RacingGeek
RacingGeek None
10/15/21 3:38 p.m.

Love at first sight? I bought this 79 Corolla Liftback at 11pm on a Monday night in another state after it was listed for about 30 minutes because I have no self restraint. Here it is loaded up and then finally back home at 3am. Plan is for it to just be a fun parts runner since the Tundra is far from economical at the pump. Probably do some autocrossing and eventually snow ball into something more. Problem is this is the first non American car I've wanted to do something with so I have no clue what I'm doing or where to begin with it and mod info for these cars seems to be hard to find. All these chassis and engine codes are confusing me and apparently the ae86 gets all the vintage Toyota love for aftermarket support. So if you wouldn't mind dropping some nuggets of info to get me started, it will be appreciated.

 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
10/15/21 10:37 p.m.

So cool! You sure don't see those every day. I had a 1974 Corolla that was getting compliments and thumbs up 20 years ago so you know they're rare now. 

Somebeach (Forum Supporter)
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
10/16/21 7:49 a.m.

I haven't bought anything from them. But they have a long list of parts with nice pictures. 
 

https://technotoytuning.com

 

I have a 83 wagon, that is the same color blue. 
 

What are your plans for modification on it? 

84FSP
84FSP UltraDork
10/16/21 10:21 a.m.

Wow you really don't see thise around ever.  

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UltraDork
10/16/21 10:48 a.m.

Spray the inside of every cavity in the body shell with self etching inner coating followed by cavity wax before you let it get wet in any way! These are wonderful cars that have all rusted away where I live. Lots of commonality with other Corollas, and it is mechanically simple, with logical design, so easy to fix.

RacingGeek
RacingGeek New Reader
10/16/21 12:53 p.m.

I ran across Techno Toy Tuning in some previous searches but I'm not sure what will fit my car since I'm not seeing my exact chassis code which is TE51. I think the TE31/37 is compatible to mine but this is why I was saying I'm confused by all the chassis codes Toyota uses. I'm used to a Camaro being a Camaro type of thing but apparently Toyota uses a new code for each variation of the same car and then to complicate things it seems like each variation uses slightly different interior and exterior parts but I think the suspension is mostly the same within each generation but I've also heard things like control arms are different too so yeah... confusion. Then there's all the engine codes which I'm still trying to wrap my head around too. Seems like a different factory intake and carb setup is enough to get a different engine code.

I keep telling myself I'd like to keep the mods fairly simple but often find myself researching engine swaps and looking at cage work people have done. For now I'm thinking some drop blocks for the back and a coilover mod up front. The car has too much wheel gap for my taste. Maybe some poly bushings too and definitely some stickier tires but that isn't saying much because it has some off brand Chinese tires on it now that howl when pushed past granny pace.

 

In other news the original radiator has a hole in it which is why it had to be trailered home. Got an aftermarket radiator which was supposed to fit but didn't so I cut the mounting tabs off and made some adapters from 2" channel in the scrap bin. Also Amazon next day-ed an overflow for a 2000-ish Honda Accord and made a mount for that using some tube from an old excise machine a neighbor had at the curb. Was able to avoid adding extra holes to the core support and can still use the original fan for a more nostalgic look under the hood. Eventually I'll change the radiator overflow fitting to a 90* one to keep it less obtrusive but it works for now.

 

 

 

 

There is this detent in the overflow which I'm assuming was used to retain it but I took it for a drive with it just wedged into position and it's still tight. Anyone think I'll actually need to add a retaining tab? There is an autocross event tomorrow at Road America so I'll bring some duct tape in case tech has an issue with it. Need to rig up some kind of battery hold down for tomorrow too. A ratchet strap works but screams hooptie and that's not the look I'm going for with this car.

 

 

bgkast
bgkast GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/16/21 1:20 p.m.

That looks like it will work great. Nice find!

Nitroracer (Forum Supporter)
Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/16/21 4:38 p.m.

I'm a bit jealous of two things - that you found a Toyota that old that wasn't pure rust and you picked it up the same night!   Pennsylvania won't even let you buy a car on Sunday since a notary needs to be involved for the title transfer (in-state).  Have fun with it!

RacingGeek
RacingGeek New Reader
10/16/21 7:25 p.m.

I once drove from Wisconsin to Ohio to visit a friend and then went with him to Pennsylvania to buy a motorcycle and I was dumbfounded when he said we had to find a notary to complete the sale. Definitely seems like an annoying hoop to have to jump through. As far as how clean this is, yeah I can't believe it either. The previous owner said it came from Washington so I'm guessing they don't use salt there. There's surface rust in places but it's overall super solid. The floors and trunk look original but new. Even at 42 years old, it makes some of the 5-8 year old vehicles here look bad.

 

Made the battery hold down this evening so the car should be ready for its first autocross tomorrow.

 

RacingGeek
RacingGeek New Reader
10/17/21 9:05 p.m.

Had a friend co-drive with me so we could both get more time out on track. Neither of us have autocrossed since 2011 but he finished a supermoto race series a week ago that happened to run the exact same course layout that we ran with the cars today so he already came into it with a good idea what line to use and where slick spots and bumps are. I'm thinking this and the fact that it wasn't his car that he was beating on is how he was able to beat my time by 0.198 seconds. Main thing is we weren't dead last in our class and it was a blast driving such a slow car fast. Always fun when you can floor it pretty much everywhere and not worry about the back end coming around.

Couple notes from todays performance...

  • The stock brakes are pretty impressive so I'm sure more aggressive pads and fresh fluid will be plenty for quite a while.
  • My coolant temp gauge stopped working so I'm down to a questionable speedo and fuel gauge now.
  • Something is up with the carb where there's a tight spot at the beginning of pedal travel that you have to push through for it to work normal again.
  • The engine bogs bad right after you push the throttle pedal through the tight spot but runs great wide open.
  • There is a ridiculous amount of body roll.
  • THE TIRES WILL NOT STOP SQUEALING
  • The transmission is reluctant to downshift to second gear after a slowish corner.
  • Everyone was loving car!

They put me in the STS class because of the larger diameter and wider wheels despite the off brand 7 year old 195 wide 500tw tires and likely original bushings and shocks. So now I'm thinking find JDM wheels for normal street rubber and then put the sticky stuff on the current wheels and start ordering/making go fast parts. Anyone have any experience with doing coilover conversions to these cars or an idea what spring rate I should be looking at? I figure I'll be doing Koni shocks. I keep reading 3rd or 4th gen F-body rear shocks for the back and rear MR2 shocks for the front of the corolla. Anyone have some bang for the buck mods for this car beyond shocks and tires? It's primarily going to be a street car so should I get a master poly bushing set or is worth it to get heim joints for things like the lower control arms?

 

 

 

jr02518
jr02518 HalfDork
10/17/21 9:46 p.m.

I would flush and change the transmission fluid as soon as possible.  Do not be surprised if almost nothing drips out of the gear box.

I would also change the transmission and engine mounts.  This keeps the fan out of the radiator.

 

RacingGeek
RacingGeek New Reader
10/17/21 10:00 p.m.

Here's a video of my fastest run of the day.

 

 

RacingGeek
RacingGeek New Reader
10/17/21 10:04 p.m.
jr02518 said:

I would flush and change the transmission fluid as soon as possible.  Do not be surprised if almost nothing drips out of the gear box.

I would also change the transmission and engine mounts.  This keeps the fan out of the radiator.

 

It's an automatic so I planned to flush it soon just so I know it has been done. I did meet a guy today that said he has a 5 speed manual trans and bell housing for sale for my engine but it's only the trans and bell. I'd still need to source pedals and clutch and shifter and other odds and ends.

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UltraDork
10/18/21 5:16 p.m.

Do not use "heim" joints on a street car. They wear out in 24 hours of smooth track racing, and make tremendous rattling noises while they do it. Polyurethane is OK in most circumstances, but increase stress on some components.

jr02518
jr02518 HalfDork
10/18/21 9:52 p.m.

Embrace the lean, this vintage of car will work "when" it is trying to scrape off the door handles.  My 1982 BMW E21 provides lots of entertainment at the local auto cross events to that end.

You might be limited by the open differential in that solid rear end, don't weld it.

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
10/19/21 9:11 a.m.

I don't even like polyurethane on a street car. Bushings should have compliance. If you can get factory rubber bushings I'd do that. But it's your car so you do you!

RacingGeek
RacingGeek New Reader
10/19/21 9:24 p.m.

In reply to jr02518 :

Leaning excessively like it does takes time and makes quick transitions overly dramatic and easy to unsettle the car. At least that's what I've noticed from driving various vehicles in the past. According to the SCCA rule book, in STS, I'm not allowed to add a limited slip diff unless it was offered from the factory back in the day which I don't think it was but I need to do more digging. Even so I don't think the 40-45whp will ever be able to spin the tire anyway. It didn't spin these old hard tires so I doubt it will ever spin a new sticky tire. I have no interest in welding the diff.

 

Poly bushings and or new rubber seem like the way I'll have to go because the rules have a metal content rule for bushings.

RacingGeek
RacingGeek New Reader
11/3/21 2:44 p.m.

Was looking over the car last night and noticed the first rust hole has appeared on the roof of all places. Any ideas for a good fix? Any tips or tricks to pulling the headliner without damaging it?

 

RacingGeek
RacingGeek New Reader
11/8/21 2:02 p.m.

Ended up finding a deal on this 280Z last night so now I'm debating sell the Corolla so I can throw more money at the Datsun with Black Friday sales or keep the Corolla so I have something cool to drive around while I build the Datsun.  Datsun was in a barn for 25 years until the previous owner bought it and parked it in the field behind his house this Spring where it sat until I bought it. Engine is locked up and the brake and clutch pedals do nothing but it rolls and it's a complete unmolested car.  I already have an aluminum 5.3 and T56 ready to go into it. Apex Engineered is a company down the street from me that sells all kinds of goodies for the Z cars so I'll probably be racking up the charges in a few weeks with them. Time to learn about another old Japanese bucket list car!

Anyone have the smaller 240 bumpers for sale?

 

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/8/21 2:23 p.m.

Nice Datsun!

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
11/8/21 2:55 p.m.

Oh man, I love the 280z, too. I've always thought a 280z looks good without bumpers, at least in the back. The front can look a little unresolved after a bumper delete.

DATSUN 260Z | 280Z | TOW HOOKS - Skillard LLC

RacingGeek
RacingGeek New Reader
11/8/21 3:17 p.m.

I'll definitely be running no bumpers until I can find the 240 parts since it looks so much better than the giant rubber safety bumpers.

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