Problems with my new MR2 - MR2 Owners Club Message Board
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 8th, 2019, 09:06 Thread Starter
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Problems with my new MR2

!ALERT! English is not my first language.
Greetings from Finland everyone!

So about 3 weeks or so ago i bought my very first MR2. It's 1994 2.0l 175hp Non aspirated 3S-GE.

!Warning! This going to be long story bro.
After purchase i was driving my MR2 home. After 30km i stopped to gas her up. Immediately after fill up i started the car and saw the CEL flash few times. It went away and i thought nothing about it. I drove another 60km to home without any problems.

Next day i noticed unusual behavior when the car was idling. At times it had problems with idle stalling a bit but did not shutdown. Later that day while driving to the traffic lights the car started flashing the CEL and the car had lot's of problems staying idling. Most of the time when i revved it above 3k while in traffic lights the CEL light went off and i was able to drive it normally. While driving, when ever the RPM went to 2-2,5k i felt very strong jerking movement. All most like the car didn't get fuel or the ignition did not fire up.

I decided to go ahead and drive to my friends garage to inspect the car. about 70km mostly highway. Car worked just fine. Just when i arrived at my mates house the CEL light lit up and stayed on no matter what i did. Revving above 3k did not take away the problem as the car would not rev past 3200.

I searched the internet how to read the problem code with a pin through E1 and TE1. I got a code 14. No IGF signal to ECU 8 - 11 times in succession.

I left the car there thinking it has to be ignition problem. I ordered new spark plugs, rotor arm and distributor cap. Days later i went to my mates garage and we changed the spark plugs. (Old ones were pitch black), and rotor arm. I couldn't change the distributor cap as Toyota sold me a wrong one. Mine uses 5mm plugs and they sold me the one with 7 or 8mm plugs.
So after changing spark plugs and the rotor the car started right up and the CEL went off and the car was able to rev past 3k. Worked flawlesly so i drove it home 80km without ant problems.
I figured once i get the right distributor cap im done troubleshooting the car.

Next day after coming home from the work i was sitting in traffic lights. I saw a CEL flash few times and i was like bitch pleaseeeee........So managed to get 5 meters away from my parking spot and the CEL light lit up and i started having problems with idling and it felt like i have kangaroo gasoline in the tank when trying to drive the damn thing. All so the car would not rev past 3200

I waited few days and changed the distributor cap thinking all is fine after that. NOPE. Absolutely nothing changed. I checked the spark plugs we installed and after 130km drive they were pitch black again. Those exhaust pipes are all so covered with pitch black goo. So i had extra four spark plugs i got from Toyota and installed them but it did not make any difference at all. I tried to read the problem code again and i just got a steady blinking light like forever. I checked and apparently it means there is no problem with the car. It's totally bizzare as the check engine light lights up less than 0.5 seconds after starting the car.

Car has massive problems idling when cold but once it warms up it can idle fairly well. For some strange reason when ever i gently press the gas so that i get roughly 1200rpm the car is _____ hair away from choking. It stays on but it is trying really hard to shut down. Once i press more gas and it goes over 1200rmp it runs pretty fine but still wont take over 3200rpm.

Today i took a gamble and drove the car to my work place garage and it still had the same problems and i noticed that no matter how hard i go on the gas pedal it wont rev past 3200 and it feels like it has no power what so ever. going from 1500rpm to 3000 pedal in the metal has limited power. Feels like the car is in some kind of "limp home mode".

After getting to the garage, i took the throttle body to pieces and everything was covered with black goo. Even inside the "intake manifold?" I will attach a photo provided i know how to. Sorry about this.
So i clean the throttle body, what i can from the intake manifold and i clean the throttle body sensor, and the other sensor that name i cant or don't know how to type in English. Sorry. Something to do with idling. sensor kind of thing.

So while i was doing that i figured i am going to look how the coil and ignition module are doing. I noticed that the under side of the coil (contackt surface) had massive rust/corrosion on it and the metal piece that supposedly ground the whole thing to the body of the car was all so completely rusted. Cleaned those both very well from all the rust. I put everything back together hoping there would be even a slight improvement but NO! No change what so ever.

Now i have ordered new HT leads and the coil and the ignition module. Still waiting for those. Any ideas?

It took me a good hour and half to type all this with the aid of google translate. Holy crap this was painful. If you have any questions or i did not make my self clear just ask and i do my best to try to wright it again. And if the pictures wont show please tell me how to do it as im no computer wizz.

Thank you in advance
-Niko-
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 8th, 2019, 15:46
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You have an old car with an unknown history so be aware that any issues you have are not necessarily due to just one factor they may be due to a combination of factors. You need to take a holistic approach and fix everything.

Without being 100% familiar with your model:

Black spark plugs means you are running very rich and/or not getting proper spark.

What can cause you to run rich is bad O2 sensor or bad MAF. [I think your car has MAF if not then MAP]. These can be functioning only marginally without triggering a DTC. There may be some useful diagnostic procedures in the Toyota Repair Manual for your car. [Could also be fuel injectors leaking.]

Bad spark can be coil, or igniter, or, very importantly, the wiring between the distributor and the igniter.

Black stuff in the intake can be from crankcase ventilation or from EGR.

Lastly there is the possibility that the ECU itself is having problems but in general when this is the case the engine will stall or not run.

Your English is good but please try to look up the proper term for gizmos or whatzits and doodads.

Last edited by merryfrankster; September 8th, 2019 at 15:50.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 8th, 2019, 16:00
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Hi Niko

You've done well to translate it to something readable.

It could be the HT leads or the ignition module. See what happens when you get those parts installed. The IGF code which is Ignition Feedback telling the ECU that the coil has fired could point towards
The other thing could be leaking capacitors in the ECU. They tend to cause idle issues but not sure if they create the other problems.

The throttle body sensor is the Throttle Position Sensor. It has internal parts that can control idle and acceleration. This can be tested.

The photos do show. It is rather dirty but it does build up after a long time due to the way the oil venting system works.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 8th, 2019, 17:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merryfrankster View Post
You have an old car with an unknown history so be aware that any issues you have are not necessarily due to just one factor they may be due to a combination of factors. You need to take a holistic approach and fix everything.

Without being 100% familiar with your model:

Black spark plugs means you are running very rich and/or not getting proper spark.

What can cause you to run rich is bad O2 sensor or bad MAF. [I think your car has MAF if not then MAP]. These can be functioning only marginally without triggering a DTC. There may be some useful diagnostic procedures in the Toyota Repair Manual for your car. [Could also be fuel injectors leaking.]

Bad spark can be coil, or igniter, or, very importantly, the wiring between the distributor and the igniter.

Black stuff in the intake can be from crankcase ventilation or from EGR.

Lastly there is the possibility that the ECU itself is having problems but in general when this is the case the engine will stall or not run.

Your English is good but please try to look up the proper term for gizmos or whatzits and doodads.
It's a GEN3 3SGE that was also in the ST202 Celica or similar models. Uses MAP sensor and has no EGR.
You are definitely on the right track with the rest of the stuff to fix.

This doodad thingy as attached.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 8th, 2019, 18:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GDII View Post
It's a GEN3 3SGE that was also in the ST202 Celica or similar models. .
Was this ever sold in USA? I never seen one.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 8th, 2019, 19:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merryfrankster View Post
Was this ever sold in USA? I never seen one.
No this wasn't an engine that made it to the USA. Most of the rest of the world got it but I suspect it was due to emissions that it was never used. Same reason why the USA got the 5SFE in all their cars. And the GEN2 3SGTE was used during 94 and 95 in the SW20 instead of the GEN3. But even the GEN2 3SGTE wasn't the same for the USA market. That got EGR too.

Anyway, slightly off topic. I'm hoping the coil and leads help this problem. Or the ECU capacitors.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 10th, 2019, 13:26
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I disagree that he should go after the ECU capacitors as his first few steps. I think statistically, it's a low probability and can move further down the list of checks.

I agree with cleaning up just ignitor and other ignition components. I know the 3S-GTE motor typically runs rich so the plugs might always be fouled on this motor too. Hopefully the refresh of electrical components works. If not... go to this:

Not super familiar with this motor so others can correct me but I would find the fuel feed line, start the car and use something to pinch it to reduce the fuel. If the car suddenly runs better at cold start, it would signal too much fuel is going in and then he needs to get injectors balanced and cleaned or possibly the fuel pressure regulator is bad.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 10th, 2019, 19:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr2_mike View Post
I disagree that he should go after the ECU capacitors as his first few steps. I think statistically, it's a low probability and can move further down the list of checks.

I agree with cleaning up just ignitor and other ignition components. I know the 3S-GTE motor typically runs rich so the plugs might always be fouled on this motor too. Hopefully the refresh of electrical components works. If not... go to this:

Not super familiar with this motor so others can correct me but I would find the fuel feed line, start the car and use something to pinch it to reduce the fuel. If the car suddenly runs better at cold start, it would signal too much fuel is going in and then he needs to get injectors balanced and cleaned or possibly the fuel pressure regulator is bad.
His symptoms line up with ECU capacitor failure, extremely common for this era of Toyota. It is almost a 100% failure rate when you look at the 25-30+ year period, these capacitors were designed to last maybe 15 years of driving before the car was scrapped so if anything they have been massively overspecced.

Symptoms of ECU capacitor failure are:

1. Bad idle, either stalling or high/low idle RPM
2. CEL appears but shorting the diagnostic pins does not produce an error code when the engine is off and the ignition is set to ON. Diagnostic connectors will not be able to connect to the ECU either.
3. Engine refuses to rev past a certain RPM, often the tachometer will also read 0 RPM. Power will be almost nonexistent no matter how far you open the throttle.
4. Extremely rich air/fuel mixture, you will smell gas in the catalytic converter regardless of coolant temperatures and catalytic converter temperature.

My suggestion is to remove the ECU, open it up and check if the electrolytic capacitors are bulging or leaking at all. If they are that is your problem. Go buy authentic high quality replacements, stuff like Nichicon low ESR capacitors. Always use the same or higher voltage rating and the exact same capacitance.
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Last edited by joshuaho96; September 10th, 2019 at 19:05.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 12th, 2019, 08:50
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+100 on checking ECU capacitors. Been there, done that for idle problem.
Plus, checking the capacitors is one of the easiest things to do, given the location of the ECU. Pull trunk carpet back, unplug connectors, remove ECU, open ECU cover.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 14th, 2019, 06:28 Thread Starter
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So all the ignition parts are now changed. No difference what so ever. I took the ECU a part but could not find anything out of the ordinary with the components inside. I'm not a car mechanic and i sure as hell am not electrician. Im not saying the ECU cant be at fault but i decided to take the car to a Toyota dealership repair shop next Friday so they can look at it. If the ECU is at fault, and i want a brand new one what would that cost me? Im planning on keeping this car till i die so if a brand new ECU costs a fortune im willing to pay at this point.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 14th, 2019, 06:33 Thread Starter
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All the stuff i found so far....And it brakes my heart. Oh and the oil pan has leaked at some point. Now it's full of grease and oil and dirt so it aint leaking. I'll swap the gasket when i do the oil change. All so i have new air filter and fuel filter coming,.
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Last edited by niksa83; September 14th, 2019 at 06:42.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Unread September 16th, 2019, 16:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niksa83 View Post
So all the ignition parts are now changed. No difference what so ever. I took the ECU a part but could not find anything out of the ordinary with the components inside. I'm not a car mechanic and i sure as hell am not electrician. Im not saying the ECU cant be at fault but i decided to take the car to a Toyota dealership repair shop next Friday so they can look at it. If the ECU is at fault, and i want a brand new one what would that cost me? Im planning on keeping this car till i die so if a brand new ECU costs a fortune im willing to pay at this point.
You should have posted some detailed photos of the capacitors on the ECU board. From an untrained eye it can be hard to tell if capacitors are failing. Just a subtle bulging on the top or bottom or a bit of yellowish deposit on the board below the capacitor or on the top cap.

I have also noticed that bad capacitors from this era of Toyota will often smell of ammonia when the electrolyte leaks out.

I would also verify that your engine has good compression and leakdown. If leakdown is under 10% on all cylinders the engine is still healthy.

This is a pretty good guide on the ECU capacitor problem: https://www.clublexus.com/forums/ls-...capacitor.html
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