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Dobboy's Latest Project - Mk3 Mr2 (2002)


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#1
dobboy

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Hope you guys don't mind another non 205 type project from me but the forum is always handy for input from all you knowledgeable people, and it's good for me to be able to document the state my mental health :wacko: I couldn't post it in the projects section for some reason.

I always quite liked these cars although have never driven one and found one for sale for £425 in for Spares or Repairs on Gumtree last week, and went to see it. Had a bit of a read up on them and what mods can be done etc. The better one for me to have got was a post 2003/facelift as it comes with a 6-speed and LSD, however the ones i'd seen advertised were too expensive for me and my plans.

Only problem was my trailer was in the drive, and the rules of the house are "one out before one comes in", which I feel is fair.

So I advertised my trailer late last week and it sold on Sunday night, first viewer. I'm either selling things too cheap or have missed a calling in sales. Anyway, I made £150 on it so was happy with that and glad it's away. I could could actually have sold it a few times judging by the interest in it, probably the time of year?

The car from Gumtree that I had previously seen was really manky, inside and out, it has 90k on the clock, FSH, and been off the road for a few years. A buyer/fixer/seller type guy bought it and never done much with it. (He bought it from the owners dad, who sold it as it was his sons who was now working abroad and it was in the way for a couple of years, and the key was lost, was the story I was told).

The fixer type guy had bought a new lockset and ECU although had only fitted the ignition barrel of the set, and hasn't really done that very well tbh.

So, trailer sold Sunday, yesterday morning I went and had another look at the Gumtree one and bought it. The fixer guy phoned a guy with a transporter, and followed me home with it for £50.

It needs lots of painting, however i'm thinking I might just replace panels as they all seem to be bolt on, and there are lots of them getting broken throughout the country, obviously I need black ones. But it starts first click and sounds nice.


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Yes it looks rough!


So, I set about it with the power washer, hoover, cleaning products and some elbow grease so that I can see exactly what it needs cosmetically, and did a few small trials with T-cut on some of the panels.....and it needs quite a bit! I also gave the interior it's first lap of cleaning.

I'm sure there's a nice looking car in there somewhere. A machine polish would certainly make a big difference to it overall as the paint is very dull and has a haze sitting on top of it, and there's various and numerous light scratches. Wheels are poor condition too.

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So I'm on the hunt for a replacement, front bumper, engine cover/boot lid, and N/S door. I'll also need a bonnet if I can't get a splatter of something that's on it removed.

I've already got a set of good 15"/7" TD wheels in my garage that I bought for track tyres for my mini, which should fit.
I've already got a set of newish 195 AD08R's on a set of Pug wheels in my garage.

I want a hardtop for it and some sort of boot spoiler.

I'm gonna try get 2nd hand coilovers, but if they don't appear i'll settle for new Eibachs until they do appear.

Once this is done, i'm gonna buy a Celica/Corrola T Sport full car or engine&box, and fire it in which is fairly straight forward, taking it from 140bhp to 190bhp, at 1030kg.

The immediate jobs to do is to swap the remaining door locks over, and sort out the ignition barrel.
Clean up/replace/revamp the brakes, and get a shot of it up the back roads to see/hear if it needs anything mechanically.
Figure out why the roof only goes 75% down, and make sure it's water tight.
Try find out why the hazards keep flashing; I think it may be either some sort of driver warning associated with unlocked doors when the key is out ignition, or something to do with the immobiliser and the new key/lockset.

There's no great urgency and it should keep me busy for a while. :D

#2
dobboy

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Oh and when searching all things MR2, I came accross this.

rtou1s.jpg

#3
Anthony

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Good shout, I think they're massively under-rated drivers cars.

I've always wanted to try a VVTLi powered one, although if the Celica is anything to go by, the abrupt surge when the lift kicks in would easily unsettle the rear on an MR2 and thus need some respect in the wet.

How's the current engine on that one? I guess you won't really know until you get it on the road and put some miles on. I had a pre-facelift one like that from new, but hear too many horror stories of the early engines lunching themselves (which the "spares or repairs" selection on eBay backs up) which initially shows as excessive oil consumption.

#4
dobboy

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Hi Ant, from what I can tell the engine sounds good, but it did have slightly low oil before I topped it up, I made sure I checked as I had read about oil usage before I bought it. It's also running the dregs of 2yr old petrol that was in it, so i'm trying not to run it too much, hopefully get petrol today if I get time.

I thought about SC'ing it but the Rotrex stuff is too expensive and technical for me, and I'd need to get others involved, but the conversion has been done lots and seems like GTI6 to 205 if not easier from what I've read....but that could change.

My priority is getting it looking decent and road legal first, then I can at least keep/modify, or shift if I needed to, also means I could shift a Mini if I wanted to too.

I'm in no rush though, although just found all the panels I need this morning but waiting on condition info/pictures from a seller. And me and my bro went halfs on a polishing machine and the consumables needed this morning as he's wanting to do his car too.

There's a very annoying splatter of something on the bonnet that if I can get off would be a bonus, it's grey like cement but as hard as plastic... like some kind of resin.

#5
dobboy

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I've been doing bits and bobs with the car.

Puncture fixed
Checked out new ignition barrel installation which wasn't the best but I've sorted it.
Been pissing about trying to get the key coded to the car but think the battery in the fob is past it, and because the key isn't coded I can't disarm the alarm, although someone has disconnected the siren, but the flashers are flattening the battery.

But.....the reason I checked the ignition barrel installation is that for the first 30 degrees of turning right, the steering is light, it then goes very heavy, and it's also very heavy all the way left.

I checked PS fluid level and it was slightly above the LOw marker.

What would this point to? Duff pump or rack? They are electro hydraulic pumps like a Saxo I suppose.

Anything I should be checking?

Thanks

#6
dobboy

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Just managed to get my key coded and now have fully functional alarm, immobiliser, and central locking. The fob/key wouldn't previously write probably as the previous owner had removed the fuse for central locking to avoid getting locked out the car. Grrrr

Sorted now but will have to watch as the doors automatically lock after 30's (I think) and I only have one key at the moment and i haven't swapped the door locks over yet.


Regarding the power steering mentioned in the previous post, would I be correct in thinking that if I lift the front wheels off the deck and the steering is still stiff, it points to it being more than likely the rack?

Suppose I best make sure it's getting power as I've never heard the pump yet.

#7
Bogsye

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Liking the new project :D

 

I hired one of these in Oz years back, albeit an 'auto' but it was quite nifty around the bends from Cairns to Port Douglas.

Wish you'd never mentioned the 'spares or repairs' section of Gumtree. That looks dangerous!!!

 

None the less, have been spending time on my 205 recently, so not all bad.

 

Good luck on the MR2.

 

Brian



#8
dobboy

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Cheers Brian, yeah i only cam across it by accident.

Little bit of progress today.

I took the power steering pump out the thing they call the "frunk" (from under the bonnet). Got into the motor section of it and gave it a good blow out with the compressor. Lots of carbon in there from the brushes wearing down. Popped it back on and with a little bit of assistance from a reluctant GF I changed the fluid and topped it up etc, and the steering seems fine/much better now.

Decided that it had enough brakes for it's first quick run up the back roads.

It ran no probs but i could see quite a bit of white smoke behind me, I though it was likely puddles hitting the engine but when I got back I noticed the fans were on and the management symbol was lit. So I put on the code reader and it say's there's a problem with the coolant sensor. The white smoke continued out the exhaust for ages after it was switched off so I checked and topped up about 3/4 pint and bled it off. The smoke smelt just like steam. I thought the worse to begin with but now thinking it's just cos it's sat for so long and just needs a new sensor and some miles on it. The temperature gauge was normal.

I was only in it 10 minutes but TBH I didn't particularly like it. The front end obviously feels very light, and tbh I was a bit disappointed by it's performance, and you have a not very fast revving engine right in your ear hole.

Maybe I'd get used to the front end (and RWD) with some miles on the seat but I'd definitely be needing more go-go's. The driving position feels quite good though and the car feels nice and tight, no bumps or clunks.

If I can get the brakes cleaned up over the weekend and fit a new Temp sensor I don't see why it couldn't go for an MOT. I've only spent £20 on it so far on power steering fluid and if i can get away with not buying brake discs at the moment and have it legal all the better.

Also ran the machine polisher over the bonnet with a couple of grades of compound to see how the good parts of the bodywork would come up, and they should come up good. Still searching for body parts as scrappies are understandably reluctant to courier them.

15yx9nr.jpg

Edited by dobboy, 14 April 2017 - 07:53 PM.


#9
dobboy

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Was pissing about with car this morning. I found a coolant pipe had off down the back of the engine.

So I was just about to call him with the rubber arms from The Fantastic Four but managed to get to it and get it on.

So, I'm thinking the HG is now shot, and probably was before I bought it, and probably the guy before me too.

I filled it up with water, ran it and was bleeding it off. There wasn't much air or water coming out, and I had to keep topping up the water bottle, which didn't seem to be under much pressure, even though the fans eventually kicked in.

Still white smoke from the exhaust. And I can watch the water level fall as it ticks over.

It's too rainy to check if there are any more leaks.

Think I'm right with my diagnosis?

Is it even worth trying one of those HG repair fluids in it?

Can see me cutting my losses on this 😮

Cheers

#10
Anthony

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I don't know about MR2 Roadsters in particular, but I know some mid engine stuff can be a nightmare to bleed.

I'd wait until it's dry and try again so you can see any leaks etc - it would be a major HG failure for the level to be dropping so quickly you could see it.

Worth checking on forums etc if there's a particular knack to bleeding them too.

#11
dobboy

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Hi Anthony, I went out and started it again (still raining), the level doesn't move when idling but gradually falls when you rev it up and down a bit. Drops about 30mm in 3-4 minutes.

The exhaust defineately smells more steam than fuel, and the exhaust is only a wee short thing, which makes me even more inclined to think HG.

Is it odd that the expansion bottle doesn't pressurise even when engine hot/fans running? I wouldn't even say it's under vacuum either.....just normal, and the bottle doesn't feel warm either.


A good way to sell a fooked car though, say you've lost the key! 😂

#12
dobboy

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Ive found the correct method of bleeding, quite different and a lot more to it than what I've been doing. Will need to give it a go.

#13
dobboy

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What a wally i am. I've only been bleeding the heater circuit. 

Will follow the correct procedure i've found (using the actual bleeding valve! :blush: )

Might just get away with it yet. Fingers crossed.



#14
toolie72

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Lost key, that's like the fuel pumps gone-but honest it's a good goer lol
Boy at work nearly scrapped a bm, then found out how to bleed it to stop it overheating-kept telling him to measure how much water he put in, ie if it's two litres too little you ain't doing it right

Good luck

#15
dobboy

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Right, I've got it all filled up and bled and I'm pretty sure no water leaks.

I've ran it up to temp twice, but not rev'd it as its too near my neighbours living room window.

The water level seems to be ok, but still white smoke, and a puddle of water below the exhaust tip.

Could it need rev'd high to start heavily using water?

Also, to prevent noise, would one of the plugs be really clean if the HG was away?

And finally, these HG repair additives, do they work?

Cheers

#16
Mikey S

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Can you not get it block tested at a garage local to you? That will tell you for sure if there is combustion gas in the cooling system.
A clean plug is possible when a head gasket fails. Usually if you remove the head you'll find one shiny piston and 3 sooty ones!
Not got access to a bore scope? That would give you an idea of what is going on in there.

Steel seal works. Used it in a Berlingo hdi that had over pressurised to the extent that it had blown the bottom of the radiator apart. I know that car is still being used as the chap i work with, his son uses it every day!

#17
dobboy

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Thanks Mikey, I'll see if I can borrow a bore scope over next weekend.

In the meantime I'll get a look at the plugs.

#18
dobboy

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So I decided not to piss about with the engine and have managed to find a low mileage complete Celica T-Sport car to use as a donor.(but not bought it yet)

The engine sounds great, very quiet, FSH and clean.

Had a brief run in it and I just dunno.

It wasn't exactly a thrill. You can feel the lift coming in from the VVT, and the engine would be pushing 250kg less weight in the MR2, but I'm left wondering if it's worth all the money and work. On paper the BHP/tonne looks good, better than what I have with my GTI6 and Mini, but I think I'd still fancy my mini in a head to head in a straight line or the windy stuff.

So I just don't know, go for it or call the scrappy.

Edited by dobboy, 08 May 2017 - 08:27 PM.


#19
Tom Fenton

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Ebay seems to show plenty of cars with around 100k miles from £1200. In my book if you really want to try one it's cheap enough to just buy one. Certainly I wouldn't be falling over myself to repair a rough one when one on the road can be had cheaply.

#20
dobboy

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Tom, you can pick up fairly decent standard MR2's cheap (and also quite expensive), and fairly decent Celica/Corolla T-Sports fairly cheap too, but the MR2 with the 190bhp T-Sport Engine conversion is quite rare and not cheap.

I left the guy with the T-Sport car/engine last night where he was going to get a price today from a mate to deliver it but he's text me to say it was now away.

Pity as I had been given "formal Approval" from second in command for it pollute my drive for a few weeks to get the engine and bits off it for the conversion  :lol:

 

Think i'll just advertise this MR2, spares or repairs/breaking, as I don't think it's for me.