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Trying to decide between two S2000's

10 April 2008
First off, I know this is an NSX forum, but I also know from lurking there are several S2000 owners (and former owners) and people who generally know about the S2000.

For a little background, I owned an S2000 for about two years before trading it in on something more practical...BIG MISTAKE. I am now looking for a replacement.

I have my choices narrowed down to two.

Both cars are owned by S2ki members that are known in the community and have members that can vouch for them. Both cars seem well cared for with all maintenance done, etc.


Car #1
MY: 2000
Mileage: ~90k
Mods: 4.57 gears, HardTopGuy Clutch, ACT Flywheel
Notes: New trans at ~70k. New alignment last week. Leakdown and compression tests run with good results
Price: ~12.5k

Car #2
MY: 2001
Mileage: ~104k
Mods: InlinePro GT35R turbo w/ supporting mods (installed at ~86k), IronMan Clutch, ACT Flywheel
Notes: Nothing really to speak of
Price: $15k

The car will be for weekend driving, maybe commuting on nice days, a trip to the Dragon, track days, auto-x, etc.

I will not be street racing or drag racing the car.

I posted this hear because I didn't want the members who are selling the cars to know I was posing this question and have things get personal or out of hand in an s2ki thread.

Car number one all the way. Should be more reliable and the shorter gears will give it a bit of needed low-down grunt. It also has lower miles (always nice) and the new tranny is a very good thing as well. Being $2.5K cheaper helps, too.
I say the one with the Inline Pro, but I'm biased:biggrin:
Sorry, I was trying to figure out which one to buy.

I am leaning towards the gear'd car as opposed to the turbo'd car. Fewer miles is always a plus and the extra $2500 can go into a brake kit or some other fun thing.
I think both of those cars have super high miles, why not spend the extra moolah and buy a nicer bone stock car. $16k gets you a super clean S2K:wink:
the 2000 is going to have a plastic window on the soft top

but i agree, both are high miles and not just basic "bolt" ons, i would take a stock ap2 a million times before either of those, and you can get a ap2 for 18k and up, and its a much better all around ride,
thanks guys.

i actually like the ap1 over the ap2 for the higher redline.

plastic rear window kinda sucks, but the top will be down most of the time anyway.

as for spending 18k - this is a cash purchase as a weekend car. 18k is too much. the wifey would kill me :smile:
Personally I wouldn't buy either of those. If you are in this price range, you probably don't want to run the risk of blowing a motor. Either of those cars, especially the turbo car with 100k+ miles, has a fairly high chance of major drive train failure [several grand down the drain].

I think it's much wise to buy a very clean 40-60k earlier AP1 for 15k [they are out there] and if you want to supercharger it down the line do so. It will cost you a little more money over all but that's assuming best case scenario with these cars with blurry history.

If I had to choose I'd get the first car. The transmission being new is a plus, but a reinforced diff and a new transmission doesn't suggest the car was driven hard, it assures it. Make sure the suspension has been refreshed or prepare to do it out of pocket if you want the most out of the car.
Thanks again.

Car #1 is owned by someone I know personally. I know it has been driven hard, but I also know it has been well cared for. The turbo car I dont know the guy as well and I am also worried about blowing the motor. I can live with $1k-$2k for a blown diff, but I'd rather not face an $8k repair bill for a blown motor.

I will look some more for a clean AP1 w/ lower mileage, but there isnt much out there right now and as juvenile as it sounds, I want the car now as the weather is getting SO nice :smile:

I should also note that car #1 did have all it's suspension checked over at a local performance shop.

Thanks again for the help. It is always nice to get different perspectives on this kind of thing. And as a side note, all the NSX's on this board are very sexy. I figure the S2000 is kinda like it's little brother.
Personally I wouldn't buy either of those. If you are in this price range, you probably don't want to run the risk of blowing a motor.

A blown motor is always a risk on early S2000s. Read all about it.


A small number of owners, approximately three dozen are known, report major engine failure due to the #4 Cylinder Scoring.

One of the frustrating things about this major failure is how some customer’s are treated when it does happen. For some it has become necessary to prove they were not a fault! For others, repairs were painless.

If you hear an engine noise that is very distinct and sounds like tapping. The engine will not last long after you hear the noise. You can hear the noise in the cabin, but it best noticed with the hood up, the noise will come from the bad cylinder area. If your engine makes a bad tapping sound, Honda should pull the plugs and see if all are a nice gray white or one shows black from incomplete combustion. If a plug is blackened, they should put a scope inside the spark plug holes and see if they can see some cylinder damage.

The cylinder wall scuff problem in Honda S2000 typically has shown up in the #4 cylinder. Naturally, Honda has not shared with the public what is causing the problem, assuming they know. But it’s likely a piston / cylinder / lube / cooling related thing. Factors such as metallurgy, tribology, material compatibility may be the issue. Why only number 4? Something is different about what that hole experiences compared to the others.

If you're too low on oil, the first thing to give in is classically the rod bearings, followed by the mains. The top end and pistons/cylinder walls fail from the lack of lubrication much later than pressure fed bottom end bearings. In a way the bottom end bearings act like a fuse for the other stuff.

If the engine failure is due to over revving, the top end would tend to get hurt - bent valves and such. But the bottom end may survive. It certainly won't develop the cylinder wall scuff problem from an over rev.

BTW, as of March 2003 there have been at least two known engine failures which has the new 4-hole oil banjo bolt installed (which some owners felt would cure the problem).