Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoration

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Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoration

Postby EvilStig » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:03 pm

I started this project about 2 years ago now and it's been almost as long since the car was in one piece. As it nears the home stretch of being put back together and driven, I think it's long overdue for the build thread.

As such these first posts are going to contain a lot of images more than explanations, so just enjoy the progression, or ask questions if you have them.

First though, a little history: This car has been in my circle of friends for a long time now. It started with my friend Val, who had it as a daily before I came here to California. They had a friend Behruz, who helped them keep it running for years and for whom this project is named--they did a lot of the nightmare work on this car, and without them it wouldn't be on the road today. Behruz was a selfless helping hand and treated the car like his own. Sadly he passed unexpectedly several years ago. After Behruz, Val sold the car to my close friend and former roommate Soleil, who loved it but could never give it the attention she wanted. She sold it to another friend of mine, Cody, when she moved away, and a few years after that, it became too much for Cody to handle, so I jumped at the chance of buying it and keeping it 'in the family' as it were.

Here are some before pictures from when I first bought her:

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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby EvilStig » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:12 pm

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How it started: This hose needed replacing.

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One hose led to another, all rotted out and full of oil.

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Recirculator had been added with a CT27 by a prior owner. Now all that was full of oil also and questionable, so it was decided to pull it out and rebuild it all.

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interior had seen better days

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drivers seat out for reupholstering

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started running into trouble pulling the turbo. It is not easy to get out.

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previous owner added LED headlights, but as a result the hi-beams, fogs, and dashboard indicator lights didn't work right... it took some trial and error coupled with weird toyota voodoo pixie magic to wire up the right combination of resistors to get everything working.
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby EvilStig » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:26 pm

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and since I was fooling around with the indicator lights, why not modernize everything with LEDs?

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removed, buffed and polished the plastic of the cluster.

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I went with amber because the warm light is easy on the eyes at night

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the HVAC controls and other console lights were a bit of a challenge. Had to custom build LED bulbs for a lot of them using through-hole micro LEDs and resistors.

Little humor break for you: another successful pick-n-pull run...

...ahh, yeah, she's really starting to come together.

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New carbon fiber bonnet arrived, very pleased with the look of it.

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Several hours of vacuuming, shampooing, and steam cleaning later...

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Floor mats looking better, but not perfect yet. One is missing. Anyone have an original grey rear floor mat I can buy from them? I don't care if it's super ratty I'll attempt to restore it....

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Rear seats were in good enough shape they cleaned up well with just some saddle soap and TLC.

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back in the car

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You know this is surprisingly roomy with no front seats in it...

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pick-n-pull salvage from a GT. It's blue... but it almost matches. I'll repaint it later.
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby EvilStig » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:38 pm

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Now the real magic starts happening...

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Poof! Like new!

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I'm told the last of the wrinkles will come out in time. It took a lot of steam and careful stretching to get it to this point.

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I had such a hard time sourcing this bumper... eventually found a guy in Poland who was selling them, but would only ship in the EU! So I had him ship it to a friend of mine in the Czech Republic, who then shipped it to me. It was worth the wait.

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At this point the car just kinda sat like this for a while since I was so busy with work.

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... a long while ...

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in February I lost my job, so finally the gloves come off!

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Not shown: previous owner had a power steering pump explosion. Everything was covered in dirty grimy power steering fluid and oil. It was a mess! Many hours of degreasing, cleaning, and detailing later, plus some new wires and hoses...

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The thought of drilling my nice new CF hood was so daunting I put this off for over a year!

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hood pins installed. I ended up drilling out one of the headlight bolts, and replacing it with the threaded rod for the pins. As a result adjusting the headlights means adjusting the hood and vice versa... it still needs some tinkering, but I'm sufficiently satisfied at the moment I don't want to pull it all apart again to make the adjustments just yet.
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby EvilStig » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:45 pm

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It's always such a pain working in the dark

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test fitment of charge cooler parts, working on getting the layout right.

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Second attempt at replacing the ashtray with a blank faceplate for mounting stuff, finally paid off.

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I'm getting real tired of repeatedly pulling and putting back interior panels at this point.

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last night was up super late installing and testing the new electronics. Dashcam, greddy profec EBC, turbo timer, AEM wideband o2 and AFR, glowshift boost gauge. At this point I'm getting close enough the excitement to drive it again is building....
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby underscore » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:45 pm

That's an impressive chain of ownership and amount of work you're doing to it. It looks like the shell is at least solid so you've got a good starting point.
★ 1991 GTFour RC ~ "Rebel Scum" ★
It's for sale! http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=52181
Build thread http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=44216
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby EvilStig » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:22 am

Today ran the wires I'd need in the cabin for the switches and instruments I have yet to install (waiting on parts), took out and painted the center console armrest (pictures tomorrow if I remember), reverse engineered the primary relay box, wired up a relay to run the intercooler water pump whenever the ignition was on, wired up the water pump, removed the engine mount, cut the stud for the USDM crossbrace off along with its mounting hardpoints, verified fitment of the wta intercooler coolant hardlines, drilled and tapped directly into the motor mount so I could run 2 bolts to hold the hardlines in place. DIY ST185H motor mount! reinstalled the coolant reservior. For like the 5th time. Decided it was best to put off finalizing the cabin wiring of the new electronics until everything was here and set up the way I wanted it.

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for anyone wondering what the hardlines setup is supposed to look like on an ST185 RC... it's tight but it fits.

The ST185 hardlines and ST205 hardlines are ostensibly different, however it's likely just a change in chassis mounting points since that portion of the intercooler hookup is very close to the same, and my 185 hardlines connected right up with the 205 intercooler core.

For those wondering, I did modify the USDM IC bracket somewhat, but only so slightly that I haven't really had to commit to it yet. Through some careful bending of the PCV line and some grinder/dremel work on thinning out the front side of the bracket, I could fit the rear coolant line between the PCV and bracket. It's so close that I had to drill a cutout in the edge of the bracket for the bolt to pass through. I crafted a special spacer out of washers so the bolt could grab half the bracket and hold itself in place with tension. it's not super secure, but frankly I'm sure any one or two of the like 5 hoses going into it is strong enough to hold the thing in position above the engine, so I'm not really concerned.
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby alltracshoak » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:18 am

Welcome. If you're in norcal and need some help.sometime I can stop by and help.
Current 1992 teal st185- 2018 - in pieces trying to pit back together
90 black st185 - 2018 - sold 2018
90 black st185 -sold 2010?
rip: 92 white st185 @ 178k :(
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby EvilStig » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:18 pm

alltracshoak wrote:Welcome. If you're in norcal and need some help.sometime I can stop by and help.


San Jose actually, you?
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby CS-Wolf » Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:15 pm

I wouldn't say it was too much to handle. More that things happened and the financial situation at our place went to hell in a hand basket so we had to sell. I'm definitely glad both that it went back to you and that you've been killing it on getting it going again!

Eventually I'll pick up another one for sure though, I miss that damn car every day!
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby EvilStig » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:22 am

today's progress:

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created circuit interrupt for the radiator fan control circuit and routed to a toggle switch

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Here's how I'm fishing stuff through the firewall... piece of solid copper groundwire, tape to loom

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To protect the wires from pinching, heat and abrasion (they run right past the steering u-joint) I've run them first through a cable sleeve, and then wrapped in loom tape

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vacuum hose for the boost gauge has an additional layer of corrugated wire loom to prevent kinking.

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Couldn't source a pigtail for the coolant level switch, so used a generic waterproof disconnect. Ran the wires into the cabin, connected one to 12v ACC power, the other to a normally open relay, and the relay between 12v ACC power and a 12v indicator LED which I slotted in above the boost gauge on the A-pillar.

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engine mount bolt was stripped and had backed out, new one uses a 1.75 thread pitch, so I re-tapped the welded on nut, then added a second prevailing torque lock nut to keep it backing out again. I don't envy whomever pulls the engine next (probably future me... but that's his problem.)

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what started as a 1/2" hole cut in the steering column boot needed to expand repeatedly to over an inch and no longer looks pretty, but all the wires and hoses fit....

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Current status of the electronics packages I'm installing: fully hooked up, tested, working... I'll save hiding everything away neatly for tomorrow when I have more light.

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I painted the center console armrest to match the interior. The difference is subtle, but looks noticeably more natural than before:

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that's enough for one day...
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby gt4ferko » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:49 pm

Awesome progress. Can't wait to see it finished!
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby EvilStig » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:36 am

finally finished reassembling the interior... almost.

I have extra parts, apparently.

I seriously don't understand how something this big could go unnoticed if it's missing in the cabin, but for the life of me I can't figure out what they are (it's been over a year since I took it apart)

Any idea?

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no other pictures today since I finally have a non-potato camera and something that looks nice to take pictures of, but it's too dark to make the best of it....
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Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby FC Zach » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:40 am

EvilStig wrote:finally finished reassembling the interior... almost.

I have extra parts, apparently.

I seriously don't understand how something this big could go unnoticed if it's missing in the cabin, but for the life of me I can't figure out what they are (it's been over a year since I took it apart)

Any idea?


Steering wheel I believe
1992 Toyota Celica AllTrac
1993 Yamaha GTS1000
1987 Mazda RX7 Sport
1979 Yamaha G1A, rotary powered with Sachs KM24
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1992 Toyota Celica

Re: Project LOLTRAC, or ST185 BS - a USDM Alltrac restoratio

Postby EvilStig » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:10 am

FC Zach wrote:
EvilStig wrote:finally finished reassembling the interior... almost.

I have extra parts, apparently.

I seriously don't understand how something this big could go unnoticed if it's missing in the cabin, but for the life of me I can't figure out what they are (it's been over a year since I took it apart)

Any idea?


Steering wheel I believe


that would explain it! I haven't put that back in yet....
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