Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

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Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby Roreri » Sat Aug 28, 2021 8:18 pm

I decided to give an old acquaintance a call. He was a Toyota tech a long time ago in the 80s and 90s, for fifteen years. We geeked out for an hour about the Celica GT-Four I am refurbishing (I needed someone to kvetch about the shop taking their time on a timing belt/water pump/alternator/tire job my car has been in the shop for over a week for) and he gave me some recommendations:

1. When filling transmission fluid, have them fill it, then run the transmission through all the gears, and then top it off. The reason for this is there is a transmission oil cooler—unusual for a manual transmission—and it soaks up some transmission oil.

2. When changing oil, always use Toyota oil filters. The reason is that they have a leakback tube that works better with the engine—if you use some aftermarket filter, the engine will run dry for a bit. Not good. Good thing I have five Toyota oil filters on hand. Also, best to leave it overnight because it’s a bit of a pain to do an oil change hot.

3. He recommended going to a dealer and seeing if I can find an old school Toyota tech. The 3S-GTE was a fairly unique engine among Toyota’s lineup, and they were fiddly in the Celica AllTracs.

4. He said that taking the whole water pump off is not a bad thing. It lets them get in and clean out the tube and everything, which it needed based upon the pictures I saw. It is just taking time is all. I need to calm the f*** down and be patient.

5. OEM brake pads are the way to go. The OEM brake pads come with anti-squeal shims, and these are much better than the standard brake shop remedy for squealing with is a spray on rubberized coating. This tends to hold heat in, which is a bad thing. He also said that going to a dealer would be best for a brake job because they have the machine to resurface rotors and make them true.

6. He agreed that “laying on parts” is a good idea. He agreed that sometimes Toyota decides to discontinue parts in a weird manner that doesn’t make sense.

7. For the starter motor, he said that rather than replace the whole motor, there are some contacts that often need to be replaced. Any Toyota tech will understand this. All of the Denso starter motors were like that.

8. As far as the air conditioning, he recommended changing to R-134A and he did that all the time. Typically, it involved a relatively minor changeout. He did mention an octagonal piece atop the compressor that tended to leak. He thought that the rubber hoses might be worth replacing, but not the hardlines.

9. I mentioned that the previous owner either did an ABS delete or it never had ABS. He said it wasn’t much of a loss—ABS was pretty primitive at that point, and the Celica isn’t very heavy and has four wheel disc brakes.

All in all, this was a great conversation, and I left it feeling not quite so alone in this. I will call a dealer and see whether they have an old school tech that I can talk to about it.
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Last edited by Roreri on Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby abeans » Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:56 am

Roreri wrote: *Snip* and the Celica isn’t very heavy and has four wheel disc brakes.


Couldn't disagree more.
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby Roreri » Sun Aug 29, 2021 1:26 am

I'm used to today's two ton turds, so 3100 lbs doesn't seem heavy. You're saying that something like a big brake kit is in order? Maybe down the road.
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby abeans » Sun Aug 29, 2021 10:34 am

They are about 3300 in fully trim. In terms of small 2 door 90s coupe from japan, i can't think of any car in the same weight division. Its VERY heavy.
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby scandinavian link » Sun Aug 29, 2021 11:21 am

I had actually forgotten (selective memory?) just how heavy they are. Almost makes me just want to find an st162 instead of an st165. I recall my st161 coupe being under 2300. I think the st162s were a few hundred heavier.

I guess I got spoiled with my '00 GT-S. ~2,500 with the 2zz-ge wasn't bad. :|
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby underscore » Sun Aug 29, 2021 8:25 pm

abeans wrote:They are about 3300 in fully trim. In terms of small 2 door 90s coupe from japan, i can't think of any car in the same weight division. Its VERY heavy.


Mitsubishi GTO/3000GT 3700lbs, Nissan 300ZX 3300lbs, Nissan Skyline 3200lbs, Lexus SC400 3600lbs, MKIII Supra 3800lbs, MKIV Supra 3500lbs
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby Roreri » Sun Aug 29, 2021 10:57 pm

abeans wrote:They are about 3300 in fully trim. In terms of small 2 door 90s coupe from japan, i can't think of any car in the same weight division. Its VERY heavy.


I ain't for saying the gal who brought me is cankly. LOL

When I was just turned twenty, I had a 1991 ST--without even a spoiler--with the 4A-FE plant and the manual transmission. Thrust to weight was low: 103hp pushing 2500lbs (1:24.27). I'll take 3300lbs and the 222hp (1:14.86) and AWD any day. Seems superior to me. The AllTrac/GT-Four's "extra" weight isn't idle weight. It's equipment.

Now, those other cars that underscore mentioned--thrust to weight and handling varies. Were they faster, better handling cars? There's a lot to discuss, they all bring something different to the table. I like most of those cars, and remember lusting vividly after a Z32 300ZX TT or a 3000GT. They each have their attractions.

But, as relates to this, and thoughts about maintenance and setting up a GT-Four, I can see some better brakes down the line. Better to skip refurbing the stock brakes which are fine but not special and just shooting to upgraded brakes?
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby underscore » Mon Aug 30, 2021 3:10 am

When I first bought my RC the brakes and suspension were trashed. My GTS had significantly better handling and braking which was a bit sketchy when the RC had a lot more power. I went full overkill, with huge front brakes and coilovers, to try and fix this. Then I wanted to go back to smaller wheels and more ground clearance so I put in new, stock struts and rebuilt front calipers on and hoped it would at least be bearable. As it turns out it *new* stock-spec parts work really well and I'm very happy with it. What I realized was most peoples opinion on stock stuff not being very good is based on worn out old parts, not fresh new ones.

tl;dr - I'd refresh the stock stuff to begin with and see if you're happy with it. If you're still not satisfied, then upgrade. Having stock parts in good condition sitting on the shelf is never a bad thing, as you may want them later and they may not be available anymore. If there is an upgrade you think you might want one day but don't need yet, buy it while it's in production. I kept my set of big Brembo brackets from gtfourtc because I don't think he makes them anymore. I bought a set of smaller Brembo brackets from Bill Dana just in case I do want to run them some day.

*disclaimer: I am a bit of a spare parts hoarder, but I've been bitten by a mod being discontinued before I could buy it, or by throwing out a spare part and then needing it, enough times that I can justify to myself all the bits I have on the shelf. I already completely changed directions with my car 8 years into my 10 year ownership of it so it'll probably happen again in another 6 and who knows what direction I'll take then and what parts that may need :rofl:
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby abeans » Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:29 pm

underscore wrote:
abeans wrote:They are about 3300 in fully trim. In terms of small 2 door 90s coupe from japan, i can't think of any car in the same weight division. Its VERY heavy.


Mitsubishi GTO/3000GT 3700lbs, Nissan 300ZX 3300lbs, Nissan Skyline 3200lbs, Lexus SC400 3600lbs, MKIII Supra 3800lbs, MKIV Supra 3500lbs


Those cars are all much bigger in size, physically. Celica small car big weight.
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby underscore » Mon Aug 30, 2021 3:25 pm

In what dimension? I've had friends own all of those and I wouldn't consider any of them big cars. The MKIV Supra is probably the largest and it's only 2" longer, 3" wider and a smidge shorter despite having an inline 6 and being considered the biggest booty of them all. I'm curious what 90's coupes you're thinking of that are significantly smaller than a Celica.
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby abeans » Mon Aug 30, 2021 3:46 pm

Nothing is. I'm saying the celica is a TINY car compared to the cars you posted, and comparable and in most cases heavier in weight.

It's heavy, for it's size. Compare the Impreza... There is a reason the st205 went on a serious diet from the st185. Subaru made a tin foil awd car that out of the factory was under 3k out the gates.


That said it's far more durable. :D
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Re: Phone Conversation With an Old School Toyota Tech

Postby Roreri » Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:58 pm

There are a few smaller coupes than the Celica.

The Paseo, for one, weighing in at an irrelevant sixteen ounces and about that many horsepower. Okay, actually 93 hp and 2100 lbs (1:22.5). I didn't buy one when put to it.

The Miata MX-5, for another, which is like a car only smaller. 115 hp and 2160 lbs (1:18.78). There was a rare turbocharged version that could make 210hp. I bet that ripped.

Or, the MR2, which by fifth gen Celica times had grown from ~2200 to ~2750lbs.

The Fiero was a hot little car and still around though not in production--2500 to 2800 lbs depending on which one, and you could kit it out with a 140hp V6. Holy shit, today I learned about the Pontiac Mera check it out:

PontiacMera1987.jpg


But okay, whatever. The Celica has sufficient brakes. And a turbo, intercooler, transfer case, propeller shaft, and rear diff--all that has to weigh something. Is any of the additional weight in the form of frame stiffening? As far as weight, Andy Boxall's story is informative in terms of explaining why it's also irrelevant:

https://www.toyoland.com/car-reviews/to ... a-gt4.html

"I was astonished with the brutal acceleration that the combination of a turbo and all-wheel-drive could produce, a very different experience to the MR2, even though the cars share the same engine and power."

To get this back on starting topic. To underscore: I'll go your suggested route by having a brake overhaul done.
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