What should I do with my MR2 Turbo…. that’s been bugging me since I purchased my Sonata. How did I end up with a Sonata? Well, that’s pretty easy to explain. Back in February, about a eek prior to my trip to Hawaii, the alternator was starting to die in the car. I knew the tell tale signs, the battery + oil lights were on together. Scary thing is that I first noticed it back in January when I landed back in Bellingham and fired my car up after it was sitting for a few days. I thought my belt was just slipping because it had been raining a lot. The car was fine for about a month after that day then it started acting up again. Then one day, on the way home from work, the lights came on and stayed on. I knew then that the alternator had finally bit the big one. I thought… no big deal, I’m off to Waikiki in a few days, I’ll spend a few evenings tearing the alternator out of the car, order an alternator while I’m in Hawaii and pop it back in when I get back…
Everything went according to plan, alternator went back in without a hitch and the car was running like it’s normal self again…. for a bout a month anyways. I was driving to work one morning and all of the sudden, my “check engine” light comes on. Of all the things that went wrong with this car, I’ve only had the “check engine” light come on once and it was for the O2 sensor. When I got home that evening, I checked the car for error codes and sure enough, it was the O2 sensor again… I know it’s something small and easy to replace because I’ve replaced it before but it just pissed me off. Instead of going out to purchase a new O2 sensor, I went to the automall that weekend and came out with a new Hyundai Sonata 2.0T. I had seen the commercials and I looked into the pricing, the car looked perfect for me. I had pretty much decided on the Sonata anyways, the 84 month 0% financing was pretty much just icing on the cake. It’s a bit of a step down from the Cadillac CTS 3.6 that I originally wanted but there considering the Hyundai is just as fast, just as big and has more stuff for half the price; it’s not such a bad compromise. (I will be trading the Sonata in for a CTS-V once my stocks take off tho.)
So now that I have my grown up car… what should I do with my sports car? Until recently, I’ve driven an MR2 almost every day for the past 10 years so selling it wouldn’t seem right. I’ve decided to do a full restoration of the car to “new” condition but I don’t know which engine to use. Should I stick to the restoration route and put in a factory 3SGTE or should I go the 2GRFE route? Once the car is restored, I would love to take it on long road trips to Las Vegas again. The thing I don’t like about the 3SGTE is the lack of low end torque, I found the 5SFE powered MR2 to be easier to drive in the city. Because of the torque, the gearing on the transmission is short and as a result, it’s not the best car to use on a hwy. I did a few trips to Vegas in various MR2’s and at 80mph, the engine’s at 4000rpm. That makes it difficult for the passenger to sleep.
I’m leaning towards a V6 right now because the extra torque allows for taller gearing in the transmission and I’m hoping at 80mph, the RPM’s would be closer to 2500. On the other hand, a completely factory restoration might be worth some money one day so I’m a little torn between the two. Which ever route I go with the engine, the rest of the car does need to be restored as well… the interior, bodywork, paint, suspension, stereo, etc… I think I’ll start this long weekend by installing those motorized folding mirrors that I’ve had in my closet for several years now.
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I like the idea of a factory restoration, maybe even collector plates one day. This is coming from a guy that just finished installing a v6, but my started as a 5S-automatic, so I knew that even a concours restoration wasn’t going to be worth much, and the driving experience was lacking from the start.