Buying a Sporty


Hi guys, I am going to look at 2 Sporty's at the weekend and wonder if you can tell me what pitfalls to look out for.

They are both M plates, both £1995, one is a Timberline with 60,000 on the clock, the other is an ELXi with 70,000 on the clock. Both apparently have full histories and are for sale from two different local garages.

The one with 70k on the clock has been for sale for at least 3 months has just come down in price by £500 this week.

I have seen mention on the site re checking the half shafts to ensure the auto hubs are working. How do I identify the half shafts and what do I need to do??

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


This is the layout... |---

This is the layout...

|----x----| (Rear Axle, diff and wheels)
.......| (Rear propeller shaft)
.......X (Transfer Case)
.......| (Front propeller shaft)
|<---x--->| (Front half shafts, diff, locking hubs and wheels)

The front axle is comprised of a differential connected to the front wheels via the half-shafts. Check the rubber boots at both ends of each shaft to ensure they are in good nick. Underneath the boots, there is a U Joint, which allows the wheels to move up and down and turn.

If the front hubs are unlocked and the transfer case is set to 2WD/2H, the half shafts should turn freely and smoothly. Turning one half shaft will make the other half shaft turn in the opposite direction through the differential. If it doesn't, one of the front hubs may be locked. Turning both half shafts in the same direction should turn the front propeller shaft, and vica versa. With the transfer case in 4WD/4H/4L, the front propeller shaft will not turn, since it is connected through the transfer case to the rear axle and wheels.

I am used to manual-locking hubs. Auto hubs only lock when the transfer case is set to 4WD, and only unlock when set to 2WD, but the vehicle must be moved to make it happen.

On your test drive, find a large parking lot and drive it in a tight circle in both directions, listening for crunching sounds indicating a bad U joint or wheel bearing. Do this in 4WD with the hubs locked as well, but be aware that it will feel quite a bit different, since all four wheels are working together and tend to fight eachother on a dry surface. You should also try accelerating, then decelerating quickly to ensure it doesn't pop out of gear in 2WD, 4WD High and Low.

As far as other things, check:

* Check the engine oil, it should be clean and smell like oil, not petrol or diesel.
* rust throughout, especially the wheel arches and the chassis.
* the viscous fan coupling, it should turn freely (with the engine OFF!).
* any leaks from the engine, transmission, transfer case, differentials, brakes and shock absorbers.
* the radiator for oil, which will make it look like a chocolate milkshake instead of clean blue/green anti-freeze.
* ask them whether the timing belt has been replaced, but plan to have it replaced anyway unless you're sure.

For the better part of £2,000, you should find no problems. Any you do find should be used to knock down the price, but get some advice because some can be expensive and difficult to repair.

Good luck!

Thanks Aldo, that is so much

Thanks Aldo, that is so much clearer now. I shall keep the forum updated on my progress.

I'm new to the site but it seems really good, bit quiet sometimes, but really helpful.

Ours is an 'M'plater ELXi whi

Ours is an 'M'plater ELXi which we've had for the thick end of 3 years with no real problems - although I had noted when we bought it that the power steering pump and the radiator had been recently changed - they don't last forever, so it might be an idea to have a close look at those two. I also had to throw a new clutch at it at around 75k. Make sure the cambelt has been changed accordin to schedule, too.

Dave with a Sporty

Dave with a Sporty

Cheers chaps, some useful adv

Cheers chaps, some useful advice there. I am off to see the two cars on Saturday, so I'll keep the forum updated.