choose a shop
If possible, get an Engine Compression test done and pay particular attention to the #4 cylinder. Low compression on the #4 cylinder is a sign of oil starvation from hard driving (i.e. AutoX, HPDE Track Days)
(AP1 only) have the mechanic pull the valve cover and inspect for recessed keepers which are caused by cracked retainers.
These are items that came with new S2000s. Be sure to ask the owner if they are included:
Original window sticker
Convertible top cover
2 Master keys
1 Valet key
Radio anti theft card(s)
Key number card
Tow hook and jack tools
Wheel lock keys (if there are wheel locks)
Seat lock keys (If there are seat locks)
Wow great car buying questions for used vehicles. I will be saving this. Thanks a lot.
So why did they discontinue this anyway? Safety? MPG? Demand?
I guess this question applies to pretty much all lower priced rwd 2 seaters...
I need a 2003
I smashed mine into a hillside at redline in second and had nothing but a sore back and airbag powder all over me. Absolutely zero passenger cell damage. Oh, and I had to go looking for my glasses... they wound up on the hood of the car (top was down). ~$14,000 in damage.
They have excellent side-impact ratings and the windshield surround and roll hoops are indestructible.
Mine is worth roughly what I paid for it three years ago, despite doubling the mileage and crashing it.
Is the mpg that bad on these? I've heard that they are pretty good as long as you don't rev them too much, unlike my friends rx-8 which he said got about the same mileage whether you beat on it or not.
This one looks pretty cheap and has a clean title.
I get roughly 26mpg with mine. 85/15 hwy.
And I don't rev much.
Why is skip shifting bad for s2k specifically?
I go from 2nd to 4th or 5th quite a bit when I merge or need a bit of momentary speed.
Differential is weak. Syncros and diff we're roughed up in the ap2 or 2004+ years
06+ has DBW, TCS and stability control which are defeatable.
The engine has forged internals but you have to watch out for valve guides on the F20C (2000-2003)
Soft top will wear out easily where it folds above the seats. They usually just get patched or replaced.
HARDTOPS ARE WORTH $3-5 GRAND
If I found one with the hardtop regardless of color I would buy it.
My favorite color combos were: any year white with red. The 2003 white with tan (only year). Black with the red/black in ap2 years and long beach pearl.
All s2000s will eat tires every 15k, and eat a quart of oil every change or so.
Small things were added year to year but the major notion is buy every even year. 02's got the rear glass window
04's new engine suspension interior
06's DBW, new comfort seats, new steering wheel
08's more electronic tech and more refined
If you wanna track it. Slap 255 rubber in the rear, change the brake fluids and get better pads. More speed on the track just
Great car, when Honda makes them they overengineer but never update it enough to survive
It's just as "bad" as any other car. I've had 3 S2000s and have been skip shifting them all. Never had an issue. I'm sure it's those people who don't rev match.
When I skip shifts, I just double clutch.
As far as gas mileage:
My AP2 got 25mpg combined, My supercharged AP2 got 22mpg combined, my AP1 gets 28mpg combined.
Whoever says the gas mileage is bad on this car, either has a very short commute or hasn't owned one.
Had an 04' - always thought the diff was fine for stock power. Even took it to the track several times a year with no issues, though I did change my diff fluid every year.
I'd definitely get a 02+ just for the rear glass window.
Had rear tires worn out every 12-15K, fronts tended to last at least 20-24K.
Hard to remember but think I got 24mpg mixed driving pretty consistently.
Great car - was getting kind of dated by the end, though I have to say there really isn't an equivalent modern car in the same price range.
I'd still like to own one maybe when the 2004+ get under 14k as a second used car and get a better daily driver to counter
Might just say screw two cars and get a Sti hatch
I have similar commitment issues since I sold the porsche. Just cant decide what the next project is.
Congrats on the sale manimal!
I'm waiting to see what the new wrx is going to be like. Also looking for a small suv for the wife. Still trying to see the best sports car deal under 20k that is cheap to fix, reliable, and provides an engaging driving experience
Lack of torque? I would rather burn myself alive than be forced to shift from 1st to 4th in my 130 HP 5SFE Camry...
In the Cobra on the other hand, I can hit 60 in first as fast as it takes to bounce the throttle pedal off the floor then throw it in 5th and cruise when I don't feel like rowing gears.
I hate you.
No doubt a Miata is way too girly.
I go 2->6 in my MS3.
I could do the same in my '02 6 speed Maxima, but definitely not in my current Civic