Project MRS

Having recently sold my K20 civic, I honestly felt empty inside. Like a part of me was missing. How to fill that void? Build something else and eventually ill forget how much I missed it!

Enter the Mr2 spyder. Fairly rare in Canada and honestly a great platform to build on. My end goal? To blow the previous build out of the water! Not necessarily with power but with handling prowess. Don’t get me wrong I’m an FF Honda fanboy at heart and that will never go away. But an MR platform should be better or I should say “faster” in the end. Follow me here as I document aspects of my build to get the MR2 to my expectations.

Ryan @ ST

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First things first, the powerplant. I chose to keep it Toyota due to ease of installation. 2zz 190hp should be plenty in a 2200 lb car. I do have a spare K20 if I decided to ever go that route, but financially doesn’t make sense right now. I will be prepping this as I tackle other parts of the car such as suspension, interior and exterior mods. A Slow and grueling process.

First things first, the powerplant. I chose to keep it Toyota due to ease of installation. 2zz 190hp should be plenty in a 2200 lb car. I do have a spare K20 if I decided to ever go that route, but financially doesn’t make sense right now. I will be prepping this as I tackle other parts of the car such as suspension, interior and exterior mods. A Slow and grueling process.

Since I am completely new to an MR platform, I really want to auto x it and learn the behavior of it all on mostly stock components. Since the car has such low mileage, I want to keep the existing 1ZZ in good shape. these motors have issues with burning oil due to precats deteriorating. Problem solved with a fat long flathead lol.

Since I am completely new to an MR platform, I really want to auto x it and learn the behavior of it all on mostly stock components. Since the car has such low mileage, I want to keep the existing 1ZZ in good shape. these motors have issues with burning oil due to precats deteriorating. Problem solved with a fat long flathead lol.

Completely gutted. Lots of shit in there. With that out of the way, time for some maintenance and overall check of the 2zz..

Completely gutted. Lots of shit in there. With that out of the way, time for some maintenance and overall check of the 2zz..

stripped the wiring and unnecessary components I wont be reusing. degreased It abit and cleaned er up.

stripped the wiring and unnecessary components I wont be reusing. degreased It abit and cleaned er up.

new clutch and flywheel installed!

new clutch and flywheel installed!

New water pump, gaskets etc. Holding off on the belt as some parts will be reused from the 1ZZ.

New water pump, gaskets etc. Holding off on the belt as some parts will be reused from the 1ZZ.

spark plug seals, valve cover gasket done.

spark plug seals, valve cover gasket done.

A shot of the new lift bolts installed.

A shot of the new lift bolts installed.

Comparison of old vs new. Supposedly these bolts stretch when in vtec (heh) and can cause catastrophic failure. Cheap insurance as these cost next to nothing, so might as well do them.

Comparison of old vs new. Supposedly these bolts stretch when in vtec (heh) and can cause catastrophic failure. Cheap insurance as these cost next to nothing, so might as well do them.

Making sure I clean the timing and lift OCV’s (oil control valves). Another thing that can cause issues if the screens get clogged.

Making sure I clean the timing and lift OCV’s (oil control valves). Another thing that can cause issues if the screens get clogged.

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Had some Rays 57DR and threw those on along with some new OEM KYB shocks and eibach Pro kit for some temporary coolness lol. Some cosmetics including some rear strakes….

Had some Rays 57DR and threw those on along with some new OEM KYB shocks and eibach Pro kit for some temporary coolness lol. Some cosmetics including some rear strakes….

How it looked with the 57DRs and prokit.

How it looked with the 57DRs and prokit.

Installed a catback and shot of the rear strakes. Shipped all the way from Russia!

Installed a catback and shot of the rear strakes. Shipped all the way from Russia!

TRD front lip installed. Big thanks to my friend Dave @extremeffect for always painting my parts. He’s been pulling me favors since my first build when I was 17. I owe him a lot.

TRD front lip installed. Big thanks to my friend Dave @extremeffect for always painting my parts. He’s been pulling me favors since my first build when I was 17. I owe him a lot.

Got bored of the 57DRs and swapped my 57Ts from my civic. Cant say no to some Mag blue wheels.

Got bored of the 57DRs and swapped my 57Ts from my civic. Cant say no to some Mag blue wheels.

Honestly love the feeling of an open top roadster during my weekly summer Sunday night drives. This means I needed to store the hardtop. Looked around and found that the “heavy duty” stands can cost upwards of $600!!! Fuck that shit. Found a tutorial and built one myself. PVC pipe cost around $70 and looks pretty good too! The dimensions are based off of plans I found for a miata. Link here:  https:// www.youtube.com /watch?v=nuyyHr1JaDA.  Highly recommend this as it took me maybe an hour to build.

Honestly love the feeling of an open top roadster during my weekly summer Sunday night drives. This means I needed to store the hardtop. Looked around and found that the “heavy duty” stands can cost upwards of $600!!! Fuck that shit. Found a tutorial and built one myself. PVC pipe cost around $70 and looks pretty good too! The dimensions are based off of plans I found for a miata. Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuyyHr1JaDA. Highly recommend this as it took me maybe an hour to build.

Patted myself on the back, cracked open a beer and lit a cigarette.

Patted myself on the back, cracked open a beer and lit a cigarette.

Time to get crackin’ on some interior mods. I typically keep interior fairly stock other than touch points of the car. So lets start with the shifter. Picked up an MWR short shifter kit to aid in the sloppy shifting feel. Mind you, I also own an AP1 s2000, and that shifter has always been the benchmark of shifters even in oem form. Ive driven many many cars from low end to high end, and NOTHING comes close. If you’ve driven one, you will understand.  Installed the bushings and shifter and went out for a rip. Long story short….I hated it! quickly sold it off and accepted that this shifter is what it is. If you’ve ever driven an FC rx7 it feels very similar to that just with a bit more notchiness. Toyota shifters were never that great tbh so Ill stick with the bushing upgrade for now. Supposedly the TRD shifter is the best but discontinued :(. Definitely not dropping the hundreds of dollars for a shifter at this time in the build.  I also installed Kirkosaurous engine mount inserts at this point but didn’t take any pics. Highly recommend these as they slipped right in. Improved a lot of the feel especially in shifting, take off and acceleration.

Time to get crackin’ on some interior mods. I typically keep interior fairly stock other than touch points of the car. So lets start with the shifter. Picked up an MWR short shifter kit to aid in the sloppy shifting feel. Mind you, I also own an AP1 s2000, and that shifter has always been the benchmark of shifters even in oem form. Ive driven many many cars from low end to high end, and NOTHING comes close. If you’ve driven one, you will understand.

Installed the bushings and shifter and went out for a rip. Long story short….I hated it! quickly sold it off and accepted that this shifter is what it is. If you’ve ever driven an FC rx7 it feels very similar to that just with a bit more notchiness. Toyota shifters were never that great tbh so Ill stick with the bushing upgrade for now. Supposedly the TRD shifter is the best but discontinued :(. Definitely not dropping the hundreds of dollars for a shifter at this time in the build.

I also installed Kirkosaurous engine mount inserts at this point but didn’t take any pics. Highly recommend these as they slipped right in. Improved a lot of the feel especially in shifting, take off and acceleration.

One of the most important interior mods was next. 350mm MOMO monte carlo. Ive honestly had maybe 7 or 8 of these steering wheels in my time with cars. Every build or street car has run one, and I will not run anything else. Simple, elegant, classic.

One of the most important interior mods was next. 350mm MOMO monte carlo. Ive honestly had maybe 7 or 8 of these steering wheels in my time with cars. Every build or street car has run one, and I will not run anything else. Simple, elegant, classic.

Shout out to my homeboy Ed. Another MR2 enthusiast (he’s got a few). Buddy stopped by and gave me a gift consisting of a TRD ball knob and this model car he received years ago. It was a great sentiment and I much appreciate it. Thank you!

Shout out to my homeboy Ed. Another MR2 enthusiast (he’s got a few). Buddy stopped by and gave me a gift consisting of a TRD ball knob and this model car he received years ago. It was a great sentiment and I much appreciate it. Thank you!

Ordered this and a set of KTS coilovers from RHDJapan. Heel and toe in a size 11 in this car was never meant for this world haha. We shall see if this helps at all.  Did a lot of research for suspension and was never a fan of the Taiwanese based/built coils such as BC racing. Lots of mixed reviews of BC racing and similar mostly from street cars, hard parkers and drifters. KTS dynos their shocks and supposedly make coilovers for HKS. So hopefully I made a good decision for the price point.

Ordered this and a set of KTS coilovers from RHDJapan. Heel and toe in a size 11 in this car was never meant for this world haha. We shall see if this helps at all.

Did a lot of research for suspension and was never a fan of the Taiwanese based/built coils such as BC racing. Lots of mixed reviews of BC racing and similar mostly from street cars, hard parkers and drifters. KTS dynos their shocks and supposedly make coilovers for HKS. So hopefully I made a good decision for the price point.

Started to drive the car a lot more to get a good “feel” for it and its dynamics. Just on spirited drives the car already feels like it wants to rotate more so than any other FF chassis Ive built. Lift = oversteer, steering input = oversteer, weight transfer = oversteer lol. Snap oversteer in this case I believe is just a myth as I have never had it happened while driving this car. Even with my lack of experience with MR and trying to shift the weight poorly it doesn’t snap. Go drive an s2k or sw20 and shift the weight wrong, and yeah those will snap hard with a small chance of saving it! This ones easy to catch, not as easy as a miata, but will need to react much faster.  I have a lot of learning to do and habits to change driving and racing FF my whole life. What better way to do that? Hit up a local auto x. So that’s what I did.

Started to drive the car a lot more to get a good “feel” for it and its dynamics. Just on spirited drives the car already feels like it wants to rotate more so than any other FF chassis Ive built. Lift = oversteer, steering input = oversteer, weight transfer = oversteer lol. Snap oversteer in this case I believe is just a myth as I have never had it happened while driving this car. Even with my lack of experience with MR and trying to shift the weight poorly it doesn’t snap. Go drive an s2k or sw20 and shift the weight wrong, and yeah those will snap hard with a small chance of saving it! This ones easy to catch, not as easy as a miata, but will need to react much faster.

I have a lot of learning to do and habits to change driving and racing FF my whole life. What better way to do that? Hit up a local auto x. So that’s what I did.

Attended the August 25th auto x to test her out. For this session Im on my civics old race wheels with toyo R888R square setup. Mostly stock other than lowering springs and an axleback.  Not too bad as I podiumed for the ES class. Overall 10th. Fairly decent for my first time out ever in a RWD MR. I was definitely a lot more cautious with this car as I am a complete noob in this type of configuration. At this stage of the car and my abilities, my EM1 would have demolished this car in its current state. I am well aware a lot of it has to do with the dummy behind the wheel lol. But Ill take it and try and get the seat time I need to be competitive again. Next up is to install the coilovers once they arrive then test, test and test some more. I’m really considering going back to a staggered setup to maintain the factories intended characteristics, but only time will tell.

Attended the August 25th auto x to test her out. For this session Im on my civics old race wheels with toyo R888R square setup. Mostly stock other than lowering springs and an axleback.

Not too bad as I podiumed for the ES class. Overall 10th. Fairly decent for my first time out ever in a RWD MR. I was definitely a lot more cautious with this car as I am a complete noob in this type of configuration. At this stage of the car and my abilities, my EM1 would have demolished this car in its current state. I am well aware a lot of it has to do with the dummy behind the wheel lol. But Ill take it and try and get the seat time I need to be competitive again. Next up is to install the coilovers once they arrive then test, test and test some more. I’m really considering going back to a staggered setup to maintain the factories intended characteristics, but only time will tell.

Coils came in!!! Time to get busy as setting up coil overs is a daunting task. I made sure I freed my weekend to set them up for street dampening settings and ride height.

Coils came in!!! Time to get busy as setting up coil overs is a daunting task. I made sure I freed my weekend to set them up for street dampening settings and ride height.

Comparison of the full coil over vs the “oem” setup. A little disappointed in the weight savings if there was any. But pretty psyched to see what an inverted monotube will feel like for this particular car. Overall quality is good but note that all inverted shocks have adjustments made at the bottom which kinda sucks making changes on the fly.

Comparison of the full coil over vs the “oem” setup. A little disappointed in the weight savings if there was any. But pretty psyched to see what an inverted monotube will feel like for this particular car. Overall quality is good but note that all inverted shocks have adjustments made at the bottom which kinda sucks making changes on the fly.

Finally installed and time for setup. WIth my new wheels, Ill need to adjust the ride height accordingly.

Finally installed and time for setup. WIth my new wheels, Ill need to adjust the ride height accordingly.

Some new rubber for the misses. NANKANG AR-1. I’ve driven and raced on everything in the “cheater tire” class as well as a few dedicated race compounds, I have never seen a 80/100 TW tire this cheap in price. From all the articles I’ve read they seem very promising. Ill try and record my data as I test them out in the next few seasons of thrashing.

Some new rubber for the misses. NANKANG AR-1. I’ve driven and raced on everything in the “cheater tire” class as well as a few dedicated race compounds, I have never seen a 80/100 TW tire this cheap in price. From all the articles I’ve read they seem very promising. Ill try and record my data as I test them out in the next few seasons of thrashing.

Well here is my new set of wheels! Freshly coated TE37 in 15”/17” stagger. Thanks to my buddy Rob at the wheel clinic for taking care of these for me on such short notice. Pretty happy with the color we chose (white silver) as I really dig the silver on silver.

Well here is my new set of wheels! Freshly coated TE37 in 15”/17” stagger. Thanks to my buddy Rob at the wheel clinic for taking care of these for me on such short notice. Pretty happy with the color we chose (white silver) as I really dig the silver on silver.

Not hella slammed or monster truck status, just the way I like it. 17’s do look big in the rear but its all about tire choice. Next up is to get it aligned and properly setup the camber specs to my needs. Brought it in to work and had a friend perform the alignment for me (thanks Jackson!). I ended up with a conservative 1.5” of negative camber in the front and almost zero in the rear. The coil overs do have camber adjustment on the top hats but had them almost maxed out. Ideally I want to aim for 2.5”-3” of negative camber for the front. Ill just get some camber bolts to get close to that.  The coil overs are stiff! At 5k front and 7k rear I was not expecting this much harshness. Playing with the dampening settings I moved fronts and rears down for 7 clicks from full soft to 2 clicks. Cant even imagine what these feel like at the max 15 clicks. To be fair this car is stupid light. Lighter cars tend to be much harsher with moderate spring rates although tire choice can also dictate ride comfort. Much better over bumps and less skips through uneven surfaces. Hopefully I get a chance to test it out a little better before the white stuff starts flying FML. As of now I’m pretty happy with how they feel. I haven’t taken it to the limits yet but everything is just faster in response. Before I can recommend them to anyone ill need to test them out first which usually takes me a season to dial everything in. So far so good.  Stay Tuned for more updates! Ill try and update this section once a week. Thanks for following my build!  Ryan @ ST

Not hella slammed or monster truck status, just the way I like it. 17’s do look big in the rear but its all about tire choice. Next up is to get it aligned and properly setup the camber specs to my needs. Brought it in to work and had a friend perform the alignment for me (thanks Jackson!). I ended up with a conservative 1.5” of negative camber in the front and almost zero in the rear. The coil overs do have camber adjustment on the top hats but had them almost maxed out. Ideally I want to aim for 2.5”-3” of negative camber for the front. Ill just get some camber bolts to get close to that.

The coil overs are stiff! At 5k front and 7k rear I was not expecting this much harshness. Playing with the dampening settings I moved fronts and rears down for 7 clicks from full soft to 2 clicks. Cant even imagine what these feel like at the max 15 clicks. To be fair this car is stupid light. Lighter cars tend to be much harsher with moderate spring rates although tire choice can also dictate ride comfort. Much better over bumps and less skips through uneven surfaces. Hopefully I get a chance to test it out a little better before the white stuff starts flying FML. As of now I’m pretty happy with how they feel. I haven’t taken it to the limits yet but everything is just faster in response. Before I can recommend them to anyone ill need to test them out first which usually takes me a season to dial everything in. So far so good.

Stay Tuned for more updates! Ill try and update this section once a week. Thanks for following my build!

Ryan @ ST