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Old 01-05-2012, 11:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Modding a Corolla

Hey guys, new guy here. I've had my 10th gen Corolla for a while now, since 2008 actually. The parents traded the crappy 05 Ford Focus I drove 3 weeks after the 10th gen was introduced so I'm pretty proud of the fact that it came from Japan though I'm not sure if that's something to be proud of lol. 3-4 years later, the car is about to get paid full so I'm starting to look for mods that I can do. It's an LE and right now all it has are a set of Yokohama AVID TRZ's with a 15" Enkei 5 spoke wheel that I can't find the certain model of and TRD plates on the back.

I've got a bunch of questions so forgive the ignorance, I'm not necessarily new to cars, I just never thought of modding my Corolla since I always thought it to be just another econobox... until I drove it on the nice curvy back roads here in Texas, it was then I realized that I could actually drive the car a lot harder and started loving the car.

Anyway, the mods I wanna do:

- Springs, I want to lower it in a way that the front is a lot lower than the back, what kind of springs should I get?
- Spoiler, do you suggest to get a pro to install the rear OEM(or not) spoiler or can that be considered a DIY?
- Intakes, I've settled on a short-ram intake(a dude I know almost ruined his 9th gen driving it in the rain with a cold air intake... smh) but which brand is better? I like the K&N's(my bro has one installed on his Mazda3), but I also prefer the price of those Takeda's lol.
- Fog lights, can this also be considered a DIY?
- Badges, am I gonna cause a problem(with the popo's, insurance, dealer, whatever) if I take the LE badge out and replace it with an Altis badge? Lol, this is one of the "mods" I've been dying to do(purely for comedic factor), but I just wanna make sure that it's not gonna cause an issue in the future.

I'm probably not gonna do most of these mods until the summer but I'm asking right now so I can set some money aside as I'm just a poor college student. Another reason is that I might hand down the car to my sis, and if that happens I just might be swayed to pick up a beater Mazda Miata since I've been dying to get my hands on a stick RWD car(if only I could find a decent, stock even, AE86 these days).

And that's it lol, if you guys have any other suggestions that I could do with the car, that'll be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you liked how it handled on the switchbacks I suggest the TRD front strut brace and rear sway bar as well.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Xenos View Post
If you liked how it handled on the switchbacks I suggest the TRD front strut brace and rear sway bar as well.
This ^

and I can vouch for the Takeda SRI - looks great and sounds really awesome, esp ~4500 RPM
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by takumi2k4 View Post
I'm pretty proud of the fact that it came from Japan though I'm not sure if that's something to be proud of lol.
Wow really? What does your VIN start with?

1 means it was made in the USA
2 is Canada
J is Japan

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Originally Posted by takumi2k4 View Post
It's an LE and right now all it has are a set of Yokohama AVID TRZ's with a 15" Enkei 5 spoke wheel that I can't find the certain model of
Are these the wheels you have?

According to TRDSparks, they're Enkei BECT Wheels.


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Originally Posted by takumi2k4 View Post
- Springs, I want to lower it in a way that the front is a lot lower than the back, what kind of springs should I get?
Most of the springs that are available for the 10thGen usually level out the car with the front being slightly lower. Not sure if you can get that look you want unless you want to cut springs. How low do you want to drop your car?

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Originally Posted by takumi2k4 View Post
- Spoiler, do you suggest to get a pro to install the rear OEM(or not) spoiler or can that be considered a DIY?
You can DIY, some spoilers you purchase come with instructions and a template.

Quote:
Originally Posted by takumi2k4 View Post
- Intakes, I've settled on a short-ram intake(a dude I know almost ruined his 9th gen driving it in the rain with a cold air intake... smh) but which brand is better? I like the K&N's(my bro has one installed on his Mazda3), but I also prefer the price of those Takeda's lol.
Don't get scared of getting a CAI intake because of your friend, I've had my CAI on my Xrs for over a year now and I've had no problems or troubles with it. I've driven through giant puddles and such and nothing ever happened. You can't go wrong with the brand you choose, all of them are reputable. Each just has the different features, but most here go with the Takeda I believe.

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Originally Posted by takumi2k4 View Post
- Fog lights, can this also be considered a DIY?
Yep, some come with a manual/instructions or you can get help here. Many of installed theirs themselves on their LE's and base models.


Quote:
Originally Posted by takumi2k4 View Post
- Badges, am I gonna cause a problem(with the popo's, insurance, dealer, whatever) if I take the LE badge out and replace it with an Altis badge? Lol, this is one of the "mods" I've been dying to do(purely for comedic factor), but I just wanna make sure that it's not gonna cause an issue in the future.
Lol no

Go for it.

Oh and to the Forum!
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Oh yeah, I totally forgot about the brace and sway bar, I'm definitely adding that to my list.

I just looked at the drivers side sticker to make sure and yeah it starts with "JTDBL" and a bunch of the other letters and numbers that I can't remember. There's also a line on top that says 01/08 which I'm assuming means it was built in January of 2008(is that right?) and a line on the bottom that says Made in Japan. I also wasn't part of that "recall" so I guess that confirms it? Idk lol.

Yeah, that's exactly the wheels that I have. My dad tells me the dealership installed them as an extra package or whatever, I guess that explains why I can't find any info on it at Enkei's website.

I honestly don't know how much of a drop I want yet, I just don't wanna look like most of the ricers out here with their Civic Si's so low that you could only stick one sheet of computer paper down there before it gets stuck. That's just too low IMO, so I guess something that's a little lower than the Eibachs, but not as low as the Teins.

That's good to know about the spoilers and fog lights, the biggest thing I'm worried about is screwing up the electronics. I can screw around the insides of a computer, but I haven't tried messing around with a car. That's probably the biggest thing I'm scared of when tackling these mods. Btw, is there a recommended seller on eBay, Amazon, or another website for the fog lights? There's so many listings on eBay, I'm not sure if I could actually trust any of those sellers.

For the intake, I think the biggest factor why I want an SRI more is due to ease of installation. A lot of my friends seem to have trouble installing CAI's on their cars(mostly Civics and a couple 9th gen owners), idk if it's just coz they're not following the instructions right but I've had more experience installing an SRI so I'm gonna go where I'm comfortable at lol.

And the badge lol... which one's a lot more cleaner, the credit card trick or the dental string? I've seen the credit card trick once but it failed since the paint got overheated and it started chipping off too.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You sound young so I'll give you a little bit of advise I've learned (I'm only 25 myself). Save save save. When you have some funds evaluate what you want to do, whether is mod the corolla, or get a miata as you said.

If you're also really serious about extracting more performance out of your corolla, know that no bolt on is going to give you a very noticeable difference in terms of pure acceleration. And if you really want to increase the performance through the bends, research local racing/driving schools/programs... A good one day class will arguably make you much faster than springs and bars will (though these can increase stability and confidence which may in turn make you faster).

Last edited by acr_vp; 01-06-2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acr_vp View Post
You sound young so I'll give you a little bit of advise I've learned (I'm only 25 myself). Save save save. When you have some funds evaluate what you want to do, whether is mod the corolla, or get a miata as you said.

If you're also really serious about extracting more performance out of your corolla, know that no bolt on is going to give you a very noticeable difference in terms of pure acceleration. And if you really want to increase the performance through the bends, research local racing/driving schools/programs... A good one day class will arguably make you much faster than springs and bars will (though these can increase stability and confidence which may in turn make you faster).
I always chuckle to myself a bit when a 25 year old guy tells someone that they sound young. Still that was great advice you gave.
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Old 01-07-2012, 01:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acr_vp View Post
You sound young so I'll give you a little bit of advise I've learned (I'm only 25 myself). Save save save. When you have some funds evaluate what you want to do, whether is mod the corolla, or get a miata as you said.

If you're also really serious about extracting more performance out of your corolla, know that no bolt on is going to give you a very noticeable difference in terms of pure acceleration. And if you really want to increase the performance through the bends, research local racing/driving schools/programs... A good one day class will arguably make you much faster than springs and bars will (though these can increase stability and confidence which may in turn make you faster).
Heh, if 21 is young, I'll take it! But I definitely agree with your advice, as that's pretty much exactly what I've been planning to do.

I'm pretty torn actually, I test drove a stick 07 Miata yesterday and I immediately fell in love with it. Then I got back to my Corolla and kept looking for the clutch and tried to drive it like the Miata lol. But I still love my Corolla though, it feels more safer to drive spiritedly in my Corolla than the Miata. Something about the RWD, the clutch, and the fact that the car is so low felt less safer to drive.

And yes, I agree with the racing schools. I'm not sure if there's some here in the DFW area though. Other than Eagles Canyon Raceway in Slidell, there isn't really that much race tracks that offer track days or racing classes here. I'm note even sure if Texas Motor Speedway does it too, I know they had a road course about 10 years ago. But I don't think they still offer track days these days, even for the oval track. So my options are pretty much limited here.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by takumi2k4 View Post
I'm pretty torn actually, I test drove a stick 07 Miata yesterday and I immediately fell in love with it. Then I got back to my Corolla and kept looking for the clutch and tried to drive it like the Miata lol. But I still love my Corolla though, it feels more safer to drive spiritedly in my Corolla than the Miata. Something about the RWD, the clutch, and the fact that the car is so low felt less safer to drive.
You just can't drive a Miata the same way you drive a FWD vehicle, as the performance between the FWD and RWD are almost day and night for most cars. Your Corolla is a lot more forgiving than a Miata or RWD car, so that's why you probably felt safer.
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You just can't drive a Miata the same way you drive a FWD vehicle, as the performance between the FWD and RWD are almost day and night for most cars. Your Corolla is a lot more forgiving than a Miata or RWD car, so that's why you probably felt safer.
I thought about this a lot and it really feels different in a Miata. I still couldn't come up to a conclusion, but I think it's coz the Miata is so low in terms of the seating. I felt the same thing when I test drove a Mini Cooper S a while back. The sense of speed that you get is insanely different even though you're pretty much driving the same speed as the Corolla. I could perfectly drive my Corolla at 100mph without any hesitation(other than the popo's of course but that's what a radar detector is for ), but 60mph on the Miata... it's a totally different beast.

Speaking of which, at what speed does the governor kick in for the Corolla? I've never driven it past 100mph, but I've heard the 9th gens top out at 115mph so I'm assuming it's the same for us as well?

Anyway, I got used to spirited driving really quickly with my Corolla. So I'm pretty sure it would be the same for Miata(if I do get it). Like all things, we gotta start somewhere after all.
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It's still got the speed limiter set at 115.



Here's a funny bit of trivia for you fellas though. Our 132 hp, FWD, grocery getter commuter car is governed at 115 mph.


The big fancy "looks fast while it sitting still" 305 hp Mustang V6? 112 mph.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:41 AM   #12 (permalink)
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It's still got the speed limiter set at 115.



Here's a funny bit of trivia for you fellas though. Our 132 hp, FWD, grocery getter commuter car is governed at 115 mph.


The big fancy "looks fast while it sitting still" 305 hp Mustang V6? 112 mph.
i've gone 128mph (xrs) and still had throttle and rpm's left, i think its 130 limited. as far as mustang though, you'll be watching mustang bumper getting smaller and smaller the whole way. i also suspect the stang is sub-100mph in the 1/4.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenos View Post
It's still got the speed limiter set at 115.



Here's a funny bit of trivia for you fellas though. Our 132 hp, FWD, grocery getter commuter car is governed at 115 mph.


The big fancy "looks fast while it sitting still" 305 hp Mustang V6? 112 mph.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:26 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenos View Post
It's still got the speed limiter set at 115.



Here's a funny bit of trivia for you fellas though. Our 132 hp, FWD, grocery getter commuter car is governed at 115 mph.


The big fancy "looks fast while it sitting still" 305 hp Mustang V6? 112 mph.
Ford doesn't want secretaries suing them for going too fast. You got to have a V8 with a Mustang, or go home.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:51 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Ford doesn't want secretaries suing them for going too fast. You got to have a V8 with a Mustang, or go home.
+1

A real man drives 200+mph everywhere he goes in a GT500.
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