1 2 3 4
corytate Dork
11/26/12 10:39 p.m.

Recently got an AW11 in trade for the datsun, rolled it inside (actually pushed it in with a truck lol) and started tearing it apart.

Pulling the driver's seat up, observed a gigantic hole in the floor pan under the seat.
Brake pedal feels like nothing (I'm thinking it just needs fluid and some thorough bleeding)
Clutch pedal feels like nothing and I'm hoping it's just a slave cylinder
Oil spot appeared on the floor about 5 minutes after it was rolled into place, so gotta figure out what's up with that.
Was told it needed a fuel pump, and it smoked (piston rings)
Got an altima fuel pump that was laying around (anyone help me out with how to price a used nissan altima fuel pump?) that I'm going to try to make work, but I may end up getting an external walbro 255 external to make the fuel pump easier to replace next time lol
Also grabbed a battery from an Infiniti that was going to be recycled at work (how can I value this too?)
I also don't know what to budget as what I paid for the car?
I had $650 +$100 in gas into the z, I'd say the mr2 is MAYBE worth $750, probably more like $500?
I'll be updating this frequently, hope to have the car running by the weekend. Really need to figure out what's up with the oil leak though.
Oh, and there's oil over the bottom of the trans too.

Right now the plan is to sell off the seats and random interior pieces
buy a used engine I've already located for $300, swap the head and manis from mine onto this engine (it's from a rwd corolla I'd assume so the manis are different) and drop it in
GZE trans (the GZE trans is LSD) usually sells for $300-500
1 cheapish fixed back seat
maybe a fuel cell if I can find one to fit in stock loacation
walbro possibly
maybe cams and adjustable gears in the 4age
I have some well used rs3's I got for $30, need to get some 15" wheels for them
put a new front lip on it from where it flew off the tow dolly and went on a journey by itself on the way over from knoxville
lexan windows and windshield
short shifter if budget allows
maybe new headlight motor for RH side
paint maybe
other misc safety stuff
If the budget allows I'd like to boost it, but I'm not sure I can get that to fit in the budget.
fix rust hole(s)

Conquest351 SuperDork
11/27/12 10:02 a.m.

Nice!! I like where this is going...

Matt B
Matt B Dork
11/27/12 10:44 a.m.


Couple of things to consider:

The GZE trans (E51) is considerably heavier than the NA (C52) unit. IIRC it's 50lbs+ more, in a location you don't really need more weight, aka the rear. Also, axles for that transmission are supposedly hard to come by these days. That said, they are considerably stronger than the C52 units, so if boost is definitely in your future it may be worth it. If-it-were-me, I'd probably just deal with the C52 until it puked. They're cheap and easily replaced. At near-stock power levels you don't really need an lsd imho, even for autocross.

Not sure there's a fuel cell that fits the stock location, which is the tunnel between the seats. It's a long skinny shape. Most people put them in the "frunk".

There aren't very many well engineered full coilovers available for the chassis. Most of what you'll see is the Ksport/D2/F2 stuff, which is crap in my opinion. They have a ton of built in height adjustments for kids who want to slam their car, but their damping sucks. BC makes a unit that has some promise, but I haven't seen any force-vs-velocity graphs for those yet. The most reliable solution is GC sleeves plus whatever damper you want. Personally, I like Konis. The only problem with those is a little extra fiddling/fab with the stock strut housings, which all the decent replacement dampers still use. To get the most wheel/tire clearance, you end up having to cut off the spring perches and weld on a seat for the sleeves.

Also, you probably already know, but head over to mr2oc.com for help as well. There's a ton of mk1 guys over there.

corytate Dork
11/27/12 7:40 p.m.

hmm didn't know that about the gze trans, I have also been looking at lsd's to swap into the NA trans as well, but I want to get the car running and driving first of all.
The reason I don't want to put the fuel cell in the frunk is the reason toyota put the tank in the tunnel in the first place, placed low down in the center of the car it doesn't affect balance whether it's empty or full, so that's one less thing to set the suspension up for.
I'm going to getting around to joining some mr2 forums eventually, and hopefully there are some people racing aw11's there so I can look at their setups.
I think what I want to do at first is just rallyx/autox as a stock car plus lightness, and kind of figure out the nature of this beast and do some research.
I think if I can get it driving and do a couple of races in it I won't be bit by the apathy bug like what happened to me with the z car.
Will be going back thursday and friday to work on the car some more, will update then.
Thanks all!

Matt B
Matt B Dork
11/28/12 9:06 a.m.

Sounds like a pretty good plan so far. Often times I wish I'd just focus on the low-hanging fruit and get projects functional before I lose momentum.

Agreed on the stock fuel tank location being best. You're not going to get much better than that. There might be a fuel cell solution out there for that area, but I've never seen one. I haven't actually researched it though, so YMMV.

There's a small but knowledgeable group of guys who have developed the chassis for autocross over on mr2oc.com. Look out for XHead ( former DP champion), mtbmr2 (XP), MicaCeli (STS), and a few more I'm not remembering in the Autox forum.

You definitely want to check out these threads:

STS2 MK1 suspension setup w/host XHead

STS Setup with Xhead part 2

Some info on adding lightness to the chassis

The forum is a little bit a pain to join, as you have to wait for approval. It's worth it though and as a bonus it's pretty free of canoes.

Caleb Reader
11/28/12 10:26 a.m.

Of all the people you named on mr2oc you forgot Bill Strong ,he guy who built and owns the site and has been racing mr2's for many many years lol

Caleb Reader
11/28/12 10:28 a.m.

as an alternative to getting a gze trans you can get a 6 speed blacktop 4age trans with a factory lsd and keep your factory axels

Matt B
Matt B Dork
11/28/12 10:36 a.m.

Yeah, Bill is a good resource and I'm very appreciative of the forum he's provided for us all these years. He just doesn't enter into the chassis development conversations in the Autox or MK1 sections very often, or at all from what I've seen.

Caleb wrote: as an alternative to getting a gze trans you can get a 6 speed blacktop 4age trans with a factory lsd and keep your factory axels

This is a great idea.

Caleb Reader
11/28/12 10:48 a.m.

lol us ADUB (AW11) guys gotta watch out for each other lol

Matt B
Matt B Dork
11/28/12 3:07 p.m.

Indeed - I do appreciate that on average, the platform doesn't attract the douchenozzle crowd. I've met a bunch of local guys through the forum willing to help out in the garage and with free or nearly-free parts.

BTW - if you guys end up over there, my screen name is thirdvector.

corytate Dork
11/28/12 8:05 p.m.

will look into the 6 speed but sounds expensive, if I can even find one at all.
I sent the email to join mr2oc a couple minutes ago, hopefully will be able to start up there soon enough too.
Thanks guys, I'm going to work on the car tomorrow and friday so I'll be updating some more

turboswede PowerDork
11/28/12 11:12 p.m.

This might help with the 6-speed conversion:


Caleb Reader
11/28/12 11:53 p.m.

I'm themadhatter on mr2oc lol

Matt B
Matt B Dork
11/29/12 9:44 a.m.
corytate wrote: will look into the 6 speed but sounds expensive...

Ah, forgot it was possibly going to be a challenge car. They're not terribly expensive, but not cheap either. Again, it might be a case of living with the C52 trans until all the more important issues have been dealt with, like a running engine, a decent suspension, and rust repair.

Some ideas on budget suspension options:

  • Buy a used damper/spring combo from someone on the board. (duh)

  • Some guys have had luck buying ebay coilover sleeves for Miatas. Do a search on that forum and it shouldn't be too hard to find the thread. Spring rates aren't always advertised, but maybe a little reselling/barter stuff might land you what you want.

  • Less of an idea, more of a caution - there's only a two choices for new low-priced dampers and they're both flawed in different ways. The KYB GR2 isn't much better than stock, so I wouldn't really pair them with anything above 200lbs/in. The Tokico Blues do offer firmer damping, but the MR2 guys have had terrible luck with them failing prematurely. I used them for years on my old Civic Si without any problems. As always YMMV.

Matt B
Matt B Dork
11/29/12 9:53 a.m.

Almost forgot - padandwheels.com has a great collection of excellent write-ups on common jobs for the mk1. It's been very useful to me in the past.

As a bonus, the site has a list of aftermarket spring rates on this page: http://padandwheels.com/mr2/suspension/suspension.html

Also, I believe there is a PDF download of the factory service manual (aka BGB : Big Green Book) on mr2oc.com somewhere. Possibly stickied.

corytate SuperDork
11/29/12 10:15 p.m.

Tonight we just about finished stripping out the interior and the frunk. Threw away the rat's nest that was in the frunk (horrible horrible smells)
Got the car up on jack stands (on one side at least lol) and started dropping the fuel tank. Got the cross members undone and the ebrake cable unhooked, and a couple lines out of the way.
Hope to get the new pump put in tomorrow night and start the car for the first time!
seats are in pretty damn good shape so they will be going up for sale soon, along with some trim pieces. Anyone here need anything before I list them up on mr2oc?
I've got both online and pdf copies of the BGB so I should be ok in that department.
I need to find a manual window setup for the driver's door in addition to the stuff I listed above.
I'm trying to figure out something the guy at work needs so I can trade it for the spare engine.
I plan on putting the head in the car on the spare engine, and using the newly frankensteined extra, "bad" parts to build up a turbo ready engine with gze internals for more boooooooost.
Really wishing I had a lift as the fuel pump would've been done in about an hour if I wasn't lying on the floor under the car wrenching. Working in a shop has spoiled me and this struggle/pain probably good for me.
Oh, minor minor rust hole in the frunk too. Will be patched with the floor pan hole.
I need to get a decent welder now that I sold the POS northern flux (worst welder ever, ask jhaas to confirm this) for $20. took a $160 loss on that one but I don't have to look at it anymore at least

corytate SuperDork
12/1/12 10:41 p.m.

After several hours of frustration, we finally got the tank dropped.
it's full of what looks like mulch=/
I really don't want to put the tank back up so I've decided to go with a five gallon fuel cell (just enough to work, not enough to effect the weight that much with different amounts of fuel in it. I want to drop it down into the drunk, into the spare tire well if it'll fit.
Found a 13x13x8 RCI cell on CL for $75, I think I'll be going with it if it isn't sold by the time I can get it
working on the car almsot every day, I think we're going to be able to keep up the momentum, so I'm going to go ahead and get the spare engine and, while it's out, clean out all the unnecessary stuff and paint the car (at least the engine bay, but I'd like to have the whole thing the exact same color and get painted at the same time)
to move forward with paint I need to fix the rust holes as well.
The gas in the tank smelled like it was from the Clinton presidency, and my buddy Andrew took one for the team and volunteered to siphon it out by mouth. BAD call.
He then had the bright idea to use a kool-aid jammer as suction, which also worked for a minute.
I hooked up the free pump I got from work to try to pump it out that way but it wouldn't pump anything out, so we took a trip to wal-mart and picked up a $4 siphon pump.
Drained it into jugs and wrestled with it for another couple hours.
The hose clamp on the filler tube at the tank was on upside down so it had the bolt at the top, making it impossible to access. Cut it.
Got it out only to see the mulchy crap covering the pump and flaking off when we pulled the pump assy out, called it a night.
The one time I started to crank the engine over there was oil dropping out somewhere towards the front (at engine to cockpit firewall)
since it was only pouring out when cranking it over I got the idea it may be a pretty bad distributor seal leak, which I've read is very common on these?
either way, we're going to pull the engine next week and start cleaning it up.
Oh, the left front wheel is frozen onto the hub. We've tried bfh, we've tried kicking the E36 M3 out of it, idk what else to try at this point.

So, plans for next week are to yank the engine and clean things up a bit, get rid of the ac lines which aren't even hooked up to anything, think about a v mount setup since the plans are for boost, followed by a built 4agte with even more boost.
will also clean up the frunk.

also, aw11 guys, I've seen a couple cars with the rear trunk to engine compartment wall cutout with bars in place instead. Who makes these bars or are the just tube steel with threaded ends + heims or something?

corytate SuperDork
12/1/12 10:42 p.m.

oh yeah, pics:

Matt B
Matt B Dork
12/3/12 9:16 a.m.

I do not envy that fuel tank job. Pretty crazy what you found in there to boot. A fuel cell in the frunk seems to work for a lot of guys, so I wouldn't worry about the placement too much.

I'm not sure what you're talking about with the rear engine compartment to trunk bars. Pics?

corytate SuperDork
12/3/12 11:29 a.m.

of course now that I need to find the pic again I can't find it anywhere.
They cut out the wall between the engine compartment and the trunk and had two bars in an x across the void instead.
I have to think through (now that I'm not still pissed about the fuel tank job lol) whether or not I am going to go with a fuel cell or not again.
Never cleaned a tank out so idk how difficult it would be.
really need to decide what I'm going to do with this thing so I can figure it out.
I'm thinking I may want to rallycross my DD and build this for prepared or modified autocross, and maybe HPDEs.

Matt B
Matt B Dork
12/3/12 12:06 p.m.

From your description, I'm 99% sure that the bars were a custom fab job. So few companies even make parts for these cars anymore that it is highly unlikely anyone would sell something with such limited use/market.

pinchvalve UltimaDork
12/3/12 12:22 p.m.

Is the body in as good a shape as it appears? (says me who is doing another round of rust repair as we speak...)

racerdave600 Dork
12/3/12 12:32 p.m.

Having done 3 fuel pumps so far on these, it is absolutely the worst job on the entire car. Even with a lift it is not fun. I've done it both ways. On my old ITA car, I left the tank as is and did not use a fuel cell. Except for when the pump has to be changed, it's the perfect location.

Your car, despite the dirt, is really very clean from what the pics show. Not much rust compared to many I've seen lately.

Be sure to visit XHead's posts listed above. I've driven Hoelscher's car a few years ago and it is simply amazing. It's really a violent car, and many people have trouble thinking of an AW11 in that manner. I miss mine for sure. You could probably do 70% to 80% of his car without all that much money.

corytate SuperDork
12/3/12 4:56 p.m.

I'm definitely going to be lurking the autox forum at mr2oc
and I'm pretty happy with the car overall, it has a large rust hole through the floor pan on the driver's side, and small hole in the frunk, and that's all I've found so far.
I am thinking about doing an external pump so I don't have to drop the tank again just for that though.
and I figured the bars were probably custom after I thought abotu it and searched around. Could I probably make some with the same principle of people making custom strut bars? If I cut out the trunk to EC wall, I would also have sheet metal to fix the rust holes lol
It looks like I won't be able to do the challenge this year, I'll be getting my five days of vacation allotted per year this coming February, and will be using them all and then some to fly to Colombia with SWMBO to see some of her family.

Dusterbd13 HalfDork
12/3/12 9:28 p.m.

to clean a tank:

gab a handfull of lug nuts. put them in the tank, tape over the holes, and shake it like a morracca. flush with water. repeat. a lot.

also can get them boiled out for like 50 bucks by webster radiator up in concord.

1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners