Since I don't think I've ever made a comprehensive post about it dinglehopper
has inspired me to go ahead and do it. (note: many
pictures are below, after the cut)
My MR2 story started with a cherry '86 MR2 in a horribly ugly champagne-y silver color, that I promptly put upside down
at Deal's Gap
because I'm occasionally a moron. It does make for a funny story though.
Having been bitten by the bug, I knew I had to have another. After a suitable wait and frantic search, I found it. A glorious red '87, but a bit more ragged out. Bald tires, no working odometer, dent in the driver's door and shot suspension. Well, it already had the Eibach lowering springs, just the tokico shocks were blown to the point where gravity alone slid the tube open and shut. (didn't realize that at first though). But the engine pulled hard and it was only $1000.
Having learned the lesson from Deal's Gap (namely, H-rated all season tires can kiss my ass, along with the stock brakes on a 16 year old car), I promptly added some nice fancy drilled KVR rotors with fancy KVR pads and a sticky new set of Toyo Proxes T1-S tires in 215/40/16 on the slick 16" Ferrari Momo wheels I got with it. Voila, traction and braking. Who knew? I then swapped the TRD headers off my newly created "parts car" (you read the link, right?), added a Supertrapp exhaust (a tuneable powerband is cool) for a not quiet at all 3 foot long exhaust system. I chucked the crap stock choked-through-the-trunk intake setup by sticking a cone filter right onto the MAF. Letting it breathe makes it happy. A set of Tokico adjustable shocks and the beefed up clutch and lightened Fidanza aluminum flywheel (latter two items again off my parts car, as they were basically brand new) and a rear sway bar off an '85 completed the package for the time being.
Oh what a joy it was to drive. I out-turned about anything. I tore it up in CSP class in SCCA autoX's for most of a season. I bought some Kosei racing wheels (15x7) and some R-compounds and got set to do battle a bit more seriously. Around the same time, I came into a new (and half off) set of HKS pillowball mounts for the front, that allowed mondo camber adjustment. Finally, the front camber needed to really stick corners at autoX levels of force. Progressing from there, I ordered the Prothane urethane bushing kit, the brass shifter cable bushings kit (holy crap was that was a good and cheap buy), new ball joints and tie rod ends from Twos R Us
. Great people. I also made my own damn-near solid motor urethane mounts following Hess's
brilliant write up. (He's a very good source of info). All was going well.
Then shit happened. Before I could even get the car aligned following the addition of the bushings and motor mounts, I lost a cylinder. Having too much time and too many new parts invested, and loving the driving characteristics far too much to consider getting rid of it, I started thinking about what kind of motor to swap in. For better or for worse (getting to that part), the 20 valve looked too sexy to pass up. I ran into a local guy that had just finished getting one in to his '85 MR2, and running (which is the key part), when a soccermom-type conveniently t-boned it (the car, not the motor) into oblivion. So, instead of spending $1.5-$2K on a full clip from Japan, I cheaped my way into it for $600. (in hindsight, a mistake. Pay the money to get all of the parts, kids.)
And that brings me to about where it is today. In case I've been misleading anyone, I'm not a mechanic. My good friend and ex-roommate is. I've been his go-fer (doing my part, but at his behest, as I didn't have a clue what I was doing initially) on this all along. I like to drive, he likes to wrench. It works out. As you'll see in the pictures below, getting the 20 valve in was a clusterfuck pain in the ass unlike anything I've ever seen. We used a 20 valve computer and my 16 valve wiring harness (and another wiring harness from another toyota for spare wire). If that sounds like fun, it gets better. To fit the new motor, the wiring harness had to be reversed. Which meant lengthening most all of the wires. That and having different bits to wire up meant we basically built a custom wiring harness from scratch. Upside: I can now solder like a fucking champ.
As you might expect, we've run into trouble getting everything to work right. I've rambled too long already to further bore you with the details, but I'll note that it has kicked and screamed and refused to play/run right up to and including starting a small engine fire (which we got out before anything was damaged). We now have it where it runs, but only on 3 cylinders. It's a computer or injector problem. Time to work on it has been short lately. Marc (my mechanic) knocked his wife up and had a kid and bought a house in the interim. Suddenly I don't have his full attention on the weekends anymore. ;-)
All said, there's hope we'll get it running by summertime. We shall see. I'm not giving up on it.
So, here are a bunch of pictures, from plain car, to autoX to the motor swap. ( Huge dial-up warningCollapse )