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Thread: '76 Celica Resto-mod

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    '76 Celica Resto-mod

    Bought this off Rodney on here a while back and promised a log. Things have been coming together slowly with bringing the car mechanically back up to snuff, but now I'm looking into my big project for this car. I know it's a long nose, but I want to make it look like a early short nose 1st gen. Already picked up '71 USDM tail lights and center garnish. Eh... before I get ahead of myself, let's start this log from the top. Some copy and paste action from a local forum:

    5/12/11 -

    I just bought this '76 Celica coupe from NJ last weekend. It's only seen the road twice since it made it to NJ. Once when the seller got it to test drive it, then when it was test driven by myself. The rest of it's life has been spent in CA. I forgot to take more pics when I went to look at the car, so I'll post the pics from the ad up for now, and I'll add more when I pick it up and drive it home tomorrow. Chris was right, getting a car this old registered in this state is cake! Got temp tags and a Optima red top today so I can drive it home. As I get into the car, if I find anything else, I'll come back and do some editing.

    Bullet points:

    -Motor rebuilt 35k ago
    -5 speed
    -Body is very clean with very little rust thanks to it's CA history, and won't be driven during the winter.
    -Tune up has been done plugs, cap, rotor, point, condenser, and wires, changed the front brake pads and rear shoes and wheel cylinders replaced the trans mount and u-joints
    -Brand new Haynes manual included

    Got temp tags and a Optima red top today as mentioned above. I'm planning on sorting out all of the problems first, then restoring some of the interior, and then moving on to mods.

    5/14/11 -

    The ride back was interesting. I'll explain with more pics tomorrow. I'm going to bed... lol (this was a bit after midnight)

    The Celica's wandering a lot, so tie rod ends were added to the issues list, I'll have to look at the ball joints and such, but they're cheap and have a servicable grease fitting on them unlike the Miata. :thumbup:

    Also getting a lot of noise out of the RF wheel bearing after getting out on the interstate.

    I was surprised how much highway pull this thing has for only being rated at 91hp stock. I'm not sure if he was giving it full throttle or not, but I left the guy that brought me down to NJ in his newish Silverado at the last toll booth in NY. I hate the struts being as shot as they are though. Almost felt like the car got sideways when I hit the joints in the road so I couldn't play too much. It managed to bottom out once, and it just makes the tie rod end issue worse too. I was wrong before about how much it'll be to replace them though. They're hella cheap from Tokico. As long as I've got a solid rear axle, I can replace all 4 corners with them.

    Other good news, only used 1/2 a tank getting back up here. It's gas tank isn't much bigger than the Miata's either.

    The motor and rest of the drivetrain seemed to take the interstate trip like a real champ though. It backfired once, but I shouldn't think it's a big deal on an old carburated motor like that. It'd be a lot more noticible in that I4 too than in a V8. Temps were fine and all the whole way back. I love the sound of that transmission whining too... (in the morning)

    Wow... I didn't die last night. So, got out to start polishing the wheels earlier, and as soon as I got around to the driver's side, I found 2 lug nuts left holding on the front wheel. Hopefully that's what I thought was the wheel bearing. One lug nut went missing and the wheel stud broke for the other one. So now I need a wheel stud and some lug nuts to see if the wheel is still even usable since one of the holes got elongated quite a bit.

    Spent today polishing all the metal. It helps, still the paint kind of takes the show. I can't wait to get new paint on it.

    I've got a few pics. The clouds and rain moved in just as I got done. I'll post them in a bit. (later in the evening)

    5/15/11 -

    I think I'm just gonna repaint the hood flat black since it's a period correct sorta thing. I think it looks good.

    Polished up the metal on the front end a little.

    Had a couple small holes in the roof. My temporary fix for it. Tape hidden under the rag top.

    The wheel with 2 lug nuts after I polished it

    One of the wheels unpolished

    Hood opened up. Realized those vents are actually functional. Might use those for an intake later...

    Intake side of the motor. Gotta do something to straighten up all that wiring.

    Exhaust side

    Under the front end. There's the end links and questionable front sways. Front disc brakes.

    Solid rear axle, shot KYB struts, really clean exhaust.

    Back by the rear bumper. Flowmaster muffler. We would get shot immediately if we welded like the tip is at school. We're taught that our welds aren't good enough unless they look like the welds on the muffler.

    Inside the trunk. All the metal inside there's pretty clean too. Those speaker wires bother the hell out of me though.

    Driver's side door is the only one without the window roller. I think the other hole is a light. The other side's missing that too.

    Interior. All the cheap, stupid mods are here. Seats and steering wheel have to go. You can see where the dash got hacked up and painted silver... the radio wiring is another hackjob. The rear speakers are already removed cause they were junk. I need to find out how that fuse panel is supposed to be mounted and take care of it too. Hurst shifter handle, there's no glovebox behind that door. The Sunpro gauges don't jump out at you too much, but I still want to replace them with the originals. There's also a big tach down inside all that open area in the center console, which has also been hacked on. Found this car's mascot down inside there though. Might try to find some TRD parts for in here.

    Rear interior looks good for 35 yrs old. Just gotta pull the rear panels to get to those quarter window bushings.

    Next post was basically to the effect of me wanting a Tom's steering wheel. Then me talking about how all my bitching was basically just due to my nit-picky perfectionist nature when it comes to cars. Then there was this:

    Pulled all the radio / speakers / wiring today. It was all cheap stuff that wasn't operational, and I don't care much for listening to music while I'm driving. I love how the car sounds when all the lug nuts are on it.

    More to come. Not even close to everything... I'll try and fix the pics soon so it's not just links after the whole log's here since the site doesn't auto-resize.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Re: '76 Celica Resto-mod

    5/17/11 -

    Wheel stud is back in.

    Just for future reference, pulling the hub is a bit different than I'm used to seeing on all my newer cars. The hub actually is bolted to the rotor, through the backside of the rotor, so the dust shield covers the tops of the bolts. The hub and rotor are pulled as one unit after removing the axle nut and caliper, and then you remove the bolts from the back of the rotor to seperate the two. May be common knowledge for older cars, but it's just something I've never come across before and may help someone else. Either way it was all surprisingly simple. I like old stuff already.

    Removed the tie rod ends from the needs to be fixed list due to boots looking brand new. I really doubt they're the problem. Also need to correct myself in saying earlier that you all can't get on base. I've been told that apparently, as long as you're with another military member, you can just show your driver's lisence to get on base.

    Next up is new Tokico blues.

    5/18/11 -

    Lug nuts showed up today and I immediately threw them on and got the car back out on the road. The vibration is gone, and the car's not wandering anymore. Suspension's still shot, but it's streetable. Took it up the road from base to get gas then came back, and decided to drive past base and drive all the way out to Niantic. Had people riding my ass the whole way there and back. I guess just being out cruising's not allowed on that particular road... still happy to have it running in time to go get it's VIN inspection done tomorrow.

    5/19/11 -

    Something was brought up about one of the guys trying to visualize the end product, I responded with:

    There ya go.

    I think it's just that for such a cool old car, it's kind of depressing to me how it's been treated, and I really can't buy much right now to fix that. The list is slowly shrinking anyway... not sure how. Speaking of which, rear window track bushings showed up today too.

    5/20/11 -

    The front wheels are perfect. I can't decide whether or not I'd like to see the rear wheels come out ever so slightly more away from that inner wheel well. I don't think I mentioned it before, but conveniently, this car just so happens to run the same size tire as the green Neon. I'm thinking there's some Direzza D1 star specs in this car's future.

    I get a real kick out of that.

    5/21/11 -

    Tried pulling one of the rear windows this morning to replace those bushings and no cigar. Tried installing bushings while the window was still loose inside the car and still no cigar. Anyone got any experience with pulling crank-style windows, cause I honestly don't know what the hell I'm doing right now.

    This should give you a better idea of what I'm getting into: ... g_Kit.html

    I thought insurance was gonna clean out my account for this month, but it turns out it's not withdrawing until next month, so I'm ordering my Tokicos on Monday.

    5/23/11 -

    Think I found my seats. I want the full bucket, and not the gray one. We need a smiley that pulls money out of it's ass.

    5/24/11 -

    Took care of a few things I've been meaning to work on lately today. Started by welding up the broken part of the passenger side hood hinge. It looks like it formed another crack before I could get WD-40 and then some red grease on it, but it's operating a lot more smooth now. I believe the reason why it got broken in the first place was due to it binding up.

    Even though it was right in front of my face, I hadn't noticed til a couple days ago when a friend pointed out to me, that I had a opening in the valve cover with nothing to keep dirt out. As much as I hate them, I've got a auto zone breather filter on it for now. Help me come up with some other crafty way of fixing that. I hate those damn things...

    Then I went around wrapping the random wires in the engine bay in tape and put loom on the longer set of them. They're both coming from the fire wall. In the second pic is the one with the wire loom.

    I've been wanting to do something with the old Toyota "TEQ" logo in the oil cap to make it stand out more for a while now. When I got back to the hotel, I grabbed some of the Miata's touch up paint and stuck it on there because I forgot that paint tends to have more of a cohesive than adhesive property to it and looks like crap when you try to brush it on to things. Doesn't look bad from a little ways back, but that's not good enough for me. I'm going to try something else later.

    Also got hardware to actually mount the front plate today insead of having it in the windshield. Ordered my Tokico blues and PIAA windshield wipers on Monday.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Re: '76 Celica Resto-mod

    6/4/11 -

    Got more updates. I pulled the vinyl top off it while I was back in Ohio over memorial day weekend and what I found scared the shit out of me.

    The only part I found that I liked was this sticker that had been holding on under there since 1976. Unfortunately it had to go due to the severity of this issue... I wanted to make sure this was all gone.

    So I immediately got to grinding, and after about 6 hours worth, came up with this:

    So since I had to leave in the morning, at that point we really had no choice but to fill it full of bondo so we could make it water tight and prevent any further damage.

    I then had to brush a couple coats of rust-o-leum rusty metal primer over it and by time I got done with that it was 1am, and I was waking up to leave at 6. I feel that was really all I could do with the time I had, but I'm still not proud of it by any means. I did bring a sanding block up here with me, so I just need to go get some sandpaper and I'll sand it down and rattle can it asap so it's at least all the same color (right now it's brown.) Once I actually get some time, we'll cut this old roof out, and more than likely be making a new one because I highly doubt there's any replacement panels laying around for these things. I guess that explains why the roof was so weak.

    I believe somewhere between here was when I ordered my original owner's manual for the car.

    6/21/11 -

    Think I've finally decided what to do with that PCV breather situation. AGP makes a nice valve cover breather. I think I'm just going to run both ports in the top of the valve cover to it, then back to the bottom side of the intake filter. Speaking of which, I need to clean and re-oil mine...

    6/23/11 -

    Found the dream rear end for this car:

    6/24/11 -

    Ordering tires and getting an alignment here soon. Had some backpay hit my account finally.

    Also found where to get my trunk release from. ... -kits.aspx

    Tires should be here mid-next week. More 185/60/14 Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Specs.

    7/14/11 -

    Picked up my struts yesterday. Hopefully I'll be able to get started on putting them in tomorrow after work, then follow up with new tires and an alignment.

    7/16/11 -

    So I finally got to the shop on base yesterday at 5:30 and the place closes at 8:00... still managed to get the rear struts in and the fronts are about to come out, I just have to cut through a bracket on the old passenger side strut so I don't have to bleed the brakes.

    Front struts are in and tires are on the car. Still needs an alignment, but I need to take a look at the RF wheel. There's still a lot of play there. May be a wheel bearing, or possibly the ball joint. I need to get the car back up in the air and figure out. Car still drives a lot better on the interstate, there's barely ever any vibration anymore, and body roll has been reduced quite a bit. It's driving a lot better, there's still plenty of small things to sort out though.

    Speaking of small things, I did a bit of adjusting on the hood and trunk latches today too. Both are shutting a lot easier. I really wanna get rid of that extra tach and figure out what all I'm missing to get a window roller back on the passenger door, but I'm still trying to recover a bit financially from the first half of the month, so no big purchases for a bit.

    7/23/11 -

    Got to play with the car a bit more. Found my RF wheel play, and it's a simple fix. It didn't have the castleated nut cover, so the cotter pin was just hanging out and keeping the nut from completely falling off, but it was still able to back out and cause play. I hope it hasn't messed up the wheel bearing. Not that it's hard to replace if it did. Got bearing grease to regrease them either way and I'll be able to get the new cover and dust cap on next Sunday if Chris would like to possibly let me borrow his driveway. Then I'll finally be able to get my alignment done.

    Also got rid of that damn autozone tach too. Ordered a PCV grommet so that bastard will quit falling out and blowing oil everywhere. Next Friday I should hopefully be able to order a case of oil, a couple filters, and a pcv breather resevoir. Then I'll get the air filter cleaned out after that goes on.

    7/31/11 -

    Repacked the wheel bearings with grease today. The inner bearings weren't in bad shape, but the outers were getting pretty dry since I didn't have the dust covers for the spindle. Those are on now too, but I believe I need to back the spindle nut off a bit more. Both caps were hot when I got home from Chris'. Good news is no more wheel play, so an alignment should be coming up soon. This thing isn't too far away from autocross...

    Couple other things I played with today was installing the PCV valve grommet so the PCV valve would quit blowing out of the valve cover. I need to go under the hood and clean up now, and the air filter needs some serious tlc. Also reinstalled some bolts that were just kind of hanging out in the engine bay. Both my lower alternator and upper starter bolts had fallen out and somehow managed to not leave the engine bay... nothing too exciting today, but it's all coming together in little steps, and better than Andy's gay way too big emblem on the dash.

    8/2/11 -

    Think I finally found my wheels.

    Also working on getting that missing bumper end replaced.

    The more I keep looking at it, the more I want to add one of these factory style stripes. Mine would obviously be ST instead of GT. ... 2341-1.jpg

    8/4/11 -

    After cussing at fellow board members and clarifying I was pretty set on Panasports, this happened:

    Oh, btw, alignment's done. Need to get this exhaust welded up and find a more permenant solution to mount the battery and then I wanna get this thing up to Thompson before the weather sets in and I'm underwater.

    edit - scratch that whole welding and mounting thing lol... got that bumper end on the way, but the major problem right now is I just found my tail lights with center garnish on ebay. Thank god there's ROI on old cars like this.

    8/5/11 -

    Rodney had a set of gold Konig Rewinds on the car when I went to test drive it, and now I have to have that look back. (More clarifying I want Panasports and why. It's your fault, Rodney. :P )

    8/7/11 -

    Got the air filter out today and I'm finishing up applying oil now... Not another big deal, but a little maintainence here and there is going to add up to a much nicer car eventually. I wanna get another fuel filter for this thing, and change out the oil, and I should be pretty happy maintainence-wise.

    That's it for now. I'll get those pics fixed as promised later.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Re: '76 Celica Resto-mod

    Got the pics fixed. Worked all day yesterday and it hasn't quit raining here today... did manage to slip outside when it slowed down long enough to get the missing bumper end replaced. I still need to see it I can do some adjusting to it. It's not lined up right at the moment.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Re: '76 Celica Resto-mod

    Well, I guess now's a good time for it. I haven't really started on it yet. I need to get my FWDU time attack Neon finished up, but I can't help buying stuff for this car. Thinking of taking the Celica back to Ohio on my trip after next back and switching it out for the NYG Neon if I get it shaken down next time I'm in. Then it can just hang out til I'm ready to get on the resto and bodywork. I'll probably take it down for some motor work at the same time and paint the bay... so many plans.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Re: '76 Celica Resto-mod

    Quote Originally Posted by 95neoner

    You def have a pretty good base to build off of. Gotta cut out the rust on that roof before it comes back to haunt you in a few months though. :P Will it be getting the stance treatment that this one received anytime soon?

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Re: '76 Celica Resto-mod

    As much as I love the look of Mojocoggo's old car, I'm still torn between whether or not I want to lower it. I kinda like the up high look... I think that may change if I put the TRD style air dam on it though. I'm also reading that some old Toyotas don't like lowering springs because the perches rely on the height of the spring to not fall out from under the car, and I'm not exactly sure if this car's the same. Options for springs are few and far between too. Right now if I went with a set, I'd probably be getting a set of Kings Low sent here from Australia. I don't want to do any irreversible mods to the car, so unless I pick up a separate set of front struts, I'm not going to be cutting up my only set. I've noticed the old RX-2s have an option from function and form though... kinda gay that we don't. I don't wanna swap over to all the AE86 parts, I wanna retain as much originality as possible, at least the same motor, transmission, and driveline parts designed for the first gen Celica. My springs are shot, so I guess I'll be making my mind up soon though.

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