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Hot!1990 Turbo Hardtop project

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jaycrab
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2017/09/20 21:36:44 (permalink)
5 (1)

1990 Turbo Hardtop project

Hello there
 
I've picked up a 1990 JDM hardtop in need of a tidy up. I thought I'd track the progress to get a few suggestions along the way. This is my first mr2 so I'm still reading and learning. The car has been neglected in storage for a number of years but hopefully will fix up nicely with some time and money.
 
On the surface it looks like a fairly original car (with super 90's three spoke wheels) but on closer inspection, the dash was red at some stage, it looks like there was a turbo timer fitted, and many of the plastics don't fit quite right. 
 
I don't think I fully appreciated the work required when I first inspected it, but it is a project.... There are quite a few broken and missing pieces, as well as some interesting noises during the drive home
 
My plans are:
0 - 3 months - sort out immediate maintenance issues, clutch, brakes, bushes, engine mounts etc
3 - 6 months - tidy up cosmetic issues, touch up and polish, new gear boot, fix tacho and stereo
6 - 12 months - non urgent maintenance, timing belt water pump, replace worn hoses etc
1 year + basic performance improvements, coilovers, strut braces, intake, downpipe, FCD & EBC, maybe an intercooler
super long term - either fully restore and respray or setup as a track car depending on circumstances. 
 
Pics after the first wash are attached. It actually looks pretty good in photo.
 
If anyone has any suggestions for workshops in Sydney please let me know.
I'm also keen on a reasonably priced set of wheels with quality tyres. Either oem 15inch or a staggered set with a simple spoke design (no mesh or chrome). The current tyres are old and I'd prefer not to replace them on the existing wheels.
 
thanks for reading 
 
 
 

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#1


68 Replies Related Threads

    5SGTE
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/09/20 21:45:19 (permalink)
    0
    Looks like a clean original car. I kinda envious of the project, sounds fun!
    #2
    Nik_Lee
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/09/21 10:27:04 (permalink)
    0
    Nice to see another hardtop being put to good use.
    #3

    Reddtarga
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/09/23 10:02:04 (permalink)
    0
    Car looks good and I am sure it will be an interesting project, so good luck with it.
    A lot of expert advice on here about these cars.
     
    BTW, be aware that with the OEM 15" wheels, there is now very limited choice of performance tyres available for the rear. (225/50R15)

    1990 ADM NA
     
     
     
     
     
    #4
    jaycrab
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/09/25 11:32:36 (permalink)
    0
    Thanks guys. I've noticed the inconvenient tyre sizing. Eventually I'd like to get RPF1s or a R32 GTR/GTST set. I'm only after oem's or something similarly cheap with tyres for getting around on whilst sorting out maintenance. My current tyres have heaps of tread but I think they're very old. Can't find a build date.    
    #5
    jaycrab
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/10/03 08:06:55 (permalink)
    0
    So far there hasn't been much progress. Whilst I'm waiting on parts to come in I've done some basic maintenance. Fresh oil and filter, spark plugs, brakes bleed, that's about it. I've pulled the dash cluster to fix the tacho but havent had a chance to test it yet.

    I was hoping to do a coolant flush but the car doesnt seem to get up to temperature. The temp gauge moves up to around a qtr, then gradually drops down to cold after 10-15mins of running and stays there.

    I thought it might be worth replacing the thermostat prior to coolant flush to see it that's the cause. So that'll be next weekend's task.
    post edited by jaycrab - 2017/10/03 17:04:56
    #6
    5SGTE
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/10/03 11:57:40 (permalink)
    0
    I'll support the thermostat idea.
    #7
    B24
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/10/03 12:11:56 (permalink)
    0
    I think its worth flushing the coolant system on the car. The radiator can get blocked, always a good idea to replace the thermostat periodically.
     

    SW20 V6 circuit car. 
    Wakefield Park: 1:07.7
    Founder : MR2 Trackday Challenge 

    #8
    jaycrab
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/10/03 16:18:42 (permalink)
    0
    So if I'm replacing the thermostat and coolant together, it would make sense to do the termo after flushing right? I.e drain, flush, replace thermo, refill, bleed in that order. That way I won't be flushing old coolant through a new thermostat? I've ordered a thermo and gasket from toyota and will give it a go this weekend.
     
    One thing I was able to achieve was tidying up the drivers side door trim. As you can see, the coating had peeled and the surface rust wasn't a good look. I scraped off as much as of the old plastic as possible, wet sanded the metal with rust remover, and hit it with plasti dip. 
     
    The results aren't perfect but it looks a lot better than it did previously. When I get a chance I might take the piece off the door and have another go at it, but it'll do for now. 

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    #9
    jaycrab
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/10/10 17:03:27 (permalink)
    0
    After many hours in a dimly lit garage, I was able to replace the thermostat and flush the system with Nulon red coolant. Strangely enough, the old thermostat looked nothing like the Toyota OEM I replaced it with, which may have been the problem. The car heats up to around 40% on the temp gauge now and blows warm air, so I think that problem is solved.
     
    I also reinstalled the tachometer and was excited to see that the needle was moving. That excitement wore off quickly once I realised it showed the car was idling at 3,000rpm 
    I took the needle off whilst replacing the capacitors to protect it from damage and I guess this has caused this issue. I don't know what the car should be idling at but it sounds about right. 
     
    I’ll try re-placing the needle at around 900prm whilst the car is running at idle. It’s not the most scientific method but it's all I can think of doing. At least it will be better than no movement at all.
     
    I’ve collected a few postal slips so hopefully I have more parts waiting for collection…  
    #10
    jaycrab
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/10/16 09:17:27 (permalink)
    0
    Minor update - After replacing the thermostat and flushing / bleeding the coolant last week, I thought I'd check the levels again. The car has only been running for 45mins since the flush so I thought it would be fine.
     
    I couldn't see any coolant in the filler cap. No big deal, I topped it up again. It took in around 200ml... which was a bit more than expected. I let it get up to temp and shut it off, then noticed a hissing noise from the filler cap which sounded like it was sucking in air, which I thought might explain the coolant loss. Off to repco for a new pressure cap, installed, and hissing stopped. 
     
    Now I thought it would would be a good idea to bleed the system again. Started it up, connect clear tubing, opened the bleed nipples, and FUUUUUK!!!. The coolant had a slight milky tinge which I'm guessing is oil.  
     
    The car is seeing a mechanic this week for the clutch so I'll have it checked out properly then. I'm trying to stay positive (maybe it's just old gunk in the radiator?) but I have a bad feeling it's a head gasket issue... Not off to a good start so far FML.
     
     
    I did however manage to re-position the tacho needle to approx. 900rpm at idle. So I've got that going for me...  
    #11
    B24
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/10/16 17:13:29 (permalink)
    0
    Well that sux if its the head gasket. Can you do the work? It can be fixed without removing the engine.

    SW20 V6 circuit car. 
    Wakefield Park: 1:07.7
    Founder : MR2 Trackday Challenge 

    #12
    jaycrab
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/10/16 17:46:03 (permalink)
    0
    I doubt I could manage a head gasket myself. I don't have much space (or skill) to work with at the moment.
    Good to know it doesn't require the engine out though. I'll see if the mechanic can run a compression and leak down test prior to pulling it apart. It makes sense to deal with this whilst the clutch is being replaced. Might save a bit of labor. 
     
    Is there anywhere else oil could be mixing with coolant? I'm wondering if there could be a leak at the turbo rather than the head. I didn't see any signs of water in the oil, but it does look like there's oil in the water.
    #13
    jaycrab
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/10/31 14:07:25 (permalink)
    0
    Do not recommend Rust-Oleum FlexiDip. Sprays on smoothly but then cracks when drying 
    This happened after 7 light coats. FlexiDip worked well for the window trim but doesn't seam to like smooth / curved surfaces.
     
    I might try a wrinkle or textured finish paint instead. 

     
     

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    #14
    jaycrab
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    Re: 1990 Turbo Hardtop project 2017/11/17 11:38:05 (permalink)
    0
    Minor update.
    I received the car back from the clutch job. The Exedy is heavier than expected but a massive improvement over the old slipping clutch. There was some seeping from the master and slave cylinders so replacements have been ordered.  

     
    The brown oily coolant was apparently just rust flushing out of the system, which the mechanic believes was caused by water (rather than coolant) sitting for a long period. It's bled and holding coolant so problem solved for now. All hoses are in less than average condition but there's so many there I don't know where to start replacing lol. There's no point doing one or two if they're all in a similar state. Silicon sets online only seam to have 7 or 9 pieces, where as the entire system has 20+. I might look at some diagrams and try to get as many as possible from lithia toyota. Thankfully I don't think I have a head problem which is a slight relief.
     
    One unnerving discovery was the complete lack of front engine mount, which explains why the rear was so torn up!
    I've now got a kirkosaurus insert in the rear, and the bracket and bolts for the front are on the way. Hopefully it will all bolt up and there's no hidden reason for it being removed in the first place. 
     
    The brakes are the next focus. The pads actually had heaps left but it's all looking a bit tired.
     
     

    In the process of rebuilding and cleaning up the calipers now. One of the sliding pins was completely seized, and probably now bent after my removal efforts. I've ordered a replacement pin to use if and when I can get the old one out. Maybe I'll get the rears done professionally...
     
    Cosmetic issues are mostly on hold whilst dealing with repairs. Whilst I'm waiting for more parts, I'm planning to have a go at touching up the bumpers and mirrors with a colour coded aerosol I got from supercheap. The mirrors are down to primer which isn't a good look. A complete re-spray will have to wait till next year.
     
     
     

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    #15
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