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ae86, just wondering a few things.. wanting to purchase

8456 Views 15 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  punter
hey guys, i'm new to this forum, and from what i've read the people on here are really knowledgeable and friendly.

i'm actually looking into purchasing an ae86, but am not sure what to look for here in the US. - from what i've read there are 2 kinds of ae86's; the SR5 and the GT-S, but "In America, the top-spec DOHC 4A-GEC AE86 was sold as the Corolla GT-S with the SOHC 4A-C AE86 bearing the Corolla SR5 tag"

I'm not too sure what that means. are all ae86's in the US badged as SR5? - I mean, it would be great if i was able to get the GT-S, i'd really like the extra HP, but would be more than appreciative to hear other members' opinions on the GT-S and the SR5.

I would really appreciate any and all input.

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no, not all AE86 Corollas are SR5s.

might i ask what your purpose is for buying one?
well, what it comes down to is i don't have a lot of money so buying a car more expensive than 5k is out of the question. my family has had all toyotas so i know they are reliable and simple to work on.

i've been taking the bus for a while now, but recent changes to my personal life now require i get a car for farther commutes and longer stays at certain places that don't have convenient bus stops.

i really like the design of the car: its small, simple, and has enough room for me and my few things.

i decided to go for the 86 corolla because it was the last rearwheel drive car put out in that segment by toyota. why rearwheel drive? i don't much feel like fixing cv boots anymore on frontwheel drive cars and the car itself is supposed to be good on gas. hopefully that will save me some money too. :)

ha, listen to me. i sound like i already have the car.

anyhoo, if anyone has any information on the 85/86 corolla gts, i'd really appreciate it. just suggestions on what to look for while buying the car, noticable differences between the sr5 and the gts.

thanks again everyone!
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there were actually four models of ae86, if you include the "Levin" and "Trueno", both of which were just slightly better versions of the gts, which was much better then the sr5. an ae86 is not really something (in my opinion) that you would buy as a beater. while they do make good beaters, they are more of a colector's item, especially in the states, and finding one for cheap is not impossible, but a bit difficult. toyota's later corolla (ae92 sedan) was more of a commuter and retains the reliability on the ae86 but if fwd instead of rwd. but i'm not a guru on this, so anything i said becomes null and void if someone comes along with info that makes more sense, the only thing is that you're more likely to find a maintained 86 than you are a maintained 92 (unless its the coupe) because they are a much more appreciated car than the 92. just my 2 cents...
fistofmeat said:
there were actually four models of ae86, if you include the "Levin" and "Trueno", both of which were just slightly better versions of the gts, which was much better then the sr5.
What are you talking about?? The levin and trueno are the same, just different front and rear ends, exactally the same underneath.

And get the 4age powered one, if you don't you always be dissapointed with it.
the AE86 is not a cheap car and i mean it.. u have to remember the car itself is 20years + old and there will b rust and alot of stuff that will need to b fixed.. and also there is still a CV boot that u have to change if its ripped... so if your lookin to use your 5k and get the car and hope it'll last u a long time... dont even bother.. this car is a money pit. u will never b finish wit the car.. its always money money money...
my 2 cent from a guys who owned an ae86 for 3 years
^^ thank you.

to keep and maintain ANY old vehicle, it's expensive...that's why i asked what the intended purpose was for the car. if it were to be a secondary car(to be built for race or show), then i'd say go for it, just expect to be working on it constantly.
Ok the ae86 WAS a fun car for its price about 10 years ago (around 500 bux) but now its octapled (not sure if its a real word) its amount! My brother spent close to 3 thousand dollars just to make his run but one thing after another kept on breaking, it just wasnt worth it. So he kept it in the back yard so he could still work on it and I sold him my AE92 GTS for 800 bux.

If you want something cheap and fun that is rwd and also sort of reliable, might I reccomend a 240sx of any year? I owned 2 of em and nothing ever went wrong on it, besides tha mafs which was an easy as hell fix. Or if you want to stay
toyota get an ae92 gts or FX16 gts which is way faster imo. The FX16 GTS is the quickest one I own. Also the most fun.

Oh and dont buy an ae86 sr5. I made that mistake and I regret it. The SR5 sucks ass. Plus converting it to GTS is just like buying 2 GTS's in California.
AE86 are good reliable cars. They just become money pits if you do mods on it. Most GT-S that'll be available for sale cheap most likely have bent frames due to wannabe drifters. Look around the radiator support area and the rails where it meets the firewall for damage/repair and avoid those unless you'll use the car as a donor. SR5s are cheaper and more plentifull and mostly not abused. If you have a choice, avoid cars with sunroofs. Goodluck on your quest.
stock = good and reliable

where you are you shouldn't have too much trouble getting one without much rust, if you maintain it well, keep it stock, don't track it too much it will be just as reliable as any toyota, imho.

I have an SR5 myself. great reliable car, infact i want to drop in a 4AG-ZE, ive already installed a LSD diff from an '86 GTS donor car (the motor went into a '73 celica).

But honestly though, ive only had mine for 6 months and i use it as a daily driver in the summer, and ive never had an expensive problem...yet. The underside is a little rough but what do you expect from a Canadian car.

Ive also owned an AE92 SR5 and an '87 Tercel, and honestly this AE86 is by far the funest car ive driven. Even with the 4A-C (mind you ive bolted on a 45mm down draft Webber and a Cat back exhaust) is pretty quick and nimble. I wouldnt give her up for the world.

Best of luck with your hunt


KnightX_AE86 said:
and also there is still a CV boot that u have to change if its ripped...

my 2 cent from a guys who owned an ae86 for 3 years

But AE86s don't have CV boots :D :hammer:

neil85AE86 said:
where you are you shouldn't have too much trouble getting one without much rust, if you maintain it well, keep it stock, don't track it too much it will be just as reliable as any toyota, imho.


Perfectly agree, I think most people get the misconception that its an unreliable car. Work is needed on it because at the current time its 20 years old, you need to replace whatever is worn or aged.

As for reliability, I stand behind my words that it is a bulletproof workhorse. Of all cars in my household the AE86 (and the AE92) is THE most reliable machine. There really is not a lot of things to "malfunction" on these cars, because there is nothing complicated to break! Just a box with a drivetrain and 4 wheels basically. If there is a recipe to engineer reliability I'm sure 'Simple' is one of them.

The only thing during my ownership, that caught me off guard on the 86 was the clutch slave cylinder. It died overnight and I discovered it next morning (leaking). Not bad though for being in service for 17 years. Otherwise my car is a daily driver to work/school, plus track sessions during the spring/summer/fall season.

On the AE92, the only thing that died unexpectedly (and resulted in a tow) was the igniter/ignition module. Couldn't have seen that coming though, as when electronics die, they just DIE.

Other than that, try to get one with decent milage, get it looked at by a mechanic (like any other car), replace what needs to be replaced (which could be a lot due to its age), and enjoy the car.

As for being a moneypit, it really means that one is restoring the car to 'like-new' terms, plus modifications, and intend to use it in a performance application.
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hey guys im new to the forum to and also want to purchase an ae86. BUt my reasoings are more for a build up. I do have some knowledge of toyotas due to my friend is an mr2 nut. But i would love to get in the the hatchback model. Does the hatch come in the sr5 and gts model. And if so i want to drop in the 4age black top 20v along with a super charger from the 4agze motor. With that in mind would it be a big difference for me to get a gts or sr5? Secondly where can i get front clips of these cars. If im correct and due correct me if im wrong, jdm subarus steering is a much smaller ratio than usdm so wouldnt it be simular for toyotas because i want to convert it to rhd just for the rack and pinion. And thirdly i saw the movie initial d the other day and i love the way that ae86 looked. Where can i get those body parts to convert it to the trueno? Im orignally a subaru guy and i know it takes a lot to swap out the na motors for a wrx or sti motors. Can any one tell me if it is relatively the same in toyotas so i know what im in for. Thx guys i have a lot of ?'s but those will come later as i learn more about these cars.
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Hey man; i have an AE86 1987 GTS coupe 4age... f.i. motor about 155,000 mile on the whole car. Box stock. Reliable as a brick.
I'll sell it for whatever you think is reasonable. No rust; runs like a top, a few little dings and one mildly wrinkled fender and the roof has a dent. All original paint two tone silver. Ready to go anywhere, and it does go anywhere.
Some one tried to steal it twice so the plastic around the steering column is busted.
I just replace parts as needed; and that isn't very often.
Make me a reaonable offer; or I might just take it to the junk yard or give it away cuz I'm kinda tired of it.
so pretty much what u guys are saying is that if u get an AE86 thats stock, and has only been used for a city commute car, it won't have much, if any major problems?

if there are major problems, is there a thread lying around that tells newbies like myself what to look for when inspecting before buying
Everything except the tyres and glass is prone to rust.

So check that out.
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