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Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:19 am
by DeeCee
Hi all,

Recently I picked up a crashed 1991 GT Four RC for a decent price, and while the White Elephant is at the panel beaters getting a full respray, I thought it might be good to document the progress to get the car back on the road.

Main aim of this project is to save a RC and use some of the spare parts I have stock piled over the years.

I'll be up front about this. I was not expecting to take on another project, especially another Celica. While my car is at the panel beaters, I was supposed to be working on various parts of the Elephant in preperation for when I get the car back for re-assembly and my friend's R30 Skyline Coupe which needs an exhaust, plumbed wastegate and wiring. This is strictly a repair job to get a rare car back on the road. I don't expect to throw lots of money into especially as I have so much time and money invested in my main project, and this car has 261,000kms on the engine and body.

As a small bonus:
- I have a car which I can figure out what goes where, since my car is in boxes and scattered around the house
- I get to play around in a GT Four for a little while (interested in the close ratio box)
- I get rid of various parts that have been stockpiled
- I may make some money on this
- Another RC lives for a little longer

The temptation is to install all my upgrade parts onto the vehicle - and there is a lot! But I will resist this (unless I'm getting rid of spares) and just get the car up and running. If I think this is too much, then I'll scavenge the RC box and on-sell the car at a cheap price.

Now, on to the pain..

The car:
- 1991 Toyota GT Four RC
- 261,000kms on the clock
- Lowered (maybe King Springs)
- 16" Oz Racing wheels. Rears have 20mm spacers
- Modified exhaust manifold with 38mm waste gate port welded on
- White Pearl paint job (hence the name Pearl)
- HKS turbo timer

Parts I got with the car:
- 2x 5mm spacers
- 2x air boxes (1 with a reasonably clean filter)
- Original RC CT26 turbo with another compressor impeller (no info on it yet)
- Original springs

- Bonnet has been folded. The underside support has bent and punched through the main skin. Bonnet spoiler and side vents are okay
- Bonnet trim has been cracked off
- Bonnet vent has cracked on both sides (you can see through one of the cracks..)
- Bumper has been ripped open and mesh has ripped off screw bosses
- Bumper support has been twisted
- Middle trim support has been twisted and trim has broken
- Bonnet latch vertical support has folded near the latch. Amazingly the latch is still good
- Bonnet latch horizontal support that attaches to the horizontal radiator support has bent
- Radiator support bar has twisted/folded/cracked
- Vertical panel where headlight mounts has been bent in towards ABS pump. Seam sealer has cracked
- Drivers side guard support for indicator unit has been mashed. Main guard panel has received some slight bends
- Drivers side headlight has bent. External panel seems okay
- Drivers side quarter window has been broken as thieves/scum hopped into a gated community to try and steal the car
- Wipers have been replaced at some point and don't sit right
- Wheels are chipped/curbed
- Paint has various chips and isn't the best condition. 1 metre rule applies. A bit of mould has grown in places
- Bump trims have ripples in them from when they were removed
- Minor rust

Engine Bay/Exhaust:
- Radiator, AC radiator and W2A radiator have all bent on impact- Exhaust has leak in middle of car somewhere.
- Exhaust box/cannon at rear has been removed (not cleanly - sigh)
- Alternator plug has been replaced and choc blocs have been used for the connection
- Side markers wiring have scotch locks on them (possibly for driving lights)
- O2 sensor wire has broken and been connected back with crimp spade terminal
- Water sensor plug has been broken (prob over time)
- TVSV sensor is broken and has been moved to firewall (it normally sits under inlet manifold?)
- Turbo needs to be repaired, new impeller installed (if so, prob requires compressor housing to be bored out)
- various nuts/bolts/studs have been used/missing/wrong
- Replace various gaskets
- Replace all fluids
- Replace various hoses
- Heater cable firewall bung has been melted to feed alarm wiring through
- AC needs to recharged
- Battery brace rods are missing
- Fusebox plastic has been broken
- Alternator/AC belt needs to be replaced

Interior Repair/Replace:
- Drivers side seat fabric foam has been worn away
- Momo leather steering wheel is worn out
- Leather gear knob is worn
- Gear shifter surround and leather is broken and worn out
- Glove box latch has been taken out and glove box is loose
- Passenger side visor is sitting low
- Drivers side A piller has screw holes where a 'monster tacho' probably resided. Has created indentation on the dash pad as well
- Rear passenger seat belt is missing a cover
- Interior smells smokey/musty - needs thorough clean of plastics, carpet, seats. Poss leak of water into cabin due to broken quarter window. I've found old french fries, cigarette filters etc under the seats.

Note: I'm sure there will be more as I find it

So to start off, here are the pics I received of the car:






30 June 2014
So the car was transported from Christchurch to Wellington to my friends place. While my car is at the panel beaters, his car is at my place and my new old car is now at his place (explaining this makes sense to me haha)

When Nick got back from work, we got the car pushed into his garage. That evening, we opened up the car to air it out, closed up the garage and I thought 'what have I got myself into!'

1 July 2014
Nick removed the bonnet and the stuff out of the boot and gave the car a vacuum to clean up the glass on the rear passenger seat and to clean the floors. He also wiped down the dash and various plastics with a white cloth and it came out with black streaks! UGH! He then sprayed the interior with a disinfectant spray! He cleaned up the rear quarter window a little removing broken glass and the cling film and tape that was covering the window opening.

2 July 2014
so I started on the car by taking the bumper off and inspecting the damage.

As I started disassembly, I noticed that the the bonnet cable was wire tied onto the support to hold it in place. This was the start of the 'just enough' fixes on this car.

Thankfully, the aluminium bumper support was not damaged, but you can see the damage the car took when it shunted into the truck. We believe the truck was also carrying gravel, as there were stones up on the windscreen and scuttle panel. Initially I thought the stones were thrown on to the car while being transported. Truck with gravel makes more sense.


Yay - widy body guard hasn't suffered, though there are some minor dings on the panel

Turbo has been removed but not sure on how long ago. Bit worried that water may have got into the head. Hopefully it won't be an issue when I start the car. Water should have evaporated by then. Will be changing all fluids anyway. Don't worry, the filter will also be changed.

Unflattering 3/4 shot? Again, you can see how much of a shunt the front end took. Luckily its just the front. Could have been a lot worse.

Boot has some minor rust - pretty common.

Initial interior shot. Glovebox is hanging due to latch not installed. Boot seal is in the drivers well as it may be a source of leaking. Will find out later. Broken gear shift surround on pass side floor. Attached together with duct tape no less. Found ciggie butts in the ashtray, no wonder it stunk of smoke if they had been sitting in the car for 6 months!

Drivers rear quarter window. To remove old broken frame and tape residue. New window coming soon.

Oz 16" 'wheels chipped and looking sad. On first inspection, I was wondering about a wheel nut key, and luckily the nuts are hex, of which I have a large 1/2" drive hex socket set to remove the wheels with.

Chips are actually quite deep. Wheels will have to be fully blasted, otherwise I get some new wheels - hmm temptation.

So while the aluminium crash bar has not been damaged, the drivers side bolt that holds the crash bar in, was bent over into the chassis rail. After bending it back and removing the 17mm nut on the underside of the chassis rail, I couldn't get the f'ing bolt out. Some one did a bodgy and used some sort of builders putty/polyurethane/gunk on the bolt and it was stuck in the support.

No amount of hammering using a screwdriver end would push the bolt out. I ended up having to spanner the bolt at the top, while also levering the bolt up. As you can see, I had to stack additional spanners to keep changing the lever point. GRRRR!!! 2.5 hours later..


Here's the culprit - grey gunk included. Bolt is toast - need to get a new one. Support is A-OK though

Later in the dark, I removed the various radiator and finished up as it was getting around 4C degrees outside. Too cold and little light at the front of the car.

3 July 2014
A new day brings the continued challenge and seeing what I ended up with the previous night. I did a more thorough inspection and started writing my lists (as per above) while inspecting the car in the daylight

6 July 2014

Took a couple of days off to do some other things (including doing stuff on Nick's Skyline) so came back with tools in hand, ready to tackle the next part of the car.

Removed the wheels and was surprised to see a relatively clean suspension setup. Shock boot is a bit dead, but no big deal. Apparently the brakes have been skimmed, but will look at that later.

Jacked the car up and put some jack stands underneath. Zip tied the gearbox cooler to ensure it doesn't drag on the ground.

Passenger side guard off. Usual issues with the flimsy support beam attached to the guard at the lower front twisting. Bolt broke off on the drivers side support

Lots of dirt and crap falling out once the inner plastic guard is removed.

Wow! Factory airbox resonator - threw mine out years and years ago. Strange to see really.

Both gaurds off

Now it looks like a project! haha

Started on getting the radiator support brace removed. Used a spot weld remover drill bit that Nick had. In some places, the drill bit popped straight through the vertical panel steel as it is so thin. Got most of the welds drilled out. Had to use a chisel to pop the welds off if the drill didn't cut out the spot weld.

Hurray! Radiator support off! On inspection, while the metal has been bent, it could easily be repaired and welded back in. Will look at that a little later as an option instead of asking a wreckers to get one off a scrapped car.

Oh btw - the car was originally black if you hadn't noticed from the engine bay and the boot ;)

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:01 pm
by 88gt4DE
How far you going down with it ? I was shocked you pulled the top rad support off but I/m guessing its messed up somewhere I didn't see. Good luck with the project !

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:46 pm
by underscore
You guys move fast! Did you find a little relay hidden in the fender near the drivers side turn indicator?

Also thank you thank you thank you for saving an RC/CS/Grp A, it seems hardly anyone cares to preserve these rare cars.

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:58 pm
by WarTowels
Oh wow, a second!

"What have you got yourself into?"

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:55 pm
by DeeCee
88gt4DE - rad support metal has cracked on the drivers side and was started to rust. The support and drivers side panel could have been bent back with a rope on a truck/car, but I really didn't want to do a bodgy. Nick was talking about using a porta-pull device to pull the panel out but going to the effort now to fix the problem this way will be better.

How far will I go? Basically anything you saw on the lists above will be done..
- CT20B from my car. Using the CT20B means that I will now have to build a manifold for my Holset HX35. It was on the table to do, but this will push me to get it done.
- 3" down pipe
- fix exhaust
- replace carpet/seats
- replace missing interior
- replace bonnet and bumper (once I have made my moulds)
- replace other metal supports up front
- fix radiators
- replace fluids
- replace various hoses and gaskets
- fix various wiring

underscore - what is that relay unit? is attached to the washer reservoir. Also, does the TVSV reside on the firewall, or is it supposed to be located under the inlet manifold? On the st205, it is under the manifold

Wartowels - yes Greg, another one. Panel beater is taking his time on the Elephant as it is a perky, delaying me. Nick and I are waiting on parts for the R30, so I need to fill my days. I spent a week and a half solid learning about film making using my DSLR while I wait on parts and panel beater. This one keeps me busy and I'll make some money off it.

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:28 pm
by Tecker185
Whats wrong with the seats?

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:40 pm
by DeeCee
usual story with seats with the side bolster being worn away. I'll just chuck in a full set of grey interior from my main project and use the rear seats as a pattern for the re-upholstery to match my Bride front seats.

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:56 pm
by Tecker185
Its a shame thats my favorite interior.

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:07 pm
by DeeCee
The darker interior? Yes, it is a nicer interior, but since this car is not worth much, there is little use in investing heaps of time in the car.
I do however have another set of seats so can swap over the foam back and chuck a leather patch over the hole in the fabric, so I may do that instead and retain some of the RC'ness about the car.

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:22 am
by underscore
Wait, are the seats with the little coloured bits specific to the RC?

The relay that goes to the washer bottle is for the WTA heat exchanger sprayer, you should be able to find the lines and nozzles on the back of the bumper. It's surprisingly easy to make it work if you care to, you just need to move the fluid line on the bumper to the spare side of the T between it and the pump, and hook a trigger signal to a plug that's hiding down near the bottom of the tank, I think it's a little white one.

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:56 am
by DeeCee
Black fabric interior which is the same as some rev2 jdm models

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:23 am
by sarnodude
Love the white color this car has! Wish mine wasn't black.
.Am I to understand that front wheel well doesnt have a plastic liner?

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:12 am
by DeeCee
The wheel wells have plastic liners. I removed them when I removed the guards :)

Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:28 pm
by underscore
Also the name of this project reminded me of someone


Re: Project Pearl

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:37 pm
by DeeCee
Haven't updated this thread in a while, but after a full weekend, a week of evenings and this previous weekend, Pearl is now up and running smoothly. Will update more soon :)

The panel work - that is a bit of a story. So no st182's have come through my local scrapyard in 6 months, so no possibility of getting parts to fix the panel work at the front. I had previously checked with local wreckers, but again, nothing in their stock. I was seriously debating buying a broken st182 just to scavenge parts, but without sufficient room to store the car, that was not really an option.

Luckily I was trawling through the a nationwide scrapyard stock list and noticed various st182's up in Auckland and a st185 in Tauranga. I put the call out on the local GT-Four club's facebook page on Monday 3 Nov and another member (Mat) messaged he would help out and as a bonus, I knew he was travelling down to wellington to drop parts off to another club member, Joe. Get another message on Wednesday 5 Nov just after lunch and he is at the scrapyard pulling the car apart. I'm rushing to think off top of my head which parts I need and firing facebook messages back and forth while he is stripping the car.

(side note, the st185 at the scrapyard was a GT-Four A and it was driven on to the scrapyard! Panel damage on the drivers side of the car - front quarter, drivers door and rear quarter, but it was in running order. That demonstrates people's perception of the GT-Four in New Zealand as a low value car)

I also asked if he had time to take out the radiator support bar that was welded on to the car and he kindly obliged and had drilled out the spot welds and had the metal in his car on his lunch break. And bonus, it only cost $23...

Second piece of luck, was that he came to Wellington to buy some subwoofers and a box off my friend Nishant and my parts and fuel money was going to the purchase of the subwoofers haha (side note I had built the box so knew it's performance). By Friday we had arranged to meet at Nishant's and he left at 5.20 in the morning for a 6.5 hour drive to Wellington with a plethora of parts for Joe and I, including an aftermarket bumper, a complete hatch (strapped to the roof of his Caldina), st205 brakes for Joe, 2x wide body guards, my front fascia mounts and brackets, 1x st205 W2A intercooler, standard A2A intercooler and pipe work and other various bits and bobs. his Caldina GTT was full to the brim of Celica haha.

So within a week, I had the parts to repair Pearl and it only cost me $150 worth of parts, some petrol money and a box of Woodstock bourbon and colas :) All told, $265 dollars and sorted in a week :)