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Thread: Gene's 1981 Toyota Corona DX (Silver Edition)

  1. #1

    Gene's 1981 Toyota Corona DX (Silver Edition)


    Just bought a 1981 Toyota Corona DX (rt140?) with a 1600cc 12R engine with a 4 speed tranny. PO told me that the car was parked for a while as he didn't have time to use it and partly because he just bought a scooter and was using it more often that the car. So rather than letting it just sit and rot, (it was parked under a low tree) he decided to sell it.

    So yesterday straight after I logged out of work I went to his place and paid the guy Php26500 (around $610.32 if I'm not mistaken) to take "midori" out of his hands.

    Note: These are the photos posted by the PO on a local classifieds website here.

    After a brief chat with the owner about the rotting Mitsubishi Celeste I saw on another street (the guy was a old school J-tin fanatic like myself) we shook hands and off home I went. While driving the car I made mental notes on what needed to be done to make the car road worthy again. I noticed that under acceleration the left rear wheel made a clanging sound which could be a bearing giving out. Also noted that the engine was waaaaay under powered which could just be a tune up issue. And I don't know if anyone noticed but the car is lowered like heck. While I do like the shakotan look, this is gonna be my daily/family driver so new shocks and springs are in order.

    Im also wondering if I could get a second opinion on something. On my way back from the PO the engine suddenly sputtered and then cut. When I opened the hood I saw through the carb window that the fuel chamber was full (past the half mark). I drained the carb and after a few attempts of starting the engine sputtered back to life and then ran fine. This happened a few times (thrice exactly, the second and third time I just tried to turn it over after the engine died). My plan this coming Wednesday is to clean the carb and fuel tank, wondering if anyone can give me a second opinion if I missed anything that could have caused the issue.

    Thanks for looking. 8)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Re: Gene's 1981 Toyota Corona DX (Silver Edition)

    Looks pretty darn good for the year and the price. Pretty good buy, I'd say.

  3. #3

    Re: Gene's 1981 Toyota Corona DX (Silver Edition)

    Can't agree with you more, although my wife (who also prefers nostalgic J-tin) still calls the car "POS" until I can prove it otherwise. To me all the car needs is some TLC and it'll be happy to drive again. :wink:

    Thanks for looking.. 8)

  4. #4

    Re: Gene's 1981 Toyota Corona DX (Silver Edition)

    First time to wrench on her. First time I actually got to see her nooks and crannies. First time to see what I was up against.

    It was raining for the last 3 days so when the sun decided to take little peek I jumped the opportunity and got some wrench time with my new toy.

    But first a pic of the day I got her home and surprised my son by picking him up at school with what (Hopefully) would be his someday.

    It was a very hot day that Monday, but my kid didn't mind jumping in the car. And all I heard the whole trip was in the "what does this do?" category.

    Now on to Thursday.

    First order of business was a proper tune up, the car was hesitating a lot and was obviously down on power.

    So I bought new spark plugs and high tension wires and tried to source out a carb rebuild kit for the 12R but to no avail (its getting really hard to own/maintain/restore a JNC here in the Phillipines). So just settled with a carb cleaner and hoped it works.

    Took out the old plugs and what do I see.

    Of course fouled plugs...

    Then installed the new hi-tension wires.

    And yes, I know its still a mess. Frankly I'm scared of wiring's and electronic stuff so I would probably get a professional to take care of the "nest".

    And then I got a visitor.

    Again, sorry for the crappy pics, a cellphones all I got.

    Next, I dismantled the carb and low and behold the PO used the wrong parts, the float needle was (I think) from a Toyota 4k engine, it was too long and was getting stuck in the open position flooding the float bowl. So primary objective tomorrow on Monday is to find a repair kit for the carb. Also looks like the PO tried to save gas as the jets were not stock.

    Next, on to the chassis.

    It was generally good with a few rust spots here and there. The main areas of concern for me was the left side of were the bumper was connected to the front of the chassis, and the lower part of the rear right door which was collecting water every time it rained. The car was left outside for a couple of months so imagine what I felt when my finger was able to poke through the inside frame of the door, I feel the door is un-salvagable. So looking for a new door is in the list.

    Found a hole in the right C-pillar.

    Ghetto repaired it by putting some electrical tape on it.

    The trunk seems to be fine.

    Found a few rust holes, plan is to have it welded then pour some rust converter and spray paint it with truck bedliner.

    This needs to be replaced.

    Luckily I found a guy selling a NOS of this for an RT130. Hopefully that would fit mine and no one snatches it before I do.

    Oh what did your previous owner do to you.

    Breaks my heart everytime, who would use epoxy to fix a tail light?.

    Proof this wasn't a well thought out thing.

    Uneven drop.
    Rear right side. 4 finger gap.

    Left rear side, 1 finger gap.

    This is also bugging me,

    As you can see in the left side of the picture, the rear left wheel was welded (and quite poorly at that) I'm not sure if its repairable, I'm currently on the fence on having it fixed or finding some steelies and painting them flat black like what me and my dad always did.

    I'm currently undecided because these wheels have some sick offsets.

    Speaking of lists, here's the quick list of what I need/want to do before I get here registered.

    Short term:
    1: Find some new springs front and back, I have a few leads but if those don't pan out plan is to find some slip on coil overs that would fit. Temporary fix is to install coil lifters to at least even out the stance.
    2: Find the elusive 12R repair kit.
    3: Get the A/C working.
    4: Find a decent car cover, the car is parked under a roof but the "roof" is a very leaky one. I cringe everytime it rains.

    Long term:
    1: Get the car to a chassis guy.
    2: Plan is to keep the 12R engine, so getting it overhauled top to bottom is on the list.

    Thanks for looking. 8)

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Squaw Valley California (around fresno)

    Re: Gene's 1981 Toyota Corona DX (Silver Edition)

    It looks like you have some work ahead of you. Im sure you will enjoy the process. Keep it up.

  6. #6

    Re: Gene's 1981 Toyota Corona DX (Silver Edition)

    @Skellington, yep I feel this is gonna be a very long build, but I'm enjoying it. Balancing being a father, husband, provider and Car nut isn't actually the most wallet friendly of combinations. But I must forge on, I'm not doing this for myself (well, partly for myself) but for future generations so they will know how a real car looks like, I often imagine me in my late 40's driving Midori down a future highway, WOT on twin side draft carbs and side exit exhausts with children in their parents electric auto glide cars gawking as I overtake them. Hehehe.

    Anyways, took a little detour yesterday (5 miles off course) so that I can finally get my hands on a 12R repair kit. It was the last one they had on stock. I was also offered a twin SU carb kit from a 73(?) Mitsubishi Lancer, complete with intake headers for a 4g36. Albeit it looks like it needs a little reconditioning, Plus I'm not familiar with how SU carbs work and if I can still buy parts for them (here in the Philippines), but I'd really like to take a shot at having them reconditioned.

    Also have a lead on 2 pairs of coil springs, front and back. Texted a guy selling parts for an RT130 and he replied asking Php2800 (around USD65 I think) for both pairs which is a steal in my book, problems are.

    1: I'm not quite sure if coil springs from an RT130 would fit an RT130L, checked the VIN plate on my car it say RT130L for my chassis code, maybe the L stands for luxury model?. I'm about 70% sure Toyota would use the same suspension parts from 1979 to 1981.

    2: For a bit more I can get adjustable coil over sleeves for a 1990-98 Toyota Corona (Around Php5000 or USD116), but again, I'm not sure if late model springs would go with a 1980's car. Coil overs would be a good way to go since this would mean I don't need to cut the springs and just adjust the ride height as I please.

    If anyone can chime in with their experience if they've done this before It would help out a lot.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Oklahoma City

    Re: Gene's 1981 Toyota Corona DX (Silver Edition)

    Glad to see you figured out the carb issue, that was going to be my advice. If these old carbs sit for awhile, the floats tend to get all wonky and will stick a lot of the time. Looks like you have a good handle on the list of corrections needed.

  8. #8

    Re: Gene's 1981 Toyota Corona DX (Silver Edition)

    Can someone verify if my wirings right? My fuel pump failed the other week (the mechanical one) and I plan on changing it to an electric type.

    (Made this in my spare time at work using MS Excel)

    I plan on putting two switches, one for normal operation and one just in case I need to prime the carb before starting.

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