Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

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Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby grip-addict » Wed Mar 09, 2022 5:02 am

Hi all,
I thought I'd finally start a project thread. I have two 185's:

A medium red pearl from '90 with a gen2 3s and gt2860rs turbo. This car isn't running at the moment and semi-supports the other car. I had the engine rebuilt after a bad run in with a major mr2oc vendor about 10 years ago and has unfortunately sat ever since. This car isn't too far gone, but it would need a fair amount of work to get back on the road.

A '91 superwhite 185 that was previously owned by a friend/board member here, and before that, owned by whiteline performance as it was their testbed/development car for 185 parts.

I've had the white car for about 3.5 years now and we have been through a lot together. I first rode in it in 2006, back when the only modifications were suspension and brakes. Later on, the car had a gen 3 3s swap performed and a gt3071r installed by a shop in tx that left it on factory electronics and fueling. Sometime after that, the previous owner moved overseas and gave the car to family members. The family didn't share the enthusiast gearhead love, so the car went through a weird period of having some patch-up maintenance done but not to the level needed by a 300 awhp modified alltrac.
The car reappeared running but in need of some work. Most things were relatively easy fixes and only required someone with more alltrac knowledge, but there was/is a weird "overheating" issue that I have yet to figure out. I'm hoping to finally sort that out in spring/summer of 2022.

Now that we're all caught up on the car's life story, I'll just go straight into the current status. No need to get super detailed with all of the research and issues I've resolved (and probably created) along the way.


91 superwhite alltrac. All factory body except cs front bumper and JDM front markers.

1998 gen3 3sgte
gtx2860r turbo w/ PTP turbo blanket (the old gt3071r ate itself on a silicon hose coupler shortly after I installed said hose coupler. Lessons were learned.)
unknown brand 3" downpipe. It and everything up to the cylinder head is ceramic coated
st205 water to air intercooler with uprated gt4play heat exchanger and 20 GPM meziere water pump
Gen4 SSQV BOV
4" intake w/ carbon fiber pipe
custom cold-feed airbox I made out of TIG'd boxsteel and ABS plastic. it runs from the left CS bumper foglight port and routes air directly up to the intake filter and also mounts the factory fuse box and a few extra relays
Racerx fuel rail, Deatschwerks 927cc injector, aeromotive fpr, and 6AN lines feeding it all.
255 LPH walbro fuel pump with 12 gauge wiring/relay in the hatch
Radium catch can
Mishimoto coolant res cans for wta ic and radiator overflow
southbend stage2 clutch and fidanza aluminum flywheel
Mishimotor radiator w/ spal fan, triggered by ecu
LOUD 3" motoria exhaust, which will be cut/modified shortly. I'm planning on swapping the bottle-style silencer with an oval one, or maybe just taking the aussie exhaust off of my red car and swapping it over.
Optima red in the boot, 0 gauge wiring all the way up to factory fuse box
Open differential with mario aluminum diff mount
ST205 rear rotors and 2-piston calipers w/ ebc redstuff
Whiteline rear and front swaybars and links
BC racing coilovers
NYX rear adjustable camber/toe/caster arms w/ poly bushings
wilwood 4piston front brakes w/ 325mm 2piece rotors and wilwood street pads.
stainless steel brake lines all around
OZ Superturismo white wheels w/ Falken Azenis 615k+
Haltech Elite 1500 with the following sensors/functions: wideband o2, fuel pressure, oil pressure/temp, air temp, GPS VSS, boost control, Bosch knock sensor, Haltech 4bar MAP sensor
carbon microsystem front cooling panel and abs brick cover (looks so much better than bare hardlines)
twm short shifter and knob
Speedhut GPS speedometer (I gave up in trying to get the electronic JDM speedo parts to talk to the USDM speedo parts)
1 gauge: CANbus GaugeART
new front seat leathers from katzskins
new floormats from stockinteriors

-still has AC hooked up, I'll get it working some day



I hopped on the Haltech train back when I had a friend who would tune it for the cost of a soutwhest ticket. Then the world went pear shaped, and I ended up wiring in the ECU myself and got it running with some remote help.
Immediately moving to the elite and getting more data helped determine what made the car run a bit.. off when on the Toyota ECU. The main culprits were bad FPR, voltage-starved fuel pump, and bad MAP sensor. Fixing these issues went a long way towards sorting out the driveability issues it had.
Since then, I've had a few tuners work on the car, both remote and local(ish) and I've started making modifications as needed. In Spring 2022, the car still doesn't run PERFECT, but it's a lot better than where it used to be. The fuel map is good, but the ignition table is all guess work and really needs some dyno time. The boost control is all over the place, and a lot of that is due to the super-quick spooling gen1 gt2860r turbine housing that also causes overboost. I bought a Nixspeed turbine housing over the winter w/ a berk 3" downpipe and am moving from a 7 to 14 psi wastegate solenoid. I'm hoping ths will let me used closed-loop boost control more effectively. It didn't seem to matter what I put in for PID values; even when doing boost duty cycle by gear, it just never was consistent and reliable.

2022 hard goals are:
Remove the cut-up front crash bar and replace it with a cs aluminum replica. I'm hoping this will get more airflow to the radiator and wta h/e, helping with higher coolant temps and lowering IAT.
Swap out the turbine housing to the Nixspeed unit/tial 14psi actuator and redo the boost control duty cycle table. The end of the peak efficiency range for this turbo is 22-23 PSI, so I want to be something close to that. Reliably hitting 17 is currently a challenge.
Fix coolant line on the back of the turbo. I've had a variety of coolant lines leak over my years of ownership and this one I hope is what's causing the temps to climb like they do.
Get the knock sensor tuned. Everyone seems to hate tuning knock sensors, but I think they are just used to the old way of doing things. The Haltech will suggest timing table changes as long as the knock sensor is configured correctly inside the software. I MAY have to do this myself.
Dyno the car and actually see what kind of power it makes. Last time I tried I still had 2-step turned on, which was configured to only engage when the VSS reads less than 10 mph. And how does the VSS get that reading? GPS... Which means the ECU thinks the speed is zero when the car's on the dyno. So the car made 40 whp and the coolant temps spiked up to like 225 due to all that timing retard! Maybe I should put 40 whp in my signature? :)


2022 soft goals:
Buy/install OMP CORSICA LISCIO OD/1956. I really like this wheel and I've seen it in a few 185 wrc pictures. I need to figure out what adapter to use and how to not need the accordian style bellow between the wheel and the rest of the steering column so it looks clean though.
Get some nice foot pedals.
Swap out midpipe/catback parts to stop waking the neighbor's baby after hours.
Move to direct fire coils and dump the distributor triggering. It's not that I really WANT to do coil on plug/direct fire, but the distributor is leaking a fair bit of oil, and it'll be easier for me to install and wire in new coils and triggering instead of trying to fix that dang dizzy.


2023/beyond
Switch to a drive by wire throttle. I miss cruise control and I hate that ugly throttle cable routing. Please don't talk to me about the pros/cons of cable vs DBW throttles. WHEN IMPLEMENTED PROPERLY, DBW performs better.
CS hood (I prefer steel but I might have to suck it up and get a CF one before the Russians take over Latvia again).
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Last edited by grip-addict on Tue Sep 27, 2022 7:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby grip-addict » Wed Mar 09, 2022 5:17 am

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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby autojumbled » Wed Mar 09, 2022 7:50 am

Funny how we all go on these journeys with our 185s!
Not sure there's many owners out there that don't have a 3 page introduction

It's looking great though and you've got me thinking about some of the running issues I'm troubleshooting on mine. I've long suspected the fuel pump and FPR are struggling. They work just fine on idle and low load but when getting up the revs something just isn't right. Thanks for the inspiration

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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby Roreri » Wed Mar 09, 2022 11:06 am

Wow. That's a lot of modifications! Very cool but very troubled, as you relate.

I have a question about one of the less interesting parts, maybe. How'd you like the Katzkin leather experience? How do you like the results? I'm considering that for my front seats.

And I would say yes, get your Carbon MicroSystem hood order in sooner rather than later. I am at week 12 of waiting on a hood order myself, that looks to be stretching on past the 8-12 weeks for manufacturing stated on their website. All this shit in Eurasia has me on pins and needles.
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby grip-addict » Wed Mar 09, 2022 4:28 pm

I feel like the list should actually be longer, but that's due to all the wheel bearings, rear drums, wiring, and maintenance items I've done over the past 3+ years. But, I'm preaching to the choir on this forum 8)

katzskins: great! They're just replacement leather. They even had perforated leather that very closely matches factory. I dropped the car off at a local installer and 4 hrs/1k later it was done. Very easy... and the car still has that subtle factory-ish inside look.

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Fuel pump: I figured out the fuel pump issue by jamming multimeter leads into the 12v and ground pins on the fuel pump connector in the hatch and took the car for a ride. Even though the car already had the resistor pack removed so the fuel pump was always getting the same voltage, it definitely wasn't seeing consistent voltage. At times, it'd drop into the 10's. Way too low for something that's supposed to be 12v minimum (and expected high 13's I think). I just ran the 12v supply off of my battery since that's already in the trunk, and used the factory 12v feed line to trigger a relay back there. No voltage drops detected since!

FPR: This was easy to see with the Haltech and a permanently-installed fuel pressure sensor, but what I observed was that fuel pressure decreased when injector load increased. This shouldn't be the case, ever. We have rising rate FPR's in our cars (as do most turbo engines) and fuel pressure should rise 1:1 as the manifold pressure increases. If you are not EMS-powered, you can temporarily install a pressure sensor and set up the gauge to be viewable as you drive. 32 psi at full vacuum, 43-44 psi at 0 boost, and 58 psi of fuel pressure at 1bar boost is what you should see.
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby Roreri » Wed Mar 09, 2022 4:49 pm

That’s really good looking! What did it run you?

I notice you have the bare steel support headrest which is different than the rubber boot arrangement I’ve got in mine. I’m hoping to have ventilated seats as well—there are a lot of cool day driving opportunities where that would be welcome.
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby 93celicaconv » Wed Mar 09, 2022 4:57 pm

grip-addict wrote:Fuel pump: I figured out the fuel pump issue by jamming multimeter leads into the 12v and ground pins on the fuel pump connector in the hatch and took the car for a ride. Even though the car already had the resistor pack removed so the fuel pump was always getting the same voltage, it definitely wasn't seeing consistent voltage. At times, it'd drop into the 10's. Way too low for something that's supposed to be 12v minimum (and expected high 13's I think). I just ran the 12v supply off of my battery since that's already in the trunk, and used the factory 12v feed line to trigger a relay back there. No voltage drops detected since!

FPR: This was easy to see with the Haltech and a permanently-installed fuel pressure sensor, but what I observed was that fuel pressure decreased when injector load increased. This shouldn't be the case, ever. We have rising rate FPR's in our cars (as do most turbo engines) and fuel pressure should rise 1:1 as the manifold pressure increases. If you are not EMS-powered, you can temporarily install a pressure sensor and set up the gauge to be viewable as you drive. 32 psi at full vacuum, 43-44 psi at 0 boost, and 58 psi of fuel pressure at 1bar boost is what you should see.

Was the fuel pressure paragraph (where you saw lower fuel pressure as intake manifold absolute pressure increased) a direct result of your fuel pump paragraph (where you had dropping voltage on your power wire to your fuel pump)? Or are you still seeing fuel pressure dropping as your intake manifold absolute pressure increases?
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby grip-addict » Wed Mar 09, 2022 5:04 pm

That’s really good looking! What did it run you?

I notice you have the bare steel support headrest which is different than the rubber boot arrangement I’ve got in mine. I’m hoping to have ventilated seats as well—there are a lot of cool day driving opportunities where that would be welcome.


1k and the plastic backing behind the seats is gone, too. I didn't try to get it re-added, but it might be possible if you enjoy it. The local company I used offered to add in heat and forced-air ventilation as well, but the car is only a fair weather vehicle, so I didn't see the need.

Was the fuel pressure paragraph (where you saw lower fuel pressure as intake manifold absolute pressure increased) a direct result of your fuel pump paragraph (where you had dropping voltage on your power wire to your fuel pump)? Or are you still seeing fuel pressure dropping as your intake manifold absolute pressure increases?


These issues were independent of each other but both conspired to make fuel tuning impossible (and dangerous). Implementing both fixes (new FPR that doesn't have a blown diaphragm) and better, shorter wiring to the fuel pump means that the fueling is 100% consistent and reliable now. It wasn't consistent when I took possession of the car and it honestly could have caused damage to the engine... which I may be seeing in the coolant temperature battles I keep having. Time will tell on that one.
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby grip-addict » Thu Mar 24, 2022 3:24 pm

I had some time last weekend and pulled the bumper cover / factory crash bar off and was able to get the CS bar mocked up. I'm at the point where I'm trying to figure out how to support the intercooler heat exchanger now. Somewhere in the car's previous life, supports were fabbed and welded to the factory crash bar. Since that's gone, I'll have to figure something else out.

20220320_214811.jpg



The most direct path would be to weld some brackets onto the CS crash bar, but while my steel/ss game is good, I'm just getting around to teaching myself aluminum and it's challenging. Plus, there's so little there with the CS bar, I think it needs every little bit of strength it can get. I'm still working through some ideas, but there doesn't seem to be any other obvious spots to attach to that will "look good". I'm out of argon anyways, so I still have time to think about how to do it until I can get to the weld supply store.
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby Roreri » Fri Mar 25, 2022 11:17 am

I will say this: I was shocked how little strength there is up front with the light CS setup. And of course I received the understanding of that in a most undelightful manner. It’s light for a purpose but perhaps too weak. Some additional bracing up there seems a good idea, provided it doesn’t add much weight or mess up air flow, which is another point of that setup. Always a struggle to get weight off the front of the Celica.
Last edited by Roreri on Mon Apr 18, 2022 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby grip-addict » Fri Apr 08, 2022 3:13 am

you're 100% right on both counts, and sorry that you had to test mule that crash impact for us :(

I whipped up some intercooler supporting brackets; it took me quite a while to come up with a design that I didn't think would weaken the front end. This was my first time welding in 6 months and I was quite a bit rusty at it :doh: It'll get the job done though, and enamel paint hides all :)

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I got the steering wheel on and attached and got the horn working (hooray!). Most of what I could find online wasn't fully clear on how to wire it (it is 2 wires after all, I get it, but I hate it when a guide just says "do this and it'll work"). The horn momentary switch grounds through the body of the steering column and then you just need to make sure the 12v side (green wire) is attached to the horn button in some fashion. That's it. I just bent up some leftover romex grounding wire and used my crimper to attach that to the horn's 12v green wire. Job done.

I also replaced my worn out shifter boot with one from redlinegoods.com. I had to stitch it in myself, which went alright. The threads aren't all evenly spaced as I'm no tailor, but no one can tell since all of that is hidden by the body of the shifter. If I were to do this again, I'd buy some carbon fiber thread instead of using the polyester thread my wife had laying around. I definitely had enough practice restarting as I broke the thread a few times :shoots:

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I pulled the turbo off and I'm swapping out the ATS-supplied manifold adapter, Garret .64 ar turbine housing, 7psi wastegate solenoid and ATS-supplied downpipe in favor of a Nixspeed housing, 14 psi solenoid, and Berk 3" downpipe. I'll try to hawk the older goods on facebook/the forsale forum here; they worked great on my gen2 build, but I think the better flowing cams on the gen3 just move a bit more volume than the turbine housing wastegate could handle.
Pictured is the new setup. A couple of thoughts:

The old setup required a few washers to move the wastegate solenoid inboard, else it'd hit the starter section of the transmission. It's nice for this to just work straight up.

I have enough room to move away from banjo bolt water lines on the back side of the turbo in favor of pushlock AN fittings. It was a tight fit with the Garret housing and I had to use small hose clamps on the banjo fitting (pushlock banjos would be the right move here actually...) and if I overtightened them, they'd cut into the hose and force a leak.

I'm going to have to bend the oil dipstick a bit to get it to coexist here with the Berk downpipe, but that's no big deal.
Speaking of the Berk, I think it's great that it includes a wideband port at the bottom, but it's a design failure for it to be facing the front motor mount. I can't use it as-is, which leads me to the next thing:

Major props are due to Bryan @ Primemr2 for the support. He only resells the Berk dp, but when I made him aware of the fitment issue, he offered to send me an adapter to relocate the wideband sensor. When I said that would cause extra complications (wiring), he offered to weld in another o2 bung himself if I sent the downpipe back to him. It's not even his part! That's fantastic customer service. Since I have the tooling (and I've practiced a bunch since making the intercooler supports) I just asked for him to send me another o2 bung for me to tig in and he agreed. I'm very happy with this outcome.

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As long as life doesn't happen, I should have it on the downpipe this weekend and I'll be able to get my first drive in. I have to remember to make a few mods in the Haltech software, namely the duty cycle for the boost controller is now too high, and I'll probably add 2-3% fuel in the boosted regions since the new turbine housing flows more and should let the engine breathe a bit more. I really enjoy that I can set the table up to be slightly rich and let the earning functions trim out the extra fuel :D
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby grip-addict » Mon Apr 18, 2022 3:46 pm

I'm up and running and put about 25 miles on it while CMS-GT4 was in town. Of course all the ceramic coating burnt off and gave me a good scare at first :roll:

I forgot how LOUD this car is, so I picked up a Vibrant ultra-quiet resonator that I'll put inline with the existing Motoria resonator. The Vibrant unit is an oval shape, so it should definitely be more quiet than the existing bottle-style resonator that's already on the car.

The Nixspeed turbine housing definitely flows A LOT more than the old Garret .63 ar housing I had on the car previously. Unfortunately, this means my GTX2860r does not spool nearly as quickly as it did before. I used to get full boost at 3250 rpm, now it's coming on at ~4k. I suspect that this housing is not a good match with this smaller turbo, but I really need to get the timing map sorted out before I can say that with confidence. There are some positives with it though - the engine won't be choking out at high RPM anymore, and everything like the wastegate, water hoses, etc fit a lot nicer.

I also noticed way lower IAT's now that I moved from the factory bumper support to the CS support. All of the extra airflow is really helping. Now I just need to find a turbo blanket that fits this housing.
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby CMS-GT4 » Mon Apr 18, 2022 6:07 pm

It was a good time. Car is looking good.
Pics from that night here:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CcXxH4fuP2Z ... _copy_link
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby grip-addict » Fri Apr 22, 2022 2:31 pm

I've made surprisingly good progress on this year's tasks and I'm starting to consider creating more projects for the car. I could get used to this extended spring weather. My shop is detached from the house, so I don't work on the car during the extreme temp months here in the midwest.

At any rate, I put on the Vibrant ultraquiet resonator, and... IT'S AWESOME! The car is so much more refined and smoother-sounding now. I'll admit that there were some days where I appreciated the loudness for street driving, but it was pretty awful on the highway. Just too damn loud and there was some droning. I would recommend this to anyone who wants their wife to still ride in the car 8) . I choose to install this resonator in addition to the existing bottle-style one that is near the catback, but I'm thinking that just the Vibrant unit is sufficient. I did rotate it about 45* in order to fit it in the factory resonator section and I did lose some ground clearance though. I think I will need to come back later and move it further back, we'll see if the local speed bumps become a problem.

I ended up booking some time with another tuner and I'm glad I did. Even though I've spent a lot of time trying to work on the car's drivability, I just kept running into weird tip-in issues that I could never figure out. The tuning work isn't done yet, but the car is already way better to drive now and I have good spool on the turbo again. The laggy response had to have been a result of the tune. Unfortunately, I'm experiencing boost creep issues in 2nd/3rd gear (current target 14 psi, actual observed pressure before safeties kick in 22 psi). I'm asking the tuner for some input before I go rip the turbo off and port out the wastegate housing.
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Re: Grip Addict's project: it's always the small things

Postby Roreri » Fri Apr 22, 2022 8:11 pm

That’s good gouge on that resonator. I have heard some complaints from the wife on the sound. The Lorelei isn’t terribly loud but it’s definitely louder than a normal car. I await your report and advice on where best to put it.

You refer to “tip-in issues.” Is thar similar to what I’ve complained about with inappropriate lean conditions? Or what?

Boost creep is the debbil. Good luck! Like you, I like 14psi. A bro of mine told me that after a dyno session I hope to do next month, I might find myself drawn to a Kinugawa turbo. I told him I’m going the slight weight reduction route and I’m good with the 14psi I’m getting off this CT-26.

Or at least I think it’s a CT-26. Who knows? From what I can see it looks like a CT-26. Maybe the previous owner upgraded it to one of the later gen turbos. I guess I ought to take a closer look sometime.
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