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racer_ace None
7/10/08 9:08 p.m.

Howdy all. This is my first post so please take it easy on me. I am a long-time reader/subscriber to the mag and have been visiting this site for quite sometime. Great suff!

What is the consensus on the Ford Probe GT V6 / Mazda MX-6 V6 (LS I think?)? Are they decent for local club auto-X STS competition? Are there any issues with the 2.5 V6? I am looking for a relatively inexpensive (<$3500) vehicle that I can dedicate to fair weather use, auto-x, and track days (HPDEs). I want a vehicle with a weight to power ratio of <17:1 in stock form. I have always been intrigued by the Probe GT and the MX-6 as they are one of the few front drive cars available in my price range with a V-6 and manual tranny.

Do any other cars come to mind given my budget and weight to power ratio requirement? I know, Miatas are close and I like them but I really want a tin top. Being a Honda guy at heart a 4th Gen Prelude Si would meet my weight to power ratio requirement. However, they all seem to be severely rusted, beaten, and punked to death in the CT area.

Thanks in advance for your input.


joshx99 New Reader
7/10/08 9:43 p.m.

I had a buddy that autoxed one in college. He did pretty well locally. Overall, it seemed like a decent all-around car. Have you considered a Taurus SHO? It'll punk the Probe in any competition.

ReverendDexter New Reader
7/10/08 9:47 p.m.

Hearsay around me is that the 2nd gen probe GT is a vastly under-rated car.

TOZOVR New Reader
7/10/08 10:12 p.m.

I love my SHO but she's a big Gal...After every event I wish for a contour SVT LOL! Was actually just considering a swap for a '94 Probe GT but the wife put the kybosh on that!

ReverendDexter New Reader
7/10/08 10:18 p.m.

Best... license plate... EVAR

924guy HalfDork
7/10/08 11:06 p.m.
ReverendDexter wrote: Hearsay around me is that the 2nd gen probe GT is a vastly under-rated car.

Agreed... I Had a manual GT , loved it.. easy to work on and upgrade, very quick and fun to toss around. about the only complaints i had were that it was a bit nose heavy, and with low profile tires i kept smashing the lower belt tensioner which was a pita on my daily commute . issues could have been car specific though the prior owner made more than a few dumbass "upgrades" i had to reverse. sold it before i got to looking into the suspension issues. there was relatively local "probe" car club that liked to tear it up on public roads, and i kept getting pulled over because of them (bad for the daily commute.) sold it to one of those guys actually.. ;) the auto seem to have issues... manual tranny is a must with them. 4 cyls are dog slow , bought one of those brand new off the lot way back when, my ex probably still has it, didnt bother to fight her over it...

GlennS HalfDork
7/11/08 12:09 a.m.

tons of fun. Very under rated. I think the 2.5l V6 can have oil starvation problems on cylinder 6 if let the oil get low. If you get one keep a very close eye on the oil for the first couple of weeks.

Wowak Dork
7/11/08 2:06 a.m.

I had a 97 Probe GTS with a 5 speed and I REALLY liked it. I don't know just how great of an autoX car it would be, but its certainly a fun driver.

1967cutlass New Reader
7/11/08 3:03 a.m.

I say go for it, great cars. Little heavy though.

Feedyurhed New Reader
7/11/08 6:37 a.m.

My son owned a Probe GT a few years ago and had the waterpump go bad. It was the most ungodly difficult thing to change. The engineers should be shot. The V6 sat sideways with about 1/2" between the pump and the wheel well. We ended up taking the wheel off, the inner fender out, unbolting the enginge from the frame and jacking the engine up to give us clearance. Took us all weekend and we had to buy about five extra tools for the job which I have never used since and probably never will. Sorry, it shouldn't have but that soured me on Probes forever. We shortly there after sold that little beast.

Xceler8x Reader
7/11/08 7:05 a.m.

How about a 1993 - present Nissan Maxima? Not quite as sporty but (nowadays) lightweight, anvil reliable, with a V6 that is chain driven so no timing belt changes.

AngryCorvair HalfDork
7/11/08 10:16 a.m.

Yes on 2nd-gen Probe GT. A couple friends bought them new, and I bought one of those cars in '04 with 142k on the odo. I had to replace the timing belt tensioner strut -- a common failure on these cars at about 120k -- so I did the TB and idlers while I had it apart. Four years and 59k later, it's due for another TB. As notes, it's a very tight package on that side of the engine compartment, and I'm not looking forward to doing the TB and WP job.

It gets 25mpg being driven like a getaway car, and sings easily past 7k rpm every day. With 200k on the odo, it doesn't rattle or smoke.

I drove this car from MI to FL for the $2006 Challenge. When I left my house it had 179k, when I got home it was at 181k. The only non-stock parts on the car were the Porterfield brake pads and the Hoosier A6 autocross tires, and the car placed 16th out of 62 in the autocross. It also went 15.124 at 89 in the drags on the autocross tires, with a full tank of 87 octane because I'm not very smart.

BITD, Danny Shields won several national championships in an MX6.

They offer a lot of performance for the dollar.

the white '96 200k daily driver

the black '94 that i flipped to another GRMer

atlantamx3 Dork
7/11/08 11:51 a.m.

Take that Awesome 2.5L v6 and put it in the MX-3 GS for an even more fun car.

It literally bolts in and plug and play. Same engine mounts, same everything.

For more fun, put the JDM KL-ZE version in.

200 ponies and 160+ lb ft of torque FTW!

belteshazzar Dork
7/11/08 3:14 p.m.

but then what do you put in your jdm car?

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
7/11/08 4:04 p.m.


isinc None
7/11/08 7:28 p.m.

Yes. I have a 97 GT as my dd that will not die. 355000 kms and counting. It's a fun car, and more reliable than my Mazda P5.

I also average 8.5l/100km (sorry don't do imperial) on my mostly highway commute, which is astounding considering how much welly I give her.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/11/08 8:37 p.m.
They offer a lot of performance for the dollar.

And they look good, too.

racer_ace New Reader
7/12/08 12:24 a.m.

Thanks everyone. I will definitely go check out a Probe GT / MX-6 V6! I must say that in my opinion the Probe is the better looker of the two.

TOZOVR's 1st gen SHO is sweet. I had not thought of an SHO as an option. I will have to see if I can find one to test drive.

One the other hand I have thought a bit about Xceler8x's suggestion of a Maxima. The low maintenance VQ V-6 sounds nice. I just assumed that the Maxima's length, high center-of-gravity, and "multi-link beam" rear suspension would make it cumbersome around the cones. Can you lower a Maxima much without dissrupting how the "Russel Link" (correct?) in the rear suspension functions? Will lowering the car cause a suspension bind problem?

fastEddie Dork
7/12/08 7:53 a.m.

I looked for a Probe GT recently when car shopping but couldn't find a stick version. Ended up with a '99 Maxima 5-spd.

Oh, and Maxima.org is your friend - I'm still learning about them myself.

Xceler8x Reader
7/12/08 8:14 a.m.

Here is a good discussion on Maxima.org about racing suspension setup on a Maxima..

belteshazzar Dork
7/12/08 8:27 a.m.

I think a max hardly weighs more than a PGT

Greasyman New Reader
7/17/08 11:10 a.m.

There's a guy I've seen around with a MX-6 that he paid about $2000 for who does really well at autox. I don't know what class he runs in but he's very fast, and afaik the car is not at all modded, he even told me it needs struts. I do think however that he's very fast in large part because he's an exceptionally good driver. Still, even a great driver can't go very fast in a crappy car, proves the MX 6 is a good tool for the job.

Nitroracer Dork
7/17/08 1:12 p.m.

I was driving a 96' PGT up until a few weeks ago and it was a great car once I got all the maintenance done on it. It got me 27mpg on average, did good in the snow, gobbled up almost all of a dorm room and was still fun to drive. I didn't have the need for space anymore so now Im in an NA miata and I do long for an easy way to swap the KL V6 in, I swear it revved faster than the 1.6L in my miata.

Ryan9118 HalfDork
7/17/08 1:45 p.m.

I think the Probe's are sweet cars. Some people don't like the looks, but I think they're pretty sleek. The V6 sounds awesome, and it revs high. I don't think very many people realize it, but the Probe GT's rival Integra GSR's of the same years. I found a comparison road test from Motor Trend on it. Stock for stock the Probe is slightly slower to 60, faster in the 1/4, has slightly better roadhandling, better brakes, and just barely loses out in the slalom. GSR's are pretty decent cars, so for a Probe to hang with it is pretty good.

The article and a few others are on this page. http://www.alabamaprobes.org/alpoc7.htm

And if you wanna see how sweet they can sound, look for videos of the "ReidSpeed" Probe GT on Google Video. His car is stripped out, and it has the Mazda KLZE motor, but apart from the 500-RPM higher rev limit the motors should sound basically the same.

GlennS HalfDork
7/17/08 2:23 p.m.
Nitroracer wrote: I was driving a 96' PGT up until a few weeks ago and it was a great car once I got all the maintenance done on it. It got me 27mpg on average, did good in the snow, gobbled up almost all of a dorm room and was still fun to drive. I didn't have the need for space anymore so now Im in an NA miata and I do long for an easy way to swap the KL V6 in, I swear it revved faster than the 1.6L in my miata.

hold up, are you saying you wish it was an easy swap or that it is an easy swap? A KLZE into an na miata would be..... fun.

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