Rus' 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo
The history of my love-hate relationship with this car in 2004
r u s s h u l e r @ y a h o o . c o m
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Dec 2004 - Loss of Power - Turbo Loose

Got the G-Tech and it shows I have less power than before. Sometimes as low as 140 HP and never more than 180 HP.

Took the car to Precision Tune to get the injectors cleaned. I didn't think this was the problem; I'd been planning to have it done anyway. Joe at PT said I had an exhaust leak around the turbo, the car was running rich, the ignition system was fine, and that my vacuum was fluctuating between 16 and 21 inches of mercury, which was indicative of a possible bad valve.

Came home and found one bolt from the turbo gone and one loose, so I spent a fair amount of time getting to and tightening up the turbo bolts. Now the G-Tech says 170-180 HP, but this is far from the 220 I was hoping for.

Not sure what is wrong...

Nov 2004 - GReddy Intercooler Installed

Been saving my lunch money for a while and finally spent it on a GReddy IC. I heard this was an easy job, but it took me most of Sunday to get it in. Actually, getting the stock intercooler out is the biggest part of the operation. You do not have to remove the suspension brace or the parking brake bracket. You can simply unbolt the A/C compressor and move it enough out of the way to get the intercooler out. One thing that was almost a show stopper was getting the nut off the A/C belt idler pulley. There isn't enough room to get a socket on it, so you need a wrench that you can get enough torque on to loosen the nut. Putting in the GReddy is easy compared to getting the stock unit out.

Feels like the car has more horsepower but hard to say how much. I had to turn down the boost controller to stick with 15 psi of boost. Sometimes the boost literally jumps from 11 to 15+ psi in a millisecond, which I never saw with the stock unit.

More G-Tech Pro data coming soon...

Oct 2004 - Parking Brake Cable Failure

Got home one day, pulled up on the parking brake- SNAP! The passenger-side cable broke at the bend where it goes through one of the loops. It was around $50 from Toyota here in Charlotte. Thanks for the MR2 discount Jerwon!

Sept 2004 - More G-Tech Runs

Here are a few more G-Tech 1/4 mile runs after I got the Blitz dialed in. These were with 15 psi boost. I want to go to the strip so bad, but the closest 1/4 mile is Rockingham. Some day...

Aug 29 2004 - Bosch Platinum Plug Failure

Over the last few weeks I noticed that my car was knocking under high boost. The car would hesitate and eventually the ECU would restrict boost to about 10psi. I figured at first that it was hot and I'd gotten some bad gas. I'd filled up somewhere out of the usual and it seemed like a sound theory. But after filling up at my usual place it continued to happen. So I finally pulled the plugs out and whoa! I found the ceramic tip broken off and dangling on plug #1. Thank goodness the two other electrodes prevented the tip from falling in the cylinder. After doing some surfing around, it doesn't sound like an uncommon problem on turbo cars. I vote against Bosch Platinum plugs! I now have some NGKs in and am trying them out.

July 4 2004 - Carolinas MR2 Owners Club

Here are some pics from the 3rd July 4th (really July 3rd) meet at Mitch's house. The group shot was taken by Chris B. Matt Gronke took the others.

Find us here --> Carolinas MR2 Owners Club Message Boards




June 2004 - G-Tech Pro

I recently borrowed Chris' new G-Tech Pro and tried it out. The top three images are of two 1/4 mile runs. The bottom image is of the HP curve after I installed the Blitz.

Hmm, think it all adds up? Here are the relevant mods-

  • Cone air intake filter
  • Upgraded CT-26
  • 14.5 psi boost (for the HP run)
  • Empty cats
  • HKS Sport exhaust
Let's see. If a stock MR2T dynos at approx. 160-165 HP and Toyota claims 200 HP at the flywheel, then drivetrain loss is about 18%. So 197 + (197 * .18) + 8.5 HP for aero drag at 60 MPH = 241 HP at the flywheel. Ok, I'll buy that.

June 2004 - Blitz DSBC EBC

I bought a Blitz DSBC from a guy in Chiba and finally replaced my manual boost controller. The Trust MBC was pretty good, but suffered from a little boost creep and had to be adjusted when the weather changed.

The Blitz is awesome. It blows the MBC away. It boosts rapidly and then stays where it's supposed to. One annoyance is that it reads in kg/cm2 and my boost gauge is in psi (of course). I have to say it was a very worthwhile upgrade.

Here's a good page that shows how to program it. Thank you, Roger Gerl! (My manual is in Japanese.)

May 2004 - MR2 Weight

On a recent trip I stopped at a truck stop and weighed my car. It weighed 3020 lbs with me in it (150 lbs), 7/8 tank of gas, and a few random items in the trunk. So if we go with a gallon of gas weighs 6 lbs and there were approximately 10 gallons in the tank then the car weighs about-

3020 - 150 (me) - (10 x 6) (gas) - 10 (stuff in trunk) = 2800 lbs.

The weigh slip also shows weights for each individual axle, which is interesting. I have A/C but no power steering.

May 2004 - New Stereo & Wheel, Scoop Mod

I got a new radio for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!) and finally got around to putting it in. I had no idea what a pain this would be. The MR2 not only has the subwoofer in it, but two amplifiers 'in between' the stock head unit and all the speakers. I took the amps and the sub out and wired the speakers directly. Now I need new speakers. Hum.

I also put a new (to me anyway) Momo steering wheel in. This is the bomb. I absolutely love it. It makes the driving experience that much better. I don't have a picture of it, but I also found a spiraled stretchy wire (kind of like phone handset cord) and wired my horn and cruise control back up. Putting the cruise back in was a pain because I had to make a bracket that fit inside the hub to mount it. The wire was peculiarly hard to find. I eventually had to go up to Mooresville to Nelson Specialties. They specialize in race car electronics for Nascar cars. If you want to do this, the cord has to have four conductors in it. One is for the horn and should be decently sized. The other three are for the cruise control and can be pretty thin. The cord I got had seven conductors so I soldered six together to make three thicker conductors.

I finally busted out the fiberglass again and modified my imitation Tom's scoop. I installed a curved partition to duct the air somewhere useful. The scoop was completely hollow and the air just went to the back corner of the engine compartment I think. Now it ducts straight down towards my cone air filter. I know it works because the engine compartment is noticably cooler after I stop and raise the engine hood. Maybe it goes faster too? <g>

April 2004 - New JDM Engine

My new motor is in and my car is working again. Patterson's in Fort Mill, SC put it in for about $740 and I'm quite happy with the result. They'd never worked on an MR2 before but they took their time and did it right. Chris Patterson did the swap.

The motor came from Rising Sun Engines, a place that sells used engines from Japan. I did quite a bit of homework and shopping around and decided this was the place. They were competitively priced and their customer service was great. The top three pics to the left are the pictures they sent me.

Here's my advice if you're going to buy a used engine on the Internet-

  • Visit the local Better Business Bureau's site or call them.
  • Have the place send you pictures of the actual engine you'll get.
  • Shop around. There are a lot of options.
  • Shipping charges vary widely. Make sure you ask.
  • Find a business with a dock to ship it to. Shipping will usually be cheaper to a dock vs. your driveway.
  • Shop around for the place that will do the swap.
  • Change the head gasket before putting the JDM engine in [Nov 2005].
I have a friend that works at a distributor and was able to have the motor shipped there. I got some friends and loaded it in the minivan and took it to Patterson's. Guess what? JDM 3S-GTEs don't have an EGR valve or an oil level sensor. I live in SC so inspection is non-existent. I had Chris remove and block off the EGR stuff. The oil level sensor is no big deal except for the fact your oil light stays on. (I'll remove it soon.)

Here are some pictures of my new paint job too (finally).


Feb 2004 - Blown Motor

My engine has died. What started out as something that sounded like a valve tap turned into a loud noise on the way home from work one day. The car died right before my exit and I had it towed home that evening.

I speculate that some engine part was not receiving enough oil, or enough wear occurred during start up that eventually caused it to fail. The reason I believe this is that my oil light would not go out for 5-10 seconds (depending on air temp) after starting the engine. The oil lines leading in and out of the engine to the external filter and radiator partially drained after shutdown I think. It took several seconds for the oil pump to fill them, build pressure, and circulate oil into and through the block.

I am currently considering different options:

  • Buy a used JDM engine and have someone put it in
  • Buy a used JDM engine and I put it in with the help of my neighbor Don (who painted my car)
  • Rebuild it myself
Since we just had a new baby girl, I don't have much time unfortunately. I will probably buy a used JDM 3S-GTE and have someone swap it for me.

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