ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

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ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby Meurz » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:12 pm

ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Although this project is currently on hold due to my other big project (restoration and full rebuild of a house), I decided to make a start with the build thread anyway.

Ever since watching WRC on TV as a kid in the early nineties, I have been a big fan of the ST185 series Toyota Celica GT-Four. I set myself a goal that one day, I had to buy one. After getting my driver license, it turned out not to be financially viable, so I bought a wide body ST182 (FF, 2.0L n/a 3S-GE) as my first car instead. Two years later I had saved more money and couldn’t stop looking for Carlos Sainz limited edition ST185s anymore, so I sold the ST182.

Being a perfectionist, it took over a year to find the right car with ‘low’ mileage, no serious damage and even more important (to me): the factory supplied limited edition plaque and certificate. One night in August 2005, while checking the car sales websites, it popped up: CS 2433. A late built (February 92) Carlos Sainz in 3E5 Super red. Bone stock with leather interior, sunroof and 123,000 km on the odometer:

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With help of a good friend of mine, who was able to check/test drive the car out straight after work, I decided to go for it. Funny fact; the day between my mate checking it out and me buying it, some other guys went to check it out as well. Both of them are now good friends, also driving GT-Fours!

After buying the car, I started to look for upgrades and tried to use the best (sometimes rare, but period correct) parts I could afford in order to improve the cars capabilities and handling. Five years later, it looked like this:

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TEIN suspension with EDFC damping control, AP Racing front/ST205 rear brakes, RAYS Volk Racing T37 wheels, HKS exhaust.

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BPU (intake, exhaust, boost, cooling) engine with several parts polished, ORC racing clutch/flywheel.

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STACK race dash display, Works Bell snap off hub with Nardi wheel, HKS electronics, several C-ONE braces, SARD battery box.

These modifications made the car a lot more nimble, thus increasing the fun factor. Besides local/national events, I took the car to some events in the UK, the renowned Swiss GT-Four meeting (as part of a road trip through Europe) and the WRC in Germany. The car also went back to its roots – the former Toyota Team Europe HQ (now Toyota Motorsport GmbH, TMG) in Cologne, Germany. After all, the Carlos Sainz model was developed as homologation model for TTE’s weapon of choice in the 1992 WRC:

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At this point, the car was almost 20 years old. And although still going strong, there were some things that bugged me (some of them since the purchase, to be honest). The sunroof for instance. Not only does it weigh a fair bit, it also takes up headroom (I’m over 1.90 m) and more importantly, it causes a common problem with these cars: rust. Water enters the sunroof assembly and is drained by tubes on the four corners of the roof. The tubes go down the A and C pillars but with the sill drainage often clogged up over the years, the sills and rear fenders eventually start to rust.

On top of that, previous owners didn’t treat the paint too well. So my 3E5 Super red was super pink on most horizontal panels. Also, my passenger side sill was dented. Function > form, but a respray certainly was on the wish list was well. Functional doesn’t have to look crap.

All this didn’t stop me from driving and tracking my car though, so in went an Autronic ECU to replace the outdated factory fuel control system. In pursuit of more power and better handling, I finally decided it was time to do it properly and rebuild the car from the ground up. In order to enjoy this car for years to come this meant a complete restoration, really. And while restoring it, I can improve/reinforce everything I want from chassis to engine. So after having saved up funds to get the ball rolling in 2010, I went one last time to the ‘Ring and took Carlos off the road again for ‘some maintenance’. Only this time I’m going ballistic, lol.

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But shortly after I started stripping the chassis, Erik Wevers contacted me. “Would you be interested in an ex-TTE grp A ST185 chassis?”

Err.. What?

“An ex Toyota Team Europe works Group A8 ST185 chassis. Like this:

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Don’t worry about the surface rust, we can blast and paint it for you.”

Wow.. Dilemma. A serious one. A genuine ex TTE 185 is as good as it gets in my book. Owning one has been a dream for years. And I could afford this one. It’s a perfect base for a proper build. But being a true enthusiast and fulltime perfectionist, there is no way in hell I would ruin a TTE chassis with non TTE, non period correct parts. No half-ass replica for me. So that would mean buying an entire grp A car, in parts. In very, VERY expensive parts (15k euro turbo anyone?). Which, for me, at this point in life, is impossible. Plus, where do I leave another car? I haven’t got the space - it would realistically mean I’d have to get rid of my Carlos Sainz.

I decided to pass on the TTE chassis and keep my car. After all, it’s the car I have a love/hate relationship with for five years now. You can’t simply throw that away, right? I’ve had so much fun with it and there is much more to come! Maybe one day I’ll be fortunate enough to buy another ex TTE 185, who knows..
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Last edited by Meurz on Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby Autobot » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:27 pm

Love all the work on your CS so far. I'm surprised it took you this long to make a project thread.
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby CMS-GT4 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:35 pm

I think you made the right choice keeping your car. I think I would prefer a unique build over a TTE replica. Sure TTE parts are cool and all, but I think your going a good direction.
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby underscore » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:38 pm

Wow, that is a BEAUTIFUL car.
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby Meurz » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:27 pm

Autobot wrote:Love all the work on your CS so far. I'm surprised it took you this long to make a project thread.

Thanks man. I decided to make a start even though the project is idle for over a year now. Don't expect the finished result anytime soon! :P

CMS-GT4 wrote:I think you made the right choice keeping your car. I think I would prefer a unique build over a TTE replica. Sure TTE parts are cool and all, but I think your going a good direction.

Thanks Josh. I think so, too. There will be some TTE in the car though, I try to get the best of both (new technology and TTE heritage) worlds into the car.

underscore wrote:Wow, that is a BEAUTIFUL car.

Thanks! You should see it in its current condition.. :(
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby Meurz » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:29 pm

Anyway, this is where the actual build starts. The goal: to build my ultimate street legal (and usable!) GT-Four, which is suited for track duties and above all provides genuine fun driving it. I’m not going to build an all-out race car, I’m trying to build a fast road car which I can safely race.

So, here we go. That sunroof has to go. Welding up the sunroof hole will look shit, so a new roof skin was the only way to go. After contacting my Toyota dealer, I found out that a new non- sunroof roof skin a) costs 700 euro before taxes and b) is discontinued. So I bought this:

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Oh yes. This Veyron killer worked out to be cheaper than a new roof and provided a lot of fun as well. A few diligent incisions were needed:

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Sunstroke: Check! Hardtop: Check!

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And since there is a skid pan behind the fence in the photo above, we could also test the improved handling of the AT180 Barchetta with its low COG:

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With the tank empty and the worn clutch now totally gone, it was time to take off the usable parts and have a scrap yard pick the car up. Back to Carlos!

The first step of any proper rebuild is to strip the car to the bone. This basically meant removing everything from the car, including the interior sound deadening and under seal. Although a majority of the parts won’t make it back onto the car, I decided to photo document as much of the stripping process as I could in order to be able to complete the puzzle later on. I’ll probably end up missing important information anyway, but at least I have something to work from in my archive.

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I kept the car driveable as long as possible for my own convenience. Amazing how little stuff actually is required to make it all work! The photo below shows the rust I mentioned earlier. The black hose on the right is the RR drainage from the sunroof:

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With dry ice not readily available to me and because I often end up doing things the hard way because race car, I took a hammer and some chisels to remove the sound deadening and seam sealant from the interior. So far this has been my favourite job on the car and with favourite job I mean absolutely worst job on a car ever. Very time consuming.

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Underneath the sound deadening you’ll find green primer. Luckily I didn’t find any rust here. :)

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Aaand.. Nearly done. With some tar remover on a rag I removed the last little chips in order to get a fairly clean result:

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At this stage, over 10 kg of sound deadening and seam sealant has been removed (interior only). Total time spent: I've lost count already!
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby underscore » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:37 pm

Oh wow, are you guys swapping the entire roof over or just the skin? My RC has some minor backside rust like that as well, does it need to be chopped out from the outside or is there a way to stop it?
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby AFCor » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:54 am

Meurz, your car is fantastic! There are several things in your car that I've put on my "list" to have in mine. Good quality stuff that works and looks good too. Great job so far.

It's hard to see such a nice car get torn apart, but I have a lot of faith in you and I'm sure it's going to be great in the end! I'm looking forward to following this project. Good luck!

-Anthony
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby WarTowels » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:00 pm

"I often end up doing things the hard way because race car."

Because race car.


lol

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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby darthripley » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:39 am

Carlos has come such a long way & although he has a bit of journey ahead to get to the point of being driven at the very least, you are doing everything in such a well planned out & methodical way.

I love seeing the Works Bell locking gear on the steering wheel hub. We have that in Super2 as well -- you must get the quick release portion for the wheel if you do not have it. I will have to send a pic along if I haven't already.
Such a nice change of pace from the krappy china made NRG krap-ola seen almost everywhere else.

Great seeing all the pics here, makes me want to tinker with Vadar a bit more :twisted:
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby CSAlltrac » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:44 am

Your car has always been my favorite. So clean with top notch parts, I'm sure to bet the resto. won't dissapoint.
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby 3s_woob » Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:09 pm

I've always admired your car and style. One day I'll get a chance to do what you're doing, but for now I'll just enjoy it through you. 8) I will be following your build!
Ryan
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby Meurz » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:53 pm

underscore wrote:Oh wow, are you guys swapping the entire roof over or just the skin? My RC has some minor backside rust like that as well, does it need to be chopped out from the outside or is there a way to stop it?

Just the skin, as the rest is identical, structural and fully intact/rust free on my car. I've seen people just cutting the entire roof of the other car as well and then swapping the parts but I think skin only is better from a structural pov.

AFCor wrote:Meurz, your car is fantastic! There are several things in your car that I've put on my "list" to have in mine. Good quality stuff that works and looks good too. Great job so far.

It's hard to see such a nice car get torn apart, but I have a lot of faith in you and I'm sure it's going to be great in the end! I'm looking forward to following this project. Good luck!

-Anthony

Thanks Anthony. Yeah a lot of friends and relatives said the same.. Why tear this thing apart? Well, to make it better really, lol. Still a long way to go, though.

WarTowels wrote:"I often end up doing things the hard way because race car."

Because race car.


lol

-Towels

It's true! :D

darthripley wrote:Carlos has come such a long way & although he has a bit of journey ahead to get to the point of being driven at the very least, you are doing everything in such a well planned out & methodical way.

I love seeing the Works Bell locking gear on the steering wheel hub. We have that in Super2 as well -- you must get the quick release portion for the wheel if you do not have it. I will have to send a pic along if I haven't already.
Such a nice change of pace from the krappy china made NRG krap-ola seen almost everywhere else.

Great seeing all the pics here, makes me want to tinker with Vadar a bit more :twisted:

Thanks Keri. It means a lot to hear that coming from you since I think your builds are the better planned and executed ones out there! I got all the WB hardware (boss, Rapfix II and Keylock) in one go a few years ago (I think before you got it? :P ), so yes, I have the quick release as well. Zero play, true JDM HQ > http://turbocelica.nl/worksbellhub.htm.

CSAlltrac wrote:Your car has always been my favorite. So clean with top notch parts, I'm sure to bet the resto. won't dissapoint.

Thanks man, I appreciate that. Reds are the best, right? 8)

3s_woob wrote:I've always admired your car and style. One day I'll get a chance to do what you're doing, but for now I'll just enjoy it through you. 8) I will be following your build!

Thanks mate. I have been reading build threads for a long time so the least I can do in return is share mine. :)
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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby Meurz » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:54 pm

With most of the interior gone, I started on removing the engine. This is what it looked like before decommissioning, after 18 years of service:

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After taking off most bolt-on parts and removing the surrounding hardware, it was time to remove the engine and gearbox from the car. Since the garage I work in is quite cramped (and I could use a ramp at one of my friends’ workplace), it was trailer time. Luckily the weather was just perfect:

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How to remove the engine
Step 1: put car on ramp:

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Step 2: remove engine:

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And there it is: 1998 cc worth of 2nd generation 3S-GTE. Thanks for your service!

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And with everything back home you can see what I mean with cramped..

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After some rearrangement of the place (getting my dad to take some of his stuff elsewhere, lol) I did manage to create somewhat space to work in. Here you see again more parts have been removed from the engine bay:

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So far, removing bits has just been a matter of removing nuts and bolts. Although I’m probably going to use new fastening hardware throughout and a lot of stuff isn’t going back into the car, I decided to bag and label everything for future reference:

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In order to be able to stitch weld the chassis for additional stiffening, as well as do a thorough rust check, I wanted to get rid of all seam sealant. Wire wheels for both angle grinder and drill are your friend for this job. Make sure you use the proper safety gear btw, the sealant ends up everywhere!

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This is what the steering rack stay looks like after some wire wheel action. Luckily I didn’t find any cracks (known problem of the ST185 chassis) in this area:

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A spot weld drill bit was used to remove surplus chassis parts like the battery tray:

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In order to clean the wire wheel mess I was left with, I rolled Carlos out now and then. At this stage there wasn’t much left of the car other than a naked shell:

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Re: ST185 CS restoration and full rebuild

Postby CMS-GT4 » Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:02 pm

Any bolt that went into the body, should be replaced new. I wish I knew this long ago. I broke a lore of fender bolts and even ones for the head lights.
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