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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys. I'm buying a 1987 MKIII Turbo soon from a guy off Craigslist. It's got 186,000 miles and only 2 owners. The engine is brand new with less than 6,000 miles after the head gasket blew. They went ahead and just replaced the whole thing.
I know it's an old sports car so it's gonna cost money to keep it up and running. Luckily I have a good steady income so I'm pretty sure I'll be able to keep up with it.
I've done quite a bit of research but Reddit is a treasure trove of info that you can't easily find.
My question is what are some prevalent issues with the 87s? What are some ways to prevent these issues? Regular maintenance or more?
Any and all info is welcome. Thanks.

Senior TN Member
7,508 Posts
These cars can cost $15K+ a year to maintain, depending on how much labour you do yourself. So try to find best example you can find. It's worth a premium to have all service-records and maintenance up-to-date.

Headgasket problem is due to torque-spec being too low from factory. A TSB was issued with revised torque about +15% higher. You should verify that headgasket was replaced with:
  • MLS - multi-layer steel gasket
  • head-studs installed rather than factory bolts
  • updated torque specs used
This is really just updating technology to modern standards. Heck, even lowly Corollas are using MLS headgaskets since the '90s.

Also check when timing-belt and water-pump was last replaced and get those done.

Check all rubber bushings in suspension: A-arms, swaybars, etc.

Models with electronically adjustable suspension seems to have more issues. When they fail, replace with non-adjustable or manually-adjustable versions.

When you get it, change out all fluids: oil, coolant, brake, transmission, etc.
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