Black '03 Projects

Started by Trebordoody, August 1, 2021, 12:15

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Trebordoody

Hi all,

This seems like a good place to start a journal of work done on my new hobbie/project car, my '03 MR2.

The car is in really good condition and has obviously been well looked after, with a fairly new hood and recently refurbed alloys making it a compelling buy from a friend of my Dad's.

I finally managed to get some top-down driving over the last couple of weeks, and I'm instantly in love with the car. Its great to drive, involving and not likely to lose my license (as previous hot hatches I've owned have threatened on a few occasions!). Driving it reminds me a bit of an X reg Celica we bought new many years ago and had great fun in, before the kids arrived and we needed to get a more sensible car!

After a good clean, here's the list of stuff I'm planning to do over the next few weeks, largely based on MOT advisories:
  • Headlight restoration
  • General service
  • Brake pads and disks replacement
  • Refurb or remove brake dust shields (they're a mess)
  • Replace head unit with something more modern
  • DA polish
 

I'm hoping to get some track driving tuition in before the end of the year, then who knows where things will head!

So to begin, a few pics of the car as bought...



Trebordoody

#1
I've already done the headlight polishing using the Autoglym Headlight Restoration Kit (was on offer for £17 on Amazon), and I'm really amazed at the results! As you can see from the before and after pics, I think it takes years off the car!!

This is the kit that uses successively finer sanding and polishing pads with an electric drill attachment. It took a couple of hours - and both drill batteries - but was pretty straight forward if you follow the instructions. I finished with Surface Sealant Easy Clean Coating (£12 on eBay) to hopefully keep them from fading back for a while.

First job down, and feeling very happy that I've got a new hobbie! ;D



Joesson

That's the first one done from your list!

puma2

 :) that is a good clear job keep going and let us no how you get on with the rest ;D  ;D

1979scotte

What's it like underneath?
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Free Ukraine 🇺🇦

Trebordoody

Quote from: 1979scotte on August  1, 2021, 17:42What's it like underneath?


I haven't had it up on a ramp or anything, but it looks pretty decent for 85K miles.
I checked the rear subframe when purchasing and it seems solid enough. I've read on here that they rot from inside out, but it doesn't show any obvious issues and the seller was keen to let me know it was solid too.
Once I've done a service, I need to do a proper check on everything and see what else is inevitably lurking under there! I'll be back on the forum gathering checklists for that and will upload pics of concerns ;)




The Other Stu

Have a really good look underneath - nappy off and up on stands. Unfortunately, the hole in the subframe is often where you can't see it - near where the welds are, hidden.

My first one had a hole the size of a tuppence. The second one, was about twice the size. Both on the right hand side as you look from the rear.

Trebordoody

Quote from: The Other Stu on August  6, 2021, 08:58Have a really good look underneath - nappy off and up on stands. Unfortunately, the hole in the subframe is often where you can't see it - near where the welds are, hidden.

My first one had a hole the size of a tuppence. The second one, was about twice the size. Both on the right hand side as you look from the rear.

OK thanks for the advice! Hopefully there are no surprises under there. I'm recovering from surgery which means it won't be for a while, but I have the axle stands and ready to investigate.

I should have pointed out in my intro that one of the reasons to buy the MR2 was to get into mechanics as a hobbyist - I'm in the electronics industry, but have never played with engines and bodywork. So with the money I've already saved getting shut of my Audi, I've bought a load of basic mechanic's tools (sockets, spanners etc), jack, stands, polishers etc and keen to start learning!

With this forum's support I'm sure I'm in safe hands.

Chilli Girl

You certainly are. I've learnt a hell of alot, you never stop learning. Well done for getting the first of the tools. ;D  These are awesome cars so much so I'm on my third in 16 years! Can't live without one!
Ex owners of Chilli red facelift 52 reg called Chilli, silver 55 reg called Foxy and blue pfl W reg MR-S called Sapphire. Now 2 less!

1979scotte

Quote from: Chilli Girl on August  6, 2021, 17:59These are awesome cars so much so I'm on my third in 16 years! Can't live without one!

I shall quote this post every time you even think about selling.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Free Ukraine 🇺🇦

Trebordoody

#10
Its been a while (recovering from a hernia and weather got in the way!), so time for an update...

Our office opened up again, so I went to work with the top down. I could hear a knocking/ringing on the passenger-side as I was travelling along. After reading notes on the forum, I was already aware of brake dust shields just being taken off due to rust. I checked mine and, sure enough, it was barely attached. In the bin it went when I got home, and I plan on removing the others soon.

More of a priority occurred in-between: the EML came on on the way home! I bought an ODB reader of Amazon and it threw out the (apparently dreaded) code P1349 - VVTi issue!
Back to the forum and other searches showed that this can just be caused by contaminant in the oil system so to flush the system first. My first major job was to have a go at servicing the car (remember, I'm completely new to mechanics!) so my fingers were firmly crossed that this would resolve things!

I managed to follow Carolyn's excellent service instructions (thanks for a very easy to follow guide Carolyn!):
https://www.mr2roc.org/forum/index.php?topic=67536.msg799515#msg799515
The only change was I needed to take the brace off to get the air box opened.
I'm also glad that I put lots of cardboard around the oil pan - a slight breeze caused havoc!
But everything else went according to plan. 
I decided to flush the system with Forte - which claims to also target VVTi so no harm doing this now.
30 min idle and oil refill, followed by new oil filter, new sparks and new air filter.
I reset the ODB code and fired her up, and the engine didn't explode! PHEW!!
And after 5 more trips this week, the EML has stayed off! Fingers still crossed as I know it can come back any time, but so far so good!

While the nappy was off, I took a better look around the subframe cross member following The Other Stu's advice. Pics are attached. There is quite a bit of rust obviously and a couple of worrying areas. I tapped around and seems solid everywhere, but other than keeping an eye on it not sure what to do. If Stu or anyone can cast their eye over them and share opinion, that would be great! Hopefully there's still some life left in it - I'm not sure that would be a good second job for the inexperienced me!!

The suspension arms didn't look particularly good either - one to add to the list perhaps?

If the cross member is OK for now, my next priority at the moment is getting MOT advisories sorted.
- Brake pads and discs replaced all round.
- Suspension rubber boots are worn - I might leave this a while and replace the whole lot with the arms in the spring.

On a different (and less concerning) note, I'm disappointed that the headlight misting has returned already. The Autoglym polish/refurb did a great job, but I think the UV sealant didn't perform. Its not as bad as it was, but I hoped for a longer term fix. I'll try again and put another couple of coats of UV on just to see how that goes. Maybe a spray or something else is required.

That's all for now - I'm really chuffed I've got my hands dirty and the car is still running. Hopefully the brake replacement will mean it can stop afterwards!!!



Topdownman

That fifth picture does look like you need some welding on the subframe.

The first step for me would be to wire brush all the rust, de-rust it and then prime/paint with a suitable product (everything under the car, not just the subframe). Its the kind of job you will probably need to do every few years but will look so much better for being done, stop the rampant spread of rust and will help to pass the MOT as the car looks like it is being maintained.

The front shock boots in particular fall apart but I wouldnt do that job on is own but replace them when you decide what you want to do about your suspension. There are lots of threads about suspension refresh/upgrade etc. to confuse you!
"Racing" tax disc holder (binned), Poundland air freshener, (ran out), Annoying cylinder deficiency,  (sorted),
Winner of the Numb bum award 2017
Readers Ride

06 not V6 readers ride

Roj

As Topdownman says, the fifth pic looks like the most worrying. If it's still solid underneath that surface rust, it won't stay that way for long. I'd second the advice above re: rubbing down, treating and keeping an eye on things.

Don't get too worried about the suspension arms, they're almost all corroded on the surface but rarely rot through unless badly damaged. Bushes don't look too clever though.

Trebordoody

Thanks Topdownman and Roj, really useful feedback.

I won't be able to weld anything, but can definitely rub down, treat and paint. Hopefully that patch remains solid for a while!

And I'm glad the suspension can wait. I do want to do it, but not just yet. I'll probably do the whole thing and replace the bushes at the same time in the spring.

Thanks again both of you.
Cheers, Rob



Roj

Quote from: Trebordoody on October  6, 2021, 08:35Thanks Topdownman and Roj, really useful feedback.

I won't be able to weld anything, but can definitely rub down, treat and paint. Hopefully that patch remains solid for a while!

And I'm glad the suspension can wait. I do want to do it, but not just yet. I'll probably do the whole thing and replace the bushes at the same time in the spring.

Thanks again both of you.
Cheers, Rob



Top tip for the future if/when you take things apart to replace or refurbish them. Buy yourself an impact gun, specifically one with a decent break out torque rating. Life changing piece of kit!

Trebordoody

Quote from: Roj on October  6, 2021, 11:39Top tip for the future if/when you take things apart to replace or refurbish them. Buy yourself an impact gun, specifically one with a decent break out torque rating. Life changing piece of kit!

Thanks Roj, good advice - I'll ask Father Christmas and see what happens! ;)

AJRFulton

A 3/8" electric ratchet is a fluffing great thing as well - after the impact gun, the next life changing bit of kit! Particularly on a cold day, when reaching in a place with barely any purchase.

Trebordoody

#17
Well, its been a while and with plenty going on in life and work, plus miserable weather, I haven't had much time to work on things.

However, some updates:

Just after Christmas, the battery died and couldn't start up. I jumped started it fine, but within a week it had died again. I think the cold weather exposed the weakness in the battery, and I suspect that it was dead for a while before I bought the car - I know it was SORNED for a few months. And apparently once they die, they never fully recover!

I therefore bought a new battery and its been absolutely fine since!

The big job that had highest priority was sorting the subframe and underside rust. Thanks to previous responses, I rubbed down the subframe and suspension arms etc, rust treated, zinc primed and Hammerite smooth sprayed it, and I think that the underside looks much more respectable now. The rust spot behind the cat seemed pretty solid, but I'll keep an eye on it.

I've now received new pads and discs so that's my next job.

I've also receieved a new InPhase USW10 for under the dash, and new JVC head unit is on the way, so upgrading the audio will be next month's work (and adjusting the handbrake travel while I'm there!)



Trebordoody

#18
Yay! A week off work with some decent weather means
a) I can get the top down and have a blast around the local B roads
b) I can do some work on the toy!  ;D

Main job to complete this week is brakes. I've had a set of Pagid disks and pads for a while, particularly as the scoring was an advisory on the last MOT but also because they look a mess, so finally summoned up the courage to give it a go!

I also wanted to get rid of the blue paint on the calipers and mid-section of the disc which was done by the previous owner. Whilst its not too offensive on a black car, its pretty tired and needs redoing. I thought of going red, but I've had 3 black cars with red calipers and although I like the combination, I fancied a change and something more low key. So have decided to go black with some white TRD decals off eBay.

Hopefully the How To will see me through this...!



Trebordoody

#19
Thankfully the calipers and discs all came off fine. Whilst they were off I tidied up the hub with wire brushing etc, and removed the remnants of the brake dust shields.

I sanded the calipers down and gave them a few coats of Hammerite smooth black spray and they came up really well. I applied the TRD decal sticker, then thought I should put some clear laquer over them to protect them.

What a mistake....!!!!  :-[  :-[

I don't know if it was because the laquer has been around in the garage for a while, or it shouldn't be used with the Hammerite, but it orange peeled straight away. And then softened the Hammerite which started to come away!! Lesson learned - don't mix Hycote laquer and Hammerite!!!

So basically started again - peeled, scraped, sanded and resprayed, stuck on the decal and left it at that. I've read that some on the forum have just put decals and they've lasted a while, so we'll see how it goes!



Trebordoody

#20
With the new pads and discs installed, the whole set-up looks waaay better now and I'm happy with the choice of black calipers on the car.

Still the rears to do, but hopefully they'll go quicker!



Alex Knight

Quote from: Trebordoody on March 15, 2022, 20:21Still the rears to do, but hopefully they'll go quicker!

LOL - enjoy resetting the handbrake 🤪

shnazzle

The only big difference on the rear is that the pistons need winding in with the correct tools (easily available at your local) and that the handbrake cable gets in the way of swinging the caliper off the carrier.

Some people undo the actual cable. I just undo the bracket held on with the 12mm bolt.

Handbrake OFF
Wind the piston in,mount it all up. 
Get in the car, pump the brake a good few times. Press and hold in, then pull the handbrake. Over 4 mr2s and 10+ years this never failed me
...neutiquam erro.

Trebordoody

Quote from: shnazzle on March 15, 2022, 22:04The only big difference on the rear is that the pistons need winding in with the correct tools (easily available at your local) and that the handbrake cable gets in the way of swinging the caliper off the carrier.

Some people undo the actual cable. I just undo the bracket held on with the 12mm bolt.

Handbrake OFF
Wind the piston in,mount it all up.
Get in the car, pump the brake a good few times. Press and hold in, then pull the handbrake. Over 4 mr2s and 10+ ; ;) )  years this never failed me

Thanks for the advice shnazzle!

The handbrake is "near the end of travel" according to another MOT advisory, so I was just going to adjust the cable nut under the centre console like some others have.

However, sounds like your method also adjusts things. Will the handbrake go back to where it was before (near end of travel) or will it correct things and go back to a few clicks?

I guess I'll find out either way!!  ;)

Trebordoody

Quote from: AlexKnight on March 15, 2022, 21:38LOL - enjoy resetting the handbrake 🤪

Oh great!  :o Sounds like I'll need another week off work...