Project Elephant: DeeCee's GT4A

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Project Elephant: DeeCee's GT4A

Postby DeeCee » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:58 pm

Hi,

I'm Dave/DeeCee and I am a GT4-A owner from New Zealand.

Been browsing around for the last couple of years and thought i'd finally join up. I belong to too many forums being an internet whore, so it really wasn't that much of a priority to join, though i've managed to read through a lot more material here recently due to joining and seeing the extra areas available :)

Anyway - thanks in advance to all those who have posted tips, tricks, diagrams, provided useful advice / pictures / video and whose love for celica make the car still a popular vehicle to have :)

I thought I'd chuck this in as well as I had already written it for st18x.com when the admin asked "why did you choose a 5th Generation Celica?"
Note: a lot of references to New Zealand local places and content, but i think you'll get the drift ;)

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Interestingly enough, I fell into Celicas by accident.

Around 6 years ago, I was looking for a hatch, mainly Civics and the like as I always enjoyed whizzing around in the smaller hatches.
Unfortunately at the time, I couldn't find any within my price range and was desperately needing a car so when I was around in Miramar looking at cars on the side of the road, I happened to notice a ST182 Black Celica GTR for a half decent price.

The GTR was selling for 3300, and had to be sold that weekend as the owner was leaving for Aus. So I had a test drive and negotiated down to 3000, but also bought some of the sounds installed as well so that increased the price a little.

Considering that I had only driven 1600s up till that time, driving around a 2.0L was a bit of difference!
In the end, the curvy bio design got me hooked and for the couple of years I had it, it was low maintenance and a good runner. And as all things go, I ended up doing some little mods here and there, mostly stereo stuff.

In the end, I found that the GTR was just a big wallowing pillow compared to the GT4 I was about to own!

A friend of mine was selling his GT4A (3 years ago now). Now this GT4 he claimed was a RC model, but in fact was a standard GT4 but just A spec. I took for a test drive and man... it was fast, it handled well (at least compared to the GTR) and it was straight as.
Little things such as the factory widebody got me hooked and knowing that my mate was actually a nanna driving it just made the decision better and better knowing that it had had a pretty good life.
Also: he didn't like driving it in town, his wife drove in town; he didn't fang it cos he isn't a driver and he'd get scared when he'd put the foot down; the car was garaged all its life; he has all 90% of receipts; car had turbo rebuild in the last year at the time.

So after doing some research (which is now a sticky on toyspeed) and finding out that it wasn't an RC, I still bought the GT4A, but just negotiated down and ended up buying the GT4 for $6200. Yep, it may have seemed overpriced, but considering the history of it, I was very happy paying that.

Old GTR
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New GT4A
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Subsequently over the last couple of years, I haven't had a chance to do many major modifications, but more recently over the last year, I have made numerous purchases to increase the potential of my GT4A incl wheels and braces and suspension and RC intercooler and engine components.

As of August last year this was the car:
Image

At this stage, I had removed the AC and cleared out the underside of the dash for my big audio install. I had also got some brand new 18" wheels in the pattern that I wanted and had installed some king springs and some new KYB shock absorbers. The celica was looking tight!!!

Then someone dinged me on the front guard on my first night out :cry: god that fucking pissed me off! you can notice it in the front guard on the above picture

Anyway I had gone to VTNZ for the warrant near the end of August and expected the car to fly through (esp since the mods were very cosmetic and nothing much more..) and was knocked back by the inspector saying that an oil leak in the car had oil all over the underside of the engine and was just impossible to tell if the car was mechanically sound!
I knew that the engine had a slight oil leak but never thought it was that bad!

I talked to my mates mechanic and he was talking about replacing all the hoses etc and potentially pulling the engine to get everything fixed up which was going to cost 1k - 1.2k and that really got me agonising over decisions. Don't get me wrong, he's a good mechanic, but some of the figures he was talking about at the time were a lot of money. He suggested that he clean up one hose that was the obvious leak, he'd slap a warrant on it and we'd sell it on and look to a diff car.

So here I was with a car that I'd just chucked 2.5k worth of wheels, tyres and suspension onto only two weeks earlier and was now talking about selling it!!

Around 1 week after talking to the mechanic, I killed the syncro gear hub on number 3 and with that, I agonised over what I should do with the GT4. Um.. i can't exactly sell the car with a dead gearbox now! I was planning to off load the car and everything with it and go buy a turbo altezza, or even supercharge the 3sge, as another friend and his dad were using a supercharged beams 3sge in their race car.

After talking with my work colleague who had recently done some engine work on a couple of his cars, he made something along the lines of this statement (note: he's an accountant, so the whole cost/benefit ratio comes into play):

If you buy that Altezza:
a) you'll have a debt to pay. The interest on that debt is money you are giving away.
b) you don't know what has been done to that "new" car. Have the belts been done, has it been thrashed or had an accident etc.
c) if you fix your car, then it you know what has been done and know what should be next in terms of maintenance instead of something of the unknown that could happen.
d) its cheaper to fix your car instead of going out and know what has been done to it instead of buying that other thing which you will want to modify and giving away money while you pay back the loan + interest on a car you don't know the history of.

In the end, the accountants words (sage old man..) hit home and I called Miles Udy gearbox specialists and quizzed him over things to be done and a quote on the work. In the end, it cost just under $3k to remove the box, and replace the cracked syncro hub and all the syncros in the box. I also got him to remove the engine so that I could fix up the leak as well.

Now, you may say that what I get done is expensive, but then again, I know that its been done once and its been done right!

So that is where the project currently sits. I have the engine on a stand / gearbox on the floor of garage. I continually buy parts here and there (most recent was the Tein adjustables I purchased) and I'm still focussed on re-engineering the celica to what my dream car would be.

Most people who know me, constantly ask when the Celica will be back on the road as a joke, but they also know that I'm a very busy person who is starting up a couple of businesses as well as working full time. Understandably, projects like this take time as I want to do as much as possible as I can to ensure that the costs are lower and to ensure that certain areas of work are done to my level of expectations.

So, i'll stick with my GT4 until I'm finished as it will have all my dream car bits and pieces and it will be as original as I want it to be.

The Bio design has actually endured a long time in terms of looking modern on todays roads. It never ceases to amaze me that it can still look reasonably fresh compared to more modern cars and this is after 18 years.

My mate said yesterday (after I mentioned that a rally light pod for the hood was for sale..) that he wished I'd gone for the rally look, and after watching a Celica dvd I downloaded, I can see where he would get that idea. I still have some mudflap material in the garage lol..

Thats my Celica story in a nutshell :)

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Last edited by DeeCee on Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
GT Four Adovansu "I want to enjoy the powerful and nimble agility behavior."

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Elephant: http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=26687
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Postby DeeCee » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:28 pm

Parts and Mods to add to the GT4A:

Cusco Braces - Front / Rear
Tein HA Coilvers
CS Bumper
ST205 Engine
WRX seats
ARP head bolts etc (coming soon)
JUN adjustable cam gears (coming soon)

my list used to be longer with c one camber plates, ct20b, st185 W/A intercooler, 540cc injectors, manifold and dump pipe, but I bought a turnkey ST205 engine with full intercooler setup, turbo, harness etc for $2750NZ a couple of days ago.

I think I might be selling some stuff hahaha
rc intecooler setup anyone?

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Plans for the car:

Initially I wanted to turn my GT4A into a streetable show car.
1. Big custom kit (I f/glass ;) ) with 7th gen lights and custom lights blah blah; redesign the front bar so that you get a Audi R8 look with lights that go straight into the bumper air vents

2. Big audio install (my main hobby is car audio and i'm starting up an online shop soon..) and rebuild the interior to suit a SQ (sound quality) install + add some SPL gear in the back for giggles. I am looking at replacing the rear seats with 2 x RE MT18 woofers.

3. Only 300 - 350hp at the wheels. I don't want to play power games as I don't have a big money tree like some people. I was debating 5sgte under square, but too much hassle for me. I'm not that mechanically inclined.

Overall I wanted to do the majority of work myself, but I've found over the last 6 months with the car off the road, the engine on a stand, gearbox on floor of garage and parts in boxes, that my IT contract work + other external projects have not allowed for the time to spend on the celica. (i was coordinating SQ competitions around NZ as well as being a SPL/doof doof competitor.

With the prospect of opening an online car audio shop as well as my other projects and the realisation that i definitely should not move with trends in show vehicles, I have decided to cut the above plans by.. hmm.. maybe 25% off?

This got me worked up the other day:
Image

Image

awesome hill climb car with pumped guards - thats all i want really :D
Something a little more staunch and aggressive without being rice and is reduced work to do with the potential to hold its look for ages :up:

So i'll pump the guards on mine and keep it smooth all over, do the CS bumper and add a custom lip and do custom skirts and a rear bumper with diffuser and i think that should be the body side.

I may do some lighting things, but only for the car shows and removable for daily/standard (hey, i gotta market my shiz at shows and stuff.. gotta have the lighting effects unfortunately, but i got tasteful designs in mind ;) )

Audio/interior will stay with the same plan - i love my audio and the car will be a promo vehicle for my store.

Engine - with the new turnkey, its going to be a lot easier to reach my power goals, as the mark is not that high and i'm starting off with a better foundation (oil system, h beam rods, bigger intercooler, larger throttle body, bigger injectors etc).

I might still rebuild the engine and chuck in a couple of lumpier cams, td05/6 hybrid and run it all off a link/linkplus ecu. Upgrade to a walpro and i think we're nearly there haha

Anyway, that's me and my GT4A in a nutshell.

If you need any help audio wise, let me know.
I do both sound quality and spl and have worked with a wide variety of equipment of the years.

I'll chuck up my battery relocation tutorial soon which should help some people :)

Cheers and catch ya around :)

Dave

Edit: i've just been offered some 880cc injectors for $550NZ - 1 day offer.. so tempted but so many other things need my attention money wise :doh:
GT Four Adovansu "I want to enjoy the powerful and nimble agility behavior."

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Elephant: http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=26687
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Postby Sal » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:57 am

thats an awesome GT4 you got mate!
That Yellow celi looks like a narrow body? Also looks like an RX7 IMO. Looks really light indeed!!!
any more pics of your ride?
cheers
sal
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Postby DeeCee » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:36 am

the white car is mine :)
the yellow car is a photo i found that is giving me some inspiration at the moment.

no other pics. The gearbox syncro hub shat itself a couple of weeks after i added the mags and lowered it.

here is my cracked syncro hub
Image
GT Four Adovansu "I want to enjoy the powerful and nimble agility behavior."

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Elephant: http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=26687
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Postby Nitro_Alltrac » Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:21 am

Welcome! Glad you're here.

What did you use for mounting brackets to put the WRX seats in the GT4?
Mike

92 All Trac - Daily Driver

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Postby DeeCee » Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:32 am

I haven't installed the WRX seats as of yet.

The cool thing with the WRX seats is that you can unbolt the seat rails off the seats and can mount to other rails.

Unfortunately, you can't do that to the celica seats as the rails are welded to the seat frame as far as I can remember.

When I measured the difference in width between the celica seat rail width and the bolt holes on the wrx seats, I think (if I remember correctly) the width difference was about 10mm.

I will either remove the rails off the old seats and a) weld them to the WRX seats, or b)get an engineer to make some brackets to weld to the rails and bolt them to the WRX seats.
GT Four Adovansu "I want to enjoy the powerful and nimble agility behavior."

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Elephant: http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=26687
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Postby Nitro_Alltrac » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:23 pm

Good deal. Thanks for the information.

My seats aren't in the best of shape and I am weighing my replacement options.
Mike

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Postby gt4tified » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:34 pm

How much did the WRX seats cost you and are they lighter and more comfortable than the ST185 stockers?
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Postby DeeCee » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:48 pm

The WRX seats cost me $250NZ dollars.
They are much lighter as they do not have the heavy mechanicals in the drivers seat and they are very comfortable as they are bolstered and have good lateral support.

Of course, the standard st18x celica seat is excellent with adjustable supports, but overall, you can feel the spring through them and I just want something different.

With the WRX seats, i'll be adding some more foam to provide a bit more support as they are older, and then recover them to match my new interior.

Overall, they are a pretty good seat from factory, and they are cheap here in NZ :)

Here is an example of the seats:
Image

Mods - could you please move this to the project area? I'll rename and will do a full project thread there :)
GT Four Adovansu "I want to enjoy the powerful and nimble agility behavior."

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Postby DeeCee » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:53 pm

Updates: 5/4/08

I've just ordered my Jun adjustable cam sprockets - they should arrive in a couple of days.

I've also had a cursory look over the loom that came with the engine.
It has the MAP sensor, the ignitor, resistor blocks, ecu, full fuse blocks etc etc. Seems that everything is there and it shouldn't be too much of a hassle to get the engine in the car and started up to meet the warrenty requirements.

What I may do is clean everything up and just chuck it in the car and run the car for a hit. I've been without the Celica for over 6 months now so i'm getting withdrawal symptoms from not having a decent car to drive around :(
GT Four Adovansu "I want to enjoy the powerful and nimble agility behavior."

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Postby etantshi » Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:17 pm

Welcome!
-----
André B.
1991 ST185 (down but not out)
1990 ST185 (lost, but not forgotten)
1996 RZN140 (the daily)
2004 Yamaha R6 (needs a battery)
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Postby darthripley » Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:03 pm

moved to the project section - please feel free to edit & rename the title.

and welcome too! :)
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Postby DeeCee » Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:58 am

Okay - time for a big update.
Over the next three weeks, I'll be intensely involved in the Celica as I'm working on my business from home.

I unwrapped my baby after 6 months of not looking at it. Thats right, I've been too busy for over half a year to look at the car. It was still polished and waxed and looked the hotness 8)
Image

Its like its got a lift kit without the engine in it!! Go teh monster truck!
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3SGTE in one corner of garage - st185.
Gearbox rebuilt by Miles Udy Automotive - top chap and knows his shit! (and I bought that extra st205 gearbox cos it was too cheap to pass up haha)
Image

3SGTE in other corner of garage - st205
Image

The mess to still clean and sort tonight
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RC Bumper from Gonad / Alex - I forgot it had foggies and the water sprayer!
Image

Things to do:
1. clean up the garage and sort out all my tools, equipment and space I have to work with.
2. identify all hoses and wires off the st205 engine. Remove and measure to replace with silicon and braided hoses and fitments
3. remove current loom and engine parts/sensors in the engine bay and formulate plan on where I want to mount new radiators, reservoirs and where I will route lines and loom extensions.
4. remove suspension parts and start to strip back paint, grease and grime from under body and in engine bay.
5. Assess current brake and fuel lines and formulate plan on rerouting various lines to present a cleaner engine bay.
6. clean engine and gearbox and paint
7. remove suspension and rear subframe and replace items that are worn. Powder coat or paint as required.
8. clean underside of car, weld in nuts for custom undertry/diffuser and coat in hippo liner.
9. Remove dash and remove excess wiring and make way for Link G3 Ecu and custom gauge setup
10. Weld bolts to firewall internally, block and fill excess holes in firewall and engine bay.

That should keep me busy for a week lol

Parts ordered:
HKS Silent Hi Power Exhaust
ASI Aluminium Radiator
Oil Pump, water pump, inlet and exhaust manifolds
Speed source engine mounts, stainless clutch lines, clutch pushrod, crossmember mounts, cable bushings
TWM Performance short shift kit

Parts to assess and potentially order:
Braided hoses and fittings
Silicon hoses and joiners
Catch cans / reservior tanks
Oil, gearbox, power steering cooling kits incl radiators / adpators
Clutch

Cheers

Dave
GT Four Adovansu "I want to enjoy the powerful and nimble agility behavior."

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Elephant: http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=26687
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Postby Nitro_Alltrac » Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:09 am

Excellent update! Keep it coming!
Mike

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Postby DeeCee » Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:26 am

Hey hey,

its only the start haha.
There is so much to consider and do!

My friends know that I'm serious so are keeping me on a firm course and knowing them, they'll say that I have to concentrate and focus on one thing at a time to achieve my goals.

I'm busy selling stuff, buying stuff, sorting out distributors, building websites, sourcing equipment etc etc etc.. so busy!

Back to the garage for me!!
GT Four Adovansu "I want to enjoy the powerful and nimble agility behavior."

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Elephant: http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=26687
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