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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all from Baltimore, MD. My name is Eric and I'm an engineer from Maryland with a penchant for pretending rough cars plus elbow grease is somehow cheaper in the long run than paying up front for cars I don't have to spend months working on to make roadworthy.

I recently picked up this 2000 MR2 Spyder which can be best described as "oof". It's a single-owner car with ~147k miles that sat for the last 5 - 6 years and had a tree limb fall on it recently. I drove past this poor Spyder every day for years waiting for the for sale sign to finally go up. The upside is I got if for a pretty good price from the owner who lives a block or two away.

I don't mind a project and I've always wanted an MR2 so I'm looking forward to bringing this example back from the brink. Nothing looks unfixable and it was well taken care of before it sat (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). My goal will be to get it to a point where I can occasionally autocross it in E-street, with no particular timeline (yet). I'm going to call that level "90%".

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It's joining good company as it's not our only rough turn-of-the-century 'yota, although the '99 Land Crusier has always been roadworthy and as reliable as you could ask a 20 year old truck to be.

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Anyway, I'm looking forward to sharing my progress and excited to be a member of the community. Cheers 馃嵒
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Title arrived this week so it's officially mine. Plenty of interested goings on there that won't be repeated on permanent record, but suffice it to say - it's clean enough for my purposes :)

Step 1 after getting the Spyder home - load it on a trailer and take it somewhere else.

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I can do many things, and I'll make an attempt at many more. Intensive bodywork is not one of them. I know a guy who's been doing bodywork with his dad since he was born - they've given me an agreeable rate (馃嵒馃崟馃崺+馃挵) so I'm giving them a try.

Current progress - dents are being pulled, holes welded, and mud is going on. These big spots, and a few smaller spots on the other side, are going to be gray primer for a while. I'm thinking of having them paint the windshield surround black down to an inch or so below the door line - that way the new windshield will go in over proper paint and I won't have to worry about it. The whole car will (hopefully) be getting a fresh coat of silver at some point in its life.

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They've got a window guy who can get me a quote for the windshield, and offered to go through their network of contacts to hunt down a motor that I can put in the car to get it on the road while I pull apart the stock engine and see what's up with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got it back home today. Great to have a windshield, and the paint on the windshield frame looks great. The rest of the body work is in primer since I'm not in a hurry to make it look pretty until I've proven I can make it work.

I decided to stick with factory silver instead of changing the frame to black, and I'm glad I did.

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Oh and I drove it around the block after unloading it off the trailer. Boy oh boy is this car a basket case but I can tell I'm going to love driving it when it's done 馃檪
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Finally got it in to the garage in my typical glacial pace (needed to finish putting up the walls and shelves and clear some space). Compression check showed about 205 psi on cylinders 4, 2, and 3, and about 25 psi on cylinder 1 (after squirting some oil in there). Leak-down test shows about 82% leakage on cylinder 1 and I can hear the air coming out of the oil fill port ...

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(don't mind the mannequin I just needed it out of the way)

Time to take the engine out and see what the damage is, I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Got it up in the air and started my whiteboard list.
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Underside looks great for a 150,000 mile car.
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The brakes definitely need to get swapped. I'm going to replace everything past the hard lines. Stainless braided lines, new calipers, new pads, and new rotors are all about to get ordered.
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The shock bellows are all dry rotted and falling apart. They're probably original. I will likely do a suspension refresh once it's back on the road. They hold the car up for now so I have bigger fish to fry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oh, also, question time.

1) Does anybody recognize this piece of plastic? I can't figure out where it comes from and I'm beginning to think it doesn't even belong to this car. It was in the passenger footwell when I bought the car:
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2) I was told it had a LoJack installed from the dealer. Anybody have experience with removing those? I've heard it can be hard to find where they put whatever it is they put in there, and tricky to remove them. Maybe I should leave well enough alone but I just don't like the idea of it being in there for some reason ...
 

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I'm an engineer from Maryland with a penchant for pretending rough cars plus elbow grease is somehow cheaper in the long run than paying up front for cars I don't have to spend months working on to make roadworthy.
Welcome friend. We share the same affliction. Now that my Mk III runs mostly well, I'm very close to picking up someone's Mk I project car and trying to finish it. When will we learn?
 

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My name is Eric and I'm an engineer from Maryland with a penchant for pretending rough cars plus elbow grease is somehow cheaper in the long run than paying up front for cars I don't have to spend months working on to make roadworthy.
Engineer here also. Great looking shop you've got there!

I don't really think it will end up cheaper rebuilding an old car. But, I know the car will drive better than anything I can get for 10x as much. The MR2 basically spoiled me. So, five grand for body panels is fine by me when a single glass roof panel on a lower teir McLaren costs the same.

This thing is a bargain for the performance you get. The only other $$$ for performance car that comes close is the C8. That car, just like the MR-S is also questionable in the looks department.

Have at it buddy. You won't be disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Yes I can already tell I've found a good community of like-minded nuts individuals here :)

Parts-cannon fired. Just ordered:

  • Brake calipers (Power Stops which I may or may not epoxy paint) x4
  • Rotors (Centric fronts, QRP rears because I want the coating but I don't want drilled/slotted) x4
  • Centric posi-quiet ceramics x4 pair
  • Stainless braided brake hose kit
  • Shifter cable bushing kit
  • Shifter base bushing kit
  • Front and rear prop rod retainer clips
  • Shift knob (I'm going to try this thing out and see if I like it)
I also need to make a decision on wheels & tires. I want to stick to the factory tire size for now, so really my options are ... limited.

I sent out some RFQs for refinishing the stock wheels because they are nAsTy and I don't want to deal with it. Plenty of other things I can wrench on while they're being refinished by a pro and getting new tires installed. That being said ... it might be $200 - $300 cheaper to just buy some Sparco FF1s with tires mounted - which brings a bonus of ~3 lbs weight savings ...
 

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Oh, also, question time.

1) Does anybody recognize this piece of plastic? I can't figure out where it comes from and I'm beginning to think it doesn't even belong to this car. It was in the passenger footwell when I bought the car:
View attachment 95286 View attachment 95287 View attachment 95288 View attachment 95289

2) I was told it had a LoJack installed from the dealer. Anybody have experience with removing those? I've heard it can be hard to find where they put whatever it is they put in there, and tricky to remove them. Maybe I should leave well enough alone but I just don't like the idea of it being in there for some reason ...
Looks like the plastic cover for the soft top frame - the part that folds into 2, just beside the head of driver or pasenger.
 
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