1 2
Taiden
Taiden New Reader
4/29/09 10:44 a.m.

I ran across an MR2 on CL that looks promising.

I have heard many good and bad things about these cars, but I have never had the chance to really own one. The best handling car I ever owned was a 91 Sentra SE-R with gc/agx and 14" RT615s.

I want a project that will handle on berkeleyin' rails, get good gas mileage, and be fun with the top off. I wouldn't buy an AW11 unless it had ttops, and lucky for me, this one does.

At first I would build it for not-too-competitive STS2 (I hear it's STS now).

I have just heard that the suspension is no good, it's too heavy for it's size, it sucks for a taller person like myself (6'3" 180 lbs), and the engine bay is a pain in the balls to work in.

Honestly, I'd rather have a 1.8 Miata, but I have yet to find one in my college student budget at this time.

Oh yeah, the price tag is around $500.

craigslist said: 1987 MR2 for sale, has been in indoor storage since I joined the military in 2002. The interior has mildew damage, and there is minimal rust on some of the rear fender wells. low mileage, stick, has T-Tops. Great project! Drove in and parked it. must sell! Just an update: it fired right up with a fresh battery, we are going to make sure the wheels are free this week.
Rusty_Rabbit84
Rusty_Rabbit84 Reader
4/29/09 10:52 a.m.

i had a supercharged with the 4AGZE and that was a coooool motor. I think swapping those or the 20v is the ticket, but that will probably bump you from one class to another

m4ff3w
m4ff3w Dork
4/29/09 11:09 a.m.

Why not an X1/9

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 Dork
4/29/09 11:27 a.m.

Um. GET IT. NAO.

RobL
RobL Reader
4/29/09 12:09 p.m.
Taiden wrote: I have just heard that the suspension is no good, it's too heavy for it's size, it sucks for a taller person like myself (6'3" 180 lbs), and the engine bay is a pain in the balls to work in.

The suspension is McStruts, I don't mind those. But the rest is true enough. You will be on your back to work on the car so get yourself a good creeper and jackstands.

But on the other hand - http://vimeo.com/4175540?pg=embed&sec= @ ~1:43 . They are a complete hoot to drive fast.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury HalfDork
4/29/09 12:12 p.m.

if you get it, you GOTTA get your hands on one of those old rear window spoilers that reflected Toyota onto the back window...jusht cush itsh cool

jgp1843
jgp1843 HalfDork
4/29/09 12:39 p.m.

I'm on my second one, it's a great all-around car. Pluses:

excellent handling with aftermarket springs, shocks , swaybars and wheels. Very reliable engine (mine is NA), loves to rev. Actual room to carry stuff, unlike many small sports cars.

Minuses: Heavy for the kind of car it is (about 2400 lb in stock trim), and T-top version is heavier yet. Not much front suspension travel in front if it's lowered - only a factor if you encounter really bumpy roads. The engine is very highly tuned in stock form, without much aftermarket, so it's difficult to get much more than another 8 hp or so with bolt ons. You almost have to plan on a 20V or supercharged to get good power, which will put you in another class. Very common for these cars to suffer annoying, premature front brake lockup (see another thread on this). In STS you'll get blown off by Miatas and particularly by CRX Si's - but you'll be grinning as you struggle.

Even with its handicaps, I love mine - I've averaged 35 mpg overall for the last 30,000 miles, autocrossed the heck out of it, it has 118,000 miles on the original clutch, a great overall sports car.

From the looks of the one you describe, it had better be cheap. I dream about finding another one that has a solid body, trashed interior and bad engine to make a streetable, lightweight XP or SM car with 20V or tweaked 4AG-ZE, but haven't found one yet.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
4/29/09 12:59 p.m.

Uh, get it. And the answer to all AW11 questions is "20 Valve." I need another car like I need another hole in my head or I'd be all over that.

You might want to look at my web page.

fastmiata
fastmiata New Reader
4/29/09 7:42 p.m.

My only concern would be the T-tops. I had an '89 SC that provided a wet butt every time it just looked like rain. My secretary kept a spare key so that they could move the car if it started to rain while I was in court or whatever. Maybe the extra hp caused the chassis to flex more but .........

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter HalfDork
4/29/09 8:36 p.m.

4A-GEs love to rev.

You have two different options for the 20v - blacktop and silvertop. Silvertops are the slightly older version, built a little heavier, supposedly a hair bit more reliable because of it. Blacktops use lighter internals, have a higher redline, and consquently have more power. You can get 20vs with or without ITBs, the sound alone is worth the extra for the ITB setup.

zipty842
zipty842 New Reader
4/29/09 8:47 p.m.

A-dubs are even more fun in DP trim at 1850 lbs or less. :P http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG8w4vss5u8

And they aren't that bad to work on. if you can't reach it from the top, it will be quite open from the bottom.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
4/29/09 9:29 p.m.

All 20 valve motors came with ITBs. If you're buying one wihtout, someone ripped you off.

On the T Tops, "they say" that soaking the seals with Black Magic is the best fix. 'Course, I've been out of the AW11 loop for about 8 years, since wrapping mine around that F150. Damn F150s.

Taiden
Taiden New Reader
4/29/09 11:11 p.m.

Yeah, but IIRC the Blacktop used a MAP sensor and thus was able to run without the plastic plenum. I think that's why people consider the blacktop to "have ITBs" even though the silvertop did as well.

I'm mostly concerned about the handling. I want something to track day with but I'm not too concerned about being competitive.

zipty842 wrote: A-dubs are even more fun in DP trim at 1850 lbs or less. :P http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG8w4vss5u8 And they aren't that bad to work on. if you can't reach it from the top, it will be quite open from the bottom.

Wow that looks like fun. What turn-fast parts have you installed?

zipty842
zipty842 New Reader
4/29/09 11:33 p.m.

its basically just koni yellows, gc coilovers, and no sway bars. and lots of added lightness. engine is currently stock with a trd header and a 9lb flywheel. i have a pic and full list in readers rides.

Taiden
Taiden New Reader
4/29/09 11:46 p.m.
zipty842 wrote: its basically just koni yellows, gc coilovers, and no sway bars. and lots of added lightness. engine is currently stock with a trd header and a 9lb flywheel. i have a pic and full list in readers rides.

How much did you get your konis and gcs for? I found a HondaTech vendor who will ship me Koni Sports + GCs in my specified rates for an 87 MR2 for $865 to my door. Is this a good price compared to what you have seen?

zipty842
zipty842 New Reader
4/29/09 11:51 p.m.

that seems to be pretty close to what i paid, IIRC. the 85 rear insert is also slightly stiffer than the 85-89 front, while only being about 1/2" shorter.

Taiden
Taiden New Reader
4/30/09 12:04 a.m.
zipty842 wrote: that seems to be pretty close to what i paid, IIRC. the 85 rear insert is also slightly stiffer than the 85-89 front, while only being about 1/2" shorter.

Good to know. Shorter is better though, so it seems that the 85 rear would be the better strut.

Brotus7
Brotus7 New Reader
4/30/09 7:39 a.m.

I bought my '87 just about a year ago and it's been dead reliable, 131k on it now. I did replace alot of parts when I bought it, I did new shocks/struts, brakes, timing belt, waterpump). The only parts I had to replace that I wasn't planning on were clutch and brake master cylinders, and the clutch slave. Yes, some things are a royal pain in the arse. Make sure you do the timing belt on it when you buy it.

And I'd say that you could still stand a chance at being compettitve in STS2 with one. Maybe not at nationals, but locally, you could do well once you have the car sorted out. I race in E-stock, and locally I can keep up with the guys who have been doing it forever, but occasionally we get a nationals guy around in a mk2 MR2 and then I get a real whooping.

dean1484
dean1484 Dork
4/30/09 8:12 a.m.

I think these are going to ITB this year? I should talk to roger about dusting his cars off and see of they will be competitive again. In ITA the MR2 was nothing better than mid pack and if you were off your game at all you became a rolling road block. Great car with huge potential. The stock seats are bout the best any car manufacturer has ever made.

These car like adjustabel performance struts with heavier springs that lower it about 1 1/2"

Add a rear bar and tie the strut towers together front and rear and you have a skate board.

The last 4AGE NA Motor I built and dyno tuned was putting 115 at the wheels. These motors are very sensitive to timing and a dyno is the only place to really figure the exact amount you need. Takes about an hour but will net you 10 hp easy! Use an early motor as they reve a bit higher. the smaller bearings are not a problem. I think the cranks in the early ones are forged (I could be wrong on this) Get the upgraded (from the SC model) oil pump if it does not already have it. This was a toyota recommended upgrade (recommended to us By TRD at the time) Eventually became the standard replacement.

You can rebuilt these things with the motor in the car. Stock pistons were getting hard to come by several years back. I dont know what the market now is like.

Ask more questions this is just what comes to mind at the moment.!!

jrw1621
jrw1621 HalfDork
4/30/09 8:14 a.m.

The epicenter of all things MR2 is the MR2 owners club at www.mr2oc.com
You will have to register to get into the board but it is worth it. When I owned my '88 SC the website was a great source.
As for t-top leaks, be sure that the drains are clear. There is a tube that runs down the b-pillar to take the water away. That water will drain out at the bottom of the car right before the rear wheel.

It could be hard to tell from the dust but in the picture that you listed it looks like this MR2 has the rare tan interior. This also has me questioning in the car was originally red. Tan interior mostly came with Forest Green exterior or tan exterior if i remember correctly.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
4/30/09 8:27 a.m.

The 85 Koni insert isn't going to fit the 87 strut housing. I've had them both in my hands with the whole thing apart. Now, you might be able to "make it fit," but I'm talking fit like Koni made it to without serious fabrication skills. I have the pictorial guide to strut replacement on my site showing a Koni yellow insert going into the back strut of a 87 MR2.

Taiden, people who have never seen a 20 valve 4AGE should not be listened to for advice and knowledge. All 4AGE 20 valves have ITBs from the factory. There is no plastic plenum on a silvertop. It's metal. You want a picture? Yes, blacktops came with a MAP, which means you don't need the AFM, and they have the metal plenum too. You want the part number? Anyone that says a silvertop doesn't have ITBs becuause it has a AFM is a loozer, yo, and probably wouldn't know a throttle body from a muffler. And one of my silvertops has a MAP sensor too.

Taiden
Taiden New Reader
4/30/09 10:04 a.m.
jrw1621 wrote: It could be hard to tell from the dust but in the picture that you listed it looks like this MR2 has the rare tan interior. This also has me questioning in the car was originally red. Tan interior mostly came with Forest Green exterior or tan exterior if i remember correctly.

I was wondering about that. Every picture of an AW11 I have seen shows a black interior. The person selling it didn't know. Funny thing, the owner knocked her up and then moved across the country and got married, so it should make it easier to get the thing for damn cheap. She hates him.

Dr. Hess wrote: The 85 Koni insert isn't going to fit the 87 strut housing. I've had them both in my hands with the whole thing apart. Now, you might be able to "make it fit," but I'm talking fit like Koni made it to without serious fabrication skills. I have the pictorial guide to strut replacement on my site showing a Koni yellow insert going into the back strut of a 87 MR2.

Thanks for the info. I couldn't find your site, I tried looking in your user info.

I'm assuming it's the standard drill a hole in the bottom, cut the top off, hammer that sucker out, clean, modify insert to shorten to your liking, jbweld around the base of the insert and force that bastard in. Torque down etc. (cliffnotes version)

Dr. Hess wrote: Taiden, people who have never seen a 20 valve 4AGE should not be listened to for advice and knowledge. All 4AGE 20 valves have ITBs from the factory. There is no plastic plenum on a silvertop. It's metal. You want a picture? Yes, blacktops came with a MAP, which means you don't need the AFM, and they have the metal plenum too. You want the part number? Anyone that says a silvertop doesn't have ITBs becuause it has a AFM is a loozer, yo, and probably wouldn't know a throttle body from a muffler. And one of my silvertops has a MAP sensor too.

My memory must not serve me right. When I pulled the plenum off my uncles 20v Blacktop to replace the stock excuse for velocity stacks, I could have sworn it was black plastic. God that engine was at home in his 70' Lotus Europa. No matter though. I guess you probably want pics now.

Photobucket

Photobucket

jgp1843
jgp1843 HalfDork
4/30/09 10:10 a.m.

I want that Europa, and I want it NOW!!!

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
4/30/09 12:38 p.m.

I've seen that car in person with a busted nose, met your uncle and cooresponded with him. I helped him get that motor running right by suggesting that he find a JDM specialist instead of the idiot shop that wanted a couple large to re-wire the whole engine. It needed a new fuel pump.

You can't hack up the Koni inserts. Plus, at the price of those things, it would really hurt to try. Just get the right ones for the car. I put one large into the suspension of my AW11 (Konis, TRD bushings) and it really did pretty well, up until that F150 came along. Damn F150s. They are a bit tail happy, though. Once the back starts coming around, you're berkeleyed. Not like the Esprit, which can recover when you screw up. http://www.drhess.net

Taiden
Taiden New Reader
4/30/09 12:55 p.m.
Dr. Hess wrote: I've seen that car in person with a busted nose, met your uncle and cooresponded with him. I helped him get that motor running right by suggesting that he find a JDM specialist instead of the idiot shop that wanted a couple large to re-wire the whole engine. It needed a new fuel pump. You can't hack up the Koni inserts. Plus, at the price of those things, it would really hurt to try. Just get the right ones for the car. I put one large into the suspension of my AW11 (Konis, TRD bushings) and it really did pretty well, up until that F150 came along. Damn F150s. They are a bit tail happy, though. Once the back starts coming around, you're berkeleyed. Not like the Esprit, which can recover when you screw up. http://www.drhess.net

Yeah, someone decided to back up their car into his nose right before the Lotus meet. Pretty cool that you've talked to my uncle. There were a lot of simple things about that car that were berkeleyed up, and the shops that he was trying to get to do the work were doing some pretty retarded things.

That's the one thing I am worried about. I've autocrossed a FWD Sentra, so I'm not exactly foreign to car handling characteristics... but I'm definitely still an amateur. I'm worried that the tail-happiness will be too much to deal with.

When I was talking about cutting up the inserts, I was referring to something I had read on sr20forum. A lot of people buy koni inserts, and then shorten them. This gives them about 3/4" more suspension travel. Maybe you can't do this in an MR2, but I don't see why not.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
7mFFPJM8hw7ugiNJOhJElb5m6DcoCmdLtttmlJdMa8sotUGdVgDjKuv76UgfL82F