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Looking at S-2000

Old 05-28-2010, 06:48 PM
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Looking at S-2000

I have NO knowledge about the S-2000. One came into the dealership I work at as a trade-in. It looks good, Honda quality, as far as I know is pretty good. I'm looking for a "sporty" car and this one looks pretty cool. I've been in automotive service for WAY too many years and owned and worked on everything from 40 horse beetles to Ferraris. I've raced and maintained Formula Fords for ten years, so I'd like to think I'm fairly tuned in to the mechanical side of things. I'm looking for thoughts from owners on reliability/problems/performance... things to look out for... The one I'm considering is a 2003 with 43k on it. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:10 PM
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First, it's a Honda. Second, it's a Honda. (did I mention it's a Honda?). All of the reliability of Honda is built in. It's a extremely sharp handling, finely tuned, sports car that will put a smile on your face from the first time you start it up and put it in first gear until you finally get home after driving aimlessly just to be driving all day. Problems are few and far between, fun is constant. The S2000 is a limited production sports car with none of the sports car drawbacks. No $600 oil changes, no $400 spark plugs, just limitless fun. If you've done all those car things, you have nothing to worry about. Actually, you're probably over-qualified to own a S2000 .
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:18 PM
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What, me worry?

Thanks for the quick response. I'm working on a tight timeline. Dealer is doing a BIG sale this weekend. Have to move fast if I want this car. Any common problems with this car I need to be aware of?
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:43 PM
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Top wear is somewhat of an issue...but it doesn't seem to affect EVERY S2000, so look into that. Like KGF said, there really aren't any serious mechanical flaws with this least none that I know of. The only good advice I can give is: Drive it!

You'll know within a few minutes if it's the car for you. Obviously, the power is found at the upper half of the rpm range, and you'll get used to that (the gearing makes that happen pretty quickly). Otherwise, I'd say no worries. They're very reliable cars, just as much as any Civic or Accord. Good luck!
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:28 PM
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There are several things that are fairly common but not huge issues.

First, if it has the original clutch in it there WILL be clutch buzz. On decel from about 5K down to about 3K you will here a buzzing through the drive train. Basically it is backlash through the drive train that causes the springs in the cluch plate to viberate. It doesn't hurt the car at all but some people have complained about it.

Second, On any used S2000 you need to be somewhat concerned about a mechanical over-rev. The tranny is really tight and it is easy to down shift into second instead of fourth and over-rev the engine. The AP1 have weaker spring retainers and basically you over-rev it and start a crack in the retainer, everything seems fine, and then it finally cracks and floats the value and well you know bad things happen.

Third, it is also common to have the rear "click" when first starting and going in reverse. The rear axle nuts were not torqued enough from the factory (only 180 ft lb) easy fix to unstrike the nuts retorque them to 220 ft lb and restrike them.

Fourth, the clutch master cylinder will go bad and leak a little fluid and also let air in the system and make the clutch feel really weard. Soft then firm and everywhere in between. Feel the carpet under the clutch pedal and on top of the dead pedal. If you feel brake fluid it is leaking. Also look at the piston the goes into the CMC from the pedal if you see fluid around it it is most likely leaking.

Do a compression test on it. They should be around 220 all the way across. If you are really serious you can do a leak down test to be sure.

Make sure it has good tires on it. This car is very sensitive to over inflated or under in flated tires.

None of these should be deal killers as long as the frame is straight.

If the car checks out trust me you will really enjoy it. The best part is maintanence is "Honda" easy and straight forward. There is SOOO much good information out there you can really to all of the work yourself. Things don't get interesting until 6K, but from there to 9K it is a whole different car. Just be careful mid-corner, it doesn't like anything abrupt, no hard off the gas or braking or jumping into VTEC. It REALLY likes most of the braking before the corner, nice steady amount of gas through the corner and then get on it coming out of the corner.

Good luck.


Last edited by mlc; 05-28-2010 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:11 PM
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low mileage for an '03. i'd say jump on it, you won't regret it. if the car is all stock, that's the way to go. if it's been modded out, you might be getting more than what you bargained for.
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:43 PM
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Iv had my S2K for 4 years and only problems I have had is the clutch and the rear window. After about a year I had to replace the clutch (and it did have the buzzing sound that mlc mentioned). However mine is a 00 so its older. Then again even today it only has 30k miles on it so i guess you decide how bad that is. When I replaced the clutch the buzzing stopped completely. O and the rear window fogs up like crazy if you have one that is plastic. I cant remember when they stopped the plastic window and went to glass.
Overall the S2000 is extremely reliable. In fact Top Gears survey voted it the #1 most reliable sports car 6 years strait. There are down sides to the car but not in its reliability.
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:53 PM
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If you work on cars you'll appreciate the quality of the engineering and construction. This is the most reliable performance car ever made. The clutch buzz was on the oo and some 01's. I have an 02 and none of the things mentioned have happened. Put Honda MTF in the tranny and either Honda or Mobil 1 75-90 in the diff every 30,000. I've owned Porsches, MG, Alfa Spyder and many more and this is the best drivers car I've ever driven.
But they must be driven, as they don't suffer fools kindly. Too many inexperienced kids think they can push them, consequently there are a lot of used parts for sale.

Pull the trigger if it's clean and runs well. They will become popular as more people learn what they are for the money invested. The biggest expense will be tires. Don't cheap out on them as the cars is sensitive and balanced.

Oh, and the 02 was the first year of the glass rear window with defroster.

Last edited by philiam; 05-28-2010 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:16 PM
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Thanks for the input guys. Signed the papers this afternoon.... been driving aimlessly for 3 hours. Didn't want to come home!!!! This thing is like its on rails. Handles damn near as well as my formula car.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:47 PM
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It'll get better as you get used to the handling. Definitely a unique car.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:58 AM
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congrats! let's see some pics =)
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:00 AM
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Congrats on the buy! I'm sure you will NOT be disappointed.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:31 AM
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nice... congrats.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:17 PM
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Nicely done! Make with the pics!
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