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Topics - BryanH

Cars / Best MK2 EVER
April 11, 2012, 11:06:47 PM
You can't deny. :)

This thing is amazing!

Some pics:

:yesnod: :thumbs: :willynilly: :o :burnout:
Cars / Hey Mike, what is this?
January 17, 2011, 05:03:05 AM

Need a translator. ;)  It says "FT-86" in the text but they must simply be referencing that car, since this thing is definitely different.  It looks like a miniature S2000 in its proportions.  The styling is very strange though.

More pics:
Aero and Fluid Theory / Swan neck wing mounts.
January 08, 2011, 12:13:49 AM

Always wondered what the advantage was to these things.   :headscratch: Now I know.  :yesnod:

Here's a braniac CFD analysis page for BigMike:
Cars / Oh Miiike... BigMike to the white courtesy phone!
December 22, 2010, 07:25:36 PM
Would you like more valves with that?  :willynilly:
Projects and Build-Ups / 1993 MR2 Turbo project car.
August 16, 2010, 02:42:16 PM

Okay, so it's a beautiful, straight car with 25k miles on a brand new Toyota engine, turbocharger, transmission (with LSD), axles, ABS conversion, etc!  But it's still a project, because the chassis has 160k and really minor crap takes me forever to fix.  In a way it's ironic that this well-maintained car has had so many little annoying issues while my beater NA has been abused much of its life and yet is almost completely trouble free.

First, a bit of history of the car's issues and triumphs in my ownership.  This was written a couple years ago.  Skip to the next post if you want to get to the current stuff!


Hi.  I have issues.

Although I've had this car for more than a year now, it's been mostly a garage queen.  I had plans for 2007 to be a development year for the Turbo, but it had other machinations.  Notably two sets of clunking front struts and a pierced fuel tank (who knows why it was drilled into and subsequently JB-Welded). 

Luckily, disaster was averted as the pilot light from the water heater (just a couple feet from the car) did not ignite the fuel vapors trapped in the garage as the puddle formed that night. The fuel tank was an easy (if expensive) fix, once I worked up the courage/stupidity to drive the car to the shop at work with a slowly dripping tank.  A local premium junkyard had a couple MR2s in stock and a used tank was quickly picked up.

Right away after buying the car I noticed if often got stuck in nanny boost mode (6psi), which is painfully slow.  Fears of endless diagnosing danced in my head.  Even though the plug wires were only 6 years old, 3SGTE experts recommended a full ignition tuneup.  I figured I'd start with the easy stuff.

With a new cap, rotor, and plugs as well, the problem was solved.  Apparently all the serious 3SGTE racers perform this appeasement offering to the gods of boost annually.  Yikes.

When I bought it something felt off in the suspension, too.  A bit wandery, and it darted under braking.  While inspecting it in anticipation of an autocross I discovered the front camber was actively changing over bumps.  With the help of a tech at work we narrowed it down to the strut inserts having play between the shaft and body.  Quite rare for Konis.  So, new Koni Sports were ordered and installed.  Those lasted about a thousand miles before they started doing the same thing.  Not wanting to deal with this a third time, I am now in the process of having another pair of front strut housings altered to fit Koni 8611s (double adjustable race dampers).  They should be done in the next few weeks.

That brings us into '08.   I'm finally on the way to making a winner out of this car.  I recently picked up a used Addco front sway bar as the existing Suspension Techniques bar, with its heavily milled center section, has provided insufficient front roll stiffness heretofore.  The Addco bar, combined with the additional adjustments in the new struts should eliminate the sloppy handling and make it more stable like the teal MR2 (which uses a full-strength ST bar).

I've also just recently put together a new catback exhaust. The old one had a big leak at the flange downstream of the last cat, and looked awful to boot.  Summit delivered a 2.5" mandrel bend and a Gibson tip (yeah, I want it to be pretty, too ;)).  A local mom-n-pop (well, just pop really) welded a flange to one end and a mounting tab on the other.  Grand total parts and labor about $100.  Half of that was the tip. :o

[Click for larger.] 

The missing side trim piece below the bumper will be remedied soon, too. 

It's a slip-on tip so I can adjust its length to some degree, and the height of the exhaust as well due to the mounting solution used.  As of now it needs to be lowered and lengthened a bit (just enough to stop it from spitting soot-water on the bumper).

It's kinda loud. :D  Even with a turbo and two cats acting as mufflers.  During this dyno run it set off a car alarm.  A first for me... such a hooligan I've become...

Of course after fitting the new exhaust I've removed the trailer hitch to save weight.  However I'll be keeping it since none are produced anymore and I may need a small trailer in the future.

So how did it do on the dyno?

These Dynapack dynos supposedly read low, certainly compared to the standard DynoJet.  My car compared well with other stock(ish) 3SGTEs on hand at the MR2 Dyno Day in San Jose.  The engine is rated by Toyota at 200hp and 200ft-lbs.  Rough guess I'm making 195hp at the flywheel and 210 ft-lbs.

And now the lights... what trouble I've had with the lights!  Early on I lost a headlight and a turn signal bulb.  Clear bulbs behind clear lenses are goofy anyway – amber bulbs promptly went in their place.  Later on one of the headlight retractors went postal and would slam the light up and down 3-10 times whenever I'd turn the lights off.  Very entertaining, but not so good for the motor or linkage methinks.  I cleaned the plug that goes into the headlight retractor relay, and no more winking MR2.  We're not done with the lights yet... recently a rock ate one of the foglights for breakfast.  I bent over for a new Toyota light assembly but am stuck at removing the old fog light.  Whoever invented the Philips screw should be beaten.  One is stripped and rusted in place (strange for a CA car).  It's recessed so far back in such a tight space, an extractor won't fit.  This one's a puzzler.  Once I get it out, two products are on the agenda.  OneTwo.

That's all.  Only a few imperfections. :lol:  Who would've thunk a pristine-looking car with so many brand new parts (engine, tranny, turbo, etc) could be so much trouble!  I hope it's worth it.

Future plans, after the suspension proves its mettle, are an acceptable stereo system and possible replacement of the front end body parts (dependant on funds and finding out if the EPA still allows paint of this quality to be shot in CA).

Oh yeah, and I should probably do something about the ABS unit's fluid leak.

Later on in 2008...
Last week was spent prepping the car for the El Toro ProSolo.  Installed that Addco front sway bar. Upside down at first. I rock. :)  During this time I discovered a slightly loose endlink, which must have been what was clunking all this time.  In order to be completely legal for Stock class I had to install that bumper trim piece, as well as the center console storage bin between the seats (which gets in the way of my camera mount). 

With the new sway bar, I thought I'd try a different rear alignment.  Ended up with:

Camber: -3.1 / -2.9
Caster: -2.7 / -2.7 (not adjustable)
Toe: -1/16" / -1/16"

Camber: -1.4 / -1.6
Toe: 0 / 0

The gearbox also received four new quarts of Redline MT90 since it needed some smoothing out. 

It performed OK, but not great, and now I have a reference point to improve upon. Soon as I can afford to I'm going to order a set of fat new Hoosier A6 tires (225/275) and see if I can stuff them on the car.  If that works, I will surely pick up cornering speed, and a bit of acceleration too due to the short diameter of the 275s.  Remains to be seen whether squeezing a 275/35/15 onto a 15x7" wheel will actually be any better than a 225/45/15. Depends on how much the contact patch gets deformed.

During the event a vacuum hose popped off some vacuum diaphragm (idle control it appears), it doesn't fit very tight so I'll have to work with that. PCV hose also needs to be replaced since it let a bit of muck on the valve cover.

I've just realized I don't think I've ever inspected the air filter on this car...

A month later...

Hi again. I'm fast now.

As noted in The Paddock, Tubby Turbo just chalked up its first national-level win in my ownership.  :)  Progress has been slow but I'm now starting to see the car improve. It's taken a big step since El Toro last month.  [I wish I had it working this well at that event... I would have killed. :D]

The double adjustable Konis made it on the car after an 8 hour struggle (I so suck at mechanic work). 

On the softest settings they're a bit firmer and harsher over most bumps, but still very livable, and I think it's actually smoother on the nicer freeways.  However, the big bad clunk is still there. :x  So it's not the struts, and it isn't the endlinks.  *scratches head*

Along with the new front struts I had the front 225/45/15 Hoosiers mounted on 15x6 wheels and 275/35/15s put on 15x7s.  Goofy looking, yet somehow cool. :) 

There was plenty of space inside the fenders for the 275s.  In fact I am going to look for a higher offset rear wheel (I can run + or - 6.35mm offset compared to the stock wheel in my class) to tuck the rear tires in a bit more.  Right now I've essentially made my car an inch and a half wider at the rear, which isn't good for snaking between cones. 

The front tires are a bit of a squeeze under the nose.  There's very little room.  I had to take out 0.8 degrees negative camber on each side to keep the 225s from rubbing the strut body.  And if I have too little camber, as is happening now with my slipping camber bolts, the outside of the tire can hit the fender lip. 

With these fairly major changes in setup, I was hoping to get a bit of seat time at a local event before the SFR Divisional last weekend.  However, I forgot to pack my front wheel spacers and couldn't run.  So going into the big Divisional event I had no clue how my car would behave.  I took the advice of my strut guy for a starting point on the double adjustables, made a wild guess on tire pressures, and went for it.  On cold tires right away the car was handling better than it ever had. :up:  Finally, it could transition with poise, and didn't threaten to swap ends under trail-braking.  Grip was excellent.

The MR2's performance and new tire setup seem to be making some waves in the autox community.  I believe I am the first to try putting the 275s in the back on a stock-class MR2.  For once I got off my butt and actually accomplished something nobody thought could be done. :)

The 275s launch extremely well, too.  I'm really looking forward to the next ProSolo.  Might I see my first sub-2-second 60ft time?  Fingers crossed.

Somehow the bigger tires still fit fine inside the car. :)

Some great action shots by Russ:

Notice in the first picture how the 275s seem to flatten out when under load, with the sidewall straight down instead of bulging out. 

First priority now is to fix the slipping front camber.  The old bolts are stuck in there (somehow) and need to come out to make way for fresh bolts.  That should fix the problem, as my NA MR2 uses the same camber setup and hasn't had any issues.

I still need an okay stereo in this thing.  Done right it'll net a few lbs in weight savings too (there's an amp under the seat I don't need).

A few months later...

Oops. I did it again.

Time for an update.  Last weekend the MR2 Turbo won Round 3 of the California Divisional Autocross Series with its continuing development showing steady progress.

I pretty much didn't touch the car since the first round of the series back in April.  Hot weather doesn't make me want to spend any time in the garage.  Leading up to Round 3, however, some things needed to be done.  In an effort to eliminate the front suspension clunks I decided to replace both upper strut mounts. Turns out both of them were in sad shape, so this was a good idea.  It still didn't fix my clunking though.  My latest theory is the undersized front sway bar bushings are allowing the bar to impact the chassis over slight bumps, causing the clunk that I can feel through the wheel and pedals.  Not sure where I could have custom bushings made though. 

This was a good opportunity to replace the old camber bolts with new ones.  When it all went back together I was able to get -2.5 to -2.7 degrees negative camber which is pretty good.  Until it slipped.  First run on the new bolts and the passenger side camber slipped.  It was almost funny holding the steering wheel sideways going down the straights. :) 

The next morning at the event a real mechanic offered to help sort it out and we spent some time discovering the source of the problem. It wasn't the bolts backing out or loosening up, it was the knuckle slipping between the strut brackets.  The knuckle had some rust on it, we cleaned that off and put little indentations into the inside faces of the strut housing brackets to give the knuckle something to grab onto (in Stock class you can modify the strut but not the knuckle).  Lo and behold, the camber held throughout the rest of the day and I came from behind to snatch the class win from 2005-2007 BS National Champion Jason Isley. :cool:

At this point I'm entertaining the idea of buying a trailer for the car. After my experience last year wearing out the wheel bearings on my NA MR2 driving it all over the western states I don't want to repeat that on the Turbo MR2 before Nationals. I think it's got a good shot at the championship in BS, especially if it rains.  I have a side yard large enough to store a trailer, so no extra cost there, and my parents have a truck I can use. 

Tire wear on the 225/275 combo is pretty even so far.  But rapid.  I think it's more a function of the weight of the car than anything else.


Even though I rarely drive it, I still like this car a lot. The feel and travel of all three pedals is perfect. Spoils me for other cars, it does. I've also become addicted to turbo noises over my shoulder.

About the only thing I've done with the car lately is some work on the front air dam. You might notice from the photos in this thread it's sagging a bit and has a bit of a V shape. It's supposed to be straight. There are two metal supports that run lengthwise behind the air dam -- one above the attachment point and one in the middle. Took them out, they were bent up pretty good. I straightened them (they're quite flexible) and went to work putting them back in. Which was a giant pain in the rear. The bottom of the bumper cover and the air dam had the saggy shape in their structural memory, making it difficult to force them straight to get the metal supports back in without re-bending those supports...

Anyway it's better now, but still a bit droopy.

In other news, I really need to find a better gear oil for this transmission. Redline MT90 isn't working so well for it. I've used that in my other MR2s with great results. Either my Turbo's transaxle is screwed up, or it needs a different viscosity.
Let's do it!! / Impact racing safety gear
March 27, 2010, 06:03:47 PM

If you see any good deals on Impact Racing products, avoid it for now, unless LeMons doesn't require SFI certification.

Chit Chat / Aussie driving instruction.
February 10, 2010, 11:06:38 PM
[Colorful language warning!]

Whinge whinge whinge...!