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1995, Toyota, MR2, Turbo
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a USDM 95T and absolutely love it. That said since I bought it about a year ago, there have been a few things I've noticed that need attention (and let me preface this by saying the car will be the recipient of a 2GR swap next summer). So I want to do enough to the engine so that it runs strong for another 9 months, and do some things that will just help overall between pre/post swap status.

I will say that I have not really worked on cars, but am not afraid to. With this being my 5th MR2 in the last 25 years, i figured it's time for me to get my hands dirty. To give you an idea, I did my first oil change myself (ever) a few months ago. Changed my first set of spark plugs on another car a couple of months ago. I had no clue what i was getting myself into. But, with google, forum/threads, and youtube videos, i figured it was time to dive in. Also, I'm dealing with a serious lumbar back injury from a bad auto accident. So my work is slow. For example, when I wire brushed my brake calipers, I could only do about 1/2 of one each day. I have to vary positions and move often. So this list, is HUGE, and jam-packed. Especially for a 3-week timespan.

My USDM 95T
Engine mods:
○ CT20B turbo
○ Berkside mount
○ Berk 3inch downpipe
○ SBC electronic boost controller
○ DTT Turbo Timer
○ ATS ROM tune
○ Spearco intercooler
○ TKO 7” exhaust
Suspension/brakes:
○ Bilstein shocks
○ Eibach pro-kit springs
○ TRD swaybars and strut tower braces,
• Cosmetic mods:
• Toyota original keyless entry, SSR Integral GT1 17-inch wheels, gun metal emblems
Interior:
• Omori 45mm boost gauge,
• black interior with JDM MR2 leather & suede seats,
• TRD short shift,


Issues I was looking to address:
-- AC did not work. I tried to charge, but it blew out of the engine bay.
-- Shifting. It was grinding going into 1st, and Reverse. I had to nurse it into 1st. It just seemed to get worse and worse.
-- Shimmy under braking, and at high speed
-- Engine would at times seem to lose power. It would it hesitate at random/intermittent times. Yet, sometimes ran strong and hard. it was weird and could not be attributed to a cold start, hot/cold days, etc...

I put the car on jack stands and here is what i did over the last 3 weeks:
-- Pulled the Throttle body off, and cleaned it well. There was a lot of buildup inside which needed to be cleaned out.
-- Using a multi-meter, I adjusted the Throttle Position Sensor (so that all readings were within spec). My 4th setting going down the list, was well off the mark.
-- Cleaned Idle Air Control Valve
-- Cleaned Air Temp Sensor
-- Removed AC Flex lines, found that the aluminum pipe rubbed against my exhaust and it melted a hole in it. A local shop welded this and put a slight bend in it so it stops rubbing (for 40 bucks). I re-attached, added new 0-rings, rented an AC Vacuum and vacuumed down the line, and re-charged it. Blows nice and cold now.
-- Cleaned MAF. I made a huge mistake and removed the 2 screws on the MAF wire harness. This was not good. I had to remove the cap, re-solder the 3 broken solder points, close it up, and re-silicon the top. This was also my first solder job. Too many firsts on this project. And lots of lessons learned. That said, this solder job worked well, and saved me about 4-500 bucks and i’m back in business. While cleaned the MAF, I found slight oil residue on the air intake line (between the MAF and the Turbo... I traced this back to find a faulty Oil Catch Can which had likely never been emptied or tended to.
-- DISTRIBUTOR: Pulled Distributor, and installed rebuild kit (Two's R US). I totally botched this one... While the rebuild process seemed to go well, when i installed it i must have pinned the top back onto the shaft wrong, because when i tried to turn the car over the shaft snapped. The car would not start, so I pulled the Distributor and found a clean brake right around the O-ring. OMG... This had me extremely worried. I found a club member in NYC who had a 99 Turbo Dizzy... A few days later I had it in hand. Added a new O-Ring, cleaned it up a bit, and then set off to try and figure out how to install a new one out of position. To do this, I had to figure out how to get the crank to TDC on cylinder 1. Got a little creative and this ended up being very easy. I cut a disposable shop towel (i.e. blue paper towel) into a small square, just enough to cover the spark plug shaft. I tapped 1/2 of it down with painter's tape, leaving the second half free to flap. I removed all plugs and then had my wife tell me when the flap was sucked into the hole, and then immediately when it started to blow up. Once it started to blow up, i stuck a screwdriver in and watched for it to hit its highest point as i rotated the crank pully clockwise. I did this a couple of times, and then marked the highest point with a paint marker on the screwdriver, then had my wife watch as I went through a couple more cycles to ensure that the pain mark was indeed the highest point. after confirmation, on the next compression cycle, i set it to TDC. Then I took a picture of the crank position from inside the open distributor hole, just so i knew the alignment/orientation of the slot in the crankshaft for the Distributor's head. I aligned the distributor head per BGB (slot on the dizzy cylinder, with a slot on dizzy gear head) and visually confirmed proper alignment, installed, and it started right up. I could hear a miss, so i rotated slightly and now it ran great.
-- Installed new Catch Can (PrimeMR2).
-- Installed new shift cables (PrimeMR2).
-- Installed Spherical Bushings (PrimeMR2)
-- Installed new Square metal Shift Bushing
-- Installed C's /TRD short stroke shifter, aluminum shifter base bushings (PrimeMR2)
-- Installed new Master Clutch Cylinder (PrimeMR2)
-- Installed New Slave Cylinder and extended pushrod (Prime MR2)
-- Installed New Spark plugs, wires, rotor & Cap (PrimeMR2)
-- Filled up Power Steering fluid. It was dry!
-- Installed new Fuel Filter. This sucked... The crown on the fuel filter was so tall, that i didn't notice when i tighted the banjo bolt, that the line rotated against the sharp crown... When I tried to start the car and check things out, I found a fuel spray coming from the line. This was when i had the Dizzy problem, so the car would not start anyway. But it pressurized the fuel line and i was able to find the leak. I removed the line, inspected and found that while the line was marred, it did not look punctured. I purchased a few new crush washers from Toyota and installed the line again. This time i took a plastic interior trim tool and kept it wedged in-between the fuel line, and the crown. After setting to torque spec, i pressurized the line and confirmed that was no fuel spray. Whew!!! I watched this over the next week each time i would start the car just to be extra sure.
-- Installed Eccentric T-Top Guides
-- Used Gummi Pflege on t-tops. Then Shin Etsu grease. Waiting on hard rain to see if I still get a drip. If so, I'm going with a new set of molding on the t-tops.
-- Oil Change. I found that the drain plug would not torque to spec. I should have just snugged it. But instead, tried to do it by the book. Now I get a very... very slight, very slow drip of oil. I'm prepared to Time-Cert the pan. But since the swap is happening next year. I think I'll do another oil change, and install a new crush washer and add a bit of silicon on install to see if this seals it up.
-- Wire brushed all brake calipers. Taking the ugly, aged, chipped, red paint down to shiny metal. I then ordered black G2 caliper paint and painted all the calipers. (Amazon)
-- Installed 4 new rotors (PrimeMR2)
-- Installed EBC Yellow Stuff pads (PrimeMR2)
-- Installed Holy Grail Throttle Cable (MR2 Heaven)
-- Installed new brake cables (MR2 Heaven) and re-adjusted brake tension
-- Installed heated seat kit, and new black/black leather seat coverings (MR2 Heaven). This went really well. Took my time, and had no problem with the hognose on install. I purchased a garment steamer from Bed Bath Beyond. This with a hairdryer worked wonders to firm it all up, and take the shipping wrinkles out. it was super tight, but i managed to route the heater switches and install them both next to my fog light switch. I used an "Add a Circuit" to draw power from the cabin fuse box. Because of the draw, i used one "add a circuit" for each line. One went to the Rad/Cig, and the other went to the wiper. These are both 15A+, and supported the addl 15A fuse. However, i struggled with blown fuses... A lot of them as i troubleshot the issue. I found that the driver base is causing a short. The only thing i can think of is that a hognose ring is shorting the heater elements to the metal frame of the chair. I have to take it apart and research this further. For now, I have my back pad that is operational, and the passenger has both seat and back.
— For adding the holes to accommodate the shafts for the lumbar arm, and bolster knobs on the upper portion of the seats. After the seat cover was firmly all together; I took a very small Exacto and carved a circular hole to match the small inside hole/cavity of the metal shaft coming out of the seat frame. then I pulled the seat cover down around the shaft forcing my small hole to expand around the shaft for a very snug fit, with no gaps or holes. I tried NOT to make a straight slit that would tear. This worked well!
— For the two mounting holes on the seat base… After the seat covering was installed, and tightened. I went back with the seat frame to give me a general sense for the location of the two holes… Once I confirmed via previous pictures, and confirmed with seat base alignment, I took a very small screw driver to puncture the middle of the hole. I then took a large Philips head screw driver (holding the cover snug to the frame, I rotated the Phipps head against the covering over the hole, pressing with medium pressure about a dozen turns. This gave me a perfect cutout for the hole, with no cuts or weak points. I then mounted the base to the frame.
— Last note on seat install. When you install hog nose clamps to the middle flap of the top seat cover, these hog nose are attaching to the large steel spring structure of the middle of the back of the seat. So it’s hard to get the hog nose to bite the metal frame. I took a large rubber mallet l, stood it on end under the seat back (but inside the seat covering) to give me pressure resistance so I could get the hog nose clipped around it. Otherwise, the only other area that posed a challenge was at the end when closing the two ends together. I used a zip tie on the middle of each end, that sucked the ends together allowing me to easily work the hog rings into place. Then cut the zip tie out. Side note when finishing up install, Do not try to pull on the loose side flaps, they will tear! Just snug and tuck the loose flaps.
-- Changed Transmission Fluid to MT-90
-- Added Toyota Red Coolant and Burped/bled lines (I will flush lines with 2GR swap next year)
-- Bled Clutch. I should have bench-bled the Master and Slave Cylinder. I had no clue. This one step would have saved me a ton of headaches. My cylinder was air-locked. But as luck would have it, I didn't tighten the bleed nipple, and i had just changed from my pressure bleeder to a canister bleeder for manual bleeding.... I had the auto-fill bottle open as i sat on my phone in the garage to research various ways to bleed a clutch. Well, i walk around the car to find a large puddle of Clutch fluid on the floor. I cleaned this up, pumped the clutch a few times, re-filled the auto-fill container, and bled it a bit more, and it was no longer air-locked. It is perfect now.
-- Sucked out most of the dirty brake fluid and topped off with clean (just used a turkey baster for this. I will do the lines during 2GR swap next year.
-- Painted Heat Shields - Black
-- Sanded, painted, clear coated, and baked/cured windshield wiper arms (black)
-- Installed All LED: Dome lights, Dash lights, Reverse lights, and brake strobe (PrimeMR2)
-- Whenever possible i ordered new bolts from Toyota to replace old ones. Also used local Ace Hardware for a lot of new bolts.
-- Torqued everything back to spec (except for oil drain plug... It's snug. And Dizzy. It would not torque to spec. I would tap a drop-down stud, but since a 2GR is going in next summer. It is snug and looks to be good until then.

This coming week:
-- Installing Wilhelm Raceworks Geo Kit
-- New Tires
-- SuperKlasse Runabout Shifter Bundle (black/black)

Man, There were some frustrations and a few times where I kicked myself. Overall, very happy with the outcome. Especially considering that I had near-zero mechanical experience going into this. The car runs strong, with no hesitations at all. AC blows cold. Brakes/rotors make a huge difference, and zero grinding while shifting. What a difference the whole shifter/cables/clutch cylinders made. Wow! I love the C's short shifter! Can't wait to get rid of the bump steer!

Next Year:
Bushings, rebuilt Rack & Pinion, rebuild cv/axles, New Coil Overs (Bob Pham), and BBK. Maybe Greddy kit w/Aeroware Lip. Which I know is the default MR2 setup, but it's the default for a reason. It just looks good. This car years ago had a 98+ Combat Spoiler. Would love to get one back on it.

I'll add some pictures this coming week.
 

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1995, Toyota, MR2, Turbo
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So did you go back with a timing light and set the distributor?
Good catch. No, not yet. I will be doing that last. I've only driven it a couple of days, just came off the stands Saturday afternoon. I visually re-set the position to the previous point from the last distributor, and that has seemed to do the job. Re-adjusted my brake to preferred tension last night, and re-installed the underside panels. But, as a finishing touch, I will be picking up a timing light and checking it over. Followed by an alignment job after I install the WRW Geo Kit this week. Then, I have to dive back into the newly installed driver's seat cushion to remove the hog-nose clamps out of the seat heater pad and checking to see if it still blows the fuse when plugged in.

I'm trying to get to everything that makes sense to get to. And leave other stuff knowing the 2GR swap happens next year. I don't want to put too much money into what's being removed during the swap. I'll probably re-direct my attention to the cabin and do stuff like sound deadening, and upgrade any speakers not already upgraded. The system already has an amp, and removable subs behind the seats. The driver's side stays out. I'm 6'4" and need the max recline position.

Any other things that I should prioritize back into my short-term list let me know.
 

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91 gen 4 swap, 00 stock until the K20 gets installed.
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Which t-top guides did you get? The ones on the car or the ones in the t-top.
 

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1995, Toyota, MR2, Turbo
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Which t-top guides did you get? The ones on the car or the ones in the t-top.
i ordered the eccentric T-top guides for the car (From Prime). Honestly, that and the grease have helped, but I just noticed that in a heavy rain, I still get a drip. So, I’m going to have to swap out for a fresh set of T-Top mounding.
 

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Nice writeup! you got a LOT done in 3 weeks, was this 3 solid weeks of wrenching every day?
You bought a few things I would have skipped, given the 2GR swap coming up. However if you have the spare beer money, it's nice to have it running WELL before the swap so you can compare apples to apples as it were.
Now, answer the question: WHERE did you get those cupholders from!?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nice writeup! you got a LOT done in 3 weeks, was this 3 solid weeks of wrenching every day?
You bought a few things I would have skipped, given the 2GR swap coming up. However if you have the spare beer money, it's nice to have it running WELL before the swap so you can compare apples to apples as it were.
Now, answer the question: WHERE did you get those cupholders from!?
Thx! Yes, It was 3 weeks of wrenching every day.
But, until I have major back surgery from my car accident est. EOY, it was light duty work. I.e. Like throwing back a cold beer while walking in circles for an hour contemplating my next move.
The real labor came with 1) Wire brushing the calipers to bare metal for the re-paint. This took a good week due to my limited ability to handle the long labor. And , 2) Those seats take a good 2 days work. I broke them down completely one day, and then it was a LONG 12 hour day on the install of the seat coverings and wiring.

Ha… on the cup holders. I’ve had the holders themselves since my first MR2 back in 95. They are they only thing that have traversed all of my MR2’s. I picked a pair up at Autozone back in the day. Just google “door or window mounted cup holders”. I’ll add a pic of mine. The depth of the holder itself is perfect for the mounting spot on the turbo box. That said, it took 5 MR2’s and a forum pic to help me realize where they actually belong. While a little awkward, they are out of the way, do not rattle, slip, or spill/splash. Driver uses the Passenger side holder & passenger used drivers side.

I would have loved to avoid spending a couple hundred on the catch can. And the brakes had to be done due to the shimmy. That’s why I went with Cen tech / EBC for now until the BBK is done next year. It is used as a daily, so I guess it’s a safety investment. But, I figure when the 3SGTE comes out. There will be a few things that sell off to help recoup some money towards the 2GR project.

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Vision care Wood Eyewear Rectangle Hardwood
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update (10/15/21): Started to install the “Wilhelm Suspension Geometry Kit” yesterday. Wrapped up this afternoon. Overall, went pretty smooth. And for someone that has done zero suspension/mechanical work prior to this effort, is saying something. Kudos to WRW.

1)I found that when going to add the RCA spacers, it was best to first c-clamp my breaker bar to the bottom of the arm, then have someone come and step on it to give me the space needed to first brush off the dirt and crap from the ball joint, and then to insert the RCA, and position the setup for the new bolts.

2) To get the bushing out, and the new metal bushing inserted… I went to Ace and picked up Qty: 6 x 6” long bolts. I then picked up 6 nuts, and about 6 standard washers, and then 4 larger washers that are about the same size as the new metal bushing.
— Removal: I took the bolt, added 2 standard washers, put this through a 36mm deep socket, then through the rubber bushing, and then through two more washers (smaller than the bushing I’m sucking out, and the nut. Then, using a wrench on the nut end, and my 1/2” Ryobi impact driver on the head, i sucked the bushing right out of the arm and into the 36mm socket. The small washers are to keep the nut from being too recessed into the socket head for he impact driver or wrench to grab it.
—Install, I took a new bolt, added 2 small washers, then 2 large washers (same size as metal bushing, then added the metal bushing, then went through the arm, through the large opening of the 36mm socket, then added 2 more small washers, and finally the nut. I then aligned everything, and impacted the metal bushing into place. Note: if your bolt, or nut gets damaged threads, just use a new setup. Ace didn’t have fully threaded 6” bolts that were hardened, so these are all essentially disposable. My buahings went in until they were about 1mm, and then stopped. I did both sides this way. then went back with a new bolt and nut and sucked them in flush with the arm.
Doing this, I had no heavy lifting, didn’t have to remove knuckles, exhaust, or anything.

Hope it helps anyone else planning for the install.

My 2 is in getting an alignment now.


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For someone with limited mechanic experience and back issues you have done an amazing job. Sure there are a few things on the list that most of us would have done differently but the fact remains, you got stuck in and did what you wanted to do regardless of the hurtles. I liked the comment about having a problem and then walking around with beer in hand trying to work out a solution. Wish half the MR2 owners were this good.

well done.

jimb
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
For someone with limited mechanic experience and back issues you have done an amazing job. Sure there are a few things on the list that most of us would have done differently but the fact remains, you got stuck in and did what you wanted to do regardless of the hurtles. I liked the comment about having a problem and then walking around with beer in hand trying to work out a solution. Wish half the MR2 owners were this good.

well done.

jimb
Thx! While, I couldn’t point at the engine and name anything before I started all of this a month ago. I feel SOOO much more comfortable and knowledgeable now. I literally had to read the Goe Kit instructions like 4 times to figure out what was what. But with all of this comes pride of ownership, and it makes my planned 2GR swap far less intimidating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Update: 10/16/21: Got the 2 back from alignment… What a huge difference the new tires (Yoko Advan Fleva), and the WRW Geo kit make. My bump steer was bad, now it’s a thing of the past. I have to hit some good bumps, but overall impression from a few drives, is that this was well worth the time and money. I’ll be looking to WRW for more components as my 2GR swap starts to take shape.
Question for anyone who might have an answer. The alignment shop says they couldn’t get the rear camber dialed in all the way. Need some camber bolts. Anyone have a recommendation on this?

Damn, still have a slight shimmy at freeway speeds. Going to refresh the ball joints and add a re-manufactured Rack&Pinon to see if that does the job.

+ late post of engine bay:
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