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Thread: 1990 Toyota Celica GT4A aka The White Elephant - 56k no way

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand

    1990 Toyota Celica GT4A aka The White Elephant - 56k no way
    A white elephant is a valuable possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness.

    I think that this description is particularly suitable for my car, hence the name of this project. Note - this is a repost.. so I have dated things as such - car came off the road in Aug 2007... over 2 years off the road lol.. and still not much done.

    As you read through, you'll find I've changed my mind several times. I have it left untouched because sometimes its useful to understand the thought processes.

    Thanks to stagefumer for egging me on - go motivate him to finish his project :lol: viewtopic.php?t=1861

    Enjoy the white elephant

    Cheers, Dave

    Jan 21, 2008


    I'm Dave/DeeCee and I am a GT4-A owner from New Zealand.

    I thought I'd chuck this in as well as I had already written it for when the admin asked "why did you choose a 5th Generation Celica?"
    Note: a lot of references to New Zealand local places and content, but i think you'll get the drift


    Interestingly enough, I fell into Celicas by accident.

    Around 6 years ago, I was looking for a hatch, mainly Civics and the like as I always enjoyed whizzing around in the smaller hatches.
    Unfortunately at the time, I couldn't find any within my price range and was desperately needing a car so when I was around in Miramar looking at cars on the side of the road, I happened to notice a ST182 Black Celica GTR for a half decent price.

    The GTR was selling for 3300, and had to be sold that weekend as the owner was leaving for Aus. So I had a test drive and negotiated down to 3000, but also bought some of the sounds installed as well so that increased the price a little.

    Considering that I had only driven 1600s up till that time, driving around a 2.0L was a bit of difference!
    In the end, the curvy bio design got me hooked and for the couple of years I had it, it was low maintenance and a good runner. And as all things go, I ended up doing some little mods here and there, mostly stereo stuff.

    In the end, I found that the GTR was just a big wallowing pillow compared to the GT4 I was about to own!

    A friend of mine was selling his GT4A (3 years ago now). Now this GT4 he claimed was a RC model, but in fact was a standard GT4 but just A spec. I took for a test drive and man... it was fast, it handled well (at least compared to the GTR) and it was straight as.
    Little things such as the factory widebody got me hooked and knowing that my mate was actually a nanna driving it just made the decision better and better knowing that it had had a pretty good life.
    Also: he didn't like driving it in town, his wife drove in town; he didn't fang it cos he isn't a driver and he'd get scared when he'd put the foot down; the car was garaged all its life; he has all 90% of receipts; car had turbo rebuild in the last year at the time.

    So after doing some research (which is now a sticky on toyspeed) and finding out that it wasn't an RC, I still bought the GT4A, but just negotiated down and ended up buying the GT4 for $6200. Yep, it may have seemed overpriced, but considering the history of it, I was very happy paying that.

    Old GTR

    New GT4A

    Subsequently over the last couple of years, I haven't had a chance to do many major modifications, but more recently over the last year, I have made numerous purchases to increase the potential of my GT4A incl wheels and braces and suspension and RC intercooler and engine components.

    As of August last year this was the car:

    At this stage, I had removed the AC and cleared out the underside of the dash for my big audio install. I had also got some brand new 18" wheels in the pattern that I wanted and had installed some king springs and some new KYB shock absorbers. The celica was looking tight!!!

    Then someone dinged me on the front guard on my first night out :cry: god that fucking pissed me off! you can notice it in the front guard on the above picture

    Anyway I had gone to VTNZ for the warrant near the end of August and expected the car to fly through (esp since the mods were very cosmetic and nothing much more..) and was knocked back by the inspector saying that an oil leak in the car had oil all over the underside of the engine and was just impossible to tell if the car was mechanically sound!
    I knew that the engine had a slight oil leak but never thought it was that bad!

    I talked to my mates mechanic and he was talking about replacing all the hoses etc and potentially pulling the engine to get everything fixed up which was going to cost 1k - 1.2k and that really got me agonising over decisions. Don't get me wrong, he's a good mechanic, but some of the figures he was talking about at the time were a lot of money. He suggested that he clean up one hose that was the obvious leak, he'd slap a warrant on it and we'd sell it on and look to a diff car.

    So here I was with a car that I'd just chucked 2.5k worth of wheels, tyres and suspension onto only two weeks earlier and was now talking about selling it!!

    Around 1 week after talking to the mechanic, I killed the syncro gear hub on number 3 and with that, I agonised over what I should do with the GT4. Um.. i can't exactly sell the car with a dead gearbox now! I was planning to off load the car and everything with it and go buy a turbo altezza, or even supercharge the 3sge, as another friend and his dad were using a supercharged beams 3sge in their race car.

    After talking with my work colleague who had recently done some engine work on a couple of his cars, he made something along the lines of this statement (note: he's an accountant, so the whole cost/benefit ratio comes into play):

    If you buy that Altezza:
    a) you'll have a debt to pay. The interest on that debt is money you are giving away.
    b) you don't know what has been done to that "new" car. Have the belts been done, has it been thrashed or had an accident etc.
    c) if you fix your car, then it you know what has been done and know what should be next in terms of maintenance instead of something of the unknown that could happen.
    d) its cheaper to fix your car instead of going out and know what has been done to it instead of buying that other thing which you will want to modify and giving away money while you pay back the loan + interest on a car you don't know the history of.

    In the end, the accountants words (sage old man..) hit home and I called Miles Udy gearbox specialists and quizzed him over things to be done and a quote on the work. In the end, it cost just under $3k to remove the box, and replace the cracked syncro hub and all the syncros in the box. I also got him to remove the engine so that I could fix up the leak as well.

    Now, you may say that what I get done is expensive, but then again, I know that its been done once and its been done right!

    So that is where the project currently sits. I have the engine on a stand / gearbox on the floor of garage. I continually buy parts here and there (most recent was the Tein adjustables I purchased) and I'm still focussed on re-engineering the celica to what my dream car would be.

    Most people who know me, constantly ask when the Celica will be back on the road as a joke, but they also know that I'm a very busy person who is starting up a couple of businesses as well as working full time. Understandably, projects like this take time as I want to do as much as possible as I can to ensure that the costs are lower and to ensure that certain areas of work are done to my level of expectations.

    So, i'll stick with my GT4 until I'm finished as it will have all my dream car bits and pieces and it will be as original as I want it to be.

    The Bio design has actually endured a long time in terms of looking modern on todays roads. It never ceases to amaze me that it can still look reasonably fresh compared to more modern cars and this is after 18 years.

    My mate said (after I mentioned that a rally light pod for the hood was for sale..) that he wished I'd gone for the rally look, and after watching a Celica dvd I downloaded, I can see where he would get that idea. I still have some mudflap material in the garage lol..

    Thats my Celica story in a nutshell

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand
    Jan 21, 2008

    Why I was having a little trouble with the gearbox:

    Anyway - I've commited to building this car now. Its been 6 months thus far and my progress has been low simply because of other work commitments and the daunting task of, essentially, rebuilding the whole car.

    Currently the engine is on a stand in the garage with the rebuilt gearbox next to it. As it stands, i'm in the process of cleaning the engine bay, engine and box and making them 'show presentable'

    this is my gearbox stripped:

    Thus far, the gearbox has been rebuilt with all new syncros

    I am getting Boosted's Cusco strut braces as well (when he gets back to me re: account details *poke) and an underbody brace from Canada.

    The ct20b will be rebuilt and I the engine will be sent off to an engine builder over the next month.

    Mar 27, 2008

    Parts and Mods to add to the GT4A:

    Cusco Braces - Front / Rear
    Tein HA Coilvers
    CS Bumper
    ST205 Engine
    WRX seats
    ARP head bolts etc (coming soon)
    JUN adjustable cam gears (coming soon)

    my list used to be longer with c one camber plates, ct20b, st185 W/A intercooler, 540cc injectors, manifold and dump pipe, but I bought a turnkey ST205 engine with full intercooler setup, turbo, harness etc for $2750NZ a couple of days ago.

    I think I might be selling some stuff hahaha
    rc intecooler setup anyone?


    Plans for the car:

    Initially I wanted to turn my GT4A into a streetable show car.
    1. Big custom kit (I f/glass ) with 7th gen lights and custom lights blah blah; redesign the front bar so that you get a Audi R8 look with lights that go straight into the bumper air vents

    2. Big audio install (my main hobby is car audio and i'm starting up an online shop soon..) and rebuild the interior to suit a SQ (sound quality) install + add some SPL gear in the back for giggles. I am looking at replacing the rear seats with 2 x RE MT18 woofers.

    3. Only 300 - 350hp at the wheels. I don't want to play power games as I don't have a big money tree like some people. I was debating 5sgte under square, but too much hassle for me. I'm not that mechanically inclined.

    Overall I wanted to do the majority of work myself, but I've found over the last 6 months with the car off the road, the engine on a stand, gearbox on floor of garage and parts in boxes, that my IT contract work + other external projects have not allowed for the time to spend on the celica. (i was coordinating SQ competitions around NZ as well as being a SPL/doof doof competitor.

    With the prospect of opening an online car audio shop as well as my other projects and the realisation that i definitely should not move with trends in show vehicles, I have decided to cut the above plans by.. hmm.. maybe 25% off?

    This got me worked up the other day:

    awesome hill climb car with pumped guards - thats all i want really
    Something a little more staunch and aggressive without being rice and is reduced work to do with the potential to hold its look for ages :up:

    So i'll pump the guards on mine and keep it smooth all over, do the CS bumper and add a custom lip and do custom skirts and a rear bumper with diffuser and i think that should be the body side.

    I may do some lighting things, but only for the car shows and removable for daily/standard (hey, i gotta market my shiz at shows and stuff.. gotta have the lighting effects unfortunately, but i got tasteful designs in mind )

    Audio/interior will stay with the same plan - i love my audio and the car will be a promo vehicle for my store.

    Engine - with the new turnkey, its going to be a lot easier to reach my power goals, as the mark is not that high and i'm starting off with a better foundation (oil system, h beam rods, bigger intercooler, larger throttle body, bigger injectors etc).

    I might still rebuild the engine and chuck in a couple of lumpier cams, td05/6 hybrid and run it all off a link/linkplus ecu. Upgrade to a walpro and i think we're nearly there haha

    Anyway, that's me and my GT4A in a nutshell.

    If you need any help audio wise, let me know.
    I do both sound quality and spl and have worked with a wide variety of equipment of the years.

    I'll chuck up my battery relocation tutorial soon which should help some people

    Cheers and catch ya around


    Edit: i've just been offered some 880cc injectors for $550NZ - 1 day offer.. so tempted but so many other things need my attention money wise :doh:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand
    Jun 03, 2008

    Okay - time for a big update.
    Over the next three weeks, I'll be intensely involved in the Celica as I'm working on my business from home.

    I unwrapped my baby after 6 months of not looking at it. Thats right, I've been too busy for over half a year to look at the car. It was still polished and waxed and looked the hotness 8)

    Its like its got a lift kit without the engine in it!! Go teh monster truck!

    3SGTE in one corner of garage - st185.
    Gearbox rebuilt by Miles Udy Automotive - top chap and knows his shit! (and I bought that extra st205 gearbox cos it was too cheap to pass up haha)

    3SGTE in other corner of garage - st205

    The mess to still clean and sort tonight

    RC Bumper from Gonad / Alex - I forgot it had foggies and the water sprayer!

    Things to do:
    1. clean up the garage and sort out all my tools, equipment and space I have to work with.
    2. identify all hoses and wires off the st205 engine. Remove and measure to replace with silicon and braided hoses and fitments
    3. remove current loom and engine parts/sensors in the engine bay and formulate plan on where I want to mount new radiators, reservoirs and where I will route lines and loom extensions.
    4. remove suspension parts and start to strip back paint, grease and grime from under body and in engine bay.
    5. Assess current brake and fuel lines and formulate plan on rerouting various lines to present a cleaner engine bay.
    6. clean engine and gearbox and paint
    7. remove suspension and rear subframe and replace items that are worn. Powder coat or paint as required.
    8. clean underside of car, weld in nuts for custom undertry/diffuser and coat in hippo liner.
    9. Remove dash and remove excess wiring and make way for Link G3 Ecu and custom gauge setup
    10. Weld bolts to firewall internally, block and fill excess holes in firewall and engine bay.

    That should keep me busy for a week lol

    Parts ordered:
    HKS Silent Hi Power Exhaust
    ASI Aluminium Radiator
    Oil Pump, water pump, inlet and exhaust manifolds
    Speed source engine mounts, stainless clutch lines, clutch pushrod, crossmember mounts, cable bushings
    TWM Performance short shift kit

    Parts to assess and potentially order:
    Braided hoses and fittings
    Silicon hoses and joiners
    Catch cans / reservior tanks
    Oil, gearbox, power steering cooling kits incl radiators / adpators



    Jun 13, 2008
    Problem 01: The people who rebuilt my box conveniently forgot my clutch fork and the old thrust bearing...

    Oh the joy of chasing something up from 9 months ago

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand
    Jun 09, 2008

    Okay - so I've been doing a bit of work recently and taking a couple of photos here and there as well.

    The gearbox is fully painted in red engine enamel. I took my time in cleaning up the transfer case and box to ensure that I had the best surface to stick to. I can't be half assed as my expectations are high and my friends would constantly give me shit if I didn't do the job properly from the start.

    Understandably, there is a sense of high expectation as the boys have some very nice cars to compare with.
    That and judging show cars for 3 years, you tend to notice where shortcuts have taken place and/or things could have been done better, so my mind is always thinking what is the "right" way of doing things.

    I started on the box and case on Friday night. My friend Nish came around and we talked a bit on engine bays, Link LEM G3 options and wiring and he did a little bit of work on the box cos he felt like it (hey, I'm not going to complain if someone helps me out).

    I used scotchbrite pads and a lot of degreaser and sometimes even paint stripper. Nish suggested the paint stripper as the paint stripper brings up grease and grime really easily and doesn't affect the aluminium (he works for bostik international - chemical product people so I could trust his knowledge) but I just made sure that I spread the paint stripper on large areas.

    Of note, after removing the grease and grime build up, I found stress fractures and cracks here and there in the gearbox and transfer case. Can't expect too much after 18 years, but I'm confident that there will be no troubles for daily driving.

    I ended up finishing cleaning up the box and case on saturday night at 4am after 3 days work cleaning up, removing 17 years worth of grime and built up grease on the transfer case. The box wasn't too bad as the team at Miles Udy Automotive put the box through their parts washer, but there were still areas that needed to be cleaned up.

    I thought that I may as well spray at the time as I really really needed to get things underway with the build. I went over every part of the box and case with the wax and greaser remover and then I balanced the gearbox and transfer case on my work table, covered all the necessary areas in tape and proceeded to shoot up the first coat at 4.30am lol. (BTW, if you balance the box and case like I did, just make sure you don't bump the table. Its a pretty precarious position to balance up, though it sits quite nicely)

    The next day I got woken up by my mate Jonno and felt like shite as I'd been pulling some late late nights (or early early mornings) and subsequently got back to work after talking some options with placement of catch cans and reservoirs to clean out the engine bay. I also got him to shoot a layer on the box as he is a better sprayer than me.

    In the end, I believe around 5 coats have been laid down haha. This was between the normal household chores, and mowing the lawns on Sunday.
    In the evening, I rested the gearbox right side up and shot the areas that were missed while on its angle. I did a couple or 3 coats on the areas missed while dismantling the engine.

    As to the engine dismantling, a methodically removed all nuts, bolts, hoses, brackets, parts etc etc while documenting using a log book/photos and labelling everything that came off and storing the bolts etc in plastic ziplock bags. I finished up at 2am last night with still a bit more to go.

    I rounded off one bolt on the turbo flange, so I had to stop.

    Today I've been recovering and getting back the feeling in all my muscles and finger tips - sanding and scrubbing a bitch and I really went to town on the box and case as it was the start of the project. Something small to sink my teeth into lol.

    There are a couple of runs, but nothing that can't be taken out with a bit of a wetsand.

    It actually seems like everyone is willing to help at the moment. They all know that I'm dedicated to this build and my standard is high so they know that I want to do things right the first time. I have access to cabinet sandblasters, a wide range of tools and the advice of racecar builders, so I'm very very lucky as most things are a 5 - 15 minute drive from my place.

    I was just around at Kat's place and borrowing tools and asking questions of Kat and his Dad.
    I walked away with rattle gun, snap-on impact wrench bits, rounded nut removal tools, brake/fuel line flaring kit, pulley balancing/puller kit etc and asked a bunch of questions and was answered and advice provided (in the normal straight and very blunt approach of Tom with a bit of shit thrown in lol).

    If you want to know the shit.. basically it was "why didn't you just send up the engine to Kevin, spend 7k and get a race engine in a crate in 3 weeks cos its a lot less hassle instead of pissing about with what you say is a better engine" hahaha. Gotta love the constructive criticism.

    Basically i had the option with the old engine to send to a race car/engine builder 600km away and get a full rebuilt engine with all forged internals, overbore etc etc and not mess around with stuff.

    But then again, the st205 engine has the upgraded oil pump, better cams, turbo, better oil system (i did seriously debate a dry sump, but since I'm not racing, it was like whats the use of that..) etc etc so I'm still happy with my purchase, though I will get unremmitant grief from Tom of not getting the engine rebuilt.

    So now, its just a matter of a quick clean up of the garage, getting the flywheel off, getting off pully wheels, removing old engine off stand, putting new engine on stand, removing other stuff and figuring out what can and can't be removed.

    Then its simple green in the engine bay with degreaser, removing lines and ancillaries and then removing the dash and old wiring and prepping for the new wiring and possible some other little things as well.

    Apparently I'm going to be spraying my own engine bay

    Jonno and I were talking options for the car over lunch and apart from rerouting all the lines and hidding reservoirs etc, I talked about the seam sealer in the bay and cleaning up, or going reasonably hardcore. I am now going hardcore..... oh shit! haha

    Cleaning up the bay, deleting holes and filling them in etc etc. Use etch primer, then lay down new seam sealer and look at shooting my own engine bay.... Looks like I'm going to be rather busy!

    That and I'm on a Link group buy, so that will be in a couple of weeks and I'll be hardwiring up the link as I'l be running seperate gauges and minimising a wide range of electrical connectors and stuff in the bay.

    Speedsource bits arrived in mail the other day. Exhaust I need to rearrange delivery for as I missed the other delivery. I believe the shortshift kit from TWM is at the post office to be picked up. ASI radiator arrived last friday.

    Still need to order a bunch of things - new oil and transmission radiators, hoses and braided pipes and fittings.
    Pictures up later, I have to remove a flywheel, clean the garage and move engines around the place

    As you can see, a whole bunch of grease, grime and work to be done. Some of the build up was 3mm thick

    Nish cleaning up an easy part lol

    As you can see, he didn't do much.. like a 50mm x 100mm patch haha

    Progress getting made!

    I had to orientate the gearbox on all sorts of angles to be able to clean it.

    Some of the micro fractures in the metal and some casting crap

    Cleaned up with a dremel nicely though

    More cleanliness

    Doesn't photograph well with a flash haha

    Balanced amazingly

    More micro fractures and a crack in the diff case. It "should" be okay *fingers crossed

    Ready to spray

    All important bits covered up

    Jonno the next day shotting a layer in the morning before lunch

    Looks good in the light

    Covering up in preperation to spray over the missed areas.

    This is my mate Jonno's car PhatRS just before Autosalon Christchurch 07

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand
    Jun 16, 2009
    So haven't had any motiviation for ages on doing stuff to the celica, but I have been doing some stuff here and there like tutorials and changing the boot struts (hey, it all counts to time on the celica lol).

    Recently I have been helping out my freind Jonno on his subaru legacy to cap off his widebody build and track prep. (that blue thing above went widebody)
    Basically removing lots of sound deadening and sanding is boring and numbing. But overall, it has motivated me to get back onto the celica with gusto.
    That and moving a bunch of stuff I can't use with the new engine as well.

    Yay for light weight cars

    Got Widebody? Wetsanding 400 and 800 wasn't as bad as I thought and it saved Jonno a heap of time on some stuff.

    When I previously took out the dash and all firewall components some months back, I did find this:

    Basically the clutch pedal box had broken and was repaired in car. I'll take it apart soon and get my friend to weld it up properly.


    Currently whole engine bay and front end has been cleaned out and I will be removing all the paint and then applying etch primer.
    Otherwise I assemble the engine components again, put engine and box into the car and then prepare the loom for hiding (or at least reducing).

    I have also arranged to do some work at my friends fathers garage where they pretty much have every tool imaginable, which saves a lot of time and money in doing things. The bargining was cheap (several trays of chinese pork buns), and they haven't done any work on their redline classic in ages, so I get to play while they are doing other stuff.

    I also get access to industrial cleaners as per their arrangement with a tools repairer. As the conversation goes:
    - So can I buy this cleaner stuff to pay my way?
    - No
    - Umm, so how much does it cost?
    - Its free (40 litre container of stuff that eats rust and all sorts away)
    - Umm, how is it free?
    - Oh, we get it from XXX and he just gives it to us
    - Umm, so what can I give to pay my way then?
    - Well, we do get XXX to get us pork buns, but we haven't got any off him for a while. All I ate when I was in China was pork buns.. yummy!
    - Done! Pork Buns it is! (i have access to the pork buns no troubles)

    This is the car that they are building, the Redline Roadsport. The company was sold to an international buyer so no more are available in NZ for kitcar construction.

    Anyway, some photos of the garage.

    Chassis covered in stuff :lol:

    Sanding cabinet (oh, they have a nice big air system in the garage and air jack points in several locations)

    The front of the chassis. The car will ride on Koni adjustables useing Wilwood dynalites running a dry sump system (that red reservoir at the front is like an accusump - continuous oiling system on dry sump setup up). Suspension is proprietry design and the brakes are on custom mounts etc

    Close up. As you can see, they haven't done much work for a while due to their work commitments. Pulsar hubs I believe.

    Rear rotors on custom aluminium hats (yes, it is a full size rotor, around 300+ mm :lol: )

    Presses and angle grinders all around the place. Kind of handy really.

    The work bench covered in stuff. Custom solid diff mount.

    A couple of diffs floating around the place. LSD out of Skyline and other out of a pulsar. LSD will go into pulsar housing. There was also another diff housing floating around the place, and Kat wasn't sure what it was for :lol:

    Wheel bearing press with 10 tonne hand crank. Story goes as such:
    Kat's flatmate needed to change a bearing on his honda civic with b18c. Other press equipment was too small, so they ended up going down to the local shop and chucking this beasty on the account no issues. Lots of tools and equipment in this garage, and a lot bought for unique jobs with the idea that it will be used later

    Looms, manifolds, and boxes of shit all over the place. Manifold is off the Altezza 3SGE.

    Toyota W55 gearbox just sitting around the place. Diff housings, brakes down the back.

    Custom A arms

    They have Mig and Tig welders around the place. Kat held up the exhast on the Altezza 3SGE engine. Better shot later.

    The more I look at this photos, I think, WTF is around this place!. Dynalites on hubs

    Custom built aluminium radiator. Fabrication company PWR spray painted their logo on it, even when Kat and father said they didn't want the logo on. Redline Classics former owner (still supports company and builders with custom stuff) tried to scrub off the paint, but it came up in the photo)

    Random brake bracket floating in a box of stuff. I think this was a test bracket that didn't work out.

    Wheels under the bench. That thing on top of the box is the seat for the car. Its just a piece of folded steel and they'll chuck a small thin pad in for comfort. Your bum would be 50mm off the ground if you sat in the finished car.

    Pit bike that is rarely used.

    Custom muffler with custom manifold

    Here is the engine, manifold and exhaust. Rather short isn't it :lol:

    Redline dry sump system. Oil pump will sit where the standard power steering pump is on the other side of the engine.

    That mystery diff housing over there. Oil pickup is rather rusty hahaha

    Now here is a unique one. The Altezza 3SGE engine needed a custom modified bellhousing to mate up to the W55 gearbox. Kevin @ Redline mentioned trying a Toyota Liteace bellhousing. And guess what, it fits perfectly. Weird toyota stuff.


    Anyway, I'll start sorting out the garage more, get rid of some work on the go at the mo and start washing parts over at the garage. Then start to prep and paint and sorting out the loom, assemble the engine and get it fitted up and see where I need to weld the firewall up.

    I have painted the engine block recently lol. It was cleaned throughly before hand. Don't worry about the paint on the sump and oil pump. New pump is in a box behind me and the sump is getting removed. More on that later.

    I also decided to break out my Jun vernier cam gears and have a look see on the engine.

    Enough for now.. time for work.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand
    Aug 02, 2009

    I have been having fun with some of the wiring for the elephant.

    Recently, I've been helping friends with their cars, namely Jonno's Subaru and Richies Rover Tomcat and as such, have had some more motivation to get the Celica back on the road.
    Here are photos of Jonno's Subaru 8)

    I've found that we generally get jobs done faster when the boys and I work together. This helps motivate us and its a good time had by all. Nothing wrong with a little helping hand and it makes work easier when we are all focussed on one big thing and know how each other works as well.

    But with the elephant, there are certain things that I have to do myself. The rewiring of the car is one big job to do that I can do without help, especially since I'm quite pedantic with what I need to do.

    There are 3 piles of wiring to tackle:
    1. Old engine harness wiring I salvaged, includes some lighting wiring and plugs that went into the main fuse box.
    2. New engine harness loom which came with the st205 engine.
    3. Interior wire harness under the dash (which was previous cut back due to AC deletion)

    Each harness needs plugs and exact wires identified and deletion of extra wiring. I may leave some extra wires in for water sprayer unit or fog lights. I'll have to figure out what I want to keep and what I want to get rid of.

    The aim is to have a fully (well mostly) hidden wiring loom / harness with fuses and relays relocated under the custom dash later on.
    Identification of the wiring also helps with the planned gauges as well as the possibility of an aftermarket ECU. I'll add plugs into the main engine harness and gauges so that I can make up a quick harness for addition of the aftermarket ECU.

    After some discussions with my aircraft engineer friend / business partner about crimping and plug options available, I'll be crimping wire joins as required and cover with double walled heatshrink insulation with possibly a meltable barrier for added moisture resistance.
    It's what they do on the planes, so that is the method to use over soldering a joint.

    There will be 3 distinct harnesses / looms in the elephant:
    1. Engine, engine related ancillaries
    2. Lights, gauges, power windows, cool stuff / extra ancillaries
    3. Audio related.

    So on to the work.

    I set up a temp work bench in the garage, moved a pile of crap blocking the drivers side door and stuff inside the cabin and grabbed the new and old engine loom from the boot and the dash loom.

    Here is a photo of the pile of fun I have to figure out - this old and new engine looms.

    Seperated out some. I had started taking apart the old loom a little previously, but I had the fun of trying to sorting out the tangle of wire.

    I did bother to label a lot of plugs and sensors previously, thank goodness!

    First plug to tackle. Not sure what it was.. I think it was for the AC or ABS. I've removed the AC and my car didn't come with ABS. No use for that wire!

    As you can see, the plug has a plastic lift point that locks the terminal in the plug. On this one, I lifted it out, but for others, I just lifted them up some to allow the pin to come out.

    To unpin the terminal for the plug, pull the plug lock up and then using a jewellers screw driver push the lock tab down and jiggle the pin out. I'll make a diagram later to show how it works.

    I had to get the grommet off so I could seperate and identify the plugs and wiring properly. Yep - I unpinned each plug to get them past the grommet so I can seperate and identify each wire.

    Its a matter of being methodical. Unpin one wire, get past the grommet, repin. I did this for 5 plugs with too many wires :lol:

    Slowly working my way through.

    And the old harness grouped and temporarily sorted. Some wiring was joined, like common grounds, so I cut and chucked a knot or two or used some coloured electrical tape to identify each cut connection.

    Since I did that little tutorial for removing the plint, I had everything just hanging out the back of the car. Since the old plint had a crack in it, I decided to change it over with a replacement plint.

    I then decided to take apart the plints and clean them up.

    Pretty easy to take apart. Just some tabs to pop out and screws to release and it all comes apart pretty easily.

    A pit of simple green and a toothbrush for cleaning.

    clean plugs vs dirty plugs. The rest of teh car will get the same treatement.

    Interior harness to tackle. Previously cut back with the deletion of the AC, so I had to undo the old work.. as it goes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand
    Aug 02, 2009

    So while I was looking at the interior dash harness, I went and got some of the control boxes and cluster that handled the ancillaries through the car.

    For some reason, I decided to take apart my cluster so that I could show br0z how to install his 260km/hr faces.
    Then something that irked me for many years reared its head.. the odometer number that was not aligned properly.

    Gauge cluster apart... odo number out of alignment.. grrr... I can fix that! Don't start jobs that at 1am and when tired!

    Please note - I do not advocate the following mayhem. It is illegal to tamper with the odometer (at least in NZ) so don't try and get too smart mmkay!

    I reset the odometer reading to my original reading. I just wanted the number aligned!

    Enjoy the mayhem... took me around 3 hours to figure out the best way to do it and get it back to its original reading.

    In hindsight, I'll probably end up running two sets of odometers. You wonder why I am thinking this?

    Well, the shell has done 163361kms. The engine has done 104446kms. I could just take off that amount off the odo reading, but I think I'll try and be a little bit more trick and run two odometers. Just wire in parallel with a relay if required.

    On to it. I'll just make quick notes. I've got other stuff to work on.

    With the cluster disassembled, I thought I'd fix up the misaligned number.

    Back of the circuit board, the gauge mechanism is held in with 4 tabs and a pin block to the side. Pry up and straighten out.

    Gently pry up

    again, gently pry up. Be very gentle.. don't want bent pins!

    4 connecting pins for mechanism.

    underside of mechanism

    misaligned number for reference. note dials are held in with melted plastic to sides of shaft.

    i carefully cut away melted plastic.

    reference of position of side plastic for correct seating when reassembled.


    plastic side cog moves number dial up and down. Cogs work, logically, by end cog going full rotation and then clicking over next cog one point.

    hold at either end, pull plastic piece from metal shaft. (note i cleaned my hands as i didn't want evidence that i had tampered with the odo)

    as you can see, there is a mini sprocket inside that rotates with the main sprocket.

    internal sprocket gearing, small sprocket with 9 sides which has 3 higher gears

    gearing point for rotation on 3 point of mini sprocket. This was out of alignment on the 2nd left dial causing the misalignment.

    tiny little thing isn't it!

    seperated out.

    note spring on shaft

    shaft on number dial spacer. note hole to side of spacer. hole is on all dials and spacers and holders. Its the alignment tool.

    I used the main shaft to align the dials to 0. Its a tight fit, but it does fit. Each spacer/dial fits very carefully together. Hole in spacer is aligned with the dial mini sprocket holder. It should fit flush together, no gaps. I used a needle to lift the mini sprocket and align to across from the alignment hole.

    hole and mini sprocket aligned.

    back to 0.

    note alignement of spacer shaft as main shaft is through alignment hole

    hold the cluster tightly and pull the alignment pin. dont' want to let dials and spacers get out of alignment.

    So now the story gets interesting.

    I aligned to 0 and decided to use the drill as so many others have talked about to get the odo reading back to 163361. It doesn't work the best.

    After mucking about with the drill for a bit, I realised that in order for the odo to read back up to 163361 kms, I had to sit with the drilling turning for about an hour or more at full RPM.
    1) the cogs may strip or plastic melt.
    2) the drill may run out of battery
    3) i can't be bothered sitting there holding my finger on the trigger.

    I could have chucked it on the drill press, but the plastic holding pin was coming loose in my fingertips.. so having to constantly check it was not an option.

    Odo reads 194 after a couple of minutes and lowish RPM on the drill.

    So after taking apart the dials and spacers around 10 - 15 times as it would sometimes come apart or get loose, I decided to manually set the odo.
    Each time it came slightly apart, I had to disassemble and reassemble carefully. Painful I tell you. (around 3 am at the time..)

    This is what I did. If you number across from left to right 1-6 (just imagine it...) I threaded 1 and 2 dials on and set to 0. Then i turned #2 cog to click over #1 cog to 1 with #2 cog set to 0. Then added #3 cog at 0 and clicked over #3 cog so that #2 cog was at 6.

    00 - click over = 10, add spacer, mini and dial usine needle to push around the mini cog to alignment.
    100 - click over = 160, add spacer mini and dial
    160 - click over = 1630, add spacer mini and dial and so on.

    Took me around 5 attempts to get it.. or something more.. I dunno.. i was just tired and wanted the job done.

    Finished dial back to 163361 with numbers in alignment. A dab of hotglue to hold inplace and back together again.

    Enjoy my pain


    Here is the little video I took of the speedo drill fun I had.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand
    You know the funny thing.. I've kind of documented what Jonno has done while I have fixed up my car..

    He went widebody, full repaint, stripped out interior, added this, that and all the rest and my modifications are still slowly plodding away hahahaha

    Aug 19, 2009

    Someone went GQ.... coming to an ad campaign soon

    Excuse the same angle.. I seemed to like it (and it hid the bin in the background :lol: )

    My friend Jonno got asked for a photoshoot for an insurance company that insures modified cars. Apparently his mods list was around 5-7 pages long :lol: and the car being so heavily modified, there was some interest at the insurance office.

    1. The company set no specific time frame
    2. Jonno wanted to remove the engine for a rebuild.

    As you can imagine, there was some concern from the person who was organising the shoot when Jonno told them this information. Then again, Jonno didn't want to waste time in breaking down his EJ20 for his new build.

    So - some improvisation was in order. Who can guess what we did to lower the front of the car?

    Enjoy the pics from my crappy camera BTW..

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand
    Aug 20, 2009

    Jonno wanted to chuck a couple of the boys under the hood, but they would have had to stay under the hood for an hour and a hlaf while the photographer took photos :lol:

    I ended up making a quick wooden shelf for the block to sit on, then we put some pavers on and around the block plus a battery to one side.

    Roll it back and forth to reduce the amount of camber at the front and roll the car into position for the shoot

    If you notice, the radiator is on an angle behind and intercooler isn't even hooked up :lol:

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New Zealand
    Feb 21, 2010

    So I haven't bothered to update for ages. Lots of changes in life, more work on the celica as I'm not as busy and I need to fill my days while unemployed and looking for work.

    Bunged my back/shoulder blade today, so couldn't do any work as I couldn't raise my arm properly and didn't want to aggrevate it any more. Must be the way I sleep I reckon..

    Anyhoo, decided that its time for an ULTRA update! I really mean ultra. I've sorted all my photos and have started putting them in my photobucket.

    On OC i mentioned the following on Jan 21, 2010.

    whats new really?
    st182 gen2 shifter (to test short shifting) + mounting plate - $15
    clutch pedal and pedal cage - $11
    shifter mounting plate (cos somehow I dethread one of the bolts on the other shifter mount) - $6
    st182 gen 2 side engine mounts, cam side took 3 hours to remove with block and tackle holding up engine. gb side took 15 minutes - $8 each (yay for more urethane!)
    st215 side feed manifold + throttle body - $160 8)
    Hilux Surf / 4runner 4 pot brakes - $52
    st18x gen 2 lights ex centre plint - $40
    st185 drivers and passenger seats - $11 (score hahaha)
    Lets get into it 8)

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