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Toyota MR2 Engine Rebuild or Swap

Discussion in 'General' started by Deutscher, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    Hi,

    I recently brought a 1990 Toyota MR2 SW20 N/A for $6k, 173,000kms on the clock, targa, full alpine stereo. When I brought it had a minor problem, possibly stem seals but worst case recon head. Thought for $6k... normally MR2's sell for $8k+ the money should cover the recon head and I'll be out on top.

    Unfortunately, I found out that it loses oil somehow somewhere. It's not dripping to the floor but I can't see blue smoke to see if it's burning and the coolant colour seems normal. The thing is I'm losing 1L of oil per week! So I've taken it to a reconditioning workshop and got a CO2 test done and came back as a blown head, and got a Compression Test done and came out with 150, 150, 150, 145 which is in the specs, so I shouldn't worn piston rings etc.

    Now I've taken my car to RAC and they can tell it's losing a lot of oil but they don't know where.

    They've quoted me $6600 for full rebuild or $3300 for head rebuild. Guy said he doesn't know if the head will fix the oil aswell or if it's a bottom end problem and would need a full rebuild. They can't tell until they open up the engine.

    The other course I'm thinking is putting in a replacement engine, I found this, asking $1500.



    Apparently the head gasket leak isn't major, just gets hot quickly. I was thinking taking the Mild Reconditioned head of the spare motor and putting it on the other motor. I'll have a test drive of the car and might get RAC to have a look, he said I could do a compression test on it etc. It just sounds a little weird to me. But it won't hurt to have a look. What you guys think?
     
  2. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    i think you would be stupid to turn down the 3S-GTE engine, they go heaps harder than the non turbo equivalent 3S-GE
    That price for everything you need to convert is a great price especially considering you are getting another motor with it, you could make one good engine out of the 2 then sell the spare engine if your lucky you may get close to what it cost you just for the spare engine!

    I love MR-2's ive owned 2 so far and will be getting another one when the funds (and mrs) allow. Ive had a 92 and a 97 model so far.

    If you also getting the turbo gearbox it should be LSD, i would think your N/A would not be LSD (my N/A 92 was none lsd and the T97 was lsd)

    On another note if you pull the engine out it would be worth your while getting the alternator re-coed there not to easy to get at with the motor in, i had issues with the alternator on both of my MR-2's its a poor design where they, water runs straight down the engine cover and on to the alternator. It is possible to get the alternator out whilst the motor is in bit it is very tricky.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    Thanks for your reply Bandit. Do you think the conversion from 3SGE to 3SGTE + gearbox & head swap be worth doing? compared to rebuilding the 3SGE? I know I'd get more power.. I'm just thinking money wise because that's where my troubles lie. I'm not very mechanical minded so I'd get someone to do it. What do you think this would cost?

    I've spoken to the guy, he recons the current head isn't really a problem, just gets hot faster than normal.

    Bout the alternator, I've heard that it's a lot more complicated taking it out from a Turbo than a N/A.
     
  4. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    I wouldnt really say its that much difference, you have just got the additional intercooler and turbo piping to deal with but from memory it was just about the same job on both.

    Do i think the 3S-GTE conversion is worth doing- YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!
    No idea what a garage would charge to do the conversion, i always do my own mechanical work.
    Another weak point on MR-2's are the clutch so chuck in a new one if you do the conversion, ive had to replace the clutch in both of the MR-2's ive owned 1st time was a pig 2nd not to bad as i knew what i was doing on the 2nd one,both times completed in 1 day. You have to take a lot of stuff off to get the gearbox out on one of them.

    As for the engine getting hot quick, this IS a problem dont let the seller convince you other wise. Any cooling problem needs to be sorted out asap. Changing a head gasket with the engine out is a simple job so dont stress about that, i would also fit a new timing belt whilst the engine is out, again a lot easier to do out of the car.

    They are fantastic little cars, heaps of fun, scary in the wet thought! no doubt you will be getting a wet head when it rains, those seals on the targa top always seem to leak lol

    Keep us posted on what you decide to do!

    You should give the engine conversion a crack your self! its really not that hard, just a case of taking something apart then putting it back together again.

    There is a UK based forum for the MR2 owners club, the MK2 section is where you want to be looking heaps of good info, there is also a section called "know your 2" this tells you just about all the options etc about the MR2 MR2 Owners Club - Index page check it out, not a bad place for info.
     
  5. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    The options I have

    1. Full Rebuild ~$6600 (will call around for other prices)

    2. Try and Sell mine and take what I can, cut the loses and buy another MR2.

    3. Get the turbo engine Swap ($1500), call around ask for prices for swap, & hope nothing wrong with this engine. Can get RAC to check the engines out though. 85,000Kms on this engine, recon gearbox, recon turbo, +recon head on spare engine. Just don't know whats involved in the swap & how much.

    What would you guys think?
     
  6. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    Thanks Bandit, as far as my mechanical skills go is Gernal Servicing & Compression Testing aswell now. My occupation is Reception while I study at Uni for a Accounts/Finance degree. + I don't have a hoist or even my own garage (living with oldies still).
     
  7. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    $6000 Car,
    $150 CO2 & Compression Test,
    $750 Service,
    $170 Air Filter,
    $115 Interior parts,
    $400 Battery (YT D34) (would take out if sold),
    $600 Yr's Rego (Jan 2011) and Transfer Fees. (I know this is all cars, but I just paid it for 1yr and I'd have to pay again for next car)

    = $8185 so far for my car. Now need a Engine Swap or Rebuild or Sell (be able to selll for $5000?)

    Edit: I'd like to get Power Steering and replace suspension (quite a hard/bumpy ride) eventually.
     
  8. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    For me it is simply option number 3! the other options dont even come close! :p
    If i had another MR2 and was offered all that for only $1500 i would snap the guys arms off... both of them lol

    Stick with the MR2 you have got now, get it all sorted out and it will be a fantastic car, even more so when the turbo goes in ;-)
     
  9. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    $750 for a service!!! geeeeez!! thats robbery
    $170 for a air filter?? i hope thats for a pod filter?? the MR2 goes and sounds great with a pod, you can extend to air intake pipe down to the air vent on the side of the car so nice cold air 100% of the time!
    $400 for a battery..? they saw you comming! $200 would of got you a good battery, or cheapo ones can be had for under $100

    Buy the turbo conversion and find a mate who can help you fit it all or find a nice mechanic who wont rip you off! the engine transplant should be able to be completed in 2-4 days easy
     
  10. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    another thing, if the only problem with your engine is that it uses oil, try using thicker oil or you can put an additive in to your current oil to make it thicker like, nulon stop smoke (think thats the name, read the bottle it will say its designed to stop excessive oil use)
     
  11. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    Would you still say that if the Turbo didn't give extra power? I'm over the power stage.. hence the N/A 2L. The Turbo just came up. I need a Reliable/good Economical kind of car, I'm building a house (6months till finished) and I'm at Uni. That's why my funds are low, so I don't really have the cash to fix up that turbo engine. If the conversion/compliance is going to come close to the full rebuild price... maybe it better to do the rebuild and get back on 0kms instead of 85,000kms.

    If I was rich I'd chuck the Turbo in straight away but just trying to make the best choice in the cheapest way.
     
  12. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    I didn't quite write everything in there. $750 was for Service, Throttle Body Service, Upper Cylinder Head Service - Done by Toyota.
    $170 was for a Apexi Pod Filter.
    $400 for the battery.. Planning to get good sound system, 2x 12" Rockford subs and SoundStream TRC6N splits. The Optima YT D34 is a good battery.
     
  13. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    i seriously think the cheapest option would be the turbo conversion, you should get all the parts you need there so you only have to pay for labour to fit at a guess $1000-$2000 and maybe a few gaskets etc.

    plus the re-sale value of your car will go up being a turbo ;-) you will have to change the tell tail things over tho that give it away as a N/A engine cover/clocks

    It will use a little more fuel than the N/A if your hard on the gas all the time! but if you drive sensible 90% of the time you will be fine, there both good on fuel compared to commodores lol
     
  14. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    That will just be delaying the problem. See If I get the head done for $3300, I may still have that oil problem and then have to pull the engine out again to do the bottom end so it'd cost more. According to my compression results, my piston rings aren't worn, I got 150, 150, 150 145.
     
  15. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    I could change the cluster etc later right? it's not going to affect the engine? See the problem is, I don't know what part I'll need for the swap immediately and which can wait. I don't actually know wat parts I'll need to purchase before the conversion can begin.... here is the link for the guy - TOYOTA MR2 3SGTE SW20 turbo motor/gearbox/ecu for sale | Car Engine Parts | Gumtree Perth .
     
  16. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    yep you can change the cluster when ever you like, the only difference between N/A and Turbo is the N/A has a battery volt gauge in the center of the cluster and the turbo has a boost gauge there instead, turbo engine cover's are raised N/A flat.

    You just need the engine, loom, ecu, gearbox, turbo, intercooler, exhaust, cooler piping that should just about do it cant think of anything else you will need at the moment
     
  17. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    Thats either a 1992 or 1993 rev2 model, which has the rev3 tail lights :) its kept the original rev 2 rear wing thought, which i prefer over the rev3 wing, the rev5 wing is the best one but hard to find.

    Looks like a good buy to me mate, he says negotiable so offer him $1200 for the lot, hes obviously in to MR2's so he might even help you with the conversion or tell you where to go for help!

    I suggest you call the seller of the conversion and ask him if he could help with the conversion or give you details of someone that could help, ask him who is doing his rev3 conversion?
     
  18. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    Hmm... Just spoken to RAC and Hi Flow Reconditioning..both aren't interested in doing the swap. Then I rang Tony Flood Mechanicals which looked after his car. He said that it overheats and it's probably not a good idea :( But Tony seemed to be rather nice, said I could send him pics etc of an engine and he'd have a look and give some feedback on what he could see.
     
  19. bandit10

    bandit10 Member

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    whats he hoping to see from a picture??? what sort of feedback are you expecting from him???

    Over heating problem would be pretty easy to fix, change head gasket for good measure fit head off other motor, get a new water pump as well if your really worried. You will be using all the cooling system already on your car so if that works on yours you shouldn't have any troubles, replace the thermostat and use fresh coolant.
    The radiator pipes run the whole length of the car so theres a fair way for it coolant to loose the heat even before it reaches the radiator up front.
     
  20. Deutscher

    Deutscher New Member

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    Haha, he said bout getting a pic of oil cap etc.. But he said If I was interested he'd have a chat to the guy etc.

    I had it worked out aswell to swapping the heads over etc. Just the mechanic that was working on his car said it wasn't worth the trouble, he'd rather find a different second hand engine. I mite have a see on the weekend, see what it drives like... I'm not expecting a brand new engine or something you know. Can't hurt to give it a drive and see.

    I've just emailed places over east for half cut 3sgte or replacement 3sge engine. Hope to see what I can find. I hate Perth, nobody has anything here... and we are on the other side of the continent from all the other big cities. So I've gotta pay shipping!
     

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