Supra Frequently Asked Questions

Supra Frequently Asked Questions
Supra Frequently Asked Questions
This is a list of some frequently asked questions (and their answers) to the lists. If you're new to SOGI or
to the supras.com mailing list, then read through this FAQ before posting a question, odds are it has been
asked before. The FAQ grows frequently, so check back often, and contribute questions (or corrections
to answers) as much as possible. Got any comments, more questions, or corrections? Send them to Nic
Pottier the FAQ's maintainer. If you have follow up questions, please send them to the list, and mention
the FAQ so that we can continue improving it.
Table Of Contents
My antenna doesn't go down (or up) anymore. How do I fix it?
I'm looking to buy a used engine for my ## Supra. Where can I buy one?
I need to buy some Toyota parts, but the dealer down the street wants an arm and a leg for
them. Where can I buy them for cheap?
I've seen all the pretty pics of other SOGI member's engine compartments and want to be
just like them. How do you guys clean your engine so well?
Recently, I've been steadily losing clutch fluid, and occasionaly the clutch fails to operate. I
may have also noticed oil or clutch fluid on my carpet or the firewall around the clutch
pedal.
My car does random things like smoking on startup, overheating after I turn it off and
being hard to start in the morning. Do I have a BHG?
I want to make my NA Supra faster, what can I do?
I have a defective gas tank in my MKII Supra. From what other vehicles can I obtain a
replacement?
It's hard to shift into second gear on my manual transmission without grinding, I have to
gently nudge it in and it takes a while. Does anybody know what's wrong with it, and how I
could fix it?
My hatch is leaking on my MKIII, I find standing water in my spare tire well, but I can't
find where it's coming from. Where's the leak?
I did the block test, and it came out positive, indicating that I have a BHG. How much is this
going to cost to fix? How hard is it to do? What type of gasket should I use?
I'd like to join SOGI. How do I go about doing that?
I've heard about MHG (Meta Head Gaskets) and that they are a good way of making sure I
don't get another BHG. Why are they more effective? What different types are there and
about how much do they cost? Where can I get them?
I want to lighten up my MKIII since it weighs so much, what can I do to make it lighter?
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
I want to increase the boost on my MKIII Turbo, what are my options to do so, and how
much can I raise it?
I'm going to change my exhaust on my Supra, what size exhaust should I get? Is bigger
always better?
OK, I've now bought a Supra...besides mods, what are the first things to do and to avoid to
make sure my baby lasts for a long time?
I've recently experienced a very big drop in power on my Supra. My boost guage shows no
boost (even vaccum sometimes) and it's very slow. What could be the problem?
I seem to be leaking oil from somewhere, where should I look?
It's been really hot around here lately, so I've been running the AC. After a hard run, or
alot of load on the engine for some time I can see the temperture guage start to creep up
towards the red. If I turn off the AC, it comes back down. Is this normal?
Ok, I've read all the nightmare stories about a BHG and I don't want to go through that. Is
there anything I can do to prevent one?
What does the orange 'Museum' light on the left hand side of my dash mean? It's been
lighting up.
On my MKIII, the warning light indicating one of my brake lights is out keeps coming on. I
checked and they all seem to be working correctly, how do I get rid of this pesky light?
I'd like to recover my leather seats, where should I go to get something like that done, and
what should I expect to pay?
I want to upgrade the speakers in my Supra, what sizes will fit in the various locations?
What aftermarket springs are available for my Supra? What kind of drop do they provide,
and how much do they run?
I'm going to replace the struts on my Supra, what brands do you guys recommend?
Is the Supra dead? I read that Toyota was no longer going to import the Supra into the
states after '98. Is that true?
My MK## has a broken taillight. From which other cars can I pull this light assembly?
I'd like the flexibility of a sun roof with the option of open air motoring that a targa
provides, has anybody gotten a sunroof installed on a targa?
I want to start doing maintenance (and maybe more) on my Supra. What would be a good
selection of tools to get which would let me do almost anything?
I have a ## Supra non-turbo (NA) how much would it cost to put a turbo on it?
I've heard that a turbo timer will extend the life of my turbo. Is that true and if so, which
should I get?
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
I'm looking to buy a used Supra, what problems should I check for?
I'm looking to get some new wheels for my Supra. What are the specifications for my
wheels, and what stock wheels from other cars will fit on them?
When I try to start my Mk3, all I get is a "clicking" sound. Do I need to replace the starter?
My antenna doesn't go down (or up) anymore. How do I fix it?
If you still hear the motor 'whirring' when you turn on or off the radio chances are the wire in the
mast broke, or the mast is excessively bent. Both parts can be replaced pretty easily and
inexpensively from your dealer. If you don't hear a motor at all, then it's probably gone south, and
your best option is probably to get a generic antenna from Walmart or Radio Shack (which are ~$40
vs $150 for the Toyota one). Install involves removing a little bit of the interior, but is otherwise
pretty painless.
I'm looking to buy a used engine for my ## Supra. Where can I buy one?
Here's a list of places to try out. Prices vary between suppliers, as do warrantees and shipping costs,
so try calling all of them to get the best deal. Typically engines come with ~30k miles and come
with a limited warrantee.
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Rising Sun Engines - http://www.rsengines.com/index.html
Midwest Engine Sales Inc. - http://www.midwest-engine.com/
SOKO - http://www.soko.com/
K.Wantanbe - 1-800-592-8262
Japanees Engine Exchange - http://members.aol.com/simonsez6/japindex.htm
I need to buy some Toyota parts, but the dealer down the street wants an arm and
a leg for them. Where can I buy them for cheap?
Your best resource for Toyota parts and knowledge of them is Jeff Watson at Jay Marks Toyota. The
number for the dealership is 1-800-327-2087, just ask for him and mention SOGI and he will give
you the discount. Also check the SOGI site and your regional SOGI chapter to see if there are any
other discount programs in your area, chances are there are.
I've seen all the pretty pics of other SOGI member's engine compartments and
want to be just like them. How do you guys clean your engine so well?
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
Two basic things are required to clean your engine compartment, elbow grease and elbow grease.
Some simple green, Mother's metal polish and ALOT of rags will help out also. Work your way
from one side of the engine to the other, cleaning everything you can reach (and removing anything
you can to be able to reach more) with the simple green wetted down rags. If you want a really shiny
look, use Mother's on all metal parts and rub them until your rag comes away clean, but be warned,
this can get addictive. Simple green is generally safe on all outside parts of the engine, but be more
careful if you plan on cleaning the inside of the AFM (don't!, unless you remove the electronics) or
other electronics. Some cotton balls and a vaccum cleaner might also be handy when cleaning out
the area between the valve covers. Remember that this is an ongoing job, and expect it to take you
several weeks of work to get the engine bay spotless.
Some also use an engine degreaser with a high pressure spray to degrease the engine. Although this
is an effective method of removing greasy deposits on the engine, make sure to cover up all the parts
of the engine which don't like water. (alternator, TPS, coil pack, ignitor, etc)
Recently, I've been steadily losing clutch fluid, and occasionaly the clutch fails to
operate. I may have also noticed oil or clutch fluid on my carpet or the firewall
around the clutch pedal.
A1: If there is hydraulic fluid inside the passenger cabin, then the master cylinder has failed. Look at
the clutch pedal assembly from the floor with a flashlight: it should be totally dry. If it isn't, then the
clutch master cylinder has failed and should be replaced ASAP to prevent damage to paint and
carpet.
The master cylinder can be rebuilt for under $15 and 1 hour of labor, or replaced with a complete
rebuilt unit for $40-$80 and 20 minutes of labor. Removing the clutch master cylinder requires a
10mm flare nut or open-end wrench to remove the hydraulic line, and a 14mm socket/ratchet,
wobble extension or elbow joint and extension, and an 8mm flare nut or open-end wrench for
bleeding the system.
1. From the engine compartment, place a small plastic tray under the clutch resevoir and
hydraulic line fitting.
2. Remove the hydraulic fitting with the 10mm wrench, being careful to not let hyrdraulic fluid
spill on the paint
3. From under the dash, locate the cotter pin holding the master cylinder piston to the clutch
pedal and remove it with small needle-nose or clip pliers
4. Locate the two 14mm nuts holding the master cylinder to the firewall, remove
5. From the engine compartment, carefully pull the master cylinder from the firewall
6. If rebuilding, you'll need a shop vise, a pair of clip pliers, and some fine emory paper, follow
the instructions included with the rebuild kit to replace the piston assembly.
7. Replace rebuilt master cylinder in reverse order
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
8. Check clutch freeplay, should be 2-5mm, adjust if needed
9. Refill the resevoir
10. Bleed the system (the bleeder is located on the slave cylinder, on the passenger side of the
tranny) using the 8mm wrench, a bleeder kit, or a second person on the clutch pedal.
A2: If the clutch master cylinder isn't leaking, then check the clutch slave cylinder, attached to the
passenger side of the tranny. Press the rubber bellows with a finger, if clutch fluid leaks out, the
slave cylinder has failed. A rebuild kit can be obtained for $8-$12, and should be favored over a full
unit due to ease of installation. You will need a 12mm shallow socket and ratchet, a 10mm flare nut
or opensome emory paper, and the rebuild kit.
1. Carefully remove the rubber bellows from the slave cylinder, watching for fluid leakage and
avoiding tears. Note the small piston between the clutch fork and slave cylinder piston under
the boot.
2. Remove the clutch slave cylinder from the firewall with the 12mm socket, catching the small
piston.
3. with the clutch slave cylinder hanging loose, have a second person step on the clutch pedal
while you catch the slave piston as it is ejected from cylinder body.
4. Carefully Remove the hydraulic fitting with the 10mm wrench
5. Hone the inside of the cylinder with the fine emory paper
6. Insert the new piston from the rebuild kit
7. Insert the small piston resting loosely in the cylinder against the cupped end of the slave
piston
8. Attach the Cylinder Body to the Tranny
9. Reattach the hydraulic fitting (important to do it in this order!)
10. Have a second person press on the clutch pedal until the small piston rests against the clutch
fork inside the rubber boot
11. Replace the rubber boot securely over the cylinder body
12. Bleed the system
A3: If both cylinders are dry of fluid, examine the resevoir cup for leakage, or the hydraulic line.
Replace/repair as needed.
My car does random things like smoking on startup, overheating after I turn it off
and being hard to start in the morning. Do I have a BHG?
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
Typical symptoms for a BHG are:
1. Gradual loss of coolant.
2. Overflowing overflow bottle after hard driving.
3. Temperture increase when putting load on the engine for long periods of time. (going up a
hill)
4. Sometimes gurgling underneath the dash.
Symptoms 1 and 4 are common after a radiator flush/fill, or if one of your hoses is slowly leaking.
Symptoms 2 and 3 are pretty sure signs that something is wrong. Either way, if you suspect a BHG,
run down to your NAPA dealer and get a Block Tester. This is basically just a solvent which will
test for exhaust gases in your coolant. Since a BHG means that coolant is being exposed to the
combustion chamber, this is a pretty conclusive test. Remember that coolant is NOT supposed to
enter the testing aparatus when doing the diagnosis.
The symptoms you described can be attributed to other things apart from a blown head gasket.
(leaky valve covers and typical behavior of a cooling system)
I want to make my NA Supra faster, what can I do?
A quick and dirty list of mods to do, in the order of easy-ness and effectiveness would probably look
like this for all MKII and MKIII NA Supras.
Easy bolt ons:
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Larger cat back exhaust. (between 2.5" and 2.75")
K&N FIPK or HKS Super Mega Flow air filter.
AFM Mod
Thermostat Mod
Headers. (PaceSetter, Jim Hall, or Doug Thorley)
Aftermarket Ignition (Crane, MSD, or Jacobs) (bump timing up)
Increasing Timing.
More work:
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Port matching intake, throttle body, exhaust.
Port and polish head.
Lightweight flywheel.
Shave the head to increase compression.
Adjustable cam gears.
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
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Custom cams?
I have a defective gas tank in my MKII Supra. From what other vehicles can I
obtain a replacement?
There is a functional and size split between the 83 and 84 model years. 82-83 Supras and Celicas
have an external fuel pump, while 84-86 Supras have a fuel pump in-tank. There are also slight
changes in the tank design on the upper passenger side of the tank that make prevent the earlier tanks
from fitting into the later vehicles precisely. The wiring across all years is the same.
The following tanks are interchangeable:
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82-83 Celica all
82-83 Supra all
The second grouping:
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84-85 Celica all
84-86 Supra all
It's hard to shift into second gear on my manual transmission without grinding, I
have to gently nudge it in and it takes a while. Does anybody know what's wrong
with it, and how I could fix it?
Chances are your synchronizers in your transmission are going. This is a relatively common problem
with older MKIII's and unfortunatly is one of the hardest to repair. Repair requires the removal of
the transmission (a long and hard job) and then disassembly of it, which requires special tools and is
just as hard. All is not lost however! Many members have had very good luck swithing their tranny
fluid to Redline MT90 or MTL, reporting a complete 'curing' of the problem within a month or so.
Give that a try first, and if that doesn't work, then start asking around to find out if fixing (or
replacing it with a used transmission) is going to be reasonable. Members have also done the fix
themselves, but it's a pretty involved process. Do not try using any 'snake oil' remedies, as these will
generally only make things worse in our transmissions.
My hatch is leaking on my MKIII, I find standing water in my spare tire well, but
I can't find where it's coming from. Where's the leak?
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
This a relatively common problem with MKIII's. The most likely place for the water to be getting in
is from the taillights, it drips in from the top seal then into the hatch. Removing them and putting a
bead of caulk around them will guarantee a tight seal and most likely end the leak. Another
possibility is the rear wiper motor hole. The rubber gasket there will get brittle over time and leak
into the hatch cover. Replacement of that gasket will fix the problem.
I did the block test, and it came out positive, indicating that I have a BHG. How
much is this going to cost to fix? How hard is it to do? What type of gasket should
I use?
Ouch, too bad.. The very first thing you should do is to make your voice heard about your BHG. So
do these two things before anything else:
1. Call Toyota - (800) 331-4331 option #3 CANADIANS Call: 1-416-431-8035 Mention Supra
Owners Group International, VIN#, and mileage at which it/they (or symptoms of a BGH)
occurred.
MAKE SURE TO ASK FOR A CASE NUMBER.
2. Register the Blown Head Gasket on our website! http://www.supras.com/sogi/BHG.htm
(takes 1 minute - painless)
Now for fixing it. Depending on how severe your blown head gasket was, you'll need to machine the
head and/or the block to give the new gasket a clean and smooth surface to seal with. You'll also
need to check for warpage of the block/head, and if excessive, shave it down to make it straight. This
type of job can be done by the dealer, or by a mechanic you trust, but both need to have access to a
GOOD machine shop, as the quality of the machining is a big factor in how successful the gasket
will be. Typical costs to do the head gasket are between $1000-2000, depending on the amount of
machine work that needs to be done, and what other things get replaced in the process. A BHG is not
out of reach for a do it yourselfer, but be prepared to have the car apart for at least a couple weeks if
you've never done it before. Also, the success rate of home mechanics (who've never done it before)
seems considerably less than those having the work done by a professional. The SOGI site has
information on this procedure on the tech tips/mods page. As for the gasket type to use, it all
depends on what your plans are for the car. If you plan on taking it above 300hp, most people would
recommend a metal head gasket and even aftermarket head bolts (ARP). The stock Toyota gasket
has been redesigned and has a high success rate now, so if your mods plans are relatively tame, then
a stock head gasket should do fine, as long as you remember to torque to 65-70 ft/lbs.
A well detailed write up of the head gasket issue with MKIII Supras can be found on the SONIC site
at: http://www.supras.com/sogi/generations/mk3_pmtn.html
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
I'd like to join SOGI. How do I go about doing that?
Membership to SOGI is completely free and open to all Supra lovers. Membership is relatively
informal, and does not require you to be subscribed to the discussion list, but we ask that you record
you information in the member's database at http://www.supras.com/sogi/ as it helps show how
many members are behind SOGI, making it easier for us to provide discounts and special deals for
members.
I've heard about MHG (Meta Head Gaskets) and that they are a good way of
making sure I don't get another BHG. Why are they more effective? What
different types are there and about how much do they cost? Where can I get them?
MHG's are often more effective at sealing the head because they incorporate a 'bead' around the
combustion chamber. MHG's are also a popular choice for those who have needed to machine their
head or block, as they come in different thickness's to restore the original compression ratio. HKS
and Greddy both offer MHG's. HKS' come in three different flavors, a bead type, a grommet type,
and a stopper type. These range from worst to best in sealing, and from least expensive to most
expensive.
More information on the HKS gaskets can be found at http://web.hksusa.com/headgaskets.html
Greddy also offers MHG's and information on them can be found at: http://www.greddy.com/engine.
html
For a more in depth discussion of metal head gaskets (and the head gasket issue in general) check
out SONIC's excellent write up at: http://www.supras.com/sogi/generations/mk3_pmtn.html
I want to lighten up my MKIII since it weighs so much, what can I do to make it
lighter?
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
Here's a quick list of things you do to your Supra to make it lighter:
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Remove the spare tire. (or replace it with a donut from an RX7)
Remove the wooden board above the spare tire.
Remove the rear seats.
Replace the electric driver's seat with a passenger sides, or replace one or both with racing
seats.
Remove AC compressor. (better have a targa if it's hot)
Remove charcoal canister. (might not pass visual emmissions)
Replace your wheels with lightweight ones.
Cross drill your rotors. (joke! seeing if you're paying attention!)
Replace your hood with a fiberglass one.
Replace windows with Lexar. (legality?)
Remove rear hatch interior.
Remoce stereo. (whistle instead)
I want to increase the boost on my MKIII Turbo, what are my options to do so,
and how much can I raise it?
First off, on a stock fuel system you will probably want to keep your boost at or below 12 psi. Any
higher than this and you risk running lean and damaging your engine. One of the first things you
should do if you plan on increasing boost is to get an accurate boost guage which goes up to ~20 psi
so that you can monitor your boost level and make sure you're not doing any damage. Secondly,
without an upgraded exhaust and downpipe you will find that you will hit fuel cut before 12 psi, so if
you plan on raising much take care of these upgrades first.
Now that that's out of the way, lets take a look at how you can raise boost.
Washers on your wastegate. Cost: $2
This is probably the cheapest of all solutions to raise your boost. It involves putting washers
(shimming) your wastegate so as to force it to stay open longer, increaseing your boost. Although
this is effective at raising boost, it is also fairly crude both in the control it gives you of the boost,
and in controlling spikes in boost.
Bleeder valve. Cost: $5
Cheap. Unstable and low reliability. Really not worth it if you care at all about your motor. Very
little adjustment is possible, and boost spike and creep are very common problems.
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
Manual Boost controller. Cost: $60-100
The manual boost controller is probably the safest and best bang for the buck when raising boost. It
allows you to accurately set the boost to a higher level and easily adjust it as needed. The most
popular option in SOGI for this controller is Jeff Montigny's Boost Controller (JMBC), but HKS and
other manufacturers also make them. Although this method is more reliable than shimming your
wastegate or using a bleeder valve, it will still allow spikes in the boost, possibly allowing you to run
lean if you are running a high boost.
Electronic Boost controller. Cost: $300-600
The safest, most effective and most convenient way to control boost is with an electronic boost
controller. (EBC) This will allow you to set the boost from the cockpit, and will control the boost
constantly, adjusting for spikes as well as continully adjusting the wastegate so as to allow the boost
to build more quickly and sustain itself longer. Power will come on earlier and stay on later with an
EBC, and you will not have boost 'fade' as you would with the other methods with sustained boost.
You will also be able to easily adjust the boost level from the cockpit, say to 8 psi for daily driving
to 12 psi for a little more excitement. Popular models with SOGI include the HKS, Apexi and
Greddy units.
I'm going to change my exhaust on my Supra, what size exhaust should I get? Is
bigger always better?
The first thing that determines how big your exhaust should be is whether your car is normally
aspired (NA) or a turbo. Generally, for NA cars you do not want an exhaust that is TOO free
flowing, as the engine needs a little back-pressure to do it's work most efficiently. In the case of a
turbo, the goal is to have the most free flowing muffler possible, though increasing the size of the
exhaust only plays a part in this to a certain extent. Generally, these guidelines hold true for most
cars: (your results may vary)
For NA cars, an exhaust between 2.5" and 2.75" will give you the best results. The 2 3/4 exhaust will
take a little away from your bottom end, but will return it on the top end. A straight through muffler
is PROBABLY not wanted, as it will be too restrictive, however a Turbo muffler usually does very
well. If you are putting out more than 300 hp, a 3" exhaust could provide a little more power.
For Turbo cars, an exhaust between 2.75" and 3" usually works best. Although some go larger, the
gains are very slim unless very large (>400 hp) amounts of HP are present. The muffler should be as
free flowing as possible. (as long as you can stand the noise)
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Supra Frequently Asked Questions
OK, I've now bought a Supra...besides mods, what are the first things to do and to
avoid to make sure my baby lasts for a long time?
1. Register as a member of SOGI, you'll be eligeble for discounts, and by having more members
SOGI will be able to represent you better.
2. Check to see if there are any recalls on your model supra, and whether it has been serviced
for them. (the dealer will now by your VIN) Although recalls are rare, they can often land
you some free labor/parts and guarantee that all known problems are taken care of. For
example, 89-92 Supras had a problem with the expansion valve for their AC system, when
fixed by the dealer they will also refill your AC unit with freon.
3. As soon as you can switch your oil to synthetic. This is especially important with Turbo's as
the synthetic oil's ability to stay on the parts after shutdown will reduce the wear
significantly. Doing it yourself will give you a feel for the engine compartment. Note that
switching to synthetic oil on older engines MAY reveal leaks (or even bad rings) which did
not present themselves before, so consider that you might have to do some replacement of
seals after switching to synthetic to keep it in the engine.
4. The power steering flushes and changes are often neglected as part of the maintanance of a
Supra. Unfortunatly, it's a pretty important thing to do however, so as soon as you can change
it out with some good synthetic fluid. The job is relatively easy (but messy) and tips on doing
it can be found on the SOGI site.
5. For you Supra to last it is critical that your cooling system is working optimatly. A few steps
will help make sure it's working correctly.
❍ Clean out the debris from between the radiator and A/C condenser (the "radiator" in
front of the car's radiator. Fin spacing in the A/C system is larger than that of the
radiator, and as a result, things get through the one and not the other. Thus, you'll get
blocked air flow by things you can't see. Unbolt the radiator and carefully push it back
to see if you have this problem. If so, vacuum it out and brush the fins carefully before
remounting the radiator.
❍ Check for bent fins on the radiator, condenser, and if so equipped, the turbo
intercooler and oil cooler. Not only will the function of these items improve by
straightening out the fins, it'll increase air flow to items behind them (like the car's
radiator).
❍ Purge air in the cooling system. If you bought your baby from a dealer, more than
likely they flushed the cooling system before putting it on the lot. This may introduce
air into the system, and cause intermittent cooling problems. Park your car on an
incline with the front tilted up slightly, remove the radiator cap when cool, run the
vehicle until the coolant is flowing smoothly in the radiator, top off the radiator and
the overflow, and recap.
6. Keeping the interior and exterior clean will save you lots of money in the long run, replacing
or repairing either can become very expensive.
❍ Use a good-quality UV protectant for the dash and other vinyl parts after thoroughly
cleaning them.
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Polishes for exterior should be safe for clear coat paints (as many Supras have).
❍ All "rubber" weather stripping should be treated with a silicone spray to bring it back
to life (and avoid unpleasant water leaks). Gently rub the silicone spray (NOT WD-40
or other things like that) into the weather stripping around the doors, targa (if
equipped), hatch, etc.
❍ Clean your engine compartment. Simple green is safe to use on most parts of the
engine, and a clean engine will run cooler. Do NOT clean the inside of the AFM, as it
contains sensitive sensors which are easily ruined.
7. Manuals: Get one, especially if you intend on doing your own work! If you plan on doing
your own work definetely get the official Toyota one. Generic manuls (chiltons etc..)
generally do a very poor job and bunch together different models, so we don't recommend
them. Also get an owners manual if you don't have one, as it actually contains useful
information. Both can be acquired from your Toyota dealer.
❍
I've recently experienced a very big drop in power on my Supra. My boost guage
shows no boost (even vaccum sometimes) and it's very slow. What could be the
problem?
If you have a turbo, then chances are it is frozen, and is acting as a very large restriction to your
intake, making you lose alot of performance. Remove some of the intake and try spinning it to
check, and repair as necessary.
If your car is an NA, then you might want to check for a clogged cat, as this will cause the engine to
use less air and therefore produce less power due to the restrictive exhaust.
I seem to be leaking oil from somewhere, where should I look?
The most common places for oil to leak from (in order of likelyhood) are:
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Valve Cover gaskets.
Front and rear main seals. (You'll need to take your timing belt cover off to check the front
one)
Oil pan gasket.
Oil plug gasket (did you replace yours last time?)
Distributor O Ring
Cam Seals
The best way to track down an oil leak is to clean your engine bay thoroughly, then drive for a bit
and examine where the oil is coming from. (remember it flows down :) ) This is another great
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argument for keeping your engine spotless.
It's been really hot around here lately, so I've been running the AC. After a hard
run, or alot of load on the engine for some time I can see the temperture guage
start to creep up towards the red. If I turn off the AC, it comes back down. Is this
normal?
Well, first off, it's probably not a bad idea to check for a BHG, although your symptoms aren't
necessarily due to a BHG, it's certainly a possibility and it's better to be safe than sorry. Now, if your
head gasket is fine, then yes, it is somewhat common for the MKIII's to start overheating a bit in hot
weather with the AC on and lots of load. You can do some things to make sure your cooling system
is working as well as possible however. Make sure that your radiator fins are clean, do this by
unbolting it, then pulling it away from the car and cleaning the fins carefully with a hose or
something. (low pressure, they're fragile) Make sure that the fins are straight as well, as bent ones
will work much less effectively. Also make sure your fans are turning on, and possibly look into
mounting an extra fan (or two) in the engine bay to help cool on the hot days. (see tech tips)
Ok, I've read all the nightmare stories about a BHG and I don't want to go
through that. Is there anything I can do to prevent one?
There are 2 main ways to improve your odds of living a BHG-less life with your Supra. The first, is
to have your current head gasket retorqued to somewhere between 65 and 72 ft/lbs. This will apply
more pressure to the current gasket increasing it's odds of sealing correctly. The disadvantage of this
procedure is there IS a risk of it ripping or unsettling your gasket, causing a BHG in the process,
however most of the time the procedure is successful. The second, and more expensive (yet more
effective) option is to remove the head and instal a new head gasket, either a stock Toyota one, or an
aftermarket metal head gasket. If you haven't suffered from a BHG yet this procedure is
considerably less expensive than repairing a BHG as you do not need to machine the head or block
or fix any other damage. Using aftermarket head bolts (ARP) will also lessen the odds of a BHG.
Again, you should get the head torqued down to 65-72 ft/lbs if you replace the head gasket. Finally,
frequent coolant changes and cleaning of the radiator, as well as never letting the engine overheat
will also help prevent this expensive problem.
What does the orange 'Museum' light on the left hand side of my dash mean? It's
been lighting up.
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That light means your coolant reservoir is starting to run low. The sensor is somewhat sensitive and
it is not unusual for it to go off in hard turns even if it is up to the full mark. Filling it about an inch
over the full mark should prevent this and doesn't do any harm. If you frequently have to refill the
reservoir to keep the light from coming on, you have a leak somewhere in the coolant system. Check
for leaking hoses, and try testing for a BHG.
On my MKIII, the warning light indicating one of my brake lights is out keeps
coming on. I checked and they all seem to be working correctly, how do I get rid of
this pesky light?
This is a relatively common problem, it's usually one of these two things:
1. It could be the wires on the light assemblies themselves, pull the light assemblies out of the
back panel and check/clean the wires that come out and go to a small Phillips head screw.
2. It could also be the relay switch, pull the yellow box mounted on the inside of the rear of the
car. Open it up and look and the circuit board. If you see a burn spot, turn the board over and
solder a jumper across the burn.
I'd like to recover my leather seats, where should I go to get something like that
done, and what should I expect to pay?
SOGI members have had very good luck dealing with a chain called Classic Soft Trim. The main
contact for them is:
Classic Soft Trim - Georgia office
(800)-944-0638
(770)-368-9205
Primary POC: Alex Thorton
2nd POC: Pat Daniels
They have 48 chains nationwide and are reputed to do an even better job than stock. Call them to get
their local store. Typical cost to get the two front seats recovered is $600.
I want to upgrade the speakers in my Supra, what sizes will fit in the various
locations?
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Here's a rundown of the stock speakers on the Supra and the largest speakers which will fit in those
locations.
82-86
Factory size front: 3.5" Feasable: 4"
Into door (With some cut steel) 5.25"
Factory size rear: Modified 5X7" Feasable: 5.25"
Seen done (NOT recommended) 6X9
86.5-90
Factory size front: 4" Feasable: 5.25" (Barely)
W/ Custom baffle plate and cut steel 6.5"
91-92
Factory size front 91-92: 6.5" (Shallow) feasable: 6.5"
86.5-88
Factory size rear 85.5-88: 4.5"
Factory size rear '89-92: 4.5"/3.5" combo
What aftermarket springs are available for my Supra? What kind of drop do they
provide, and how much do they run?
MKIII
Man. Drop Obs. Drop Price Comments
Eibach's 1.5/1.5
1.8/1.5
~200 Progressive rate
H&R 1.5/1.5
2.5-5/2.5 ~300 Linear rate
ST
1.5/1.5
1.5/1.5
~150 Linear rate
MKII
Man. Drop Obs. Drop Price Comments
Eibach's 1.5/1.5
1.8/1.5
~200 Progressize rate
I'm going to replace the struts on my Supra, what brands do you guys
recommend?
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The 3 largest manufacturers of struts for the Supra are Tokiko, KYB and Bilstein (also TRD's
supplier). For the MKIII, the Tokiko offers either a 5 way manually adjustable shock or a TEMS
compatible 3 way electronically controlled shock. KYB offers GR-2s, which are relatively
inexpensive and a little bit stiffer than stock. Tokiko adjustable shocks are still available for the rear
of MKII's, but the fronts have been discontinued. The HP shocks and struts are still available though
and are pretty inexpensive. KYB also offers shocks/struts for the MKII. Finally Bilstein makes 8
way front, 5 front rear adjustable shocks. Although they are very expensive, they are supposed to be
very nice as well.
Is the Supra dead? I read that Toyota was no longer going to import the Supra
into the states after '98. Is that true?
Although it is true that Toyota is not going to be importing the Supra in 1999, there are rumors that a
special model will be released in the states in the year 2000. This will either be a special edition of
the current MKIV, or possibly the introduction of a completely redesigned Supra. However, this is
all heresay, so we'll have to wait and see.
My MK## has a broken taillight. From which other cars can I pull this light
assembly?
For a MKIII, all the taillights are interchangeable. A small amount of drilling will be required to put
the newer (89-92) taillights on the older cars, but it is still an easy job.
On the MKII's while from the outside, the taillight assemblies appear to be the same, and the interior
plug connectors are identical, across all years 82-86 MKII Supras and 82-85 Celicas
*LIFTBACKS*, there is a split between the 83 and 84 models. The difference is that the white
plastic that comes through the tail end of the body and holds the bulb assembly, and corresponding
hole in the body, is not as tall as the earlier models. Also, the taillight assemblies 84-85/85 Celica/
Supra incorporate the license marker lights, while the 82-83 do not.
The rear red side marker light are interchangeable across all years 82-85 and styles liftback and
coupe.
The first group of interchangeable taillight assemblies, each list item is a different style:
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82-83 Celica ST Liftback
82-83 Celica GT Liftback
82-83 Supra L
82-83 Supra GT-S
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The second group:
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84-85 Celica ST Liftback
84-85 Celica GT, GT-S Liftback
84-85 Supra L
84-86 Supra GT-S
The third group of Coupe taillights are not interchangeable with the Liftbacks:
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82-83 Celica ST, GT Coupe
84-85 Celica ST, GT Coupe
84-85 Celica GT-S Coupe
I'd like the flexibility of a sun roof with the option of open air motoring that a
targa provides, has anybody gotten a sunroof installed on a targa?
This has been done by a few members, and is supposed to be a pretty nice improvement, especially
if you live somewhere where you don't like keeping the targa off for long. The rididity is not
compromised, and it adds alot of light to the interior.
I want to start doing maintenance (and maybe more) on my Supra. What would be
a good selection of tools to get which would let me do almost anything?
Here's a list which should let you get into plenty of trouble. Buying a good socket set, or just a good
quality tool set will get you the majority of these tools for the least money. Craftsman brand from
Sears are warranteed for life and are reasonably priced. Kits can even be mail ordered.
Engine Work
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3/8 or 1/2 socket set with associated ratchets. Dont' skimp on the quality of these as you'll be
using them often. 6 point sockets are recommended, otherwise you're likely to strip bolts. Get
some deep wall sockets while you're at it too. A range between 8 and 24mm will cover pretty
much everything.
Get a small (3"), medium (8") and long (12") extension with a couple elbows for your
ratches. Nuts and bolts are sometimes hard to get to.
Set of combination wrenches. A set with sizes between 8 and 17mm should cover almost
everything.
If you're pulling the head off, 10mm and 16mm hex head sockets.
Torque wrench. If you want to do the job right it's nice to have one. Get a good quality 'click'
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type with a range between 25-250 ft/lbs.
A breaker bar.
Philiips and flat head screw drivers. (small, medium and #2 large)
A couple ViceGrips. Spend the money and get good ones, this tool will save your skin more
than once.
Stands and a floor jack. If you're going to be doing anything below the car, or ever doing
your brakes you're going to need these. You can often find a set for pretty cheap if you look
around.
An oil drain pan.
Lots of Rags and strong cleaner.
For Electrical Work:
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A multimeter, for diagnosing problems.
Wire and a stripper for it.
A selection of connectors, and a crimper for them.
large and small wire brushes, in brass and steel.
Misc.
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Medium and large(usefull for removing oil filters) set of channel lock pliers
Spark plug socket and gapping tool.
Large needle nose pliers
Large set of regular pliers
Medium sized prybar
Mityvac(vacuum pump with guage on top...usefull for bleeding/flushing brakes, clutch, and
checking vacuum)
Compression testor(make sure it has fittings for both spark plug sizes for later use)
Timing light
I have a ## Supra non-turbo (NA) how much would it cost to put a turbo on it?
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For a MKII Supra, although a turbo has been put on a 5MGE, the more popular option is to retrofit a
7MGTE engine. This involves a good deal of custom fitting, and includes wiring a new harness, but
it can be done, and the results are quite spectacular. Typical costs for those who can't do the work
themselves is ~$6000 including the cost for the engine. Reg Riemer was one of the firsts to do this
type of conversion, and for a price will offer assistance as well as the wiring harness needed to put
the GTE in a MKII. More details can be had at: http://www.supras.com/sogi/BHG.htm or by
contacting Reg directly. ([email protected])
For a MKIII Supra it's prohibitively expensive to try to put a turbo on your non-turbo (7MGE)
engine, besides some internal differences (oil squirters), you would also need to get a whole lot of
accessories to mount a turbo on it. If you really have your mind set on it, the reasonable, but still
expensive alternative is to throw a complete turbo engine (7MGTE) into your NA.. Used engines
can usually be had for ~$2000, and labor and accessories would probably add up to another $1500.
Not a cheap thing to do either way, but if you're really attached to that Supra of yours, or your
engine is on the way out anyways, it's a feasable alternative.
In the case of a MKIV Supra, although it is still an expensive option, it can be done, and has been
done quite successfully. The single turbo conversion will be about ~$6000-$8000 depending on how
crazy you want to get with it. Results of > 400hp are not unusual. The person to contact on details
concerning this type of conversion would be Jarret Humphreys at Powerhouse Inc. ([email protected])
I've heard that a turbo timer will extend the life of my turbo. Is that true and if so,
which should I get?
A turbo timer will allow your car to idle after a hard run, allowing the turbo to cool down a bit and
for oil to flow through it at a lower RPM, this will increase the life of the turbo if you often push the
car and can't wait to let it cool off before turning it off. List members generally use the Greddy or
HKS units, but make sure to use the HKS harness either way, as the Greddy's requires some splicing
in order to work correctly. Also, before running out and spending $100 on one, check with your
local laws to see if they are legal in your area.
I'm looking to buy a used Supra, what problems should I check for?
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We won't cover the typical steps to go through when buying a used car, other sources site those in
more detail than we want to cover here and apply to all cars. These problems are more common with
Supras, and will help tell the difference between a lemon and a great find.
Typical things to check on a MKIII are:
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Blown head gasket. This is a pretty common one, sometimes the seller even knows about it
and that's why they're trying to sell. Make sure to do a pressure test or a block test to know
where you stand there.
Worn synchros. Is it hard to shift into second or reverse? If so, count on having to rebuild the
transmission (or possibly use synthetic transmission oil) in the near future.
Bad Turbo. Try spinning the turbo, it should spin freely, and make sure there isn't alot of
freeplay on it. Either one of these means a rebuild is in the future.
Look for leaking oil on the engine block and below on the oil pan. Common causes are
leaking valve covers or oil pan, but make sure you find out for sure which it is.
Water in the hatch. Lift up the carpet in the hatch and look in the spare tire well, is there
evidance of water being there? If so then the hatch probably leaks, and rust might have
started developing here.
Check for rust on the door handles and inside the fenders.
Typical things to check on a MKII are:
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Rust, rust, rust. Hatch, especially the lower lip. Wheel wells, the rot can easily be covered by
the flares until it is very bad. Lower corners behind rear wheels. Lower part of the doors, and
areas around sunroof and fuel filler door. Spare tire well. Fog lights go bad too because of
rust and are hard to find used / very expensive at dealer. The metal grille at the bottom of
windshield is almost always rusted beyond repair, but that's just cosmetic and easily replaced
if you were to ever come across a good one.
Differential. Listen for whine and feel for any play. It's not fatal but annoying.
Cooling system problems. Keep your eyes on the temperature when test driving and idling for
a good while. If it goes above midpoint, there are some problems. MKII's are not immune to
BHG either so check for bubbles in overflow after hard driving. Radiators can be in a pretty
gross condition because of the age of these cars.
Brakes. Changing the fluid and pads, and machining the rotors or getting new ones usually
brings it back to the very good original specs. On used MKII's the brakes have often been
neglected to the state where you have hard time locking them, or the car may pull to one side/
shudder.
Oil leak from cam covers. Just an annoyance, replace the gasket and you are set. Sometimes
it's so simple as loosened screws. Exhaust side is first to go.
Front wheel bearings. Check for play in the front wheels when the car is off the ground.
Bearings will either need a repack, or replacement.
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I'm looking to get some new wheels for my Supra. What are the specifications for
my wheels, and what stock wheels from other cars will fit on them?
MKI & MKII (interchangeable)
Stock, the wheels are 4 lug, and either 14x5.5 or 14x7. Any wheels off the 76-85 Celica/Supra line
will work. The 'L' type Supra had 15x5.5 "pyramid" wheels which were the same design as the
earlier ones, just larger, these can also be had from 85 Vans. People have put 17x8+9's on MKII's,
but they are custom made by Forgelines.
MKIII & MKIV (interchangeable)
The wheels are 5 lug, with 37 and 50 offsets respectively. MKIV wheels (17x8+9) will fit on a
MKIII without any spacers or modifications to the suspension. The widest tires which can fit without
modification on a MKIII are 275's, but that is a very tight fit. Wheels from late model Lexus's
(GS300, LS400 (93-94), SC300 (95+), SC400 (92-97)), 93+ Mazda RX7's and 90+ Nissan 300ZX's
will also fit the MKIII or MKIV's without modifications.
When I try to start my Mk3, all I get is a "clicking" sound. Do I need to replace
the starter?
Probably not. In most cases, the solution to this common Mk3 problem aren't nearly as severe as the
cost involved with starter replacement. A clicking starter means that the high current necessary to
start the car isn't making it to the starter for some reason.
1. Battery cables, chassis ground straps, and fuses ‹ Sounds trivial, but any loose connection can
prevent sufficient current to flow to the starter. This is the first logical (and inexpensive) test
to perform.
2. Starter safety switch ‹ Your car has a safety switch to prevent unintended starting of your
engine. For a manual transmission, this is the clutch switch, and automatics have a neutral/
park switch. To check their operation, try holding the key in the START position and push in
the clutch (or move the auto tranny shift knob from park to reverse). You should here a
definite click under the dash (by the glovebox) and under the hood. If not, your safety switch
is bad, or the starter relay under the dash is bad.
3. Magnetic Switch (solenoid) Contacts ‹ After checking 1) and 2), you probably have bad
magnetic switch (solenoid) contacts. This is a common problem with older Mk3's and is easy
to remedy once you've got the starter out. Symptoms of this problem include clicking sound
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from both under dash (relay) and under hood (solenoid), and inability to start when cold or
when very hot (heat soak after long trip). Try Toyota part #28226-72010 Starter Kit (each kit
contains one contact) and replace them in pairs. Total cost is about $11.00 (Jay Marks Toyota
7/98) and can be replace in a couple of hours (see Tech Notes).
If none of these three are applicable, you probably do need a new starter.
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