View Full Version : New toy. I can't resist I guess. 87 MR2

04-06-2017, 02:09 AM
Found local surprisingly. Dude said he had ran a vin report years ago and the car had come from Nevada, he bought it from a dealer in Florida and had it shipped up here. NO RUST. I thought he was just stupid and hadn't looked hard enough, but it's true. There is some damage on the left rear that has been repaired a long time ago. The bondo is cracking. The driver door was replaced at the same time cause I can see it is red under the new black paint. Engine runs fine, the valves need adjustment bad thought. Overall I'm pretty happy with it. I'm note sure where I'm going with it yet. Do I want to go nicer like a miniature Princess, or chop the fenders up put huge flares on and some 15x8 wheels for a super wide crazy stance. I donno yet.

04-06-2017, 02:15 AM
It was idling funny sometimes and after reading a little I figured it was air in the coolant causing the IACV to act up. I bleed the system per the BGB, which is kinda a pain cause you know...rear engine front mounted radiator. But I got it and sure enough it idles fine now. After that I figured out the EGR was sticking open sometimes, so I promptly got rid of that and removed 90% of the vacuum lines in the bay.
I couldn't find a short bolt to replace the banjo bolt on the exhaust mani with so I just cut the old EGR tube and welded it shut, put the banjo bolt back in. Little plate to cover the hole on the intake mani. EGR delete done.
I ordered a few little pieces from TwosRus to fix some of the wind noise in the cab from the t tops. Also a new headlight knob cause mine was missing.

04-06-2017, 02:25 AM
Just trying to do a few small things to keep me busy. The suspension is SHOT and I want to put coilovers on but I'm just waiting a few paychecks. I decided to try fixing the broken C pillar trim because finding a good one is hard and they are several hundred dollars. Apparently I didn't take any before pictures, but it was broken into two pieces. I used some JB weld plastic bonder to fix it back together, sanded the seam and now the primer is drying.
The center console had a big hole right where you elbow sits, for obvious reasons. They didn't reinforce the area that most people will use as an elbow prop. So I found a good used console and bought it up.
I also have this old vinyl covered pad I wanna put on the console, but it's gross looking. I dropped it off with this SUPER hot chick who does upholstery work, she's gonna redo it with new foam and a flat black vinyl. Should be a few days.
I got an extra set of suspension from a local friend who has a 88 SC MR2. He put coilovers on and gave me his old stuff. The struts were blown, but I figured I'll throw new inserts in them for cheap so I can at least drive the car in the mean time. I took the disassembled strut tubes and springs to my buddy for sandblasting tonight. Figured since they were apart I'd at least clean them up and spray some new paint on them. Pics of that later.

04-06-2017, 02:42 AM

04-06-2017, 03:07 PM
Pics of the chick doing the upholstery...

04-06-2017, 04:23 PM
Pics of the chick doing the upholstery...


04-06-2017, 05:17 PM
Neat! I keep forgetting there's another Dakoter here. And yes pics of chicks! :)

04-07-2017, 01:46 AM
Pics of the chick doing the upholstery...

Man she was chatting with me for like 20 min in her shop, laughing and smiling, then shes like "come into the back.... and look what my boyfriend is working on!" I was pissed.

Got the struts back tonight from blasting. I'ma throw some paint on them with new inserts for now, just need to tide me over till coilovers.

04-08-2017, 03:41 PM
Nice find! I love the 1st gen MR2s, they're so much fun to drive.

04-09-2017, 03:21 PM
That's going to be a nice ride Matt.

Check in Joe and Keri Delio on Facebook. They are HUGE Gen1 MR2 fans. They are on here occasionally. Her screen name is Darth Ripley. They've also got a nice ST185.

Look forward to see how this goes.

04-09-2017, 11:41 PM
Disassembled and painted the struts today.
Yesterday I got a little carried away. I was just gonna try to heat up the front bumper cover and get the dent out...then I ended up with the entire front apart. The crash bar was bent in some on the driver side. I tried to pull it out with my chain come-along but I was pulling the car over my wheel chocks. So I went to work, hooked it to my service truck, got the torch out and heated it, then put the car in reverse. You know what I did. It worked though and it's straight. Got the dent out of the bumper cover, sanded and primered the area.

04-10-2017, 02:02 PM
These are such fun little cars. Even better with a blacktop 20v!

04-11-2017, 03:24 AM
These are such fun little cars. Even better with a blacktop 20v!

Pft. 20v. What a waste of money. Hardly even get 200hp to the wheels without spending a fortune. Maybe if I cut out a few firewalls and got carbon fiber everything it would be quick.
Nope, this coming winter it'll be getting ~300hp. Ima just putt around town for now.

It's so nice to have a chassis code that has aftermarket. It was a pain to find bushings for the 162.

Took alllll the suspension off tonight. I didn't get a picture of the pile after the rear stuff was added. It's going across town to the powdercoat. I'm thinking gloss cherry red.

04-11-2017, 01:31 PM
. I'm thinking gloss cherry red.

So it's going to match your lipstick then?

04-11-2017, 06:48 PM
Yea the 20v isn't much of a power boost. They sound good though.

Do what ben did and just put the 2gr in.

04-11-2017, 08:15 PM
Yea the 20v isn't much of a power boost. They sound good though.

Do what ben did and just put the 2gr in.

I would, but I'm not trying to spend a fortune on it. 2GR just costs too much still. And to fit it in the aw11 you gotta do a good bit of cutting in the engine bay. I'll just stick to a boosted 4cyl

04-12-2017, 03:27 PM

04-13-2017, 03:07 AM
Put new inserts in the struts. Finally got a break from the wind and got the springs painted, I should really turn my garden shed into a paint room.
So I thought twice about powdercoating the control arms and such. Nobody's gonna see it and it's not exactly cheap. So instead ima just diy sandblast them and paint.
I've got a little handheld blaster and a bag of media in town is only like $18, so I started some blasting. It's slower for sure but much cheaper, my blast guy is $125/hr.
This too about 20 min to do and still needs more.
I did finish blasting the front strut rods and primed them with self etching. Also the front strut tops I forgot to paint.

I need to adjust the valves like for serious and I found this tool browsing the internet. How did I not know about this?! It lets you remove bucket shims WITHOUT removing the cams!
The plier goes around the cam lobe and pushes the bucket down, then you put the wedge on the lip of the bucket, between the cam, so it holds it down and you can use a magnet to grab the shim out. Pretty damn slick.
First look inside the engine
The bright spot on this cam lobe is not camera flash, it's actually some kinda...buildup, or weird white rust. It doesn't rub off easily. So it's safe to say this valve hasn't been pushing on the lobe very hard.
Hopefully adjusting valves does the trick, I forgot my feeler gauges at work and I was NOT going back to get them tonight so I'll dig into that more another night.

04-13-2017, 03:12 AM

Way over complicated for no reason. I wouldn't mind a centrifugal SC but the money and time spent on fabing that up just isn't worth it when there are off the shelf options that'll give me the same result.

04-13-2017, 02:00 PM
That valve tool is a life saver. Works on 3sgte and 2jz as well. Money well spent for sure.

04-16-2017, 03:33 AM
Got my armrest pad back. She did a pretty good job. I think...Ima take the dash out and have her redo it with the same vinyl. And the shift boot.
Pulled the steering rack out and replaced inner and outer tie rods, boots, and greased the rack. New mounting bushings too.
Put all the control arms and strut rods back on. I somehow forgot to get new front ball joints though. All the arms and rods were blasted, primed with self etching and top coated gloss black.
I forgot to do the big washers for the strut rods though, but it's whatever.
Sprayed down the rear toe rods with JB80 so the alignment guy hopefully doesn't fight too hard. I wanna replace them with the fancy ones from T3 but that's not something that's really necessary right now, so I didn't bother replacing them with oem stuff. Hopefully someone in town has front ball joints in stock and I can take it off stands tomorrow.

04-17-2017, 12:32 AM
Coming along really nicely Matt.

04-17-2017, 12:18 PM
Looks like you are having a blast Matt. Good stuff :)

04-18-2017, 02:18 AM
I'm having a hard time deciding what to do for door cards. I can't have the dash redone with the matte charcoal black of the armrest pad and then not do the doors in it also, I think it would look weird. The other option is the TechnoToy door cards which I do like, but are way more race car.
Also the steering wheel needs to be redone but it looks like it'll be cheaper to just replace the wheel.

david in germany
04-20-2017, 11:28 AM

04-22-2017, 05:03 AM
Got all the suspension back on. Somehow got my alignment pretty dang close cause it actually drives straight without pulling to one side. I hope that these new bushings settle in and let the car drop a little bit cause right now it's like I got a suspension lift.
Rides soooo much better now. Like a whole new car.
Went for my test drive and stopped to check on my buddy. Don't buy a skyline kids. This thing has been a nightmare and parts all ways have to come from Canada or Japan.

04-22-2017, 05:48 AM
I have honestly been watching the Skyline market.

04-22-2017, 05:58 AM
Don't do it. Or just get a GTST. Don't get a GTR. Way too complicated with shit that breaks and is impossible to find. He needed a front wheel bearing for example. We tried for days to match one up with no luck. Had to order from Japan. Stupid little stuff like that makes the cost of ownership just insane.

04-22-2017, 05:40 PM
I have been looking at the GTS-T Sedans. Something exotic, but low key enough that not many would notice.

But then again, that would require spending money.

And I hate spending money.

04-23-2017, 08:01 AM
Skylines are neat, but they're a PITA to work on. Several of my friends have owned them and they're much more of a headache than even an Alltrac. If you do get one I highly suggest DIYing everything you can since nobody is gonna have a clue how to work on them for a couple years so they're just gonna screw stuff up. Maybe I'm just desensitized to JDM cars now, but if you're going to get something that doesn't have a USDM equivalent it should have something that makes it really unique or there's no point. Something like a GTST has nearly as many headaches and costs as a GTR, except it's slower and doesn't handle as well. At that point just buy a 200SX or a Soarer or something else that's kinda quick but actually has parts available over here.

Also the prices are really steep now, I'm not sure why but you gents south of the border are paying absolutely absurd amounts for JDM stuff (especially Skylines). No offense but y'all need to learn to do some research. What "importers" are charging is downright robbery. It's similar to how things were when JDM cars started coming to Canada but we had an ocean and a language in the way, you guys can just cruise Craigslist and then drive up and get it so I'm not sure what the deal is.

04-23-2017, 06:14 PM
Yeah. Screw them. Spent last night helping finish it up for first start, it's a complete rebuild. Got it all in and filling fluids well guess what. Gasket leak between the...I donno what it's even called but it's a the runners that the throttle bodies are bolted too. Well there's coolant in them and it's leaking out. So out comes the motor again.
Me and him have actually been bringing gtr's down from Regina SK and selling them here in the states. Last one sold for $16,500 usd a few weeks ago. Prices are coming down.

04-24-2017, 02:07 AM
My bro up in SAC, CA. just bought a Skyline GTST. THing is tuned to perfection. No boost lag, immediate throttle response, handles like a dream. Very nice little car if you are into them.
The real issues come as noted, when you have to replace parts or the like. Guess it helps that this one was owned by a younger police officer up in WA state who did all the requisite overhaul work on it before sale.
Driving on the wrong-hand side is odd though. Makes it tough to place yourself in the lane properly. (At least for me)

04-24-2017, 12:54 PM
I lost most of my Skyline hype the first time a saw one in person. A friend imported a 2 door R32 gtst and while it's a neat car, once you see it up close or work on it, you realize that it's just a right hand drive 240sx with a slightly different body.

04-26-2017, 02:57 AM
Went to check and adjust ignition timing and when I grabbed the distributor to turn it I got the piss shocked out of me. So that fucker came right out. I donno how it shocked me I was figuring there would be a crack in the cap, but there wasn't. Well I noticed it is leaking oil internally anyways so I went to twosrus to order a seal it. Seal kit, new cap and rotor in my cart when I saw they had a complete new distributor for $100 so I bought that instead.
Then I figured I should check the mechanical timing and timing belt. The belt seemed fine, but it was some weird brand that sounded cheap so I replaced it for funzies. Noticed someone has replaced the oil pump while I was in there, so that's nice I guess. Surprising easy to work on. Took like 2 hours to swap belts. Everything just feels like a miniature version of a 3S.
Speaker order came in. Nothing crazy just new replacements for the OEM's and a slim powered 8" sub. I put one of these in my 4runner and it actually does really well for what it is. I had hoped it would fit under the seat like the oem one did, but I never measured cause I'm lazy and there's no way in hell it's going under the seat. I REALLY don't wanna put it behind the seat and loose the ability to store my T tops in their factory storage place. So I donno. I tried putting it up on the rear wall where the storage cubby is but it still messes with T top storage. So I donno. I'll figure it out.

04-26-2017, 04:07 AM
My brothers AW11 came with an all-in-one sub setup like that mounted just in front of the passenger seat base, with the floor mat adjusted a bit to go over it. It worked pretty well since your legs don't need that space at all.

04-26-2017, 05:03 PM
Hmm. I'll look at that tonight may just be ok

04-26-2017, 10:36 PM
That or free air mount it where the glove box should be?

04-27-2017, 02:58 AM
I think it's just a little too big for in front of the passenger seat, people would be stepping on it getting in. I think I've found a solution though. The rear wall behind the seats has really thick sound insulation under the carpet, maybe 3" but I didn't measure. Im'a see if I can cut out an area of the insulation to fit the unit into then it'll be hidden and out of the way.

04-27-2017, 11:41 PM
Don't hack up the carpet man, you will regret it later. Leave it intact and find a better solution. Maybe just return that particular powered sub and get a custom enclosure made for your car? It will cost more, but it will be perfect.
Having to find replacement oem carpets and interior parts for 30 y/o cars gets tough pricey or impossible depending, so learn from the mistakes of your Fore-Fogies. :D

04-28-2017, 02:28 AM
Well I'm not actually gonna cut the carpet, just the insulation behind it. I was gonna keep the carpet covering it so you wouldn't know it was back there. I could build my own box if I had any idea of where to put one. Really can't mess with the area behind the seats if you wanna keep the ability to store the t tops. I've seen some guys put it on the rear wall between the seats but then you have a sub directly in your ear...like....no thanks.

04-28-2017, 02:32 AM
Got my cat delete pipe in from TechnoToy. It was actually cheaper to buy this piece made than to buy flanges and make my own. I was thinking my cat was getting plugged but once I took it off I found someone had all ready gutted it. So I really didn't need this piece but I figure I all ready have it so might as well use it.
New distributor came in today so I put that in. Still have a random little miss and running super rich but the plugs still look new after 120 miles so I can't tell anything yet.

04-28-2017, 02:57 AM
Did you read your plugs? Lots of valuable info there, and a place to start at least. :)

I wouldn't mess with the insulation. The really thick stuff like that is pricey to replace and again, letting the car interior remain intact etc.
Marshalls' idea to make a small(ish) enclosure to go up in the footwell/glovebox area is a really solid one for a few reasons, imaging will be much easier and it need not take up much space at all, leaving passengers to sit comfortably.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy like glasswork or the like. A simple MDF enclosure will do great there and is easily matched with the OE carpet so that it isn't obtrusive looking.
Lots of modeling programs for calculating the enclosure volume as well as any poly-fill you may need.
That way you get to keep your stock T-top storage and still have some nice tunes. :)

04-28-2017, 03:14 AM
Still have a random little miss and running super rich but the plugs still look new after 120 miles so I can't tell anything yet.
Checked the plugs bud ;)

I just don't think in the passenger area is a good idea either. But in reality how often do I have a passenger...like never. Gotta have friends to have passengers. I'll take a long hard look at it.

04-28-2017, 10:06 PM
How much room do you have back there? In my MK2 I have room behind the seats to put some small 8 inch truck sub boxes. It sounds pretty good.

04-28-2017, 11:19 PM
If I put anything behind the seats, I can't store t tops. ANYTHING

04-29-2017, 04:33 AM
For those not familiar with AW11 passenger area.
There's not much room up there to build into, though it could be done. Something I don't admit much is I'm good at carpentry. Grew up doing it. But when you let people know that ou know how to do something the ask you for favors... Like tonight was spent working on that Skyline again. So I could build an enclosure up in that area but the passenger will loose some foot space. I laid that all in one deal up against the center tunnel and it might be ok there. Passenger will just have to shift over a little. What I like about this though is I can easily remove it when needed.

I really need seats on another topic. I'm thinking this interior is gonna stay classy with a more modern feel. Im having the dash redone with the flat charcoal vinyl of the center console pad and the door cards too. But the seats are tricky. She told me it would be about $400 per seat. Ouch. That's a lot of dough to redo a factory seat. So Ima try to figure out something else I can do that's not "racing" buckets.

05-01-2017, 11:38 AM
since you have ability to weld, the junkyard can be a good place to source oem quality seats from a number of manufactures. VW uses recaro a lot for oem seat design

05-02-2017, 01:46 AM
since you have ability to weld, the junkyard can be a good place to source oem quality seats from a number of manufactures. VW uses recaro a lot for oem seat design

Yeah maybe if I drive to ANOTHER STATE I could go to a junkyard. I hate ND.

05-02-2017, 01:52 AM
Put my fixed up trim piece back on. I'm actually amazed how good it turned out. You can still see a slight ridge where it was broken in half, but only if you are looking for it. The paint even matches.
Messed around yesterday for a little bit after work. I was back probing at ECU trying to see if I have a sensor issue causing me to run super rich when I found that the ECU was getting no battery constant. Started tracing and found at a chassis connector the pins for ecu constant were completely and totally corroded away. So that makes sense, every start was like a fresh wipe on the ECU. We'll see if I get any codes stored now that I fixed that.

05-02-2017, 01:47 PM
Don't you just love old cars?

Glad you were able to find the issue though.

05-06-2017, 05:37 AM
I hate cleaning cars. Hate. But big car show tomorrow so I figured I would.

05-11-2017, 02:42 AM
So I've been chasing an issue for a few days. Once warm I'm loosing rpm signal to the ECU. I tested wiring from the distributor to the ECU and found no issues. I figured maybe it was the pickup in the new distributor I got so I swapped the electronics from my old distributor into the new one, issue unresolved. Took the ECU apart and checked for fried circuits and capacitors, all good. So that leaves the igniter. The pickup in the distributor creates an AC voltage that the igniter turns into a DC square wave that the ECU reads. I'm hoping my friends AE82 uses the same igniter so I can swap and see before buying one.

05-12-2017, 01:34 AM
This running issue is really stumping me. Mainly because I have a perfectly fine tachometer UNTIL the engine hits operating temp. The second it gets to temp the idle stumbles then climbs to 1200 and the check engine light comes on. After that the tach needle bounces around and if you goose the throttle it will die. Code is always 6.

You'd think that if I had a bad tach signal from the igniter to the ECU it would be there all the time and the needle would never be consistent, or only once the igniter gets hot and I refuse to believe the igniter starts acting up at the same exact time the coolant gets to 180 degrees. So...I'm starting to think it's more ECU related. This weekend I'll sit down and check all the resistors, diodes, and capacitors in the ECU which is about all I can do. Maybe I'll find something.

05-12-2017, 04:24 PM
What happens if you unplug the coolant temp sensor after the issues appears?

It may be crazy but could it possibly be the sensor is freaking out the ECU somehow?

05-14-2017, 04:54 AM
Fixed my AC today. Kinda. It's still an r12 system and needs to be converted properly but I figured why not see what it'll do. Pulled vacuum and it was leaking down. Decided to put a pound of r134 in and see how many leaks I could find. Well I only found one, so I fixed it. Pulled vacuum again and it held. Put in an undisclosed amount of r134 and it's working! Yay cold air. I expect the compressor to go out soon but we'll see how long it lasts.

Also got my little powered sub installed. It's actually a little more powerful than I was shooting for and I could probably get a smaller unit but it's in there now.

05-25-2017, 03:47 AM
New rear toe rods from Matrix Garage came today and I put them on tonight. Didn't even take an hour. Excellent product for general OEM replacement.

05-25-2017, 07:26 PM
Regarding your odd running behavior.

Have you pulled out your ECU and opened it up? I can almost guarantee your capacitors are dead. Im dealing with this sort of shit on my MR2 right now.

05-26-2017, 03:35 AM
Regarding your odd running behavior.

Have you pulled out your ECU and opened it up? I can almost guarantee your capacitors are dead. Im dealing with this sort of shit on my MR2 right now.
That's the first thing I did. Had to replace one in the 3sgte ECU in MH plus hearing of yours awhile ago. Couldn't find anything wrong. Right now it's been running fine, no issue in over a week with maybe 40-50 miles. So I donno.

05-29-2017, 04:24 AM
Did some window tint today. I was just gonna do the t tops because the glare kills me but I decided I needed a windshield strip and to redo the old tinted windows. I have bad eyes and can't drive at night much due to other vehicles lights blinding me, so I made my windshield strip go much lower than "allowed" to hopefully help with that. Law enforcement in my area tends not to bother with tint tickets unless they pull you over for something else. Follow the rule of only breaking one law at a time and you're usually good.

05-30-2017, 07:20 PM
I kinda want to vinyl my t tops on the terrible 2. Probably white to match the car

05-31-2017, 02:48 AM
I kinda want to vinyl my t tops on the terrible 2. Probably white to match the car

Do it.

05-31-2017, 02:50 AM

05-31-2017, 01:40 PM
Great work, keep us posted! I'm really interested in seeing progress threads, they've always amazed me :D

06-02-2017, 07:52 PM
You should just replace the caps. Or acquire a spare ECU and swap the caps out on that one and see.

There is no way any of the capacitors in any of our old ECUs are up to the original specs / snuff.