The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

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Magic Beans
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Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Magic Beans »

Afternoon all. Well, those who might see this, unless I’m sat digitally talking to myself, after spending hours writing all of this :lol:

First up: Hats off to the IMOC team for keeping the forum going! This whole Mule thread was always intended to be me documenting my journey so I have something to look back on in the future. That wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts you guys put in :clap:

Right, I have to apologise for dangling a carrot and then vanishing for months. It wasn’t intended, it’s the product of a load of other distractions and some unforeseen obstacles with the car that have derailed things #-o

OK, enough preamble! What’s the thing then?!

Well, no surprises really, it’s another MR2. Moreover, another Mk2 Rev 3 Turbo Import. No massive surprise really, given my history and deep engrained love for them as both cars and aesthetic items.

Why have you bought yet another?!

I sold Mule VIII, the one previously owned by both StuLee and muckyman (twice), for two reasons. Well, technically one but that highlighted the second. That reason being garage space, or lack of. At the time I only had a single garage, which meant keeping an MR2 in there left little to no room for anything else. Getting the bikes out, accessing storage, using the workshop space, it was all massively compromised by having a car in there. Especially one that I wasn’t using as much as I’d intended. The decision at the time was the right one and I have no regrets. It was a damn handsome car though and the fact it was nearly the car I’d bought as a shell for Mule II made it all the more special.

Cut to 2020 and a world that had turned into a massive potato. We all know last year was a bust so I’ll not dwell on it. However, some good did come out of it; us finally deciding to move house being one of those things. A key benefit that brings, aside from the obvious abundance of living space and the usual frills, is I now have the garage space I’ve been wanting!

I’d not actively been looking for another MR2, far from it really. I did do eBay searches from time to time to see what the market’s like in terms of quality and quantity. I’d also swing by IMOC every now and then, do some remote lurking and see what’s happening with everyone’s projects. On one particular occasion I found myself in the MR2’s For Sale section, purely out of curiosity. I spotted JD’s ad and all the lights came on in my head! A couple of days and several exchanged messages later everything was agreed and the date was set for collection. The only remaining obstacle was convincing Adrienne that sacrificing her Bank Holiday Monday and spending pretty much the whole day in the car, enduring hellish traffic driving TO THE END (SIDE) OF THE COUNTRY, or so it felt :lol:, was a good idea. Given I’m here and writing this I think the outcome was obvious and I was again reminded why she’s an absolute gem! :queen: :heart:

Yes yes, that’s a lovely backstory, I’m just here for the photos!

OK, I have waffled on for long enough. I’ll continue to waffle (you should all be used to this by now :lol: ) but here’s a few photos.

Collection

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Home
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Its former stablemate. Excuse the state of the garage, it was a work in progress at the time
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And I thought Minis were low!
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What’s wrong with it?

On the whole it’s a great car and with some time and TLC it will become a very sorted example. However, it’s a 27-year-old car and naturally it has a few areas that could use a refresh.

1. The clutch was slipping, badly: After some later (yesterday) diags this looks likely to be a stuck slave cylinder. That’s being replaced and the clutch has been replaced, which we’ll get on to shortly.

2. The paintwork and bodywork needs some TLC. It’s a 10-footer. Looks good on the photos but when you get close you see the real picture. There’s also some bubbling on the arches and the OS inner arch is rusted through in the usual place

3. A minor oil leak from the cam cover

Beyond that there’s a few small things to tackle like cabin rattles and mystery pipes in the engine bay. Overall, it’s a solid car and has bags of potential.

What have I done so far?

In all honesty, not a lot. Well, not as much as I’d hoped, which was partly due to the stumbled start from the clutch/slave issues.

I have put a bung in the Apexi exhaust, because my god I came to hate the drove on 4-hour drive home. My ears were ringing for a couple of hours after I got back! Yeah, I’m getting old! :lol:

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One thing that has been done is the clutch, with the support of Pete (Pistol). Who’s help is hugely appreciated!

Survey the area

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Find some grim

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Help has arrived!

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Magic tricks were performed

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Things came off/out

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A good portion of a day and a bit of a fight later, the gearbox was out! It wasn’t easy but it also wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been.
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The old clutch. It wasn’t ruined but it would have needed doing at some point

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New clutch installed

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There was a casualty… The hardlines for the clutch slave were pretty badly corroded and one of the ends snapped off. I’ve since managed to source new lines but it was a massive faff!

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Cut to some time later and everything was back together!

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And that’s how it’s remained for the last couple of months or so. While I sourced the replacement hard line, ordered the service items we’d identified and waited for another suitable date for Pete and I to wave tools at the car again.

What am I doing to it?

As you’d expect, I’m forming a bit of a list :wink: The immediate plan being as follows:

• Replace the clutch slave – New part is here and waiting to be fitted
• Replace the gearbox axle oil seals – One got damaged during the install. The other is being done as preventative maintenance
• Replace the cam cover gaskets – Full set here and waiting to be fitted when we do the clutch slave etc
• Identify and resolve the cabin rattle – Suspect it’s the plastic trim on the passenger side. It drove me crazy on the long long drive home, when I could hear it over the drone of the exhaust...
• Identify and resolve fuel breather and other random open lines/pipes
• Fit a recirculation pipe to the HKS BOV. It has the nozzle and we all know I’m not a vent-to-air kind of guy. And yes, I’m well aware it does almost nothing to mute the noise :lol:

The entire clutch slave assembly I had to buy just to get the lines!

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The new gaskets, clutch slave and seals, ready to be installed in a couple of weeks

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Longer term I’ll be doing the following:

• Replace Apexi with a twin, ideally a Berk. Exhausts are hard to find these days though, so I’ll likely buy one new
• Replace NS rear inner arch
• Bodywork overhaul, some any rust or damage and a have a full respray
• Remove, treat, prep and paint various parts over time, as/when they come off the car. I’ve actually made a start on this, which I’ll show on my next update

Also pondering which of the following I do:

1. Swap the GT28 out for a stock CT20B – It has the stock ECU so a CT20B would be a better fit for a stock car

Or…

2. Finish JD’s origin plans for the engine - Fit some 800cc injectors, new ECU, dyno mapping session and around 350bhp

Need the car on the road again and to do some good miles before I make that decision. I’m not chasing big numbers on the car; I like them best at the 300-350bhp mark.

Right, that’s all for now. Well, assuming a) anybody is reading this, and b) you’ve made it this far :lol: More soon when things happen.
Martin F
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Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Martin F »

You might not be aware of this but 'mule 2' still lives, just in a different body.... I sold everything from that build to the same enthusiast. I would go as far as saying she isn't just in a more modified mr2 but one in much, much better condition.... If you still have the fuse covers then sell them back to me and i will donate them back to where they belong 8)
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JAAASH
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Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by JAAASH »

Nice! I always enjoyed following JD’s progress on this. Good to see it’s going to continue on the forum :clap:

Garage looks ace!
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Magic Beans
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:01 pm

Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Magic Beans »

Martin F wrote: Thu Sep 30, 2021 7:41 pm
You might not be aware of this but 'mule 2' still lives, just in a different body.... I sold everything from that build to the same enthusiast. I would go as far as saying she isn't just in a more modified mr2 but one in much, much better condition.... If you still have the fuse covers then sell them back to me and i will donate them back to where they belong 8)


Oh really? That's great to hear! Be good to see photos of how she's looking now :D

Such a shame that the car was the victim of poor initial preparation, bodywork wise. That engine always remained mighty though 8)

The fuse covers went with Mule VIII. Which after being back in the hands of Michael (muckyman) I believe subsequently went to another IMOC member (nickg07), who I'd been speaking to when he was interested in buying the car. I did drop Nick a PM to see if he did buy the car in the end. The message doesn't appear to have read though.
Magic Beans
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:01 pm

Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Magic Beans »

JAAASH wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 2:14 am
Nice! I always enjoyed following JD’s progress on this. Good to see it’s going to continue on the forum :clap:

Garage looks ace!


Thanks, Josh :)

Having a car with a known history on IMOC was important for me. Knowing the good and the bad points means you're well aware of what you have, what you might find and what you might/will need to do.

One thing that's for sure is I'll be having nothing to do with the bodywork on this one. It will go off to a reputable shop to have all the issues resolved and then a quality paint job done. This car needs to be on the road for another 27 years (fuel supplies permitting), so a little more investment now will ensure it is. There's so few good example left, or so it appears. You feel more like a custodian than just a car owner!
rossonza
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Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by rossonza »

this is sweet man. garage is also a massive win. look forward to more updates :D
Magic Beans
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:01 pm

Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Magic Beans »

rossonza wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:32 pm
this is sweet man. garage is also a massive win. look forward to more updates :D


I got a little bit of time this weekend to organise things a little more, so it's not quite so messy now.

Still need to install some shelving on the far wall, as it's prime real estate for car gubbins storage. Also, I want to fit some sort of draught excluder to the garage door bases, to keep leaves, mice (there's been one, not sure if it's still around though), the winter out.
Rob66
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Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Rob66 »

Looks great and fantastic garage just a bit jealous :D
Magic Beans
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:01 pm

Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Magic Beans »

Rob66 wrote: Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:17 pm
Looks great and fantastic garage just a bit jealous :D


:D

It definitely makes the dynamic of having an MR2 very different. Previously they were always kind of in the way, which meant they felt they owed me something to justify the space/utility sacrifice. Now that's not an issue so it simply being there is enough.

Then there's the extra element of anticipation and excitement of actually being able to use it. Or work on it without the pressure of having to get things back together so you can move.
Magic Beans
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:01 pm

Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Magic Beans »

One thing I haven't done is listed the current spec of the car. This is lifted directly from JD's ad:

1994 Revision 3 GT-S T-bar, 3E5 red
Forged build with JE 86.5mm pistons
Garrett GT2860RS internally wastegated
Blitz Dual SBC
Goodridge oil drain and water hoses for turbo with firesleeve
Custom 3" downpipe
Apexi GT exhaust
255LPH fuel pump
SARD FPR (genuine)
-6 braided fuel lines
New Toyota fuel filter
Apexi power intake
HKS SSQV

Tein Super Street adjustable coilovers with Tein pillowball top mounts
Yokohama Advan SA3R with Toyo R1-R tyres
Prothane bushes front and rear
Recently blasted and painted front and rear subframes and arms
EBC red stuff pads and grooved discs

Honda DC2 Recaro SR seats in red
A-pillar pod with oil temp and boost gauges
Raybrig headlights
Alpine headunit MP3/iPod/CD/etc
Magic Beans
Posts: 4713
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:01 pm

Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Magic Beans »

Well, this weekend we're doing all the jobs on the list, that once done should mean it can drive it again!

Pretty excited by this prospect, just sharing :D
rossonza
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:34 pm
Location: West Midlands

Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by rossonza »

Magic Beans wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 12:59 pm
Well, this weekend we're doing all the jobs on the list, that once done should mean it can drive it again!

Pretty excited by this prospect, just sharing :D


Howd you get on with the list dude
Magic Beans
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:01 pm

Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Magic Beans »

In short: It was a bit of a fight which resulted in victory, but with a casualty along the way...

*Note* This is a pretty photo lite update, due to focus being on doing (fighting bits) rather than documenting.

Since my last update I've spent some time prepping and painting the bits I'd removed. The intake being especially visible and ratty.

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Moving on to the bigger jobs ... This familiar face joined me this weekend :jocolor:

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The "To Do" list comprised of the following:

1. Remove the wheels, arms, axles etc
2. Remove and replace the NS gearbox shaft oil seal
3. Remove and replace the OS gearbox axle oil seal
4. Fit the new clutch slave cylinder
5. Replace clutch fluid and bleed entire system
6. Replace the cam cover gaskets
7. Put everything back together
8. Go outside, drive the car under its own power and make boost noises (I'd never heard the car make boost, not even 1 PSI, the clutch issue was that bad)

Let's work through them in order:

1. Everything came part without any real issue. Which you'd expect, given it was taken apart around 2-3 months ago

Win!

2. Remove the NS seal took a bit of effort but it ultimately came off without any damage to the gearbox. Fitting the new seal was a bit more traumatic, as it didn't want to go in straight and really didn't want to seat. I'll spare the details but the end result was the new seal got damaged and will need replacing.

The replacement is currently on order and will hopefully be with me tomorrow. One positive is we've learnt a better method for installing and fashioned a tool to do so without risking any damage to the part. It's a bit of a bummer but a lesson learnt and the only cost is a bit more time and a new part.

Fail #-o

3. This one came off easily but also tried to fight us when fitting the new seal. However, given the lesson learnt from the first we fashioned a tool to better tap it in, which worked and so far is good and dry.

Win!

4. This step was all on Pete and was a real fighter! Especially as the old crusty clutch line wasn't in any mood to come off the old fitting. We ended up opting to fit the new slave and lines onto the old piece. With some perseverance and a lot of crud falling on his face, it was on.

Another win!

5. This took a little time but was made much easier de to the bleeder Pete had brought with him. The main factor was trying to time to top-ups properly, as when the vacuum was pulling the reservoir drained quickly! A few full circuits and a lot of pedal pumping later, it was bled and the pedal has a nice positive feel.

Another win! We're on a roll!

6. Didn't happen :lol:

We started pulling everything off and found the cam cover bolts were only hand tight. Then after getting to the point where the timing belt cover needed to come off and seeing that one bolt between the pulleys which was 100% going to drop into Narnia, we decided it was probaby best to abort. The leak Pete had spotted previously was really minor and might have been residual from previous work. The decision was made that it was most likely due to the cover bolts being pretty loose so we tightened those and I'll monitor it going forwards.

Neither a win nor a loss but I feel it's a potential loss missed, as it felt like something was destined to go wrong.

7. Besides one of the arms not wanting to bolt up without some persuasion, it all went back together.

Win!

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8. With the battery having been charged it was time to connect it, see if anything caught fire and it the car would start. No fires and in typical MR2 fashion it fired up immediately and purred away. They always impress me with that, as the ECU had been unplugged and the fuel has been set for 6 months. No issues, no dramas, just fires up on the button :-D

The clutch bite point was way off, with it engaging on the slightest lift of the foot from being flat to the floor. After some investigation Pete found it had been wound to the limit, beyond in fact. A few gymnastic moves and a squabble with a pair of grips and spanner later, it was set into a much better position. Perfect in fact.

Then it was time to drive it, albeit just up and down the cul-de-sac. Man, what a feeling to finally be driving an MR2! How much I've missed being in the driver's seat! I'd forgotten how smooth they can feel with a set of decent coilovers on. I'd say it's considerably smoother than my Z4! Most importantly, it held power and made boost! We're not talking launches here but it's clear the main issue is resolved and the car can now hold power! :cheers:

Pete took it up and down the road too and just seeing it moving was amazing. They're such good looking cars! :lover:

We let it sit and idle for a while, to check everything gets up to temp: no dramas at all. An impressively happy car, considering it's need for some TLC.

All in all I'm really pleased with how things went and as always, very grateful to Pete for his time and support! :hug:

One final thing I sorted later that evening was to relocate the boost controller. It was on the steering cowel, which needed moving for a multitude of reasons.

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After many things being removed, relocated and replaced

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This isn't its forever home but it'll do for now. Until I decide where to better put it in the future, or if it's removed in favour of a better solution.

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Next up will be me tackling the NS oil seal myself. Let's see how that goes :pray: Before that I'll need to drain the gearbox again, with the current seal leak being about 100ml per day.
rossonza
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Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by rossonza »

thats great mate. bet your well chuffed haha. :D
Magic Beans
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Re: The journey of one man and his Mule(s)

Post by Magic Beans »

rossonza wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 11:25 am
thats great mate. bet your well chuffed haha. :D


It's a solid step forwards :D

Since then there's been more progress, with the new seal being delivered and fitted earlier today :cheers:

I had a minor crisis when the bolt that held the arm into the subframe spun when tightened! After some logical deduction I found the issue (the user), which was that I'd mixed the 19mm it needed up with the 17mm from the other arm! #-o With the correct bolt used it's nipped up nice and tight.

I'll finish up evrything and do an update after next week. We're heading off to a hotel now, ahead of a flight to Canada tomorrow :cheers:
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