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Corolla 7th Generation (1993-1997) Specific discussion of the 7th generation

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post #1 of 78 Old 07-29-2018, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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gen 7 mdl_97rolla's build thread

Backstory
Got my '97 Corolla DX in 2012 from the local Toyota dealer. It's emerald green and the interior is shadow gray. Its first owner was a rental car company, then allegedly it was driven by a little old lady who rarely drove it. Got it with 116K miles, now it has 159K. Picked it up for $4900. Been in two fender benders since I got it, both were paid for by insurance since it was the other driver's fault in both cases (California SF Bay Area drivers, man ).

Now onto the build... pictures at the end.

Projector headlights
One of my more recent projects was to install projector headlights with halos. Looks really cool at night, but the beams seem to be pointed too far upward so I'll have to adjust them. I installed amber LEDs in the parking lights and they look great together.

LEDs Galore
I replaced pretty much everything - and I mean everything - with LEDs. Even down to the T4/T3 bulbs for the hazard and rear defroster buttons and the AC button. The tiny "AUTO" button on the window control is the last one on the list. That one's gonna require some soldering and re-routing, since the current LED is soldered on there, and it only receives 2V when the LED I have needs more than that to power it. I also had LEDs in the turn signals but a temporarily took them out due to fast blinking. I have to figure out a good solution to that. But pretty much everything else on the outside has LEDs: reverse lights, brake lights, parking lights, just not the headlights. I put blue LEDs in the instrument cluster.

Stereo
I put in a Pioneer AVH-3300NEX stereo in at the beginning of this year. It's one of the few single DIN stereos out there right now that support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Let me tell you, I love using that. It has a display that flips out, and then retracts when the car shuts off so no one would ever know it's a fancy stereo with a display. I ordered it from Crutchfield and they can prep the wiring harness, so installation was pretty easy. I mounted the microphone on the climate control panel, in between the temperature and fan speed switches. I took out that little insert in the center console (that little blank insert below the coin holder insert) and I cut out the center of it in order to mount a USB port there so I can plug my phone into the stereo for CarPlay. I'm generally against any drilling or cutting when I make modifications, but it's very easy for me to just get another one of those inserts at the junkyard if I ever decide to undo it.

Backup Camera
The only exception I made to drilling permanent holes was for the backup camera. I picked up an inexpensive one on Amazon for $13 and installed it above the license plate. I got the idea when I found out that the stereo I put in supports backup camera input. So I installed it, and I have it wired so that whenever the car is put into reverse, the camera powers up and the stereo switches to the backup camera input automatically, and I see the camera feed right on the stereo's display.

Remote Entry
One of my earlier projects was to install an aftermarket remote entry system. I got annoyed by always having to go up to the car and turn the key to unlock it because I'm lazy, so I got a system for around $100 on eBay and wired it up. It was fairly complex to wire, but far from the most difficult I've done, as you'll see if you read on.

Power Trunk
I converted the trunk from manual to power, so I can now just push a button on my remote and pop the trunk. I also grabbed a trunk release button from an Avalon in the junkyard and I'll get around to installing that somewhere too.

Cruise Control
My car didn't come with cruise control from the factory. I saw some in the junkyard with aftermarket ones but they were literally just a stick with a button on the end drilled into the steering column and I wasn't a fan of that. So I decided to go with an OEM one. Got all the parts needed - cruise control computer, actuator, cable, switch, etc. and most importantly, the wiring harness. Now THAT was the most involved project I've done and I got a lot of help from my dad on that. There are so many wires that the harness has to connect to. So we got everything hooked up, and went for a drive to test it out. I hit the power button on the cruise control switch and nothing happened. So we were going to come back later and troubleshoot it. Not too long after that, I honked at some jerk who cut me off, and later on I noticed the Cruise light was on in the instrument cluster. So I was like, "wait, what did I do to trigger it? It wasn't the switch." So I remembered honking, and I honked again. It went off. Honked again, came back on. So I told my dad and eventually we realized that the connector on a steering wheel from a Corolla without cruise has two wires coming off of it, whereas one with it has four, so its only means of "switching" was the signal it got from the horn. We had to take off the steering wheel and replace the connector with one from a car with cruise. Then viola, it was working properly. Now you'd never be able to tell it wasn't factory installed, and it comes in very handy when I take long trips.

Instrument Cluster
I swapped the cluster for one with a tachometer. I got lucky because apparently my car came pre-wired for the tach and I literally just had to unplug the connectors from the old one and plug them into the new one. As mentioned earlier, I put blue LEDs in the instrument cluster lights. I put chrome trim around the gauges.

Crotch Vent
This was my most recent project. I was reading a thread on here about all the options for the 7th gens, and thought I'd start looking out for some of them in the junkyard. There were multiple cars with a crotch vent, and one had my interior color. I grabbed the duct piece and the vent itself and put them in my car. That was one of the easier projects I did.

Center Console with Armrest
Also put a big armrest insert in the center console from one I found in the junkyard. However, they were not as easy to come by. Many of the ones I found were either the wrong color or were badly cracked or chipped off. I finally found a good one that was my color and put it in. Interesting story though, at one point I was considering buying a new one from Toyota. I plugged in the part number and the color code and it found it; it was listed at $60 and I placed the order. But the next day they cancelled it and told me that wasn't a valid part number, which was weird since the website was able to find it. So I went in person to the parts department. The guy there said the same thing, and then told me that the 7th gens never had consoles from the factory, which I also thought was weird since I have seen quite a few in the junkyard that have them, and they all look the same and not aftermarket at all.

Horn
Couldn't stand the factory horn. Sounds like a little mosquito LOL. So I got a nice dual horn off of a Ford Crown Victoria (I have a Crown Vic for my other car BTW but the Corolla is my daily) and it sounds much better now!

Wiper jets
Per a recommendation on here, I replaced the wiper fluid jets with the fan-style kind; I ordered the part for a Ford Fusion and it was a good fit.

What's Next?

Intermittent Wipers
I grabbed a wheel base with the multi-setting intermittent wipers and I'm just waiting to find the time to put them in. I'll either have to wait to see my dad again since he has a lot of tools, or buy one of those obscure star-shaped drivers myself to get the wheel off.

Ignition Key Light
I wanted to install a key ring light like they had in Japan. But finding one is very difficult and the ones I've found don't seem to be compatible.

Performance
Under the hood, it's all stock. I wanted to try to beef it up, at least a little. But California seems to have some of the most restrictive laws on that. What is legal seems like it could be harmful to the car, and/or cost thousands of dollars. The car is actually very zippy as it is, but any little thing to give it an extra push would be nice. I will have to do more research on that.

Pictures

Headlights



LEDs




Look how bright the interior looks with an LED dome light! And the second one is my garage door lit up by the reverse lights.



Cruise control


Center console armrest


Crotch vent


Stereo


Backup camera



Overall Pictures - Exterior




Overall Pictures - Interior



Hope you enjoyed this thread!
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1997 Toyota Corolla DX
2010 Ford Crown Victoria P71

Last edited by mdl_97rolla; 08-16-2018 at 02:10 AM. Reason: Added more pictures
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post #2 of 78 Old 07-29-2018, 09:18 AM
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I love this! Great job on the cruise control and back up camera! If I remember correctly, your fast blinking issue with the turn signals can be fixed with a newer turn signal relay, but I don't know which part number.
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post #3 of 78 Old 07-29-2018, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, Chris. Glad you like it.

For the turn signal relay, is there a particular generation that I should look for the part from?

1997 Toyota Corolla DX
2010 Ford Crown Victoria P71
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post #4 of 78 Old 07-29-2018, 04:50 PM
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Great work!

Just a heads up, those projector headlights have awful low beams. The beam pattern is quite bad. I highly recommend opening them up and swapping the projectors inside for better ones. Not a very hard job, and your output will rock and you get to keep the halo look!

As for fast flashing, you need a digital flasher. I don't know the exact part for the Corolla but I put an LED flasher into my MR2, replacing the stock flasher, and it gets rid of hyperflash due to LEDs.
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post #5 of 78 Old 07-29-2018, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, good point. I'm going to take your suggestion about the projectors.

Good to know about the flasher, too. I'll hunt around for one.

1997 Toyota Corolla DX
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post #6 of 78 Old 07-31-2018, 08:19 PM
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I don't even bother with driving in Bay Area anymore, makes Los Angeles or Hong Kong look like child's play!

You'll want this flasher relay: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00064LQL2/

THIS is horn I want!!

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post #7 of 78 Old 08-01-2018, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Could not agree more about the drivers lol. I went ahead and ordered the flasher you suggested.

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post #8 of 78 Old 08-02-2018, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
I don't even bother with driving in Bay Area anymore, makes Los Angeles or Hong Kong look like child's play!

You'll want this flasher relay: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00064LQL2/

THIS is horn I want!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTRYm_peqGA
Oh yes! Just perfect for the stupid A-holes in traffic who always seem to veer toward/into your lane when you go to overtake them on the interstate or a multi-laned thoroughfare!

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post #9 of 78 Old 08-02-2018, 11:32 AM
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I have a set of those, Nathan K3LA airchimes. I also have a 5 gallon tank and 2 air compressors. I don't know where to mount the horns on my '95 prizm though. I can fit at least one somewhere in the front of the car, but I don't know about 2 or 3.
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post #10 of 78 Old 08-02-2018, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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This is how I did my dual horn:



Just bolted in a long piece of metal, then bolted the horn to the other end of that piece. As long as the piece is long enough to reach down to the front bumper area, there's more room around there so you can fit a bigger horn in.

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post #11 of 78 Old 08-03-2018, 08:09 AM
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Well, these are a little bigger. They're actual locomotive horns.

'95 geo prison, 3 spd auto, 310,000 miles on original unrebuilt engine and trans.
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post #12 of 78 Old 08-05-2018, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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UPDATE: The Pick 'N' Pull was having a 50% off sale this weekend, so I went over there not looking for any particular parts, just seeing if there were any good finds.

Didn't find anything super rare, but here's what I got:


The highlights would be the center trunk garnish piece and the rear spoiler. I also got the trunk (not pictured) from the car that had the spoiler so I can preserve my original trunk and not have to drill it out. The center garnish I got because the lettering on mine is in rough shape. While I'm sure it could be restored, I was very surprised to find one in that good condition in the junkyard, so for $12 I decided to grab it. The spoiler was only $13 but will need painting, as will the other trunk lid.

Here's my current centerpiece:


And here's the one I picked up:


Other parts I bought include: a set of four chrome weatherstrips, driver side running board (mine has a crack where the white plastic tabs are supposed to slide in), driver side dash vent, two ignition key lights from a '97 and '00 Camry (don't think they'll fit but I'll try it, they were only $3), sunglasses ceiling compartment from a Camry (not pictured), and power trunk opener button from a '97 Avalon.
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I'm jealous! Where do you live to be able to find such nice trunk garnishes? If I manage to find one that isn't destroyed, it will always have tiny cracks throughout.
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post #14 of 78 Old 08-06-2018, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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I'm jealous! Where do you live to be able to find such nice trunk garnishes? If I manage to find one that isn't destroyed, it will always have tiny cracks throughout.
Here in the Bay Area, the biggest problem is cars that aren't properly maintained tend to get faded from the harsh sun and heat. I've seen quite a few with the tiny cracks you mention, I suspect that heat might be a factor for that as well. It was pure luck that I found one in as good condition as I did!
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post #15 of 78 Old 08-07-2018, 10:51 AM
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I'm jealous! Where do you live to be able to find such nice trunk garnishes? If I manage to find one that isn't destroyed, it will always have tiny cracks throughout.
There's chain of pick-n-pull yards in SF Bay Area with online search-engine! So you can look for certain models & years and it searches all their yards! There's one about 2-hrs north of here with better weather and much less traffic as it's in middle of nowhere! Most cars there tend to stay longer and be in better condition.
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