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On our walk today, my Special Lady Friend and I happened across a '97 M edition Miata. Some bondo in one door, driver's seat getting crappy, but overall CLEAN. Drove nice, if a little thrashy, new clutch, leaking rear main seal. 236K miles, no rebuilds, fixed as needed. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Not the car in question, but a pretty good approximation:

Crappy aftermarket wheels, yellowing back window. No hard top. Ac blows, but not too cold. Power windows indicate torsen according to my research. It has PW. (Edit: it's power mirrors, but as Keith said, the point is moot)

Fluids look like somebody cared, and still does.

We don't particularly need another project, but I admit to getting the cash before looking at it. $2450 OBO.

I drove it gently, but thoroughly. Surprisingly decent for such mileage. Clean under the hood. Honest, up-front seller. Baby on the way. 

The question is, what is one of these worth in good to fair condition with 235K miles?

I walked away the first time, and can again, so I'm in a fairly strong negotiating position.

I guess what I'm asking is what is one worth?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/13/20 1:43 p.m.

Price depends on where you are, honestly. There are many stories about people buying $500 NAs, but those are a rare, rare beast these days and also they tend to be ratty. Under $2500 for a clean 1.8 with a Torsen? You're in a good place at full asking IMO.

newold_m (Forum Supporter)
newold_m (Forum Supporter) New Reader
6/13/20 2:58 p.m.

Yeah, those are getting harder and harder to find in non-molested condition. I had 97'M edition year ago and that's very pretty color.

Yeah, prices are on the rise. M edition for collectability (maybe), Nice color. Nice guy who took care of it. I think he'd bargain for cash. 1.8 NA, torsen, etc.

Were I to get it, it would be kept pretty darn close to stock. Maybe loose the trunk rack and replace the bondoed door(he said a car rolled into it in a parking lot) repaint stock color, mechanical rebuild as needed. Maybe a hard top. 

Edit: Does the hive agree that M edition with power mirrors should have the torsen?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/13/20 4:33 p.m.

All stick shift M Editions had the Torsen.  No need to try any harder for spotting :)

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/13/20 4:38 p.m.

BTW, that Torsen  is likely an open diff now.  I don't think they lasted very long.  Otherwise, it should keep going for a a while yet, especially with some care on your part.

Expect the usual used car issues with something with those miles: dampers, bushings, drivetrain mounts, suspension joints are likely all worn out.  Brake lines, wheel bearings and CV joints.  Luckily most parts are cheap and you should be able to attack the issues at your leisure.

Keith wrote a couple of good books on the subject, worth picking up along with a Haynes manual.

one thing to look at and replace early would be the radiator as they tend to get ignored until they pop.

Wheels are relatively cheap/easy due to their common bolt pattern and the number of racers moving up in size.

yellowed plastic window can be replaced, but you may need to replace the top.  Ask if they have a hardtop for it as those are worth their weight in gold apparently and make them a little nicer to drive when the weather is a bit less than ideal.

A couple grand would be a decent price for a well cared for example.  Negotiate down for any obvious issues (like bad leaks, bald tires, poor brakes or other drivability issues).

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/13/20 4:40 p.m.

You're mixing up the viscous LSD used on the 1.6 cars with the Torsen. The limited slip components of Torsens are basically immortal.

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/13/20 4:42 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Thanks!  Good to know.

Keith Tanner said:

You're mixing up the viscous LSD used on the 1.6 cars with the Torsen. The limited slip components of Torsens are basically immortal.

Excellent.

New radiator and he thinks, one fan. 

Yeah, motor mounts, rearend mounts, and suspension bushings are a given. Struts, too at minimum, and that engine can't be too long for this world.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
6/13/20 5:58 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

You're mixing up the viscous LSD used on the 1.6 cars with the Torsen. The limited slip components of Torsens are basically immortal.

FWIW, the Spec Miata guys disagree.  How that translates to street use I have no idea.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/13/20 6:07 p.m.

Interesting, I'll have to look into why there's a friction disc of some sort in those things. I initially thought he was talking about the Tochigi Fuji, but there may actually be something in the normal Torsen as well. They're certainly not short-lived like the VLSD.

Youve got to be driving like a bit of a whack job OR have a suspension that is lifting the inside rear wheel for this problem to manifest itself, I suspect. Both of which apply to Spec Miata drivers. 

BTW, at 235k don't assume the engine is too tired. We have a customer who made it to well over 300k turbocharged miles before he had to have the head redone. 

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/13/20 8:19 p.m.

At that price it would already be in my driveway.  

BoxheadTim (Generally Supportive)
BoxheadTim (Generally Supportive) MegaDork
6/13/20 8:26 p.m.
ZOO (Forum Supporter) said:

At that price it would already be in my driveway.  

This. I need another Miata like I need a hole in my head, but I'd grab that in a sec if I spotted it locally.

johndej
johndej HalfDork
6/13/20 8:58 p.m.

Yup, that was a $1500-2k car a couple years ago.but they're rolling up in value. Grab it if you like it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/13/20 9:46 p.m.
johndej said:

Yup, that was a $1500-2k car a couple years ago.but they're rolling up in value. Grab it if you like it.

Maybe where you live. It would never have been that low here. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/13/20 10:13 p.m.

Keith wrote a couple of good books on the subject, worth picking up along with a Haynes manual.

If you buy the books from Flying Miata, it might be possible to have them signed by the author.

Either way, the money goes to FM, so that's a win, especially now.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/14/20 3:04 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Price depends on where you are, honestly. There are many stories about people buying $500 NAs, but those are a rare, rare beast these days and also they tend to be ratty. Under $2500 for a clean 1.8 with a Torsen? You're in a good place at full asking IMO.

Having bought a mythical $600 1.6 Miata in semi decent shape.. I'll still be into it for $1000 before it runs and mine does have a torsen.. but i whole heartedly agree with your sentiment Keith $2500 is solid pricing as long as the car has no major issues. 

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/14/20 3:08 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Keith Tanner said:

You're mixing up the viscous LSD used on the 1.6 cars with the Torsen. The limited slip components of Torsens are basically immortal.

FWIW, the Spec Miata guys disagree.  How that translates to street use I have no idea. 

FWIW spec miata guys are also kind of insane and look to maximize at every possible chance. 

And the video is a Torsen type 2 from the NB. NA's were equipped with a type 1 torsen i do believe. 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/14/20 6:45 a.m.

Buy it.  Non running cars are like $2k up here if rust free. 

I'm still on the fence. The fact that the windshield is cracked was a major hurdle (I forgot to mention). We don't need another car, but yeah, I'm likely to make an offer.

And yeah, I wanted Keith's books even if I didn't own a Miata. I have his Lotus replica book and it is beyond solid. The fact that I could finally buy some Flyin Miata gear is an added bonus.

 

The thit plockens.

We walked by it today, and it had new for sale signs. Didn't think much about it, and came home and called the guy. He still hasn't returned my call. I suspect he had a change of heart and raised his price. That's fair if it is indeed the case. 

I'm just going to play it cool. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
6/14/20 7:41 p.m.
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Keith Tanner said:

You're mixing up the viscous LSD used on the 1.6 cars with the Torsen. The limited slip components of Torsens are basically immortal.

FWIW, the Spec Miata guys disagree.  How that translates to street use I have no idea. 

FWIW spec miata guys are also kind of insane and look to maximize at every possible chance. 

And the video is a Torsen type 2 from the NB. NA's were equipped with a type 1 torsen i do believe. 

I think the type 1 was only 94 and some of 95?

Anyway, not saying that the torsens wear out like VLSDs do, just that with 20+ years of use they don't seem to be quite as immortal as Miata.net conventional wisdom would have said.

 

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/14/20 11:13 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

yeah doing some research the Type 2 in the NB is not as "robust" as diffs like the Quaife ATB which have a lifetime warranty and none of the clutch packs.. but they don't lock.. so unloaded wheels mean they stop working. which explains why torsen would have done things this way. I don't think the Type 1 has anything like this.. the Type 1 by design should lock the moment that the power is applied and both wheels have some traction.. 



 

Carbon (Forum Supporter)
Carbon (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/15/20 9:17 a.m.

https://youtu.be/JEiSTzK-A2A

 

Fyi, if you "wear out" a torsen diff, it probably happens all at once and is in pieces. Theyre not a wear item any more than first gear is. 

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/15/20 10:00 a.m.

In reply to Carbon (Forum Supporter) :

So that video is only relevant to a Torsen Type 1 which is what's shown in that video. 

Torsen type 2 use parallel gears. 

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