1 2 3 ... 5
dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/26/20 7:50 p.m.

I have the green light to build cars for fun and profit from the boss, so I am wasting no time in getting projects lined up. While there are several in the queue, this is the one I am most excited to get started. A few months ago, I got the bug to go find a decent X1/9 for a K-swap. I have always loved them, but they are so underpowered and everything I have read about on the Bayless K-swap is that it is the ultimate way to go for these cars. While Bayless will build you one for big bucks, that is not how I roll and their kit to get started is not cheap at $3,800 plus the K-series, RSX 6 speed and many other parts. I figured that even with my knack for finding deals on the parts, it was going to cost me $10-12K minimum to build one and likely much more. So I started researching alternatives and quickly found myself looking at AW11 MR2's. I had the 2nd generation Turbo MR2 in the past and it was a fantastic car and had admired the AW11 cars when they first came out, but really did not know that much about them. The K-swap parts for the MR2 kits are much cheaper and there were more MR2's coming up in my searches. Rust free X1/9's are getting pretty thin on the ground. I did find cars available, but I did not want to tear apart a good one, and all the cheap cars were rusted to death. Then I came across this picture and description on Facebook for a 1986 rust free MR2 V6 project.

Turns out this was a 5+ year project where a Toyota mechanic searched and parted out several MR2's including a supercharged car and collected the best parts for this project. The car is an 1986 with the following:

Rust free body in black with a black leather interior, sunroof car with all the body plastics removed, but with the car. Decent paint and absolutely no rust
1987 front spoiler, Rear spoiler and side skirts


Seats reupholstered with new leather and matching leather door panels from the 1987 Supercharged car
1987 Supercharged brakes, suspension, new shocks, springs and urethane bushings, ball joints, tie rods, etc
Gold Rota Grids
E51 supercharged 5 speed transmission and cv axles
Refreshed 3VZ-FE Camry V6 with seals, timing belt, bearings and checked by the mechanic owner

Plus tons of spare parts, spare fenders, gas tank, and lots of misc. stuff

So purchased the whole project and trailered it home a few weeks later. I have it stored while I get my other projects ready and the garage cleared to but this all back together and on the road for the summer. One of things that bothered me over the past month is that despite the previous owner being a mechanic, the engine, transmission, engine compartment in general was pretty dirty and not what I would build if it was my project. I had already decided I was going to pull the engine and transmission and detail everything before I put all back together, that would also let me check everything since this was not a completed project. In the meantime, I have been also researching MR2 V6 upgrades and the options. Seems that there are three choices: 3VZ-FE, 1MZ-FE and 2GR. The last two options are light, powerful and more modern. The 3VZ-FE has a cast block, so it is at least 100 pounds heavier than the other two options. During my research, this showed up on Facebook one day near me.

So I picked it up last week along with a bunch more parts including a new clutch, flywheel, Solara factory wiring guide, ECU and some additional parts. The guy had purchased a Solara with 80K on it, pulled and cleaned up the motor, did the timing belt and all the maintenance and detailed everything along way. So my plan is to pull the current drivetrain, paint the engine compartment, detail the transmission and then reassemble with this little beauty. The 2000 Solara 1MZ-FE puts out 200 HP and 214 lb-ft of torque, so this little jewel will make for a pretty nice AW11 with the power of a MK2 MR2 turbo, but with much less weight.
 

Next items to find are a good set of shocks and springs so I can build the suspension to match the performance of the engine. The car came with new KYB inserts and some unknown lowering springs. So this project won't start  until I finish getting my old TR4A "refreshed" and out of the garage, but that project is being worked on as a priorty and I can't wait to get this one started!
 

TVR Scott
TVR Scott Dork
2/27/20 7:02 a.m.

Very cool!  I'll be watching with interest.

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy SuperDork
2/27/20 7:16 a.m.

Looks cool!  I'm in to follow.

dherr
dherr HalfDork
2/27/20 8:52 a.m.

It will be a few months before I dive in, but in the meantime I am chasing parts I'll need to make it all go smoothly. Apparently I can build a wiring harness to to allow the Solara engine harness and ECU to just plug into the MR2 harness. I can buy these from vendors like https://www.wiregapinc.com/pricing/ but it honestly cannot be that hard to map the correct wires on the Solara harness and ECU and splice it into the original MR2 engine harness plugs to make this plug and play. All the vendors that do this service require you to send them the original MR2 engine harness and the V6 harness to build the hybrid harness.

Anyone done this before and willing to share the schematics? I have the Solara factory wiring book and finding the AW11 engine harness wiring online is pretty easy to find.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/20/20 8:25 a.m.

So with the TR4A project nearing completion, time to roll out the MR2 and figure out what I got. Plus I have the engine advertised in a few places so it is only a matter of time before I have to pull it, so been wanting to get it out of the "garage" and see what I have to work with. Overall, this is a great car to start with for this project. Absolutely zero rust anywhere, interior is nice and the bodywork is very straight with no evidence of any accidents or repairs. It will need to be painted again, but it should not be a big project since the panels are so straight, but it has some scratches and scrapes as well as all the plastic body skirting from the 87 supercharged car that will need to be painted black to match the body. 

Plan is to get it in the garage, pull the engine and transmission and clean up the engine bay for the swap. The current engine is a V6 (3VZ-FE) and the 87 Supercharged  E51 transmission, so I will clean up the transmission and mount the 1MZ-FE so it can be re-installed once I paint the engine bay. Should bolt back in as the only mount that may need to be changed would be the passenger side mount, but hopefully what works for the 3VZ-FE will work for the 1MZ-FE. 

Plans for the car include:

Full suspension and larger Supercharged brakes
Leather interior (seats were already redone)
Paint  and powder coat the Rota's 
87 front spoiler and rear spoiler as well as side skirts
200+ HP aluminum V6 and supercharged 5 speed transmission

Mrfurzzy
Mrfurzzy New Reader
4/20/20 8:40 a.m.

I will be excitedly watching this build! I am in the process of building a very rusty 86 AW11 with a supercharged B18 Honda engine. It was a $500 car that honestly should have been parted out but my wife fell in love with it and we have slowly been repairing the rust. I seriously looked into doing a v6 swap before deciding on the Honda motor for uniqueness.

Matt B (Forum Supporter)
Matt B (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/20/20 9:33 a.m.

Nice! Subscribed. I also have a black 86 AW11 in the garage.  I've been eyeing 20v blacktop swaps forever, but I'm starting to wonder if a 1MZ would be better overall choice due to parts/availability, etc.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/20/20 9:38 a.m.

That B18 supercharged is an interesting choice. I assume you are using the Honda engine and transaxle and getting custom axles? So similar to a K-swap, but just a different Honda engine combination. Definitely will want to see how your project comes along, please post a build page soon if you don't already have one. I assume you have looked at https://www.huxracing.com/mr2-aw11-84-89-kswap-faq to get some ideas?

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/20/20 9:49 a.m.

In reply to Matt B (Forum Supporter) :

I like the various JDM options, especially the high reving 4 cylinders, but for me the V6's are cheap, and you can't argue with 200 HP and 214 ft/lb of torque. I found mine on Facebook as the guy pulled it out a wrecked Solara with 80K, did all the maintenance and detailed it to the max. Can't wait to get it in the engine bay and see how it performs!

Mrfurzzy
Mrfurzzy New Reader
4/20/20 10:52 a.m.

In reply to dherr (Forum Supporter) :

Yep, I pulled the engine/transmission out of a 91 Integra LS. I have spent a lot of time researching K-swaps and V6 swaps but ultimately decided on the b18 because I was able to get a donor car for $400 and had the supercharger donated to the build for free from a friend. I have started to post the build thread previously but always stopped because I am more of a lurker than a poster. I made custom mounts for it but thats as far as the physical build has gotten. I am planning on using the stock MR2 axles and making axle stub adapters from the stock honda axles.

We do have an instagram account for the build. Though it hasn't been updated recently. The account is ruffnut.the.mr2.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) UltraDork
4/20/20 6:59 p.m.

I had a really crappy '85. As crappy as it was, I loved it. A Japanese Dino is what you've got going there. Great wheels, too.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/20/20 7:21 p.m.

Thanks, while I prefer the looks of the X1/9, the AW11 style is growing on me and yes with the V6, it will be a baby Dino. I really  like the Rota wheels too. I hope it looks kind of like this when I am done. I have all the 87 front spoiler, side skirts and tail spoiler, just don't know if I'll add the fender flairs.

lxnm
lxnm New Reader
4/21/20 7:55 a.m.

I'm rather partial to how MR2s look without the rear spoiler, and it's not like they're functional.  Just extra weight.

dculberson (Forum Supporter)
dculberson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/21/20 8:07 a.m.
dherr (Forum Supporter) said:

Ok that looks amazing. I say go for the flares. And the aero catches in the hood. 

jfryjfry (Forum Supporter)
jfryjfry (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/21/20 8:43 a.m.

In reply to dculberson (Forum Supporter) :

+1    That looks awesome

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/21/20 2:10 p.m.
lxnm said:

I'm rather partial to how MR2s look without the rear spoiler, and it's not like they're functional.  Just extra weight.

I also like how they look with out the spoiler, but I think 90% of the cars came with the spoiler. My decklid is drilled so not sure which way I will go. Here is a good looking example.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/21/20 8:01 p.m.

So I will be pulling the engine this weekend on the MR2, and hopefully starting the engine on the TR4A. So inventoried all the parts from the MR2 that are in boxes as well as talked to the previous owner about going up to his barn to get the rest of his stash once Covid calms down hopefully next month. Pulled the bumpers front and rear and will pull the engine and trunk lids tomorrow to prepare for removing the engine and transaxle. 

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/21/20 8:12 p.m.

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/21/20 10:06 p.m.

For whatever reason when I look at these cars all I see is a car that looks like what it's intended to do. There's nothing extraneous going on. Simple and direct. How I never got one is beyond me. Keep going. I like your plans.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
4/22/20 6:22 a.m.

So, I'm certain you've heard this already, but I have to say it- oiling issues.  I've had a 1MZ in an MR2 which managed to oil starve rallycrossing, and there are at least a few other members of this forum who have had similar problems with that engine when exposed to more lateral Gs than it usually sees in the donor vehicle.  Plan for an accusump to live somewhere.

That said, this project rules and a 1MZ with a good y-pipe and the short exhaust that an MR2 necessitates sounds amazing.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/22/20 7:29 a.m.

Yes, an accusump sounds like a necessity, worth the expense as this thing will have some sticky tires and do a little autocross for sure. Question is how big? I see the Lemons folks are all using 3 quart systems, but that sounds more necessary for endurance racing than the street and autocross. I can fit it in the trunk if necessary, but would prefer to have it in the engine compartment if possible. So it looks like it plumbs in with a sandwich adapter at the oil filter. So if you run an electric valve, the operation is automatic, or is the manual valve preferred?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
4/22/20 7:58 a.m.

In reply to dherr (Forum Supporter) :

Honestly, if the Lemons guys are getting them to live I would just copy their setup- it would really suck to have to go back and reengineer for a bigger accumulator if you find out the hard way that a smaller one is not enough.  If you get creative with your muffler location you can probably fit it under the trunk floor rather than putting it inside the trunk.  The electric valve should work fine provided your wiring is decent.

dyintorace (Forum Supporter)
dyintorace (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
4/22/20 9:35 a.m.

Did you end up going with the 1MZ-FE because you found the local motor? The 2GR is close to 300 HP, correct? I assume that motor is more expensive? I ask because I have an MR2 Spyder that I'd love to put a V6 in.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/22/20 10:26 a.m.

I went with the 1MZ-FE due to weight, cost, ease and availability. The 2GR is more powerful, but also more complicated. I believe this has been done before with the MR2 Spyder.  In my case, the car was already converted to a V6, so substituting this more powerful 1MZ-FE which is fully detailed and ready to go was a no brainer. 

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) UltraDork
4/22/20 5:48 p.m.

Yeah, maybe the X1/9 gets the edge in styling (hey, it's Italian), but the MR2 has tons of ways it edges out the Fiat. Reliability, the engine swap you're doing, that shifter, Lotus tuned handling, better parts availability, galvanizing, etc, etc, In my opinion, still a darn fine looking beast. 

 

1 2 3 ... 5
Our Preferred Partners
X9W7FKVbJjBuNnJuDi2gNujy9LnzDhsESyvomhwkPqamRMKoH8NWXVgHHYqhrqiA