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Maniac0301
Maniac0301 Reader
10/14/15 5:13 p.m.

About 7 years ago I had a '91 MR2 turbo that I loved to bits. It was kind of old for a DD and sometimes annoying but still one of the best driving cars I had ever owned. Then I started having kids and had to sell it. Now I'm at the point where I can have a normal DD and another car to play with as long as that other car is very very inexpensive.

I started looking for something nice to start a budget build with. My goals were to setup a car to be able to play with, modify, and generally do things that you just shouldn't do to a daily driver. I intend on taking it to autocrosses, rallycrosses, and occasionaly down the drag strip. I'm not too worried about classing for racing I am mostly competing against myself seeing how I improve as a driver and in what ways I can make my car better or sometimes worse.

To that end I started scouring ebay and craigslist looking for just the right car. I was looking for something reasonably simple, it had to be RWD and manual, and I prefer a lighter car over a heavier more powerful car. I narrowly missed an '83 corolla and a 85 Supra but finally this MR2 showed up reasonably close to me and at the right price. I grabbed this 87 MR2 for $400 and thus begins my journey.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/14/15 5:14 p.m.

Some more shots of the car and head: bonus bay shots as requested.

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Started to work on cleaning up the head. Didn't get much done because of family obligations this holiday weekend.

[IMG][/IMG]

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Thank you Yoshi for the advice. While I would love to get some real high comp pistons in it and do it right its just not going to be able to happen right now. Also I had a 1990 Dodge Spirit ES Turbo that I eventually took apart. I still have the turbo, downpipe, and all the oil/water lines from it as well as a mishmash of the original turbo to intake piping. I may eventually work on a small turbo build down the road and going high comp pistons now would kill that possibility. I'd much rather pull the TRD gasket then rebuild the bottom end if I decide to put together a turbo setup. Today I did a deeper inspection and cleaning of the pistons and block as well as I pulled all the valves out of the head. Here's some before and after from cleaning.

I posted big pics so that if anyone cares to please take a look and let me know if you see anything amiss. I intend on leaving the bottom end mostly alone apart from any gaskets.

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Big update for today. In my regular craigslist surfs for MR2 and 4age stuff I came across an ad with no pictures for a recently rebuild 4age long block and transmission for $500. I e-mail the guy and find out why he would have a recently rebuilt engine that he is selling.

Turns out it was Kevin from team Carma who pilot a chumpcar MR2. He bought the car and it blew out the headgasket so he rebuilt the head complete. Put it back together and then it spun a bearing. So he rebuilt the bottom end putting in the money to bore it .20 over. He did end up using a crank from a 5afe so while not preferred to the 4age it should be fine for what I'm doing. It also meant he needed to buy a brand new clutch and flywheel. Everything was running very well but he was getting walked by cars with double the power at Daytona. So he's doing a V6 swap and put the motor up for sale.

Since he's doing a swap I got the whole long block along with anything else he won't need on the V6. I have tons of extras now with a total of 3 transmissions and doubles of nearly anything else in the engine bay. I still have around $500 in my budget now for all the other stuff like brakes and suspension.

How clean is that head. Most of the time your happy with a lightly bronzed head how about factory fresh.

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So having the engine bay fairly well squared away we started working on the rest of the car. I'll be working on this area while I wait for the various gaskets I need to put the intake and exhaust manifolds on.

Nasty rusty trunk. We'll be cutting that out and riveting in some sheet metal.

Front trunk. This will get ground down and sprayed with rust inhibitor

The interior smelled awful from sitting with leaky T-tops. I'm going to strip most of it. I intend on putting together something like this minus the roll cage and + a passenger seat.

Ohh previous owner what were you into.

And finally these are on the back anyone have any info? I also have green suspension techniques springs.

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I tried doing a search for tie rods but didn't see anything relevant. Let me know if you come across anything. So my first and foremost goal is getting the engine in the car and see what else is wrong. I'm fairly certain the fuel pump will be shot given the ethanol that was likely left in it. Still cross fingers maybe it was drained before the car was taken down.

I've talked about a future turbo build and after reading Yoshi's excellent guide I learned much about what it would take combined with my previous knowledge from my other turbo cars. I wanted to get a setup together while the engine was out because it would be much easier to get together and I don't mind pounding on the firewall when I inevitably wrongly guesstimate the space I have. Unfortunately there isn't a manifold option that I am satisfied with that I can do on the cheap.

I've decided that after I get the motor in and working to my satisfaction I will experiment with a trunk or intake side mounted remote turbo setup. Most of the times these setups are used in place of mufflers on cars which comes with its own set of issues such as long outlet piping and oil/water supply. I think these issues are greatly reduced on the MR2 and will end up being a decent if not ideal setup.

I was planning on tapping into the water line at the throttle body so that should be even easier with a remote mount. I can mount the turbo high enough to allow oil to return to the pan properly. The only thing I'm unsure of is where to get the oil feed. I am planning on tapping into the oil pressure sender on the block as recommended by the wc engineering. Is this the best option?

I will be using a small intercooler scavenged from something (old thunderbird maybe) to cool inlet temps and also because a scoop on the trunk lid wrx style is kinda cool. I already have holes from rust in my trunk for the downpipe.

Heres the turbo I plan on using with the entire pipe and oil/water feed setup from my old dead long gone Dodge Spirit.

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A little minor surgery completed on the trunk. I wire brushed what I could, cut out what I had to, and then sprayed the lot with rust converter to hopefully stem the tides of time.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/14/15 5:14 p.m.

My mechanic buddy wasn't available this weekend so I'm holding off on putting the engine in until next week when he can assist. So I continued working on the interior today. I stripped quite a bit out including all the hvac equipment. I intend on keeping the gauge cluster and surrounding plastic and I'm keeping the arm rest over the tunnel and the area where the hvac and radio was will be reinstalled with blanks so I can add gauges as needed. I will probably also place a usb for phone charging. I cleaned out the rust and sprayed converter there as well I will repaint it white and will give the rest a thorough cleaning.

Here's a whole mess of MR2 interior. Everything cloth smelled awful and had signs of mold, Everthing metal had a bunch of surface rust on it, and everything plastic was so brittle I could poke my finger through it.

I cleaned up the exhaust manifold and sprayed it with high temp paint.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/14/15 5:14 p.m.

Had to do some repair work on my house so only got a little done on the MR2. I scrubbed the passenger side and started putting some of the pieces back in.

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Anyone know where I can get spray paint that matches?

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/14/15 5:15 p.m.

Some more work done this weekend. I cleaned up the interior more and gave the footwells a coat of paint it looks pretty presentable. The Gauge cluster is also back in but I've found that the spedometer cable is snapped so I'll have to pull it apart to fix that.

We also did a bunch of work on the engine. We got the transmission, wiring harness, starter, alternator, distributor, mounts, and exhaust manifold back on. The guy who rebuilt the motor didn't put the dust shield between the block and transmission on so we took off the flywheel and used the one from the original motor. I figure with planning on going on some rally crosses it would be a good thing to have. We found some cracks in the exhaust manifold so I used some high temp exhaust repair to seal those back up.

Miraculously the fuel tank was empty and when we opened it up it was nice inside. We ran some 12v to the fuel pump and it spit fuel at a decent rate so it may actually be alright. I plan on flushing the cooling system before we put the motor in. We've also found that the clutch slave cylinder has some hangar rash from being drug under the car and will need to be replaced.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/14/15 5:15 p.m.

It took some wobbling and shifting and wedging but the engine is in!! Yay!!

We started the process of hooking up various parts of the wire loom to the car while trying to decipher the vacuum line system. I've found that since I'm using an '87 car with a '89 engine and harness I need to change where the ECU is which means I need to extend some of the wiring. We put the car on jack stands and ramps to start the process of getting the axles in and all the other work underneath the car.

Looks pretty good overall. I'm happy I spent the time cleaning the engine bay. It looks nice with the freshly rebuilt engine.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/14/15 5:15 p.m.

Today I tackled the Wiring Harness installation. Because the harness is for an '89 the ECU was on the right side but the hole to get through to the trunk and the connector for the body harness was on the left. I decided the best bet would be to cut a new hole for the harness and mount the ECU on the right and then extend the wires for the body harness.

Heres where I need a diagram or some sage advice from our experts. I used the connector and wires from the wiring harness from the '87 engine and cut off the connector from the '89 wiring harness to splice these in. Most of the wires seemed just fine. I did them one by one and the pin position matched the wiring color so I'm reasonably sure they are correct. But on the '87 connector I have 4 wires that do not have a corresponding wire on the '89 connector

On the '89 connector from the engines wiring harness there is one wire that did not have a match.

I need to figure out how important these are. I don't have any accessories hooked up like A/C or heater. I'm only concerned about what is needed to make the engine and sensors work properly. Any help is appreciated if any more info or pics would be useful please don't hesitate to ask for them.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/14/15 5:15 p.m.

Been awhile since my last update. We had a pretty major upset in the income stream of our family that will eventually work out well but for now its belt tightening. This limited me to what I can accomplished with what I have on hand.

Mostly I've been going over the connectors on the wiring harness and replacing them with the best of the two harnesses. I've got most everything connected to the best of my ability. The vacuum hoses are mostly sorted out as well. I wired up a battery and brought some measure of life to the car. The hazards and both the engine bay and radiator fans will come on with the ignition.

It looks like the po tried to remove that 100a engine fuse from the top and ruined it. If I jumper it the fuel pump turns on but the car won't crank at all. This is probably for the best because I have a massive fuel leak somewhere but I need another person to help me find it.

My goal now is to get the car in form for the first rally cross event next year which based on the past years may be as early as Jan 17th. cross fingers

I saw a Megasquirt II in the f/s section at a reasonable price with lots of extra stuff to make it work on an AW11. I'm really tempted as that should make the engine wiring much easier assuming I can find someone who knows what they are doing with it. It would also be extremely beneficial for my ultimate goal of adding boost. Anyone know a good place in Orlando/Kissimmee area for installing and tuning a Megasquirt II?

Caleb
Caleb Reader
10/15/15 5:50 a.m.

I built a turbo aw11 a few years ago and the car was a blast, hell my build thread might still be on mr2oc my user name was theemaddhatter. If you want advice or run into any problems i am more then happy to share my experience with you. i had my setup pretty well sorted before i sold the car, -Very modified ebay manifold

-MS2 V2.2 (It ran on the stock harness using the stock distributor as the pick up and a junk afm plug to attach a GM temp sensor and integrated boost controller)

-super 60 T3 with .48 A/R (I had a .63 but it was way to laggy)

-mk3 Supra turbo 440cc injectors

-china A2W intercooler

-kawasaki atv radiator as heat exhanger

-03-4 mustang cobra intercooler pump

-Stock rebuilt bottom end

Fitzauto
Fitzauto HalfDork
10/15/15 12:47 p.m.

I want one now

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/15/15 1:05 p.m.

Caleb that car is gorgeous I'm super jelly but I am happy I got a $400 car. I can go wide into some ruts in a cow pasture swing the back around and bin a fender into a stump and not be too mad about it. The MR2 is so pretty though I will probably end up blowing my budget putting a bunch of money into it and then still banging it on a stump.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/18/15 3:21 p.m.

Nearly there. Figured out my starter issue got my plug wires in order and the ground on my Fuel Injectors on and cranked it over. Its on the verge of running but not quite there. Next will be getting one of my buddies to help so we can check timing and play with the throttle while cranking it over and see if we can get it running.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgzab_Onlzw

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/18/15 4:45 p.m.

Wooohoooo!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_b9jyblqlw

First car I've ever bought non running and got it going. What a great feeling to resurrect this beautiful little Toyota.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/24/15 8:47 p.m.

https://youtu.be/C_kMj_STRHw

Got the throttle cable hooked up. Trying to get it to idle. Felt I should check things and I'm glad I did. Right as I looked underneath the car to make sure nothing bad was happening a fuel line let go. Could have been really bad if it had let while running with open headers.

AntiArrhythmic
AntiArrhythmic New Reader
10/25/15 12:09 a.m.

I was working on an '86 MR2 earlier today. My friend's was submerged in the recent flood here in Columbia SC. The car was underwater up to the headrests. Luckily the car had been sitting a while before hand and the battery was dead, so nothing shorted out. He changed the oil a few days ago said it poured water out before any oil started to come out. So, I'm assuming the motor was completely submerged. He also pulled the plugs and poured some ATF in the cylinders. Today we put in a new battery and spun it over for a while with the plugs out to spray out all of the ATF and water. Then we put the plugs back in and it fired right up. After driving it a couple of miles we took a look at the oil on the dipstick and it was milky. Hopefully another oil change will set it right.

Thanks for sharing the build. I will be following this one.

XLR99
XLR99 HalfDork
10/25/15 2:56 p.m.

Sorry for the hijack but I figure there's a bunch of MR2-fu in this thread. My son just discovered a quasi-local MR2 pretty much identical to yours that supposedly 'needs only a head gasket' . Assuming the issue actually is the head gasket - are these prone to warping or other badness with head gasket leaks?

Caleb
Caleb Reader
10/25/15 10:39 p.m.

XLR99-The 4age is a super strong little motor and it's not very common for them to pop head gaskets. It has an iron block so unless they got it super hot i would just pull the head have it decked ,check the block and throw on new factory style gasket. Some people will go to a TRD or 7afe factory metal gasket for a bump in compression.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
10/26/15 4:43 p.m.

I agree with Caleb the motors are tough little guys. You will want to take the head to get decked and check on the block as well. Most people recommend getting the block decked if you use a mls headgasket like the TRD one. While you have the head off I recommend checking valve seals, valve shims, and possible getting a valve job done or at least lapping them yourself. A lot of lost horsepower goes into badly fitting valve seals and gunk buildup on the valve stems.

For my project I found out the popping noise and ensuing fluid leak was the fuel line from the filter to the rail. I will be making a new one shortly. Until then most motor work will be on hold because I don't want the leak to catch fire and I can't do much at this point without the engine running. I did also find that my rear calipers are frozen and I will need to replace them I think it may be best to do all 4 at this point.

XLR99
XLR99 HalfDork
10/27/15 11:34 a.m.

Thank you guys, kind of as expected; I normally do valve seals anyway with the head gasket, and I'll plan to have the head decked. I guess we're still at step zero anyway, dude hasn't called or emailed back yet.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
11/19/15 4:53 p.m.

Got my new fuel line finished. I had to have it created because any junkyard lines are likely to have the same issue as my old one and the part isn't manufactured any more. They took the banjo bolts from my old line and brazed them onto fittings with a length of stainless steel high pressure fuel line in between. Should work out quite well and it looks nice. Found out my rear brake calipers were seized and because of other MR2 drivers horror stories I decided to get new calipers for all 4 corners. I should get my new calipers in about a week.

Ironsides
Ironsides New Reader
11/20/15 8:09 a.m.

Looking forward to progress, I have an aw11 in my sights as my next endeavor.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
11/23/15 8:06 p.m.

I got the fuel line on today and tested things out no more leaks yay. Started the car and was able to get it to run enough to mess around with the distributor to see how far timing is off. It runs best but still not great at full clockwise. This indicates that I installed the distributor 1 tooth off. I'll take it off and try again another day.

AntiArrhythmic
AntiArrhythmic New Reader
11/27/15 9:46 a.m.

I had a hard time getting cam timing correct on my friends AW11. The engine just sits too low to get a good view of the gears and timing marks. It seems like the location of the distributor would create the same problem.

trucke
trucke Dork
11/27/15 12:36 p.m.
Maniac0301 wrote: I got the fuel line on today and tested things out no more leaks yay. Started the car and was able to get it to run enough to mess around with the distributor to see how far timing is off. It runs best but still not great at full clockwise. This indicates that I installed the distributor 1 tooth off. I'll take it off and try again another day.

Or 180° off. Those 4ag's will still run this way, but can never get them to the correct time.

Maniac0301
Maniac0301 New Reader
11/27/15 12:47 p.m.

I actually thought of it being 180 out as well and tried it and definitely wasn't happy. I worked on it a bit this morning before family stuff started happening. I realized that my Idle Air Control wasn't hooked into the coolant so I made up a couple hoses to do that. One is too large so it leaks a bit but at least its getting a reading for the purpose of experimentation. I also found another coolant sensor that was broken so I swapped that from the old engine that came with the car. Right now its much better than it was with the distributor about 1/2 way it runs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TQ96NzYYJc

After that run I felt the exhaust manifold and the number 1 cylinder is cold so its not firing. I checked spark and its firing. Pulled the plug and I have some oil in the valley but the plug was dry so I figure the injector isn't working. I'll be diagnosing whats wrong hopefully this weekend some time.

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