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Thread: Huge update from Jesse in Oregon (56K slow) Rallycar! Hatchback!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, US
    Posts
    100

    Huge update from Jesse in Oregon (56K slow) Rallycar! Hatchback!

    I think many of you know at least a little about me and my Corollas, but here is the briefest of introductions for those who don't, or as a refresher. I recently posted this on hachirouk.net, but here it is again for the enjoyment of the DK peeps:

    I have three AE86's, a zenki coupe GT-S (close to stock) a zenki liftback GT-S (more mods, footwork and engine bolt-ons) and a recently rolled kouki hatchback SR5 halfway converted to GT-S rally car (BUILT 4A-GE, cage, bushings, SR5 footwork/brakes/axle.) The coupe I bought back in 1997 or so and has been my near constant companion and jack-of-all-trades. I have driven it on the street, track days, competed in autocross and rallycross, done tarmac TSD rally and gravel TSD rally, and even entered a drift event! The long-term plan for the coupe is to keep it running well pretty much as it is, and have it ready to go anywhere, anytime. The liftback I bought non-running from a neighbor in 2001. The long-term plan for this car is heavy modifications for paved backroads, track days, and the occasional autocross/drifting event....work progresses slowly. The rally car is a purchase I made late in the summer; I bought Villy's car after he rolled it. The long-term plan for this car is to take care of the glass and bodywork, sort out a few minor details, and start competing in it sometime in the next year or so, and see where my rally career takes me.

    OK, so what has been happening, say...since the spring? Well, I was using the liftback as more of a daily driver, as the coupe was parked with a worn-out clutch...the same stock clutch I bought the car with! It also had some hard-to-find looseness/clunking in the front end. I fixed the clutch for Drift Day Oregon back in April, and parked the liftback again. The liftback was suffering from a *completely* rusted-out stock exhaust system (read non-existent) leaky rusted hatch, and a leaky front pinion seal on the differential.

    The rally car came home, got driven around a bit, and has been parked since while I source body panels and work on removing the glass.



    The coupe soldiered on quite well until I decided to get serious about a return to rallycross for the two events in September. I replaced the differential oil and a bunch of components in the front end looking for the clunk. In the end I gave up and replaced the wheel bearings, which I was determined weren't at fault, and solved the problem. The only other real issue is a really bad ring/pinion gear whine at 35-40mph and an even worse (intolerable) gear whine from 65-83mph! Sigh...what else is new?



    I took the newly refreshed coupe to a dead-last slowest-car-of-the-day rallycross result on the tight-and-twisty course out at PIR due to a combination of lack of focus and over-eagerness at getting back into competitive driving. My times and my car were all over the map. Most of the guys I used to compete with have continued driving at every event while I have been slacking off for the past couple of seasons, so I was a bit rusty to say the least. For the next event at Hillsboro, I decided to try a different tire combo to combat some of the understeer I was suffering at PIR. I used a 13" Kumho up front and a 14" Silverstone out back. The Kumho has a more open tread and better traction on a rallycross course, and I used higher pressure up front to offset the softer, taller sidewalls of the 13" wheels...it worked! I won my class! The competition was severely reduced, but I felt very comfortable, confident, and controlled with my driving, and more importantly, I was able to analyze each run and improve 1-2 seconds every single run. Yay!

    Since the coupe was running well, I took it on a long cross-state road trip to my college reunion. For the return trip, I chose to take a more relaxing route on back roads, where the speed is variable, and the noise more tolerable. I loooove a road trip, especially when the road look like these:









    In the first hour and half of my trip, I saw exactly two farm trucks, one going my way, and one going the other. I practiced a few ditch-hooks on some of the 90-degree property-line corners on the gravel farm roads...and found a few unsuspected puddles in the ditch! Has it been raining lately or something? I also reminded myself that 195/50-15 aren't nearly as forgiving or progressive on gravel compared to my usual 185/60-14.

    So...the hatchback isn't far from being useable, and I decided to get off my lazy ass and take care of the obvious. I got a new exhaust system installed and couldn't be happier. It is the quietest Corolla I have had in years, very discreet for the eyes and ears, but without a noticeable drop in performance. I recently installed my KBD header, so the exhaust shop (Exhaust Specialties in Portland) came 2.5" off the header, into a high-flow cat. From the cat to a 2.5"-core resonator is down to 2.25", and the resonator is flipped backwards to speed up the flow a bit. After the resonator is 2.25" under the axle, with a flange just before the axle for ease of service, and then a Flowmaster 11.5"-long straight-through muffler. I had them put a section of 2.25" tubing off the muffler...no tip! Hehehe...it looks so plain...perfect! While installing the header, I took the opportunity to replace the stock filter/snorkel with my Injen intake, and rebuilt the distributor and did plugs, wires, cap+rotor, O2 sensor, and retimed it. I also rebuilt the squeaky p/s tensioner pulley. Ah! Tuned up, quiet, no leaks or drips, and running well! The car isn't quite as peppy around town....it might have lost a little bit of grunt around 2000-3500rpm....but once it passes 5000, there is a noticeable jump in performance over stock! I still want to go back and recheck the timing.

    I ordered a lexan rear window and it didn't prove to be quite as easy as I had hoped. My thought was to try for a strict replacement for the glass to save some weight. The replacement hatch is a TRD fiberglass one, so why weigh it down with heavy glass? I was hoping for a 5/32" lexan window, cut to fit, and then molded to the stock slight curve, so I could use the stock window rubber and not have to hassle with ugly rivets, leaks, etc. I went to TAP Plastics and found out that lexan comes in 1/8" or 3/16" Hmmm...OK. I got 1/8"

    I got the Lexan (polycarbonate) hatch window in with a stock rubber seal and I am not really that pleased so far. I rushed it a bit because the rain clouds were closing in and I am sick and tired of literally bailing out the inside of the car. I just flexed it into place with the stock seal and it still leaks a bit real slowly at the corners. I need a shim or something because the plastic is thinner than stock, so I kinda expected it might leak. The second issue is that the flat sheet flexed slightly can pop inward upon closing the hatch hard! At least it pops back out with the pressurization of closing the door after getting in or out! It also seems to be in there pretty well...the fear of having it fly out at speed seem to be unfounded...but it would be even more secure with a shim and the plastic molded to the slight curve of stock. Issue three is the potential for scratches, something else I was aware of, but am now facing the reality of as I put a couple of small scratches in it just installing the window. What am I going to do when I need to wash the car? Ahhhh!

    Could all those folks who told me it was impractical for a streetcar been right? Hehehe...

    On the plus side, TAP plastics did good job of cutting it to size...the fit was good and the cost seemed reasonable: roughly $70 for materials and $30 to make the template and cut it to match stock glass. It is also really light! I don't have any hatch struts installed and I am not sure I will need them (they seemed to put a lot of strain on the fiberglass when I installed them) because you can easily lift hatch with window using a couple of fingers. I will probably try to make a lightweight metal rod prop much like a hood prop and leave it at that.

    I ordered a new front pinion seal, and with the use of my friend Jason's homemade companion flange SST, I am going to attempt to replace the seal on the car as a stopgap until I rebuild the rear axle entirely.

    The TRD wing isn't on yet, but I picked up some supplies for molding it to the hatch....should be a good learning experience as I haven't worked much with fiberglass, but am anxious to try it.

    I am also curious to get the car back on a scale soon....the TRD hatch, lexan window and JDM bumpers should make a big difference along with my carbon hood, the weight savings of the header/intake, and my interior ripping and snorting. Next up on the diet: power steering system. How far am I from 2000 pounds?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, US
    Posts
    100
    Picture time!




    Me in the staging lane at the most recent rallycross...note the tire/wheel combo I mentioned.


    My friend Jason


    Me


    My buddy MOmo's spy camera snaps a pic of my rallycar prototype. Note the Safari-style roof double spare wheel mount, as well as the innovative placement of the front lip and "rhino-style" prototype aero device on the base of the windshield. Let's hope the competition doesn't catch on!



    Rallycar spares and panels awaiting install. I need a bigger garage! Actually, I have a huge garage for an old house in SE, so I shouldn't complain...but more room would always be nice.


    FRP TRD hatch and lexan window install.










    Hatchback engine bay with recent tuneup parts and engine bolt-ons. I know it may not seem like much to some of you guys, but understand that I have been into Corollas for nine years now, and this is the first time I have attempted any type of engine tuning...I have always focused on suspension and driving skill until now.


    Black Injen intake.


    KBD header. Note the rebuilt MR2 dizzy (for the factory head shield) using a rebuild kit from KBox Engineering/Twos R Us, the Thermotec starter heatshield wrap, the new Toyota O2 sensor, and retention of the factory smog setup for Portland DEQ.




    I'm hoping this won't grab too much attention from either the F+F wannabes or 5-0.


    I love it! And same-day service...no wait for shipping from Japan or paying through the nose or any of that nonsense.


    IMO, every street car should have a cat. If it is tuned to be driveable on the street, a high flow cat won't cause a loss in power, and someday our kids or grandkids will thank us. :cool:


    Thanks for reading!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    765
    Very very nice.......
    Noel Aviles

    ---------------------------------------------------
    08 Honda Odyssey 05 Corolla XRS 97 Honda Civic EX Coupe 06 Suzuki GS500F
    85 RX7 GS(Docito)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    edmonton
    Posts
    763
    really nice dude nice cars

    Mike
    in progress

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Victoria
    Posts
    1,351
    Nice pics Jesse! Looks like you have some work on your hands. Fun times. I wish we had roads like that around here though.

    (Dang, I miss rallycross! I didn't get to do any this year.)

    - J
    FWD. Automatic. French. WTF.

  6. #6
    narfy's Avatar
    narfy is offline gigidy gigidy... ooo right!!
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Regency Toyota
    Posts
    9,438
    dammit, i need 3 AE86's!!
    VZN185 - 32" BFG AT, OME suspension, ARB bumper, lightforce lights, TRD trans cooler, TRD exhaust, AMT sliders, budbuilt plates...
    ZN6 - stock with HIDs and LEDs...
    fng@regencyauto.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    Posts
    1,393
    Nice pics & I'm digging the FRP hatch w/ lexan! That must've cost a few pennies!

    How do you like the KBD header? How much was it and where did you buy it?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    edmonton
    Posts
    763
    Quote Originally Posted by narfy
    dammit, i need 3 AE86's!!
    You dont need anymore let me have the rest lol

    Mike
    in progress

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