The engine of my 2000 MR2 Spyder disintegrated suddenly, also ruining the exhaust system. All of this happened at under 30,000 miles. After forking over $8,500 for repairs, I discovered that I was one of many Spyder owners who had experienced this. The vehicle’s pre-catalytic converters (pre-cats) decompose. As a pre-cat falls apart, debris tears up the engine. Parts often blow into the exhaust system.
By the time there's any noticeable problem, it's too late. Talk about monkey-designed products. The situation has been addressed online by owners, by at least one major auto magazine, and by various MR2 clubs. A quick Google search on pre-cats brings up stories of the Spyder’s problem.
Toyota continues to stonewall, which puts potential used car buyers (Spyders were discontinued in the US after 2005) at risk, and puts owners in a Catch-22 situation: Either remove the pre-cats (illegal if the car is used on the street) or risk losing the better part of $10,000.
There's some evidence that Toyota corrected the problem after 2002, but there are claims to the contrary. Hopefully, word will spread. I've been blogging about the matter, since many folks are unaware of the issue.
Tell us your experiences with Monkey-designed products. Send stories to Rob Spiegel for Made by Monkeys.