4AGE 20V Blacktop

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Diary of Swap
Cooling System



85/6 4AGE -> 4AGZE

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Air Intake Filter
Clutch Slave Cylinder
Clutch Master Cylinder
Coolant Flush
Distributor O-Rings
Exhaust Manifold
Fuel Filter

Fuel Pump Cut-off Switch

Ignition Timing
Oil Cooler Hoses
Oil Filter Adapter O-Rings
Oil Pan Gasket
Oxygen Sensor
Radiator Removal
Throttle Body Cleaning
TPS Adjustment
Water Pump


87+ Brake Upgrade
Caliper Rebuild-Front
Caliper Rebuild-Rear
Dust Shield Removal
Parking Brake Cable
SS Braided Brake Line


Ball Joint Replacement
Bushings Install - Front
Bushings Install - Rear
Steering Knuckle Removal
Struts/Springs - Front
Struts/Springs - Rear
Sway Bar End Links


87+ Antenna Replacement
Clear Turn Signals - Front
Clear Turn Signals - Rear
Door Hinges
Interior Door Triangles
Interior Headliner Painting
Interior Trim & Light Lens
Power Window Regulator
Rekeying Trunk Lock
Rust PM - Battery Bracket

Rust PM - Front Wheel Wells
Seats - MK3
Seats - Aftermarket
Shift Boot
SideMarker Mod
Sunroof Rattle
Wiper Switch


2006 Austin
2005 Austin
2005 Topeka NA2005
2004 Galveston
2004 Chattanooga SE2004
2003 Galveston
2002 Austin


Suspension Setup Pics
My MR2 Diary
Latest Pics of My MR2

Ignition Timing

Here's just a little writeup to help you with checking and adjusting your ignition timing.

Here's what you need: A timing light that you can purchase from Autozone, Pep Boys, etc. It runs between $25-$100. I picked up the inductive kind, that way I don't have to worry about messing with the spark plug wires, it was around $35-40. Also need a paper clip, or some kind of other tiny conductive metal piece so that you can jumper 2 terminals. I used a safety pin with the 'head' cut off.


1) Warm up the car so that it is at normal operating temp. This is important, so try doing this after you have gone on a drive. Leave the engine running & in neutral.

2) Locate the diagnosis connector near the rear trunk.


3) Open it up and you should see the many terminals. You can see which terminals are which on the underside of the cap. Highlighted here are the 2 of importance, E1 (red) and T (green).


4) Insert the safety pin/paper clip between these 2 terminals, jumpering them together.

5) Consult the instructions for your timing light on how to hook it up. Here's how mine is done. Connect the positive clamp of the timing light to the battery (red) and negative to chassis ground (green). Also clip the inductive pickup around the #1 spark plug wire (yellow).


6) Next, pull the trigger on the timing gun and point it into this direction aiming at the red circle, right at the top of the crank pulley.


7) The timing light should then flash each time the #1 spark plug fires. Here is what you should look for as you point down at the crank pulley. The green arrow is pointing to the timing pointer. That is going to be your reference point. You need to find this before you are able to do any kind of adjustment. (You may want to find this first with a regular flashlight, if you aren't sure where it is located.) The 3 notches on the crank pulley, that the different colored arrows are pointing to, are indicators telling you where TDC (top dead center, yellow), 10 degrees advanced (blue), and 16 degrees advanced (purple).

When you look down with the timing light, it will seem as though the crank pulley is standing still, and the notches should be just sitting there. If you saw the below pic in your car while you were actually using the timing light, the engine would be running at about 2 degrees advanced. You would need to adjust the timing, since the BGB calls for 10 degrees advanced (with the T and E1 terminals shorted). So, if you see the timing pointer pointing to the notch by the blue arrow, then you can skip the next adjustment step.

Here are a couple more pics taken from the Haynes manual.


8) To adjust the timing, you need to pivot the distributor. Do this by loosening the two 12mm bolts, that hold the distributor to the engine head, a turn or two. They are circled and pointed to in the below picture. Then slightly twist the distributor either toward the passenger (to advance) or drivers side (to retard), depending on if you need to retard or advance the timing to meet the spec. Only do this a little at a time and recheck the timing with the timing light to check your progress.


9) Once you are at 10 degrees advanced as indicated by the notch in the crank pulley (blue arrow above), tighten the distributor bolts to 14 ft-lbs. Then remove the jumper you used in the Diagnosis Connector and recheck the timing. You should then see it at more than 16 degrees advanced (purple arrow) if you have a manual transmission and more than 12 degrees advanced if you have an automatic.

10) Take the car for a spin, and see the results. You may need to adjust the idle a little. Or in some circumstances you may need to adjust the timing some more to get the car to run properly.

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Disclaimer: This web page in no way replaces the MR2 repair manual. Follow what it says before me. The purpose of this page is to give you a better pictorial description of what to do. I cannot be held responsible for any mishaps caused by this web page.