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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Hello is300 world

My name is Andres I'm a Los Angeles native I'm not a certified mechanic but I've been working on cars since I was 17. I always like working on cars, and try to squeeze in some wrench time between getting yelled at by my wife and listening to my child cry. LOL those are minor things in daily life, and brings me to my next major topic.

So I just bought a 2001 is300 that needs some love. I've owned the car for 3 weeks and it needs a smog to finish registration. I bought it because I know about the cast iron block, forged crank, and reliability. The 2jz is a tank! It's a salvage car and it's bound to have some surprises. During the test drive the car drove straight with a slight rattle coming from the front, oil leak, and the rear passenger window has trouble rolling up and down, the key is busted and was crazy glued back together. Lmao the frame is straight, I checked the frame rails engine mounts and rear diff mounts and looked good. So I pulled the trigger and got the car for a reasonable price.

I drove it for a day and it hurt me. How some people mistreat and abandon cars. These machines are built beautifully and with good care they can last a lifetime or more.

So I was able to jack up the car after the first week. The wheel bearing was busted passenger side, a control arm was busted in driver side, I now see the crank and cam seals are the origin of the engine oil leak. The guy I got the car from said he fixed the rack and pinion so that looked good. So I started on the wheel bearing took off the spindle and took it to pepboys to have the bearing pressed out and new pressed in. the next week the control arm came in from Amazon it was a mission to get the new arm back on. I watched some froggy guy on YouTube and that helped me after a hour of looking stuff up.

I originally bought some figs bushings for the lower control arms but I didn't swap them because I don't have a press and I was only able to have a flat space to wrench for 4 hours and pepboys could only press them two days later. A giant failure but I just changed the arm and the OEM bushing and called it a day. I feel like the suspension is all sorted now and contemplating if I should do the seals. I'm in Los Angeles and mechanics charge more that a visit to a specialist doctor at UCLA lol. Should I let the is300 go and get a more solid platform? I have a figs bushings and a water pump kit sitting around that came in yesterday. I'm just thinking.... If I can get a turbo on this..
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 04:46 AM
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 02:25 PM
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Well the IS is a solid platform, but I guess everyone has a different criteria for that. But all cars age and need work after enough miles. It's just a matter of what car you get, and how much work/money you're willing to put in it.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 10:54 PM
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I'm just thinking....If I can get a turbo on this..
I'd bet this is all you were thinking about when you bought it in the first place.

There is a reason the car is so cheap. It is expensive to modify and even more expensive to do it well. It totally depends on your needs. Do you have money to build it? A place to do so? Access to tools? Lift? Time? It's not as simple as "because its got a 2jz it must be like a supra".

I do hope you can make the best of it as they can be a lot of fun.

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I'm in Los Angeles and mechanics charge more that a visit to a specialist doctor at UCLA lol. Should I let the is300 go and get a more solid platform?
This would be easier to answer if you gave us either what you needed or what you wanted. A 500hp dd Is300 isn't really all that driveable. I've had a stock gte in my car forever and it is more than I need to get around.

Either way man, good luck!!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 08:05 PM
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Here is my two cents, If you plan on turboing it you should have another daily to rely on. This is a great platform to work on and with suspension upgrades it changs everything. With some minor engine mods it plenty fun already. Can drive way over speed limit fairly quick and honestly it drink enough gas already. I burn trough 8 to 10 pairs of rear tires per summer. So it is a really fun car!!
Another strike for turboing in my case is that where I live it is getting expensive at 1.60$ per liter so I don't imagine putting more into it that I already do.

2002 IS300 - Manual 5-speed LSD M85
Color: Cromax YR580M
TRD Carbon Fiber Shifter Ball
Custom Made Complete Cold Air Intake
Fidanza Exhaust Cam Gear
OBX Headers / Megan Racing Y-Pipe / Thrush Catback
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Yes turbo is what I was thinking since day one. Would it be cheaper and easier to swap a gte vs trying to fix and upgrade the n/a engine? My limit would be 4k
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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I'm on Los Angeles gas is over 4 dollars a gallon.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 08:29 PM
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It would be easier to answer your questions if you say what you want. You are not answering any of the questions being posed to you. No, 4k is not enough. No, swapping in a gte is not easy. Listen to Mathieu and trust people here. It may be a new car to you but it's 19 years old. Everything has been done that can be done, 10 times, and what you hear from people here are not opinions but previous experiences.

Honestly though, it sounds like you might've gotten it for next to nothing and it has even more problems than that. Flip it and buy one that's fine to start with and work from there.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the solid advise. I have tools 1/2 in and 3/8 in 13-24 mm sockets for both. Braker bar, clamps, torque wrench all basic hand tools never really used air tools on cars. Just hand tools have always gotten the job done might take a bit longer but always worked for me. I have a jack and jack stands, I don't have access to a lift. The longest I could have the car sitting in one spot to work is about a week. A buddy has a crane to lift engines out. If 4k isn't enough I'm not going to start it. Thanks again. Got an is300 if anyone is interested?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 08:36 AM
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I'm going to recommend what I recommend everyone on a budget. Get a fun driver. By this I mean going fast in a straight line is almost always very expensive. I am sure the stigma surrounding a miata is in everybody's mind when considering them, BUT, if you have never driven one I strongly suggest you do. There is no driving feeling that's comparable to going flat through corners and for $4k + whatever you get from the IS you should be able to source a reasonable one. People who stigmatize the car are also the people that have never driven one.

Or for the matter ANY small go-kart style car. A third gen MR2 is also a good option. RWD and mid engined. These cars are a riot to drive.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do man!!

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Hey thanks a lot man. I'll look at my options wisely. Just need to smog this car this weekend finish the registration and place it on offer up or Craigslist. How much does a gte swap run if you don't mind me asking?
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 10:21 PM
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I responded via pm because this always sparks debate. I am telling you my swaps story there.

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