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Old 02-06-2016, 09:35 AM   #1
coheed
 
Drives: 08 BB LB
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Location: Maiden, NC
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New to me Toyota Corona

So a few months ago I decided I was tired of my bagged daily Yaris, so I started parting it out and perusing craigslist for another car. My ideas for cars jumped around a lot, but I settled on RWD and a Toyota. After a couple months of searching I came upon this 78 Corona wagon. As far as I can tell it has 80k original miles and almost all the original equipment. It was 320 miles from me, so pretty much sight unseen I rented a trailer and left at 4 in the morning and booked it down to GA got there at roughly 830. I looked the car over, assessed all the rust, and took it for a test drive (with the 20R ,3 speed auto, and 4.10's this thing picks up pretty quick at full throttle). Loaded her on a trailer and left around 10, but any time I went over 55 the Corona swung back and forth like a high-school physics experiment. Landed back in NC around 4 after infuriating a lot of people on I-40. She's really rusty; both front fenders and both quarters are rusted through, the body under the hatch is in a sad state, and there is a hole in the corner of the floor in the hatch, but the frame, floorpans, and pretty much everything above the fenders are spotless. For some reason the original owner took off the OEM rear bumper and welded on some square and round tube sort of like a drift crash bar. The only 2 things keeping it from being roadworthy are the carb is clogged with varnish and gunk, so you have to finesse the pedal to get it to move or it will die, and the fusible links are just stuck onto the battery terminal. Now onto some pictures:



Pretty clean front end with only a little rust.


Pass. side rust.


Nasty rear bumper, nice taillights and a dented hatch.



The horrible rust under the hatch. (Bonus oem spare)



Sweet giant dirt dobber nest on the rear end.


Drivers side rust.



Crappy aftermarket non-adjustable mirrors.


Meh clean interior, cracked dash and seats coming apart a bit, but otherwise nice. (bonus chevy hubcap)



Dash with everything that works. Missing the brake light though.



Working oem radio, and HVAC.


Decently clean engine bay. You can see the aftermarket inline fuel pump they installed that's triggered off the oem wire. Will probably relocate that later.


And finally the full family shot (aside from girlfriends '13 FRS)


Plans right now are:
Fix wiring
Fix carb issue
Redo all the brakes
Relocate fuel pump
Drive the crap out of it
Lower it (maybe, not inclined to cut the oem springs so we will see)
Maybe fix rust
Drive the crap out of it
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Old 02-06-2016, 10:58 AM   #2
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What a classic ride, nothing beats these old school Toyota's! I'm seeking a Cressida, no idea why but the shape and style of it just maketh my heart pump yo'.
Good luck with your restoration, keep us updated as you go \m/
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Old 02-06-2016, 02:02 PM   #3
WeeYari
 
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Sooo tiny. Cool ride, but OMG, the work. Good luck.
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Old 02-06-2016, 02:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coheed View Post
Maybe fix rust
That looks like it would be a job and a half. Everything else would not bother me but the rust would have turned me off to the car. Good luck with your new project.
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Old 02-06-2016, 03:21 PM   #5
coheed
 
Drives: 08 BB LB
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Location: Maiden, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedMantle View Post
What a classic ride, nothing beats these old school Toyota's! I'm seeking a Cressida, no idea why but the shape and style of it just maketh my heart pump yo'.
Good luck with your restoration, keep us updated as you go \m/
Cressi's are awesome. I've seen many for sale around here, but most were out of my price range or required way too much work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WeeYari View Post
Sooo tiny. Cool ride, but OMG, the work. Good luck.
It's so tiny, yet so heavy. It's noticeably smaller than the Yaris, but about 1000 lbs heavier lol.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC-SE View Post
That looks like it would be a job and a half. Everything else would not bother me but the rust would have turned me off to the car. Good luck with your new project.
Ehhh, I just wanted something that I could beat on, but with a reliable drivetrain. I might fix the rust but it would probably be a few years and hopefully an income tax bracket or two higher.
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Old 10-18-2016, 07:41 PM   #6
coheed
 
Drives: 08 BB LB
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I never get on here anymore, but there a good bit of updates to this build if anyone's interested. Cross posted from the main forums this things on.

Got the new 32/36 installed. Man that thing makes a huge difference in power. Granted the OE carb was basically junk, but this thing scoots a lot faster than the Yaris (not really bragging rights though). But it needs to be re-timed, it "diesels" and spits back through the carb after shutoff. The $20 FPR I bought is crapping out so I have a Holley FPR on the way. Also slapped on a tsurikawa that I had laying around from my last trip to the land of the rising sun for giggles. Paid $8 for a 1978 tag on eBay. In NC I can run a tag from the year of manufacture, so long as I have the registration up to date, so this will be the tag that stays on the car. I think it looks a lot better than a new tag, plus it adds to the retro factor. Have new brakes on the way, so this thing should be on the road soon. Now pics:

Stupid dirty bay


Kinda blurry pic of the tag and tsurikawa


Needed to get rid of the lines and fittings for the water choke. Also wanted to clean up the manifold of all the vacuum ports, so I went and picked up a bunch of plugs and installed them. Had to reseal the EGR block off plate from LCE. Onto some pics:

Plug in place of the water choke fitting and the LCE EGR plate.


Plugged all of the vacuum ports.


There's a metal tube coming off the back of the water pump that supplied the coolant to the water choke. Didn't feel like buying the block off plate from LCE for this, so my solution was to cut the tube, smush it with the bench vice, and weld it up with my $80 flux-core MIG. Bolted it back up with RTV as sealant and let it cure overnite. Ran the car at operating temp for a good bit today and nothing developed a leak, so I think I'm good.


Also got the new front brakes installed. On first sight I had thought the brakes were metal on metal. Upon inspection it seems that they had been metal on metal at some point, but one of the po's had just slid some new pads in and decided not to remove the wheel hub and change the rotors. So I pulled the hubs off today, repacked the wheel bearings, and reinstalled them with new rotors. Also put in new pads.





Also fitted up a Volvo 740 front lip that I had laying behind the garage. I think it looks pretty decent, plus the bit that pops out for the Volvo tow hook lines up with the factory hook on my car. Not sure if I'm sold on having the rubber bits removed from the bumper.


Got my Hedman headers in the mail the other day, and since I had a few days off I figured I get the stock exhaust off and see how everything fitted. I started, obviously, by pulling off the old exhaust. Found a huge leak inside the heat shielding on both number 1 and 2 cylinders.


Pulled the manifold off and found for some reason it had 2 gaskets, so that's probably one reason.


And the far left 2 stud threads were completely stripped. Like stripped to the point that when I went to Heli-coil them I didn't even have to drill them out to get the tap in.


Now for the downtube. It comes off at pretty much the same angle as the OE one, but about 1.75" lower. So I chopped the stock bracket that holds the downtube to the bell housing up and extended it down, and added a bit of flat stock. No pics from post welding because my welds look sh*t. But they held up to repeated blows from a 5lb deadblow to get it shifted correctly.



Bought a Flowmaster knockoff for $30. It's constructed with the same materials with the same layout as a 40 series. Which I know is a "played out" muffler for the R series motors, but I really enjoy they way they sound. Insane that the headers are pretty much the same size as the muffler.


Ordered a bend kit this morning, so hopefully I can button up all the exhaust next weekend, and she'll pretty much be road worthy. And bonus picture just cause.


Small update, the exhaust is done, for the most part. It drones like crazy from 2200-2400 rpm, so I think I might redo the tailpipe to see if I can get rid of that. Now pics:




Also I got some fender mirrors, cause JDM BRAH.


Well Monday morning I went and got the car insured and a current tag from the DMV. Drove the car to work that night, and holy crap it's geared low. At 55mph it's turning 3100 RPM, so I'll have to do something about that if I ever want to see a highway. On the way home Tuesday morning I was roughly 2 miles from the house at a stop light and noticed some smoke coming from under the car. Got back to the house as quick as I could and popped the hood, saw nothing leaking. Put it up on ramps and started looking around. Turns out the P.O. had overfilled the trans and it was dumping fluid out the dipstick tube onto the exhaust. I need to change the filter anyway, so that might happen this weekend.

I changed that muffler because the Flowmaster knockoff was to loud for my liking, and it sounded really ricey at 2200ish RPM. Bought a Thrush Turbo and slapped it on this morning. SO much quieter and it sounds a lot better.
Flowmaster knockoff:
https://youtu.be/abfon6R-NW4

Thrush turbo. One of hanger clamps broke so that's why the exhaust is bouncing around so much:
https://youtu.be/XHA6xQ8WWfI

Hopefully going to pick up these wheels tomorrow:


14x7 don't know what the offset is, but they'll definitely be more aggressive than the stock 5.5's. Anyone care to guess at the brand on these? I've never seen mesh wheels quite like them before.

Ok, update time. Picked up the wheels in the above photo, but have yet to put them on the car. First I need to deal with my transmission dilemma. I went to change the filter and the fluid last Saturday and snapped one of the pan bolts off in the case, and trying to remove the other bolts I could feel they were going to snap too. Whoever put the pan on last way over tightened them. I thought about swapping to an A40D to have an overdrive, or a W50 but that would involve more work than I'm willing to put in. Luckily for me there are 2 guys that run an old Toyota graveyard about an hour and a half from me. They have a good A40 trans and a 3.73 differential that solves the trans issue and the ridiculous low gearing issue. Going to pick up those up tomorrow after work.

Well plans changed. I went up to pick up the A40, and turns out it was a floor shift, so everything was on the wrong side. But.... I left with a W50, flywheel, clutch and pressure plate out of a RA42. So I guess I'm going 5 speed. Which is what I wanted to do originally, but convinced myself it would be too much work. I'm gonna see if I can get the trans in the car workable until I have all the bits and bobs to throw the 5 speed in.

Cleaned the W50 a bit ago. Took about 2 hours worth of scrubbing and pressure washing to get 40 years worth of oil, dirt, and grime off. It isn't factory clean, but cleaner than most of the car now.




Did some measuring as well. If my eyeballs and tape measure are correct the overall length is the same, and front of bellhousing to mount distance is the same. The mount also looks the same. So it looks like no driveshaft or crossmember mods are needed for the swap. Most of the hydraulic stuff I can get new except for the hardline. I've never had great luck at making hardlines, but I'll try my hand at it again for this. The clutch has pretty good friction material on it so I don't think I'll have to get it resurfaced. I'l have to take the flywheel to get machined, and there are 2 pressure plate bolts broke off in it that I'll have the machine shop remove cause I hate removing broken bolts.

Bonus picture of the unknown wheels.


Update time, 5 speed is in. I was correct and everything was the same length, so it all just slipped in. I ended up getting a new flywheel, clutch, and pressure plate as it was only a little more than getting everything refinished. Got a pedal assembly from a guy on the old school Toyota group on facebook. Unfortunately the clutch pedal bolts to the firewall in the same spot as my park brake pedal, so.... no park brake. Whatever, I'll park in gear, carry a chock with me, and avoid steep hills. After a ridiculous amount of time trying to bleed the new master on the car and not building pressure, I pulled it and tried bench bleeding. As soon as I poured the fluid in the reservoir it poured out of the fitting, and as I bought that master on a wholesaler closeout, it had no warranty. So I bought a new master, threw it on, and had a clutch 20 minutes later.

Since I got the 5 speed in and working I've put about 80 miles on the car and have been trying to get the carb working at its best. It stumbles right when you crack it to about 1/8th throttle, even though the idle is great and my plugs are reading pretty great. I've only been running 87 octane non-ethanol fuel in it, as it seemed to run worse with higher octane fuel. I was going to check my my plugs yesterday and when I went to pull the wire off plug 2 the damn wire pulled apart even though I was pulling on the boot. This gives me an excuse to change the cap, rotor, and wires as I don't really know how old they are (I changed the plugs when I got it). I went junkyard browsing last Saturday and snagged a shift boot off an 83 Tercel wagon that works pretty well. Also grabbed a pair of Mighty max coils. They'll probably lower it more than I'm wanting, but for $20 I'll give 'em a shot.

Which brings us to the next on the want to do list: lowering this pig. I've gone back and forth on whether I actually want to lower it, but I figure this thing is rusty beyond what would be financially reasonable to fix, so it's not like this thing will ever be a collectors piece. Plus lowered cars are cooler. Gonna try the Mighty Max coils and see how low that gets the front, if they are too low I'll sell them and buy something else. And obviously get some blocks to match for the rear. As far as shocks go I'll need new ones, and it seems the Coronas use some of the shortest shocks in their mounting configurations. I spent a few hours pouring through KYB's catalogue the other night and there are only 3 shocks shorter for the front and 3 for the rear. I'm going to go with the gas-a-just's all around as people say they are super stiff and right now this thing has the softest, body rollingest ride of any car I've ever been in. God only knows how old the shocks are. The back ones still have some blue paint on them and they look aftermarket, but the fronts are completely covered in rust and maybe the originals. I'll be going with p/n KG5450 for the front which are 1.18" shorter extended and 0.6" shorter compressed, which isn't great as I want to drop the front almost 2 inches, but I can't find anything any shorter so they'll still be an improvement. For the rear I'll be going with p/n KG4006 which is a little better than the fronts at 2" shorter extended and 0.85" shorter compressed.

Next on the need to do list is to figure out why my charge light is staying on all the time. My alternator seems to work fine. At low idle it charges at 14.2v and at 2000rpm it's charging a 14.7 every single time I've checked it, and I've checked it quite a damn bit. So I'm thinking it may be the "Charge Light Relay" on the inner fender in the engine bay. I've read quite a few threads on the Toyota truck and Celica forums of them having the same sort of issue and that relay was the culprit, though none of the vehicles are quite as old as mine. I need to check it next time I get a chance, but manual only has the guide to check the 4 pin style relays and mine has a 6 pin relay. So I'm not really sure how to check it.

After that I want to get the tires on the car mounted on the new wheels. I can feel the tires vibrating from being unbalanced now and it gives me an excuse to mount up the new wheels to get rid of the issue. I'll have to buy some shank style lug nuts but they aren't that pricey.
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Old 10-18-2016, 10:29 PM   #7
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I enjoyed the read!

Next you'll have to try your hand at some patchwork on the body. Your best bet would be to at least get it oil under sprayed.
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Old 10-19-2016, 09:38 AM   #8
coheed
 
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I enjoyed the read!

Next you'll have to try your hand at some patchwork on the body. Your best bet would be to at least get it oil under sprayed.
Pray tell, what is oil under sprayed? Is that just spraying actual oil on the under side of the car? If it is I've been thinking of getting some linseed oil. Rat rod guys use it to stop the advancement of the rust.
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Old 10-19-2016, 10:09 AM   #9
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Definitely a fun read. Thanks for updating.
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Old 10-19-2016, 04:30 PM   #10
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Pray tell, what is oil under sprayed? Is that just spraying actual oil on the under side of the car? If it is I've been thinking of getting some linseed oil. Rat rod guys use it to stop the advancement of the rust.
https://www.krown.com
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Old 10-19-2016, 08:37 PM   #11
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Definitely a fun read. Thanks for updating.
Thanks mate, it's fun to work on.

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I think this car may be beyond something like this lol. I feel like the coating would just flake off after a couple days.
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