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Toyota MR2 Spyder Wiki & Owner Guide

These FAQ's are the result of owner's experiences that have been recorded at in the Care, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting Forum


Car Squeaking

As of yesterday my car has begun making a metallic rubbing/squeaking sound. You know what the aluminum trailers sound like when you pull them? That's what my MR2 is sounding like. It's easily noticeable from outside the car and a little embarrassing. It only happens on roads that aren't totally smooth.

I had a couple little annoying rattles the first time I put the top up. It turned out to be the snaps that are meant to hold up the string for the shelf...if you snap them (instead of leaving them unsnapped), the little annoying noise goes away. I have also not had any experience with any rattles or squeaks, except one. The fresh air cable was touching the passenger airbag behind the panel and it rattled going over bumps. Fixed under warranty.

If I tap the front bumper cover on the sides there is an obnoxiously loud squeaking sound coming from DIRECTLY behind the front license plate frame. Do you happen to have that little license plate holder on the front bumper? Try taking that off, worked for me.

Yes, The squeak is from the license plate bracket. If you back the top middle screw out about 1-2 full turns it will stop the squeak. Just keep turning the screw a little while tapping the bumper right above until the noise stops. There is no need to remove it.

Brake pad residue on doors

I'm getting some tan-colored gunk on the lower part of my doors, right behind the wheels. Mostly under the door, really, on that lower part of the frame. This stuff is a real pain to remove. A pressure sprayer has no effect on this stuff.

It appears to be Undercoating, which car manufactures put on to prevent rust from water, salt, etc. Some vehicles are notorious for having an excess of this stuff. In the hot summer days it's really noticeable when it begins to soften and run down. It can be easily removed using Prepsolve, a paint surface prep that removes glues and waxes, it safe on paints. You can get a can at any major parts supplier. Just remember to reapply wax on the treated surface.

It's probably Cosmolene, that petroleum-jelly-like protectant that they slather all over the cars when they ship 'em. I'll bet it's responsible for that smell when the engine gets hot the first few drives, too. Undercoating or that engine-jelly sound like feasible explanations. I squirted some Windex on the stuff and it came off.

Jack Usage

I have had a question in the back of my mind for a while now. About 3000 miles actually, ever since I had to change a flat on my car. If you look at the manual and look closely at the way the top of the jack is constructed (the part that makes contact with the car when using the jack) you will notice that the U shaped top is excessively deep relative to the car's jack points. If you used the jack as I normally would (and as shown in the manual) the top edges of the jack would likely impact the body panels and cause dents.

From personal experience, the jack will work as advertised IF, and I do mean IF, the jack is placed right at the dimple marks noted on the body. Failure to do so will cause the body to dent. I believe there is a chassis bracket above that point inside the body.

CD Player Skips

I've always maintained my car rides rough and rattles a lot. Now when on the way to work over some pretty rough roads, my cd will skip.

There are two things that kill CD players. #1 is DUST. Fuzzies on the optics will give the poor fellow a fit. There are cleaning kits to fix this. #2 is worn rubber or leaky dampening parts around the optics head. This usually only happens on older Sony products and usually doesn't happen for several years. Try a cheapo cleaning CD before you trash the unit, or remove it and clean it by hand.


I just got my car on Tues. and I am having a problem with the idle on the car. Every time I stop at a light, I look down and its only at 600-700 rpms, I thought it should be around 1200 for idle. At first I thought that I just needed to get used to the new clutch, but day by day I doubt that more. Also, after I have been sitting for awhile (10 seconds or so) I have to give it WAY too much gas to prevent it from stalling, if I even lift my foot off the clutch an inch or two while in 1st without giving it gas it will stall (I think this is directly because of the low idle). I found this to be especially fun at the bank drive-thru, I was trying to move it up slowly, so I didn't give it gas, and only took my foot of the clutch REAL slow, boom, stalls. I have driven several cars (manuals) and never had this problem before. Has anyone else had this problem with their car? Also, I know the idle can be adjusted, but should I wait until after break-in? Thanks.

Mine idles at about 700 which is pretty normal for most 4 and 6 cylinder cars (at least those that I've driven). It's a little rough but not abnormally. Also, seems like having the revs near 1500 to take off is also pretty normal.

Burned CD Playing

A friend of mine emailed me saying that he couldn't play burned CD's in his new 2000 car (not spyder) - has anyone put a burned cd in their Spyder?

Actually, I am having trouble with my burned CDs playing in all my other CD players but my Spyders is a champ. Plays them great!!!

Starting Idling

I noticed my engine sounds kind of rough when it idles and the RPMS go up and down , when I first turn on the car in the morning, or when it has been sitting there for a long time (as in right after work). The car idles at about 1100 rpms, then after it warms up (after driving for a bit) it goes back down to the 700 range. Is this normal?

Actually, let me explain to you why your cars idle so high when first started or sitting for a bit. To ensure good starting and smooth operation, the ECU does provide "extra fuel" to a cold engine. The Coolant Temperature Sensor gives the ECU information on the engine temperature, and in turns makes adjustments to the injector opening time to provide the necessary richer mixture. The O2 (oxygen sensor) is not a temperature sensor, hence the name O2 sensor. It is an Air to Fuel mixture sensor. An EGT (exhaust gas temperature) sensor is what's used to read exhaust temperature, which is not available on the MR2 or any production car for that matter. It is used in racecars to fine tune the fuel and timing parameters.

The O2 Sensor's primary job is to provide the ECU with information about combustion efficiency by measuring the oxygen content in the exhaust. The sensor is made of ceramic material coated with platinum. One surface is exposed to the exhaust gas and the other to atmosphere. The difference in Oxygen content between the two surfaces cause a chemical reaction, which generates a voltage to the ECU, changing the air/fuel ratio in an effort to maintain a stoichometric ratio of 14.7:1.

Yes, when you first start your car it will be in `Open Loop', by-passing the O2 Sensor. This is to get the engine warm enough. If left in `Open Loop' too long it will ruin the Catalytic Converter due to heat generated from unburned fuel left in the Cat. Once the engine is warm enough, which is determined by the Temperature Sensor, usually located on the engine's cylinder head ; the ECU begins to take signals from the O2 Sensor for optimal fuel ratio adjustments.

Top and Mats

I have found a few reasons to have to stand up half way inside the car - i.e., to push to top under the latch that holds it down - and to reach the dial on a drive up ATM. I didn't notice it but the floor mat slid up and under the clutch - brake - and gas pedal.

The mats: there is a small black clip that is supplied with the car (I found it in my glove box) that inserts into the hole in the carpet on the driver's side. This clip holds the mat in place so it doesn't "ride up" into the pedals.

Folding top down

Has anyone figured out a way to properly fold the top down while sitting in the vehicle? I can fold it down while in the car however, the two corners do not fold in and tuck away unless I get out and manually tuck them in.

When putting the top down from the driver's seat, I drop the top just enough to where the front edge is right over my head. Then, I push the top down forcefully like I am doing a reverse basketball dunk. This will usually stow and catch the safety catch by the wind deflector (which I leave up all the time). If it doesn't catch, just reach back with your right hand and press it down. NOTE: this only works when I KNOW the top is folding correctly. At first, get out and drop the top while noticing the folding action.

Engine clattering problem fixed

I dropped my Spyder off at the dealer yesterday and picked it up this morning...problem solved!

The noise is gone, my baby sounds great, nice and smooth like before. They spent the whole day going over the car, and on the phone with Toyota Tech, checking out various things, and finally narrowed it down to one thing. They removed and replaced the " serpentine belt tensioner", and the noise was gone. The service manager told me that this was the last part they had in stock, so I was lucky they had it! 16620-22010:Tensioner Assy, V-RI:$109.07 90916-02486:Belt, V-Ribbed:$26.70

The tensioner has been revised and the new part should be trouble free. The part # is the same but there are two different photos on their computer. Click here to hear the sound of the clicking (listen to just the first couple seconds, the rest of the 1 Meg sound file is a Team Moon Exhaust. If you encounter an error with Windows Media Player, go here , right click on the first picture and choose "Save Target As...", then save it to your desktop. Then, click on the icon to hear it. (Courtesy of Jim "SilverSpyder)

Glove box rattle

I have an annoying rattle coming from the glove box. I can't find anything loose, and only the owners manual is inside. Anyone else experiencing this, or got any ideas on what it might be?

This was the only snag I had with my car... It was diagnosed as the cable for the airbag coming loose. Also, the cover was needing a little tightening. I had this niggle also. Fixed by locking and unlocking the glove box a few times. The latch can get stuck halfway and rattles.

Explanation of weird snaps near rear window

Apparently some dealers aren't prepping the cars with the straps to hold the rear deck in the place, so folks are wondering what the straps in back and the loops with snaps on them are for.

When these straps are both installed, the rear deck is raised and can be used to hold small items. It lowers automatically when you lower the top. The loops with snaps on them are for assisting with holding the corners in and down compactly when the top lowers. The strip of fabric this snaps to is in a very narrow horizontal pocket just above the back window in the fabric top.

Rear Hatch Opening Problem

After 5000 miles, my Spyder's hood stopped opening. It was relatively problem-free until then.

There are two round rubber bumpers on either side you will see when you open the hatch. They are about 5-6 inches inward from the rear of the car. Turn these bumpers counterclockwise a couple turns to create some tension on the rear hatch. You might have to open and close the rear hatch until you get it just right.

Top Latch Rattles

Anyway, after three trips to the dealer I insisted that I take the mechanic for a ride to check the rattle, which I was sure was coming from the passenger side top mechanism.

He said, "It's in the latch." "No, it ain't," sez me, but he was right. Here's what the invoice states: CAUSE: VERIFIED LATCH AREA RATTLES 61499 APPLIED TOYOTA WIND NOISE AND RATTLE KIT, PADDED LATCH ASSEMBLY TO ROOF WP3 $190.62Glad I didn't have to pay for that. Hope this helps others. I don't know what the kit consists of. The only thing I could see was the excess grease around the latch (sigh). And like I said, it was a warranty fix, so it didn't cost me anything except the time to take it in.

With the latch undone, you can see a little sleeve that hides an adjusting screw to adjust the tension of the business end that

latches onto the windshield. You might need to tighten your latch a tiny bit.

Twisted Seat Belts

Does anybody have twisted seatbelts in there car. How do you fix it?

Some time ago I noticed an infernal rattling in the Spyder somewhere behind me. The pass. seatbelt had gotten twisted 180 degrees so the belt latch was rattling against the plastic trim. I removed the two fasteners in the trim piece that the belt comes out of (push in the center with a pen and the fastener pops out). Then I pulled the trim piece out of the way and you could see that there was a twist as the belt came off the reel, before the guide. I simply worked the twist back and forth through the narrow guide until it was gone. Voila, no more twist. Put the fasteners back in and you're good to go.

Return to top


Question about redline

I now have about 1200 miles on my Spyder, how careful should I be about quick starts and redline?

Let 'er rip! Don't worry about redline---you'll hit the rev limiter before you can do any damage (in most cases). Might be a good time to explore the limiter, anyway, to get the "feel" for it. Only do this after the break-in period!!!

Headlight Upgrade

I put the Xenon filled Sylvania Blues in today and they look great.

Yeah, Just pull out all 6 billion retaining clips and the spare tire lid. Remove the plastic deck. Look behind the headlights and pull off the rubber boot. The pull off the wire plug. Then undo the bulb retaining clip. Pull out the bulb and replace. The bulbs are the 9003 series. P.S. To pull out the plastic deck retaining clips get a small screwdriver or knife and push the center in gently until it pops in a little bit but not out. Then pry out. It should come out easily. To replace just push the center pin back out until it sticks out the top of pin replace and push in center. It is illustrated on page 182 of your owners manual by the way. For those of you who do not know, the Sylvania "Cool Blue" (and I think GE just came out with some) are the only STREET LEGAL "Blue" bulbs on the market. There are dozens of dichroic, rainbowish, yellow, bright blue etc...aftermarket bulbs out there...and I too do not like these. The Sylvania "Cool Blue" really do not add much blue light, they basically just make a cleaner white light next to standard halogens. I would imagine those who posted negativity towards aftermarket bulbs would like these!

Heal/toe shifting

This is my first manual car. What does the term "heel-toe shifting" refer to? What is it good for? How is it done? Thanks.

"What is it good for?" Absolutely nothin', huh!!! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!!!) Check out: for a tremendous amount of auto resources. Basically, it's a way of using your right foot on both gas and brake at the same time, which is a technique used by racers in cornering, when applying brake and gas together would give optimal speed/performance (instead of gas, then brake, then gas, then brake)... it's an "advanced" technique and should probably not be attempted by novices out on open streets and in traffic. I use the technique to enter a corner in a low gear to have good power to come out of it. Say I'm cruising along at 65mph in 4th gear and there's a "25 mph" turn coming up. As the turn approaches I stab the brakes with the left side of the ball of my right foot, which brings the brake pedal down to the same level as the throttle. At the right moment I push the clutch in, roll the right side of my foot onto the gas [while keeping steady on the brakes], and move the shifter up to 3rd. If I've timed everything right I should have the revs at exactly the right point so that I can lift up on all three pedals, thus engaging 3rd gear right as the turn begins. At this point I use my right foot to modulate my speed through the turn and eventually power out of it. Quite a fun maneuver when done right. It just takes a little practice. And in the case of the MKI MR2, aftermarket pedal covers are a requirement [the stock pedals are tiny!].

Driving in period

I just received my black MR2 Spyder, and it's great!! I only have a question about driving the car the first 1000 miles. To what RPM should I take it maximum? 3000?

Just be easy on the car. Do everything gently and avoid hard acceleration, braking, etc. In other words, DRIVE LIKE AN OLD LADY! (well, most old ladies anyway ). Keep it under 4000 RPM and gradually give the car more to do as the miles tick off. Try and vary the engine speed so as not to stay at the same RPM for long periods. But the main thing is HAVE FUN (somehow I don't think that will be a problem though)!

Speed limit and break-in

After about 65 MPH, you start straining the engine.

However, the real key is to vary the RPMs every few minutes. Don't cruise at 75 or 80 for a lengthy period at the same RPMs. Much of the "break in" talk is old wives tales. Once an engine is started for the first time and comes up to operating temperature any anomalies in the seals etc. will typically show up within a few minutes. Cars are built on more exacting tolerances today that in years past, so the likelihood of ruining your engine by drag racing in the first hour is almost non-existent. Long term studies have shown virtually no difference between cars that were babied for the first 1000 miles, etc. vs. those that were driven normally from the start.


Has anyone noticed how difficult it is sometimes when moving the gear shift into different gears. It seems as though something is blocking the stick from getting into a gear and you have to essentially push it through with some force, instead of making going smoothly into a gear.

First off, please do not judge the shifter by its feel "in the showroom" since things aren't the same when the engine is off. Second, a question to ask is how many miles has it been driven? Mine felt a little stiff at first, but with 2.5K on the clock, it feels absolutely great except sometimes going into first, which is usually more a function of how much the synchros have to work during downshifts while braking (I'm afraid I've never mastered heel-and-toe shifts).

Shifting tip from 5th to 4th

If you bring down the shift lever to where it just comes out of 5th, it will go to the neutral stance and then you can just bring it straight back into the 4th gear.

When you get used to the gate, it will be easier and more fun rackin' through the gearbox.

Remember, 1st is away from you to your front; 2nd is down toward you; 3rd is up and middle of the car (the spring will help guide you like 5th to 4th); 4th is down (again, let the spring guide you); 5th up, up and away.

Simple question about the headlights

My question is this, when I turn on my headlight there is a nice little curtain that blocks the light from going too high into the oncoming traffic.

However on the passenger side of the car, the curtain seems to rise up at an angle (maybe 45 degrees, I didn't have my protractor with me). To me this is a little annoying, because with the reasonably stiff suspension of the spyder, it can make some road signs have a glimmer. Now I can assume that this is a feature that Toyota put into this car on purpose so that we can see the road signs clearly, or possibly that this is a bug that someone at Toyota put the wrong lens in my headlight? Could someone please let me know if you see the same "feature" or if my car has a "bug"? I have noticed the exact same characteristic of the lights, and I think it's pretty neat... the signs on the right are clearly lit, while I avoid blinding oncoming traffic on the left. Seems like an intended design to me. The pitching vibration of the chassis and its effect on the lights' illumination was something I noticed right away, but I've gotten used to it. I should also point out that this is the first car I have ever had where the illumination pattern is so sharply defined... the beams seem very focused. Actually, that's how ALL headlight beams are supposed to be engineered. The illumination distance is more on the right than the left. That way, you are able to see pedestrians and other obstacles that may present a hazard to you as you drive. Drive any new car where the headlights are aimed correctly and you'll see what I am talking about.

Daytime Running Lights (DRL's)

When I start my car and release the emergency brakes, the daytime running lights come on, but they never go off until I shut the car off. Shouldn't they be controlled by the emergency brake? No.

Clutch use

A friend suggested to start in 2nd gear thus adding to the life of the clutch. Any truth to this?

I don't really know, but I suspect that this would be counterproductive. It seems to me that you would need to slip the clutch more to get started in 2nd. If you match RPM rates between the flywheel and the pressure plate, then there is no reason for additional slippage when shifting between gears. Also, starting in second probably puts more wear and tear on your engine. While the clutch on these cars is not cheap to replace, neither is the engine.


What is everyone's opinion on down shifting? Pros/Cons.

Keeping your RPMs in the right powerband by downshifting will allow better acceleration out of a turn, and prevent any engine lugging from going too slow in a higher gear. In a way this is the basis of the thrill of being a sports car driver--revving high and getting max performance. These are the pluses. The minuses are: more shifting (some would see this as more fun, not as a minus), therefore distracting you somewhat from steering or drinking or whatever it is you wanna do with the other hand. If you keep the engine at higher rpms all the time, you will also use more fuel and put more wear on your engine. And if your downshifts are not smooth, your passengers will suffer as well. The trick is to find the balance between economy and performance. If you upshift/downshift at the speeds recommended in the owner's manual, this is a more conservative economy-oriented style.

SMT shifting into reverse

When I select Reverse with my SMT gearbox, my Spyder takes a little while to engage the gear. Has anyone else encountered this problem with their SMT gearbox ?

I have found this can happen if I don't fully wait for the buzzing to stop (to pressurize the clutch actuator). If you're a little impatient like me, shift to S (it'll engage to 1st). Then, go straight to R and it'll engage straight away.

iven). It's a little rough but not abnormally. Also, seems like having the revs near 1500 to take off is also pretty normal. 


Blinker behind front wheel

Most of what I've seen have had the blinker in FRONT of the tire. I prefer it to be in BACK and wanted to know if this option was even available in the US and if it was, how could you specify the "option"?

No options at all in U.S. You are probably seeing some photos of Europe/U.K. Spyders or MR2 Roadsters as they are called there.


I haven't been able to find a Spyder to sit in yet and am wondering if I will have a seating problem. I am 6'2"

I'm 6'1" and 235. I've got plenty of room inside and sit very comfortably. Actually, I find it more comfortable than my Jeep Cherokee. Getting in and out with the top up has taken re-educating some joints as to how they used to move, but even that's getting easier.

1,000 mile oil change, fact or fiction?

I just passed 1,000 miles and want to know if I need to get the oil changed and what type to get put in it if I need to get it done at all. I know this has been talked about before but in my Toyota care instructions it says every 5,000 miles and nothing about first 1,000.

It amazes me that this question seems to re-appear frequently. IMHO I think people are giving too much attention to it. Now I understand that the Spyder is new and all, but do most of you give this much thought to changing the oil in your daily commuters too? When it really comes down to it, oil is oil. It's the life blood of your engine. It's primary function is to lubricate. Now, about changing the oil every few hundred miles. You can change the oil as often as you want, money permitting. The sooner the better, but there are recommended cycles that manufactures advise to.

On a new motor it's not gonna make you or break you to change the oil at 500 miles or 3000 miles with today's oil/filtration technology. Now with Dino juice going beyond 3000 miles is pushing it. The condition you drive you car plays a significant role on when you should change your oil i.e., car's driven routinely for short trips should be changed sooner, than a car being driven on longer trips, because the additives aren't given a chance to do it's job thoroughly, due to lack of correct operating temperature and time. It's not a bad idea to change it at 500 miles for peace of mind.

As for Break-In additive, forget it. It's a rumor that won't die. A lot of people may confuse special cam/bearing lubrication that is applied when a motor is rebuilt. To my knowledge no such thing is done from the factory. If there was wouldn't you think that it would be stressed in the users manual under break-in period? Besides, that's the last thing you want is to have additives in your motor oil. Oil manufactures put additives in to boost oil performance, not directly it's lubrication properties, but does affect it as a result. Look at synthetic for example. Very few have additives of any kind, which makes them superior to conventional motor oil in lubricating vital components. Again oil is what lubricates, not the additives. So, the less additives the better. What race car engine builders typically do is use a straight weight oil like 30W to beak-in a motor, because it has no additives boosting it's lubricating properties unlike a 10W-30 would with all the additives it has to cover a broad range of temperature conditions. Now a straight weight oil won't last as long as a multi-weight, so it needs to be changed often sooner. Another thing is when oil turns black this doesn't necessarily mean that it old and bad. On the contrary, it actually means that it's doing it job. The additives are what turn dark, because they hold contaminants. Anyways in short it's ok to change that oil. Once you change, and if you ever, to Synthetics the rules change for the better.

It's ok to change your oil and is a good time at 1,000 miles for your first oil change. As for which brand? Any major name brand, but Pennzoil. They use paraffin in their additive package. Just my preference. The most important thing is to change it. My personal choice would be 10w-30 Valvoline or Castrol for dino juice. 1 0W-30 for Mobil 1 for synthetics. For filters, I'd stick to Toyota or Fram.

Synthetic or not synthetic

I am totally ignorant when it comes to oil (I'm an artist...oil paint I know, car oil I don't...) is it better to use synthetic or not...and if yes, when? If I put synthetic in it tomorrow when I get the oil changed, can I change back or does it have to stay synthetic forever and ever?? If synthetic is so much better then why doesn't everybody use it?

It is always better to use an oil with the slickest properties available simply because it's good for the internal parts of your engine to come into minimal contact. The benefits are better gas mileage due to less friction, generally lower operating temperatures, and longer engine life. I would recommend that you switch to synthetic at 1,000 miles to give the engine some break-in time. If you change to synthetic, you should stay with the same to maximize engine life, however, it will not "kill" the engine if you switch back. The main reason it is not widely used in the general run-of-the-mill vehicles is mainly due to cost. The exotics, however, prefer synthetic oil, for good reason.

Fuels and lubricants

Spyder has a jewel of a motor that, as I'm sure the owner's manual states, is designed for regular unleaded gas. However, it has a 10.0:1 compression ratio that, IMHO, is the upper limit for safe operation for regular.

Also, other Toyota engines designed for super premium unleaded have knock sensors that listen for detonation and, if it's detected, will instantly retard ignition, and probably take other measures within the ECM, to accommodate substandard fuel. That's a good thing, and will help to keep the engine from grenading. The tradeoff is reduced power output, along the order of 5% or so. What makes me nervous is that I didn't find any reference in the Spyder manual to a knock sensor, unlike other 2000Toyotas I own that require super premium and contain mention of what to expect if you must temporarily use regular. So, do you really want to save a few pennies at the pump, in a car that gets good fuel economy to begin with, risk damaging your new car and possibly give up some hp as well? As to which brand is best, I've had CONSISTENTLY good luck with Chevron Supreme with Techron, something I can't say about any others I've used, especially during the time of year when we get EPA-mandated oxygenated fuels (November to April here). I've used it in normally aspirated and forced induction engines with never a peep of pre-ignition. Consumer Reports did an excellent review of fuels in their November, 1996, issue and is worth looking into because it rates fuel quality with several criteria, by region.

After more than a decade of use in dozens of different cars and trucks, I'm a believer in Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil . Not only will it improve durability, but you'll gain around 5% power and 10% fuel economy, and can usually double your normal change interval to around 5,000 miles, or whenever it changes color. It actually comes out cheaper to use Mobil 1, even though it can cost over $4/qt. But hey, Spyder only takes 4 quarts (3.9 with filter).

On my new cars, I change it during break-in around 300-500 miles, and then around the 1,000 mile mark, and then shift to every 2,500 miles after that. Mobil will tell you that is way overkill, but my cars are very low mileage units with lots of stop and go miles and the oil will begin to change color after 3-4 months, so out it goes. Of course change the filter at the same time and ONLY USE a Toyota filter with a an anti-drainback valve specifically calibrated for your engine. I looked, but couldn't find the filter on Spyder, although my view from below was blocked by the full-width metal splash pan. I think, if you're a DIY guy like me, you'll wind up needing good heat-resistant gloves to get to it. I also plan to replace trans fluid with RedLine synthetic, another inexpensive performance and drivability enhancer that returns far more than the relatively small cost.

Front license plate install

Hi, not sure if somebody has already asked this but.. how is everybody installing the holder for the front license plate ?

I finally got my plates the other day and I was going to put it on to realize there are no screw holes in the front. There are 2 sort of indented marks in the front. Am I supposed to force the screw in directly? Also there is a spot for one screw at the top, but it looks like for it to be screwed in I would need to drill a hole into the bumper. There should've been a front plate holder with the car, but it does go into the dimply black part underneath the lip of the painted portion of your front end - at the top of the front air scoop area.

Badge Removal 101

Ok, here's my proven method for removing badges, I've done it on a couple of cars as well as when I swapped out a set of chrome emblems for gold ones.

(Which, btw, NEVER get these from the dealer, it's MUCH cheaper to order via the Internet, in my case I saved almost $500!) Ok back to removing the emblems.

Step 1) Go buy a plastic putty knife, you know the kind you might use with spackling for touching up drywall. I usually look for one that has a nice edge on it, or as nice as you can get with plastic


Step 2) Go grab a garden hose and take it out to the car, turn on the water and make sure the water is running cold. At this point hold the hose above the emblem you desire to take off and let the water run down all over the emblem and area where you are removing the emblem from. If necessary have another person hold the hose for you. Run plenty of water and make sure the surface is cool.

Step 3) Work the plastic putty knife (or I suppose a kitchen spatula would work as well) slowly under the emblem. With the water continually running on the emblem slowly work the putty knife under all of the emblem, if there are pins be sure to work right up to the pin but don't break the pin off by forcing the knife. At this point you don't really care if you are getting under all of the adhesive or if you are actually cutting the adhesive and leaving some on the car. When I took off my emblems I found I typically did a bit of both.

Step 4) Once you have the emblem off continue to run water over the glue residue that remains. At this point I simply take my finger (not the nail, the finger) and rub it back and forth over the glue that remains. The water acts to harden up the glue a bit which then gets lifted by my finger going back and forth across the surface.

Step 5) The result is that all glue is lifted and I've removed the emblem without a scratch to the paint, indentation, or possibly overheating my paint by using a hairdryer. I removed the Toyota emblem using this method in under 5 minutes with no resulting damage, no scratch or swirl marks, etc. The water acts a cushion on the surface as well, and my finger isn't as hard as the paint. About the only place you can screw up is if you "dig" at the paint with the plastic scraper instead of slicing parallel to the body of the car with it.

I've always used a heat gun to make the adhesive soft and just peeled the emblem right off, which seems like it would be safer than taking a KNIFE to your nice paint job. Dental floss works well in place of a plastic putty knife in the procedure I listed above, the only tendency I noted was that I could hit pins with dental floss and end up hurting my hands until I discovered, oops there's a pin there! Either way, you aren't using something metal or abrasive on the car. Suffice it to say if you heat up the area or do it on a hot day you have a better chance of pulling the glue tape up from the body of the car directly. Since I'm not concerned with that because I expect to have to rub some off with my finger I am more concerned with slicing through the stuff in which case I want it cooler. Even though on the spyder it was about 50-50, about 50% still lifted off the body of the car, the other 50% of the glue tape I removed with my finger.

Headlight dings

I was giving my spyder a washing last night and noticed the headlights had quite a few "dings" on them.

Not very noticeable from a distance, but up close it looks pretty nasty. Any way to prevent this given it is just clear, hard plastic? I think Toyota should've designed a glass headlight cover to prevent this sort of thing from occurring because I bet in a few months I'll end up replacing the things. I saw something about a fix for this from a previous post. Here is the link...

Anti-theft devices

If an insured vehicle is equipped with an anti-theft device as noted below, a discount will be applied to the Comprehensive Coverage in most cases:

1. 5% discount on vehicles with a hood lock that can be released only from inside the vehicle AND an alarm only device OR an active disabling device which makes the fuel, ignition or starting system inoperative by the use of a separate manual


2. 14% discount on vehicles with a hood lock that can be released only from inside the vehicle AND a passive disabling device which disables the fuel, ignition,,,,or starting system inoperative without the use of a separate manual step.

My question for those who already have a Spyder: which one does the MR2 Spyder apply to, as I understand the Spyder does come with some kind of disabling device???

An Engine Immobilizer is the Spyder's anti-theft device. The chip in the key allows the fuel pump to work, it doesn't have anything to do with the starter - like some Nissan models. You can try to start the car, but with fuel injectors, which are electronic and work in conjunction with the fuel pump, it probably will not start at all. If the car is hotwired, it will not continue to run, if it even starts at all.

My tires don't exist!!!


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Okay.. so I'm seriously considering selling the tires that came with my car (Yokohama Advan A043) so that I can buy a set of race tires to go on the stock wheels .

So, I decided to go get some info on these tires including what they sell for on Wouldn't you know it, doesn't list them.. okay I'll go to Yokohamas web site. WELL SHOOT they aren't on Yokohamas web site either!! For good measure I go to Yokohama Japan's web site ( ). They are not listed THERE EITHER. These tires do not exist!! Okay.. now here is the part that REALLY gets me. All the Yokohama tires I've seen with the Advan name (in Japan, there are no Advans tires listed for the US) are for high-performance type vehicles. Better yet all the tires with the A0 designation are listed as COMPETITION tires!! A048, A038, A039 - all race tires. The Toyota dealer sells them for $750 each (no, that's NOT a misprint). I emailed Yokohama about this and their response was: "Those tires are specific to your car. The tires are manufactured specifically for the MR2 Spyder. It is not very likely that the local Yokohama tire dealers will have the tires in stock, as there is not much demand for them, and they usually have limited space. however, any authorized Yokohama dealer can order the tires for you. Thank you for your interest in Yokohama."

Shifting items in storage bin

Anyone come up with any simple ideas to keep whatever you put in the storage areas behind the seats from shifting? Gym bag no problem, but the other day I set a couple of cameras back there. Needless to say, the first turn and they went from one side to the other.

There's a product called "Grippamat" at that basically holds stuff without magnets, etc. They use it for cellphones and stuff that is placed on the dash. It's a little expensive for what you get. You can also buy some stuff that is similar from Walmart that people use for cabinets and drawers in the kitchen that prevents stuff from sliding around. There is a spongy substance used for gripping under plastic electronics on plastic surfaces, which can be found at most home improvement stores, and comes in any color (if you get black it would blend it). Anyhow, I was thinking it could be used as a lining for the cargo space. It's consistency would hold down things such as cameras in sharper turns. If you are interested it is dirt cheap, maybe 50 cents per square foot.

What's your top made of?

I was curious, who makes the Spyder's top and what's it made of?

Haartz Corp. manufactures 95% of OEM convertible tops, probably not the Spyder's:

Email from Haartz:

Unfortunately, the Toyota MR2 is one of the few convertibles in the market
that does not use Haartz manufactured topping material.

The MR2 is a vinyl(PVC)coated fabric with a grain that may appear to make
the vinyl look like a cloth. I can not speak for this vinyl material, but
for our vinyl coated topping materials you do not need to add a protectant
or a fabric guard . Our vinyl materials are top coated and only need to be
cleaned on a regular basis. The 303 fabric guard is not recommended for
vinyl only fabric/cloth topping.

Fabric convertible tops (mistakenly referred to as `canvas') are considered to be the best. These are not vinyl (and not canvas), but a laminate consisting of three components, a top layer of a solution-dyed acrylic textile, a middle layer of butyl rubber then the poly-cotton headliner. The acrylic textile is very UV resistant...that's why it's used in this application. However, it has no inherent soil resistance or water or oil repellency. So, keep the topping material clean, after lamination the topping material is treated with an industrial agent to resist soiling, water & oil based stains.

After a year or so, fabric convertible topping starts to lose is soil and stain resistance...owners begin to notice the fabric gets wet and has to dry out when it rains. The top doesn't leak because of the layer of butyl rubber (that's what it's for). However, wet fabric is an indication that the top can now soil or become stained and that it is time to treat the top with an appropriate fabric protector to prevent soiling and staining. Unfortunately, the fabric protector products that can be easily purchased at automotive chain stores and large retail chains are the only ones convertible owners have available to them. And these consumer grade products are no where near powerful enough to do the job necessary on fabric convertible tops.. insufficient repellency, inadequate durability.

Robb's 303 plug: (no I don't work for them, I just like their stuff) 303 makes a fabric protector specifically designed for outdoor textiles and indoor fabrics exposed to the sun. 303 HTFG easily out performs consumer grade fabric protectors as well as the industrial quality fabric protectors which are not available to consumers. Wicking: When fabric convertible topping material is sewn correctly, the butyl rubber clenches the thread tightly and water does not get through. When it does seep through...and this is most common around the windows in a fabric convertible top...this is called `wicking'. Wicking can be a very expensive warranty problem...the correction often involves the replacement of the top at the car dealer along with replacing mildew damaged carpeting and fabric upholstery. To minimize wicking, before sending their tops to the car maker, convertible top manufacturers in recent years have treated the seams on each top with products like 303 High Tech Fabric Guard.

How to care for your top

303 Protectant is ok for the Spyder's top, it's for plastic, vinyl, etc.. If you visit the 303 site you can find documentation on the products, such as the following copied from the 303 Products Inc. for information only.

Important: A program of keeping the top clean through regular washings BEFORE it gets dirty, will enhance the life and beauty of an acrylic top and make successive cleaning easier. Most automatic car washes will not harm sport topping fabrics. Washes with water jets and hanging cloths are preferred. Those using heavy barrel brushes should be avoided. Haartz recommends hand washing in the shade or partial shade, not direct sunlight. Bird and tree droppings as well as other loose particle soils should be removed immediately. Vacuum the top with a brush attachment and rinse the roof fabric thoroughly with water to remove these loose particle soils. This will also prevent the soils from being redeposited during the cleaning process. Once the top has been rinsed thoroughly, spray apply Haartzâ Roof Cleaner evenly over the entire top while the top is still wet. 

Washing with soap (i.e. Ivory or Lux) and warm water is a safe alternative to Haartzâ Roof Cleaner, but not as effective. DO NOT USE DETERGENTS. Allow the roof cleaner to soak into the top for 10 to 20 minutes and then scrub the top lightly with a soft nylon brush or terry cloth rag. Rinse thoroughly, preferably until no remaining soap foam is observed. Allow to dry. Additional cleaning may be required. It is best to determine this after the top has dried completely. After drying, cleaning must be followed by re-water repelling the fabric with a fluorocarbon system such as 303 High Tech Fabric Guard ä . Failure to do so will result in rapid resoiling of the unprotected fabric. The fabric itself does not promote mildew growth. However, mildew may grow on dirt and other foreign substances that are not removed from the fabric. For these more stubborn cases, soak the fabric for approximately 20 minutes in a solution of no more than ½ cup (4 oz.) bleach and ¼ cup (2 oz.) Haartzâ Roof Cleaner per gallon of water and scrub lightly as indicated above. 

Excessive soaking with the bleach solution can deteriorate seam threads, so be sure to rinse thoroughly. Rinse entire vehicle to remove all of the bleach solution from fabric and to prevent streaking on painted and chrome surfaces. Acrylic fabric readily absorbs water but dries quickly. Several cleanings may be necessary. Do NOT use top dressing cleaners or conditioners containing silicones, organic solvents, petroleum distillates or plasticizers that may permanently stain the fabric. This product is made from 100% solution dyed acrylic fiber which is thermoplastic. Do NOT subject to excessive heat. The use of stronger cleansers should be left to professionals experienced in handling this type of fabric to avoid discoloration and degradation of the special protective inner layer. 303 High Tech Fabric Guardä is a Trade Mark of 303 Products, Inc. For more information on 303 High Tech Fabric Guard, contact your distributor.

How to get 4 channels out of a 2 channel stereo

My parts dept and stereo shop can't seem to get together on what exactly is needed. As you may recall, I just had 6x9's installed in the rear storage panels. Could someone please let me know what the Toyota part number is for a non-amplified harness that will allow 4 channel operation?

You'll need to get the Metra 71-1761 to use the fader option on the stock head unit. The reason you need this connector is that there are no rear speaker wires that have been run in the Spyder. Therefore, the stock head unit only has one wire instead of the required five wires. (the one wire it has is for "Illumination" which means the lights on the stereo turn on when you turn the car lights on, in all of their green glory. I bought the Metra 71-1761 here: It cost me $14.97 plus $5.50 for shipping... total was $20.47. A little steep, but I couldn't find a stereo shop anywhere around here who even knew about the part I was talking about. I kept getting "You're going to have to buy the factory harness, and it's $300.." or some such.. anyway.. Here's where I say thanks to Gribnif for giving me the company name and part number... Thanks man!!! There are six "pins" in the connector, but only five are used. This is the smaller of the two (picture in above post) connectors that come with the Metra kit. Here's the diagram: NOTE: this is as you look at the side that "plugs in". The wires would be coming out the other side away from you.

pin #1 = Rear Right +

pin #2 = Rear Left +

pin #3 = Rear Right -

pin #4 = not used

pin #5 = Illumination

pin #6 = Rear Left -

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Fuel leak

I have the odor of gas on occasion when I first start the car and again when I shut it off. This does not seem like a normal (new car) smell. It only lasts for a second or two and then it is gone. I can't smell it from the outside of the car at all. The reason I ask is because the other day when I started up the car, it just kept cranking (like it wasn't getting any gas). I turned the car off and tried again, bingo, no problem at all. Now this gas smell has gotten me a little paranoid. Like I said before, it is not a bad smell and not all the time. Anyone else experiencing this problem?

When my Spyder had about 600 miles on it, the check engine light came on. Luckily people posted in the past about leaking charcoal canisters so I figured that's what probably caused the engine check light to come on. I took it to Vallejo Toyota and they confirmed that the check engine code was related to the charcoal canister and evaporative system. We agreed to just reset the computer and see if it did it did at around 1100 miles. I took it back and found it was the same code. The same day they pressurized the evap. system and found a leak at a hose connection. Same visit, I mentioned to the mechanic that I smelled fuel every time I filled up my car and if the leaking connection be the culprit....he said it could. To this date....knock on engine check light and no smell of fuel.

Check Engine Light

At 700 miles my check engine light came on .

I was scared, so I took my spyder into the Toyota dealership to get it checked. The mechanics had no idea what was wrong, so they had to call the corporate headquarters. They said it was a fuel sensor that had to be checked or replaced. The only problem was getting to it. My entire back compartment had to be removed. I decided to have them clear out the computer check engine light and see if it was the gas cap that needed to be retightened. When 1800 miles came...sure enough...the check engine light came back on again. But when it came on a 2nd time, I took it in to a mechanic, who read the code off the computer and said it was the O2 sensor. He taught me how to "reset" the light (basically you unhook the car battery for a second), and said it probably wasn't a big deal unless the light stayed on all the time, i.e. if you reset and the light comes right back on, then you have a problem and the sensor may have to be replaced. Check that fuel cap! Had the same trouble about a month after I had picked up my '96 Miata, the first model updated to OBD-II emissions standards. In my case, it wasn't the gas cap, but a small vacuum hose that had come loose from its fitting on the EGR valve. The newest Miatas, '99s and up with OBD-III, are experiencing the "loose gas cap" MIL with frequency, as do other cars. The only problem is taking it to the dealer to have them clear the stored code from the engine management computer.

You may also need to clean the Mass Airflow meter (MAF). For instructions, go here: Special thanks to iMR2!!

My problem was that the mass airflow meter was messing up and had to be replaced. All the computer printouts stated that nothing was wrong, but the light stayed on.

Missing Fuse!

So I've been driving my Spyder happy as can be for the last month and a half when a guy starts yelling at me at a stoplight tonight. He said that my stoplights weren't working.. just the regular taillights.

After getting home I dug out the manual and looked for the fuse for the stop lights. When I looked where it was supposed to be, it wasn't there! All the rest of the fuses in the box were fine, but that one was just missing. So either it somehow "fell out" along the line, or it was never there to start with! Since I had bought my car from another dealer, he did some checking of the fuses (all were in place) and said that quite a few dealers seem to forget to put in the fuse(s). He said that one symptom of a missing fuse is the tach going to max and then back to 0 when you turn on the car with your key.


I have had a couple of problems with the paint on my new Spyder:

A. it is beginning to chip where the hood meets the front bumper.

B. In the back where the trunk meets the back bumper.(I know I have the trunk and hood terminology backwards) Also, has anyone done any driving in the rain and notice that the rear bumper where the hood meets looks almost faded or even oxidized. it winds up washing off fine, but it worries me. Any ideas out there. The dealer is going to fix the chips, but I am worries about the other. Mine is black, and everyone knows that black shows everything. You better be sure where it is chipping. If it is on the bumpers themselves you have a factory paint problem. Toyota's regional factory representative had to order me a new back bumper and had it painted. (They come black.) The paint did not adhere to the bumper properly when manufactured. That was their paint expert's determination. They just wanted to repaint it, but I insisted on a new bumper in case there was a chemical problem with the old one. This has been documented by Toyota for future problems. I wouldn't let the dealer touch it; they will only paint the problem areas and more may develop wasting your time and breaking your heart. Make them have the factory rep look at it!


After 4 visits in 6 months to Toyota to fix my handbrake, my car rolled out of my garage (in neutral). The last visit to Toyota about the handbrake was 2 days before the accident and I thought that it was finally ok, hence the neutral position. The car rolled out of a garage with only 3 degrees inclination (the door was left open), smashed into my other car, went right past and under a pine tree, hit a brick wall- smashed it - and finally stopped on my wire fence which acted as a net barrier on a carrier, and stopped the car.

I had this problem, the car could be pushed even with the parking brake on full. The solution was to grease the return springs for the piston cams on each wheel. Not seen a diagram but the cable seems to act via the cam which must push on a piston which must connect with the main piston via some self adjusting mechanism in the caliper. Either way my cams were not returning to the fully retracted position when the handbrake was off. Once greased and exercised, the handbrake is now better than it was the day I got it.


hey guys....I am having some problems with my beloved goes. there is a VERY noticeable loss of power. when I am shifting though the gears it feels like I am barely pushing on the gas although I am flooring it (not something I do ALL the time...but with this loss of power it is necessary) when the RPM's get to about 4500, it just won't go any higher and I am forced to shift. it does this in ALL gears. after taking it to Toyota of Plano they said I needed to buy new spark plugs and it would be fixed. WRONG! after blowing $60 on spark plugs I didn't need the car is still not better...and that added to my dis satisfaction with that dealers service dept. I had to sit there for 20 minutes before my service advisor, who was on a PERSONAL phone call even said one word to me....then I had to wait another 10 minutes before he got someone to help make a long story short I had to go to another dealer about twice as far away and it is STILL THERE! (going on 5 days) they aren't telling me what's wrong. or when it will be fixed! does anyone have any sort of idea of what it could be so I can tell the service guy to check it out and MAYBE speed up the repair process?!?!? any help would be GREATLY appreciated! I MISS MY BABY!

after a LONG HARD argument with the Toyota dealer who hadn't even LOOKED at the car I finally got what I needed. I got a call today that the cat had in fact clogged the exhaust system causing restricted air flow and the loss of power. they are replacing the cat and the whole exhaust system ....unfortunately this came at the expense of an embarrassing argument on the show room floor involving the service manager. I guess you just have to be a hard-ass to get what you need. I don't think the Toyota dealer will take my presence lightly anymore, something that I have noticed being just a "kid". I really want to thank you guys for your information and support. I would hate to have been driving the car around and my engine catching fire or even having to have the engine re-built.....

Power Steering Pump whining

Hello, spyder dudes, here is a little FYI, this morning dropped off my car at Toyota, on Christmas Day the p/s light came on and lost the power steering , brought it in to Toyota, and they said the pump went, they told me to pick up the car because they needed to order the part.

P/S died at approx 2500 miles. Note, the fluid was filled to the brim which I believe brought on it's untimely demise

I knew it. My 01 has made the low whining noise at idle when sitting still since day one too. Don't I remember someone posting that a service manager had told them it was normal? What a bunch of hooey...

Okay, to follow up on this problem. It is VERY temperature sensitive for me. The colder the car, the more it happens. I drove the car on a couple of cold days and it did it constantly. So I called Toyota, they took a look at it and found that there was a valve sticking inside the pump.
It took about 3 days to get the parts, they did a full replacement of the entire power steering system (which took like 30 minutes, it's a single replacement unit). Something to be said for electric steering. You just plug it in I guess. Hasn't done it since that time.
All covered under warranty and guess what? It doesn't whine any more. So don't be afraid to take it into your shop and get them to diagnose it. They'll want to see the code it trips, and tell them to have the unit ready to check it because once it happens, if you turn off the car, it clears the code from the ECU. It doesn't keep it around like some of the codes.

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