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turbo gauge messed up?

3862 Views 46 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  eclypz
Hey guys,

I am in the market to get an mr2 right now and I test drove a 91 turbo. I had a few questions I was hoping you might be able to help me out with. First of all, the guy wants 5800 for it. The paint is starting to fade out in a few places but is pretty solid overall. There was quite a bit of oily greasy buildup around the valve cover and that had me a bit concerned but perhaps this is just a natural fact and it may only need a new valve cover gasket. I still don't know how to discern the magical harmless gunk that builds up in the coolant reservoir between that and oil. The little plastic filter thing on the end of the hose going into the reservoir had some brown stuff which looked like it was once a brown liquid that dried up on the plastic deal.

The driver's side seat is missing it's leather, lol. The owner said it got all hard and cracked so he just pulled it out. I don't know how much it would cost to get a new driver's side seat, although it really wasn't all that bad sitting in it without.

But here's the big thing I'm still trying to understand. When I started it up and cruised the streets, not punching it yet, the turbo gauge needle was all the way rock bottom. It was right next to a minus sign. I was under the impression that it should actually sit at the mark above that which looks like a zero point. The gauge would only seem to show boost sporadically. There were a few times I punched it, wrapped it up to 5-6k and yet the gauge would only show activity a little bit. Then there were times I only climbed up to 4 and the gauge would go up quite a bit.

Now, I don't know what the stock psi on the turbo is, but I heard no turbo whistle as I pulled through the rpms. I also didnt notice that it pulled in a turbo-ish kind of way. But it did pull strong. It pulled nice and hard like an na would be expected, there just didnt seem to be that kick towards the end of each gear like I thought it should. Would this engine still pull at all though if the turbo was faulty? Or would the lower compression of the engine make for a sluggish ride without the boost?

Basically I'm just trying to figure out where the problem was with this ride. Is the gauge typically a faulty gauge as it is with some turboed cars or was there something wrong with this baby? The car had 144k on it, is it time for an overhaul, rebuilding the engine and turbo on this thing?

I really loved the car otherwise and it was a sexy little thing so I would love to get it, but I want to either stay away from it because it's falling apart, or I want to go in and bargain like hell because of some of these things I noticed if they're really not a big deal.

any advice and direction would be much appreciated...
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i dunno about the other stuff, but the stock boost guage is useless, it doesnt tell u anything at all
I was starting to think that same thing. It's bizarre that a stock part like a boost gauge would be faulty, although I know it's not uncommon. Rx7s have the same problem and it baffles me how a car gets out of the factory without a solid gauge. hmm...

So what about the rest of this? Anybody else have some opinions on it? I drove a 91 mitsubishi eclipse gsx yesterday. The things are ugly IMO, but I wanted to see what the story was with the awd and turbo. The turbo definitely came in strong all the way throughout, but perhaps the stock mr2 boost level is only like 7psi(?)...

How much would it cost to have the turbo rebuilt, or to buy a new one and replace it?

With the condition I described this thing to be in, what would you consider a reasonable price for it? Do you think 5800 is reasonable? I was thinking, if I was going to get it at all, to offer him 4500 and see what happens. Thoughts?
The Stock turbo in the MR2, the CT26, does not pull hard to redline.
It is a low rpm, fast spooling turbo that tuckers out around 5500 rpms.
It was designed for fast responsiveness, not max power.
Thanks for heads up, man. So is the turbo 'sound' a bit more disguised since it's tucked back by the exhaust? I didn't really notice the whistle of the turbo.

Also, let's say the turbo was not engaging or working properly. Would the car have been sluggish then because of the lower compression, or would it still run fairly strong?

I'm going to have this guy take the ride to a toyota dealership to have them look over it, but I will be forking out the cash for it and want to make sure I know it's worth even doing this before I go ahead with it.
You should hear a slight turbo whine in a 100% stock car ... the noise is there, but not extremely loud.
If you were not making boost, you would have been really unimpressed.

Is there any mods on the car?
No it's 100% stock. I didn't really notice a whine, but my only experiences with turbos is from a mitsubishi eclipse that had something like 11psi and an rx7 that had 13, so I may be a bit spoiled on the boost sound. Then again I just looked at what I wrote and realized I must have not been paying attention because there should have been something there. Like I said though, it definitely got up and went but I guess I expected more from a 200hp lightweight car.

I was thinking a little more about the driver's seat, and was wondering, how much do you figure I could pick up a replacement for? I imagine I would have to go with some aftermarket thing, right? I could only imagine how much an oem replacement would be...

Thanks for your responses jeckylandHyde, keep 'em comin'!
If you don't want a racing type seat you should be able to pick one up on there is always someone parting out a car on there.
Hmmm, I will keep my eyes peeled. I made an appointment with a mechanic who works at a local dealership here. He's pretty good with them he said, so I'll just await the results on this and see what's up.

He wants 5800 like I said before. I'm just hoping I can talk him down to 4500. It will be tough but I'd love to have the car...
The Turbo MR2 runs 7 - 11.8 psi form the factory.
The ECU limits boost to 7-9 psi under certain circumstances.

As for 200 HP in a "lightweight" car ... not sure where you got the weight info, but MR2s are 2850-3100 lbs from the factory. Not what I would call lightweight.

I have Hyde down to 2675.
wow, you're right. I didnt realize they were that heavy... Sheesh... What do they put in those things? Is there alot of safety reinforcement or something? I just thought they were small so hey! lol...
Yes, there is lots of steel in them.
They are incredibly safe for their size.
Hey JekylandHyde...

Would "certain cercumstances" inclue....

PCV and BPV being vented to the atmosphere for no reason :rolleyes: .... stupid car :D
Venting the PCV or BPV to atmosphere will not cause the ECU to put you into low boost mode. Low boost mode is caused by cold outside temps, cold coolant temps, the ECU detects knock. There may be more that I am not aware of.

Additional info:
You should not have any ill affects from venting the PCV to atmosphere ... except for some minor oil residue in your engine bay. If you are having serious engine problems, lots of oil could come out of a vented PCV.

The OEM BPV being vented to atmosphere will cause all sorts of problems (unless you have switched the car over to a speed-density measuring system for air flow).
Ya... I'm assuming most of my problems are coming from the BPV being vented. Damn Toyota has the parts back ordered.
Maybe you guys could help me out here... I have the car going into the shop today to be looked over. I either want to get this car or an rx7. The only thing stopping me from getting this car is that I think he wants way too much for it. Again, he wants 5800. It's bone stock except for tint. The front seat has the leather ripped out of it, and the paint is fading on the back. Other than that, the car is pretty damn solid.

I was given a printout from him denoting the value of the car, can't remember which site he went to. It said the low value is 4250, the high value 6250 and the middle value 5400.

BUT, when I went to kelley AND edmunds, and clicked on ALL the options (power steering etc.) AND put in 'excellent' as the condition, I got numbers like 3600 and 3800. That's for excellent.

Now I know the value of a car is also determined by rarity and popularity, but damn this seems like one hell of a disparity between prices.

He already owns a new spyder mr2, and I can't help but think he isn't upside down in it or anything, I think he's just trying to be a business man about it.

Is there anything you all could throw my way in terms of advice to get him down to 3800-4000? If I could pull that off, and the drivetrain is solid enough I would totally pick it up. But right now it just seems like that's too much money.

Thoughts, comments?
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If it is a hardtop... try and talk him down a little bit. If it has t-tops.... you should be able to talk him down to maybe about $4,800. Point out the flaws of the car, torn seat, faded paint. Ask him for the maintainance records, if he doesn't have them, point out that you don't really have a history on the car. If he does have them... find something that is missing... ie.. timing belt change, new brakes, clutch... etc. You can always find a way to make a car look worse than it is ;)
so 4800 would be a reasonable price then? It has 144k on it and I'm afraid a rebuild is around the corner. It does have t-tops btw. It's a sweet ride, but damn I gotta get him to come down a bit...
When you did your Kelley Blue Book quote, did you pick trade-in value or private-sale value?

And yes, they do not take into account the rarity of the vehicle.
IMO, the thing makes this car have value, is the fact that is 100% stock.
If he also owns a Spyder, chances are the car is well taken care of.

Who is the seller? I may know them :)
Ya... thats pretty high mileage... not high... but... you know what I mean. Ask him for the service records. Tell him you checked into pricing on some major maintanance issues like having the belts and hoses changed.... and that you are willing to pay the price if he gets the service done ;).

It will be so damn expensive.... he will probably just let it go for cheaper.... and he most likely hasn't had it done.
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