It's been waaaay too long since my last update. I still dream about an ATS stroker engine, maybe even w/an AW-IC setup, but I can't justify it because my original 26yr old long-block is still running just fine. Here is a quick summary of updates over the last few years...
Fall of '16, I found chunks of yellow foam lying on the drivers floorboards. Turns out my steering column seal on the frunk firewall simply dried out & fell apart in a bunch of pieces. I ordered a new one, disconnected the column & replaced it; took just over an hour to install.
The 9yr old TwosRus links were worn out, making a "clanking" noise over small bumps that sounded really terrible. I disconnected them & the "clank" was gone so I replaced the front TwosRus sway bar end links w/another set.
Summer of '16, on the way into work, some road debris kicked up by another car smacked my front nose, spidering the paint & putting a big dent where the license plate would be. My re-spray was 10yrs old so I used this as an opportunity to refresh the front end. I had the nose repaired, front lip & hood refinished & blended into the front quarters.
My A/C was blowing warm air, considered converting to R34 but I decided to take a chance & bought some cans of R12 on eBay to refill it myself. The R12 wasn't cheap but equal to a conversation price w/much less hassle. My 2 took the R12 & stayed cold all summer; I'm hoping it stays "put" in the system (fingers crossed).
Spring of '16, the Dunlop Direzza tires were worn out so it was time for new tires. I decided to go with a less aggressive tire, Yokohama S-Drives...upsizing to 255/40/17 in the rear. I do rub over medium bumps so I added in some negative camber to save the tires. I plan on rolling the fenders some more to help reduce the rubbing.
Spring of '15, I had a decent crack in my lower windshield, called State Farm who ordered a $908 OEM windshield (only a handful new/old stock left in the USA). It was a $0 out of my pocket but it was a "claim" against the insurance; a no-brainer decision for me. I was shocked that SF would replace it w/an expensive OEM windshield & not an aftermarket one for half the price. I didn't expect to "see" such a huge before/after difference by replacing the original windshield...I just didn't realize all the pits & scratches of the original windshield over the years. Replacing it was one of the most satisfying changes I've done on my 2 in years.
October of '14. my yellow "low oil" light level was flickering on the way home from work & eventually stayed on. I got home, parked the car, went to check the oil level, found oil everywhere, dripping & pooling under the car - never a good sign. I let her sit overnight, started her the next day, no oil was dripping at first but it eventually started to drip & got much worse as the engine warmed up. So I figured it was pressure related with some type of oil seal. So My 2 was parked for the season to rebuild over the winter. Over the next four months I did A LOT of degreasing & "while I'm here, I might as well..." maintenance. I eventually found the leak was coming from the cam seals; both were dried out & one pushed itself out of the head. I ended up replacing the oil & water pumps, oil return hose, thermostat, all the belts (timing/alternator/AC), HFH & HFHOE, tensioner & idler pulleys, plastic engine & valve cover gaskets, cams & rear main seal, spark plugs, wires & cap/rotor, re-sealed the oil pan & flushed the coolant too. The oil leak is gone (thankfully) & added bonus is my oil pressure went up by 20lbs.
I also installed some JDM OEM horns I picked up from Chris on the MR2 board; much louder & deeper sound that bolted & plugged right in....gone is the wimpy "beep-beep" sound.
August of '14, random puffs of white smoke started coming out of my exhaust w/a heavy oil smell so I figured the turbo seals were gone; time to rebuild the 8yr old GReddy TD06 turbo. I ordered a complete Mitsubishi TD06 superback rebuild kit & heat shield from G-Pop Performance Turbo & dove into the my first turbo rebuild. I was a bit worried about not being able to rebalance the assembly but read enough online that said it wasn't needed so I figured I'd give it a shot. My turbo was a mess, dried up seals/rings literally falling apart to the touch & lots of baked on oil everywhere so I had lots of cleaning & degreasing. The hardest part for me was reassembly, getting the huge c-clip back in place, I ended up buying a ratchet ring plier tool from Napa that worked perfectly. Once the turbo was back together, smoke was gone & my butt dyno could feel more power in every gear.
Summer of '13, installed Chico Race Works shifter cable bearings, replacing the 10yr old Speed Source shifter bushings; a nice simple upgrade that smoothed out the shifting.
Fall of '12, installed EMS polished fuse box cover plates & a Cusco front OS strut bar, powder coated the brackets gloss black.
I have lots of pics that I'll post soon in a new slide show "2013-2017".
So what has changed in the last 2yrs since my last update?!? My MR2 is now legal to drink, turning 21yrs old this past June. I did install the Koni struts (replacing the KYB's) in '10 & they transformed the cars ride!! I didn't realize the KYB's were so ridiculously firm until I replaced them w/the Koni's...I wish I would've swapped them out years ago. Don't buy the cheaper KYB's; just spend the extra cash up front & buy strut inserts from either Koni or Tokico.
This year I've made some interior changes by adding '98 OEM red stitch steering wheel, shift knob & boot, cruise control stalk & a custom shift surround. Also, my Yokohama AV1 tires were shot so I thought I'd try a sticky, aggressive tire & chose the Dunlop Z1s. A good tire so far but be warned that they do run a bit "wide"; I had to roll my rear fenders again to eliminate tire rub that I didn't have w/the same-sized AV1s.
The "2008-2012 Pictures" Slide Show is updated w/recent pics.
This spring for my 15th anniversary gift, my MR2 decided it was time to have her suspension refreshed once again. A random "clunk" started this spring from the front end over bumps that kept getting worse & worse. I found the end link mount had split on the driver's side front strut housing, allowing the end link to bang around in the fender well. I decided to pull out all the struts housing to have them repaired with new metal. While apart, I'm going to replace the 6yr old KYB AGXs struts with new Koni Sports. The Koni's are said to the best adjustable struts available for the MR2 so I am looking forward to trying them out.
It's been awhile since my last update...plans for my MR2 have changed yet again, but I'm getting ahead of myself. No major problems or modifications in '09 for me, just basic maintenance. The only thing I did to my 2 in '09 was I ground away the rear fender lips due to tire rub over large bumps - grinding fixed it.
I did attend another track day at Autobahn during the summer, this time I wasn't the only MR2 on the track - Keith & Sihao attended as well. I had a blast, scared myself many times, as I pushed myself further as a driver than I ever have before. What really helped me was riding along w/an experienced instructor in his Porsche Cayman for perspective. Than he road w/me in my 2, coaching me through the track on the apex's & braking points. THAT really increased my confidence as a novice track day attendee. The day had a terrible ending; Sihao was rear-ended on his way home from the track, less than 1mile from his house & his 2 was totaled.
I decided to purchase the salvaged 2 to use the engine as a base in building a 2.2 stroker motor. The cams will stay on the parts shelf, to eventually be installed in the stroker motor.
The "2008-2010 Pictures" Slide Show is updated w/new pics from my Autobahn adventure.
Last year I stated "I have no intentions of opening up the stock longblock until it pops"...well, I changed my mind. In the quest for more horse power, I picked up a pair of HKS 264 cams. I will bring my MR2 to Sound Performance this spring so they can install the cams, adjustable gears & retune the AEM EMS on there Mustang dyno to around 350-360rwhp...I can't wait. Once the tune is complete, I'll post the latest dyno graphs, hopefully with dyno videos too.
I plan on attending another track day at Autobahn Raceway this summer. During last years track day event, my first, I learned more about my MR2s handling & my own driving skills than I thought possible in one day - I must experience that again!!
Steve Bishop, editor/partner of "MR2 Only Magazine", contacted me w/interest in running an article in his magazine about my MR2. We worked out all the details and to my surprise in Issue #11, a 6-page article was created naming my MR2 "The Ultimate Street Machine" and I am the cover car for the issue!!
The "MR2 Only Magazine" is dedicated to our community w/world coverage of various MR2s. If you're interested in viewing, ordering back issues or subscribing visit MR2 Only Magazine
I've added a 3rd Slide Show named "2008 Pictures" w/scans of the magazine spread and recent pics.
This spring marked my 13th anniversary of owning my MR2....the car has changed quite a lot over the years. I have to admit, I am madly in love with her current state of power - 335rwhp is fun on the street!! I have no intentions of opening up the stock longblock until it "pops" - then it will be time for a 2.2 stroker.
I installed a bunch of brake goods this spring: rotors, pads, synthetic fluid, stainless steel brake lines and a master cylinder brace. The pads are a bit noisy for the street but overall, the stopping power and pedal "feel" has improved tremendously.
I installed the RMR intake manifold & Wolfkatz fuel mods this past August in preparation for my AEM EMS tune. I am really lucky to have a well known MR2 driver/tuner, Vince "Talent" Fiore of Sound Performance Racing, install & tune my EMS. SP runs a very clean shop that is well known for their crazy high horsepower Supra’s & w/Vince working there, it was an easy decision to hire him to tune my car.
I’ve read for years about how proper fuel & an EMS will change your car completely & I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical. But now, after driving the car for a few months since the tune, I wish I would’ve done these mods years ago!! It’s as if the entire essence of my MR2 has changed because she is running THAT well. Now, that is a dramatic statement to make, but that is how I feel. Understand that I went from running pig-rich w/no fuel mods for the last 4 years to now having a properly tuned EMS w/supporting fuel mods. It’s literally a night-day driving difference across the engines entire power band. For those folks that are skeptical on what an EMS with the proper fuel upgrades can provide, stop waiting – buy them now. Of course, the “tune” is just as important as the EMS itself & for that, I do have to thank Vince – fair prices, cool guy & a great tuner. Thank you Vince.
Here are the results of my Stock Gen2 longblock with 130k. All dyno runs were done in 3rd gear using 93 Octane on SP's Mustang Dyno:
10psi Wastegate = 256 RWHP & 211 RWTQ
18psi Low Boost = 290 RWHP & 257 RWTQ
21psi High Boost = 335 RWHP & ??? RWTQ (bad RPM pickup)
The "2006-2007 Pictures" Slide Show is updated w/new pics & scans of the dyno runs.
Thank you Nakil (a local MR2 owner w/a sweet widebody) for taking the time to carefully mount my SSR SP1's wheels!! The "2006-2007 Pictures" Slide Show is updated w/new pics showcasing the wheels.
Another year, another update, another milestone.
Last year to celebrate the 11th anniversary of owning my MR2, I had my MR2 repainted by Body Werks. Larry, the owner, was able to meet all my requirements so I delivered my MR2 to his shop. I must say his team did a great job on the MR2 & I am very pleased with the results.
This month is my 12th anniversary of owning my MR2 & I will celebrate it by taking my MR2 to the next performance level. I have been busy purchasing parts the last 6 months & will soon install an AEM EMS, RMR intake manifold, Wolfkatz TFFR & injectors, Aeromotive FPR & Walbro fuel pump. Internally, the engine remains stock so I am planning on having a safe, sensible tune performed on the dyno with the expectation of 320-340WHP. With the body work complete my MR2 needed some new shoes so I ordered a set of black SSR SP1's wheels from Gruppe-S.
I've updated the Slide Show Pictures page - the main Slide Show now defaults to "1995-2005 Pictures" & I've added a new Slide Show named "2006-2007 Pictures". The new slide show is a timeline of pics I took during the respray & various new parts waiting to be installed.
Wow - it's been over a year since my last update. So what's new!?!? CJM has closed the full time shop, sold the dyno & they're now available by appointment only. I have no new mods over the last year; I've been able to sit back, relax & enjoy her present state.
Last month marked my 11th anniversary of owning my MR2 - time flies by fast!! In honor of our anniversary, I am planning a full factory respray of Crimson Red w/a few body additions: Generation 5 Wing, trunk lid & full GReddy Kit.
CJM has created a new company for their dyno business - Chicago Dyno.com. Visit their site & click on "File Access" if you're interested in viewing my dyno files.
I FINALLY made it to CJM's dyno on 11/12. I wanted to monitor my A/F ratio readings during every pull since I am not using any aftermarket ignition, fuel systems or ECU controls. I did a base-line pull, allowing the Tial wastegate to control boost at 11psi. Then I turned on the GReddy EBC, slowly raising the boost over 6 more pulls to determine a safe, street boost level that I could run. As a precaution, I had a full tank of Sunoco's 100 octane, unleaded race gas to avoid any detonation. As expected, my A/F ratio became "pig rich" at 2000 rpm, staying below 10:1 through out every pull. Once the boost was raised to 15psi the A/F readings started to quickly lean out above 5000 rpm. So to be safe, I decided not to increase boost past 16psi. Here are the low/high results using Dynojets SAE correction factor:
11psi = 196.99WHP & 168.36WTQ at <10:1 A/F
16psi = 282.61WHP & 244.24WTQ at 11.7:1A/F
To calculate flywheel #s, I used the commonly accepted 15% drivetrain efficiency loss factor by dividing by 0.85:
16psi = 332.48HP & 287.34TQ
I am very pleased by my #s & I'm looking forward to future upgrades to increase them. But for now, my baby is hibernating for the winter.
After sitting on my suspension parts for over a year, I finally had them installed. Rich at Milex "hooked me up" w/the install since my brother & I have been too busy to do it ourselves. In mid August, Rich installed the KYBs, OEM strut mounts & boot/bump kit, TRD 14 piece bushing kit & the ST sway bar set - thanks again Rich!! Ozzie's Tire in Joliet did the 4 wheel alignment using their pit alignment rack. My rear camber was way off at -2.5D so they installed crash bolts to put her back in spec at -1.5D. At $170, it was the most expensive alignment I've ever had but definitely worth every penny. In mid September I needed tires & instead of buying a 4th set of the Nitto 450s, I thought I'd try the Yokohama's AVS ES100 tires. Switching brands allowed me to go a smidge wider w/245's in the rear & I have had no rubbing or clearance issues at all.
How does my baby handle now?!? The positives....she is solid as a rock, very confident inspiring to drive, the 55-60mph steering wheel shimmy is gone, she's smooth as glass at triple digit speeds & the car DOES NOT LEAN!! The negatives....the car is now VERY stiff, even w/the KYB's set at their softest setting I feel every little road imperfection. Overall it's a trade-off between comfort & handling but I'm quite satisfied w/the setup. My only regret is I wish each part could've been installed seperately so I would know specfically which one made the most improvement in the handling. I still have no dyno #s yet...hopefully soon.
I am now a believer in Zaino Bro's car polish!! I've used ALL brands of polish & waxes from 3M, New Finish, Zymol, etc. over the years in an attempt to keep my Crimson Red paint from fading away. I used A LOT of Zaino Bro's products this past weekend on my paint w/fantastic results. Zaino Bro's products were the easiest, quickest and deepest shine I've been able to create w/my baby ever!!! I've changed my HomePage pics and added the full size versions in my SlideShow page.
I installed the GReddy Profec B EBC a few weeks ago & noticied an immediate difference in the overall response & spool-up time of the TD06 compared to using the MBC. I've happily used my MBC for the last few years on both the CT26 & TD06 turbos but now I've seen the light!!! I've updated the Modifications page adding a few direct links to the pics in my Slide Show.
I have updated & organized the Slide Show & Links pages. Added a few pics showing the various stages of the car over the years: old engine pics, new engine pics, old exhaust pics, new exhaust pics....you get the idea.
Winter is almost over so I took my baby out of storage last weekend - it was the 1st time she's moved in over 5 months!!
I noticied the oil pan was leaking last summer, even though the gasket was replaced during the trans/turbo project. It wasn't leaking alot but enough to spot the ground. For my peace of mind, I pulled off the oil pan last weekend, cleaned it up & stuck it back on using a high temperature gray gasket material instead of the black I used previously - so far it's holding fine.
I do have a few brand new parts that I need to install this spring (EBC & gauges) and a few more old-new parts (AGX's, SS brake lines, TRD bushing kit) that have been sitting on my parts shelf for over a year now. Last year the priority was to complete the turbo/trans project - the suspension parts could wait. But I'm done waiting so I expect to have "some" of these parts installed soon. Then I will be visiting CJM's dyno at their new location - I am really curious to see what my untuned TD06 HP/TQ numbers will be.
3 years ago I barely passed Illinois emissions test w/the stock CT26, B-pipe w/2nd cat, BOV & the GReddy SP exhaust. Since then, the emissions standards have been lowered and the actual testing process changed from a basic "sniffer" test (probe in exhaust) to a full-on road test (dyno type machine w/probe, driving the car up to 50MPH). It was time for my emissions test in September & taking it "as is" (Garage exhaust (w/NO cats) & HKS SQBV)....I failed terribly. After many discussions w/my bro Rob (15+yr mechanic) on what to do, we decided to use the stock B-pipe w/2nd cat & have a new full size cat welded in place of the stock exhaust. A local exhaust shop did the custom installation & welding work. It is a very quiet, stock sounding set-up considering there is no muffler on the car. Overall, it looks very wimpy from behind & it was expensive to make but it was worth it because I PASSED EMISSIONS !!! Slide Show page has been updated w/new pics.
One of THE best birthday presents I've ever received was my 94+ US Toyota tail light kit. I had the center panel painted at a local shop Crimson Red since Toyota didn't offer that color prepainted. The installation was smooth, but I was suprised how much I had to hammer in the rear panel (more than 1in) to fit the new reverse lights. I really like the way they clean up and modernize the look of the rear end. Slide Show page has been updated w/new pics.
I've changed a few things on my site: my Slide Show page (removed out dated pics & added new ones) and updated my MODS page too.
It's alive.......it's ALIVE......IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!
My MR2 is back on the streets w/no leaks, no clunks and suprisingly, no left over parts...lol. It has been an exhausting 3 months, plenty of set backs, lots of curse words but now seeing and driving the end result - it was worth it. The new clutch is broken in, so w/some help from CJ Motorsports & a visiting Brian "No Shoes" Moore, I installed my MBC and turned up the boost to 15psi. WOW....the TD06 makes soooo much power & pulls hard to redline in every gear - I'm very satisfied w/this turbo. W/all my new parts (LSD transmission, clutch, TD06, TRD engine mounts, etc) it's as if I own a new car & now I need to familarize myself w/it all over again. Within the next few weeks I will post pics of the project and some new dyno #s.
MODS LIST IS BACK UP!!!
My springtime transmission swap and general engine maintenance project has slowly turned into a gremlin-filled major summertime project....one thing after another causing problems & delays. I inspected my stock CT26 turbo and it needs a rebuild. Instead of rebuilding it, I "bit the bullet" and ordered a Greddy TD06 turbo from CJ Motorsports w/their Stage 2 mod (Tial external wastegate & mild porting). When removing the exhaust manifold, one of the studs broke in half. I tried using a stud remover socket but it didn't work and just broke the stud completely off & flush in the head. The broken stud had to be drilled out and then the hole re-tapped for a new stud. So, w/having to order new parts, waiting on various suppliers and dealers to ship them, having parts ceramic coated and just finding the time (and help) to get all of this work done.......it's now almost June and I haven't driven my car yet this year!!!
I'm preparing for spring with a growing parts shelf. I have a used 93 JDM LSD w/full axles (purchased from Josh at Chico Race Works), CM Stage 3 clutch, TRD 14 piece suspension bushing set, TRD 4 piece engine mount set, 4 KYB AGX's, new IC hoses, and a few other odds and ends. Here is the project plan: drop the engine & transmission, swap trans, replace all engine gaskets & seals, detail the engine & install all the new parts.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!! My baby is in full hibernation mode now. This fall, I went to Great Lakes Dragway in Wisconsin for an all day, open to the public track day. It was a blast!! My best time of the day was 13.7 at 101mph w/a 1.9 60ft time. I do like beating V8's....lol.
I've been doing a lot of travelling out of the country for work this year so my baby has had a long hibernation. June is half over and my baby has only be on the road for two weeks. But in those two weeks, I installed the ATS Throttle Body Pipe and the Garage Fuki SPL Departure II 85MM Racing Exhaust. The power difference is very, very noticeable across the entire powerband w/the new exhaust. The tone of the exhaust has a deep rumble (non-ricey) and is very loud under WOT. Of course the look of the two seperate exhausts really fills in the rear end. I love it - two thumbs up!! The bad news is that I'm actually suffering from boost creep now which I didn't suffer from before. From what I've read on the board, with no exhaust restriction (since I'm completely cat free) the wastegate can't bleed off enough air which = boost creep. I took pics of the old GReddy SP installed, a comparision of the two exhausts side by side and the SPL installed. Those pics are in my Slide Show.
I'm really getting anxious to prepare my baby for spring and start installing my winter stock pile of parts. I can't wait to install the exhaust. Plus, I'm really sick of driving the winter beater which is has served me well for the last 12 years but it is a P.O.S.!! Just a few more weeks to go until spring is here.
My baby is in full hibernation until the springtime.
I have a few new parts on the shelf waiting to be installed: ATS Throttle Body Pipe, an additional stock fog light switch to control the 2nd Spal fan for the engine lid and a Garage Fuki SPL Departure II 85MM (3 5/16in) Racing Exhaust. I'm excited to see, hear and feel the difference the exhaust makes. I've been drooling over this exhaust for years and now I have one. Since the SPL is a true cat-back exhaust and my main cat was removed w/the installation of the DP, I will now have a true 3in full-flowing exhaust w/out any cats. I am expecting some moderate gains in power w/a reduction of spool up time and a much more aggresive and louder tone w/the SPL. I can't wait to install it!! Come on spring!!
SOLD!!!! The 93T is sold. Scott (the new owner) flew in from Seattle, WA and drove home his early Christmas present. Scott has lots of modification plans for his new baby. I wish him the best!! I have left the pictures of the 93T in my Slide Show for memories...sniff,sniff.
Received some parts from Coincelli Toyota. My TRD Short Shift Kit, that had been on backorder for months, finally arrived. Now its sitting on my shelf waiting to be installed. Along w/it came my I complete 93+ front lip spoiler too. I also just picked up 2 used 7.5in Spal fans, a pusher & puller, from a local MR2 IMOC member, Chee. I plan on putting one on the IC and the other on the engine lid. I hope to have everything installed soon.
FOR SALE!!! FOR SALE!!! FOR SALE!!!
I have a black 93T, 114K miles, thats loaded w/options: tan leather interior, 3-in-1 8 speaker stereo, LSD, PS, PW, PL, A/C, ABS, T-tops, cruise and alarm. I am the 2nd owner and the title is clean and verified from CarFax w/their $ 5000 clean title guarantee.
I FINALLY created a new pic page that's more user friendly. You can view all the pics as a Slide Show or click "Show All" to see the individual thumbnails. ENJOY!!!
With having the seats re-upholstered earlier this year and now with a new steering wheel, the old shift knob and boot had to go. I purchased all Momo - anatomical shift knob, leather shift boot and a gear knob finisher. I love the feel of the shifter. I have added a few new pics of the wheel and Momo upgrades to my pic page.
The '91 & '92 MR2s had two part recalls from Toyota. The air conditioning expansion valve (some were leaky) and for the steering wheel (it may not hold up during a crash). I stopped by my local Toyota dealer and had them run my VIN numbers to see if the recall work had been done on my car. It only took a few seconds for the computer to show that neither one had been done. So an appointment was made to have both items replaced FOR FREE!!
My air conditioner does get colder quicker now, but that's probably just from replacing the 10 year old freon. The old steering wheel was oxidized and sun faded. I had been considering adding a cover or trying to paint the wheel for a few months. So having it replaced with a new leather wheel solved the problem.
I know my car is quick, but I have been really curious about my true HP & TQ numbers. So, I organized a "Dyno Day" for the Indiana & Illinois MR2 Owners Club at APG Performance on 5/27. It was a blast!! The staff at APG were professional (but not stuffy) in dealing with club members. They answered all of our questions and even helped out by loaning out tools for some last minute tuning. APG has earned my future business. I've added a link to their site in my "Favorite Links" page.
Ok, back to the dyno. There is something to be said about going 120mph while standing still - highly recommended. My numbers: 182.5 RWHP & 213.8 RWTQ. With MR2's averaging an 18% drivetrain loss, that equates too 215.3 HP & 252.2 TQ at the flywheel.
I decided it was time to crank up the boost a little bit. With my intake, DP and exhaust, I was boosting up to 13psi. I purchased a Manual Boost Controller (MBC) from Twos-R-Us. It was quick and simple to install with no suprises. A very good product that included detailed installation instructions, all at a great price. And boy, what a difference a few psi makes!! I currently have the boost set at 15psi.