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Old 03-21-2013, 06:46 PM   #1
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Default Noob with a value question 1990 turbo w/bad engine

So this is where you crazy forced induction Miata enthusiasts hang out. I was warned there would be places like this. :-) I did some searching but as you all know it is impossible to find apples to apples so here it goes. I am not new to Miatas but new to turbo Miatas. I am in the very southwest corner of Michigan (Gingerman area) if that is important.

I recently became the owner of a 1990 Miata, white with 80K miles.
Cartech turbo setup, intercooler, fuel pump, 15" Konigs, lowering springs over stock shocks, sway bars (don't know brand) with adjustable end links, FC RX7 big brake kit, exhaust (don't know brand), roll bar and a five point harness.

Pluses- excellent top and no rust
averages- decent interior gauge cluster and radio surround are not broken but radio surround has GORGEOUS stick on wood grain as do the door cards :-)
Negatives- paint is CRAP, broken rear finish panel, broken drivers side mirror and the paint is crap

I was told the engine has a hole in #3 piston. I haven't done a compression test to confirm but the positive pressure in the valve cover indicates there is EXCESSIVE blow by. It is not a 1990 engine as it has the eight-slot pulley so somebody has chewed through the original engine and this engine. It does run however, quite poorly, but it will move on its own.

The car came with a 1990 engine (VIN number confirms with an "L" at the 10th digit) with no history. I have yet to perform a leak down test (because it has been so friggin' cold!) but it was supposed to have nearly the same mileage as the car. But it is an used engine with zero documentation.

So if this car was all stock with the same damage, issues and a blown engine I could probably get $1200ish with the miles and it being rust free. So with the suspension bits, brakes, wheels, roll bar and harness where do I start? I don't want to give it away but I do want to sell it rather than have it be part of my landscaping forever. I guess the turbo system is an older system so I realize that doesn't add a ton of value.

If I knew more about turbos than just how to spell it I might be tempted. I would do a leak down test (and if good), put a water pump, timing belt, seals and gaskets on it then change engines. But I don't want to do all that work and then because of my ignorance have something go boom and waste an engine, time and the blood and skin from my hands.

Is this just something I throw on Chicago CraigsList, deal with the crazzies, lowballers and hope for the best? With a weekend or two of work somebody who understood what was here could have a pretty fun track car for not a whole lot of money. OTOH somebody who thought they knew what they were doing could have a summer of issues and curse me (and my mother) for selling them such a mess.

So where do I price it?
thanks for your thoughts

Last edited by greg 713; 03-22-2013 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 03-22-2013, 11:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by greg 713 View Post
So if this car was all stock with the same damage, issues and a blown engine I could probably get $1200ish with the miles and it being rust free. So with the suspension bits, brakes, wheels, roll bar and harness where do I start? I don't want to give it away but I do want to sell it rather than have it be part of my landscaping forever. I guess the turbo system is an older system so I realize that doesn't add a ton of value.
Your mods don't really add much if any value. Broken engine greatly detracts from value.
With the basketcase condition I'd ask for $1200 and be glad if I got $1k.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:24 AM   #3
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Your mods don't really add much if any value. Broken engine greatly detracts from value.
With the basketcase condition I'd ask for $1200 and be glad if I got $1k.
So you think I would be further ahead by dropping the other engine in it, stripping out the turbo and sell it as a non FI running driving car?

$1000? worth more in a quick part out but that may be the way to go. I have no emotional ties to the car as it was part of trade deal.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:17 PM   #4
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You could part out the turbo on this site. Drop in a new engine and sell it.
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:06 PM   #5
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You could part out the turbo on this site.
What is an older turbo setup like this worth? If I did it I would take everything (including external fuel pump) off and include it.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:49 PM   #6
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If you went by your average Chicago craiglist "Miata for Sale" post, this car should be worth about $20,000.

Realistically, I'd give ***** a call up in Racine, WI. and see if he wants anything that you don't. For the turbo bits, these folks feast on it all day and night long. Throw some pictures up and I'm sure they'll lay out some realistic prices for the used parts.
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:20 AM   #7
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If you went by your average Chicago craiglist "Miata for Sale" post, this car should be worth about $20,000.
Don't you love CL?!
I did put this on Chicago CraigsList and my local CL. I was pretty straightforward about the car, my ignorance of it's history and all of the negatives. I had an asking price of $2,100 (I was going to go for $21,000 but decided against it ). Interest was very strong and I sold it for full money in three days to somebody near Gingerman. The fact it ran and drove is what helped the car sell. Of course I had to wade through the typical CL douche bags but it sold quickly enough.
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