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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
Center console armrest
Overall Pictures - Exterior
Overall Pictures - Interior
Hope you enjoyed this thread!