Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

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sum86
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Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Tue Nov 15, 2022 11:21 am

I actually had a page or two posted here on my restoration about a year back, but it ended up getting removed. Ever since then, I have gotten way farther on my project. For those who don't remember, here's a refresher. Filled with glorious 320 x 240 pics & rushed writing.

The year was 2018. I was a picky little kid. I really wanted to find an ae86 for a project, but I didn't want to settle for anything less then the coveted GTS hatchback. It kind of hurts now thinking about how many "clean enough" SR5's and coupes I ignored. Anyways, after about a year of searching, I ended up finding a single one - some guys clapped out parts car. Of course I said yes! Little me was too blinded by the fact that this mythical car he's only seen on the computer was now right in front of him. It didn't matter that it had fist-sized rust holes in the bodywork, or that it was stuffed with puffy, moist bondo. For $1000, how could anybody say no to a parts car like that?

Only problem is that this wouldn't be a parts car for me. I had to fix this shell. To make things worse, I already had a project car going on at this time too. A similarly rusted out turbo firefly. (geo metro with a bodykit, for you yankees) Because of this, the corolla spent all of this time sitting with damp grass tickling it's undersides. When it finally came time to pull the car in to begin work on it, I was greeted with even more rust then when I initially got it.

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Terrible pictures, but it gives you the idea that this car probably wasn't worth fixing. Things only got worse when it came time to strip the car down.

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The usual rust in the window frame, with some bonus sunroof leakage corrosion. It was easy to get the glass out for these pictures, because the previous owner used the wrong glue to stick the window in. With one weak pry of a flathead screwdriver, the entire bead of glue broke and my glass fell out. Almost ended up breaking the windshield even more! It's kind of scary considering I was originally going to just get the car running and drive it around for a bit. Should've known better when your working with an absolute deathtrap.

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I'm hoping the really shitty resolution isn't making things too hard to understand. You should still be able to make out the massive blobs of brown in those pixels.

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Two bad frame rails, with the added bonus of the right side being bent. That rust hole was caused by somebody forgetting to seal off the crunched in corner after somebody paved bondo over it. The inside of the car looks worse, but i'll post pictures when it's time to fix it.

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With all of that done, the car was chucked on top of the rotisserie it would spend the next year strapped to. With a diy paint job courtesy of my brother, it was time to start cutting back the layers. I'm still not caught up yet, so i'll try to get the next writing done quickly.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Tue Nov 15, 2022 11:44 am

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The first area I focused my attention to was the A pillar and window frame. I thought that this was the worst damage structural wise on the car, and I didn't want my car to fold in on me when i decided to cut open the rockers. I'm glad my Firefly served as my body work guinea pig beforehand, because chopping up the pillars is a very sketchy practice. No better place to start then!

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A spot weld driller made quick work of pulling the cowl off. I wouldn't have done this usually, but the entire length of the lower window frame had holes on it. I would've just cut the left and right corners off if that was the case.

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I forgot to take pictures early on, so this is the earliest one I have. Two layers of shiny metal welded on this area. Before this, both of these layers were gone, and the window frame would flap around very easily.

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Both sides done up. I tend to get too "in the zone" to remember to take pictures, but just remember that I always fix the opposite side as well. Things will get less spotty as I go on.

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I used my dad's heavy duty welder to burn these ones in. It was kind of dumb to start on such a difficult and stressed area, but i'll be more then prepared enough if it ever cracks on me.

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Braces back on.

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And the cowl to cap it all off too. Took me a little bit over a month to get to this point. Being my first patches, I do think they ended up being a little bit ugly compared to my later stuff, but it's not like you can tell with the low quality anyways. Next up, the rocker panels and every thing they attach to.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Tue Nov 15, 2022 12:06 pm

Things started to get a bit more serious when it came time to do the rockers. A guy on the internet once said "you can't weld to rust", and I feel that applies here. Every time I would cut back metal, even more rust would crop up. Still, I ain't a quitter. I carried on anyway, as hopeless as it may of felt.

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The back section let me know right away that it ain't playin. The precise measurement know as "can I stick my hand in?" signaled that this area was thoroughly rotten though.

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The front area was almost just as bad, even if it looks more solid. Still structurally compromised, it's just that the front didn't have spinning wheels to chip away any loose steel with gravel.

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I was actually quite careful drilling all of this stuff off. I didn't know what I would have to reuse quite yet, so I thought i'd play it safe. You can probably tell that there wasn't that much I could salvage.

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Two steel bars with crushed ends prevented my car from folding in. Keener eyes may notice that the bar isn't even really doing anything. A bar from the door pillar to the rear inner support tends to not do much if those two areas are not actually attached to anything. I made sure not to climb inside my car after noticing this.

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The goods I pulled off. Some of it actually came in handy occasionally if I needed to check the fitment of something, but it was almost entirely scrap. After this was all cut off, I soon started to chug away at replacing all of this with fresh steel.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Tue Nov 15, 2022 12:29 pm

After sleeping on it, I thought the best way to go at this was to start at all four corners. I didn't want the center section to sag or hang down too far, so I had to properly secure it in place first.

I sandblasted both sides not-very thoroughly just to get an idea of what was just surface rust, and what was too far gone. You can't see it in the pic, but there was a heavy case of pin holes going on here. I would end up having to replace a lot more then I originally anticipated, expecially because I actually had to redo this piece (both sides!) because i did it wrong.

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I had to give the flange and the floor a little bit of work first before i could replace that sill area. Here's how that went.

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Strangely enough, the drivers side was quite a bit worse then this side. Usually it's the other way around for LHD vehicles. Anyways, i also had to give the incredibly flimsy looking factory jacking point some attention.

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Soon after, I was able to replace that first piece I cut. I had to redo this because the original way of doing the stampings in a "cut and weld" way made them far too weak.

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I used thicker steel for this the second time around too, just to be safe.

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The rear end was far easier to make, being mostly flat sections. Makes me wish the rest of the rocker was constructed like this. Anyways, i'm mostly glad that I don't have to do this again... Even if I did, there being two sides on a car. Things ended up getting a bit easier when it came time to fill in the center part.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Tue Nov 15, 2022 1:09 pm

Similar to the front, the floor needed a little bit of attention before i could go ahead with the flange and sill. This was my first attempt at stamping things. I had a little bit of trouble centering the punch right, but it'll look fine buried in undercoating.

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It then came time for the flange. It was so exhausting to grind the whole length of this when I was done welding.

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(I don't know why my friend felt like licking it, but It spices up the photo i guess?)

The jagged lines I laid out. I had to cut a section or two back even more, because of pinholes I didn't notice. Luckily, I didn't have to redo any more patches going forward.

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Some inside shots too while i'm at it.

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There was a little bit more to do on the floor...

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but it was soon time to cut down the excess, and move on to the outer rockers.

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I'm thinking this part was probably the hardest part of the build for me. It was hard to stay motivated, but i kept grinding through it nevertheless. It just sucked with how many stampings I had to copy, and how I really didn't get a feeling of moving closer to my goal as i worked through it. Feels good that I don't think i'll ever have to repair anything this hard again though. In the end, it feels good to do it right though. Gave a solid foundation to plug my rockers on to.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Tue Nov 15, 2022 2:29 pm

I couldn't plug my rockers on however, as there was nothing left of them. It was quite tricky work to get these repaired, as I really didn't have much of a reference to what it was supposed to be like, as everything was gone. Turns out i'm a very lucky guesser, as it all seemed to go well.

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A shot of what I had to fix or recreate. For what it was, it actually went by very quickly.

I ended up getting some rocker panels from Wolf Steel, as I don't have the equipment to bend up any of my own. The panel's profile is a little bit off, but it should be easy enough to smooth it out with a little bit of filler.

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It felt good to work with fresh steel instead of cut up truck hoods.

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With the profile of the rocker clearly defined by the middle section, lining the front and rear sections isn't actually all that hard. The hardest part is making sure the fender bolts up well to the bottom of the front. You can't really test that while your making it, so you just gotta hope everything fits when everything is welded on and finished. The rear section couldn't be easier. As long as you have an air gap for the panel to "breathe", you'll be fine.

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The inner rockers were completely hopeless, so i decided to make some new ones from scratch. It actually turned out pretty nice! It's also great because this is one single, thick gauge piece instead of the original puny one that had a tacked on extension at the end. I could feel the weight difference when I held it up. Off camera i also sandblasted and fixed those little brace pieces too.

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SO SHINY

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I used epoxy primer to seal off these things before I welded them together. Regular primer just ends up absorbing water, which is the exact thing you don't want to happen in an enclosed steel cavity. Also, i really wish I spent the 5 minutes to mask those things off before priming, as I could smell my brain cells popping when it smoked up from me welding it. It pays to not cut corners if you don't have to. Anyways, with that done, it was on to the exciting part where I reunite them with the car.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Tue Nov 15, 2022 2:57 pm

I soon ground off the excess epoxy and replaced it with the usual copper weld through primer. When it came to mounting the drivers side rocker, it all went incredibly easily. No real struggling I could elaborate on. It was the usual deal of checking alignment several times, and then welding it on.

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The moment of truth. How well does everything actually fit up?

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I think well? It's hard to tell. You guys probably can tell my godawful anime titty fender isn't exactly the greatest specimen, and my door is junk due to the entire lower door skin being separated from the frame. I can tell you when i push and pull everything with my hands, the gaps look fine. If I do end up having any alignment issues later on at the bodywork stage, my solution would either be to use filler, or to lower the car excessively until you can't see the rocker gaps. It'll be fine with whichever route I choose.

The right side was a little bit more complicated.
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Those holes are supposed to be centered, but the crash damage had shook it's way to the B pillar. when it came time to bold up the panels, the door was scrubbing on the quarter panel.

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The ghetto solution reigned supreme. A ratchet strap from the door striker to the rotisserie would be all that I needed to align it. I got them bang on surprisingly, like a better alignment then the drivers side even. It's nice, because it gives me a hard cutoff line from where the car is bent up and where it's straight. Should make things a little bit easier when it comes time to pull the frame. Also, check out that shot of how bowed out the quarter is. Really shows the car was a lot more bent up then I initially thought. After I finished with all the welding and grinding to affix it back to the car, I cut out all two of the structural supports I managed to put in. Next step was what I waited all year for- getting the shell back on four wheels.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Tue Nov 15, 2022 3:30 pm

I had only been working on the car for a little bit less then a year now, but I have already been stocking up some parts. The first of goodies to go on the car were a set of PBM coilovers. These were the only coilovers I could find that had the spring rate I was looking for with a true rear setup. I have no idea what they'll ride like, but to be honest i have never even driven an ae86 before. Everything will be new to me lol. Here's to hoping that they won't feel like pogo sticks. Enjoy the pictures of shiny parts going on a scabby car.

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Welded the strut tubes to the spindles. It was good for me to check this, as there was some questionable stuff going on with the bolts holding this thing together. Undersized, bent imperial bolts threaded through missing dowel pins, and a lack of locking ring or cotter pins on the wheel bearing. Pretty sure that's a bingo card right there. It's stuff like that really builds confidant for the day I take this thing to the streets. Anyways, at least it looks baller while I roll it around with that single black painted piece.

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These coilovers use a little heim joint cup, which wasn't too hard to weld to the car. Welds are a little ugly, but i'll redo them when it's time to chop the inner and outer wheelhouses out. With shock mounting addressed, it didn't take long for me to get it back on four wheels.

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This catches you guys up to where I am current day. Right now i'm waiting to get the chassis pulled straight. Don't know how long it'll take, but I don't think it'll be more then a month. i'll try to keep posted on anything else that happens. I'm pretty sure the next part to do will be the rear wheel tubs, but i'm not quite sure yet. Who knows? Just need to wait and see.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby Jeonsah » Mon Nov 21, 2022 4:36 am

Great work man. Really impressed with your effort and dedication. Super excited to see more of this build. Keep it going!

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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby eightfive » Mon Nov 28, 2022 11:00 am

This is awesome and inspirational... I think youve motivated me to start tackling my rust issues.

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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Sun May 21, 2023 12:15 pm

It's been a little while since I posted any updates. Shortly after my last post, I ended up getting tied up with fixing up my brother's car. If that wasn't time consuming enough, I was also constantly getting sick. Never really had a whole lot of time to focus on the corollas, but I still managed to sneak in a little bit of progress in here and there. I will warn you though, I feel most of you 86 lovers might want to cover your eyes...

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The joys of being at the right place at the right time.

Every old car owner knows having a donor car makes life a lot easier. Luckily for me, a carcass for one somehow managed to fall on my doorstep right as I needed it. Here it is, an 85 coupe in less then stellar shape. The single photo I took actually makes it look alright, but it had some pretty bad stuff going on. Don't get me wrong, it was a million times better then my hatch, but it would still be regarded as unsavable by most people. Luckily for me, the rearwards sections I needed were actually in quite good shape for it's age. They had no evidence of any previous accident damage, and although they had rust, they appeared workable. it is kind of a shame to cut up one of these things, but a gutted shell without papers is about the best you can get for a parts donor. Combined with a crushed floor and evaporated rockers, it's fate was already kinda sealed. Sorry coupe guys.

After hauling it inside, I assessed what had to be done. As it turns out, not really that much. All i had to do was make a jig, and drill apart a bunch of spotwelds. With only two steps, it sounded quite easy in my head. As it turns out in practice though, it always takes a little bit longer.

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The actual first step before jigging it up was to remove the rear trunk and parcel shelf. A few snapped drill bits later, (and torching for the brazing) and it was out.

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After that minor hurdle, I soon went to work with tying every bolt hole together with steel rod & bolts. Being a coupe, there were a few holes that wouldn't correspond to my hatch. Luckily for me however, the very wrinkled section on my car that's a foot or so behind the B pillar uses the same bolt hole locations. I couldn't imagine how much more time it would've taken if I had to "freestyle it" while straightening it out.

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With the upper jig finished, I decided to make a lower jig that ties into everything under the car. The upper brace is more for the duty of straightening the wrinkled sheetmetal, while this lower one will be for keeping the rail in alignment with all the suspension points. Believe it or not, I was planning to make it even more complicated and crazy looking then how it turned out. Wrestling under a car with crispy, burnt undercoating falling in your eyes gets tiring quickly though. It wasn't like the rail needed serious holding force on it either to keep it in place. If that's the case, then you know somethings still wrong.

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With that ordeal over, it was soon time to remove the jigging and toss my steel sculptures into the corner to collect dust. Next up was the fun part. Drill time. All three photos I got of it.

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This took a while, as I really didn't know what I was doing. Sure, if you drill, hammer and cut enough, it will eventually fall out, but I wasted a lot of time cutting out the wrong welds. It was much easier the second time around on the hatch, as I could inspect the rail and see exactly where I had to drill. I guess it saves me time for when I eventually have to dismantle the rail though? I don't know. I also made sure to screw in a bunch of self tappers to make the reassembly process involve less guesswork. Any little bit helps.

Shortly after those photos, the coupe was pulled out the shop. It currently sits wedged next to some trees, resting on four tires. Don't worry, I won't scrap it. The cat enjoys it too much to do that, but more importantly I still need chunks off of it later. Expect to see it come up in the future. As for the present, this is all I got right now. See you on the next post!
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Sun May 21, 2023 5:46 pm

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How was the bumper even bolted on before?

I originally wasn't so sure on my plans for cutting out the entire rail, but I really don't think I had any other options. Upon looking at it further, it happens that the rail is mostly buckled right where the reinforcement plate for the spring is. That's like... 4 layers of thick steel that all have to be pulled downwards and manipulated. Moving all of that without disturbing the cheap, thin sheet metal that everything else on the car is constructed from would require a frame machine and knowledge. I don't have either of those, so I stuck with the classic cutting and welding I already know and love so much.

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I tried tossing in the jig before I chopped everything down, but those little reinforcement pieces on the side got in the way. With those gone, I ended up just completely skipping the test fitting stage and jumping straight into ripping everything down. Chopping (what was left of) the quarter made drilling all the spot welds a breeze.

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I snapped this picture midway through the removal of the wheel tub. I'd say it Illustrates pretty clearly how pitched inwards the rail was. I enjoyed the convenience of not having to drill the 7 or so extra spot welds.

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With the passenger side tub pulled out, the frame rail and cross-member were swiftly removed as one unit. At this time I also decided to remove the reinforcement plate from the driver's side tub, as the jig was incompatible with the heim joint collar I had previously welded in. And yeah, to the surprise of nobody, moisture has been already been chillin behind the plate long before I peeled it back. As bad as the rust is, I think i'll reuse these inner wheel tubs, as they are still way better then the coupe's.

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Man, I wish I had more of a helping hand to do this. Still, I managed to fight these jigs into my car. (at the expense of my knees) It definitively needs some tweaking to get it to fit up perfectly, but having a clean rail in here is definitely a step in the right direction. Just the fact that all the bolt holes on the bottom jig lined up was a good enough sign for me. No time for celebration though, as the top end was still way out of alignment.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Mon May 22, 2023 1:36 pm

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(Yes, the rail is in the right spot. The floor's just that bent up.)

At last, I finally had a measurable amount to just how far bent out this thing was. Almost an inch at it's peak... I think? I don't exactly know, because it turned out that the inner structure was also twisted sideways along with being pushed upwards. It was kind of a pain to pull this thing out, but I eventually got it right back to where it's supposed to be by beating the crap out of it with hammers, blowtorches and ratchet straps. Probably one of the most satisfying parts of the build so far. You can tell because I actually put in the extra care to document this. Check out these 4 photos, it's like the car equivalent of popping a dislocated shoulder back in. That's the **** right there.
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Pulling the inner quarter structure out brought the back... back into alignment. Mostly. Things were still a little bit out near the rear end of the car, but it wasn't actually as bad as I thought it would've been. I think the C pillar is slightly pinched downwards at the end. I can't actually do anything about it right now, as it's too strong to bend. (I actually busted 3 ratchet straps trying) I'll just have to wait until I pull the entire quarter panel off, as that should loosen things up a bit so I can manipulate it. For now, I just decided to drill out two panels and straighten them out on the vise. I also sandblasted them because I felt like getting fancy.
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On that last photo, I decided to fiddle with fitting up the panels. It's much better then before. For one, my taillight actually fits into the car. Before it would kind of "teeter-totter" back and forth, so I couldn't get the nuts on. My hatch also latches smoothly with a firm press of the finger. Before you would have to slam it like a gorilla to get it to shut. It still needs way more work to get it perfect, but I feel those are two signs that I'm on the right track. Next thing up will be fitting the new frame rail in. I hope nothing goes wrong, but with the amount of time it takes me to update this, I think any issues should be sorted out by then. See you guys again in a few month's time.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby Corey20v » Thu May 25, 2023 3:50 pm

Wow this is a staggering amount of effort. Great job!!
1986 SR5->20V ST (WIP!)
Other toys: 1993 S13 Coupe, 1993 NA6 Miata, 1996 Z32 300ZX

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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Thu Jun 29, 2023 10:45 pm

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Before I could seat the rail in it's new home permanently, I thought I'd give it a little cleanup first. As many of you guys know, the rear rails on these cars love to puff up and rust through. Considering how scabby this one looked on the inside, (and the fact my driver's side is toast) I thought I'd put in the extra time and effort to pull this one apart while it was still possible. I'd say it wasn't a complete waste of time.

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It looked pretty bad underneath. Being that the 86 was a cheap revision of an older chassis (x2? was the ke70 even all new?) instead of a clean sheet design, they reused all they could. That leads to stuff like this. Toyota thought the best solution for strength was to beef up their old rail stampings by sandwiching some thick plates inside. Absolutely terrible design for trapping moisture, which of course means Toyota relied on it heavily. Why? Because **** you, that's why. Rant aside, mine surprisingly didn't need any pinholes welded up. A quick sandblast, a shot of epoxy and it looked good as new. Some welding and touchups later, and I had a rail that'll be good for yet another 35 years.

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It turned out that I didn't have the rail where it was supposed to be. I busted out the tape measure and found that every point was way out. It turns out my precious jig that I was so confidant in was... wrong? I guess coupe's and hatches have different tolerances, being built by different machines / workers and all. Anyways, I didn't fret. I eyeballed it so the seams were as close to the factory undercoating as I could get them. With the jig, it was 1/8th of an inch out compared to where the final adjustment was, but this little tweaking made a huge difference. The rail sat nice and even up to the floor, and all the measurements were within spec. (I would say some variation of "bang on", but 2 were not exactly perfect 100% centred. Jeez, I'm such a slacker these days.) I was mostly happy that that ungainly gap between the spring cup and floor was gone. I was not happy with my rushed welding however. I completely forgot to grind the excess epoxy off the bottom of the floor. This little mistake made it an absolute pain to weld. I had to re-drill every spot weld i did and redo it. I still don't know if I trust the welds, so I'll go over them once again when I get the car back on the rotisserie. For now, it's in the car and secured. The first addition to the back of the car since I went on a mad frenzy cutting it apart... DONE. I guess it only goes up from here.

And yes, sticking it in raw led the rail to having a bit of an upwards pitch. Maybe it's the bent up floor I was talking about earlier? Probably. A loose anvil stacked atop a floor jack happens to be enough weight to bring it back. Stupid temporary solution, but hey, it looked like it worked.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Fri Jun 30, 2023 10:27 am

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Shortly after the whole anvil thing, I decided to move the car to a place where I could actually do this properly. Armed with a chain cemented to the floor and a level, I cranked the framerail down firmly until the bubble read true. Once that was done, I just used a floor jack to bring the saggy rear floor up. Judging by that unsightly gap that created, this made it quite clear that the right C pillar was the next culprit in the game of "what's bent".

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I chopped away at the outer skin expecting a defined crease on the skeleton. Turns out only the outer skin was wrinkled and everything underneath looked flat and untouched. Good. I would've really struggled if that wasn't the case. Anyways, this means no hammering was necessary, and all I needed to do was pry it back to where it's supposed to sit. That was accomplished easily with the usual ratchetstrapping. Once the pillar was tied down, I stiffened the shell back up by throwing the wheel tub back in, along with the upper jig for good measure. Turns out the jig (upper at least) fit way better then it ever did before. I no longer had to fight to get any bolt holes to line up. It definitely wasn't "sitting neutral" with how I had the rail held down, but it was good to know with 100% certainty that it was at least welded in where it was supposed to be. Success.

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I am so much happier with these gaps now. Of course I'm not done with them yet, but even now, they are leagues better then any other 86 that's as used up as mine is. I haven't measured yet, but if my wheel tub is screwed in exactly right, I'll be pulling that out next and repairing it. I'll try to keep posted from now on.
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Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Sun Jul 23, 2023 8:53 am

I'm back. Up next, the passenger side wheel tub.

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You could say I got a head start, being that the tub was already sitting on the floor by my feet. All I had to do was transfer the screw holes for alignment purposes. I guess there was also that bigass rust hole right on the strut tower, but it wasn't as threatening as it looks. I actually had quite a bit of fun doing it. Feels more like you're building a steel sculpture then anything when it's got all those curves in it. You can see in those pics I also replaced the entire flange on the car itself while I was at it. It may be completely unnecessary to replace the entire thing, but I wanted to because the original flimsy crap totally sucks to weld to.

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Nothing's worse then unknowingly having your measurements shift, so I decided to ram as many screws as I could fit to hold up the backside the car. Being that I was screwing bent up steel to (seemingly) straight bones, I did have to hammer out creases and bends on the bench beforehand. After this, it did take a little bit of prying and finessing, but I was able to get all the original spot weld locations to line up. Stealing a handful of measurements from my now bare driver's side helped take out some of the guesswork.

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(I wonder if any of you guys notice how unordered my pics are)

The actual welding part went by really quickly. I don't have much to say about it. Copper primer hurts the head less then epoxy? I'm sure I've said that before on here. It's more of the same. 20 or so plug welds later, and it was permanently in. I'll end this with a back shot of the car. It makes my work look nice and level. No idea what I'll do next. I guess we'll both find out eventually. Cya

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sum86
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Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2022 3:24 pm

Re: Crusty $1000 GTS hatch. A restoration thread

Postby sum86 » Mon Feb 26, 2024 2:08 pm

Howdy. It's sure been a while since I updated this. Can't believe it's been over two years since I started this project. Anyways, since last week or so, I finally have found time to bring the car out of it's dusty hibernation spot. Here's what I've gotten done since.

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To keep the car stiff for when I soon chop out the other rail, I decided the next course of action would be building up the driver's side wheel tub. I know I repeat myself a lot with this, but yes, it had holes in it. Nothing you haven't seen before. Other than the lack of needing to straighten everything, it was the exact same process as the passenger's side.

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Remove...

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Split & blast...

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Tacking...

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And welding,. Throw in a side of grinding

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And some primer, and you got two halves ready to be joined again.

I forgot to mention it, but the driver's inner wheelhouse was one of the few parts from my parts car that was actually in worse shape then my hatch's. Made locating it real easy, cause I didn't have to transfer any sheet metal screw holes around. Take note guys, when my car crosses the auction block of neo-digital Barrett Jackson in 50 years, somebody's going to be real ecstatic my car's got 1/4 original wheel tub halves. Nothing like numbers matching originality on an economy car. 40k premium right there... ****, I should start taking bids right now!

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Oh yeah, before I go into the next part, look at these two pictures. Ooohh, shiny. Now you know.

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I stuck the two pieces together, threw on the jack support, and screwed that lot into the car. A few plugs later and it was permanently in. In the last pic, you can see I didn't weld the lower section on fully, as I still gotta pull the rail out later. Finger's crossed that I didn't jump the gun with this & cover up any of the original spot welds...

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It was getting late, but I really wanted to get this little support piece welded back in. I wanted to slim down my massive pile of "stuff I will weld in later" before I inevitably lose something

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Another chapter done, even if it just felt like a stanza. Another thing too, It sucks that I'm only really focusing on documenting metalwork right now, cause I also chopped and shortened an AW11 steering rack to fit. As many of you probably know, an AW11 rack is not a perfect fit, as the housing's too long on the passenger's side. Means you gotta make a choice between inconsistent steering angle or bumpsteer. Anyways, it turns out you can just cut, shorten, and re-weld the end piece of the rack back on. (I swear it's not as sketchy as it sounds) Really, really wish I took some pictures, but I was too caught up in the moment to snap some. You guys probably get the gist of it. Anyways, next up is (predictably) the rail. I gotta do some cutting and welding on this one, so I got no idea when the next time I'll dump pics will be. I'll see you lurkers then.
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