For the previous owner, the turbo bearings went due to a block in the original, u-bended, turbo oil-feed pipe.
Big-end bearings subsequently went due to age and turbo bearing particles in oil.
The new turbo smoked and produced excessive lag for about a year before I replaced it.
The engine developed a rattle which turned out to be big-end bearings again.
The engine was replaced with a lower mileage Japanese engine. This engine also rattles, probably due to big-ends, hence car is currently off the road.
Clutch slave cylinder has burst, possibly contributing to the destruction of a new clutch within 40 miles.
Bodywork is corroding, although easily treatable. Rear chassis sub-frame will eventually need replacing due to rust.
4 Hydraulic tappets broken.
Drivers seat snapped internally - welding required.
When I bought this car, I hadn't even changed a tyre before. I can now remove and rebuild 200sx engines - the only cost-effective way to keep this car going.
Deceptively cheap. To keep a 12-year 200sx on the road for long will probably cost more than the initial outlay for the car.
Design flaw in the engine bearings causes frequent engine failure around 90,000 miles. Engine removal with a crankshaft regrind and new bearings will most likely be required, costing about £200 for parts. Add another £600 for a garage to do this procedure for you.
Modified/uprated engines are much more prone to failure.
Immense fun to drive, almost (but not) outweighing the time and money involved in keeping the car going. Engine roars and turbo-boost is too addictive. One of the best cars to go sideways in.
Turbo lag means the car will seem sluggish to most drivers up to 3500 rpm. This can be avoided with clutch-straining, high-rpm racing starts.
Dangerous in wet/icy conditions. Avoid using the turbo on roundabouts, never jerk the steering wheel round corners. Pre-'92 models have no ABS so locking the wheels in the wet is not difficult.
When inspecting, rev the engine to 2500 rpm and listen for knocking, rattling or thumping when holding or releasing the throttle. If this is OK, listen at idle particularly once the car is warmed up. Resonance 'rasping' and fuel-injector ticking are O.K., but any rattles - WALK AWAY.
Also have a thorough look underneath the car for rust - check the chassis, sills, jack points (on sills), wheel arches and underneath the rear spoiler.
Blue smoke indicates turbo failure (most likely), valve oil seal failure or piston ring failure.
Fuel economy passable - expect no more than 30mpg on long journeys and near 20 around town (make sure timing, thermostat, Fuel/Air and idling speed are set correctly or it will be worse)
Nothing can guarantee a car will survive long after purchase. Service history helps, but how do you know if the car hasn't been thrashed every day of its life? You may find a great example, most often you will not. Do NOT buy the first one you see. Good luck hunting.