Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Suspension and other discussion

Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby underscore » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:23 pm

Right now my car is ~1" lower than stock on coilovers. I'd like to do a couple of novice RallyX events but I'd rather not do them while lowered and I don't want to swap back and forth to the stock suspension and then need an alignment several times a year. I was thinking of making some spacers that go between the strut and the body similar to these: https://andersondesign-fab.com/product/ ... k-spacers/

Looking at the Subaru guys they run up to 2" spacers on top of a stock MacPherson setup front and rear. Is there any reason we can't do the same? Since plenty of people lower their cars much more than 1" I would think there's got to be similar wiggle room going the opposite direction. My plan would be to make 2" spacers which combined with my -1" coilovers would net me +1". Then I can pop them on, run an event, and take them off.

I'm guessing they would throw the camber off a bit (unless I try to factor that into the design) but since the events are fairly short and I wouldn't be using my daily-use tires I don't think it would be a problem.
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby fussellbug » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:06 pm

There's a seller on eBay with 20mm, 30mm, and 40mm strut spacer sets. No idea about quality, but they are made of polyurethane and require changing out the studs on your strut mounts.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Complete-Leveling-Lift-Kit-40mm-for-Toyota-CARINA-ED-CELICA-CORONA-EXIV-CAMRY/263548090868?hash=item3d5cb0b9f4:g:eLsAAOSwQVpaqCt7

BTW these ship from Russia.
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby underscore » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:26 pm

Interesting, I wonder if the RC hood vents would give me enough clearance for the studs even with the spacers taken out. Wresting them in and out over the long studs might be tricky though.
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby JRWperformance » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:46 am

I modded my struts with coil over sleeves from Summit racing. I also did the removable top cap mod on the rear struts to fit strut inserts. I use regular 2.5 inch springs you can find just about anywhere in all kinds of lengths and rates. I can crank them up and go a couple inches taller than stock. I did it because I want to drive in the winter and our winters can make the roads pretty crappy.
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby underscore » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:52 am

Do you know which part number fit? I've been doing more research and it seems like if I swap just the strut assemblies all I should have to correct each time is the camber, which is easy enough to DIY. My current plan is to have a stock setup with spacers for the rally/winter stuff but if I can go to generic coils for cheap then I've got a lot more options for playing around with spring rates later on.
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby Numbchux » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:13 pm

underscore wrote:Right now my car is ~1" lower than stock on coilovers. I'd like to do a couple of novice RallyX events but I'd rather not do them while lowered and I don't want to swap back and forth to the stock suspension and then need an alignment several times a year. I was thinking of making some spacers that go between the strut and the body similar to these: https://andersondesign-fab.com/product/ ... k-spacers/

Looking at the Subaru guys they run up to 2" spacers on top of a stock MacPherson setup front and rear. Is there any reason we can't do the same? Since plenty of people lower their cars much more than 1" I would think there's got to be similar wiggle room going the opposite direction. My plan would be to make 2" spacers which combined with my -1" coilovers would net me +1". Then I can pop them on, run an event, and take them off.

I'm guessing they would throw the camber off a bit (unless I try to factor that into the design) but since the events are fairly short and I wouldn't be using my daily-use tires I don't think it would be a problem.


My background: I've lifted many Subarus with various different methods/kits, and have spent plenty of time under my AT180 and now ST184. My understanding of the ST185 chassis is theoretical.

The limiting factor with "suspension" lift (obviously there's no frame, but on a unibody, independent suspension car, suspension lift is just struts, body lift spacers drop the engine/transmission/differentials to match) is almost always CV joint angles. Stock static ride height already puts them at a downward angle, so by lowering the ride height, you're actually reducing the axle angle. So, no, 2" up is not the same as 2" down.

2" up on a Subaru is typically pushing it a bit. Typically a front axle joint will start failing after 50k miles or so. Seems like a long time, but a Subaru joint will easily last 200k or more as long as the grease/boot are in good shape.

My concern with doing the same with a ST18x chassis, is the front axle shafts are much shorter, putting the joints much closer together. Meaning a 2" lift would mean a much more extreme joint angle. But, if you're just planning to spin your height or preload adjustment up a couple inches for the day, you'd probably be fine.

I raised the rear of both my Celicas about an inch using Ground-Control coilover sleeves. Super easy, but being FWD, I have no axles to worry about back there. The suspension geometry change, combined with the spring rate balance change (stiffer in the rear, stock in the front), really wakes up the handling without having to rely on sway bars (bring on the rough/uneven roads).


Have you gone to many local RallyX events? Different venues may or may not require much ground clearance. There's a few venues we use locally, and really only one has ground clearance concerns (and even then, if it's dry not too bad).
-Chux
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby underscore » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:15 pm

The extra lift would only be for a handful of events a year, though the car will be driven harder at this time so the increase in wear would be more than if I just drove around town for a couple days. The local RallyX venue looks to be pretty good but the TSD events can hit some nasty terrain that even the organizers don't know about if someone chewed up the road after their last sweep. I'd rather be wrecking cvs than oil pans but I don't want to be intentionally destroying anything.

Before making any spacers I'll definitely keep an eye on the cv angles and try to emulate what they'll be at different points in the travel at different ride heights. I may need to limit the downward travel at full droop if the angles get too crazy. I'll also have to factor in the ability to wrestle the assembly into the car, something like a 1" spacer or some spacer plates might be easier to work with and easier on the car.

Ideally I should sell the car and get a Subaru since parts are easier to source and I wouldn't feel bad risking damage to a Subaru (I don't really like them) but I'm not getting any interest so I may have to just work with what I have.
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby Numbchux » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:34 pm

Yea, 1" over stock just for shorter events would probably be fine. I'd be looking at a skid plate before I went any higher than that (I'd probably do that anyway...).

If you plan to do much, might be worth getting a beater just for RallyX. Almost anything can be competitive and fun. Unfortunately I live pretty far away from the closest events, so I won't be running much until I get my van sorted out and acquire a trailer.
-Chux
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby underscore » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:47 pm

Skid plates are something I'm hoping to do either way, a lift and taller tires can only help so much.

The "beater" we've been using for the last two TSD events was my 92 GTS, it behaved pretty well but it's lowered 1.75" so it had a pretty rough time at the last gravel event. We destroyed one tire, one strut, one strut mount, and at least one control arm mounting bolt. I'd be happy to keep using that a bit longer but long story short I have to combine all my car needs into a single vehicle. If I can't find a buyer for my GTFour then by default it'll have to become that vehicle.
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby underscore » Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:29 am

Following up on this, I realized the stiffness and reduced travel of the coilovers would hurt things quite a bit, even if I raised the ride height, so I've decided to use stock suspension and some small spacers for the rougher events.

For the spacers I got ahold of Tema4x4 out of Russia but they only make a kit for the rear (I swore I saw fronts before but maybe not). I figure if I have to DIY the front I may as well do all 4 corners myself since the increase in material cost is minimal and that way I get the same lift all around. I'm guessing I'm the only one out there looking to do this so this is largely just to keep track of info for my own purposes but maybe something here will help someone else out down the line. If anyone has suggestions for better parts to use please let me know.

I considered making metal spacers out of my old strut mounts like you can find for 4x4s that bolt to the top mount and then bolt to the chassis but that was going to involve a bunch of tricky cuts and welding. Tema sells poly spacers up to 40mm and Subaru guys use poly spacers up to 50mm so I figure if I'm only doing 25mm poly with longer studs will be fine.

Problem #1 is finding longer studs for the mounts. Wheel studs are the same style of knurled stud so I started looking at those. The stock mount studs are M10x1.25, I want to stay metric but the only M10 studs I could find are for a Chevy Sprint and too short, plus the knurl is smaller than what I measured for stock (I got 0.416" / 10.57mm vs 0.403" for the Chevy) so I'm worried they wouldn't be tight enough. Some ATVs use M10 studs, a bit of digging found me Polaris p/n 7518671, M10x1.25x58 studs. I know our mount studs aren't crazy strong and if these are strong enough to hold ATV wheels on with the beatings they get then it should be strong enough. I bought 3 from the dealer for $3 each, the knurl is a hair bigger than stock so I drilled out the hole a smidge (7/16" on the stepper just took off the old knurl ridges) and it pressed in with just a bit more resistance than the old ones pressed out which I assume is good?

Stock vs Polaris.

Image

All 3 pressed into my old mount I'm using for testing this.

Image

The non-threaded length should be fine with a 1" spacer + the chassis + two strut bar plates. Worst case I think I can use a die to thread them further down as the shaft OD matches the thread OD.

Image

Problem #2 is tubing to go through the poly around the studs. I don't know if it's necessary but I can see it in the Tema spacers so I figure I should do the same. After yet more searching for something I don't know the proper terms for I found this tubing that has the right ID (it may snag the protruding bit of knurl on the stud but I can fix that) that I can cut into 1" sections: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B004XN8H78/?co ... _lig_dp_it

Problem #3 is sourcing the poly itself. I found some 1" thick stuff but it was a bit pricey and that thickness would be hard to work with, plus if it ends up being too much lift I have to scrap it. Some quick guesstimating and a couple of these 1/2" thick boards should be enough to make 8 spacers. https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0032AM0BC/?co ... _lig_dp_it
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby alltrac801 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:11 pm

This was the same kind of thing I was looking to do with my coilovers before you told me I could adjust the ride height. I could only find the rear spacers too from Russia but that was going to take way to long. I was going to find longer studs too and now if I still want to do it I wont have to do the searching thanks to you. For the actual spacer part I was going to use a piece of a 1 inch think workout mat I have in a storage shed. Do you think the guys at BRD could make you a poly spacer? might be easier than making your own? Whatever you end up doing keep us updated because I'm super interested to see what you make :D
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby underscore » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:22 pm

BRD could probably make some but this way I can modify it as needed since I don't know exactly how much lift I want/need yet. Once I have all this installed I'm going to measure the studs in my rear coilovers (they might be the same specs as stock but with my luck they're different) and swap to longer studs so I can use the spacers with them as well. They were way too low out of the box, and while I was able to crank them up to a proper height because they have inverted dampers the adjustment knob that you access from the bottom is now so far up in the housing it's a nightmare to adjust.
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby Numbchux » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:33 pm

Looks good.

FYI, with a straight spacer like that, you will likely need aftermarket camber bolts to get the alignment back into spec.
-Chux
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby underscore » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:10 pm

At the front I'll have Cusco camber plates that should take care of it. In the rear I'll see how far out it is, there's a bit of adjustment in the stock bolts iirc.
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Re: Has anyone lifted their Celica?

Postby Numbchux » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:35 pm

underscore wrote:At the front I'll have Cusco camber plates that should take care of it. In the rear I'll see how far out it is, there's a bit of adjustment in the stock bolts iirc.


Yep, only thing to keep an eye out for, is clearance at the inside of the strut tower. Depending on the angles, that could be an issue, but I doubt it with that small of a lift.

My ST184 w/ ST204 rear lateral links, knuckles and brakes, only has toe adjustment in the rear.


Either way, sounds like you're very much on the right track. Keep it up, and keep us posted!
-Chux
'91 Celica GT vert, poly bushings, rear discs, etc., Summer DD
'87 unTurbo 4Runner, 1UZ swap, 35s
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