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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is just some quick info for all the new faces that have been popping up recently. I've been on the forum for just over a year myself so I thought I'd make this to cover some of the most frequent questions.

1. Posting Pictures

You need to make at least 10 posts before you can post pictures or links. Otherwise, your post will be put into moderation and it will never see the light of day. Just post around.

2. I want to do 'something'. Has 'this' been done before?


YES. The answer is almost always yes. We have done everything to this car from making it into a dune buggy, to swapping in a prius engine, to giant V6s and even exotic European engine swaps. Even menial things like higher-tech rear-view mirrors. Further down you'll find the names of some sections of the forum which may hold the answers you seek.

3. Power Quest: How Fast can I Make it?

Thanks to how light the car is, at about 2100lbs, It can scream with only minor power increases. Popular engine swaps include:

- 2ZZ-GE Gives you more power near it's 8,400 rev limit thanks to VVTi-L. Parts are readily available from Celicas and it practically just drops in with bolt on parts. It's Cali legal if done right and makes for a (more) fun daily.

- K20/24a These are a Honda series of motors with an abundance of potential for forced induction (as in 35 PSI 900HP potential). It is costly and complicated with a number of supporting parts needed. AC is hard to keep. It's mostly for track use, but can be made usable as a daily.

- 1MZ/3MZ-FE These are 3.0 and 3.3 L V6 engines respectively. Requires a lot of fabrication and wiring, with only the 1MZ having a manual transmission in the late 90's. Pro: great power with ironclad reliability and minimal chassis cutting. Con: timing belt and little leftover room to replace it.

- 2GR-FE So far this is the biggest engine fitted to the spyder regularly. It has more power and more permagrin than you may ever need, but it comes at a literal price and the engine compartment needs to be hammered as well as the cross member needing to be cut. A spark plug access hole and a hacked ECU are optional, with the alternative being two ECUs running at once (Spyder and RAV 4). Yet, there is a DDPR swap kit and a tubular cross member. Look up videos like this to see if it's worth it.

There are always more options popping up, such as older generation MR2 engines, a 2AR-FE kit is being developed, and most recently a VR6 VW engine is being fitted. One guy even shoved an LS engine into a Spyder, but he never said how. Go check it out!

4. I'm looking to buy a Spyder. What should I look for?

Most Spyder buying questions can be answered in this oldie, but still a goldie, The Used Spyder Buyer's Guide. the jist is to check vehicle history, make sure the seller is truthful about what parts are original and what is new, see if they've taken care of precats, and really drive and investigate the car. If they don't want you poking around their car, then it's not a car worth getting. For price reference, I paid for my car... and get ready to laugh here... $5,000 in CA when it was at 159K miles with dented panels, chewed up seats, and moldy ties in the soft top drains! I definitely over paid, as the car was worth around $4,000, but I wanted it because I could fix it up, and because it had a newer swapped engine, which I could confirm by looking at the old engine in the guy's garage, and he had taken care of precats. Looking back, those were stupid reasons haha, don't get swindled, just wait for a good deal.

5. Where Should I post "X" Question?

If this is your first post, just drop an introduction in this MR2 Spyder Main Forum first. Introductions are always nice, and you can check back later for some tasty aftermarket modifications, courtesy of your Spyder Uncle! (you'll see what I mean soon). Otherwise, just look for the most fitting forum. Just know that the Site Information forum is ONLY for questions and reporting problems about the website itself, not your car. The Performance Modification; Suspension and Handling; Care, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting; Appearance Modifications ; and Audio and Electronics will probably be the first places to check.

6. Where can I find "X" Answer?

We have a section called The Library - Reference and How-to's but finding things in there can be difficult, and the search bar at the top of the website page is almost useless. Instead, use spydersearch.org which searches every MR2 spyder website for answers. Also check the places listed in the last section.

7. What About That Oil Burning and Precat Problem?


Yes, the MR2 and other 1ZZ powered cars have a history of burning oil. The exact reasons are unknown, but it was most likely a combination of all of the hypothesis: Oval bore syndrome, poorly made piston rings, and Precat death. Most of these issues were alleviated during 2003, but there have still been cases of 2003+ cars having failed precats. Here's the short and simple: an oil burning engine won't just die as long as you keep it fed and well maintained. 1 quart per 1000 miles is actually considered acceptable for this car. You can try to remedy this by doing what's called a piston soak. But no matter what, gut the precats. Toyota and the aftermarket suppliers say they've fixed the problem, but precat failure can destroy your engine as well as main cat. The main catalytic converter is more than powerful enough to clean the emissions of our little four cylinder engines. Check your oil regularly!

fixes include rebuilding the engine with improved parts or just swapping the engine all together. Just know that the MR2 1ZZ-FE is a special variant called the 1ZZ-FED. Other than a slightly smaller size, it has a couple more HP but weaker internals than the corolla 1ZZ-FE, so a corolla 1ZZ could even handle some light boost with stock internals.

8. Differences Between Years?

This will be a bit abridged (not all color changes mentions), but the things I leave out shouldn't be of consequence.
Spyder years are split up between 00-02 called pre-facelift and 03-05 called facelift years. There are also small changes happening from year to year. Quick note: upgrading pre facelift years using facelift hardware is called OEM+ modding. Just a little tidbit I found early on.

2000: the first year in the world market. Very barebones, didn't have factory keyless entry or alarm.
2001: keyless entry and security now stock. not much else changed. 5 speed SMT offered.
2002: minor engine changes and SMT cars now have 6 speeds and cruise control.

2003: double staggered wheels (rears now 16") new headlights with projectors, new tail lights, new front grill with fog lights, major engine changes to alleviate oil burning, new rear fascia, new side vents, leather seats, new HVAC control fascia, possible 6 disc CD changer, spare tire now full sized.
2004: Car raised about an inch to meet safety regulations. Factory bracing added up front under the chassis, option added for a factory helical LSD (highly sought after), and Toyota introduces Phantom Grey Pearl with red top as a color option (a forum favorite!)
2005: nothing worth mentioning, but it was the last production year of the car in America. Production continued up through 2007 in other countries, and some special editions were released.

2008: Technically, it never existed. Toyota was planning to build an improved and supercharged MR2 with bigger wheels to take on the Miata Turbo. Declining sales forced them to stop the MR2 instead, but a single working model was built for a Japanese car show and a user on this forum even got the "blueprints" for how it was supposed to work! He has a thread on building an SC Spyder which I'll link here with his permission.


9. Why Are Some MR2s Labeled as Automatic Or "Other"?

Just to clear something up, There is no such thing as an automatic MR2 Spyder. What you're looking at there is a version of the MR2 called the SMT, which stands for Sequential Manual Transmission. Instead of the driver stepping on the clutch and moving the shifter fork up or down a gear, the car does it for you! This may sound simplistic, but that's exactly what an SMT MR2 is. It uses the same transmission as the regular MR2 (except for the 6 speed, which was unique to the USA SMT MR2s which had shorter final drive ratios than European manual 6 speeds) except it uses hydraulic mechanisms to disengage/reengage the clutch as well as move the shifter fork. You'll actually hear the SMT pump engage whenever you open the driver side door to prime the system. Since the transmission is the same in the SMT, you can convert an SMT to a full manual, which can is handy because the SMT has a tendency to fail due to poor maintenance by previous owners, almost no shop knows how to work on them, and parts are expensive to replace. That being said, our forum has plenty of dedicated SMT drivers who have found cheap and easy ways to diagnose and repair the SMT. You can find the SMT repair sub-forum right here.

10. Do I Need to Treat My MR2 Differently Than Other Cars?

The short answer is yes.
Because the MR2 is mid-engined, and because it is a convertible, you can't just do whatever you want with it and be trouble free. To just touch on the most important ones, you can't just jack the car up from any point. Unless you're changing a single tire on the side of the road, those notched jacking points under the sides of the car should only be used for jack stands. To get the car up in the air for repairs, only use the front jacking point, which is on the front plastic cover on the BOTTOM (there's a frunk cover, and the bottom cover) in a horse-shoe shaped depression, and the rear jacking point, which is the engine mount closest to the back of the car. Otherwise you'll bend your frame. You should also avoid putting the top down bellow ~45 degrees F if your car has the stock vinyl top, and you need to clean the soft top drains around once per year to stop water from building up and spilling into the car. You can only flatbed tow the MR2, because lifting up the front wheels will still have the wheels attached to the transmission spinning, and a bump could cause the transmission to shift into gear and destroy the engine/trans at high speed, and you can't just lift the back wheels because This will put undue stress on the steering rack and could cause snaking. You could possibly tow it with a tow rope and all four wheels on the ground, but you need to install a special kit for this in the front of the car, and it's so rare I've only seen it for sale once. And as mentioned above, check your oil frequently, and always keep a quart on hand.

This is all I have to offer for now. I'll probably update this later with more info and corrections of anything I've gotten wrong.
 

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I have some details for the 2GR swap. The stock 1zz ECU, with stock RAV4 ECU runs the swap just fine. I did have Gouky hack my RAV4 ECU to raise the fuel cut redline from 6500 to 7200 rpm, but that's optional.

Engine compartment mods only require mild hammer work to the RH strut tower. However extensive cuts are needed on the suspension crossmember. But the cross member is just a bolted-on piece. An access door in the bulkhead to change spark plugs is also optional.

..and I love Marco's video. Heck, I love his car! :)
 

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Thanks everyone! I have more to add and I'll correct the 2GR info. I was under the impression that the right strut tower had to be cut up and the spark plug access hole wasn't optional.
haha. Only need the access plate if you want to change spark plugs! Mine didn't have the access hole when I bought it.

I'm afraid I confused Uncle Mush. Marco built a 2GR swap and shot that video hitting fuel cut. Then I bought Marco's car. But Sam wrote the compendium. Thanks Sam!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
haha. Only need the access plate if you want to change spark plugs! Mine didn't have the access hole when I bought it.

I'm afraid I confused Uncle Mush. Marco built a 2GR swap and shot that video hitting fuel cut. Then I bought Marco's car. But Sam wrote the compendium. Thanks Sam!
My pleasure!

Awesome write-up, Marco! Love your videos. Can't wait to see one on changing out transmission fluid on manual transmission.
I'd like to get back to those videos too. unfortunately I had a lot of trouble with file corruption and that whole relearning to use my legs thing haha. Anyways, I'm practically running again (just not for that long), and this memorial day weekend I'll be back in Livermore and ready to retake ownership of Delilah from my sister. In the meantime, I'll see if adobe premier fixed their MP4 bugs :biggrin:
 

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I'd like to get back to those videos too. unfortunately I had a lot of trouble with file corruption and that whole relearning to use my legs thing haha. Anyways, I'm practically running again (just not for that long), and this memorial day weekend I'll be back in Livermore and ready to retake ownership of Delilah from my sister. In the meantime, I'll see if adobe premier fixed their MP4 bugs :biggrin:
Oh my goodness . . . I totally forgot about the infection and the mass pressing against your spine, loss of the use of your legs, the medical treatments and physical therapy until I read this. I apologize for forgetting. I went back and re-read some of that original thread when you first let us know why you had been so quiet on the forum back in December and January. I must say, your positive attitude and ability to maintain that positive attitude in the midst of all the trials you have had over the last 6 months is absolutely amazing! Thank you for the reminder and for being a positive role model. When I grow-up (if I ever grow-up) I want to be like you -- amazingly positive in the face of negative circumstances!

If you are new to the forum and you wonder what the heck we are talking about, take a moment to read this thread: http://www.spyderchat.com/forums/showthread.php?125401-another-medical-thread-I-m-staying-positive

In January, samxerxesn reported it could take up to a year before he could drive his spyder again and now he is running?!!! Pure awesomeness! Congratulations, man!
 

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Nice write-up, Sam! Lots of sound info, especially when read with other write-ups.

I'm very happy for your improvement...glad you're almost running.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the well wishes guys, and I'm glad you're doing better as well, Galo! I've updated it with some more information, I made the SMT part more concise, I added the used spyder buyer's guide, and threw in another point at the end about special treatment for the spyder.
 

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New user here.

This has incredibly helpful, and timely, considering I am now starting to look for an MR2. I'm an avid track-enthusiast, and wanted something a little different than your typical run of the mill Miata/BMW E30/S2000, etc.

Will be back here, possibly with questions, hopefully soon. Thinking about picking on up in late June/July, if I really decide this is what I want.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I added some links for Power Quest, and cleaned up the look to make it easier to read and see links. Hopefully it helps. If you think there is a better source of information than the links I've posted, please let me know so I can pass that information on!
 

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I have some details for the 2GR swap. The stock 1zz ECU, with stock RAV4 ECU runs the swap just fine. I did have Gouky hack my RAV4 ECU to raise the fuel cut redline from 6500 to 7200 rpm, but that's optional.

Engine compartment mods only require mild hammer work to the RH strut tower. However extensive cuts are needed on the suspension crossmember. But the cross member is just a bolted-on piece. An access door in the bulkhead to change spark plugs is also optional.

..and I love Marco's video. Heck, I love his car! :)
I read in a post by Gouky that if the toyota EB6x trans like the one in the the 2010 + scion TC with the 2gr swap it is shorter and will give room to not have the hammer the strut tower. I think it was in a post where he was talking about the EB62 out of a 2010 or 2011 camry.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I read in a post by Gouky that if the toyota EB6x trans like the one in the the 2010 + scion TC with the 2gr swap it is shorter and will give room to not have the hammer the strut tower. I think it was in a post where he was talking about the EB62 out of a 2010 or 2011 camry.
I saw the bit about the EB6x trans (only way I'd do a 2GR) but I don't remember seeing anything about the strut tower being spared. I'll look for it. Thank you!
 

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I didn't read this post and didn't see the part about new members posting pictures. I just started a new thread, did a write up with a bunch of pictures, is that gone forever now? I don't feel like doing that again.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I didn't read this post and didn't see the part about new members posting pictures. I just started a new thread, did a write up with a bunch of pictures, is that gone forever now? I don't feel like doing that again.
WHO DARE AWAKEN ME FROM MY SLUMBER!!!!!!!

Just kidding. It's not technically gone forever. We have some user mods who might be able to help, and if you look at your profile and your started threads you may still be able to access it.

GTS Jason, any chance you could help out here?
 
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