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87jeep 07-14-2016 09:52 AM

Reintroducing myself after being away for a while

I set up this accounts a few years ago with the intention then of getting some more mileage on an 87 Jeep Wrangler. Yeah, that didn't work and the Wrangler caught on fire.

Anyway, fast forward a few years. Now I live in South Dakota, where it's winter 9 months of the year and really nice for about 3. I bought an 87 Toyota MR2 from my brother for about $600 when I was moving to South Dakota. It has 215,000 miles on the original engine. It sat in my garage for a while not working; but its all fixed now and its on the road again.

So far all I have done is deleted the side mirrors. As of right now I am tracking approximately 31 mpg on a 29 year old engine. My mpg is being tracked by dividing the number of miles driven on the trip odometer by the amount of gas it takes to fill the car at the next fill up. It's probably not the most accurate but it works for now.

My goals for this car are to reach 300,000 miles on the original engine and to get 35 or 40 mpg while keeping the fun nature of it's drivability. I would like to autocross it eventually (for fun, so I don't care what class I end up in).

I drive Jeeps during the snowy season. We literally got snow higher than the doors at the hospital I work at during one work day, so the 4wd is really nice to have.

The MR2 is basically my summer weather commuter at this point. I drive about 20 miles to work one way.

My future aero goals for this car are to add a front air dam, add a rear lip style spoiler, and to start with lightening the car. My windshield is cracked very badly and it will be less expensive to replace it with lexan that to replace it with glass, so I will probably do that. While I am at it I've thought about making lexan T tops by replacing the glass in the current tops.

Thanks in advance for all the help.

elhigh 07-14-2016 03:37 PM


I love the first-gen Mister Two. I worked at a Toyota dealership when they were introduced, and when the first one was rolled off the delivery truck, did I arrange to take it for a spin on a dealership errand? MAYBE. Was it hella fun? MAYBE.

It's a pretty lightweight, highly tossable chassis and I guess the biggest risk of it is just how willing to rev that little engine is. It's hard to keep your foot out of it.

So. Thoughts on how to start? It's approximately the shape and size of a doorstop, as I recall.

87jeep 07-14-2016 04:17 PM

I had a few ideas for long term.

First, there are several different gear sets available for the C52 with different gear ratios. It would be expensive but you could put a lower gear ratio if you were so inclined. I doubt I will change this because it's expensive; but if I had the gears and the time I would try it.

Second, you could change the timing a bit. I'm probably not going to mess with this much either.

Third would be an engine swap: There are a lot of options for this that range from drop in to extensive customization. Technically, with enough time and money, you could fit just about any front wheel drive engine in it as long as you used the engine, transmission, and axles. I may do an engine swap in the future after the 4AGE dies; but honestly I will probably put one in with more power. I like the idea of the 2zz swap, or even a 1zzfe; I also have considered a 4efte engine or a 20 valve 4age if I could find a good price on one with low miles.

(If I knew someone who could fab custom engine and transmission mounts, I think a VW 1.8 turbo engine would be awesome in this car. )

Fourth, you could put different cams in it; but the cost of good cams gets you really close to the cost of a replacement engine. Same with trying to turbo the car; by the time you pay for everything you could have replaced the engine with something newer and more efficient.

It comes with a CD of .36 stock. Mine is slightly lowered already and I removed the side mirrors. I'm thinking my way through a front end redesign to make the front a little more aerodynamic. I've also considered trying to make a fastback cover over the notchback rear; as this is the worst aero offender about this car.

I'll probably also do wheel covers; I've thought about using precut clear Plexiglas circles for this.

I'd like some lightweight wheels. It has some aftermarket wheels on it now and I would gladly trade them straight over for some lighter weight economy focused wheels.

87jeep 07-15-2016 10:13 AM

I filled up today for my official baseline. 209 miles with 6.7 gallons, for 31.19mpg.

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