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Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/7/20 5:19 p.m.

When I had my FR-S never bothered making any kind of build thread for it... was a daily driver that I really didn't work on much. Sold it over a month ago and I just got a 1989 MK1b MR2 from member here (saruken) as my first classic which I want to take the necessary time and work to make it right. Actually picked it up myself two weekends ago on a 1,900 mile round trip to bring it home after nearly close to a month after purchasing it. It's in good running shape with an okay paint job and interior. I've just started getting into it and this is its status thus far on what work I know it needs:

1. De-rust bottom of trunk, prime/rust inhibit bottom of trunk, and protect with bedliner.
2. De-rust bottom of frunk, prime/rust inhibit bottom of frunk, and protect with bedliner.
3. Remove carpet from passenger compartment bottom and check for rust, fix as needed (just like trunk & frunk...)
4. Remove non-working A/C system (not going to try and get it working and chance it causing rust since it's partly in a sealed enclosed space (frunk) unlike most vehicles)
5. Sand, prime, and repaint frunk tire/brake tubular cage piece
6. Battery tray rework (deacidify & rebuild, in weak flimsy shape from being eaten away over the years - why I hate and refuse to use lead acid vented batteries)
7. Passenger headlight not able to go up or down on its own - have to manually crank it into position.
8. Driver's window switch not working (will go down but not up... impossible to find used ones, will need to do custom switchs)
9. Interior light switch not working (need to order replacement)
10. Repair & paint rear taillight housing

Will be redoing interior in Alcantara (two tone look with 9002 panel charcoal and 9052 perforated Starlight) except for the rear engine bulkhead carpet which is in great shape. The stock seats are in great shape, but I need a little bit lower seating position for using my Momo wheel (NOS wheel I've had for a long time and finally can use in a vehicle) so will be going to aftermarket buckets with fixed mounting. The radio gear will be coming out (head unit and power antennae) and oil pressure/temp and water temp gauges put in place of head unit... only sound I care about is that which comes from the 4AGE.

Came with a dead battery, just got in a replacement battery recently - Hawker Odyssey PC925MJ. Mistakenly somehow ordered the reversed post orientation one (PC925LMJ), but able to make it work. The motor is leaking from distributor, so that will be fixed - plan on changing to Coil-on-Plug conversion for tge 4AGE since future plans also involve ITBs (really liking the New Zealand based Manon Racing Products 4AGE stuff... https://www.mrpltd.co.nz/product-category/4age-performance/ not inexpensive though - intake costs more than I paid for the MR2...)

Also will be beefing up all the factory mounts with 3M Winoweld to make stiffened transmission/engine mounts... what I've learned from my Honda days. I'll be going through the cooling/heating system and replacing all the hoses and cleaning/inspecting all the piping. Engine overall seems to be in good enough shape for now and maintenance was recently done on it within the last 15k miles... so will leave it alone for right now (probably freshen up the valve covers though to make it look a little better... gold metal flake engine paint should do the trick)

Full T3 lower suspension front and rear will be done at a later time - this MR2 already has Koni dampers with Eibach Pro springs and new strut tower mounts. Rather than mess with replacing bushings on 163k mile suspension pieces would rather just replace them with the stronger and more adjustable, solid spherical bearing T3 race units. Only body appearance changes I will be doing is custom mounting some racing mirrors and going with 15x7 +35mm ET Sparco FF-1 wheels in light grey which will drop nice bit of weight compared to the MK3 Spyder wheels it currently has.

Pictures of it's current as bought condition (not shown are driver's seat and the frunk tubular cage tire/brake system 'protector'):

Just got in my new Quick Jack yesterday (new BL-5000SLX to replace my very first version of the Quick Jack which will not work with the MR2 chassis, plus is having some issues), will be assembling it this evening. A used '89 MR2 Toyota factory service manual should be in soon, just got an '89 MR2 owners manual in yesterday. I'll update this thread as things get done on the MR2.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
8/7/20 5:30 p.m.

Good colour 

Steve
Steve New Reader
8/8/20 9:58 p.m.

Looks like an awesome base for a project! 

Two talking points:

1. I'm looking at the company you posted and the manifold price, if you really bought it for less than that manifold, you scored big time. That's a very clean MK1b. 

2. Are you planning on tracking the car? Looks like a lot of T3 in your future, which if you aren't going to be really pushing the chassis at the limit, might be quite abrasive on the street. Just some food for thought. 

Glad to see another AW11 around here! 

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/9/20 11:22 p.m.

In reply to Steve :

With shipping costs, etc all total it will be more. I paid $2500 for the MR2. I might just go Silvertop ITB setup for much less though... but lot more prep work to clean and freshen up compared to a brand new made racing one.

I don't mind stiff, spherical bushing setup suspension... have ran it before, admittedly on a heavier Camaro. I'll be beefing up/solidifying the motor/transmission mounts with 3M Windoweld like I've done before on my other cars...would like to track it if get the chance, but it will mainly be a fun car. The more exact, and precise the suspension with minimal suspension movement the more fun it will be... not a fan of factory miata sailboat like suspension handling...way too much movement in those things. I had my FR-S buttoned down more than stock even though never replaced stock suspension... steering rack went to solid aluminum mounting bushings, motor and transmission mounts beefed up to reduced the floppy stock ones, and unsprung weight reduced over 4lbs a corner with lighter wheels and smaller tires (205/45-17 from 215/45-17). Made custom center exit catback exhaust for it from Burns Stainless components that was solidly mounted with spherical bearing turnbuckles at the rear near the tip.  

The more 'racecar' the more I'll like it... I have my Frontier for a softer ride... (not much softer than my FR-S though with the OME offroad suspension lift I put on it... rides kind of like a sports car - firm but compliant. Amazingly though primative gravel/dirt roads in the Arizona desert at near 90mph is surprisingly smooth).

Thanks for the welcome Steve! Really looking forward to getting the MR2 like I've envisioned it... really fallen in love with it and haven't even really driven it yet...

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/9/20 11:23 p.m.

Update, some more pictures from today...

(New reproduction wiper/washer lever installed)

Moved it out of the garage because of this...

Houston, we have lift off!

And wheels off for the first time...

Quick Jack is pretty straight forward to put together, though the manual that came with it was not the current one (which I had downloaded and already read through a few days ago). The older manual supplied with it is missing an entire section on bleeding the system for purging air before lifting the first time... Only had one issue with o-ring tearing during install of fitting on one of the rams - thankfully scavenged the o-ring off the shipping cap that gets replaced with the fitting. Used good quality teflon tape instead of whatever Chinese thread sealant that was provided...

Once put together and bled/ tested, up went the MR2 with no issues other than a minor drip from a connection... locked lift down into place to relieve pressure and tightened down a bit more on the connection... proceeded on with zero issues.

Looking under the MR2 it's body is in very good shape mostly, only real rust section underneath is the frunk bottom area. The center tunnel undertrays do have some cracked plastic mounting hole locations... the plastic has gotten a little brittle. 

With the wheels off I can see it does have Goodridge stainless brake hoses... knew it had to have upgraded hoses... the brakes are the most solid I've ever felt on a car... way more solid feeling than the FR-S. Tiny bit of travel with increasing force then it's like putting your foot against a solid wall... very nice.

Need to start getting the cooling hoses ordered... double check all the hoses in the system once the factory service manual arrives. Oh, I did get the owners manual I got off Ebay on Thursday. Did see if I could possibly use the stock FR-S muffler... but it's just too big and wide to use. Currently has a rusty, cobbled together muffler shop thing as an exhaust... doesn't sound bad... but so rusty its not going to last much longer. Think I will do like I did on my FR-S, custom Burn's Stainless exhaust with the 2-stage quiet muffler.

Well that's it for the update...

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/10/20 8:39 a.m.

Subscribed. Nice car and great score for $2500! I hear you on the wheels. I just sold the Rota Grids that were on my AW11 in 16x9 and too big and heavy for the car. They weighed 36.8 pounds each! I am thinking of either Advanti Storm S1s or  Sparco FF-1  in the 15x7 +35 size to cut down on weight with 205/50 R15 high performance rubber , probably the RE71 Potenzas.

 

 

lxnm
lxnm Reader
8/11/20 3:24 p.m.

This looks like an excellent find, and I'm excited to see what you do with it. 

On the topic of the silver top, I have a blacktop in an MR2 now, and while it's pretty cool I'm not sure I'd do it again if I were to start all over.  The biggest reason to go with a black or silver top is ease of conversion (it's still a 4age after all).  But, if I were to do it again, I'd very strongly consider putting in something newer, probably a 2zz.  3 out of 4 of the engine mounts connect to the transmission and not the block.  Any engine which mounts up to a C-series transmission should be pretty easy to stuff in there, and that includes the 2zz.  Cost-wise a silver top and a 2ZZ look pretty close, and the 2ZZ is more modern, makes more power, and has domestic parts availability.  

I'm sure some of this is a grass is greener on the other side thing though.  The negatives that I know about include the exhaust manifold being on the other side of the engine and maybe needing modification to clear the trunk, and the VVT requiring input from the speedo to work (which is mechanical on the AW11).  You could also shove a V6 in there...

The black top does sound pretty awesome btw, so I totally get that.  

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/11/20 9:06 p.m.
dherr (Forum Supporter) said:

Subscribed. Nice car and great score for $2500! I hear you on the wheels. I just sold the Rota Grids that were on my AW11 in 16x9 and too big and heavy for the car. They weighed 36.8 pounds each! I am thinking of either Advanti Storm S1s or  Sparco FF-1  in the 15x7 +35 size to cut down on weight with 205/50 R15 high performance rubber , probably the RE71 Potenzas.

 

 

Dang, that much weight for those wheels... those things are HEAVY!!! The 17" wheel/tire combo set I ran on my FR-S ran right about that and my stock Nissan Frontier SV wheels are 22-23lbs. The wheels are probably one of the last things I will do, but kind of regretting not picking up the Sparco FF-1s with the discounted price Tire Rack was running for a few weeks... was like $60 instant discount off the set for the black and grey ones. It's just there's much more important things that I need to put money towards before the wheels... the interior, the cooling/heating hoses, the motor, plus all the T3 suspension and brake system stuff. Can live with the Mk3 setup for now.

One thing I always try to do is reduce unsprung weight... it's the reason my Frontier is still rocking it's stock wheels, there's simply not a lighter aftermarket wheel for it - there are a very few (like 2) that are same weight... not going to spend the money for minimal change of looks only. There was one that was lighter which I liked, but by the time I was looking for wheel options it was no longer made/available to get...

If you get the FF-1s please share a picture of them on the car, really want to see how they look! From what I'm imagining, they will nicely compliment the AW11 styling.

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/11/20 9:27 p.m.

In reply to lxnm :

I'm not getting rid of the 16Valve 4AGE, that motor is staying in the MR2. Actually, it's pretty much the reason I bought the car. Would have bought an AE86 notchback coupe if they just weren't so expensive... AW11 MR2 is the cheapest way into the 16Valve 4AGE and I happened on a deal here I simply couldn't refuse.

It's the intake system I want to convert to ITB where the silvertop would come in... but could be a Silvertop ITB conversion or the Manon Racing unit. Would like to eventually build up a higher revving 16Valve 4AGE motor in the future and swap in as well.

A race built 16Valve 4AGE with ITB is an absolutely beautiful thing that makes all the right sounds... 

 

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/12/20 9:13 a.m.
Vracer111 said:
dherr (Forum Supporter) said:

Subscribed. Nice car and great score for $2500! I hear you on the wheels. I just sold the Rota Grids that were on my AW11 in 16x9 and too big and heavy for the car. They weighed 36.8 pounds each! I am thinking of either Advanti Storm S1s or  Sparco FF-1  in the 15x7 +35 size to cut down on weight with 205/50 R15 high performance rubber , probably the RE71 Potenzas.

 

 

Dang, that much weight for those wheels... those things are HEAVY!!! The 17" wheel/tire combo set I ran on my FR-S ran right about that and my stock Nissan Frontier SV wheels are 22-23lbs. The wheels are probably one of the last things I will do, but kind of regretting not picking up the Sparco FF-1s with the discounted price Tire Rack was running for a few weeks... was like $60 instant discount off the set for the black and grey ones. It's just there's much more important things that I need to put money towards before the wheels... the interior, the cooling/heating hoses, the motor, plus all the T3 suspension and brake system stuff. Can live with the Mk3 setup for now.

One thing I always try to do is reduce unsprung weight... it's the reason my Frontier is still rocking it's stock wheels, there's simply not a lighter aftermarket wheel for it - there are a very few (like 2) that are same weight... not going to spend the money for minimal change of looks only. There was one that was lighter which I liked, but by the time I was looking for wheel options it was no longer made/available to get...

If you get the FF-1s please share a picture of them on the car, really want to see how they look! From what I'm imagining, they will nicely compliment the AW11 styling.

I ended up getting the Advanti Storms as at 10 pounds each and Continental ExtremeContact Sport tires in 205/50-15 at 18 Pounds the total weight per wheel of 28 pounds should be ideal. Stock wheels are 15-18  pounds and tires are similar at around 15 pounds so I should be lighter with the larger size. Those Rotas were really heavy!

Steve
Steve New Reader
8/12/20 10:55 a.m.

Vracer, I see where you're at then with your build plan. Should be really cool and quite the precise tool when it's all built!

I applaud your dedication to the 16 valve. It's a great motor. Just to play devil's advocate, I'm in lxnm's camp. I've owned three 16 valve AW11's, and two 20 valve cars (AW11 and a AE86), and they are great. But I now own a NUMMI chassis with a 2ZZGE as well as the AW11 in my garage, and I have to say, the 2ZZGE is one hell of a motor. I had my doubts since I'm a 4AGE die hard, but literally everything is better in the way the 2ZZ behaves at all speeds, enough so for me to stare longingly at my resto-mod project AW11 and reconsider my long term plans.

That is all to say, I've priced out an ITB conversion on my personal 16 valve. Mainly for vanity, really.

I'm excited to see your 4AGE build, sounds like you're keeping it NA if you're going with the ITB's, and as long as someone else is paying for it, I love seeing one put together!

Keep the updates coming our way!

Matt B (Forum Supporter)
Matt B (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/13/20 11:02 a.m.

There's getting to be a veritable AW11 mafia around here.  Glad Vracer ended up with this one as I remember when it was up for sale.  I'll be interested to see how you implement Burns exhaust as my current system may be on the chopping block.

rustybuckets
rustybuckets Reader
8/13/20 2:53 p.m.

Love it! 
 

The only thing I can add is you may want to consider something other than Bedliner for protection. If the rust persists under there, it will grow without you seeing it. I would do all my rust prevention, then coat it with cosmoline or fluid film or something like that. Then you protect it, but it's easy to monitor. 
 

just something to think about! 

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/13/20 6:28 p.m.

In reply to Steve :

I like small, not too powerful I4s with character... more than fine with the power level and character of an NA 4AGE 16V. I've always wanted to own it just for the sound it can make - power delivery is of not too much concern to me. I was and still am 100% fine with the stock power in the FR-S from the FA20  FR-S (wasn't liking it being a boxer motor though) and loved the non-VTEC B18A1 in the Integras and the JDM DOHC ZC conversion in my sister's CRX Si.

The only vehicle which I really wish had a bit more motor was my '98 Toyota Tacoma with the 2.4L 2RZ... that thing was slow to launch. Even so, when I ran it in the Houston SCCA regional SOLO II for a couple of years, my times would be quicker than almost half the other drivers and competitive enough for fighting for second in STF class with my friends. All other trucks were seconds slower, especially the SVT Lightnings (too big/wide for their own good at autocross, lapping on track is a different story). The Tacoma was also used to take the Evolution Phase I autocross school with. At a later time the Evolution Phase II school was taken with my track prepped '98 Camaro RS.

The second truck I got was the 2WD Frontier with the VQ40 and 6speed manual... and I don't find it lacking. Quicker accelerating than my FR-S was - honestly think it's the quickest accelerating vehicle I've ever had (at least up to 80mph) - especially with the intake manifold spacer noticeably shifting the torque curve for more the low end torque. Had no more interest in 4 cylinder 'compact' trucks after the Tacoma, wanted the best torque and liked the VQ sound. The stripped-out track-prepped '98 RS Camaro was actually slower accelerating from dead launch or roll than the track-prepped Integra RS. and that was not quite as quick as the FR-S even though it felt quicker because of the Honda B18A1's character with the 8lb racing flywheel.

The B18A1 with 8lb racing flywheel has been my favorite engine so far - had that Honda 1.8L B-series character and great sound. The 16Valve 4AGE is as good if not a little bit better in character and sound, especially when involving an ITB. I'm really not looking at getting any kind of noticeably "power" increase with the mods as much as I'm looking to experiencing the 4AGE being free to sing to it's hearts content when allowed to breathe and spin quickly... I just want to hear it sing.

Weight to power wise, the MR2 with tuned 4AGE should be a little bit better over the track prepped Integra RS (the Integra RS was right @ 2300 lbs with full tank and B18A1 was making 140ish hp crank)

For the 4AGE I have decided to do Coil-on-Plug conversion instead of redoing the distributor (will make things much simpler with less maintenance in the long run) and later on go ITB and then head & block build/rebuild. Looking to find a second motor to run while rebuild the stock motor. Would like to set it up for revving to 9k rpm and want it to spin up quickly.

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/13/20 6:49 p.m.

In reply to Matt B (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah, I've noticed there's quite a few AW11 projects showing up in the first page of the Projects section... been reading through most of them.

I really like the tone the Burn's stainless 2-stage muffler gave my FR-S... throaty and smooth. Just really wish it wasn't so dang expensive, but the much cheaper race muffler simply does not sound anywhere as good. Need to research and see what tubing size is recommended for a tuned 4AGE. Billzilla should have that info somewhere on his site from what I remember (have literally had his 4AGE webpage bookmarked for two decades.)

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/13/20 7:04 p.m.

In reply to rustybuckets :

I got some recommended stuff to neutralize the rust and a clear coat that creates a strong protective seal over it. Plan to put the bedliner over that. Need to do a test on some scrap to see how everything works together and that there's no compatibility issue between the clear coat and bedliner. The only rust issue the car has iso far is where the carpeting was in the trunks (I'll be pulling out the passenger compartment carpet tonight)... it held moisture and caused the rust areas... was first noticeable on the brackets in the rear trunk - clear line of demarcation where the carpet laid over the brackets, no rust where there was no carpeting laid over it.

I've never had to deal with rust in any of my previous vehicles, this is my first classic and the oldest vehicle I've ever bought. I'm open to any experience in this regard since I don't have much at all. Plan is to remove all loose rust, prep the rusty surface, treat/neutralize it, seal it with the protective clear coat, and spay the bedliner over that for better overall durability of the surface .

rustybuckets
rustybuckets Reader
8/13/20 9:04 p.m.

I think that's a pretty good plan, I'm just very wary of undercoating because you can't see rust form once it's applied. 
I am no expert though. I laid out my plan in my build thread (which is same as yours but replace undercoating with cosmoline amd fluid film), and asked for advice but nothing yet lol

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/1/21 3:19 a.m.

Well... I've decided to sell due to life changes and not really having time. Took forever for title to get issued to me (...January of this year) and had been on fence for the past few months on what to do with the MR2 as making some major life changing decisions which really doesn't leave time for a project car.

Latest things I did before making final decision to sell it was refurbishing the shifter assembly (last weekend) and installing a Momo Supercup seat... which I just decided to get last Sunday since a Racequip one didn't workout.

For the shifter assembly it had a bit of surface rust on the bracket/shift lever retainer, so I cleaned/degreased, filed/sanded, and steel wooled the bracket then painted/clear coated/waxed it and put new OEM shift lever ball seat in when reinstalling the stick lever mechanism. Also added in the Jon Oellrich short shift adapter and Speed source aluminum bushing set. Also before reinstalling I cleaned the mounting location for it in center tunnel since it had accumulated grease and some debris.

 

The stock seat was not going to work for me so I had first tried the Racequip 96663369 seat which seemed promising from everything I read on it and my measurements along with being less expensive than my first choice I initially wanted to go with (standard MOMO Supercup) But measurements don't tell the story on it's odd fit... would not work out way too curved at shoulders and back felt akward with the laidback contour, not to mention steering wheel being to far away. So went with the seat I really planned to from the start, the standard MOMO Supercup, fit nicely and pedals & steering wheel all nicely in reach.

Really wish I could have the time for what I planned to do with it, but I'm making some life changes which precludes me from having a project car. It's in the Cars For Sale section.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass Reader
8/3/21 8:29 a.m.

Loving this thread, car looks to be in great condition

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
8/5/21 7:57 a.m.

Sorry to hear you won't have time to finish it.  I really appreciated the care you were putting into it's rehab. Hopefully it'll find a similar home with another GRMer.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
8/11/21 7:42 p.m.

Looks like this car will be staying in TX and on GRM.  I have local plans and 2022 challenge dreams for it.  Can't make this years due to a family matter.  

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
8/12/21 3:42 p.m.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
8/12/21 6:29 p.m.

If everything works out the car will make the 2022 challenge too.  In that amount of time all wrinkles should be worked out and I can learn how to drive it.

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
8/13/21 3:47 p.m.

Looking forward to meeting you Anthony and passing on the torch for this car to become a completed project.

Well I KNOW my Frontier is not going anywhere (I will continue to drive it till it's unfixable, and that won't be happening anytime soon), and I like to mod it... guess will make a build thread for it soon when I have the time... been holding off on one mod in particular (venting the hood) because want to keep it garaged/covered after performing the mod. Once the MR2 is gone I'll be able to finally garage the Frontier... for first time ever LOL.

Always either been the FR-S or the MR2 in the garage. I will have to make room and change some things around to fit it in the garage [NOTE to self: double check if it clears garage door... is running taller tires since last checked]. Nice thing about trucks, especially lifted ones, are you don't need to get them in the air to do most routine things... as long as it doesn't require wheels coming off, can work on it and under it as it sits on the driveway.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
8/24/21 8:58 p.m.

Well less than 72 hours til pickup.  Trailer is reserved and I pick it up at 7:00 am Friday.  I should get there right around lunch time.  

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