RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a JDM 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby Roreri » Mon Sep 27, 2021 11:38 pm

Hahahahah you trying to scare me off the a2w intercooler?!

But really, it does bring up a good point, which is that moving parts adds complexity to an already complex motor. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on that Spal fan from ATS. It's a start.

I don't know whether it comes with any wiring harness, but if it doesn't, I found this wiring harness with thermostat and relay at Twos R Us for $50:

Twos R Us Fan Harness with Thermostat.JPG
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby Roreri » Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:00 am

SUSPENSION

I have to admit that I haven't really gone over the suspension until now. I pushed at the corners and it didn't act like the shocks were dead. I test drove it some. I had it inspected by a mechanic, before and after. And throughout the 1400km I've clocked since taking delivery it's behaved like I'd expect a pillowball equipped car to behave--responsive but harsher.

I put it up on jacks today and tested the bearings (again) by trying to move the wheel front and back and top and bottom. All good there--no wobble, and no noise that I can notice while driving. A mechanic did say that the rear left has a little play but I had real trouble detecting it today.

I got under it today and snapped some photos.

Front Passenger's Side Shock Absorber:

Front Left Shock Small.JPG


Front Driver's Side Shock Absorber:

Front Right Shock Small.JPG


These are the original OEM shock absorbers, stamped like this

TOYOTA
JAPAN
GC-18

There is a sticker on the back that reads:

53
I IIII II IIII IIIII III
92/03/18 1 3

Yes, these are nigh unto 30 year old shocks, installed in March 1992 when the car was assembled! (EDIT: This may or may not be true--the stickers I saw were not on the inserts but on the housing assembly they go into) I can tell by comparing pictures of mine with others that the front is lower. The top of the wheel well sits 24 and 3/16 inches off the pavement. The spec for ST185s is 1300mm height. I set a leveled 2x4 across the top of the roof and measured the height: 50 inches, or 1270mm. This GT-Four's roof is about an inch and a quarter lower than spec, and it definitely has some rake to it. I came across a post on CelicaHobby that said that Toyota Team Europe sold a 30mm lowering spring that can be used with the stock shock absorbers. There's no flashy branding on the springs, just black steel. But that's an interesting coincidence, especially given the Toyota Team Europe rear skid plate this GT-Four sports.

The shock boot on the driver's side is compromised and there isn't one on the passenger side. The Big Green Book doesn't show boots as part of the shock absorber assembly. Any recommendations or thoughts? I have a set of KYB Excel-Gs on hand--both fronts and backs. It might just be better to roll with what I have for now and eventually install them with boots.

https://www.summitracing.com/search/par ... nd-bellows

Rear Strut:

Rear Strut2 Small.JPG


This is interesting. This is the car that keeps on giving. Though a detailed KYB description of the part eludes me, fragmentary (and older) comments here and there in forums suggest that these are uprated struts, and that they are significantly stiffer with compression and spring rates 125-175% higher than stock. That would comport with my impressions of the GT-Four's handling and road manners to date.

It's clear that the previous owner cared for this GT-Four and spent some money on it, but in a somewhat confusing manner. Upgraded rear struts but unchanged front shock absorbers with lowering springs and a Cusco pillow ball plate? No strut boots on the rears.

:|

I could just get a set of coilovers and fix it...money no issue right?

https://ksportusa.com/products/coilover ... elica-1992
Last edited by Roreri on Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby underscore » Wed Sep 29, 2021 6:05 am

Don't forget the front dampers are inserts, so the only way to check them is to pull them apart. But if they're original the guts are just inside the housing, without a "case" like a replacement would have to have. I suppose if you were really careful you could check without spilling any fluid.

When it comes to measuring ride height, the most accurate way is to measure from the center of the wheel hub, to the bottom lip of the fender, in a vertical line. That takes out any variations in tire size. Stock is approx. 14.25-14.5" front and rear.

Officially I believe the only boots are the sort of extension things that are part of the isolator in the front and nothing in the rear.

If you're happy with the handling and ride I'd stick with what you have. When I got mine it handled like a sack of potatoes so I dove right into coilovers. They handled well, but I lost a ton of downtravel. When I wanted the travel back I rebuilt the stock setup and found the dampers were beyond trashed, the mounts were crumbling, etc. With everything new + stock springs it's not far off from the coilovers, but a bit more comfortable.
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby Roreri » Wed Sep 29, 2021 9:59 am

Oh, that's right. Of course--thank you. I mistakenly thought that the sticker on the outside of the housing indicated the age of the shock absorber. The inserts are inside and have no indicator that I can see.

The front is just shy of 13 inches and the rear is 14 inches. So, dropped an inch and a quarter in the front and a half an inch in the rear. Definitely more street/track profile as far as stance.

Great to know that nothing is in the rear as far as boots.

For now it's okay. The ride has taken some getting used to, but I like the handling. Maybe it's just me being used to driving much less capable vehicles. Given your experience it seems that there’s the potential for experimenting and back and forth to find the sweet spot.
Last edited by Roreri on Wed Sep 29, 2021 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby hoys » Wed Sep 29, 2021 2:53 pm

Front strut inserts are still widely available stateside as they shared with FWD Celica's and other Toyota models of similar vintage. Rear struts on the other hand, do not directly cross with any other configuration and are solely Alltrac/GT-Four specific.

I imported these a few years back for the rear struts:

https://www.rhdjapan.com/kyb-new-sr-spe ... t185h.html
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby Roreri » Wed Sep 29, 2021 3:45 pm

I’ve seen those in my internet wanderings. They’re a damn sight pricier than the EXCEL-G set that’s for sure, which ran $166 for the whole front/back setup. These would run $580 plus shipping. If just the backs, considerably less. I’d have to consider the implications of doing the backs in the New SRs and the fronts with the EXCEL-Gs…. My preference for simplicity would tend to favor keeping them all the same.

How do you like them? As always, a modest improvement in performance often entails a large cost increase. I could see doing it, but I’d want to know more. Next study project for me.

Like attracts like. I’ve taken to parking next to good looking cars if I can. I think the GT-Four need not lower its head next to this 911. At least as long as I don’t try and push the track performance discussion.

B8051670-617D-4B79-85D3-2D4C9BE6C094.jpeg
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby hoys » Wed Sep 29, 2021 3:53 pm

Truthfully, they are still in the box. I haven't gotten around to suspension fixes yet with all the engine work and maintenance I've done. They are next on the list though. My issue with the EXECL-G was either the listing was incorrect, or the price to ship was astronomical. Pressurized gas cylinders are somewhat restricted when it comes to shipping. I think my quote to ship the EXCEL-G's from the UK to US was greater than the price for the SR's from the linked website. When I got them from RHDJapan it was something closer to 44,xxx yen, shipped.
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby Roreri » Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:16 pm

Ah, that blows. I got my EXCEL-Gs from Rock Auto. They were pretty inexpensive comparatively.

I wonder how much NIPPON(!!!) tax is involved in those. Having lived in Japan, I know damn well the markup can be crazy on such stuff.

My inquiry still stands then…collecting evidence…

Here. Another photobombing. This time sidling up to a Mercedes SL400 egregiously parked in a handicapped spot while its pilot sneaks in to grab a coffee:

4C128764-B280-4053-9487-1D6E826C5FAE.jpeg
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby alltracman78 » Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:25 pm

I'm going to make a few suggestions about your intercooler. Food for thought anyways.

First off, with that hood a fan is a waste of money IMO. You'd be better off putting it towards a different intercooler. The hump in the hood effectively closes off the intercooler to any airflow from outside. Any airflow you do have will be from the hot engine bay and will be minimal for obvious reasons. Since you did buy it you could install an intake temperature sensor to see how much of a difference the fan makes. I doubt you'll need a thermostat for the fan, it will probably always be on in your situation.
The other consideration is if the fan fits under the hump. I know there's more overall area under the homologation hood hump than the regular hood hump (scoop) but I'm pretty sure the scoop has a higher "ceiling". It just has a smaller footprint. If that makes sense. So be careful closing the hood with the fan the first time. Just in case. :)

As far as getting an ST205 IC vs an ST185 WTA IC I would actually suggest an ST185 one because it fits much better. I've had both on a 185 engine. I started with a 205 one because it was considered better. But I didn't like how it physically fit on the engine.
Even with the 185 WTA mounting bracket (the homologation 185s with the WTA IC had a different, larger bracket for the IC on the transmission end of the engine) IIRC only 1 bolt actually fits to hold the 205 IC onto the engine. And you have to get a drop down sized coupler that doesn't fit very well because of the lack of space to fit the IC outlet to the throttle body (70 mm to 55 mm?). I also ended up shortening the inlet tube for the IC so I could get a smoother transition from the turbo because it doesn't sit in the correct position. All in all awkwardly positioned any way you do it IMO.
Because of those problems I decided to go with a 185 homologation IC and resigned myself to some power loss. But after installing it and driving I was pleasantly surprised that the power delivery was quicker and smoother. Purely butt dyno, but it was the opposite of what I expected. My guess is that the awkwardness of the connection (mainly at the throttle body) hurt airflow. The turbo side was fairly smooth. It's the same size and has enough room with it shortened to line up fairly well. But the throttle body is way too close to allow any kind of a smooth transition. The outlet is basically right up against the throttle body so there's no space for the reducer to actually do it's job of smoothly reducing, it just seals off two different size ports and basically leaves room inside for the air to bounce around instead of smoothly flowing from one to the other. I noticed this same effect when I went from the accordion style factory intake tubes to smooth silicone ones. Initial response was quicker and smoother.
I hope that makes sense?

In addition to those, until you're pushing the limits of the 185 WTA IC I don't know how much advantage the 205 IC would give you purely power wise. Kind of like how a larger turbo will only help if you have the supporting mods to let it reach it's potential.

To be perfectly clear I've never done any other testing or comparison of the two, so it's purely subjective. And it's very possible the 205 would give you higher total power on a 185 engine, even with those drawbacks, especially on something like a drag race where it's full WOT the whole way. But for regular driving my guess is the 185 IC will be much better for you.

The nice thing is, aside from the WTA intercoolers themself the setup is effectively identical so that is the only thing you need to swap if you need to. To go from 205 to 185 and back. Well, and the engine tubing.

Also, if you care, the factory mounting for the IC pump is at the very end of the L front frame rail. The holes are all there for the mounting points. But I believe only 92s (and maybe only some of those) are the only ones that have all the nuts welded in to mount the factory mount. The ST185 homologation cars were all built in the 92 model year. Maybe all first off the line, I don't know. But at least some of the non homologation 92 cars got the nuts welded in there too. Nice touch if you have one. If you do go the WTA route you could try to find a factory pump/mount. Mount will be very hard to find. But you can also have a mount fabbed up for an aftermarket pump and stick it there. May be prettier than zip tied in the engine bay.

Homologation = RC (Japan) CS (Europe) Group A (Austraila) FYI.

That's a lot more than I intended to write, but there you go if you care. :)
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby simple » Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:13 pm

Yeah it's a bummer that the RC and ST205 A2W intercooler mount bracket isn't available anymore. I had to have mine welded to repair.

Hasn't been mentioned but I have a ST165 intercooler and pump available to sell. Isn't everyone's favorite but it works well enough for street duty. Rally cars still run them so it can't be horrible.
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby underscore » Wed Sep 29, 2021 6:25 pm

I thought all the WTA intercoolers used the larger sized throttle body coupler, and only the ATA used the smaller one?

Roreri wrote:Ah, that blows. I got my EXCEL-Gs from Rock Auto. They were pretty inexpensive comparatively.


I'm envious that you managed to get some. Every time I checked Rock Auto they only had the rears for the 2WD models, so I gave up and converted my stock ones to take inserts.
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby alltracman78 » Wed Sep 29, 2021 6:49 pm

185 and 205 WTA IC used different brackets. They're not interchangeable.

165 and 185 WTA IC used the same TB coupler. Slightly larger than the 185 ATA IC coupler. I think the throttle bodies were the same size too. All 185 had the same size throttle body.
205 has a significantly larger throttle body and coupler. Also not interchangeable.

If my crap wasn't buried behind 8 years of crap I'd pull it out and post pictures.
I bet you can find some online if you look. :)
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby simple » Wed Sep 29, 2021 7:35 pm

Sorry..."brackets" is what I meant. Neither are available
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby Roreri » Wed Sep 29, 2021 10:48 pm

Thanks very much alltracman78. I do care. I would much prefer to research this thoroughly then "once and done" if at all possible. This is costly enough without fiddlefarting around excessively. The ST185 Air to Water intercooler would seem to be best, as you say.

I agree with you that the fan may be a lost cause. I'll see what I get for my troubles. The space constraints have come to my mind also. I will be careful with closing the hood.

I find myself thinking all kinds of things about how to get more air across that intercooler. I bet people have just reverted to the standard hood a fair number of them.

When I came out from work today...behold...a rare juxtaposition of Celicas:

Celica and Celica.jpg


Given what you said about clearance alltracman78, I took some aluminum foil and wadded it up into balls and set them atop the intercooler and then shut the hood. They crush to a height a bit over 2.5 inches. So, as you said, not much clearance under there...

Underscore, it may get to the point where I need some advice on how to convert my rears to take inserts. Parts are not getting easier to find...
Last edited by Roreri on Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RORERI: Acquiring and Preserving a 1992 ST185H-BLMVZ

Postby Roreri » Mon Oct 04, 2021 2:02 am

I took the GT-Four out on another Sunday drive today--about 130 miles all told through country roads. It drove well throughout, and I enjoyed some great weather with the windows down. I got to drive some gravel roads, and yeah, the dropped, street and track optimized suspension made that not as fun as it could have been. Nothing awful, but if I want to drive on unimproved roads, I had better change the suspension somewhat. I passed through 1750km driven since delivery. Now that the initial kinks have been ironed out, it's been a solidly pleasant experience. I did notice that the engine compartment heat likes to bleed through the vents into the cabin. I'll probably continue to think on this for some time.

The GT-Four received plenty of attention, which hasn't gotten old yet and probably won't ever! The farmer's market sign holder who said the GT-Four was the coolest car she'd seen all day. The guy looking down from his truck and grinning at seeing me driving on the right. The Civic GT-R driver cocking his head and nodding as I pulled up to the next gas pump over. My favorite of the day was when I pulled up a little in front of and then alongside a Subaru BRZ on the expressway. I figured based on the car, the plate and the stickers that the driver was a car person, so I glanced over. The passenger turned and took a picture of the GT-Four. That was an unexpected seal of approval--I'll take it!

What I notice is that people take a look based on the fact that it's a fifth gen Celica; they're not terribly common anymore, after all. And then when they see the hood and the badging (turboAllTrac in this GT-Four's case) the gears start turning and often enough I see a grin and a thumbs up, or they want to talk a bit.

That interaction with the BRZ passenger gave me to musing on the Celica and "bubble era" JDM cars. That era was really special, in my opinion, and I think that what made it possible was the sort of hyperconfident competition in play between the manufacturers at the height of the peculiar economic bubble in the late 80s and early 90s. It never really went away--the Miata survived and the Impreza continued and there were ST205s--but I've become more aware of the return of the sports coupe lately in both the US and imports. May it continue!

The GT-Four ended up a bit dusty from the gravel roads.

Dirty Girl.jpg


A run through the touchless car wash to knock the dust off, then a toweling and a coat of Meguiar's Ultimate Polish and a coat of Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax before taking it out again for date night. The black really gleams under wax!

Celica 3 Oct 2021.jpg
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