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I weighed my MR2 at Button Willow. I was expecting something over but close to 1,950 lbs, optimistically, but decided it was likely closer to 2,000 lbs. My expectations were based on Toyota's claimed weight of 2,185, and I assumed that to be dry weight.

So, lets see the results:



Well, that was unexpected. 1,895 lbs without driver and on 1/8 tank fuel. 2,032 lbs with me sitting in it, geared up for racing (I think I gained some weight!). The weight distribution, with driver, is 43% front and 57% rear. The overall weight difference between left and right is exactly 100lbs, with no attempt on my part to balance it out.

I expect this will be followed by requests for weight loss advice, therefore I will address that now. It's all about portion control. People needlessly worry about fat content and calories. Fat content, calories, sodium intake: all of that will fall into place if you eat reasonable portions. Also, cook your own meals in batches.

Now for Spyder weight loss :lol:
The second best bang for your buck is taking out the passenger seat. It's free and people will stop asking for rides.
The third best bang for your buck is to take out the spare tire, bucket, and plastic surround in front. This will shed weight and make it easier to check/service fluids in the future, and will assist with any sway bar installs in the future.
The fourth best bang for your buck is to replace the header and cat with a PPE header and test pipe. Also, replace the muffler with a light catback (this rules out team moon dual and remus, they are heavy) This drops a very significant amount of weight AND you gain power. It also balances the car after you removed weight from the front per the last suggestion. This costs $$$ which is why it is higher on the list.
The fifth best bang for your buck is to replace the OEM sized battery with a light weight dry cell. I recommend the Odyssey PC545, a 10 lb battery. I use the Deka xt9, a 6 lb battery, but it may not be suitable for cars that will sit unused for longer than a week, unless you want to disconnect terminals every time you park. I also relocated it to the front of the car and secured it using Corky's mount, which I recommend. It helps balance the car, and it brings the battery much lower.
The best bang for your buck is to remove the soft top. The thing weight a ton and is situated at the highest part of the vehicle. Besides reducing the weight of your MR2 significantly, it will also drop your center of gravity. If you race the car then keep it off. If you street the car then keep the side posts, the front latches, and the weather stripping and buy a VIS carbon fiber hardtop. Be aware that running without a top creates a lot of drag. No problem for auto-x. Big problem for big tracks with half-mile straits.

In addition to the above, you should clear out the cabin of everything that is plastic that is next to or behind the seats. This includes the carpet, luggage shelves, doors and the tray. Replace the driver seat with something lighter. Bolt it directly to a bracket. I use the Wedge Engineering bracket. Some an alternative intake to the stock intake. It probably won't make more power, but it will be much lighter. Make sure to rip out the snorkel that travels through the driver's-side fender. Remove the plastic door panels. Remove the airbags. Replace the steering wheel with a smaller one.

Remove the OEM seat belts and put in a harness for the driver. Note: a harness will break your neck in a front collision. It should only be used with a helmet and some sort of neck protection device such as a Hans, Necksgen, Isaac, or R3. Replace the front and rear hood with fiberglass (often marketed as 'carbon fiber'). I removed the rear under tray, but do not recommend this as doing so hurts aero. Remove everything under and within the dash: there are three boxed units: heater core (drain coolant first), AC unit, and fan unit. There is also various tubes routing air to the vents. In the center, bolted to the floor with torx bolts, is the airbag control unit (it could also be the random engine code generator). Pasted to the firewall is a bunch of insulation, which should easily flake and rip right out. The same stuff will be found on the rear firewall.

My D2-coil-overs are marginally lighter than the OEM suspension they replaced. My 15x9 949 Racing 6ul wheels are marginally lighter as well. I removed the sway bars which removes a good bit of weight. Be aware that doing so will require you to use custom spring rates to compensate. I am not even sure if removing the sways is a good idea as more testing is required. Do so at your own risk. I have removed the plastic grills in the rear bumper. I have removed the AC core, compressor, and lines. I moved down to a smaller belt to compensate. I am using a lighter flywheel and clutch (Fidanza).

Things I have not yet done: I have not gutted my doors. My center console is mostly intact. My island shelf is intact. My front window is still made of glass. I have not removed the front and rear crash bars. My harddog still has the latch for the soft top welded onto it.

Weight I have added: Harddog roll bar, double diagonal (60-70 lbs).
 

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Geez you went all out. With everything you listed I would have thought it would have removed more than the 300 pounds. Sounds like it would be lots of fun around the track.
 

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Awesome, great work

I have done essentially the same but added a full cage and factory hardtop. I need to get mine weighed to compare.
 

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nice job man!! and damn..thats a lot of work and only if u use the car for tracking..too bad that i need the car as DD and im not able to do that :( the only weight reduction i did is removed the bucket,spare tire,front plastic,luggage door lid,and a light weight exhaust...are you able to take a picture of your interior lol? i cant imagin how does it looks like when its fully striped !!
 

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Was all that weight loss done at once or over a period of time? If all at once, I'm wondering if there was a tangible difference in the "feel" of the car.
 

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'm wondering if there was a tangible difference in the "feel" of the car.
All weight loss on this car can be felt...but it depends on the individual. Some drivers just do not have the ability to feel things. These are the people who are absolutely convinced things like intakes and chassis braces are all placebo. One of my older Spyders was pretty light at one point. The car goes faster, stops faster and with less effort, it transitions from stop to go or go to stop better. The lighter the car gets, the more of a difference each bit of weight loss can be felt - it's a matter of percentages. When that car was at it's lightest, the brakes would make me dizzy...I'd slam on the brakes for red lights that I really didn't have to just to see if I could stop by the line. I'd have to constantly be watching my mirror because no one else besides a few cars in the world could stop as well.
 

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I've driven with and without the front bin, and the car feels a little better for me with the front bin. It's purely speculation, but I think the bin directs air that comes through the radiator down and without it, the air hits the front firewall actually creating more drag. Again this is only speculation, and I could be talking out of my ass.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Was all that weight loss done at once or over a period of time? If all at once, I'm wondering if there was a tangible difference in the "feel" of the car.

I did it over a period of 4 years or so. During that time I have gone through different coil-overs, different spring rates, and different tires. If I can convince somebody to let me drive their stock Spyder then I could give a definitive answer.

The difference in weight is 13%.
If you want to get a feel for how much difference 300 lbs makes then go for a drive with an obese passenger. You will find acceleration and braking are noticeably slower.
 

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Yeah, my choice of "if" there was a difference was a poor one. I've no doubt there's a difference, but was hoping you'd be able to give a "driven for years stock vs 300lb diet" kind of description. Thanks all the same, though. It's always cool/interesting to see SCers pushing the limits on these cars.
 

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cool write-up but i don't think the hard dog soft top latch weighs a lot to go through the hassle of welding off... ?
 

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Very impressive diet. I was under the impression that the 2000 Spyder had a curb weight of 2195LBs and that was with all fluids but no driver or passenger.

For anyone that wonders what effect the weight loss has on performance; The weight to hp ration of the stock Spyder is about 15.6 lbs/hp. The weight to hp ratio of a car that is 300 lbs lighter is approximately 13.5 lbs/hp. In order to attain the same weight to hp ratio, a car weighing the stock weight would have to make about 162hp. That does not even take into account the improved cornering, braking, roll center etc.

Unfortunately, along with all that weight loss is a loss of creature comforts which I cannot live without. If I was using my car as a track car only then I would be futilely trying to out do this diet. Nice work, man.
 

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Excellent! I am a firm believer that the best way to performance is by reducing weight. Note the 1996 Lotus Elise. Well done.
 

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Thanks for this post!

I am curently in the middle of all this (track toy) and my goal is 2080 lbs wet.

At the end, compare to you, I will still have the oem seat belts, soft top (until I can find funds for a hard top), oem exterior body panels, stock exhaust manifold (2ZZ is comming next winter) and full dash board (no radio). I'm keeping my heating cause I've seen many cars without it with fog out windshields.

I will update my post when the corner weight is done.
 

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Did you use the corner balance to adjust your suspension? How did it feel before and after if so? I just got some new coilovers and I've been thinking about having this done.

-Spargo
 

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You only weigh 137lbs? I remember those days (just barely though since it was so long ago for me). That is some serious weight removal on the car. congrats.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Did you use the corner balance to adjust your suspension? How did it feel before and after if so? I just got some new coilovers and I've been thinking about having this done.

-Spargo
I havenIt made any attempt to balance the car yet. I'm not in a big hurry to do so because I'm one of those drivers that is more or less numb to small changes, namely because I'm concentrating so much on driving. I doubt I'd notice.

You only weigh 137lbs? I remember those days (just barely though since it was so long ago for me). That is some serious weight removal on the car. congrats.
I thought I weighed about 128 :lol: Looks like the scale I last used is off, or my clothes and racing helmet (I was wearing everything while sitting on the scales) are very heavy.

There is more weight to lose yet. I think i can get down to under 1,850 without using exotic materials. I haven't even touched the door infrastructure...
 
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