So ugly, so awesome. Looks like a great start.
So a few months ago I decided I was tired of my bagged daily Yaris, so I started parting it out and perusing craigslist for another car. My ideas for cars jumped around a lot, but I settled on RWD and a Toyota. After a couple months of searching I came upon this 78 Corona wagon. As far as I can tell it has 80k original miles and almost all the original equipment. It was 320 miles from me, so pretty much sight unseen I rented a trailer and left at 4 in the morning and booked it down to GA got there at roughly 830. I looked the car over, assessed all the rust, and took it for a test drive (with the 20R ,3 speed auto, and 4.10's this thing picks up pretty quick at full throttle). Loaded her on a trailer and left around 10, but any time I went over 55 the Corona swung back and forth like a high-school physics experiment. Landed back in NC around 4 after infuriating a lot of people on I-40. She's really rusty; both front fenders and both quarters are rusted through, the body under the hatch is in a sad state, and there is a hole in the corner of the floor in the hatch, but the frame, floorpans, and pretty much everything above the fenders are spotless. For some reason the original owner took off the OEM rear bumper and welded on some square and round tube sort of like a drift crash bar. The only 2 things keeping it from being roadworthy are the carb is clogged with varnish and gunk, so you have to finesse the pedal to get it to move or it will die, and the fusible links are just stuck onto the battery terminal. Now onto some pictures:
The new acquisition AKA Sasquatch (because it's brown, dirty, and you're not sure what it is until it's already gone):
Front end rust.
Pass. side rust.
Nasty rear bumper, nice taillights and a dented hatch.
The horrible rust under the hatch. (Bonus oem spare)
Sweet giant dirt dobber nest on the rear end.
Drivers side rust.
Crappy aftermarket non-adjustable mirrors.
Meh clean interior, cracked dash and seats coming apart a bit, but otherwise nice. (bonus chevy hubcap)
Dash with everything that works. Missing the brake light though.
Working oem radio, and HVAC.
Decently clean engine bay. You can see the aftermarket inline fuel pump they installed that's triggered off the oem wire. Will probably relocate that later.
And finally the full family shot (aside from girlfriends '13 FRS)
Fix wiring (Done)
Fix carb issue (done)
Delete emissions and egr bs (done)
Redo all the brakes (done)
Relocate fuel pump (done)
Redo exhaust from the head back (done)
Drive the crap out of it (doing)
Replace crappy mirrors with fender mirrors (done)
Lower it 2-3"/50-75mm (not inclined to cut the oem springs, anybody have any suggestions on lowering the front?)
Order some wider steelies from Wheel Vintiques
Maybe fix rust
Drive the crap out of it
Some "might happen" stuff:
Some "go-fast" bits for the 20R (side drafts, cam, valvetrain, etc.)
Swap to a manual
Last edited by coheed; 04-12-2016 at 07:16 AM.
So ugly, so awesome. Looks like a great start.
2007 Lexus LX470
1985 Toyota Celica Supra 1JZ - 1JZ, restored
1987 Toyota Land Cruiser BJ73
Yea, I feel old Toyota's are kind of like pugs, they're so ugly they're cute. This shall be a fun car to try and daily.
Small update on the Sasquatch. Got the new 32/36 installed. Man that thing makes a huge difference in power. Granted the OE carb was basically junk, but this thing scoots a lot faster than the Yaris (not really bragging rights though). But it needs to be re-timed, it "diesels" and spits back through the carb after shutoff. The $20 FPR I bought is crapping out so I have a Holley FPR on the way. Also slapped on a tsurikawa that I had laying around from my last trip to the land of the rising sun for giggles. Paid $8 for a 1978 tag on eBay. In NC I can run a tag from the year of manufacture, so long as I have the registration up to date, so this will be the tag that stays on the car. I think it looks a lot better than a new tag, plus it adds to the retro factor. Have new brakes on the way, so this thing should be on the road soon. Now pics:
Stupid dirty bay
Kinda blurry pic of the tag and tsurikawa
More likely hot bits of carbon in the combustion chambers acting as low plugs than timing. The ignition system isn't providing spark after you turn off the key. You can try Seafoaming it of carefully spraying some water in while running at rpm. Steam does wonders for cleaning combustion chambers as anyone who has ever blown a headgasket knows.But it needs to be re-timed, it "diesels" and spits back through the carb after shutoff.
1JZ 1984 Celica GTS
1UZ 1981 Corolla sedan
? 1972 Celica race car
Small update, needed to get rid of the lines and fittings for the water choke. Also wanted to clean up the manifold of all the vacuum ports, so I went and picked up a bunch of plugs and installed them. Had to reseal the EGR block off plate from LCE. Onto some pics:
Plug in place of the water choke fitting and the LCE EGR plate.
Plugged all of the vacuum ports.
There's a metal tube coming off the back of the water pump that supplied the coolant to the water choke. Didn't feel like buying the block off plate from LCE for this, so my solution was to cut the tube, smush it with the bench vice, and weld it up with my $80 flux-core MIG. Bolted it back up with RTV as sealant and let it cure overnite. Ran the car at operating temp for a good bit today and nothing developed a leak, so I think I'm good.
Also got the new front brakes installed. On first sight I had thought the brakes were metal on metal. Upon inspection it seems that they had been metal on metal at some point, but one of the po's had just slid some new pads in and decided not to remove the wheel hub and change the rotors. So I pulled the hubs off today, repacked the wheel bearings, and reinstalled them with new rotors. Also put in new pads.
Also fitted up a Volvo 740 front lip that I had laying behind the garage. I think it looks pretty decent, plus the bit that pops out for the Volvo tow hook lines up with the factory hook on my car. Not sure if I'm sold on having the rubber bits removed from the bumper.
Got my Hedman headers in the mail the other day, and since I had a few days off I figured I get the stock exhaust off and see how everything fitted. I started, obviously, by pulling off the old exhaust. Found a huge leak inside the heat shielding on both number 1 and 2 cylinders.
Pulled the manifold off and found for some reason it had 2 gaskets, so that's probably one reason.
And the far left 2 stud threads were completely stripped. Like stripped to the point that when I went to Heli-coil them I didn't even have to drill them out to get the tap in.
Now for the downtube. It comes off at pretty much the same angle as the OE one, but about 1.75" lower. So I chopped the stock bracket that holds the downtube to the bell housing up and extended it down, and added a bit of flat stock. No pics from post welding because my welds look sh*t. But they held up to repeated blows from a 5lb deadblow to get it shifted correctly.
Bought a Flowmaster knockoff for $30. It's constructed with the same materials with the same layout as a 40 series. Which I know is a "played out" muffler for the R series motors, but I really enjoy they way they sound. Insane that the headers are pretty much the same size as the muffler.
Ordered a bend kit this morning, so hopefully I can button up all the exhaust next weekend, and she'll pretty much be road worthy. And bonus picture just cause.
Lots of progress, wow. Keep up the work pace
Warning: Suspension rant ahead.
I know this thing will never handle like an 86 or an AW11 with the stock double a-arm and leaf spring setup, but I can at least improve it. I'm thinking KYB Gas-A-Just shocks all around as they tend to be stiff, which might help with this things horrendous body roll. As far as front springs, I have a few options. I can get some King springs from 'Straya that are meant for this chassis. Or RN20 Hilux springs fit, have a much higher spring rate, and have the same I.D.. Also I might be able to get some Mighty Max/Dodge D50 springs, as the fit the Hiluxs, so by association they should fit the 'Rona. The Mighty Max springs have a higher rate than the Hilux springs, are shorter (so I wouldn't have to cut them as much as the Hilux springs), and I can order a set of those brand new. Then the fourth option are Ford Courier/Mazda B-series springs. They have roughly the same spring rate as the Mighty Max ones, but are 2 inches longer, and are also available new. Not sure what I'll go with, the best thing would be to pull my springs out and measure the free length and guesstimate the spring rate and go from there. But I would rather not disturb the suspension until I have some new parts to throw back in. As far as the rear goes, it's a little odd as it has 2" wide leafs instead of the ever common 2 1/2" wide leafs. I'll more than likely make some lowering blocks out of really thick walled 2"x2" steel tubing. If I feel like making the springs stiffer I have a friend who has some leafs from a '56 Bel-Air that I could use to make a hybrid pack that would suit my height and stiffness needs, as 50's Chevys had 2" wide springs. After I get my height were I want it I'll redo most of the bushings. Whiteline has a pretty good selection for this chassis, so I'll order a good bit from them. Everything they don't make I'll just replace with OE quality, if they are available.
Small update, the exhaust is done, for the most part. It drones like crazy from 2200-2400 rpm, so I think I might redo the tailpipe to see if I can get rid of that. Now pics:
Also I got some fender mirrors, cause JDM BRAH.
Well Monday morning I went and got the car insured and a current tag from the DMV. Drove the car to work that night, and holy crap it's geared low. At 55mph it's turning 3100 RPM, so I'll have to do something about that if I ever want to see a highway. On the way home Tuesday morning I was roughly 2 miles from the house at a stop light and noticed some smoke coming from under the car. Got back to the house as quick as I could and popped the hood, saw nothing leaking. Put it up on ramps and started looking around. Turns out the P.O. had overfilled the trans and it was dumping fluid out the dipstick tube onto the exhaust. I need to change the filter anyway, so that might happen this weekend.
I changed that muffler because the Flowmaster knockoff was to loud for my liking, and it sounded really ricey at 2200ish RPM. Bought a Thrush Turbo and slapped it on this morning. SO much quieter and it sounds a lot better.
Thrush turbo. One of hanger clamps broke so that's why the exhaust is bouncing around so much:
Hopefully going to pick up these wheels tomorrow:
14x7 don't know what the offset is, but they'll definitely be more aggressive than the stock 5.5's. Anyone care to guess at the brand on these? I've never seen mesh wheels quite like them before.
Ok, update time. Picked up the wheels in the above photo, but have yet to put them on the car. First I need to deal with my transmission dilemma. I went to change the filter and the fluid last Saturday and snapped one of the pan bolts off in the case, and trying to remove the other bolts I could feel they were going to snap too. Whoever put the pan on last way over tightened them. I thought about swapping to an A40D to have an overdrive, or a W50 but that would involve more work than I'm willing to put in. Luckily for me there are 2 guys that run an old Toyota graveyard about an hour and a half from me. They have a good A40 trans and a 3.73 differential that solves the trans issue and the ridiculous low gearing issue. Going to pick up those up tomorrow after work.
Well plans changed. I went up to pick up the A40, and turns out it was a floor shift, so everything was on the wrong side. But.... I left with a W50, flywheel, clutch and pressure plate out of a RA42. So I guess I'm going 5 speed. Which is what I wanted to do originally, but convinced myself it would be too much work. I'm gonna see if I can get the trans in the car workable until I have all the bits and bobs to throw the 5 speed in.
Cleaned the W50 a bit ago. Took about 2 hours worth of scrubbing and pressure washing to get 40 years worth of oil, dirt, and grime off. It isn't factory clean, but cleaner than most of the car now.
Did some measuring as well. If my eyeballs and tape measure are correct the overall length is the same, and front of bellhousing to mount distance is the same. The mount also looks the same. So it looks like no driveshaft or crossmember mods are needed for the swap. Most of the hydraulic stuff I can get new except for the hardline. I've never had great luck at making hardlines, but I'll try my hand at it again for this. The clutch has pretty good friction material on it so I don't think I'll have to get it resurfaced. I'l have to take the flywheel to get machined, and there are 2 pressure plate bolts broke off in it that I'll have the machine shop remove cause I hate removing broken bolts.
Bonus picture of the unknown wheels.
Update time, 5 speed is in. I was correct and everything was the same length, so it all just slipped in. I ended up getting a new flywheel, clutch, and pressure plate as it was only a little more than getting everything refinished. Got a pedal assembly from a guy on the old school Toyota group on facebook. Unfortunately the clutch pedal bolts to the firewall in the same spot as my park brake pedal, so.... no park brake. Whatever, I'll park in gear, carry a chock with me, and avoid steep hills. After a ridiculous amount of time trying to bleed the new master on the car and not building pressure, I pulled it and tried bench bleeding. As soon as I poured the fluid in the reservoir it poured out of the fitting, and as I bought that master on a wholesaler closeout, it had no warranty. So I bought a new master, threw it on, and had a clutch 20 minutes later.
Since I got the 5 speed in and working I've put about 80 miles on the car and have been trying to get the carb working at its best. It stumbles right when you crack it to about 1/8th throttle, even though the idle is great and my plugs are reading pretty great. I've only been running 87 octane non-ethanol fuel in it, as it seemed to run worse with higher octane fuel. I was going to check my my plugs yesterday and when I went to pull the wire off plug 2 the damn wire pulled apart even though I was pulling on the boot. This gives me an excuse to change the cap, rotor, and wires as I don't really know how old they are (I changed the plugs when I got it). I went junkyard browsing last Saturday and snagged a shift boot off an 83 Tercel wagon that works pretty well. Also grabbed a pair of Mighty max coils. They'll probably lower it more than I'm wanting, but for $20 I'll give 'em a shot.
Which brings us to the next on the want to do list: lowering this pig. I've gone back and forth on whether I actually want to lower it, but I figure this thing is rusty beyond what would be financially reasonable to fix, so it's not like this thing will ever be a collectors piece. Plus lowered cars are cooler. Gonna try the Mighty Max coils and see how low that gets the front, if they are too low I'll sell them and buy something else. And obviously get some blocks to match for the rear. As far as shocks go I'll need new ones, and it seems the Coronas use some of the shortest shocks in their mounting configurations. I spent a few hours pouring through KYB's catalogue the other night and there are only 3 shocks shorter for the front and 3 for the rear. I'm going to go with the gas-a-just's all around as people say they are super stiff and right now this thing has the softest, body rollingest ride of any car I've ever been in. God only knows how old the shocks are. The back ones still have some blue paint on them and they look aftermarket, but the fronts are completely covered in rust and maybe the originals. I'll be going with p/n KG5450 for the front which are 1.18" shorter extended and 0.6" shorter compressed, which isn't great as I want to drop the front almost 2 inches, but I can't find anything any shorter so they'll still be an improvement. For the rear I'll be going with p/n KG4006 which is a little better than the fronts at 2" shorter extended and 0.85" shorter compressed.
Next on the need to do list is to figure out why my charge light is staying on all the time. My alternator seems to work fine. At low idle it charges at 14.2v and at 2000rpm it's charging a 14.7 every single time I've checked it, and I've checked it quite a damn bit. So I'm thinking it may be the "Charge Light Relay" on the inner fender in the engine bay. I've read quite a few threads on the Toyota truck and Celica forums of them having the same sort of issue and that relay was the culprit, though none of the vehicles are quite as old as mine. I need to check it next time I get a chance, but manual only has the guide to check the 4 pin style relays and mine has a 6 pin relay. So I'm not really sure how to check it.
After that I want to get the tires on the car mounted on the new wheels. I can feel the tires vibrating from being unbalanced now and it gives me an excuse to mount up the new wheels to get rid of the issue. I'll have to buy some shank style lug nuts but they aren't that pricey.
Small update. Went to take the Rona for a short drive this morning and it had an accident on the grass. The Weber doesn't have a return line, so I capped the original and thought it would be fine. Well, I was wrong. There was a square foot in the yard that was black from leaking gas and grime/oil coming off the car. I hadn't had an issue until this morning and I think it's because I hadn't been filling the tank all the way up, but I did yesterday..... So I drained roughly 12 gallons of gas out, some of which I can't reuse because the can I drained into was super nasty. Then I took the return line fitting off the front of the tank and went up to the local parts house to try and find a cap, no luck. Then I went to the mom'n'pop hardware store that carries a lot of specialty stuff hoping for something, again no luck. Then I thought, "Well the compression fitting is steel. Wonder if I can weld it shut?" Turns out I can and did.
Isn't pretty but I put 8ish gallons back in the tank and no leaks. But now I have another issue. The inline pump can't reprime the lines. I tried with a little vacuum pump I had to pull some up to it but no such luck. It's weird, if I turn on the pump and put my ear in the filler neck I can hear this gurgling noise like it's pulling air into the pickup. I don't think it has to do with me capping the return as the tank still has a vent, but I could be wrong. I think I'll just go ahead and put an in tank pump back in the car. It will clean things up and I can clean out the tank while I'm at it, although I'll say that when I drained the fuel I grabbed some in a mason jar and it was super clean from start to finish. Hopefully will be back on the road soon.
Well Friday I changed the rotor, cap, and wires and I pulled my tank to change the pump. No pictures of me pulling it because it kept making me mad and I just wanted to be done with it. It was no surprise that the OE pump stopped working. It had been in there so long the rubber was the consistency of pudding left out on the counter. Old pump next to the new one. (sorry for the crap pics)
I also cleaned all that extra crap out of the bay from the inline pump. Looks so much better in the bay now.
So she runs again, but I'm only building about 1.5psi of fuel pressure regardless of which FPR is attached. I think my issue is the pressure relief valve, which is the little brown piece in between the pump and the hangar. When I had the pump out it looked like the valve was stuck open but I wasn't worried about it, but now I am. I don't know if I should pay $15 for a new valve, or just bypass it and hope my FPR keeps the carb from flooding.
It's 15 bucks. Replace the valve. The first time the carb floods and causes problems while you're not at your workspace, you'll wish that you had.
Unfortunately I couldn't get a valve. I found quite a few dealerships that said they had it, but when I tried to buy it they were like "Sorry, that part is so old our inventory didn't recognize that we didn't have it." So I just replaced it with a straight piece. But I have been driving it and no issues so far. I've got constant 2.5 psi at the carb, and it's running a lot better since I pulled the distributor apart and cleaned it.
Few new issues though. Under normal driving conditions it heats up and stays at operating temp just fine. But if it gets cold while I'm driving (50° or less) I have to keep the RPMs up more than I want to to keep it warm. So it's probably time to change the thermostat. It was dropping all the way to the bottom of the gauge, but I bled the system twice and got a bit of air out and now it stays up at about 1/4 when it's cold. Also was messing around and checked my tie-rods and all the steering and found my right inner tie-rod needs replaced. It's not crazy loose but it's not great either. Issues aside it's driving pretty well.
I decided my headlights weren't really bright enough for me. I had some giant fog lights laying around that I intended on throwing on my Jeep, but that project is a bit away, so why not throw them on the Rona? That's what most of this car is, "why not?" Here's some pics from an abandoned service station so this thread isn't me talking into the wind.
Last edited by coheed; 11-14-2016 at 05:27 PM.
Nice pics!! Good to read that is getting fuel again!!