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Frank's Spyder Project Thread

58829 Views 347 Replies 46 Participants Last post by  MerryFrankster
Index of posts, chronological, by topic.

#29 - Tire Inflation Pressure:
#59 - Antenna Replacement:
#60 - Timing Chain Tensioner:
#67 - Cap's MAF Mod:
#103 - MikeV Hardtop Delivered:
#107 - MikeV Hardtop Installed:
#114 - Mattperformance TTE-style Mid-body Brace:
#125 - Tanabe Sustec Front Strut Tower Brace:
#160 - Che Control Arm Measurements:
#168 - PPE Header/Catpipe & Megan Racing Exhaust:
#179 - Powertrix Coilovers:
#181 - Whiteline Front Sway Bar:
#182 - R1 Drilled Slotted Brake Rotors:
#183 - Tom's Rear Member Brace & Megan Racing Rear Control Arms :
#202 - Auterra Scan-Tool Software:
#211 - Auterra with Google Earth:
#212 - NathanMR2 Ultimate Gear Shift Cable Bushings:
#214 - Post Face Lift Side Vents:
#226 - Plasti-Dip Cowl Cover:
#227 - TRD Stage 1 Replica Body Kit:
#244 - Corky's FMB:
#247 - Unboxing Power Enterprise Rotrex Supercharger Kit:
#257 - Powertrix Coilover Bearings:
#258 - Unboxing Innovate LC-2 Wideband O2 Kit:
#264 - Exhaust Wrap and Straight Down-pipe:
#265 - LC-2 Wideband Install Prep:
#280 - Virtual Gauge Pod:
#285 - TRD Quick Shift - 6-speed:
#309 - Innovate Motorsports Gauges Review:
#311 - Fitting EBay Gauge Pod:
#312 - Honda S2000 Seat Swap:
#318 - Sparco Steering Wheel and Daikei Boss Kit:
#320 - Odyssey PC680 Battery and Front Battery Relocation:
#321 - Momo Horn Retainer Ring:
#322 - TRD Sportivo Struts & Eibach Pro-Kit Lowering Springs:
#334 - Innovate 60A Motor Mounts:
#x79 - Alutec Lightweight Crankshaft Pulley:
#x80 - MaxBore Throttle Body:

Other On-going Threads By The Author:

Frank's 1zz Rotrex:
Frank's 2zz Swap:
Tuning FI with MAP-ECU:
Frank's Racing Diary:

Original Hello World:

It came today. I bought it sight unseen from a guy on Craigslist. The car was on Oahu. I'm on Maui. I didn't feel like flying over there to look at it. Too many times, when I fly over to look at a car, I end up not buying it, because I see all the hacking that has been done on it. So there goes $200 bucks down the drain for airfare. And I didn't feel like swimming my way over there either. Too many shark attacks these days. So I decided to buy it sight unseen. The guy said he was a Marines officer, and he said the car was in great shape, needed nothing. So I figured how bad could it be. I sent him a cashier's check, and he dropped the car off at the Honolulu dock for inter-island shipping.
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Before I sent the check, I pulled the carfax. Not for the faint of heart. I was thinking of attaching it here, but the pdf document is too big to attach. Anybody in their right mind would have been scared away by the carfax report for this car.
The car was too low to be driven onto the barge, so it had to be loaded on a platform. This made the shipping cost a little bit more expensive. There were two other platform cars on the same shipment. A 70's vintage 2002, and a 50's vintage MGB. Both classics. My car was in good company.

Edited Later: I've learned, thanks to Gluefish, that one of the cars is a '57 to '60 MGA.
Here's what I knew about the car. 2002 5-speed with 147,000 miles. Color grey. Relatively new Mercedes cloth top. Nice 17-inch wheels with 205/40's all around. Ceramic-coated header and aftermarket exhaust. CAI. Touch-screen stereo. Original engine, transmission, and suspension. No body rust. Shipped from the mainland to Hawaii in 2011.

Edited later: I've learned, thanks to MikeV, that the color is Silver (1D0).
I still haven't reached the 10-post minimum for posting pictures. I'd like to show some pictures of my first look at the car, before moving on to Day 1 of immediate fixes and repairs. Sorry for dragging this out like a shaggy dog tail. Or is that tale.
I'd been thinking about getting myself a little toy for a long while. The MR2 was the first car that I considered, but I talked myself out of it from some reason - oh I know, not enough juice. So then, I went through all the research and test-drives for RX-8, SLK230, 350z, S2000, and I even considered a brand new FRS/BRZ. After all that, I came full-circle and decided whole-heartedly on the MR2.
I should also mention that I got some 2zzge experience under my belt recently with a used Matrix XRS that I picked up cheap because the lift had stopped working and the clutch was slipping. I fixed it and sold it for a nice profit. And I have a ton of 1zz experience because I have a bunch of Corolla's and Prizm's and Vibes and Matrix's in the 50-car fleet that I maintain.
If you've read this far here's your reward. Some images of my first look at the car, today, at the dock.

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Land vehicle Vehicle Car Automotive design Luxury vehicle

As I said it's flanked by a BMW 2002 on one side and an MGB on the other.

Edited Later: I've learned, thanks to Gluefish, that the car on the right is a '57 to '60 MGA.
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I noticed right away that the exhaust was hanging abnormally low - waaaay too low.

Vehicle Car Automotive design Bumper Yellow

This would be my first order of business after getting the car back to my baseyard, around the corner from the dock.

Auto part Bumper Automotive exterior Tire Automotive wheel system

It turned out the top insulator was completely missing. I had a generic insulator in my parts shed, and I used it to re-hang the muffler. I don't know how close this is to OEM, but I figured it was enough to keep it from dragging on the ground - a definite no-no.
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Next order of business compression check and inspect the spark plugs.

Auto part Spark plug Automotive ignition part Automotive engine part

Man these are some messed up plugs - more on this later. I got some brand new NGK iridiums in there right away. Compression came out 180/165/150/170. Not bad for a little ole 1zz with 147,000 miles.
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Now for some bad news. I could tell from looking at the oil on the dipstick that the oil had been run low then topped off. How do I know this? Dark particulate in suspension in otherwise clear oil, that's how. So the next order of business was an oil change with 4.5 quarts Castrol GTX 5W30 and a Fram ToughGuard filter. That's a pretty good filter, unlike the Fram Orange that it replaced - Wal-Mart oil change special. Backed the car up onto ramps and crept under it for the first time. Oooooh. This little delight almost made up for my dismay at the little shiny bits of metal that settled into the bottom of my catch-pan. Not so good.
The next thing bugging me was the gap between the rear bumper cover and the right quarter-panel. Pulled the tail-light out and saw that the retainer clip and been shorn off somehow. So I drilled two new retainer screws through the quarter-panel and into the bumper, supported in place by a jack. Closed that gap right up.

Before and after shots:

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Land vehicle Vehicle Car Automotive exterior Alloy wheel
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And a few little things to wrap up Day 1.

The air filter on the intake was disgusting.

Auto part Engine Vehicle Radiator Car

I didn't even want to try to wash off and clean this mess. Problem was, turned out my local stores don't carry a 2.5-inch diameter filter. So I bought a nice new 3-inch K&N filter, and fabricated an adapter from a 2.5-inch ID/3-inch OD coolant hose. Worked like a charm.

While I was at it, I noticed that the coolant overflow bottle was just floating around in the back compartment. I drilled a new hole to hang it out of the way of the air filter.

I inspected the brakes. New pads are needed all around, and all rotors need to be turned. Will take care of that tomorrow.
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Now I want to get back to the disgusting spark plugs I pulled out of the car. I don't know how much you can see of the heavy carbon deposit. Running rich. I wonder why. It turns out the guy who put in the nice ceramic-coated header did a complete hack job on the upstream O2 sensors. He capped off the bungholes, then spliced in some funky resistor boxes to replace the sensors. No wonder the computer has no idea how to adjust the a/f mixture, and the car runs with a permanent P0420. I will post pictures of this Neanderthal O2 sensor delete setup tomorrow. The computer needs input from the O2 sensors, people, or the car won't run right.

Here are the spark plugs again.

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There is something very funky going on with cylinder 2. Not to mention the mismatched plug on cylinder 1. But notice the discoloration on cylinder 2. Never really seen anything quite like this before. Almost looks like corrosion, but I have no idea how water would get in the well to cause corrosion on the plug. Anyone?
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As I said, I know a thing or two about 1zz's, because I have a bunch of them in the rental fleet that I maintain. So I was willing to bet my right arm that the car would be burning oil like a 19th century London streetlamp, and bleeding oil from the timing cover like a stuck pig. I was also willing to bet my left arm that the suspension would be shot to smithereens. Toyota suspensions are like that. The good news is that I get to keep both arms. The bad news is that a thick cloud of oil smoke trails me wherever I go, and I clunk and rattle over every little bump in the road. Gonna have to do something about all this. Did I mention that the clutch slips? Sigh. But let's stick with more good news: I had my first experience of the fabled permagrin on the windy way home Upcountry.
Sounds like the car is in good hands now. Congrats. Welcome aboard.
Well, at least you aren't at the mercy of someone else to do the repairs for you.
Did you speak to the seller about the condition of the car and how it was misrepresented?
Well, at least you aren't at the mercy of someone else to do the repairs for you.
Did you speak to the seller about the condition of the car and how it was misrepresented?
Good question, Greenstreak, this raises some interesting point about buying used cars.

Part of my job is to buy used cars to put in service as rental fleet vehicles. In every purchase I've ever made, there was misrepresentation of the condition of the vehicle by the seller, with varying degrees of seriousness, both intentional and unintentional, sometimes absolutely egregious. So misrepresentation is to be expected and is par for the course.

To your specific question, yes, I did speak to the seller following yesterday's run-through. He did express an acknowledgement of the factors that I mentioned, that were not disclosed prior to the sale. I didn't push it, because my intention from the beginning was to completely R&R the entire engine, transmission, drivetrain, and suspension. The price I paid was a bit high but not unreasonable for a shell with desirable wheels, tires, top, body kit, stereo (LOL), cold a/c, and possible reusable exhaust components. Any excess that I paid went against opportunity costs. As a sophisticated buyer, I made a calculated (some might say mis-calculated) decision to buy the car with a good professional understanding of the risks. The condition of the car, if not stated explicitly, was signaled in the low asking price. A naive buyer might have thought they were getting a steal, only to be disillusioned later. I had no illusions. It was worth it to have this view right outside the door of my office.

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