Worth sending to a shop?

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Worth sending to a shop?

Postby eddyrod1251 » Mon Apr 11, 2022 3:16 am

Hi guys, Chicago land area 1990 ST185 CS edition owner here. A little over a year ago I’ve done some preventable maintenance to get the car ripping around town, ( oil change , tranny refill etc). Car runs well and fun for a long time. After dropping off my brother at work I arrive home and the car starts to die, engine speed begins to dip low as soon as I park and it shuts off. Okay. First time it’s died on me and I have no idea why, fuel? Air? Anyway fast forward a couple days I just don’t have time to look into it and the car just sits. Winter comes around and I start it and was luckily able to get it to the garage and call it a day. But still dies without giving it enough gas. Eventually giving it a little more gas to keep the rpm’s up isn’t enough and it shuts off, even at one point the car starts and idles are high (4-5k rpm). Sad to see it just sit there and I want it up and running all good, even fixing all the leaks (fluid and exhaust). I haven’t had any free time in a while with work being so busy and I’ve been dreaming of just having it towed to a shop to get all the issues fixed. The body is in “eh” condition, typical rust but not rotting yet, and a dent on the rear passenger fender ( old owner said it was a hit and run bump from Walmart). Any body issue would obviously be fixed after any mechanical issues. Anyone know any shops that are worth it or are shops a dead end? I’m willing to put in the money. Give me your honest opinions lol. Sorry for any errors I’m on mobile. Pic is from my car before I bought it and fixed the bumper :)
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Re: Worth sending to a shop?

Postby 93celicaconv » Mon Apr 11, 2022 10:04 am

If you don't have much time available, this may not be a great car for you. They take a fair amount of attention.

If you had time, I would check for ECU DTC's. If there are any, that would tell you a lot. Otherwise, the haystack is big and the needle is small.
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Re: Worth sending to a shop?

Postby Laffy » Mon Apr 11, 2022 11:23 am

I would have found an oldschool workshop who is familier with older japanese cars if you want it up and running, or you end up like most of the rest of us. Never any time to fix it..

Btw according to bumper and bonnet this is not a CS edition
Last edited by Laffy on Mon Apr 11, 2022 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Worth sending to a shop?

Postby Roreri » Mon Apr 11, 2022 11:34 am

Welcome to the second stage of AllTrac ownership! ; )

BLUF: I am very directive with shops now. I tell them what I want done after I’ve diagnosed the issue. Long winded version follows.

Shops are useful once you have narrowed it down a bit. I try and do whatever I can first, which is limited but I have found discussing and diagnosing here to be useful as hell. I source the parts and I direct the work. I don’t go in and essentially say “I don’t know what’s wrong.” Because techs these days are OBD2 dependent and their fundamental diagnostic skills are atrophied (I’m generalizing).

Here I’ll share some stories.

It took one shop 14 days to change out a timing belt, water pump, and alternator. Good guys and an honest shop but they were freaked out a little by my non standard VIN left hand drive JDM weird Celica, and they screwed up the parts order thinking it was a GT. Then when I clarified and they couldn’t GET parts off their little parts ordering drop down, they told me I’d have to source them. I did, which was nervy work for a rookie GT-Four owner, and I brought a set of Big Green Books for them to use and it helped. I won Sweetest Import at a Cars and Coffee that shop ran, won a $100 gift certificate, and haven’t taken it in because I’m like “well, what could they do?” Maybe an oil change.

On the advice of a Toyota Tech friend I took it to a dealership to get the AC converted and filled. That went without problems but the shop rate was high.

Then one day it wouldn’t start and I had it towed to that same dealership and they sold me a battery and replaced a battery terminal. I told them to put my old battery in a box so I could return it for a refund. I went home and was going to check my new Interstate they said was bad. But I fumbled and dropped it like a clod cracking the case. I wiped it off, Gorilla taped it, put it in and it started the car right up. But driving around with a taped up battery is not the way of my people. So I was stuck with the new Toyota Truestart. I told them “Hey let’s not do that again.”

I took it to the same dealership to look into an intermittent stumbling problem. I got a call from the service writer saying “This car is modded we can’t work on it.” This was after I’d had a dual temp and air-fuel gauge installed as diagnostic tools. My GT-Four is very lightly modded from what I have seen. I told them “Look, just have the techs run down the checklist in the Big Green Book I left on the passenger side seat.” They came back with a fuel pump and fuel filter replace estimate at close to $2000, with them quoting the fuel pump PART at $600. Because the 1992 GT-Four is OBD1, they had to resort to taking the hood off, attaching a fuel pressure gauge, and rigging it so they could see it as they test drove it. Sheesh. To even GET that diagnosis and estimate was $150, which I consider legit but…

As it turned out changing the distributor cap, rotor, ignition wires, and plugs has pretty much solved the problem. I’ll do the fuel pump eventually myself when I work up the courage to drop the tank.

Best thing I did when I started here was post a thread about my car, its condition, its mods, and then set out aggressively to learn and own this semi-exotic. Reading, studying, buying a set of Big Green Books and making it my hobby to know as much about it as possible.

AllTrac/GT-Four ownership is a matter of time, skill, effort, and money. Worth it? Yes, but man it has taught me a lot. I could have a Challenger SXT, fully loaded, for what I’ve spent on getting and improving my GT-Four. But it wouldn’t be as good.
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Re: Worth sending to a shop?

Postby 92RC » Tue Apr 12, 2022 5:51 pm

Roreri wrote:As it turned out changing the distributor cap, rotor, ignition wires, and plugs has pretty much solved the problem. I’ll do the fuel pump eventually myself when I work up the courage to drop the tank.


If you need a fuel pump, I bought both the OE equivalent Walbro Fuel pump and their upgraded one in attempt to diagnose a problem I had which ended up being putting too much fuel additive in my tank (as far as I can tell at this time, once I got through that tank I never remotely had the problem again, this was July of 2021 and I had only had the car since May and everything was all new to me) and I haven't gotten around to returning them and paying their restocking fee so I could sell either (or both) to you at what I paid if you're interested. Watch I'll have a problem with mine the moment I get rid of them and I'll have a full tank (fingers crossed that's not the case). There's a bit on them on the website portion of this site (https://www.alltrac.net/tuning/fuel.html) and I asked them about needing to run higher voltage to get the upgraded pump to work properly, the person I talked to on the phone assured me their upgraded pump (https://walbrofuelpumps.com/1990-1993-t ... -2-0l.html) doesn't require this and is plug and play. Here's the link for their OE one (https://walbrofuelpumps.com/toyota-celi ... -2-0l.html).
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Re: Worth sending to a shop?

Postby Roreri » Tue Apr 12, 2022 7:27 pm

Thanks a bunch but I have an OEM Denso kit on hand. I don’t have big power plans (just running the stock JDM 3S-GTE at 222hp plus whatever going to 14psi gets me) so that will work for me, I think. Come to think of it I have zero idea if mine had a fuel pump upgrade some time in its life!

To pull it back around to eddyrod’s question: It’s not a bad idea to keep a parts hoard on hand. You never know about availability!
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Re: Worth sending to a shop?

Postby 92RC » Wed Apr 13, 2022 12:09 am

Gotcha, I guess we’re super prepared haha
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