I have a 2002 MR2 Spyder with SMT transmission. Looking for an SMT expert for advice please.


Asked by Feb 01, 2010 at 01:55 PM about the 2002 Toyota MR2 Spyder 2 Dr STD Convertible

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2002 MR2 Spyder with SMT transmission. I need some advice and/or information to rectify the problems I am having with it. The car itself is beautiful, clean, and in great shape.

The car has never been abused, raced, has had regular fluid checks/oil changes/maintenance/etc., no turbo, and vast majority of the mileage on the car is highway use largely in 5th gear.

The Hydraulic Pump Assembly and Shift Stick/Assembly have been replaced through local Toyota Dealership. This wiped out 11 codes and it appeared the car was fixed for about 1 1/2 week and shifted fine. (cost at this point is $3,500 parts/labor)

One night, car suddenly began lurching and did not want to stay in gear with squeal noises now coming from the back. Got it back to dealership - affter the next go-round of diagnostics/testing - they are now saying I need more part assemblies replaced with unbelievable costs associated to do it.

I am searching for help and advice on where to turn on either selling it outright, help on fixing it with advise/expertise in the Raleigh, NC area, etc.

Below are the dealership's diagnostic notes (they simply always want to replace entire assemblies and not the affected piece-parts - very very expensive way to go) IF ANYONE HAS IDEAS OR HAS HAD SIMILAR ISSUES WITH SMT - Please let me know. I NEED HELP!


17 Answers


Our 2002 MR2 has issues too. We took it in for a clutch replacement, then they told us it needed a new transmission. After the repairs were completed the engine blew up on the way home. The Smt light came on right after the transmission was replaced and I cannot get help from any toyota place around here. They are saying now that it needs an acuator "which was sent with the tranmission but wasn't installed." Another 4500.00 for that part installed. We have invested over 10,000.00 dollars in this car and it still doesn't run. Oh, we took them to small claims but cannot get anyone to testify against their own.. Please let me know how this goes!!

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

It's not the actuator at all, now they say its the pump. $2400.00 for this repair. Does anyone know how many mr2 spyders with smt transmissions were sold?

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Correction 3400.00 for the hydraulic pump. Does anyone know how to fix this car?????

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

try the local better business bureau BBB, they have an auto-line lemon arbitration/mediation division that may be able to help. trans seems very damaged. if you like the car get an independent to put in used trans.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I also have 2002 MR2 with SMT and it's been back and forth Toyota shop 4 times this year. The repair cost is outragous and the problem is still not resolved. I am pretty pissed off.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

My Mr2 spyder with a smt transmission will suddenly not go into gear. If I wait a whiile, it will. It is irritating if not dangerous. The warning light comes on when it won't go into gear. Naturally the manual says take the car immediately to the local dealer.... I did, but of course it was not fixed. Why do they make cars that does not have a body of people who know how to fix them.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

the problem is that the car is based on a Ferrari design.I took mine to A Ferrari mechanic and he said 'what do you expect?" So i have up as he pointed to a broken Ferrari that looked similar to my MR2. 2 much tuning for me. Toyota discontinued this car for a reason, i had to junk my 85, but only put a few. if hundred in it. i now have a mx5 miata, which is a better design. as far as dealers not doing the job, i would contact the state lemon law group, sometimes at your state attorney general offices. the BBB, better business group should have an auto-line arbitration program. if not you can file a small claim (non- lawyer) at your local court or ask for free dispute resolution at the court. My dads Ferrari cost $15,000 for the fist tune and about $25,000 for the belts; they have to drop the engine down to work on it. it is a very complex design. The Japanese, they tell me turn them out at 25,000 miles due to pollution requirements. i was going to replace the engine but it was just too much trouble. there are design problems and American Mechanics are just not trained for this exotic build. i loved the car and it was fast--over 125 mph but sometimes love is just not enough......

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

We had to sell ours for pennies on the dollar. $11,000.00 in repairs and the car was still not operable. Went to small claims they squashed our evidence due to no attorney representing us because we could not find one that would take the case. I will never say never but I will try my best not to deal with Toyota again lots of bull. We took ours to two dealerships and the one that replaced the engine did not want to get involved. I did get one that did some investigation for me and it wasn't pretty for the two dealerships that were involved and then they went silent. Crooks and criminals. There mechanics are not trained to fix a problem but to just replace an expensive part. Cobb County Toyota deserve to lose all of their business and I expect they will with their crooked and deceptive practices. I tried and tried to get the car fixed but no one could come up with an answer except more money and they would try... Shame on you Toyota and your dealerships who conduct their businesses with such poor customer service.....

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

its probably the diaphragm in the fuel pump. you can put a bypass on. i would sell the car, as i said its a Ferrari at heart...the belt change on them is $5000 i switched to mazda mx5. actually, mine ended up in the junk yard after the last repair, not as extensive as yours.


Google MR2 Guru, its by NC area. Unfortunately I'm running into the same issue with my MR2, i have to error codes P1646 and P0860 - About the SMT transmission, i decided to change it to Manual transmission and now waiting to see what happens. Anyone with a similar error codes? where you able to fix it??

6 of 6 people found this helpful.

Hi I have the P1880 code for the actuator assy, and they say if I fix that for 3500 it will be ok. After all the reading online I conclude that no one know, not even transmission or Toyota specialists. Time to trade the car in!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

All you need is to change the air filter and clean the intake tthrottle area your good to go

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

Hi, i have quite same problem as well, i have my 2001 smt which i gave to mechanic to change the clutch because my old clutch was slipping, they changed the clutch and since then my car Goes only in third gear and if insert rear gear it also goes forward in 3rd, before when gear is inserted, it produce very funny repetitive noise, and i need to wait before it goes. I know its not a lot of information but that's all i can say.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

We have one with the exact same issue and error codes. Same dealer issues, etc. Finally, our mechanic was able to locate a 5- speed manual transmission and replaced it, adding a clutch. WORKS PERFECT and lots of fun to drive! The SMT is a POS, though.

The Ferrari analogy is pretty silly. Yes the MR2 Spyder has an engine and transmission. Just like a Ferrari. The SMT components are made by LUK in Germany...just like, um, a BMW. Toyota outsourced the entire SMT to LUK, but Toyota wrote a nasty contract, where LUK will NOT sell any component parts of the system. You cannot buy a rubber seal, or a screw. All you can buy is the entire assembly. Stay away from the dealer if you need any repairs. Their troubleshooting charts lead to large (expensive) component replacements. Look up people who have actually repaired the cars in the past (like myself). It's not rocket science. The cars can be repaired with used parts.

I have a MR 2 Spyder 2002 motor was rebuilt out of Victoria Iand Canada. The guys there know there stuff. It's fast and no problems. They also changed the exhaust with stainless heads. Got it up to 127 miles an hour on the 401 !

@GuruDDD1K, who in Victoria did your car? I'm in YEG and need some decent work done and the shop I used I was less then happy with. My SMT is acting up and looking to either upgrade or convert to manual. Also what is the stock clutch good for to the wheels both whp and torque?

Your Answer

MR2 Spyder

Looking for a Used MR2 Spyder in your area?

CarGurus has 133 nationwide MR2 Spyder listings starting at $2,500.


Toyota MR2 Spyder Experts

  • #1
  • #2
  • #3
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Mazda MX-5 Miata
73 Great Deals out of 4,408 listings starting at $2,750
Used Chevrolet Corvette
173 Great Deals out of 19,759 listings starting at $3,000
Used Porsche Boxster
50 Great Deals out of 1,216 listings starting at $3,900
Used Ford Mustang
594 Great Deals out of 36,389 listings starting at $899
Used Nissan 350Z
57 Great Deals out of 1,221 listings starting at $3,000
Used Honda S2000
10 Great Deals out of 407 listings starting at $6,500
Used BMW Z4
37 Great Deals out of 1,007 listings starting at $3,995
Used Chevrolet Camaro
446 Great Deals out of 30,846 listings starting at $1,450
Used Toyota Celica
5 Great Deals out of 306 listings starting at $1,200
Used BMW 3 Series
1,115 Great Deals out of 33,827 listings starting at $1,000
Used Audi TT
33 Great Deals out of 891 listings starting at $1,996
Used Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
62 Great Deals out of 1,168 listings starting at $3,400

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.