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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I wouldn't call this a build thread, but a "Thank you all for inspiring me to improve my car, rather than simply repair it or burn it." type of thread.

Basically I had bought a 1997 CE a few years back without really doing my research on just what I was buying. My Dad had previously had a Gold 1994 LE, and I stupidly assumed all base models were still either manual or 4spd auto. Needless to say when I was getting horrendous gas mileage, 21 highway for example, did I actually start to look at what I had really purchased. I thought I did a fairly good job looking the car over, which I sort of did. When I bought it I already knew it needed motor mounts, and two rear struts, cabin dome light cover, trunk liner, and basically very minor things. The dealer was also full of crap on the maintenance that had been "performed" but I wouldn't figure that out until later. After having the motor mounts replaced my gas mileage instantly shot up to 24 highway. I even changed out the spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor. I was pretty bummed out as this was still pretty low mpg wise.

Next I really payed attention to my belts and hoses, at the time I had nowhere to really work on the car or the time so I had a shop local to me replace the following. All fluids were changed, new belts, new water pump, cam seal, valve cover seal. Still no change in mpg. Winter was worse, 22 highway. Then I remembered Toyotanation, which I had joined after having to replace a few parts on my Dad's Corolla. I began to actually research what each model was equipped with, and what mpg they averaged. To my dismay I learned I had a 3spd auto, and it gets 30mpg highway if it was meticulously maintained, but would realistically see 28mpg highway. I contemplated cutting my loses and ditching it, or just put up with it until I finish college. I opted to put up with it as I lacked the money to replace it with a DX or LE, and figured I already had a decent amount of maintenance done and my car was running good. So i replaced all for strut assemblies.

After deciding to put up with zero acceleration (sometimes pulling out onto access roads is a gamble, when in a slightly faster car it wouldn't be an issue. It takes my car 20 seconds to go from a rolling 20mph to 60mph with 3 adults total in the car, no joke.) I looked to various people's build threads with envy, while silently cursing my mistake. Inspiration then hit, why bitch about when I bought when I can make it more to my liking? I began reading and following more builds, dreaming of adding the little elements that others had, but I didn't Not rims, not lowering springs. . . but a trunk light!! Yes, a trunk light and a clock!! Simple things like that to make me like and love my car more.

I wanted to address my mpg issue before I started to add small things, so I did a lot of research and messaged a few people about why I had horrible mpg in the winter. They hinted my thermostat could be lazy, citing my very long warm up times (10minutes). I went to replace my thermostat only to discover there wasn't one. . It had been gutted, wtf!? I installed my new thermostat and winter mpg instantly rose. It was a miracle! Now that spring is here I've reached the coveted 28mpg with 3/4 highway driving. Usually I get 26-28, all 3/4 highway and I would love for it to reach 28-30, but it beats the original 21mpg I had!

Now I've been adding the little things, one at a time. I cleaned out the intake manifold, throttle body was clean, changed out fuel filter, and changed the transmission filter. The cabin dome light cover, trunk liner, trunk light, a clock. Today I bought a set of outer door trim and a set of mud flaps. I know typically mud flags add drag and lower mpg, but I will remove them if that is the case. I also bought a crotch vent duct for better air flow once summer comes.

Below are some pics, my car isn't lovely and this picture was taken during the winter and was covered in a thin layer of ice.









I'll add more as I improve upon it, so thank y'all for the inspiration and help!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Sorry for the confusion Bitter, I found a thread with a pic the object I was trying to describe is in. It is just to the left of the rear motor mount. It's a black, rubber block. On the junk yard wagon I saw (sadly it was gone today) this wasn't there, in it's place it was a sway bar bracket. Hope that is more clear.

http://i988.photobucket.com/albums/af4/balboasuper/100_0416.jpg






On another note, what is a good way to adhere side trim? I noticed it previously had double sided tape, where can I buy the same? Usually I have bad luck with double sided tape.
 

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Congrats on making a build thread! Subscribed!

Mud flaps won't do anything for mileage, it's really insignificant. I like how they look though, so do throw them on.

EDIT: Also, about the sway bar. Whatever was in the place of that block is irrelevant. The sway bar has to be attached to each wheel to actually work (you know, to connect the wheels up and down motion). That part on the subframe may be a different way to mount the sway bar onto the frame of the car, but it would still need to be connected to the wheels. On the sedans, we have small tabs with holes in them on each control arm where the sway bar link goes into. On the rear, they go into tabs on the struts.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks! It might be awhile for any real updates though, as always money is tight. lol Next I might get the speakers you suggested.

I've read some people tended to get slightly, not much, just slightly less mileage with the mud gaurds on. I think I won't notice it because my 3spd is a pretty big mileage killer already. I honestly used to not like them, but I want to see if they will help keep off some of the mud/rocks that get kicked up onto my doors. I searched car after car looking for a relatively perfect fitting set. I managed to find two sets, but only snagged one. As far as the duct piece went, I found maybe 10 Corollas, 4 were without the crotch vent. Of the remaining ones I searched, one was broken, one was melted, one had random screws drilled into it, and I stopped when I found an intact one. I think the actual vent piece came of of the first broken one I found as most the other vents were dark brown.
 

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Chris! Nice to see you started a thread! I see you went for the crotch vent from the scrapper! keep your eyes on the yards. you can get a lot of cool extras, or easy factory upgrades for cheap. Its my favorite thing to do on my freetime!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
:lHalo, the wagon had a weird setup, but I can't recall how it attached past the subframe to the wheels. I want to say it was like the rear. The control didn't have the tab, that much I do remember.. I thought about taking pictures, but I thought, nahh, It'd be pointless. lol


Bitter- How do the ducts in the Celica run?

Edit:
Weazler, I enjoy browsing through their offerings. It's always sad to see a classic car in a scrap yard though . . and dirty when you run across underwear that is occasionally left behind.:lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I just remembered, the wagon was a '94, so it had different control arms which is probably why I thought it looked weird. I also can't find any info similar to how that one was mounted, so I'm just going to assume it wasn't factory.
 

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Damn, that is the ONE part I forgot to pull off my 93, the good ole crotch vent. At least the All-Trac has one! Hell, next time you're in a junk yard look at a second gen Camry; I know the vent is the same, piping might be close enough you can make it fit. Wish I had taken a closer look at it when I dropped the lower dash last week.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll double check on Monday when I install it, but if I think the standard duct has the little bulge for the vent, but it's just not cut out.
Edit:

Bitter, I think I'm going to be sick. lol

Cipher93- Nice!
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
deeder- Our summer is about 95F with 80% or higher humidity, not as hot as yours, but still miserable because of the humidity. I don't think my Dad's old '94 had the crotch vent, so I never knew about it. Once I learned about it I went straight to the junk yard for one. I noticed it reduces air flow to the far left vent by a lot. I'm hoping it will be worth it in the summer though.

Figured I should post some pictures of some of what I've added to my car. It's dirty because it's been raining and threatening to rain.

Trunk light.


Clock


Mud Guards.


This was stock for the 1997 year, but I like how the door panels look versus the older models.


I had the window tint installed when I bought the car to help with the summer, and the blue garbage on the windshield is old tint. The windshield has 6 or so small chips smaller than a dime that were filled in. I was originally going to have the windshield replaced, so that tint was never changed out. I've also installed various screws/bolts/clips that were missing, upper air duct leading to the breather box, battery tray, trunk liner just below the latch, the trunk lid liner, cabin dome light cover, replaced a blank panel cover next to the cluster dimmer control because it had a light for an alarm, removed the old car alarm. I might be missing other little knick knacks. .

My to do list includes a tilt column with intermittent wipers, new head unit, speakers, and hopefully a front sway bar, new left rear door panel (mine is moldy) and anything else that catches my eye.

Edit: I think I have the wires for power mirrors just hanging out in the dash. Behind the cluster dimmer control is the plug for the power mirror control, slightly above the driver's kick panel, but behind the lower dash is a two pin wire that looks exactly like the one that plugs into the power mirror for the driver side. It's just tied to a rather large wire bundle. Unless that is for something else, as I didn't check for a matching one on the passenger side.

Also, the trunk isn't flush because either it's from when I installed the trunk light, the latch has almost no movement for adjustment, the old one had large file marks on it. Or it's because I got slightly bumped from behind last year and I didn't notice the trunk was no longer flush. The bumper was pushed in just enough that the trunk doesn't close smoothly.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks! It feels like I've spent most of my time "restoring" it. . On the plus side, it's such a great feeling to know that I'm making this car exactly as I want it. A true "Custom Edition." The downside is I could have bought an LE and been looking at installing real upgrades. Lol. At least it ready had power winows and a rear window defroster.

Halo, your car and Kiwi's are exactly how I think Corolla's should look.
 

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I'm honored. I always looked up to Kiwi's car, thought that his was simply incredible and I wanted to build something like it but with my own twists. I really never thought I'd be grouped in the same category as the same car that I looked up to when starting. It's really amazing. Just goes to show that with a lot of work you can get really far.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Both of yours are similar, yet unique in their own ways. Truly beautiful cars no matter how you look at them. I'm happy the Corolla is modular enough to allow for that.
 

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Both of yours are similar, yet unique in their own ways. Truly beautiful cars no matter how you look at them. I'm happy the Corolla is modular enough to allow for that.
These cars are special. You can make them look like entirely different cars. Most other cars can't claim that. I'm sure you'll do great things with your Corolla and I await more progress :)
 
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