View Full Version : Mk1 problems and concerns
06-11-2007, 11:32 PM
I have owned my 81 for over 20 year now. I drove the wheels off of it most of that time. I read on here where people have problems with them. I never had a blown head gasket in all that time I drove it. I put near 150k miles on it too. The only time it got hot was when I drove it to the beach one time low on antifreeze in 90 degree weather. One gallon of Prestone and that was fixed. Some people say the 5 speeds are clumsy and don't shift well but I never had a problem and ran the heck out of it. It did wheel hop and under acceleration it did pull slightly to the right, but with no more hp than stock it was not a problem. As a matter of fact I think they run great for only having 116 hp's. I also read that they are crude handling cars but I don't agree. They don't handle as well as the later Supras, but for their time they handled very well. I spanked many cars in the Mt's over the years with it. I would push it hard in the turns where most cars in the 80's couldn't. I have run the car at redline many times at high speeds but never worried about it getting away from me. All in all I loved the car then and when I drove it the other day I still loved it.
So, did I just get a rare one? I just don't think they get the respect they deserve.
06-12-2007, 12:50 PM
You've gotten a quasi rare one.
They do overheat when something goes wrong w/ the cooling system. On my Brown 80 that I had 18 years ago, I had a upper heater hose failure (right where it connects to the top of the motor). Almost came close to the red. Was able to get to a gas station in time & filled up w/ water, but about 2 weeks later, the water pump died, due to the lack of coolant when the heater hose went.
The shifters are a little clumsy at times, from what I remembered on my 80. The lever is a little on the long side, but the way to make sure things are going well, is to make sure the 2 shifter bushings are still intact & synthetic fluid helps keep things smooth.
When I first bought my 80, I did get the impression that it cornered pretty well. Years later when I bought the 85 Redpra, I did notice things got even better. Finally, when I bought the 81 Silver Slug & got the chance to compare the 2, I did notice that if I tried to drive it in the same manner as the MKII, that's when I noticed the MKI's understeering traits & I had to teach myself to back off in certain places when cornering. So yes, their are very obvious differences.
All n All, you are about on par for a typical MKI.
06-12-2007, 02:06 PM
My experience pretty much echoes Chris Eng's. I twice had thermostat's go bad - both times the car ran hot (try driving two hours in July with the heater on!!!, then changing the thermostat in an auto parts parking lot! - but, I got to the beach that trip!!!!) After the second one, I carried an extra thermostat and gasket in my tool box in the back of the car (never needed it - kind of like carrying an umbrella in case of rain - it never will!)
Same experience with the handling - my '79 would out corner most of my friend's cars in the early '80s (and I live in the mountains as well - along interstate 81, probably 4 - 5 hours north of you). But there is a noticeable difference between the MkI and the MkII. The MkI definitely understeers when cornering hard. The MkII is more balanced, and the IRS makes for better tire contact all the way around. The Lotus engineers that Toyota used on the MkII suspension design knew how to build race cars and it shows!
I honestly can't say which I like more - hence my decision, like Chris, to have both a MkI and a MkII.
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