View Full Version : '81 Coupe quasi-resto

04-14-2011, 10:55 PM
Alright, I guess its about that time.

Comment thread here

1981 Corolla SR-5 Coupe. I got it a couple of years ago and DD'd it until about October when I got myself a '95 T100, allowing me to start what I wanted to do with the car in the first place (still not sure exactly what that is)

Had about 455,000kms on it when I got it. I bumped it up to around 490,000 by the time I stripped it.

I'm not sure how many owners had it before me, but it went through one pair of incompetent hands at least...

I found one picture from before. Actually from the day after I got it. That's the only one I have found so far

Here it sits as stripped as it will go as of April

Stripped out interior. Sound deadening out except for the hatch area. Using that as misc storage right now. Yes that's pipe-insulation on all the sharp edges... I learn quickly

First thing to do is fix the holes in various parts. I'm kinda working front to back. It gets worse the farther back you go. That camera angle makes the little bit of rust developing on the raw panels look worse than it actually is. Once I finish that section I'll clean it up and throw some self-etch on it.

Trickiest thing I have done so far is to cut out one panel to replace the inaccessible metal under it. Hard as hell to get a grinder up in there to clean up the welds.
And from underneath

It certainly honed my welding and finishing techniques in a hurry. Looking back on my wled quality makes me realize how far I've come. Now I just need to figure out how to adequately get behind it with some primer...

Next, the big hole in the floor. Don't patch rust holes with fiberglass unless its sealed on both sides and all the rust is gone first. The rust spread and took that little frame rail under the floor.

Water also got around the trim clips in the windshield seal. I guess it pooled there and ate through the metal. The whole rim of the windshield needs attention. It was worse on the driver's side so I did some more cutting and welding and hammering and grinding and replaced the metal. I'm not completely happy with it but it will do in the meantime.

I still have some more to do around the other three edges.

And finally, a teaser. One of the biggest hack-job repairs that could ever have been done... I'll talk about it later. Driver's side rear.

Good enough for a first post. To be continued...

04-24-2011, 05:56 PM
And now for the big cliffhanger..... (drumroll)

So, at some point, the previous owner did a bunch of things to the car with an eye for making it last forever. Because he was a mechanical engineer, be probably thought he was smart enough to just charge into making rust "repairs".

Some of the things he did were absolutely mind-boggling, and a couple of people on this board have already heard my rants.
"If I ever see this guy again I'm going to..." That sort of thing

In any event, some of the rust repair that I have done so far, and some of what I am about to do, is legitimate 30 year-old car rust and is exactly what you'd expect from a car that's been relatively taken care of for its life.

On the other hand, some of the rust is most definatly not necessary. Apparently, Mr. Smart-Guy-Engineer decided it would be a good idea to do some additions to the car. Things like filling the rear of both front and rear wheel arches with fiberglass then adding those hyper-lame chrome-ish flares (in the very first picture). He also decided it would be a good idea to silicone the mud flaps in place. There's also more then one occasion of someone bondo-ing over raw rust...

The first thing I tried to do was pull off the flares (because they're lame) but I couldn't because they ended up holding all the fender pieces that had rusted away underneath. The siliconed mudflaps had also rotted out the back of both front fenders.

Anyway, enough about that. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Be advised that before I wire brushed most of the loose crap away, it was covered in a coating of bathroom silicone then painted. A sharp eye can also see the fiberglass stuffed into the flare of the fender. (That blue stuff is mine). And, No, that is not replacement metal, it was just sandwiched over the rust original metal.


And this was coated in some sort of black rubbery mass. Felt like three inches of undercoating.

I think it was welded by the guy's three year-old daughter

All of the above compares with the other side, which was untouched. It has what I consider to be a normal amount of rust in a relatively rust-prone area.

From the top after wirebrushing the loose crap out of the way

And the bottom

No, I don't think its too far gone to save. In fact, Chris (Sunray) pointed out that its actually not all that difficult from a broad sense. The frame rail is perfectly fine and it doesn't affect the control arm mounts at all. The only tricky part is with the spring perch.

I have a line on a donor too.

04-08-2012, 10:37 PM
Its been a while since I've done an update. I've actually done quite a bit of work here and there, just haven't been very good about taking pictures, and certainly not been good about posting them up here.

Anyway, as of the last post, I was commenting about how bad the driver's side shock tower was, while the passenger's side was quite reasonable. In fact, that was not the case. Once I started grinding stuff off, I found enough garbage to warrant just cutting all the garbage out and replacing it. Anyway, just a few pictures for now. More on the way.


Work half way done on the passenger's side. Study it hard and you can see that I have cut out most of it. Every pinch weld was rotten through and through. It just doesn't feel right to weld good metal to rusty seams. That whole area is a mash of random pieces of metal sandwiched together.


Donor shock tower all nicely sandblasted


In. Yay! Still need to go over it a couple of times. Grind some welds down and put some more metal in. If you have a really sharp eye, you'll notice that its about 1/2" lower than stock. It just sorta ended up that way.


I wonder if fixing this would be easier. Stug at the Cdn War Museum

Anyway, things have been on hold for a while so I can sort out the next big purchase.

As before, comment thread is here: http://www.dorikaze.com/showthread.php?t=34864

04-10-2012, 10:09 PM
And now for the BIG PURCHASE!!!

It started with this:


And after a day of bolting things together, then another day messing around with it getting the balance right, I end up with a car that will do twirls.


Quite frankly, I don't know how people do this with engine stands. All of a sudden, I can get at parts of the car I thought were completely inaccessible.


Sure allows a different view of the rotten quarter pockets

Now I can get back to work on the car.

Old 'Rollas
04-11-2012, 01:30 PM
Where did you get that rotisserie? And how much was it?