Author Topic: The Rebirth  (Read 132334 times)

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Offline BigMike

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The Rebirth
« on: May 27, 2010, 10:25:00 AM »
A brief history of my 1987 MR2:
Quick picture history of the different builds of my AE92 1.6-liter 4A-GZE, which I still have to this day, retired and resting in my garage. Click each image for a larger view:

"Stage 1" (more info): Circa late 1999 to mid 2000. Ranged from 165 HP (stock rating, 8-9 psi) to an estimated 225 HP at 13 psi.

Relocating top-mount AE92
intercooler to custom side vent

First version, larger crank
pulley for more boost

Second version added cold side
insulation, performance cams

Final version moved air filter to
trunk where I added another vent

"Stage 2" (more info): Circa late 2000 to most of 2001. Pulled 16 PSI, estimated to be near 250 HP.

19% larger SC, 25% larger 2.5"
piping, Supra TT IC, high flow
NA intake manifold


Added intercooler fan
& cold side insulation

After engine caught on fire.
It's a long story :P

"Stage 2.5" (more info): Circa late 2002 to early 2003. Boost went up to almost 18 PSI without the intercooler, estimated to be near 280 HP.

Removed IC, built a two-stage
water/alcohol injection system,
custom boost control valve




Welcome to The Rebirth of my beloved 1987 MR2

Chassis Mileage Update: 313,047 miles (as of March 27, 2016)

Dyno'd April 1, 2016: 200 HP & 173 TQ at the wheels
Update: After dynoing I discovered my water injection was not working for the entire tuning session.
I am planning some additional upgrades and then will return to the dyno hopefully sometime this fall 2016.


Thread Navigation:

Page 1 (this page): Rescued car from exile, cleaned out car, found a Supercharged donor car, S/C conversion underway.
Page 2: Drove car home, replaced P/R wheel bearing, mounted compact CNC battery.
Page 3: Mounted IC, had to replace fuel sender, began cleaning ventilation ducting, replaced tail lenses.
Page 4: Took it to the State Referee & passed inspection, smogged & updated licensing.
Page 5: Talked about different camshaft options.
Page 6: Mounted IC fan, had to replace gas tank.
Page 7: Replaced fuel pump, repaired broken sway bar mount, fixed gas leak.
Page 8: Alternator woes
Page 9: Replaced alternator brushes, verified tachometer is off 10%.
Page 10: Reconnected SC lamp, installed intercooler foam.
Page 11: Video of SC lamp & pic of incorrect tachometer reading, Picked up 6 Speed Transaxle!!
Page 12: Videos of clutch slipping, removed old clutch, beginning 6-speed conversion
Page 13: Replaced driver's rear spindle
Page 14: Custom motor mount update, Start of 6-speed Conversion
Page 15: Installed new clutch, had to reinstall 5-speed, then finished & installed 6-speed, installed car alarm, some outdoor pics, repaired a second sway bar mount issue.
Page 16: More 5 vs 6 speed RPM differences, moved front lic plate, fixed speedo cable, Switched to 1985/6 Flat Nose bumper, gutted front bumper, started PANDA conversion, fixed sway bar mounts, DIY front Camber for -2.5 degrees, dynoed, 150.4 WHP, discussed power loss formulas
Page 17: Many nice pictures, flat tire, installed speaker system, trimmed and mounted front plate directly to bumper, finally plugged hole in trunk, new shifter boot, replaced front Tokico shocks, new Rota Grid wheels
Page 18: Interior LED light upgrades, replaced rear Tokico struts, Working on making a smaller SC pulley, Replaced rear plastic trim, Installed mud flaps, Re-installed driving lights, New air filter, Got locked out of my trunk, Got a new Catalytic Converter
Page 19: Cell phone mount, Started on new Intake Redesign project, Upgraded to shift bearings
Page 20: New Engine Mounts, More shift bearings, Welded Steering Column, New Windshield, Built Water Injection Adapter
Page 21: Finished New Custom Intake System: Idle Control Circuit, Air Bypass Valve Reconnected, Power Brake Booster Reconnected, PCV Line with Filter Reconnected, New oversized Brake Master Cylinder
Page 22: Simple video showing 10psi from the new intake alone, replaced plugged charcoal canister, working on a fuel vapor leak, reinstalled MSD Knock Alert, replaced broken phone mount, blew headgasket rebuilt top end, pics of new clutch kit
Page 23: Rear urethane bushings, Smaller S/C pulley, Built New Exhaust, Installed Exhaust Throttle Plate
Page 24: Mounted exhaust MAP sensor, installed front urethane bushings, New RE-11A tires, alignment, wired up Exhaust Throttle Servo
Page 25: Installed Propeller!, Discussed Program Revisions, Few outdoor pics, Car turned 300k, Suspension almost fell off, Smogged!
Page 26: Replaced Battery, Installed Wide Band O2 Gauge, Officially Began Preparing for my First Track Event, Began Water Injection Project, Lightened Front Hood, Changed Wheel Bearing, Fixed Axle Seal Leak, Redline MT-90, New Brake Pads & Fluid, Machined Rotors, New Clutch Slave Cyl
Page 27: New Wide Band O2 Sensor, Finished Water Injection!, Data Logging!, washed filter, mounted dash mat, mounted LCD panel & switches
Page 28: Changed to smaller H2O Injector, Changed oil, built heat shield, washed car, new stickers, first batch of methanol, replaced Iridium plugs
Page 29: Added exhaust resonator, fixed oil leak, removed hot water to throttle body, replaced all four rotors, overhauled distributor, upgraded water injector solenoid
Page 30: ST185 Front Brake Upgrade, WebCam grind 294s, Greddy e-Manage Blue engine management, teaser pics of Reverse Hood Scoop and Air Splitter, e-Manage Installation and operation



Well guys, the time has come. The time to get my pride and joy back on the road.

I know you guys already know the history of my car, so I won't bore the thread with too many details except to show what the car looked like before it was put down. This is back on May 15th, 2004. More pictures of the ITB setup can be found here.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 05:05:50 PM by BigMike »
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2010, 10:31:56 AM »
A couple months later, in early July of 2004, I began building my truck.

If you'd like to see the build thread for my 3RZ-powered and at a time TRD Supercharged 1981 Hilux Rock Crawler, then click here.


Below are two pictures with my MR2 of how this truck started its relationship with me:
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 03:04:13 PM by BigMike »
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2010, 10:46:56 AM »
Once I got my truck running circa October 2004, it was time to retire the MR2. The MR2 had been my daily driver since June of 1999.

The car lived in our backyard uncovered for about a year and a half. In Dec of 2005, my family bought a new house and we needed to move everything out. Fortunately Bevin was nice enough to allow me to store the 2 at his place until the right time came to resurrect it.

Here are pictures of the car being pulled from its back-yard grave in December 2005:
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 04:03:27 PM by BigMike »
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2010, 10:51:34 AM »
The car was moved to Bevin's house up in Coarsegold and placed outside his shop.

Here is where it sat for the next 4-1/2 years. The blue tarp only lasted about 1 year and quickly disintegrated into powder. I never got a new tarp and the car sat most of this time uncovered :( I do regret this very much.



edit April 2016: Found a sweet pic of my car up at Bevin's place via Google Earth!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 09:55:44 AM by BigMike »
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Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2010, 11:00:04 AM »
Fassssst forward to November 26, 2009. Knowing that I would be resurrecting the car in 2010, I decided it would be pointless to have it sit out another rainy/snowy winter and asked Bevin if I could move it into his garage until summer 2010. He agreed so I went on up to have a look-see at my baby. It had been a good 2 years since I last made eye contact with her even :(

The car actually cleaned up pretty well and was in decent condition, considering the fact it had sat outside mostly uncovered for almost 6 years.

But check out these pictures. The foothill wildlife used my car for a love hotel or something :(
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 04:03:20 PM by BigMike »
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2010, 11:07:39 AM »
On January 17th, 2010, during my winter vacation, I pulled out the 20VPWR engine and brought it down the hill to sell parts off of. The car has sat in Bevin's cosey shop this spring patiently waiting for meh. :)

So fast forward to the present, and just last night I went up to Bevin's house and picked her up!!!

Here she is loaded on the trailer and on it's way down to the shop. She is currently here at Marlin Crawler and this is gonna be one awesome holiday weekend 8)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 04:04:22 PM by BigMike »
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2010, 10:28:30 AM »
While this has been going on, I have been working on getting a Supercharged doner car. I found a couple good candidates on Craigslist. The best one I found was a 1988 SC for $1500 OBO from San Diego back in Feb. I actually made concrete plans to pick it up right around Valentines day, but I couldn't get the funds I needed and had to cancel on the guy 1 day before I said I would come to pick it up. The guy was rather upset, understandably so.

Fast forward to this month. Knowing that my summer time would be limited, I needed to get a SC doner car ASAP. So I had been searching Craigslist form the end of April. I found a great car, a white 1988 Supercharged MR2 in LA for $1000. It was perfect because this was a white car with a blue interior. NICE. But the guy was a COMPLETE SQUIRREL. He would only reply to 1 out of 4 emails and then just completely stopped communicating with me altogether. I don't know what his deal was because I had the money and told him I could come down at any time. Time was limited, so I just decided to email the guy in San Diego to see if he still had it. I know we parted on bad terms, so I wrote the email accordingly, and to my surprise he instantly replied saying that he was not upset with me because I was honest about not having the money, and get this, he still had the car!!!

I was like wooooooooohooooooooooooooooooooo! It turns out that he took his Craigslist ad down after I hosed him in Feb. because he was thinking about keeping the car, but then he decided to sell it after all.

Here is the TomTom at about 6am showing the 5-1/2 hour drive ahead of me. My wife went down there with me. We went down to SD, picked up the car, ate lunch (found an amazing Mexican restaurant BTW), went to a couple outlet stores, and got back home before midnight. It was a LONG day.

Hmmmmmmmmmm what is that in my mirror? 8)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 04:06:36 PM by BigMike »
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2010, 10:36:26 AM »
So here it is! My new 1988 Supercharged MR2!!

The story is that some old lady daily drove it and took it to the dealer for repairs. Her bill was over $4,000 in engine repairs so she just abandoned the car at the dealership. Then this guy came along and bought it from the dealer and then decided to sell it. He said it has been on non Op for many years and just needs to be smogged and registered.

The engine runs GREAT! And it is VERY CLEAN. It almost looks like the cylinder head was replaced? Once I start digging around I'll check some obvious things like valve clearance and the timing belt, and such, to get a better idea of the condition of the engine.

The car is a complete tool. It is badly abused. The windshield is cracked in such a way that it looks like someone drove through a wire gate. Countless dents and rust all over the place. BUT, I got two spare doors that are in great condition, two spare T-Tops (so 4 total) and extra trunk with spoiler, very clean carpet, the seats are in great condition, and I even have the original "MR2" floormats that are in GREAT shape!

I've driven the car around my house and it drives GREAT. The tires are dry rotted and the suspension is shot, but it pulls very hard and actually very smooth. I don't remember my JDM SC being this smooth. There is no peak in the powerband, it just feels like whenever you want power you just roll your foot and the power is linear. This will change of course once the pulleys get changed :) and later once the SC14 & MicroSquirt go in 8)

There are spider webs all over the place and the engine has a bunch of pine needles all over it also. The car has definitely sat for a very long time.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 04:08:14 PM by BigMike »
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline Sirdeuce

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2010, 06:42:01 PM »
Hmmmmm, LeMons candidate for later? What cha doin with those wheels? I could use the ground effects. More brown seats. Need shiftrer cables in my car. is the throttle cable the same as an NA? Questions, questions, questions.......
"I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on wakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning."

Offline Blane525

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2010, 12:06:08 AM »
the car looks so clean need to really consider this thing for the  lemons nice! 8) congrads on the find!!! how long will this motor last any one want to place your bet?? 4months 2days three hours 28minutes 15seconds. wow just kidding but you will have to put a hamster under the gas pedal when he screams you let up!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Offline Blane525

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2010, 11:02:10 PM »
Hay Big Mike sound  like your in some tall cotton with 2 being revived wow how cool would it be to get the MG out from under all that holds it down! :-[  By  the way maybe you could use some photo wizard to help :o me see the real potential  8) and clean up the pick I.E. scrub the pick clean of the roof rack... thank in advance ;)

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2010, 01:24:12 PM »
Bill: Shift cables are yours :) I'm gonna run the wheels for a while, until I get some 15s

Bevin: okay, I'll photoshop your car soon hahaha give me a couple of days maybe :)

Ok,

I am way behind on updates and when I think about doing a nice, well thought-out update I get overwhelmed and just stop doing updates altogether (trust me, I've been down this road many times before on the Marlin forum with my Hilux truck).

So I am just gonna very quickly run through what's been going on. (I'm also gonna start using 640x480 images to make it easier to view this thread)

May 27th (last Thursday)

  • Removed all wiring from engine bay and rear trunk
  • Removed anything else not needed
  • Cleaned out mouse poo from trunk

First image is the car at the shop, time to get busy!
2nd image is all the crap left over in the engine bay
3rd & 4th images are examples of what Bevin's pets did to my wiring looms LOL WOW
5th image is the wires I removed
6th image is cleared trunk
7th image is cleared engine bay
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 12:14:41 AM by BigMike »
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2010, 01:29:07 PM »
May 28th (Friday)

  • Cleaned out engine bay

I was going to clean it out and then paint it all black, just like what I did with my Hilux, but after cleaning it up, it looked good enough and so I left it white. I looks really, really great. Most of the nasty oil and dirt was in there from when my car caught on fire back in January 17th, 2002 :o So that was 8 years of dirt and road grime accumulation, now all gone :D

1st image what it looked like
2nd image me scrubbing away
3rd image how nasty it was
4th image how it turned out
5th shot of cleaned front firewall
6th shot of cleaned rear firewall

Is that nice or WHAT! :D
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2010, 01:40:04 PM »
Now with the 87 all cleaned up, it was time to get the SC engine ready.

May 29 (Sat. night)

  • Pulled engine from 1988 donor SC MR2 and installed into 1987 MR2
  • A ton of small misc. stuff

1st image is the fully operational 1988 car ready to go under the knife, 9:39pm
2nd image is the SC engine beginning to get dismantled, 10:01pm
3rd image is the car on the rack
4th image are both cars together in the shop
5th image is the mighty 4A-GZE removed!!!, 12:57am

So it took me about 3 hours including stopping to eat some canned vegetables while watching an episode of Initial D on my laptop :) The E51 transaxle is a royal PITA to remove compared to the C5x series transaxles. I spent a lot of time having to take apart some of the rear suspension in order to extract the drive axles. This step isn't necessary with the C-series trans.

6th image is a close up of the SC12 supercharger. It's currently operating at 8 PSI boost (stock pulleys).
7th image is the modified C56 AE89 transaxle (with close-range 3rd & 4th gearing) mounted to the engine. I also installed my lighweight TODA chromoly flywheel as well, 2:40am
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     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2

Offline BigMike

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Re: The Rebirth
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2010, 01:44:31 PM »
1st image are all the pine needles. Man, I must have spent a good 30 - 45 mins just cleaning out needles and stuff. The needles were so long such that compressed air wouldn't blow them out. So I had to use very small needle nosed pliers and painstakingly remove them one by one!! :o, 2:53am

2nd image is the nice firewall insulation removed. It was tough removing it with that stupid battery tray in the way. I nearly tore the thing in two and almost bought the farm, but I got it out in one piece, 4:12am

3rd image the cars trade places 8) ohhh man that was a great feeling pushing my car onto the lift!, 4:43am

4th image nice insulation installed in my car!, 5:49am

5th image the 4A-GZE has a NEW HOME!!! :D, 6:29am
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  246

     My 1987 Supercharged 4A-powered 6-speed MR2