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The Night Rider's 1986 Toyota MR-2 AW11

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As mentioned in my last post, I don't have much time to work on the car anymore; so basically I'm trying to say my updates won't be as large as they were. 


Probably a good thing looking back at the length of my first page. 


Before the engine blew I had taken the car for a WOF, it was all fine except for needing new tires. Rather then buy new tires I thought I'd try to find some nice looking aftermarket wheels with tires. 


So just yesterday I picked up a set of ATS Type 5's off Dave from oldschool. They do need a bit of restoring but I already knew this since Dave had told me and sent accurate pics. 





Thank you Dave. 



I also finally bought a new clutch master cylinder so was able to install the third pedal. Finally the manual conversion is complete (still transmission/engine needs to go in but chassis conversion is done). 


In order to install the clutch master/clutch pedal, some holes needed to be drilled. Thankfully Toyota had already marked out the position for these, I can't imagine how hard it would have been to accurately mark them out in such a location (without removing dash). 


In this pic I have started the holes, in order to get the center one to the right size I had to hand file using a half circle file (no large enough drill bit). 



New master:





Finally three pedals:



I forgot to take pictures but I did use some rust prevention spray on the bare metal exposed by drilling the holes for the clutch. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another small update:


Installing the water pump, with new O-rings of course:





Torqued to spec give by the BGB:



Water pump inlet O-ring:



Inlet pipe:




There are quite a few misc. gaskets which needed to be replaced. I thought I would try to make my own using gasket paper which is supposedly designed for this purpose (from BNT). 









Another one for the heater outlet:










Now when test fitting the bypass pipe with the ITB's there was a little problem:



As you can see circled in red, the water fitting and ITB adapter are very close and actually touching. If I recall correctly it wasn't allowing the adapter to mount up perfect to the head either:



There were also some issues of interference with the vacuum barbs, the gap between the bottom of adapter and top of pipe is less than it seems:



This one was minor:



So firstly I filed down the ITB adapter so that it could mount flush with the head and have a little clearance from the water fitting. It seems like not much, but this was enough:




Next I tried to bend the water pipe so that it wouldn't interfere with the vacuum barbs. It was easy to bend the last part to avoid the barb on cyl 4, but the other one was more difficult. 

I found it difficult to bend it and keep the mounting holes in the right position, it also needed quite a bit of force since it was already bent into an S shape on that side so I couldn't do it while bolted into the engine. 


So although I don't like it, this is what I ended up doing, cut off the pipe leaving a good length to attach some heater hose to. 






I'm still not that pleased with it, will of course have to find a way to secure it and stop it from flying around. 

I may find another pipe and try again, however, when I bent the pipe enough it had some stress marks on it seemed like it wouldn't be a good idea to use it.


The bend required looks a lot less in the pics. I tried using a shorter vacuum barb but there is not enough length with the pipe there directly under it.


If anyone has a better solution feel free to share it. I'm not happy with this solution but I don't have any experience or skill fabricating new stuff. 



Anyway engine bay has been cleaned and is almost ready:




That's about it for the progress. 


I also spent some time cleaning up the garage which seems to get messy and chaotic too often. I happened to take a pic comparing the relative sizes of the auto vs. manual trans:


Auto on left: Manual one is not too difficult to pick up for me (I got stick arms), but the auto... no way. 




Also here is a random shot/teaser of how the wheels look which I mentioned before. The tires are one aspect ratio too small which is creating more wheel gap, its just what the wheels came with though:





Interior is also back together after all the covers were removed from shifter/clutch pedal install:


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  • 2 weeks later...

Had some time to install the rear main seal:


scraping off the old gasket:





Cleaning up seal retainer:



Once again I used some gasket paper to make my own gasket:



RTV for a better seal:





Don't worry I did wipe off that excess RTV in the corner (always seems like I go insane with RTV in pictures, not sure if actually insane):





Finally the new Toyota seal is in:





Have been doing some shopping too, here is the Exedy OEM spec clutch I just bought. I wanted to go with OEM spec because I'm not going to be adding much extra power to the engine, its not the aim for this project. Also OEM clutch has a nice easy feel.

By the way, this is the kit for an AE111 4AGE 20V (Since I'm using a black top flywheel), which.. now that I think about it, has more power and torque than my engine will. No problems. 




New timing belt:



And something a bit more fun. An Apexi Power FC made to be plug and play for the 4AGE 16V bigport (Specifically for the AE86 but should be workable with the AW11). 

Apparently they don't make this for the 4AGE any more, I just hope it'll work and save me some money and time buying a brand new ECU and wiring it in. 


My actual plan is to try the stock ECU to see how it copes with the ITBs (JDM map ecu), according to a few internet people it can cope relatively well as long as you use a vacuum manifold (of course). Who knows, we will see. 

Even if it does run I will eventually switch to the Power FC and get it tuned. 





That's it for now. 

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Installed the timing belt. 


I know the timing marks seem off in this picture, but I checked and its just parallax error (can't get camera to see both cam sprockets dead straight). 






Covers installed:



Little bit of copper anti seize on the crank pulley:



Pulleys installed, I didn't bother re-painting them because later on I will replace them with aftermarket ones. The car never had an AC from factory, yet the crank pulley is double row, I'll probably go with T3 pulleys when the time comes.  




One thing that annoyed me every time I looked at the interior was the shift boot I bought. It didn't have any retainer on the top and looked really unfinished. 



So I noticed that a lot of old Honda's have a nice retainer and picked one up from the junk yard:



Zip tied onto boot:







That's it for now.


I've ordered some new flywheel bolts from Toyota, but they will take three weeks to arrive from Japan. 

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  • 2 months later...

Alright I'm back. I haven't worked on the car for a few months since uni got crazy busy (was my final year). 


Anyway here's some recent progress. Note: I got out of the habit of taking a lot of pics etc. so if you feel like some are missing or things aren't shown clearly, that's why. 


So, I the first thing I did was install the oil sump. This involved installing the windage tray, oil pickup and sump. 


Engine up in the air:





Cleaning up all the old sealant:



Making the oil pickup gasket:



RTV applied to windage tray



At this point I installed the windage tray and bolted it into place using the oil sump bolts. I let it sit for about 10 minutes so that it would get tacky and hold onto the windage tray while I installed the oil sump. The bolts for the oil sump and windage tray are the same. 


I also installed the oil pickup tube at this time and torqued it to spec.



Oil pan being torqued:







I also remembered that I had not clocked the distributor and installed it properly. So that was the next task. Engine was turned to TDC position. The distributor shaft was clocked as shown in the pic below: (Note the two dimples highlighted by the red dots). 



The distributor was then installed, it went in without trouble. Once the engine is in and running (I really hope it runs), then I'll time it using a strobe light timer. 



Once this was done I was just having a look at the engine bay for no real reason. I noticed that the engine bay air fan was pretty dirty, as well as the coolant hoses/oil cooler. No better time to clean it than now. 


This is the engine bay air fan. It automatically switches on only when the air temperature in the bay gets above a certain level:






Notice the dust or whatever, inside the stator (Yes the fan was working):



Rotor also dirty:



Cleaned up rotor:



Stator cleaned up:



Cleaned up housing:



Put back together:








This project has started to really take much longer than anticipated, mostly due to uni being so busy this year. Anyway I need to get the car back together so that I can enjoy it during summer. If I get it back together and it doesn't run... 


So I decided it was time to get the transmission and engine mounted. Before I could do this the clutch had to be installed. You might remember seeing my brand new Exedy clutch kit in one of the above posts. It had been sitting in my room for the last few months. When I went to installed it the clutch alignment tool wouldn't fit into the clutch disc it was way too large. Kind of annoying since I had to wait another day for the shop to re-order the correct tool. But I don't think it was their fault (supplier sent wrong one most likely). Either way I'm glad they sorted it out so quickly and easily.


Once the new tool arrived I got to work.


Here is the flywheel after grinding (As you can see its from a blacktop 4AGE so its lighter than the original but still factory like usability):



Bolting it to engine and torquing (Note: All new flywheel bolts from Toyota, were pretty expensive but its highly recommended to use new bolts for this):



At this point I thoroughly cleaned the flywheel and pressure plate mating surfaces with wax and grease remover. I did this until no residue appeared on the cloth.

I then fit the pressure plate over the clutch and used the new pressure plate bolts to lightly hold everything in position. This allowed me to make sure the clutch was centered:



After confirming the clutch was centered I started to tighten each of the six pressure plate bolts as evenly as possible to avoid warping of the pressure plate. After this the bolts were torqued to spec:





Cleaning up the transmission input shaft and clutch fork pivot ball:



I then lightly greased the input shaft splines and the pivot ball. Its important to only lightly grease these; excess grease can fling off onto the clutch disc and cause slipping (or so I'm told).


Clutch fork and release bearing installed:



Finally mounting the transmission. I know it looks like its hanging from the input shaft but don't worry I wouldn't do that. It's resting on the diff part of the transmission which is hard to see from the pic:






I also cleaned up the engine bay a bit more:







That's it for now, it feels nice to be working on the car again. Sorry for the shitty pics though, lol. 

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A little more progress.


One of the more difficult parts of working on the MR-2 is engine removal and installation, due to the engine being in the middle. Apparently it's possible to fit the engine from the top using a crane, however, its really tight and the chances of scratching or denting something are pretty high. 

So the only other option is to position the engine from the bottom then lift it up to the mounts using a crane. This is what I did. 


Jacking the car up. This had to be done in stages because as you can see the rear has to be lifted quite high and I only have basic tools. I had to jack the car up as high as possible, rest it on axle stands, place wood blocks under the jack and repeat. 



Another angle:



Final height required to slide engine in:



Engine ready to go in:



Uhh.. yeah this was pretty ghetto, I used an old garden hose as a rope to pull the engine into position haha. I couldn't find any real rope and don't have a sliding trolley. 



For anyone trying this method: You must position the engine as far forward as possible (closest to firewall as possible), this is because when you lower the car it slowly rolls forward (opposite to when you were jacking it up). If you place the engine in the middle of the engine bay, the car will hit the engine before it is fully lowered. I learnt this when I was removing the engine. No issues this time around:



Time to lower:



Safely back on the ground:






Unfortunately I now have to wait till I can find a rear transmission mount (one under the battery tray). I didn't realize the auto one was different to the manual : / Its pretty annoying since I wanted to get stuff mounted. 


Anyway that's it for now.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
So what's been going on? A lot of trouble shooting.. I'll get to later though. 


Firstly I installed all the vacuum lines, using thread seal on the barbs to prevent any kind of vacuum leaks:



I don't have pics unfortunately but the four ports on the intake runners go directly to the vacuum manifold (providing the vacuum source). 

The remaining two ports on the vacuum manifold get connected to the fuel pressure regulator and to the ECU MAP sensor. Really simple. 


Installed the injectors and fuel rail:



Installed stock ECU (Trans control module also connected):





At this point I couldn't help but test start the car. So I put in some new engine oil, some new transmission oil and connected the battery... no sparks, no heat, no fire, good so far.. 

Then I put the key in the ignition and turned it to the 2nd position.. dash lights came up as usual.. turn to cranking position and absolutely nothing :( 


So the trouble shooting began, I checked the following: 

-  All ground wires were fine; the engine, transmission and chassis were grounded. I checked this with a multi meter (probe on battery "+" and other probe on engine, then chassis, then transmission. By doing   this I got +12V at all these points).


- Fusible link was fine. I was getting +12V at starter motor cable all the time and also at the alternator. Also my headlights and indicators work fine. 


- Starter motor was fine. I checked this by connecting it to the battery and the solenoid pushes the gear out, the motor also seems to spin fine. 


- Starting relay was fine. I checked by providing +12V across the coil terminals and I can hear it click. I also checked the relay coil continuity with a multi meter. 


Here are some pics of me testing all these things:



0V at the starter solenoid connector normally EXCEPT when I manually actuate the starting relay and then it shows +12V. NOTE: It's hard to see but one probe is on battery "-" and other probe is in the starter solenoid connector:



This is how I manually activated the starter relay (obviously I had to remove the relay cover to do this):




So! This only left the Neutral Safety Switch wiring. I suppose I messed it up because the online picture I found to help me had different wire colors. 


So I was left with no option but to cut into wire harness again and find out if it was indeed the neutral safety switch causing the no start issue. 

Glad to say that after I had exposed the wires they were the culprit. 


I re-soldered them properly and went for another test start.. this time it actually started! Was so glad. 



At this point I was really happy and continued to install a few more things like the alternator, waterpump/alternator belt etc. 


I then went to fill up the cooling system with water.. this is where the 2nd problem occurred. As soon as the water level got above the water pump, water started to leak out of the top water neck (on the front of the engine. This was really disappointing because it meant I had to remove the ITB's to get access to the small metal water pipe (where the leak was occurring). 


Removing the fuel rail:



Removing the ITB's:



No wonder it was leaking.. funny since I remembered to replace almost all the other seals and O-rings apart from this one of course. 



New one fitted:



Finally after refitting everything back on and filling up the system with water, everything seemed to be fine. No more leaks. I bled the coolant system as much as possible without starting the engine. 

At this point I started the engine and bled as much of the air out as I could. (Yes I used the Toyota manual method). 


This was the first time I had the engine running for more than a few seconds. I noticed that it was running super rich. Unfortunately I think this is just due to the stock ECU fuel map being way off for an ITB setup. This is why I bought the Apexi Power FC ( I still wanted to try the stock ECU though). 


Here are the spark plugs after about 30mins of running!




That's about it for now. My next task is to test the Apexi Power FC and then get it tuned. Luckily its plug and play for the 4AGE 16V (would be too much of a nightmare re-wiring again).


I'll just leave a few pics of how it sits at the moment. Was so nice getting it out of the garage and washing it:






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