How to Change the Head Gasket on a Toyota MR2


Toyota debuted the sporty two-seater MR2 in 1991. However, it did not take the market by storm as the manufacturer wanted, so Toyota discontinued the vehicle after the 1995 model year. If you still have an MR2 in your driveway and it needs a new head gasket, you will need to remove most of the car's upper engine parts to reach the target area. Whether you need to replace a head gasket due to an overheated engine or worn bolts, the process is similar to replacing the gasket in other Toyota models.

Things You'll Need

  • Ratchet and socket
  • Screwdriver
  • Coolant
  • New head gasket
  • Torque wrench
  • Drain the coolant. Position a clean pan beneath the radiator to catch the coolant draining from the car. Remove the negative battery cable from the terminal. Label and tag the engine components situated toward the top section.

  • Remove or detach the wires, spark plugs, assemblies, brackets, hoses, cables and bolts. Take out or separate the water filter, cowl top panel in the front, alternator, air cleaner assembly, accelerator cable, the middle exhaust pipe, exhaust manifold support, ignition coil, camshaft position sensor, fuel injectors, intake manifold, timing chain cover, camshaft sprockets and camshaft.

  • Loosen the cylinder head bolts in a circular sequence starting with the corners and work toward the center point of the cylinder head. Throw the old bolts away. You will install new bolts when you position the new gasket. Raise the cylinder head from out of the cylinder block. Review the cylinder head for damage, dents and leaks.

  • Install the new gasket face up. Install the new cylinder head bolts with your fingers. Tighten the new bolts with a torque wrench in three steps.

  • Torque the new bolts for the cylinder head to 22 foot-lbs. Turn the bolts an extra 90 degrees for the second pass. Pivot the bolts another 90 degrees in the third pass. The tighten bolt numbers for the Toyota MR2 with a 1NZ-FE engine on the top row are 8, 4, 2, 5 and 9 from left to right. The bottom bolt numbers from left to right are 10, 6, 1, 3 and 7.

  • Return the engine part back under the hood of the Toyota MR2: wires, hoses, covers, caps, anchors and brackets. Look at the tag you label to help identify the components. Put coolant back in the coolant system reservoir and place new engine oil in its tank. Connect the negative battery cable to the battery terminal. Crank the engine and check for leaks.

Tips & Warnings

  • An automotive manual will have illustrations to help you identify each car part.

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