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New member with a rare find.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:25 am
by Truenuff
Hi everyone, I'm a noob on here, out of Colorado. Last year I was lucky enough to come across an almost mint GTS Corolla.

This car hasn't been registered since the motor blew up at just over 40k miles. The first owner bought it in 1985 and didn't know anything about cars (thank God for the pushy salesman for up selling the GTS model). So this poor car got zero maintenance. Not a tune up, not an oil change, not a single top off for 5 years! Amazingly, she still managed to drive it home one last time with melted piston rings and very wounded crank bearings. And there it's been sitting since 1990, in a garage, wanting an engine and an owner to love it. It's finally found the latter. Now I need help rebuilding her. I'm not sure the direction I should go. The original motor is toast, not salvageable. I have to admit I was really excited when I started researching swap possibilities for this car. I kicked around the idea of putting in an S2000 drivetrain or SR20 since I got her. But I'm not sure if I want to start hacking up such an iconic symbol of automotive history. She's not just another drift slut. She's never had an ebrake slide, never been clutch kicked, redlined or power shifted. The AE86 is an endangered species. And I feel I have a responsibility to this community to preserve her innocence. But maybe I'm being too romantic. It's a drivers car, and the value is in the experience not the lack of rust or perfect condition of the upholstery. I want to know what you think. What would you do? OEM rebuild? Stance? Hella modded frankenrice? Or track day bro... I'm interested to hear everyone's opinion. Thanks for reading and I'm proud to be part of the community.

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:28 am
by trigun402
Find/rebuild a 4age and throw it in. Then do some fun driving.

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:07 am
by Deuce Cam
16v 4age (maybe rebuild yours?), maintenance (replace everything with oem parts where possible), front bumper, modest fitment period correct 14" wheels and done.

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:16 am
by oldeskewltoy
You need to ask yourself some serious questions....

What do you want when you are finished? Are you looking for; A correct restored car? A resto-mod? A track car? A swap car? What do you want when you are finished???

What is your budget? There are $500 builds, as well as $50,000 builds in the AE86 world.

Be honest with yourself... TRY to look into the future 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, longer??

Now, to your engine... keeping things simple for now... the quickest way to get you up and running is to find a used largeport/TVIS type* 4AGE engine. A fair price for a used engine is about $250, you might find some for less, and likely many more for more. I recommend a quick used engine replacement over all other initial options for the simple reason that you get to DRIVE your "new" (for you) AE86 GTS, and not let it sit waiting.....

Once you drive the car you can then determine what you want to do.....

* - You are going to hear all kinds of descriptors for the many generations of the 4AGE. Bluetop, Redtop, black and red, and so on. These colors are based on cam cover lettering colors. These are not the best ways to describe the 4AGE.

Photo showing cam cover colors -

In reality... now that these engines are 30+ years old... any number of parts besides cam covers could have been swapped.

Some basic 4AG info: Stock hp on the engine that came in your AE86 was about 112 flywheel horsepower, or about 102-105 @ the wheels(when new). A "decent" used engine should still plant 93-98 wheel horsepower. There are essentially 3 16V block - A) 3 vertical ribs on the intake side, b) 7 ribs on the intake side, c) 7 ribs plus an extra fitting for an added oil drain from the head. There are 2 designs of 16V heads largeport, and smallport. In reality the largeport head has 2 or 3 variations, but the differences are not important in an AE86... UNLESS you plan on a full and CORRECT restoration. There are 2 OEM cranks for ALL 4AG engines, one uses 40mm rod journals, the 2nd uses 42mm rod journals. There are pluses, and minuses too both.

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:13 am
by Truenuff
Thanks OST you obviously know your stuff. I had bought a used replacement 16v 4age that turned out to need almost as much work as the original, but it is rebuildable. It was only $200 so it's no big deal to consider other options. I'm leaning toward a 20v. My budget isn't unlimited by any means but I'm willing to pay for the right parts.

I'm figuring the price of a stock rebuild would roughly compare to a low mileage JDM motor. But I have no experience with these cars. I have time, this car is not going anywhere. I want to take my time and get it right. So far it seems people like to keep the 16v. What does everyone think about the 20v? Is it overdone? Is it worth it?

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:40 pm
by GtsTone23
Fix the motor and LEAVE the car AS-IS!!! It's a RARE thing to have such a CLEAN AE86 these day's. Drive it for a little while and see how you like it, if you want to drift, autoX or whatever with it than get a BEATER one ....... There's PLENTY of them to go around BUT the one you have, not many of those to be had so think before you start tearing it apart. Beautiful car and find, good luck, I hope you keep the car preserved and in the shape it's in.

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:07 pm
by yukesrevolver
a stock GT-S like that? I'd just restore her and enjoy it in factory form. Like Gtstone said above; there are plenty of ragged AE86's out there if you want a pure track slut/drift machine. All factory GT-S' are hard to come by and will likely be a good collector's item in the near future. Fwiw, I bought my current hatch in almost the same condition as your coupe, back in 2004: Virgin, untouched, and clean aside from the cracked dash. Its not really clean anymore but the dash isn't cracked now at least! :lol:

Definitely keep it 16v 4AG, that's my vote. Properly rebuilt, you can get plenty of power to make the car really fun while keeping it simple and factory, with a 16v.

SR-5's? I differ on the opinion of keeping it "all stock". The AE86 is just meh without at least a 4AG under the hood. An SR-5 is like an unfinished AE86 from Toyota. But that concerns you not.

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:07 pm
by Truenuff
Thanks everybody I'm starting to see a trend. I better stick with the 16v. I totally agree with everyone but the air is very thin up here in Colorado and I know the stock 90whp at sea level will be horribly enviable up here. It's gonna take a fair bit of modding the 16v just to make it up the mountain with a full tank and a passenger. That being said I'm all about keeping true to the 16v and maintaining the spirit of the AE86, so what kind of mods would you guys consider tasteful or acceptable? I'm definitely going to hang on to everything just in case I want to return it to oem (stock air box, exhaust, wheels etc.) btw I have the original wheels, they aren't on the car because tires aren't meant to last 30years.

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:58 pm
by yukesrevolver

Aesthetic: JDM OEM toyota bumpers, zenki lip, tail-lights, side skirts, etc. Not too overboard like most aftermarket body kits but aggressive enough to make it stand out even more. Though with how clean yours is, I'd probably keep the GT-S bumpers and just install skirts and JDM coupe redlines (good luck finding). If you go JDM bumpers then invest in some crash bars. The JDM's are skins only, with small mounting brackets. No protection for your frame from even a small incident.

Lowering it: I'd opt away from using coil-overs, and instead go for a mild drop, definitely no more than 2inches. Install some quality sport shocks and wheels that will fill out the wells without requiring rolling and flaring. You can check out my SR-5 coupe, its the thread right below this one, to see how my lowering went. I'm sort of in the same boat as you about trying to keep it as OEM as possible while still making it look great and drive like a sports car. Though since mine is just an SR-5, i've got a bit more work ahead of me than you do.

Engine: Tomei Poncams are great bang for you buck quality cams that are about as easy drop-in as a cam will ever get. They come pre-dialed and work on the factory ECU/valvetrain. An (much) cheaper trick is to remove the belt driven clutch fan and install an electric unit. There was an old thread on where, with dyno proof, showed a ~6hp gain just from doing that. Both tactics give noticeable gains and are easily reverse-able.

For the exhaust nothing screams tasteful near as well as the Fujitsubo Legalis R. Its pricey though. If you don't want to slam down ~$750 on a catback, then just stick to something that's open but looks factory. HKS sport, etc. I'd just stay away from the canister exhausts.

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:29 am
by Deuce Cam
There's nothing wrong with a 20v. It's actually a great option. However, it's going to be more work and money just to set it up for rwd configuration and wire it up. A lot of times the swap ends up being an incomplete hack job. There probably aren't many real low mileage options kicking around since the engine ceased production 17 years ago. Any engine you buy is a dice roll especially sight unseen. You may end up needing to refresh the 20v just the same as a dice roll used 16v. Ballpark cost for a mild/moderate tuned 16v rebuild is often similar to a 20v swap. Also the 20v was never sold here so there's a lack of parts available, and lack of mechanical knowledge (if you were to bring to a random shop for diagnostics).

Personally I'd stay away from the jdm stuff considering the condition of your car (much of it is discontinued now anyway). My current car was 100% stock when I got it (although nowhere near the condition of yours). I converted to levin / jdm bumpers and I somewhat regret it. I've also been through a bunch of suspension setups over the years only to go back to near stock. IMO the car is way more fun to drive around with low spring rates near stock ride height. Sure it leans a lot and isn't the most responsive, but the steering and turn in feel is good.

I'd stick with the oem exhaust for now. No reason to upgrade. With a tuned 16v or 20v you may want to get a mandrel bent cat back exhaust, but don't get anything larger than 2" pipe and stay away from the angled/cylinder style mufflers. As yukesrevolver said the Fujitsubo Legalis R is about the best money can buy (2" pipe, stainless, looks stock'ish, and isn't obnoxious). I'd stay away from the HKS sport since you live in CO and it's made out of mild steel.

Re: New member with a rare find.

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:53 am
by yotarolla
Wow brother! What an amazing find and story! Im with most of the others on this and think staying as original as possible would be the thing to do. I have a sr5 hatch with the single cam 4ac with the stock 2 barrel carb. I think its rated at something like 75hp and its still very fun to drive, Im able to power over on dry pavment and it moves the car pretty well, I also live in Texas pretty close to sea level. That being said I think you would have plenty of fun in the mountains with a 16v

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