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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy to everyone! I've owned a '86 MKI, a '91 MKII Turbo, and now I have a '93 MKII Turbo. I've had it since new. All were my daily drivers. Then around 2001, it started to become a garage queen. Now, I've brought it back out because there is a nice track about 15 mins from me. I started HPDE. It was great! I want to keep getting lessons and doing track days.

So I'm looking for advice from owners who have done work to their MKII T's. My car is stock. Actually had a G-Force chip but have since taken it out. What I'd like to do is upgrade it a little bit. Slowly. I still want it to be streetable but be a fun car on the track. I've had a friend tell me the first thing to do is upgrade the shocks... However, I did just order new strut tower braces for it. Basically, it's the TRD version of the rear brace in stainless from MR2 Heaven and then also ordered their 3 point front strut tower brace. I've read differing opinions on the effectiveness of the braces... But would love to hear from someone who has taken it to a track and been able to feel the difference. I thought it would stiffen the side to side roll enough to get rid of that spongy feeling turn to turn. Maybe shocks will be the next thing.

Would also like to hear what everyone has done to make it handle better and in what progression it should be done... Or what they find to be a good value in upgrades. If anyone has done some track events, it would be great insight to hear from you. My experience so far (1 day) is that the stock car is actually pretty balanced, mostly. Even the instructor who sat in with me all day thought so. I thought the car was somewhat underpowered especially because sometimes there was not enough time to spool the turbo for the power I needed before I had to brake for the next turn. Couldn't get the power to come on quick enough between certain turns. I'd hear it spool then it would just blowoff because I had to back off the throttle. Wish I had a 6 in it!

Would also like to know how you've handled the air pressures front to rear. On the track's website it said that going to full pressure or 5lbs over would be advisable... I put 40psi all around which is max pressure for my tires. Something I won't do again. Some of the instructors are only running 32psi in their own full race setups. I felt it was actually getting a little light in the back on some turns. Thinking of reducing the front pressures to be lower than the rear but not sure how much I should do. Was thinking of doing 32psi front and maybe 35psi rear?

Thanks for any advice you can share...
 

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Im new as well, so we're in this together.
I am also a member of the GRM board, which is ALL about tracking cars.
When you asked about tire pressures...yeah, I asked about that just before my event last week and they gave me wonderful advice that Im thankful for and I'll share with you as a new guy - leave it alone. I run 35-36 and just left it there. They said if youre starting out why mess with another 'thing' that youre always chasing, and that makes sense, something that I dealt with when I raced motorcycles (actually raced, not just 'fun' events like a track day, but money was on the line).

So I showed up and just ran with what I had in there. Had a great time just learning the track and working on ME. I dont think ADDING pressure above what I was out wouldve been a good move, though. Running more would give less contact patch, especially once heat builds up in tires.

As far as power and building boost: eh, just learn the track and get a killer line before worrying about power.

What track are you close to?
Any pics or video from the event?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Im new as well, so we're in this together.
I am also a member of the GRM board, which is ALL about tracking cars.
When you asked about tire pressures...yeah, I asked about that just before my event last week and they gave me wonderful advice that Im thankful for and I'll share with you as a new guy - leave it alone. I run 35-36 and just left it there. They said if youre starting out why mess with another 'thing' that youre always chasing, and that makes sense, something that I dealt with when I raced motorcycles (actually raced, not just 'fun' events like a track day, but money was on the line).

So I showed up and just ran with what I had in there. Had a great time just learning the track and working on ME. I dont think ADDING pressure above what I was out wouldve been a good move, though. Running more would give less contact patch, especially once heat builds up in tires.

As far as power and building boost: eh, just learn the track and get a killer line before worrying about power.

What track are you close to?
Any pics or video from the event?
Well, I ran an unfamiliar tire pressure... 40lbs all around because of what the website for the track said... To run at max or 5lbs over. I normally would have about 32-33 in the front and 35-36 in the rear. I noticed that the car on the track felt more towards oversteer than understeer. I broke the tail out only once when I went from one turn into the next more quickly but it was slight and controllable. Just a little slip. For me, that did not feel normal. Back end felt like it was just a little more loose than I'm used to. I'm going to just set it back to my normal pressures and take it out again Jun 18th.

Meanwhile, I have 2 strut tower braces on order. I'll have time to put them on and see what the differences are. There's the rear XBRACE and the front BRACE. Both look like upgrades over the stock braces and simple enough to install (hopefully!) for me. Although I've read where certain braces need to be cajoled onto the car by jacking up one side, etc.

I live near Palmer MotorSports. Nice track. Was actually rated in top 10 if that means anything. It's a track that does not let you get too fast. Only one straightaway that you can get on it and hold it down but then it's a series of turns. I have video but nothing much interesting. My one good run and the GoPro didn't capture it! Last one of the day and the instructor didn't say a word. Just let me run. I hit most of my turns and was much smoother.

Appreciate any advice you can share. What is GRM?
 

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The best upgrades for HPDE's are good brakes, good seats, a lap timer, and fixing anything that will make the car unreliable. The good brakes let you extract the maximum amount of performance out of the car through an entire session, there's nothing worse than brake fade. Good seats will hold you in place so you aren't doing weird things with your legs or arms against inertia. And the lap timer is needed to know if you are getting better.

Check out you suck at racing, the guy who writes it is an HPDE instructor and is very pragmatic.
 

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GRM = Grassroots Motorsports | Sports Car Magazine
Regarding tire pressure. Cranking up the pressure may be a worth while move if you are trying to keep all-season tires from flopping over on their side, but for any modern performance tire it's unnecessary and probably counter productive. Speaking of which, what ARE you running for tires? Tires are the single most important thing if you are looking to improve something about the car. I generally run mine at around 30-32psi HOT, meaning cold pressure before the first session may be 3-4psi lower than that (on a cool day, I may start at closer to hot pressure and just adjust after each session, to avoid starting the first session with the pressure TOO low).

And the lap timer is needed to know if you are getting better.
I disagree. Often the last thing a new driver should be focusing on is lap time. It's a good way to end up pushing too hard too soon, rather than focusing on being smooth and consistent.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The best upgrades for HPDE's are good brakes, good seats, a lap timer, and fixing anything that will make the car unreliable. The good brakes let you extract the maximum amount of performance out of the car through an entire session, there's nothing worse than brake fade. Good seats will hold you in place so you aren't doing weird things with your legs or arms against inertia. And the lap timer is needed to know if you are getting better.

Check out you suck at racing, the guy who writes it is an HPDE instructor and is very pragmatic.
I think brakes are in the very near future. I had the car inspected by my mechanic who builds race cars and used to race. Said the brakes are ok for now. Something like 60-70%. I'll check my brake fluid to see if it's still good. Will also change the transmission fluid... Thinking Redline 75W90.

Probably won't be doing seats for now. Would like to keep the costs down until I feel I want to commit to this...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
GRM = Grassroots Motorsports | Sports Car Magazine
Regarding tire pressure. Cranking up the pressure may be a worth while move if you are trying to keep all-season tires from flopping over on their side, but for any modern performance tire it's unnecessary and probably counter productive. Speaking of which, what ARE you running for tires? Tires are the single most important thing if you are looking to improve something about the car. I generally run mine at around 30-32psi HOT, meaning cold pressure before the first session may be 3-4psi lower than that (on a cool day, I may start at closer to hot pressure and just adjust after each session, to avoid starting the first session with the pressure TOO low).



I disagree. Often the last thing a new driver should be focusing on is lap time. It's a good way to end up pushing too hard too soon, rather than focusing on being smooth and consistent.
Wow... 30-32psi. Hmmm... Manual says to run 29 front and 33 rear. Tires are Yokohamas... Forgot what name. Decent tire for street with good cornering but not really a track tire. Not sure I want to spend for track tires now.

And you don't have problems running your tires at those pressures? Do you run different pressures front and back?
 

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Wow... 30-32psi. Hmmm... Manual says to run 29 front and 33 rear. Tires are Yokohamas... Forgot what name. Decent tire for street with good cornering but not really a track tire. Not sure I want to spend for track tires now.

And you don't have problems running your tires at those pressures? Do you run different pressures front and back?
Pressures are quite tire dependent. Some perform better with more or less than others. Most of the 200tw street tires (which are very nearly race tires with tread at this point) as well as most R-compound tires are pretty happy at those pressure levels, give or take a few PSI. But those sorts of tires have very stiff sidewalls compared to "normal" street tires.

If they are more of an actual street tire, they may want a few more psi to keep the tire from rolling over too much. At the most basic level, you can get an idea of if your tire pressures are appropriate or not by watching where the wear on the shoulder stops. You don't want it going past the edge of the tread. But also this will be effected by tire construction, alignment, etc, so I wouldn't put too much stock in it other than just making sure you aren't rolling them over too badly.

I generally run pretty close to the same pressure front and rear, but it is a tuning tool. A little more OR less pressure can increase grip on that end of the car. It can be tricky to know which way to adjust. As others have said, sometimes it's better not to fixate on it too much. Just find a pressure that seems to work OK, and focus on driving the car.
 
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Having gone a few amateur track days myself my advice would be according to priority;

1/ Tyres- type, model and size. Do some research and get some that will work for your use street/track.

2/ Brakes- rebuild your calipers and change fluid. Almost all MR2s need this track or not.

3/ Maintenance- make sure all your normal maintenance items are up to date. Engine oil (synthetic & 1/2 litre over full), trans, coolant, clutch & brakes. Plugs, dist cap, rotor and possibly wires. Hoses , clamps filters and general tidyness should not be overlooked.

4/ Instruments- TPMS to keep track of tyre pressure and temps without measuring every lap. Alarms will tell you if something goes wrong. Get an App for phone that records your lap times , speeds , etc. Set it up and leave alone. Can look later on what you did right & wrong & compare sessions.

5/ Fun- end of the day it’s all about having fun and learning how to control your car. Even slow runs with poor wet & oily conditions are a great learning tools and will improve your ability. Driver training and experience is the best improvement .

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Pressures are quite tire dependent. Some perform better with more or less than others. Most of the 200tw street tires (which are very nearly race tires with tread at this point) as well as most R-compound tires are pretty happy at those pressure levels, give or take a few PSI. But those sorts of tires have very stiff sidewalls compared to "normal" street tires.

If they are more of an actual street tire, they may want a few more psi to keep the tire from rolling over too much. At the most basic level, you can get an idea of if your tire pressures are appropriate or not by watching where the wear on the shoulder stops. You don't want it going past the edge of the tread. But also this will be effected by tire construction, alignment, etc, so I wouldn't put too much stock in it other than just making sure you aren't rolling them over too badly.

I generally run pretty close to the same pressure front and rear, but it is a tuning tool. A little more OR less pressure can increase grip on that end of the car. It can be tricky to know which way to adjust. As others have said, sometimes it's better not to fixate on it too much. Just find a pressure that seems to work OK, and focus on driving the car.
I like your website Alex... I'll need more time to go through and read what you've done, but there sure seems to be a boat load of info there. Did you install a 6 cyl in your MR2?
 

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I like your website Alex... I'll need more time to go through and read what you've done, but there sure seems to be a boat load of info there. Did you install a 6 cyl in your MR2?
I did, about 4 years ago. There's a pretty extensive writeup on it on my blog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Also, I've read quite a few threads about transmission oil for the 3S-GTE with LSD... And I didn't seem to get a sense of definitive answer for what is the best. I've read that Redline MT-90 or Redline 75W90 is pretty much recommended... Is there much difference between those two? Is there another oil out there that would be good for the track?
 

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Also, I've read quite a few threads about transmission oil for the 3S-GTE with LSD... And I didn't seem to get a sense of definitive answer for what is the best. I've read that Redline MT-90 or Redline 75W90 is pretty much recommended... Is there much difference between those two? Is there another oil out there that would be good for the track?
As I understand it they are pretty similar. Both are 75w90 weight. But the MT90 has friction additives to improve shifting, while the 75w90 does not, as it's more intended for front engine / RWD cars with separate rear ends. Personally I run MT90 and like it.
 
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I went MT90, that was about 18 months ago. I still have SOME grinding from 4th to 3rd, a lot went away when I went with the MT90. Ive actually thought about draining and replacing (flushing) and seeing if it helps. I dont know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I went MT90, that was about 18 months ago. I still have SOME grinding from 4th to 3rd, a lot went away when I went with the MT90. Ive actually thought about draining and replacing (flushing) and seeing if it helps. I dont know.
I believe I have MT90 in my tranny now... But it's been forever since I've changed it. Put it in probably about a year or two since I owned the car. No problems yet. Shifts well when I'm in sync and revs are matched. I have a gallon on order now... Fresh juice will be nice.
 

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How did the two compare when both were fresh?
The MT90 lasted about a year before noticing gear selection issues when cold. Castrol Syntrax (75w90) much the same. Ran LWSP for 3+ years with no issues then changed when doing a clutch and its been good ever since (4+ years). Did alot more miles with the LWSP, on & off track as well.

jimb
 

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The MT90 lasted about a year before noticing gear selection issues when cold. Castrol Syntrax (75w90) much the same. Ran LWSP for 3+ years with no issues then changed when doing a clutch and its been good ever since (4+ years). Did alot more miles with the LWSP, on & off track as well.

jimb
Thanks, but how would you describe the shift quality (“notchiness”, etc) between the two fluids when they were both new?
 
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