My ST165 Project Car

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My ST165 Project Car

Postby mickeyfinn » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:21 pm

Way back in 1989, my best friends mom bought a used 1986 Toyota Celica GTS.
I was smitten. It was the coolest car I had ever seen! It was the first Twin CAM 16V EFI car I had know of,and it seemed most cars were still carbureted at the time.
My friend and I drove that thing everywhere the last year of high school. Many, many fond memories. That car changed my life.

A couple years later, I purchased a 1987 Celica GT with a 3SFE Engine. I was a great car, and a had it for a couple years. But it never was a GTS, and never would be. The Celica turbo alltrac came to my attention, and became my dream car, but it was way out of my price range for where I was in life at the time.

For many years I occasionally remembered the ST165 alltrac and always dreamed of finding one. Mostly though, the car was hard to find, and the ones I did, were so beat, it wouldn't be worth it. I wanted one that was in tip/top shape.

I August of 2018, after many years of looking, I finally found my dream car from a great guy in Minnesota, (I'm in Utah). I couldn't believe my luck! After talking to the guy on the phone for a bit, I flew out to see the car, purchased it, and shipped it back home.

I'm going to document and share my story...

Here's a couple pics of it when I arrived to look at the car.
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Celica-1.JPG
Celica-2.JPG
Celica-3.JPG
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby mickeyfinn » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:51 pm

When I inspected the car, the body and interior was in fantastic shape.

The engine looked good, but the power wasn't there, and it was making a pretty loud ticking sound. Oil pressure gauge was reading way low, but we hooked a manual gauge and could see OP was there. Check engine light was also on.

As the body and interior was in such great shape, I could deal with anything in the engine bay.
Body and interior parts a really hard to come by. I'm willing to fix the engine.

From what I gather, the original car owner was a pilot for Southwest Airlines and didn't get to drive it much. Then, from what I can tell, the car sat in a garage for a very long time. It seems he started collecting spare genuine Toyota parts, knowing that they were going out of production soon. Not sure what his plans were. At some point, it seems he decided to just sell the car, and he sold it to the guy I bought it from, who had it for a couple years, but didn't drive it much either because he had a JDM Skyline that he enthused about, and it was taking to up all his time and money. So he wanted to find a Celica lover that would totally love/appreciate the car, and would take good care of her. Not just anybody, but someone who would truly appreciate what they had, and cherish the car.

That's where I stepped in.
Last edited by mickeyfinn on Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby mickeyfinn » Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:27 pm

I'm retroactively writing this thread. Trying to remember things the best I can...
For those that like stories, and maybe help someone else out.

Got the car home and start looking into things...

Engine Error Codes coming up:
51 - (IDL) "No “IDL” signal, “NSW” signal or “A/C” signal to ECU, during diagnosis check."
52 – (KNK) "Knock Sensor Signal. Open or short circuit in knock sensor signal."
54 – (INT) "Intercooler ECU Signal, Intercooler coolant low, or pump failure."

Bought a very nice "Diagnostic Port Jumper Wire" from Wits End:
https://absolute-wits-end.com/diagnostic-port-jumper-wire-for-obd-equipped-vehicles/
Wits End.JPG


Replaced the Oil Pressure Sender:
Napa [Echlin] PN: OP6131. Did not solve low Oil pressure gauge reading.

Replaced the Knock Sensor:
Genuine Toyota PN: 89615-20010 (Ignition Knock (Detonation) Sensor.). Did not solve the KNK error.

Intercooler water was low. Filled it up. Solved the INT error, but I can hear the intercooler water pump bearings are shot, and making a loud noise. It's strange to see how seemingly random the pump comes on.

Saw that fellow Alltrac' er "Zaluss" found a good Bosch replacement water pump here:
PN: wat001001 (Bosch 0392022002) "Intercooler Water Pump Assembly w/pigtail"http://www.siliconeintakes.com/liquid-air-adapter/water-to-air-pump-0392022002-p-1001.html

Replaced intercooler pump. No more Intercooler problems.
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby mickeyfinn » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:01 pm

Decided to start with a tune-up:

Went with these:
NGK, BCPR5EIX, Iridium IX Spark Plugs, (Stock No. 5688), [Pack of 4].
Denso, 671-4156, Ignition Wire Set.
Napa [Echlin] EP811, Distributor Cap.
Genuine Toyota, 19102-73021, Distributor Rotor.

Discovered the Distributor Cap had been installed off center and completely worn off two of the electrodes.

Distributor Cap.jpg


Also, while I had the intercooler off, I noticed it was full of black gunk, and pretty dirty. So I cleaned it out real good and added a catch can to prevent this from happening again:

Racer X Catch Can-1.JPG


I designed and 3D printed a mounting bracket that clamps to the strut brace.
Attachments
Racer X Catch Can-2.jpg
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby mickeyfinn » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:14 pm

Might as well do a compression test while the plugs are out.

Here were the readings:
#1 = 150 psi
#2 = 115 psi
#3 = 150 psi
#4 = 150 psi

With oil:
#1 = 190 psi
#2 = 130 psi
#3 = 170 psi
#4 = 180 psi

Something is up with #2 cylinder.

Ran a scope down inside for a better look:

Discovered a crater in the top ring land:

Piston Ring Land Blown.JPG


The rest of the pistons also show similar damage. Damn.
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby mickeyfinn » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:30 pm

Pulled the Valve Cover to see if I could figure out what was making all the racket inside.

I discovered that the Camshaft Journals were so worn, and opened up, that the camshafts were hopping around and egg-beatering all around inside!


My guess at this point is that the 1st owner possibly put in a boost controller and over-boosted, or damaged the engine (lean conditions somehow) probably ran it out of oil too. Maybe he realized it and let it set for 15 years while he figured he'd get to it someday...

I took the car to a friend of mine who has a shop and used to sell JDM engines.

Pulled the oil pan and a couple caps. Main bearings are gone, and shavings in the oil.

This Engine will have to be rebuilt.

He has a cylinder head sitting on the shelf.
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby zaluss » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:19 pm

mickeyfinn wrote:Pulled the Valve Cover to see if I could figure out what was making all the racket inside.

I discovered that the Camshaft Journals were so worn, and opened up, that the camshafts were hopping around and egg-beatering all around inside!


My guess at this point is that the 1st owner possibly put in a boost controller and over-boosted, or damaged the engine (lean conditions somehow) probably ran it out of oil too. Maybe he realized it and let it set for 15 years while he figured he'd get to it someday...

I took the car to a friend of mine who has a shop and used to sell JDM engines.

Pulled the oil pan and a couple caps. Main bearings are gone, and shavings in the oil.

This Engine will have to be rebuilt.

He has a cylinder head sitting on the shelf.


Yikes. :shock:

I know you want to keep it original but you'll probably start finding stuff deterioriting that is irreplaceable. I found this out when I pulled the oil feed line on my original gen1.

Still recommend you go Gen3, Gen4, or Gen5. The power gains and part availability are really good.
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby underscore » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:10 pm

At least you're starting with what looks like a very tidy chassis and interior. I'll go get some snacks and await the rest of the story to date.
★ 1991 GTFour RC ~ "Rebel Scum" ★
Build thread http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=44216
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby alltrac801 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:37 pm

underscore wrote:At least you're starting with what looks like a very tidy chassis and interior. I'll go get some snacks and await the rest of the story to date.


Im doing the same lol
1991 Toyota Celica All-Trac White (239,000 miles)
1991 Toyota Celica All-Trac Black (163,000 miles)
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1991 Toyota Celica

Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby mickeyfinn » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:18 pm

Since I need a new engine, it appears now that I am at the crossroads. I could either:
A. Rebuild the engine and restore the car. Keeping it all original.
(I never plan to sell it, but it may retain more resale value as all original).
B. Swap the engine out for a different one, like an ST205.

In my heart, at the time, I wanted to restore the car back to factory.

The friend with the shop I mentioned earlier also owns an automotive machine shop company that rebuilds engines.
He works mostly on Japanese cars; Subaru and Toyota. He strongly recommends that I rebuild the existing engine.
I left the car with him.

I kept coming across our good friend here "Zaluss" and his many posts online in various places, here, instagram, and the "wheelwell" site on his way nice ST165.

I followed his "Project ST165-ST205 Swap thread: https://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=50558

A swap is totally doable, he's had great success with his, but doing an engine swap is not something I feel like I can do by myself. I was also terrified that it would be never ending engine electrical problems, hassles and headaches... I've heard the horror stories.

My friend kept saying: it's basically the same 3SGTE engine in the ST205, just has a CT20b turbo. Rebuild yours, and later, you can put a better turbo on it if you want.

I've always admired Zaluss' car, and kept going over it.

I got a hold of ATS racing down in Texas and asked about having them do the ST205 swap. They have done it many times, and they assure me that "EVERYTHING will work when it's done." Cruise, A/C, ABS, all of it, and no electrical problem either. But, it could cost around $6,000 plus any extras like changing the water pump, timing belt, P/S etc. Stuff that you would want to do while you are at it. I also would have to ship, the car down there. That could run an additional ~$800 - $1,100 each way from Utah.
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby zaluss » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:33 pm

mickeyfinn wrote:Since I need a new engine, it appears now that I am at the crossroads. I could either:
A. Rebuild the engine and restore the car. Keeping it all original.
(I never plan to sell it, but it may retain more resale value as all original).
B. Swap the engine out for a different one, like an ST205.

In my heart, at the time, I wanted to restore the car back to factory.

The friend with the shop I mentioned earlier also owns an automotive machine shop company that rebuilds engines.
He works mostly on Japanese cars; Subaru and Toyota. He strongly recommends that I rebuild the existing engine.
I left the car with him.

I kept coming across our good friend here "Zaluss" and his many posts online in various places, here, instagram, and the "wheelwell" site on his way nice ST165.

I followed his "Project ST165-ST205 Swap thread: https://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=50558

A swap is totally doable, he's had great success with his, but doing an engine swap is not something I feel like I can do by myself. I was also terrified that it would be never ending engine electrical problems, hassles and headaches... I've heard the horror stories.

My friend kept saying: it's basically the same 3SGTE engine in the ST205, just has a CT20b turbo. Rebuild yours, and later, you can put a better turbo on it if you want.

I've always admired Zaluss' car, and kept going over it.

I got a hold of ATS racing down in Texas and asked about having them do the ST205 swap. They have done it many times, and they assure me that "EVERYTHING will work when it's done." Cruise, A/C, ABS, all of it, and no electrical problem either. But, it could cost around $6,000 plus any extras like changing the water pump, timing belt, P/S etc. Stuff that you would want to do while you are at it. I also would have to ship, the car down there. That could run an additional ~$800 - $1,100 each way from Utah.


This was the first car I pulled an engine out (3 times if you count my clutch shenanigans!) and it was very straightforward if you have the tools and a crane. As you can see in my thread, I did it all in a tiny apartment garage on a hill. I only had a couple of feet between the garage entrance and the car, with the car pushed up against the wall with towels :)

Electrical is something I did not tackle myself and I would highly recommend sending out the harness for professional merging. It was entirely plug and play.

Cost wise it certainly adds up. Engine alone cost me $1800 delivered (to my apartment no less) I think but it included the trans which was invaluable since its so much better than the stock ST165 trans. All the little incidentals added up significantly though and I think I ended up spending around 20k but that was full suspension (full bushings, powdercoating, coilovers, etc) included as well.

Also with more power comes the need for more cooling so you'll need to up the WTA system or go front mount so added complexity.

Would I spend 20k again? Probably not but you don't have to do everything at once like I did either.
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby mickeyfinn » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:50 pm

Yeah, I saw that. You are the man!
I saw that you didn't have much room there to work with.

You are to this day running an ST205 ECU?
The wiring harness goes from the ECU to the components in the engine bay, and that's it??

I always wondered how you got so interested in the ST165?

Did you have a ST165 project car before that?
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby mickeyfinn » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:52 pm

Most people won't spend 20k unless they REALLY love the car. (like you and me) LOL!
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby zaluss » Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:37 pm

mickeyfinn wrote:Yeah, I saw that. You are the man!
I saw that you didn't have much room there to work with.

You are to this day running an ST205 ECU?
The wiring harness goes from the ECU to the components in the engine bay, and that's it??

I always wondered how you got so interested in the ST165?

Did you have a ST165 project car before that?


I switched over to an MR2 gen3 ECU to defeat the intercooler code code 54. Yeah the harness is merged into your existing fusebox and connects to all the existing stuff except the oil pressure gauge because gen3 only had a pressure switch. You should go aftermarket for that anyway.

The very first car I purchased with my own money was an 89 ST162 and the car I learned how to wrench on which is how I got interested. I did have a ST165 before this but it was badly rusted so I stripped it for parts after I found this one.

Image

Image
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Re: My ST165 Project Car

Postby simple » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:07 pm

Ah that fix or replace debate. I just went through that.

Glad I got a ST205 engine a few months ago. Seems there are few of them available now. Prices went up as well. Reason I'm glad is my ST165 engine is roasted. Broken con rod at the least but also found a huge crack in the turbine exhaust housing. These ST165 ran hot!

Loving the story so far!
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