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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive been lurking these forums for a little while now, and figured with all the useful information ive seen, I should make a name for myself. Especially considering I know nothing about cars. :facepalm:

My corolla was my grandparents, then my moms, and now mine. I felt so lucky at 17 years old to have such a sound car. No accidents at all. But I am 20 now and I have to admit, I neglected it a little bit through my last years of highschool, and beginning college. All of my attention was directed to my 1992 CBR F2 once I graduated highschool :rolleyes:. But recently I finally came into grips with the financial position I am and will continue to be in for a while, and gave up on purchasing a newer car. Besides, this baby only has 90k miles.

I want to make the car run as factory as possible before I do anything to the looks.

What pops up as something common needing replaced after ~4 years of neglect in these cars? So far I am planning on new plugs, spark plugs, and a distributor cap. I am also pretty sure my header is leaking. It is louder than it should be in the front of my car. There is also oil coming from somewhere, I haven't checked really closely yet.

Thanks for any current or future help! BTW, kiwi if you see this, your car is a beauty. That is one key inspiration for me to keep my car.
 

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Full Throttle
1993 Corolla SE Ltd
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Welcome to the forums!! First off, thanks a lot for the compliment on my Corolla at the bottom of your post! It's great to know that it gives you inspiration to keep yours :D

As for things to change after four years of neglect, I'd start by changing the spark plugs, ignition leads, distributor cap, oil and filter, coolant, fuel filter, air filter, brake pads, valve cover gasket and wiper blades. I'd check the transmission fluid level, any cracks or deterioration in the radiator hoses, power steering fluid level, brake and clutch fluid level, CV boots, and the PCV valve.

Before doing all of that though, find out where the oil leak is coming from. The easiest place would be to check around the valve cover, as it could be leaking past the rubber gasket. Check that the sump nut is tight too.

As for the crack in the exhaust manifold, this is a very common problem, and has occurred to almost every 7th Gen Corolla I've seen. They typically crack straight through the middle (you'll be able to check by removing one or more of the heatshields). The best option is to replace it with a set of headsets off eBay, or with a factory exhaust manifold off eBay. The header option is the best idea, and is the same price (if not cheaper) than buying a standard exhaust manifold as a replacement. Not only will this solve your problem, but it'll also give you a slight performance gain and look a lot better in your engine bay too. There are two versions of the headers available depending on the engine you have (4A-FE 1.6L or 7A-FE 1.8L). The only real difference between the two is how the oxygen sensor is mounted. The 4A-FE typically has the screw-in type sensor whereas the 7A-FE typically has the 2-bolt type sensor. Let me know which engine you've got, along with which way your oxygen sensor mounts and I'll provide you with some links.

Best of luck, and once again, welcome to the forums! :chug:
 

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Full Throttle
1993 Corolla SE Ltd
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6,774 Posts
And because forums are only good with pictures- here is what I am working with.

http://img543.imageshack.us/g/1000437.jpg/

I have no idea how to host pictures directly on the site...?
Looks nice! The rust patch shouldn't be too difficult to patch up :). To host the photos on this site, simply copy the direct link from ImageShack and then click the little yellow button on the forums which looks like it has a mountain on it (
). This will make your photo show up on the forums without anyone needing to visit your ImageShack album. If you have any questions or need further help, feel free to send me a PM :thumbsup:
 

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TIEyota fighter ace
AE101, TE72
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Check the motor mounts...if the motor mounts are worn odds are your CV joints are worn as well. Check the rubber around the front strut towers, change the brake fluid (even if it wasn't used much during those four years it will have absorbed water from the air and now be pretty useless), don't forget the rotor while you're changing ignition parts, DO NOT USE BOSCH SPARK PLUGS--for some reason they make our cars run like absolute ass--if you have AC, make sure the compressor turns, you'll probably need a recharge.

I would recommend changing the transmission fluid and power steering fluid regardless of condition, just because of the time intervals involved. 90K is also the replacement interval for the timing belt, might as well put a new water pump in while you're there.

No, all this won't be cheap (a lot cheaper if you can do it yourself) but if you take care of a 7th gen they'll run just about forever. I've driven mine like a tiny racecar since 1998 and everything still works as well as it ever did.
 

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93 toyota corolla
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635 Posts
basically write down what kiwi and piloter has mentioned above and start shoping around for the parts mentioned its best to make sure your car is up to near factory performance and condition, before attempting any aftermarket goodies it will be a task but at the end of it you will be happy and so will your car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I still have a million questions, but thanks so much for the quick help. That would have all been way over my head unless I payed a mechanic to check out my car. The thing is, I can look up what each of these parts are, where they are located, and even what they do, but how do I know if they are good or not? How can I tell if (for example) my PCV valve, CV joints, or my rotor are still good? Thanks for the heads up on the bosch sparkplugs btw.

I also need some advice on rims and tires. Living in the snowbelt of ohio, we get some pretty crazy snow. Instead of having to pay someone to take my dry tires off and put snow tires on every season and vice versa, I would like to invest in a set of separate rims and tires. Ive still got studded tires on my stock rims now, so I was going to check out some rim and tire packages. I have close to 1000$ set aside to put into my car before winter. Would I be smart to walk away with a full set of tires and rims for ~700$ or is that too much for these older cars? Should I look in the used direction? Should rims and tires be the last thing I do to my car (I can keep my current winter tires on through fall and winter but would wear them more than I already have this summer)?

Also, I would like to distinguish the difference between a strut, a shock, coilovers, or springs. I have a feeling the semantics of it all will overlap eachother at some description. But my main confusion is; what is the difference between a strut and a coilover. And if I want to lower and stiffen my ride, will I be ok to just put new springs in? How can I tell if my suspension is still good? I am starting to hear some creeking in the rear when going over bumps.

Thanks again for all the help. I can't wait to begin restoring my car.
 

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Full Throttle
1993 Corolla SE Ltd
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6,774 Posts
I still have a million questions, but thanks so much for the quick help. That would have all been way over my head unless I payed a mechanic to check out my car. The thing is, I can look up what each of these parts are, where they are located, and even what they do, but how do I know if they are good or not? How can I tell if (for example) my PCV valve, CV joints, or my rotor are still good? Thanks for the heads up on the bosch sparkplugs btw.
You can check your PCV valve by pulling it out and giving it a shake. If it rattles then it's fine. You can also put your finger over the hole to see if you're getting vacuum pressure. You'll be able to tell if your CV joints need replacing if any symptoms start happening. If your outer CV joints are bad, then you'll hear a noticeable clicking noise when turning the wheel. If your inner CV joints are bad, then you'll notice vibrations when under load at certain speeds. It always pays to check to see if there are any cracks or splits in the rubber CV boots as dust and dirt can quickly ruin the joints inside. As for checking the rotors, you can inspect them for deep score marks. If they have deep scoring (light scratches and shallow grooves are fine) then resurface or replace the rotors. I'd highly recommend buying a Haynes manual for your Corolla as it explains almost everything you'll ever need to know and gives you instructions on how to inspect, remove and replace parts.

I also need some advice on rims and tires. Living in the snowbelt of ohio, we get some pretty crazy snow. Instead of having to pay someone to take my dry tires off and put snow tires on every season and vice versa, I would like to invest in a set of separate rims and tires. Ive still got studded tires on my stock rims now, so I was going to check out some rim and tire packages. I have close to 1000$ set aside to put into my car before winter. Would I be smart to walk away with a full set of tires and rims for ~700$ or is that too much for these older cars? Should I look in the used direction? Should rims and tires be the last thing I do to my car (I can keep my current winter tires on through fall and winter but would wear them more than I already have this summer)?
I'd focus on the routine maintenance first before worrying about wheels, but you should easily be able to get a nice secondhand set of wheels and tires for under $700. The Corolla stud pattern is 4x100, and you should look for an offset between 39-42p if you don't want to roll your fenders or install spacers. Too low of an offset will cause the wheels to rub/hit against the fenders, and too high of an offset will cause the wheels to rub/hit against the suspension components. Try and keep the circumference of the wheels similar to your OEM wheels too, or else you'll throw your speedometer calibration off. The width of the wheel is just as important as the offset also. Click here to visit a site with some really handy tire/wheel calculators.

Also, I would like to distinguish the difference between a strut, a shock, coilovers, or springs. I have a feeling the semantics of it all will overlap eachother at some description. But my main confusion is; what is the difference between a strut and a coilover. And if I want to lower and stiffen my ride, will I be ok to just put new springs in? How can I tell if my suspension is still good? I am starting to hear some creeking in the rear when going over bumps.

Thanks again for all the help. I can't wait to begin restoring my car.
The main difference between shocks/springs and coilovers is that coilovers are adjustable, whereas normal shocks and springs are not. Coilovers generally have adjustable damper settings too. If you're not planning on using the car for track use, and don't plan on lowering it to a excessive height, then stick to shocks/springs. You can tell if your shocks are still good by pressing down hard on one corner of the car. It should rise and settle to it's normal position. If it keeps bouncing then chances are that your shocks need replacing. Be sure to check around the shocks for leaks too. To get a proper diagnosis I'd suggest going to a suspension shop and getting them tested. A lot of places do this type of test for free. If you're hearing creaking when going over bumps then it could be a problem with the struts, springs, upper shock mounts or swaybar bushings, so I'd definitely recommend getting it checked out :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, well you are definitely right about a Haynes manual. That's basically how I got through every bit of work on my motorcycle. I definitely am going to need one of those soon. And upon reading your diagnostic on CV joints, i definitely think my front right inner side is bad. Also, my back rear shock almost sounds like a suction cup when I sit on it then jump off. The rebound seems good but it just sounds a little goofy. As for my oil leak, I can't tell if its only from around the valve cover. There is more at a crease down closer to the "middle" of my engine, but that could just be run off from the top. It would be 100X easier if everything was semi clean, but its a mess. I am pretty sure I do need a new valve cover gasket though.

And now I have to get the obvious, noob questions out of the way. I have never jacked up my car, and didn't even know I had a spare tire and jack in my trunk until a few weeks ago, lol. Are there any key spots on the frame I should look for the jack to "hook" into, or does it just set on the jack anywhere on the frame? I don't have any car stands either. I image if I am looking to do my own CV joint and strut work myself I will need those? Any idea on acquiring the most basic cheap car stands? Can I get by with only 2 of them?

And one last thing; I will definitely not be getting new rims. I did a quick craigslist check for 4X100 rims and there are a ton of great deals for used. But I am concerned about the offset. I talked to someone selling stock 1998 integra rims and tires that were 4X100, and when I asked him what the offset was, he gave me this stat: 195/60/14. So what I am wondering is, in this case does the middle number apply to the offset with the last number being rim size?

Thanks for all the help
 

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Full Throttle
1993 Corolla SE Ltd
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And one last thing; I will definitely not be getting new rims. I did a quick craigslist check for 4X100 rims and there are a ton of great deals for used. But I am concerned about the offset. I talked to someone selling stock 1998 integra rims and tires that were 4X100, and when I asked him what the offset was, he gave me this stat: 195/60/14. So what I am wondering is, in this case does the middle number apply to the offset with the last number being rim size?

Thanks for all the help
:lol: The guy with the Honda wheels mustn't know what you mean. The figures he gave you relate to the tire specs. The 195 part is the width of the tire, the 60 part is the height of the tire's sidewall, and the 14 part is the wheel size that the tire will fit. The offset may be stamped on the rear of the wheel, but if not then there's a way the seller can measure it for you. Get him to lie one of the wheels flat on the ground. He'll need to measure the overall width of the wheel then divide that figure by two. This will give him the centerline of the wheel. After he's determined the centerline, he'll have to measure from the hubface to the edge (where the tyre mounts to the rim). Subtract the centerline figure from that measurement and the remainder will be your offset. Alternatively, just have a browse on some Honda forums as I'm sure the factory offset for those particular wheels would have been mentioned in the past.

And now I have to get the obvious, noob questions out of the way. I have never jacked up my car, and didn't even know I had a spare tire and jack in my trunk until a few weeks ago, lol. Are there any key spots on the frame I should look for the jack to "hook" into, or does it just set on the jack anywhere on the frame? I don't have any car stands either. I image if I am looking to do my own CV joint and strut work myself I will need those? Any idea on acquiring the most basic cheap car stands? Can I get by with only 2 of them?
You can pick up some decent quality jack stands for a great price these days. As long as you have two of them (one on each side) you'll be fine. You could use ramps instead if you wanted to. There are certain spots on the frame where you should always jack from. Rather than explain them, here's an illustration I just photocopied from my Haynes manual (if you'd like a clearer picture let me know and I'll send you the full resolution un-resized version) -


 

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everything important has been said already as far as reliability.

if you have stock steelies, use those for snow tires, tires for 14" are pretty cheap.

for something that looks nice, consider offset, itll make your car look a lot nicer, im running 15x7 +25 offset. if i had a stiffer springrate, i wouldnt rub, but i do with people in the back.

but its all a matter of opinion and compromise, usability will go down with stiffer springrates and lower offsets, along with low ride height. but it sure makes the car more fun to drive, and have aesthetic appeal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Some unexpected plans while moving means I will have to hold off a little while on the major repairs. I need to keep some sort of cushion in my account :eek:. However I did order my Haynes manual tonight, and once that comes I will do a flush on all my fluids- which it desperately needs. My oil is so dirty its not even funny, along with my coolant... And I will for sure have to get some new pads (hopefully not rotors also). It is my first time changing all of this stuff, so should I just go ahead and buy some car stands before I change fluids and pads? I'm sure it would be easier than being crammed under the car.

That makes me feel better about the rims. I had a feeling he wasn't giving me the right information. I will keep my eye out for some rims of my liking because I really dont want to drive around on these clunky huge studded snow tires any more than I have to- aside from the fact that it is technically illegal. Guess i'll just bring a tape measure when I go to check out anything. I am curious what size rims can comfortably be installed? Once you get up to 17s, do you have to start considering a low profile tire? I saw a couple great local deals for 17s with 4X100 mounting options. And I will be interested in lowering my car in the future. I do not want to have to buy rims twice- so I want to keep that in mind as well.

On my drive today, I really pushed my rolla around some corners (on my metal studs lol). I have to second guess my initial CV joint diagnostic. They felt fine. No rumble, no noise. Even my suspension felt alright. I mean, it has been pampered its whole life. No hard driving, really. Just northeast ohio winters. I guess I won't know for sure until I get under there and take a look myself. I am debating whether I should bring it to someone for them to diagnose what I am working with. I wanted to tackle all of this on my own.

My ONE major disappointment about my car, is it is an automatic. I wish SO bad it was a manual even though ive never driven one. Then at least I would feel a LITTLE involved when driving it. I have even contemplated trying to trade this for a different manual car, lol. Probably wouldn't be hard considering it only has 92k miles on it. And from what I have read, an auto to manual conversion just doesn't seem worth it.

Again, thanks for all the extremely useful info. I'll come back with any progress I made and i'm sure future questions my haynes manual will leave me with.

Oh yeah, what sort of paint jobs can be/have been done with a rattle can? I am really happy with the paintjob I did on my bike using only krylon. It's only a couple years old but seems fine. Does the body flex very much in different climates with these cars? It seems like as long as you really pay attention to the prep work, you can rattle can anything to turn out decent.
 

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Full Throttle
1993 Corolla SE Ltd
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^ Yeah the pics didn't work unfortunately. It's weird though because when I try and paste the exact same link it works....Definitely try resizing them. 800 pixels on it's longest side is a good size.
 

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Full Throttle
1993 Corolla SE Ltd
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I dunno why it's not working. I resized it to 640 X 480 and it still didn't work. Oh well.
Fixed :thumbsup:. I just noticed that you were copying the link from your browser's address bar instead of copying the direct link next to the photo on ImageShack.

The direct link looks like this: http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/7739/1000444h.jpg

Whereas the browser's address bar link looks like this: http://img835.imageshack.us/i/1000444h.jpg/

I edited your post, so they show up now :)

EDIT: That's a wicked looking bike by the way! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh ok, whoops. Maybe next time ill be able to figure it out myself lol. So would I be crazy to sand my car down and give it a thorough job with some spray paint? Ive always wanted a really dark purple car. I could fix my few rust imperfections too. I'm going to get ancy waiting for my haynes manual lol.
 

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1998 Toyota Camry
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Painting your own car requires a lot of patience. You also should read some guides on how to do it. I've done it wrong before in a hurry and it never looks pretty. You gotta sand it down with like 3 different grits (for example start with 400 to get off the clear coat, work with some 600 or 800 to smooth it out, and finish with some 1000 preferably). Read up all about it, how it's properly done and how long it will take before you start doing it. You'll most likely want to take out a weekend for sanding and priming and then another weekend for the painting and clear coating. And start on it before it gets cold out.
 

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Full Throttle
1993 Corolla SE Ltd
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Some unexpected plans while moving means I will have to hold off a little while on the major repairs. I need to keep some sort of cushion in my account :eek:. However I did order my Haynes manual tonight, and once that comes I will do a flush on all my fluids- which it desperately needs. My oil is so dirty its not even funny, along with my coolant... And I will for sure have to get some new pads (hopefully not rotors also). It is my first time changing all of this stuff, so should I just go ahead and buy some car stands before I change fluids and pads? I'm sure it would be easier than being crammed under the car.
Great to hear that you bought a Haynes manual. You won't need jack stands to change the oil but they could come in handy. Since your car is at factory ride height, it'd be easy to get under there to undo the sump nut. They'll come in useful for changing your brake pads though, as they're a lot safer than using a trolley jack or the factory scissor jack.

That makes me feel better about the rims. I had a feeling he wasn't giving me the right information. I will keep my eye out for some rims of my liking because I really dont want to drive around on these clunky huge studded snow tires any more than I have to- aside from the fact that it is technically illegal. Guess i'll just bring a tape measure when I go to check out anything. I am curious what size rims can comfortably be installed? Once you get up to 17s, do you have to start considering a low profile tire? I saw a couple great local deals for 17s with 4X100 mounting options. And I will be interested in lowering my car in the future. I do not want to have to buy rims twice- so I want to keep that in mind as well.
I wouldn't go any larger than 18". Yeah, once you get up to 17" wheels you have to start using low profile tires or you'll scrape for sure. I suggest going for either 205/40/17s or 215/45/17s. Try and stick to about a 7-7.5" width wheel too. Depending on how low you go, you may have to roll your rear fenders. You can do this yourself (although I wouldn't recommend it) or get it done professionally (doesn't cost much). To avoid this however, go for wheels with an offset of around 40p and you shouldn't run into any issues.

On my drive today, I really pushed my rolla around some corners (on my metal studs lol). I have to second guess my initial CV joint diagnostic. They felt fine. No rumble, no noise. Even my suspension felt alright. I mean, it has been pampered its whole life. No hard driving, really. Just northeast ohio winters. I guess I won't know for sure until I get under there and take a look myself. I am debating whether I should bring it to someone for them to diagnose what I am working with. I wanted to tackle all of this on my own.
When it comes to things like the suspension it's not worth taking a chance. I'd phone some local suspension shops and ask if they provide a free shock absorber test. I'm sure you'll find at least one place who'll provide that service. That way you can get a proper printout of your results which should give you peace of mind to know that it's been checked professionally and might save you a few dollars too.

My ONE major disappointment about my car, is it is an automatic. I wish SO bad it was a manual even though ive never driven one. Then at least I would feel a LITTLE involved when driving it. I have even contemplated trying to trade this for a different manual car, lol. Probably wouldn't be hard considering it only has 92k miles on it. And from what I have read, an auto to manual conversion just doesn't seem worth it.
That's a shame. The automatics do have a tendency to slush along. I hope you don't decide to trade it in for something else though (unless it's another Corolla of course ;)). Yeah the auto to manual conversion isn't really worth it unless you complete the majority of the work yourself and have a donor car to take all the necessary parts from.

Again, thanks for all the extremely useful info. I'll come back with any progress I made and i'm sure future questions my haynes manual will leave me with.
No problem :thumbsup:. There's always plenty of help available here if you need it.

Oh yeah, what sort of paint jobs can be/have been done with a rattle can? I am really happy with the paintjob I did on my bike using only krylon. It's only a couple years old but seems fine. Does the body flex very much in different climates with these cars? It seems like as long as you really pay attention to the prep work, you can rattle can anything to turn out decent.
Oh ok, whoops. Maybe next time ill be able to figure it out myself lol. So would I be crazy to sand my car down and give it a thorough job with some spray paint? Ive always wanted a really dark purple car. I could fix my few rust imperfections too. I'm going to get ancy waiting for my haynes manual lol.
I typically always suggest that paint is applied with a spray gun, but I've seen some really nice jobs done with a rattle can in the past. As long as you know what you're doing and you take your time then it can come out great. Hiring a spray gun and a compressor is an option too. The rust repair shouldn't be too difficult, but if you're planning on spraying the whole car a different colour then you may as well just replace the fender with one from a junkyard and save yourself some time. The Haynes manual has some info on rust repair which may come in handy.
 
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