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 Post subject: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:12 pm
Posts: 11
Aloha,
Ryan from Kona, Hawaii here with our new to our family 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon.

So far, I've gutted the filthy tan interior, dyed the carpet & seat belts, repainted the dash and plastic trim, and installed some speakers in stock locations and wired for a 300w MB Quart sub I'll be doing a custom fiberglass enclosure for inside the wagon rear panel.

I'm in dire need of some direction on what exterior stuff can interchange with this car, as 1. the front grill, lights, bumper are barely hanging on, and 2. the wife isn't fond of the quad headlights and massive bumper and would prefer a swap of some sort. Same with this diner table of a rear bumper. Would love something chrome and tighter to the body, but anything is better than it's current state. Any tips/links would be appreciated! There isn't a lot of donor cars, and no pick-a-part wrecking yards here on the big island of Hawaii, so I'm kind of dependent on Ebay, Rock Auto, Craigslist, you kind folks, or other recommended parts sources.

I just ordered the cressi calipers, drilled/slotted celica rotors and 2" drop blocks...hopefully all to be installed next week. Also on deck is steaming the tired purple tint off the windows and retinting with 35% all the way around. The motor runs fantastic and doesn't really need any attention, but eventually I can see a Weber going on there.

Here's some pics of what it was like, what I've done in the last three weeks, and things along the way.

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The jacked up front end that I'm very interested in ditching in favor of a two light or round light setup and more compact bumper. PLEASE let me know if anything would bolt up to this frame that will work.

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Think we'll just get rid of these rigged up mirrors in favor of fender mirrors.

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Gonna remove the tow hitch. Like the front bumper I'm VERY interested in a tighter bumper option, maybe something from JDM, Australian or UK market? Please, please let me know if I have a better option than replacing this rubber bumper.

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She's not pretty, but she runs great. The motor will get some detailing, but no mods for now. A/C will be recharged next week.

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Pretty representative of the condition of the old tan interior plastic. In good shape physically, but badly needed a repaint.

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Stained, tired interior in need of some TLC and vinyl dye.

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Smelled pretty musty.

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Carpet and belts in need of a dye job.

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Blank canvas! Time to get to work!

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Seat belts dyed by soaking fabric in lacquer thinner, then SOAKING the belt with basic satin black spray paint. Seriously soaking it during spraying, not just spraying it on lightly. Went back and spot treated a couple places the black was thin, then masked the buttons and sprayed the plastic.

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After a rub down with some vinegar, most plastics were hit with some satin granite Rustoleum plastic paint. Much better!

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After carpet was RIT dyed a royal blue and reinstalled, the dash came out for repaint.

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My pride and joy here, the refinished dash.

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Finally, the rear interior. The blue RIT dye turned out a little to purple for my liking on the tan carpet. Will probably go black later after exterior mods/repairs are done. Same with rear/front seats. For now it looks and smells a 100 times better than when we got it. MB Quart sub and amp are going in the right rear 1/4 panel in a diy custom fiberglass enclosure, leaving plenty of room for hauling stuff to the beach.

That's about it for now. I really would like some input on exterior swaps available for the front and rear bumpers, grill, headlights. Any tips?

Mahalo,
Ryan


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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:43 am
Posts: 128
Location: Orange County, CA
Very clean! :tu:

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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:11 pm
Posts: 154
Location: Murray, UT
Very nice! Great job on the interior panel restoration.

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72 Datsun 510 Ragtop Goon | 73 Toyota Corona Mark II Wagon | 71 Toyota Hilux (sold)
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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 5:09 pm
Posts: 157
Location: Netherlands
Wow well done this interior job, from a musty dungion look to a fresh one :tu:

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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:42 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:34 pm
Posts: 322
Location: southern PA
wow that turned out gorgeous... what did you use on the dash>? like brands of paint and what not?


i dig the purple hue.... its a pimp wagon :tu:

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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:43 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:12 pm
Posts: 11
Thanks guys.
All surfaces were cleaned with a water/vinegar mix (roughly 70% vinegar, 30% water, but went stronger on vinegar for stubborn sticky messes or oil spots). Then I used the following paints:

Hard plastics that I wanted lighter gray - Rustoleum Painter's Touch in "Satin Granite" (Home Depot)
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Dash, doors, rubber seat belt dust covers, e-brake boot and other flexible/rubber surfaces I wanted a darker gray - Plasi Kote vinyl color in "Charcoal Gray" (CarQuest auto parts)
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The blue accent paint name I'll update here later, but it was a normal enamel paint. To get it to adhere better, I used a clear Rustoleum Adhesion Promoter spray paint (2 coats), then hit with the blue color (2 coats) and it's held up well so far.

These choices were more based on limited paint availability on our island, than my first choices of colors. So far though both paints have done well with bumps and knocks during daily use the last two weeks. Pretty impressed with the flexibility and adhesion on both paints.


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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:45 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:12 pm
Posts: 11
I was mistaken in my last post. The plastic adhesion promoter was clear Valspar Plastic Primer. Blue accent color was Valspar "Satin Indigo Streamer", whatever an indigo streamer is.

Made some progress on the subwoofer enclosure template today. Will update with progress pictures this week, and hope to be bumping by Friday!


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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:06 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Virginia
Great job on the interior, I was half expecting it to get stripped and just abandoned. I even kind of like how purple the rear carpet looks.


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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 80
Location: Philippines
nice resto and paint for the interior. may i ask, do you still have parts there is hawaii? like the corner lights? we have the same car but mine needs a lot of improvement.

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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:07 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:12 pm
Posts: 11
Checked out your build, your wedge is awesome! Hope mine can look that nice some day. You did a very thorough resto on it and I dig the sunroof.

All the parts on the car in the picture are still on the car here in Hawaii. I haven't seen another one of these cars on my island and really can't source the missing turn signal locally. There is one on Ebay but they're $80 per side, so I'm trying to think of other options.


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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:55 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:12 pm
Posts: 11
So I ordered some 2" lowering blocks off Amazon and the center pin wouldn't fit in the block, so after doing some online research and head scratching, I came up with a solution. Figured I'd do a little write up here that might possibly help someone here in the future searching for answers on installing blocks on the 1981 Corona wagon. It might work with other suspensions of the same year range, but not sure.

I ordered the Superior 13-1030 2" Universal Lift/Lowering Blocks w/ round U-bolts from Amazon. I've never worked on a leaf-spring suspension before and from what I could tell they would work. Couple issues during install, but that's the reason for this write up. Overall the kit looked well constructed with much thicker U-bolts than our OEM ones. They are plenty long and will need some trimming after install so they don't catch anything under the car.

I'm in Hawaii with limited tools and such, so I used concrete blocks for jackstands, and only did one side at a time. This write up covers one side of installation, which will need to be repeated for the other side.

1. Jack up rear side of car you want to work on and put car on jackstand.
2. Remove wheel to give you more access to work area
3. Spray nuts on bottom side of leaf spring bracket with WD-40, as well as the bolt holding on the shock to the bracket.
4. Remove shock from bracket and let it hang to the side. Remove the nuts from the bottom side of the leaf spring bracket. Pull OEM u-bolts out the top and let the big bracket drop off the bottom to the ground. (pic 1)
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5. Clean up work surfaces as I'm sure they're caked with dirt and grime.
6. Use jack to lift the axle up enough to create space for lowering block to fit in. ISSUE #1 - On my suspension the centering pin on the top leaf spring bracket was too big to fit in the roughly 1/2" hole in the lowering block. So, take a hammer and tap upward on the leaf spring bracket and remove it (pic 2). The metal bracket and upper rubber should come off leaving a clean leaf spring with smaller centering pin on top. This pin will fit in the block so install the block in there now. Lower the axle using the jack, ensuring the upper block pin centers in the hole on the top bracket as it comes down in contact with the block. (pic 3)
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7. ISSUE #2 - The aftermarket u-bolts are too thick to go through the OEM big lower bracket that you took out in step 4. You can either go to the store and buy lengths of threaded rod and bend them to fit you OEM bracket with the lowering block installed. OR, do as I did and just drill out the OEM bracket with 1/2" bit and the aftermarket u-bolts will fit fine. (pic 4)
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8. Put the new u-bolts over the axle facing down and try to slide on the OEM bottom bracket onto the u-bolts. You'll fine ISSUE #3 - The u-bolt ends are too wide apart to fit into the new holes you drilled and you'll need to use some wood clamps or other method to get them to bend inward to fit the bracket. (pic 5)
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9. Take your time hammering, nut-wrenching, wood-clamping, etc to coax the bracket upward along the u-bolts until it's seated, being careful not to strip or damage any bolt threads as you go. Tighten all nuts and that part is done.
10. Reattach the shock to the bracket (you might have to lift the axle a tad to get the shock mount hole and bracket post to line up). Put your wheel back on, lower the car and you're sittin' pretty.

Here are the parts you should have left over on one side after you're done. Two u-bolts, four nuts, four washers, top leaf spring bracket with rubber insulator inside. (pic 6)
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Feel free to add anything that warrants mentioning. Again, I have no experience with leaf suspensions, but this seems like a viable and safe install.


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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:56 pm
Posts: 24
Location: norcal
Nice job on the interior restoration. I also did the rear suspension with the lowering block and would suggest re-checking the nuts and bolts after the suspension has settled and driven the car around. Good luck with the build.


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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:17 pm
Posts: 152
Location: Los Angeles
There is a more "elegant solution" (a term one of my engineering professors liked to use) that will solve issues 2 and 3 simultaneously. If you go to your local 4 X 4 truck parts store, they sell U-bolts in various thicknesses, lengths, and widths made by Rancho or Suspension Techniques, or something (http://www.4wheelparts.com/search.aspx?kw=u-bolts). The packaging for these U-bolts will say they are intended only as replacements for broken parts in their kits and warn you against mixing and matching independent parts but I figure if they can hold up a 2-ton truck off-road with 6 inch blocks, they should be able to handle a little J-car.

Oh, one last thing, you should cut off all the excess threads on the U-bolts hanging down. They DO catch on things; I don't know how many cars and mini-PUs I've seen with those bolt ends going in crazy directions.


Last edited by Stevester on Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:01 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:12 pm
Posts: 11
Good point. Yes cut the excess.
Wish we had auto stores here on the island with u-bolt options. Had to have this kit shipped from the mainland even. But to those with the resources, definitely mix/match u-bolts for a perfect fit. :)


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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:17 pm
Posts: 152
Location: Los Angeles
Photog01 wrote:
Good point. Yes cut the excess.
Wish we had auto stores here on the island with u-bolt options. Had to have this kit shipped from the mainland even. But to those with the resources, definitely mix/match u-bolts for a perfect fit. :)


Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to rain on your parade :oops: ; I forget how spoiled we can be in SoCal where practically anything is available (but you do have better weather...). It's a great job! I've been meaning to lower my 1988 PU for years now. I guess it's the Disneyland mentality: I can always go because it's just an hour away so... I'll go "next time"...


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 Post subject: Re: 1981 Toyota Corona Wagon build
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:12 pm
Posts: 11
So with the limited parts available on the island, I started looking at nearly every car front end that passed by on the freeway or was in a parking lot. I took some measurement on a late '80s Yota pickup and damned if the grill wasn't a near perfect fit for the hole between the hood, bumper and turn signals. So I picked up a use one for about $15 and with some trimming of mounts on the grill, it fits in the space. Now I'm going to look at getting the bigger truck lights w/ their respective mounting buckets and see if I can't fab some way to mount them in place of the stock four light set up.

I'm also taking measurements and researching front truck bumper mounting brackets and considering going with a chrome early 80's flat truck bumper in front. Rear bumper is still up in the air.

Drag DR-20 (15x7) are on there now, Cressida big brake upgrade w/ cross-drilled rotors in front, the back is lowered 2" and I'm going to be lowering the front springs 2" soon to match. Thinking the whole thing might need another inch of drop, but we'll drive it and see how we like it.

Anyway, here's a quick shot of the truck grill test fit. Not ideal, but not hideous either. For not having any options on the island, I think I'm gonna give this conversion a whirl.

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