Mint 1993 MR2 Turbo Build - MR2 Owners Club Message Board
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old September 23rd, 2019, 02:29 Thread Starter
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Mint 1993 MR2 Turbo Build

Hello!

The second gen MR2 was a car that I wanted to own for well over two decades. As my career took off I decided to pull the trigger on an excellent condition 1993 Turbo that had all of its 60k/90k maintenance completed and only had 87,500 miles. Only problem is that I live in California while it's out in Atlanta... So I flew out and drove it 2,500 miles back of 3.5 days for my 30th birthday with my dad who recently turned 70.

This car has every option you could choose in 1993 - LSD, leather, security, fog lights - you name it - and it had the original paint and black leather interior in perfect condition. It was clearly garaged by every owner before me (all 5). Two owners ago had Toyota do a full 60/90k service (motor out, timing belt, water pump, oil pump, etc.) Other owners added the following:

- JST boost gauge
- Manual boost controller
- Upgraded intercooler with fan and shroud
- K&N intake
- Berk downpipe
- Magnaflow mufflers
- DGR coilovers
- Works CR Kai wheels
- New 205/40/17 front and 235/40/17 rears (Yokohama S-Drives)
- TRD rear strut brace
- TRD short shifter
- LED conversion for the dash and clock

I found that it needed some small maintenance (replace throttle cable, grease pivot for clutch, tighten e-brake lever, etc.) But the main things were perfect (A/C, cruise control, etc.)

Now it's back in my garage while I get to work making it CA legal. The intake and exhaust have to be stock, so I'm installing those. Fun fact - I live like 5 minutes from MR2 Heaven - who's been very helpful with getting me older OEM parts.

Eventually I'll be adding in new parts, but I mostly want to keep it stock. Things like CarPlay and a xeon retrofit make sense, body kits do not.

-TC





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Last edited by razor7; September 25th, 2019 at 16:56.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old September 23rd, 2019, 05:20
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Congratulations! That's a real beauty!!!! Those are 94+ taillights, BTW, just to add another upgrade to your list. Also, I've heard that K&N made a CARB legal intake for the MR2. Might give you another option if you have trouble finding original intake components for a 26 year old car. Take it with a grain of salt, though: I understand that CARB regulations can be a bit Byzantine and hard to navigate.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old September 23rd, 2019, 15:39
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If you're not wedded to the idea of having functional fog lights you don't need to do a xenon conversion, JW Speaker or GE makes direct LED replacements for the headlights.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old September 23rd, 2019, 15:48 Thread Starter
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Interesting. I'll try and give them a look see.

Why would they make the fog lights non-functional? Presumably a resistor could be added inline if it's looking for a certain resistance value across the headlight harness.

-TC
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old September 23rd, 2019, 15:50 Thread Starter
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Thanks!

K&N do make CARB legal intakes, but I would rather sacrifice the ~2hp gain for a cleaner running motor. Plus, it's sucking in far more hot air than I'd like. If anything I'll build an inlet scoop that better feeds the intake snorkel/resonator.

I also have the stock intake, so I shouldn't be struggling to get it to work :-)

-TC
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old September 25th, 2019, 16:23
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The fog lights stop working because of the resistance issue as you have guessed. The way these cars are wired from the factory is such that the fog lights draw power from the high beam circuit when you turn on the switch, but the current draw of the high beams is so low from the LEDs that the relay that controls this doesn't activate. The current draw of the LEDs is also too low to activate the high beam indicator in the dash. A resistor solves the problem but you have to be very careful about where you put it as the heat dissipated is significant.

I would also avoid deleting the stock airbox, I doubt it is a real restriction for light modding and the stock paper filter is much better at protecting the engine from silica intake. Doesn't take a lot of fine sand to get sucked into the engine to cause damage, even a little bit will accelerate wear. The bigger restriction on the stock 3S-GTE seems to be on the exhaust side. Intake piping can sometimes be improved upon but the 93s are already pretty good. Big improvement comes from the intercooler which is already done in this car.

I also left you a PM if you need some help with smog.

Last edited by joshuaho96; September 25th, 2019 at 16:25.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old September 25th, 2019, 16:48 Thread Starter
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Yeah, that's what I expected. I'd rather work with xenons then deal with adding in a resistor in just the right place. Plus I like my fogs, really sets the early 90's mood.

Yep, I'm absolutely going back to the stock airbox. I don't want an aftermarket filter/intake for exactly the reason you mentioned. Plus they tend to be overbuilt from the factory, or at least this is true in the Subaru world.

PM responded to.

I now have the full exhaust, intake, and intercooler piping. I'm picking up some replacement map light bulbs and exhaust gaskets from Toyota today. Assuming I can hide the boost controller and sneak the intercooler by, I should be smooth sailing. I'll also be checking the timing, gapping the plugs (if needed), replacing the throttle and cruise control cables, replacing the shifter cable + shifter bushings, bleeding the clutch, adjusting the brake pedal height, aiming the headlights, adding an extinguisher and mount, replacing the worn shift boot, and adjusting the coil-over ride height. I'm also waiting on my shift knob to arrive from Japan.

After all of that is done and I have the title and reg in my hands, then I'll be buffing off the ceramic coat to do some paint correction and installing a CarPlay head unit with new speakers.

-TC
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old September 25th, 2019, 17:46
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MR2 Heaven has xenons with harness so you're good to go on that end, I'm just lazy and don't feel like touching the harness in any way. Another option is the Hella e-codes.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old September 25th, 2019, 21:32
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Couldn’t you run a stealth install of an aftermarket EMS as long as it passed a sniffer and their extent of a visual inspection? You could paint an inter cooler black, run all functions through the stock harness so you don’t have stuff unplugged etc. then just pass the sniffer with stock intake/exhaust running on a stock MAP sensor.

No need to hide a boost controller, as the stock solenoid could work, or something that looks pretty stock that plugs into the stock solenoid wiring under the intake manifold. It could be done where it’d be cleaner emissions wise than stock, make more power, and be more reliable/updated to modern electronics.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old September 26th, 2019, 14:58
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Last I checked the plug-in Link G4 doesn't have knock control which in my book is an instant no-go. Is there anything else on the market that is actually good and has a plug and play adapter?
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old September 26th, 2019, 17:01
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Wow, she's a beauty!
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old September 26th, 2019, 18:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuaho96 View Post
Last I checked the plug-in Link G4 doesn't have knock control which in my book is an instant no-go. Is there anything else on the market that is actually good and has a plug and play adapter?
I’m not impressed with any of the plug and play EMS. But in a short while I’ll post up a wiring diagram of putting an AEM Infinity 506 in an MR2.

It’s as easy as getting a jumper harness, cutting the male ECU plugs off and putting the AEM connector on. Then running a few extra wires here or there for a couple new sensors and the wideband (needed on any standalone install, original car didn’t have them).
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old September 26th, 2019, 21:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DefSport View Post
Iím not impressed with any of the plug and play EMS. But in a short while Iíll post up a wiring diagram of putting an AEM Infinity 506 in an MR2.

Itís as easy as getting a jumper harness, cutting the male ECU plugs off and putting the AEM connector on. Then running a few extra wires here or there for a couple new sensors and the wideband (needed on any standalone install, original car didnít have them).
Did AEM ever figure out how to do long term learning features on their ECU? The Haltech Elite ECUs are a little more interesting for that reason.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old September 27th, 2019, 00:43
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Originally Posted by joshuaho96 View Post
Did AEM ever figure out how to do long term learning features on their ECU? The Haltech Elite ECUs are a little more interesting for that reason.
There's long term learning on the idle valve duty cycle, but not on fueling. Looks like Haltech basically has VE autotune on it that they term fuel trim. I do wish AEM would write a routine to autotune the VE map, but it does have a calculated new VE value displayed so you just do some pulls/driving and can clean up your VE map really quickly.

AEM has had plans to add the fuel trim strategy to the Infinity for a while, so I won't say their development has been super rapid on the software side of things, I've really been pleased with the hardware, and the software is "pretty good" with just a few polish features here and there. It's so much better than something like TunerStudio (Megasquirt) that it's not even funny.


Though on fueling, the wideband O2 feedback on the AEM Infinity is hands down the best I've ever seen. You can seriously load up a basemap and go WOT into boost immediately and as long as it's like +/- 25% of the right fueling amount, it'll sort it out. So I've never really struggled to tune the VE map on an Infinity, as it does give you most the info that'd go into a "VE autotune" strategy/correction.

I don't know if VE autotune is something I'd really want running in the long term without monitoring it on a really modded engine. There are some definite downsides to that.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old September 27th, 2019, 11:51
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Great EMS info DefSport.

I have a similar 1993 MR-2T (Red, Cherry 60K) that I plan to soon begin boosting so will need an EMS upgrade and seriously considering the AEM.
Currently installing a Wildwood big brake system and have a CT-27 turbo, Ross intake, and Wolfkatz fuel rail awaiting installation. I'm content with the OEM 10 PSI max boost insurance until i get a few additional needed items in place (upgraded fuel pump, injectors, exhaust) as I slowly move toward my 350 WHP goal.
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old September 27th, 2019, 12:37 Thread Starter
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You know, I totally forgot that they won't be plugging in to check OBDII. I love the idea of running an OEM+ install (one that doesn't hack apart a good harness) that gives me better engine health monitoring. I've been thinking of how I could monitor AFRs and boost to get the engine running less fat, but the only sensible option to me is to leave the AFR gauge in the engine bay (since I don't want to mess with my interior) but that makes it useless without either hooking up a camera to record a WOT run (silly, unnecessary) or having access to a dyno (expensive, not something I'm going to buy :-P)

Time for more research!

I've become used to having OBDII monitoring in my hand-built GC8 with a CA BAR legal engine swap (EJ207). When switching back to the MR2 it's been a bit of a shock at times as I don't have quick access to AFR/Coolant Temp/Boost/Air Learning and correction, etc. and it makes me sad. If I can add that, and actually dial in the motor safely, then I'm all about it.

This weekend I'm hoping to get the car near-to or fully ready for getting through SMOG. I broke down and bought a quick jack which should help out some, especially with adjusting the front ride height.

-TC

Last edited by razor7; September 27th, 2019 at 12:40.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old September 27th, 2019, 19:44
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No need for any gauges in the interior. You can datalog EVERYTHING in the AEM via a USB stick. Just stick the USB cable in your laptop when you want and you can retrieve logs with all sensor data recorded.

It’ll actually be much easier to keep things looking very OEM but increase reliability and performance with a modern EMS.
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2019, 18:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DefSport View Post
There's long term learning on the idle valve duty cycle, but not on fueling. Looks like Haltech basically has VE autotune on it that they term fuel trim. I do wish AEM would write a routine to autotune the VE map, but it does have a calculated new VE value displayed so you just do some pulls/driving and can clean up your VE map really quickly.

AEM has had plans to add the fuel trim strategy to the Infinity for a while, so I won't say their development has been super rapid on the software side of things, I've really been pleased with the hardware, and the software is "pretty good" with just a few polish features here and there. It's so much better than something like TunerStudio (Megasquirt) that it's not even funny.


Though on fueling, the wideband O2 feedback on the AEM Infinity is hands down the best I've ever seen. You can seriously load up a basemap and go WOT into boost immediately and as long as it's like +/- 25% of the right fueling amount, it'll sort it out. So I've never really struggled to tune the VE map on an Infinity, as it does give you most the info that'd go into a "VE autotune" strategy/correction.

I don't know if VE autotune is something I'd really want running in the long term without monitoring it on a really modded engine. There are some definite downsides to that.
It does depend but my intent has always been to build a street car first so the goal is to have OEM driveability and reliability. I'm ok with only running a CT27 at 1 bar of boost, etc...
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old October 2nd, 2019, 23:23 Thread Starter
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Figured I would get further, but only got about 7 hours in on Sunday. I also really underestimated the level of effort for getting out the intercooler and exhaust. Oh well, good thing this isn't my daily.












Also realized I never shared a photo of the interior. While not the greatest, this should give you an idea.



-TC

Last edited by razor7; October 3rd, 2019 at 01:43.
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old October 13th, 2019, 18:27 Thread Starter
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I buckled down and spent 2.5 days working on the MR2. Here's what I accomplished:

- Painted intercooler and intercooler to body mount
- Painted intercooler piping (I painted everything to go for that nonchalant, "I totally didn't paint aftermarket stuff to sneak it through SMOG" kind of look)
- Replaced shift cables
- Replaced shift bushings (mount to body)
- Replaced throttle cable (pedal to assembly)
- Replaced throttle cable (assembly to throttle body)
- Painted turbo heat shield
- Replaced turbo downpipe (with gasket, new nuts, new studs)
- Installed JDM 3rd or 4th gen pre-cat (hope it works...)
- Ground down the EGT sensor to re-use the seat and through-bolt
- Removed KO mid pipe and magnaflow muffler
- Replaced both accessory belts (A/C and alternator)
- Installed new head unit (Sony XAV-AX5000) {Fun fact, if you want to retain the OEM amps, just wire the REM (a.k.a amp turn on) wire to Red (accessory) - this will stop any amp "popping" on ignition on or off}
- Replaced the shift knob
- Replaced the brake and clutch pedal covers (cannot find the throttle pedal cover...)
- Replaced the bulb for the ignition switch
- Replaced the map light bulbs (LED -> Incandescent)
- Adjusted the e-brake cable
- Adjusted the front suspension (evening out both sides for ride height)
- Replaced the tie rod end (both sides)
- Replaced the tie rod bellows (both sides)
- Replaced the front ball joints (both sides)

* all parts, where possible, are OEM. Helps to have a dealership within a 10 minute drive that has an online portal.

All that's left to accomplish:
- 45deg 2.25" to 2.5" intercooler piping (hot side)
- Install pre-cat mount to short block
- Install b-pipe and muffler
- Install all under paneling
- Check timing
- Check the plug gaps

I need to finish this round of work on the MR2 soon as my garage is lining up for the following work:
- Clutch and brake fluid flush on my buddy's BRZ
- Clutch and flywheel on my buddy's 350Z
- Wheel/tire swap on my GC8
- Front seat swap on my E82
- Laundry list of work on the GC8 (6 speed swap, door skins, door cards, prep for paint)

I'm waiting on some parts to arrive this week, so I should be wrapped up soon. Also did a once-over on all of the bushings and bearings... certainly could use some updating but no cause for concern. I'm having a hard time sourcing TRD mounts (engine, trans, etc.) so add a link if there's some special place to look, I'm just assuming they don't exist anymore.

Hopefully soon it's off to get it SMOG'd and, hopefully, plated.

-TC








Last edited by razor7; October 13th, 2019 at 18:51.
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