Bringing her back to life...Where to start?


I am feeling a bit lost and need some advice if you can lend your knowledgeable brains for a moment please I would appreciate it,

I am sure this is a situation quite a few people find themselves in so it might help others too.

My MR2 has been lying up for a few years and I would like to put it back on the road so I put a battery on it and fired it up, brought it in to the garage opened the engine cover and stared in for a while and that was about 4 weeks ago.

Where do I start?

Here is what I am dealing with at the moment, this is not an exhaustive list just things that popped in to my head:
- The tires must be rotten at this point right?
- The wheels could do with a refurb
- The paintwork is crap and I would love to bring her back to her old glory with a respray, how much does that cost and does the engine need to come out etc?
- The brakes look rotten...
- Will the coilovers be useless after a few years of lying up?

So where do you start? Its feeling a little daunting currently.

thanks :)
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my first move in such situations is to take a step back, take a deep breath...and approach the situation as logically, objective and open minded as i can from there

inspect the car thoroughly, engine, suspension, wiring, electrics, tire/wheels, exhaust, body/chassis, etc and make a list of what you find that needs attention....then i go about prioritizing this list and costing/estimation the various items as i rank them, filling in some later on as i get more information---i actually would use something like a spreadsheet with comments or notes to do this

if left in the open air (even if covered) for a long time, i'd think the tires are dry rotted, the rims may need a clenaing to tell what true condition they are in
the coilovers probably have surface rust on the springs and housings but you would need to take them off and inspect if they are still functioning properly
you will probably have some rust spots on the body, walk around the car and note all, check by the windows, windscreens, under panels, wheel sills, trunk, bonnet, etc...look for paint fade/peel.....this will help determine if you need a some minor pot painting or a full paint job
possible the brake rotors and pads have rusted together need replacing

check the oil, coolant, gear oil, etc. for moisture in these systems,,,they may all need replacing

Rome was not built in a day, but when you have complied your list, then you will have something to make a reasonable decision on how you want to proceed (rebuild/scrap/sell, order parts, etc.)

also, if you spend money to bring it back, you may want to look at options to ensure it does not get back in the current state---garage/storage unit, etc-----this will save money in the future


Knowing them I'd start underneath make sure its solid, rear pockets and sills normally go on them.
I'm taking it it's the 3sge lump, fairly bulletproof engine really, I beat mine(g5 celica) to death and it was still going strong at 200K, shame the body didn't feel the same :(
Typical 3s stuff like rocker gaskets, leads, ignition components I'd check over too, had a rotor arm fail and in spectacular fashion it exited the cap through the side lol
Head gaskets where prone aswell, moreso on the gt-four st185, 205 head gasket was revised
That was another job I done, 30 quid for the gasket and a day on the spanners
Timing belt every 60K or 5 years, again 30ish quid and a few hours spannering :)


Tis the 3SGTE lump.

I had heard there are some foam pieces inside the sides behind the drivers seats that soak up water and cause rust on the sides so I should probably have a look there too. There is a bit of rust on the bottom of the driver's door, not too bad.


The car in question... Looking sorry for herself.


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Wheels off and start digging..

I think the rust has already been covered, you would be wanting to wire-brush as much dirt off the underside to see what you are dealing with. Hopefully she's solid and you can concentrate on the mechanicals. My SW20 started to eat the rear liners so have a good hoke.

The 3SGTE is a strong engine just make sure there's no leaks and renew all the filters and fluids. Plugs are worth renewing too.

Check all your wheels are spinning - Toyota calipers can jam up and cause problems. Run your eyes over the brake and fuel lines too in case there's corrosion eating into them.

Speaking of wheels, treat her to some fresh rubber and have the rims refurbished. You will feel good inside once you see them done lol.


Ahh, a widow maker :)
Dont see that many about now tho, the mate is nearly finished building his the last few years lol, he popped the engine being silly