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Thread: Birch's RA21 GTS

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
    Posts
    759

    Birch's RA21 GTS

    A new thread on my 73 Celica project.

    Started with a 73 Celica my father-in-law gave me. It had been sitting on his acerage for years and the rockers were completely rotted out. Aside from that and a few dents and surface rust, it was in surprisingly good shape.

    My plans for the car changed several times. Everything from a VG30T to 4AGTE to 22RTE transplants, even a AWD conversion. I finally settled on a mild, modern autocrosser featuring mostly AE86 components.



    First off, I stripped it down to a bare shell and stripped the entire interior and undercarriage of rust. I coated the new metal with POR15, followed by truck bedliner.




    Cut out the rockers and replaced them with 2 X 4 steel, 1/8" thick, and welded it into the rear subframe. Also stitch welded the interior crossmembers.




    The rear suspension was stripped and refinished with POR15 and then converted to rear disks using AE86 parts. The coils lost 1.5 loops, and shorter Camaro Koni Sports were fitted. An adjustable T3 Panhard and all new Poly bushings hold it all in place with new Grade 8 bolts. Rebuilt calipers are fed by Braided stainless lines, and AE86 E-brake cables are fitted. I still have to weld brackets for the AE86 rear sway bar and traction brackets to correct the geometry. I also have a Cusco 1.5 way LSD waiting to go in.



    Front suspension was refinished using AE86 struts with Koni Sport inserts and Megan drop springs. Everything was, again, stripped, refinished and loaded with new Poly bushings, ball joints and Grade 8 bolts. New AE86 rotors, calipers, master cylinder, proportioning valve and SS brakelines, as well as new hardline finish up the brake system. I have T3 camber plates that will be installed after the car passes insurance inspection.




    The engine bay was cleaned up and resprayed with Tremclad Flat Black, as was the interior.




    A new wiring harness replaces the 30+ year old factory harness, adding a couple circuits for the modern conversions. New relays, switches and some gauges are controlled by the new chassis harness. The engine will run off a seperate harness in case I want to change motors somewhere down the road.



    The steering column from an AE82 was welded to the Celica dropbracket for use with the AE82 manual steering rack, which is a perfect width for the narrow RA21. AE86 inner tie rods were paired with shortened and fully threaded outer tie rods. and a custom crossmember was required. I made the crossmember with 1 X 2 box steel and 3/16 mounting plates.






    Placement of the steering rack, combined with the RA21 crossmember and the 4age oil pan, demanded a custom pan for proper fit. I cut the bottom off the 4AGE pan and bent up some sheet steel to form the new mid-sump pan. The finished pan was sprayed with bedliner. I still haven't solved the issue of how to modify the dipstick for accurate reading.







    Next up was new motor mounts to set the 4AGE in place of the retired 18R. The old mounts were cut out and ground flush. I found some new mounts using poly bushings while I was gathering parts for my 4runner's engine rebuild. I made the crossmember side of the mounts using 2 X 2 box steel and 3/16 plate. The passenger side cast mount on the 4AGE block was too long to allow the engine to sit level so I made a new shorter one. The engine now sits low and level in the bay, and is a lot lighter than the 18R. It will be interesting to see what the weight balance is like when It's done.









    Lots more done and left to do, but thats long enough for one post.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
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    1,359
    Very good work sir.

    R

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Victoria, BC
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    5,640
    Awesome Mike, glad to see you're making progress..

    Brett
    '87 AE86 - GTSR5 - Daily Driver
    '72 RA21 Celica - 'Ill build it one day'
    '73 RN27 Hilux - Restomod in progress
    '80 MX32 Cressida - Next in the project queue
    '91 SV25 Camry All-Trac - Winter DD

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Edmonton
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    1,009
    That's a pretty fascinating resto-project. Great work. Keep us updated.:o16:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Calgary
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    Wow.... I am soo looking forward to seeing this when it gets done. It looks like you are doing everything that I want to do to my TE31. LOL

    More Pics Please. :biggrin5:
    Bryan
    DK Moderator




  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    Posts
    3,306
    Very nice work and patient painstaking work too. The old 18r ia a heavy bastard so hope you roll it onto the scale after its all buttoned up to see how much it weighs in.


    Or you could have said "sorry, my kidnap victims keep kicking my elbow, it made me drop my crack pipe and swerve"

    -bangnscrape

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Victoria, B.C.
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    283
    That is some bloody nice work!
    Digging the body strengthening and the steering rack cross-member, nice welding!

  8. #8
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    Calgary
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    Now it's a AA21.... lol Nice...!
    Bryan
    DK Moderator




  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
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    I'm hoping the weight will come in close to 50/50 when all is said and done. The hardest thing about it is finding the time to work on it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    edmonton
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    250
    nice build dude! small world too.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mission, BC
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    3,455
    Quote Originally Posted by Birch View Post
    I'm hoping the weight will come in close to 50/50 when all is said and done. The hardest thing about it is finding the time to work on it.
    I hear ya. Very nice, I wish I'd gotten that much work into my own projects in recent years.

  12. #12
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    Oct 2005
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    Nice! Can't wait to see how she turns out.

  13. #13
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    Nov 2005
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    AB
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    Rollin's got a set of those wheels for sale, that you depict in your artists rendition..

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
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    Quote Originally Posted by bodaciousbob View Post
    Rollin's got a set of those wheels for sale, that you depict in your artists rendition..
    Thanks for the heads up, but I'm short on the funds atm and I'm pretty happy with the turbines for now. Also got a blown turbo motor, 22RTE, for the 4runner. My rebuilt 22RE will come complete with kung fu grip + boost in the semi near future. Too many projects....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
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    759
    Bit of progress on the steering rack. I bolted the cross member to 3/16" steel plate and cut out sections of the frame rail so the plate could be inset and sit flush with the cross member flanges. There are two layers of steel sandwiched to make up the frame rail in that section and I will be adding gussets to tie the rack plates into the engine cross member's rear bolt, on top of the frame rail. This car should be stiff as hell after all this.

    Need to put in the engine again to check clearance from the oil pan, but measurements say I'll have over 1/2" clearance between the pan and the rack. Now to make a shaft from rack to column without interfering with the starter or exhaust






    Also found a supplier in England for universal steering rack boots that are made out of really stretchy rubber. They cost 23 Pounds shipped as opposed to the $65 for a set of plastic aftermarket boots here in Canada.
    www.bailcast.com
    Last edited by Birch; 07-26-2008 at 08:48 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver BC
    Posts
    567
    What part# did you get for those rack boots? Have you ordered them yet? Fitment?

    I think I will pick some up too. GB anyone?

    Nice car by the way hope to see it out soon.

    Corby Martin
    1986 Corolla GT-S 13b REW Silvia N2 Hot Mess -SUPER SOLD
    1986 4Runner SR5 Panda Tofu delivery special edition.-FOR SALE

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
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    No part #, they are universal. I got them already but I can't comment on fitment 'cause I haven't gotten around to trying them yet. They are very pliable though and come with a cone thing to stretch them over to fit on the rack. I'll post pics when I get around to it in a couple weeks.

  18. #18
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    Jun 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
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    Finished the steering rack mount by welding the plates into the frame. Seems to be very solid and rigid. Now I need to decide what to do with the column and shaft running from column to rack. The Corolla column I was planning to use has clearance issues with the brake pedal so I'm considering an aftermarket (Flaming River or something similar) column. The Bailcast rack boots fit great were easy to install.




    Started work on a Ninja-chic e-brake. Not sure if I'll actually use it but its a fun little project.




    Just got some Cunifer brake lines from the UK for half the price Federal Hill USA wants. I've always wanted to try these things...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
    Posts
    759
    Not much time for car stuff lately but I got a bit done on labour day. Decided to go with the column from my 4runner parts truck, it's almost exactly the same length as the Celica column. Picked up some u-joints from Borgeson along with 3/4" DD steering shaft, 3/4 hiem joint and the hacked up 4runner shaft to join the rack to column. Had to offset it a bit to keep the u-joints in the 30 degree range and also to clear the 4age starter. 4 turns lock to lock on the AE82 rack, and everything seems smooth.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Victoria B.C.
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    1,692
    how do those u-joints mate with the rack? Do they match the splines?

    1970 KE17 Project
    1969 KE10 Slider

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