The Toyota MR2 Turbo was a performance coupe that was offered from 1989 until 1995. To achieve their high performance, MR2s sacrificed some convenience features, such as ride comfort, and required a more frequent maintenance schedule. They could also be susceptible to overheating issues.
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All Turbo MR2s had turbochargers that provided additional air to the engine, which created more power. These turbochargers relied on exhaust gases to create the additional power, which drastically increased the engine's heat production. This extra heat made it necessary for the MR2's coolant system to function optimally. Low coolant levels, coolant leaks or not adding the proper type of coolant could cause the engine to overheat.
Air/Fuel Ratio Issues
The MR2 relied on a delicate balance of air and fuel to create its power. The air and fuel mixture was affected by the turbocharger, the computer's Electronic Control Unit (ECU), weather and the grade of gas in the car. If the air and fuel mixture was thrown off by one of these units, the engine would overheat. Earlier Turbo MR2s (from 1989 to 1992) were more susceptible to these problems because of their less sophisticated ECUs.
Because the MR2's turbocharger produced additional heat in the engine bay, an intercooler came standard with the car. The intercooler cooled the hot, compressed air from the turbocharger. If the intercooler malfunctioned or was obstructed, the engine could overheat. All Turbo MR2s came with a small intercooler, so this problem can be seen in any model year.
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