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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I bought the car last summer
1994 NA with about 140k miles. Red with T-tops.
I work with the previous two owners going back 20 years.
Wheel Car Vehicle Land vehicle Cloud


The car was hit on the passenger side and got a new door and a full respray in the 2005 timeframe. It looks great. I have posted threads on redoing the interior, so, it now has MR2 Heaven seats with heat and door panels.

Issues I inherited:
Poorly functioning passenger door lock - took a while to fix. Replaced with an E-Bay part. Learned that there are a couple different door lock connectors, so, if you do this, be sure you have the right number of pins.
Leaks all around the T-tops - bought new T-top seals and installed. Quite a bit of silicone in the way by someone chasing leaks.
Passenger window alignment is wonky and now the motor isn't working quickly - this is a current project with no real progress.
Speedometer was not working right - this was due to failed electrolytic capacitors. I have this half fixed and it will have to wait.

Next up is a drive to Kentucky for a heart transplant. Getting a Gen 4 3SGTE installed by TCS. I will take pics of the motor and trans and post them here when I can.

Why am I doing this?
Like you, I am a car nut and I like working on and thinking about cars. I want a nice fun, fast car to do social car nut things. I have a daily driver, so, I don't depend on this car. The car will spend a day or so a month commuting, a day a month in the summer doing autocross or possibly track cross, and a couple days a month going to cars and coffee. I have always loved the look of the SW20 MR2 and finally found one in good shape.

The driving goals here are: nice - comfortable and luxurious (hence the revised seats). Adequate for autocross - I suck at autocross, but, it is fun and I enjoy it. Reliable enough that I could do a weekend getaway if I was inclined.

Planned Mechanical:
engine/trans swap
abs retrofit

Planned suspension:
TRD springs. replace rubber if possible. Alignment. Maybe whiteline sway bars eventually

Completed interior:
Seats: Seat Recover and heated seats install
Door Panels: DIY: MR2 Heaven Door Inserts

Planned interior:
Get everything working properly - passenger window mostly
replace radio - probably 2DIN with nav and or carplay
I may look into fun things with the instrument cluster if I can't get it working to my satisfaction.
Not much else to do I think.
 

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I bought the car last summer
1994 NA with about 140k miles. Red with T-tops.
I work with the previous two owners going back 20 years. View attachment 85413

The car was hit on the passenger side and got a new door and a full respray in the 2005 timeframe. It looks great. I have posted threads on redoing the interior, so, it now has MR2 Heaven seats with heat and door panels.

Issues I inherited:
Poorly functioning passenger door lock - took a while to fix. Replaced with an E-Bay part. Learned that there are a couple different door lock connectors, so, if you do this, be sure you have the right number of pins.
Leaks all around the T-tops - bought new T-top seals and installed. Quite a bit of silicone in the way by someone chasing leaks.
Passenger window alignment is wonky and now the motor isn't working quickly - this is a current project with no real progress.
Speedometer was not working right - this was due to failed electrolytic capacitors. I have this half fixed and it will have to wait.

Next up is a drive to Kentucky for a heart transplant. Getting a Gen 4 3SGTE installed by TCS. I will take pics of the motor and trans and post them here when I can.
Why the swap? Keep her original motor in there. I’d think she’s worth more to a collector in original condition. Keep her in the garage, get another SW20 and do the swap. Please!
 

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Why the swap? Keep her original motor in there. I’d think she’s worth more to a collector in original condition. Keep her in the garage, get another SW20 and do the swap. Please!
Is a 5SFE going to ever add value to a car? It’s a 94, but let’s be honest on how collectible an NA with some miles on it is going to be.

I say enjoy the car, mod it if it’s what you want.
 

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I thought about the 2GR. What swayed me was that I sort of want to preserve the nature of the car, and that meant boost. Although I do really like high revving NA engines, so, I will always question the decision.

Bob
But the car is an NA model right? So surely it should stay NA haha.

I bet TCS has a 2GR car you could ride in before you make a decision. But the 2GR feels like it was meant to come in the MR2 and works just like oem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is too late now to keep stock - interior is no longer stock. I already have the motor paid for and I am driving to TCS on Saturday to drop it off! I think it would be a rare collector that was even looking for an USDM NA car. In my mind, it seemed like a good platform.
 

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1991 SW20 Turbo T-Top
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I can't imagine buying 90s Japanese sports cars and sweating over resale value. These cars are fun as hell. Put a 2.0 TDI in it for all I care, just whatever you do make sure you drive the hell out of it and have a good time doing it.

Look forward to seeing how the swap comes out!
 

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I agree w/ the Capn, do what you want and forget about resale value. It's already a rare collectible as is.

A Gen4 3S is a decent choice, though replacement parts aren't easy to scout or particularly cheap in North America.

Looking forward to the build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I updated the first post to give a little more about my goals for the car. Mostly fun stuff. Here it is cut and pasted to save you the scrolling

Why am I doing this?
Like you, I am a car nut and I like working on and thinking about cars. I want a nice fun, fast car to do social car nut things. I have a daily driver, so, I don't depend on this car. The car will spend a day or so a month commuting, a day a month in the summer doing autocross or possibly track cross, and a couple days a month going to cars and coffee. I have always loved the look of the SW20 MR2 and finally found one in good shape.

The driving goals here are: nice - comfortable and luxurious (hence the revised seats). Adequate for autocross - I suck at autocross, but, it is fun and I enjoy it. Reliable enough that I could do a weekend getaway if I was inclined.

Planned Mechanical:
engine/trans swap
abs retrofit

Planned suspension:
TRD springs. replace rubber if possible. Alignment. Maybe whiteline sway bars eventually

Planned interior:
Get everything working properly - passenger window mostly
replace radio - probably 2DIN with nav and or carplay
I may look into fun things with the instrument cluster if I can't get it working to my satisfaction.
Not much else to do I think.
 

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96 Posts
I updated the first post to give a little more about my goals for the car. Mostly fun stuff. Here it is cut and pasted to save you the scrolling

Why am I doing this?
Like you, I am a car nut and I like working on and thinking about cars. I want a nice fun, fast car to do social car nut things. I have a daily driver, so, I don't depend on this car. The car will spend a day or so a month commuting, a day a month in the summer doing autocross or possibly track cross, and a couple days a month going to cars and coffee. I have always loved the look of the SW20 MR2 and finally found one in good shape.

The driving goals here are: nice - comfortable and luxurious (hence the revised seats). Adequate for autocross - I suck at autocross, but, it is fun and I enjoy it. Reliable enough that I could do a weekend getaway if I was inclined.

Planned Mechanical:
engine/trans swap
abs retrofit

Planned suspension:
TRD springs. replace rubber if possible. Alignment. Maybe whiteline sway bars eventually

Planned interior:
Get everything working properly - passenger window mostly
replace radio - probably 2DIN with nav and or carplay
I may look into fun things with the instrument cluster if I can't get it working to my satisfaction.
Not much else to do I think.
Congrats on the build, Doc!

I'm excited to see the progress. I was in a very similar position about a year ago with my low miles stock 91 Turbo. A lot of people told me to keep it stock but I never have any intentions of selling my car. It is my very first car and I've owned it for 20 years. It had sat for the last 12 years and so I wanted to bring it back to life in a special way. Like you, I wanted to keep the original feel of the car so I was set on the Gen IV TCS swap until I had a chance to sit in a 2GR car. The sound and responsiveness of the 2GR is what sold me. That being said I am really excited to hear your experience with the Caldina engine!

Congrats again and I'm excited to hear updates on your build process.

PB
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Some pics of the other detials.

also, the interior work:

Motor vehicle Hood Light Automotive tire Automotive design
Automotive tire Automotive lighting Automotive fuel system Hood Automotive design
Automotive parking light Automotive lighting Hood Automotive tail & brake light Tin
Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Bumper
Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design Car seat cover
Car Speedometer Vehicle Gear shift Gauge
Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Automotive design Steering wheel
 

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But the car is an NA model right? So surely it should stay NA haha.

I bet TCS has a 2GR car you could ride in before you make a decision. But the 2GR feels like it was meant to come in the MR2 and works just like oem.
TCS is highly recommended if your looking for someone to do 2GR swap. They don't hack it in like other shops. The fit and finish work they did for me is next to none.

I respect keeping things O.E.M. because it's hard to do. Especially if you plan on selling it. I always have the urge to do a little more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'd've liked to do a 2GR swap but I love me a good turbie sound and wasn't willing to give it up! I'm stoked on my Gen4 and I know this guy will be too.
Thank you CapnKestrel!!!!

Reading all these comments had me rethinking my decision, but, nothing I could really do about it since I pulled the trigger early fall and the motor is ready to go in now. I suspect that you really can't go wrong with 300 hp in these cars. I have read that the turbo spools pretty quick. Do you notice any lag? Can you describe it?

Bob
 

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1991 SW20 Turbo T-Top
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It's really satisfying. I did the Prime version of the swap and I don't know exactly what parts and if any tuning comes with TCS' swap. My last SW20 was a 3rd gen swap and the 4th is noticeably quicker. Spool is faster, and it feels like boost is always there. It's definitely not the fastest car I've ever driven but I daily the car and it puts a smile on my face every day. I want to get a BOV, but as it stands I'm still enjoying the sututu sound. The power comes on early and the sounds are oh-so-good. I'm guessing the kit will come with one of their open intakes, it's what I have in my car.

I love me a good NA car, I've had more than a few Mustangs and a 2ZZ Celica that were an absolute joy to drive, but I love me some forced induction. When I put a blower on my 95 Stanger it changed the whole game. If I got a 2GR I would be desperate to turbo or supercharge it. I don't care as much about the horsepower as the experience.

With all that said, I think the first time you stand on it in second gear you'll be glad you did it.
 

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TCS is highly recommended if your looking for someone to do 2GR swap. They don't hack it in like other shops. The fit and finish work they did for me is next to none.

I respect keeping things O.E.M. because it's hard to do. Especially if you plan on selling it. I always have the urge to do a little more.
The only problem I have with TCS is they use their own right side motor mount instead of the Frankenstein Motorworks mount.
 
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