When buying a parts car, or in my words a Donor, it is important to realize that
it takes time and money to keep the vehicle on the road. And in truth, that is the
best place to keep the car as it will not rot away as fast if kept in constant use.
In particular, the power train avoids drying out and creating a serious oil leak.
Of course the biggest risk with a car like this is that at a certain point, either
it rolls over and died and you part it out OR you put so much money into it, and
its running so well, that you realize it has graduated to becoming a project car
As you look at the list of things fixed below, you will quickly realize it is PLAN
B time - A SECOND PROJECT CAR.
Below is a list of the upgrades/maintenance applied to this Donor/Project vehicle.
It was driven by one of my children for about a year. The Donor came back to me when
a 3rd MR2 was bought (85 White NA) and this one was no longer needed. I suppose using
more than 1 litre of oil per tank of gas contributed to that decision.
Repairs and Upgrades Completed
Replaced major seals to stem a significant oil leak. No oil changes were required
up to that point because oil added weekly just leaked out.
Master brake cylinder replaced (at purchase time)
Steel wheels rotated out and replaced with alloy triangle wheels.
Nokian tires were installed (the best rain / snow tire produced). It resulted in
an incredible improvement in tracking and traction.
Replaced all struts with Tokico brand product, plus doing wheel alignment.
Replaced AM/FM radio with CD/Radio.
Replaced instrument cluster. The speedometer packed it in completely.
Replaced cracked sunroof.
Exchanged seats and door panels with those taken from project Mk1.
Exchanged center console with those taken from project Mk1
Replaced coolant temperature sensor
Replaced spark plug wires
Replace heater core
Replace emergency brake cable
Sourced and install trunk lid + wing
Switched to 20w50 oil. While this can reduce performance, it also reduces oil consumption.
This weight of oil in the summer is documented in the Toyota MR2 users manual.
Installation of sway-bar link kit (replacing failed links)
Resolution of compression issue, oil consumption, and noticeable consumption of coolant
-> new head gasket.
Installed a better exhaust manifold (quieter - no leak, but still cracked)
Replaced throttle cable
Excessive oil consumption reaching unacceptable levels. Second full engine/power
train obtained and installed. This actually was a merger of the best parts of the
existing engine (340k km) and the replacement (230k km). This led to introducing
a better clutch, exhaust manifold and several sensors as well. The new engine isn't
perfect, but we're running MobileONE 10w30 with Lucas Oil Treatment which should
give 1000+ km/liter of oil from what the engines owner reported.
Failed AirCare emissions (original engine) - replacement catalytic converter installed.
The old one destroyed due to excessive oil burning. New engine didn’t hurt to be
sure. Results are excellent.
Parking brake cable (right side) replaced with fully new one.
Swapped triangle wheels and Nokian tires to the white 85 MR2, and took on stock chrome
wheels (and thin rubber). Replacement within a year is anticipated.
New battery. Even sitting in storage, batteries do degrade.
Replacement of trunk release cable
Extreme rust on rear wheel well edges, and left front fender. New front left/right
fender now on hand. Spare rear-quarters are available for some veneer work, but now
we've also obtained a full wheel-rim kit for both sides. Lots of work, awaiting a
matching amount of time to do the work. In fact, MIG equipment is onsite, with pre-bodywork
training in the planning stages.