View Full Version : The "Who are you kidding, that's not even a Corolla anymore" Corolla build

Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:13 PM
Since I'm updating it on every other forum I'm on I might as well put the build up here. Enjoy!

The timeline on this is a bit off because I'm just copying and pasting from my local racing forum.

So I have had this Corolla for about three years now and it has undergone some crazy changes over the years. I'm not going to get into too much detail now, but this build will be ongoing through the winter here in preparation for the 2009 racing and drifting seasons.

My ultimate goal for 2009 was to have myself and the car ready to run the GT support race at the Edmonton Indy, obviously didn't quite make it.

Here is how the car started out when I bought it back in 2005.


All that was done at that point was the MKII Supra wheels and a crappy Ractive intake filter.

I drove it that way for a few months, then lowered the car on some Eibach springs and drove it that way for most of the summer of 2006. As you can see, the springs were a bit soft.


That winter with the help of Glenn (Supradevil) the car was boosted and received a few suspension changes. TRD shocks, ridiculously stiff AFCO springs for the rear. It drifted, but it wasn't pretty.



So in the summer of 2007 the car underwent a transformation. The engine popped in the fall of 2006 from my being a dumbass and overloading it at low RPM on the highway. So that engine came out and another stocker went in, with which I spent a little more time paying attention to the A/F ratios and it ran solid for the next two seasons with a LOT of track and street time.

The majority of the transformation was cosmetic in 2007. The car received new paint, real suspension (coilovers in the front, Swift springs in the back, Tokico Illuminas all the way around, Cusco anti-sway bars, fender braces ... and the list goes on). Also thrown into the mix were some 15x8 0 offset Sportmax 002 wheels.

At the end of the day, literally the car was painted in a day just before a drift event, the stickers were put onto paint just 16 hours old, this is how she looked. The kit is v-speed, cheap, but it works.


The car stayed that way through the 2007 season and held up quite well, save for an exploding ring and pinion.


Then the car received some more upgrades in the spring of 2008. Origin wide body fenders, proper JDM bumper lights and some paint touchups.




At the end of this summer I decided to take the plunge and step up to 17s. Normally they look crazy huge on a Corolla, but the right wheel can look decent if you ask me.



Next up, the true definition of a transformation.

Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:13 PM
The car has gone through some changes, for sure. But nothing compared to what's currently happening. The car has been stripped down completely in preparation for sandblasting and a basic primer before it comes back for all of the fabrication work.

The plans for the car over the winter include:

- Full GT racing spec roll cage tied into all suspension points in the car
- Lexus 1uzfe 4.0-litre V8
- Fully built MKIII Supra R154 5 speed transmission (already being built in Calgary)
- All of the ridiculously expensive custom parts from Australia to adapt this transmission to an engine that never came with a manual tranny
- Custom one-piece driveshaft
- Nissan S13 independent rear suspension and differential(s)
- Custom coilovers at all four corners
- Upgraded brakes, likely Z32 calipers and rotors
- Wilwood clutch and brake pedal assembly with dual brake master cylinders and built in remote-adjustable balance bar for adjusting brake bias on the fly
- Standalone engine management
- Custom gauge cluster
- Fully rewiring car from scratch
- Custom trunk floor made to house fuel cell, surge tank and battery securely and safely
- Dual fuel pumps to ensure surge tank never runs low on fuel
- Custom housing for coolant, power steering and washer fluid
- All windows removed, side and rear replaced with Lexan, front with new windshield
- Bracing removed from trunk, hood and doorskins
- A whole schwackload of smaller changes to the interior and exterior

The car was stripped down over the last week or so.

This is how it sat about five days ago. Doors, fenders, engine, front suspension and most of the interior removed.





A whole bunch of the interior crap that was pulled out.


Taking stuff out of Glenn's garage so things can stay nice and tidy while we work on the car. The engine, turbo setup and rear differential were snapped up by Corolla lovers ridiculously quickly.


Glenn welding together a bracket for the rear of the car to go up on the rotisserie.


Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:16 PM
And up on the rotisserie she goes.









Glenn prepares to cut out the trunk floor and panhard mount. I'm not sure I'll ever want to work on a car on the ground again after this.


Here we can see the mounts for the rotisserie. There is another plate sandwiched on the inside of the frame rail. This unit is solid!


So the trunk floor has been cut out and it was dropped off at the sandblasters to test how well the blasting will go on the paint and undercoating. We want it stripped completely bare to ensure optimum contact and strength in all of the welds.

Going off what the sandblaster said there shouldn't be any issues with blasting this thing right clean. After that there will be a bit of rust repair and some panels will be cut out and/or welded up. First thing will likely be figuring out positioning of the rear subframe and suspension. Once positioned the roll cage will be tied into all of the mounts. By the time the cage is finished the hope is that the parts will be here from Australia and the engine and tranny positioning can begin.

Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:17 PM
Off to the sandblaster/painter she goes.





Back on the rotisserie to make things easy for the sandblaster. They can tip the car on its side and basically just climb inside to blast nearly the whole interior without having to bend or strain or anything.



Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:17 PM
Picked up the car from blasting and primer. Apparently 25-year-old Toyota undercoating is tough as shit because most of it wouldn't come off, not a big deal since I was just going to be throwing more on. The only reason I wanted it off was to avoid any fires when welding the cage in. I'll have a fire extinguisher handy though, so it's not a big deal.

Couple pics from picking the car up.




Glenn's sled trailer worked well for bringing the car back.


Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:19 PM
Well some parts FINALLY arrived from Australia. Now that they're here I'm going to pick up the transmission from down in Calgary so we can start putting shit together and figuring out how to put this beast in the car.

Custom bellhousing and flywheel from Castlemaine Rod Shop in Melbourne. Heavy duty pressure plate and Exedy clutch as well, plus all of the nuts, bolts, bearings, shafts and u-joints I'll need to get this bitch rollin'.





Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:19 PM
We started stitch welding the front end the past couple days. Lots of chiseling, grinding, etc. There's just a bit left and then we'll get started cutting out extra metal in the rear end that is just going to be removed as well as part of the firewall and tunnel for engine/tranny clearance.

Plan is to drive to Calgary next Monday to pick up the tranny as well. Once we have that we can begin prepping stuff to go into the car for fitment, engine mounts, building headers, etc.

Chiseling out seam sealer. I then ground the rest of the sealer and paint clear for the welding.


Panels were stitched on the inside and outside in 6" increments, and then again later in between all of those.


No it's not pretty what it does to the paint, but it was somewhat expected. Instead of having rattle cans made up I'm just doing to grab a gallon of paint and re-spray the front end once everything is built, fitted and ready to go in.




Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:20 PM
Not a whole lot was done until this past week, just too busy/being lazy.

Ordered all of these parts today. SPL adjustable rear toe rods, adjustable rear camber arms and solid aluminum subframe mounts.




We basically have the diff and rear subframe positioned and ready to go, as well as the S13 front subframe modified to bolt straight into the Corolla. It actually only took a tiny bit of slotting and it goes on there like it belonged there in the first place. Glenn has a theory that all of Nissan's sportscars following the AE86 were inspired by the little Toyota.

Here we go, finally. As you can see the S13 subframe (unpainted one) sits a lot lower and it will position the engine mounts about 3" further back than the Corolla subframe, a very good thing for what we want to do.







All bolted in. Along with the front strut rod brace/mounts.


Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:21 PM
Rear suspension is in and we did some test fitting on wheels. The 17x9.5 Hanbais fit nearly perfectly. Obviously this is drooped a bit, but up tighter there is a bit of clearance from the changing camber. I will actually be running 245s on the rear for drifting, not the 215s currently mounted. So with a little negative camber they should fit quite nicely.



New suspension mounts.

Assembling the engine for test-fitting. It will all come back apart later for brand new seals (the kit from Toyota cost more than I paid for the engine) as well as ceramic and powder coating on some of the more visible engine parts.

Bellhousing mounted on the built R154 for the first time. Bolted on without a hitch, very nice fit.


Firewall and rad support cut out in expectation of the 1UZ. It will all be sealed back up after with even heavier gauge metal.


07-27-2009, 11:21 PM
Looks like its going to be a very complete and well done project, good luck :thumbsup:

Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:21 PM
Began fitting the engine here. After looking at using the rear sump pan we realized that the engine would have to go about 14" back into the car, which was just too much. So we swapped on the front sump pan and it's looking much closer to what I'd like to see. We threw around the idea of dry sump, but I think that's something that will wait for the future. A custom pan will be good for extra oil capacity.

Nice thing about the front sump is that the engine mounts line up directly with the stock mounts on the S13 subframe. There will be some modification, but overall it should be much simpler.







Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:22 PM
More pics. Engine mounts are pretty much done, just need to do some shaping on the plates to make them all pretty and round so they don't cut the shit out of our arms when working from under the car.




Much more room for the exhaust that I was originally expecting. This thing is going to be easier to work on than the 4 cyl ever was.







07-27-2009, 11:22 PM
Crazy. I like it. Where did you get the sand blasting done?


Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:23 PM



view from the back of the R154 bolted in place

and for people wondering about the shifter position. this is my old seat position compared to the stocker pushed full back. And he wants his seat to be even further back this time. shifter position is maybe 8 inches further back than stock at most but I will be as well.

So at the moment we have the front camber plates from the S13 suspension positioned and mounted. The front control arms are going to be shortened, boxed and have a huge 3/4" heim joint added to the ends for adjustability and to avoid any binding that might have been caused with the stock arms by changing the caster angles.

The driveshaft is out at a shop being built as well. We found out the diff I have is actually from an S14, so we needed to add a couple of spacers on the nose mount, but other than that it bolts in just fine.

Exhaust is being built this week, radiator is being ordered today and will hopefully be in within a week or so. Once it's positioned the engine can come back out for disassembly, cleaning and to get a bunch of parts powder and ceramic coated. It's finally starting to look like a real car, so it's pretty exciting.

Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:24 PM
For the approval of the fitment Nazis. The front isn't actually staying where it is in these pics. The control arms still need to be shortened and there aren't any caster rods in place to keep the wheels centered in the wheelwells. The fenders were pulled out a few inches at the bottom for these shots as well. Eventually the front wheels will sit in about 40mm more, fenders will actually sit in their proper place and the front end will come up some.

This is definitely not a racing stance though. The front crossmember is probably 2" from the ground in these shots, needs lots more clearance than that, but I figured I'd show what it could look like. I will also be running much wider rubber in the rear, so the assortment of adjustable rear suspension links will come in handy making clearance.




Chrome Dragon
07-27-2009, 11:26 PM
Sorry for the barrage of posts, just figured I would get them all up to date. Not sure why I never posted it up on Beyond before.

Originally posted by 5fivespeed
Crazy. I like it. Where did you get the sand blasting done?

Ray Blasting and paint was done at Rapid Blast and Paint in Edmonton.

07-27-2009, 11:40 PM
I'm excited to see the finished project! Looks great so far!


07-27-2009, 11:49 PM
Best Toyota thread evar. :werd: :hitit:

07-28-2009, 12:24 AM

Looks sweet !

07-28-2009, 12:28 AM
Really cool. Can't wait to see more progress.

07-28-2009, 12:53 AM
Awesome build.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

07-28-2009, 01:00 AM

07-28-2009, 01:26 AM
Props, that looks like an awesome built, and a lot of hard work!

07-28-2009, 01:33 AM
very very impressed. i love detailed builds! congrats, i hope you get to enjoy it soon!

07-28-2009, 01:43 AM
wow sick build! wish i had the time and money to do something like this. love the random monkey in the pics, haha

07-28-2009, 02:17 AM
Holy shit!
Can't wait for the finished product! :bigpimp: :bigpimp:

07-28-2009, 06:42 AM
sick what do you expect to put out with the v8?

07-28-2009, 07:06 AM
Originally posted by eglove
wow sick build! wish i had the time and money to do something like this. love the random monkey in the pics, haha

It's a grease monkey! haha I hope that was the joke anyway...

Chrome Dragon
07-28-2009, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by Mr_ET
sick what do you expect to put out with the v8?
Engine is rated at 260hp stock, we'll make a bit more with the intake/headers/exhaust/standalone. I would expect it to be in the 300hp range with the deletion of 3 out of 4 accessories as well.

Originally posted by LongCity

It's a grease monkey! haha I hope that was the joke anyway...
Not really. It was just a little monkey that I won in one of those claw machines while waiting to pick up a pizza a few years ago. He spent a fair bit of time hanging off my back bumper being singed by flames out of the exhaust from my previous engine. Since then he's just become the build mascot.

Chrome Dragon
10-29-2009, 02:52 AM
Alright, seeing as the car isn't going to be done this year with the first snowfall and all, I've decided to reveal a part of the build that has been kept a secret for the most part.

The turbo is a Turbonetics GTK-650, wastegate is a Turbosmart Pro-Gate 50mm stainless unit. Everything is being attached using V-band flanges for easy removal. This whole turbo setup, crossover pipe, downpipe, etc. should all be able to be removed in less than 10 minutes including all of the turbo lines.




The turbo oil drain return tapped directly into the factory oil pressure level sender bracket. Looks very clean. This will actually be switched out for a 45 deg fitting, but it shows how it will sit. Hooray for AN fittings on everything!


10-29-2009, 03:54 AM

10-29-2009, 05:28 PM
who are you kidding?! This is an amazing build man!


:burnout: :burnout:

10-29-2009, 07:56 PM
Holy shintos!!!! :eek: :eek:

Subscribed :D

10-29-2009, 08:14 PM
hahaha, with a setup like that all you can do is giggle.

10-29-2009, 08:55 PM
gj !!

keep us posted !

10-29-2009, 09:13 PM
Jesus! True build for real!

Great job - Subscribed!

10-29-2009, 10:42 PM
This is going to get ridiculous. :thumbsup:

10-29-2009, 10:54 PM
Wow great job with the build so far:thumbsup:

10-30-2009, 08:10 AM

10-30-2009, 11:08 AM
great build! keep up the good work:thumbsup:

11-01-2009, 07:48 PM
what a great detailed thread, awesome build :thumbsup:

11-01-2009, 07:56 PM

11-01-2009, 09:10 PM
This is a first class build, I'm very impressed. :thumbsup:

11-03-2009, 05:21 PM
Cool build, takes a true enthusiast to put that much time and money into an old rolla. Car will be nuts when it's done.

11-22-2009, 08:10 AM

11-22-2009, 02:30 PM

01-01-2010, 08:35 PM
Wow wish i had the time and patience you do, keep goin man this build is fresh.

01-02-2010, 04:12 PM
That thing is gunna haul ass when its done
mad props man:bigpimp:

01-02-2010, 05:12 PM
Wow man un-real build! Keep us updated

01-04-2010, 04:53 PM
damn cant wait to see this thing done!

02-05-2010, 01:17 AM
i just wanted to bump this thread! FREEKING amazing! I wanna see more updates.!

Chrome Dragon
02-07-2010, 03:16 AM
Just realized I never put up shots of the turbo/engine in the car. Going to print some of these off and start putting them around the house for motivation to get working.





Piping will come straight out of the turbo into a 180 and right through the intercooler. The total piping length should be under six feet. It's no V-mount, but better than most front-mount setups out there.


02-07-2010, 03:41 AM
Very very cool build... Never saw this thread before. Looks awesome though, keep up the good work, and good luck with the rest of the build. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :drool:

02-09-2010, 09:38 PM
great build :thumbsup:

06-15-2011, 09:14 AM
So what is the status of this project?

06-15-2011, 09:24 AM
Originally posted by Maybelater
So what is the status of this project?

i think its dead...

too busy drifting this


06-15-2011, 09:26 AM
Oh damn, that would make sense. :burnout:

Chrome Dragon
06-15-2011, 10:10 AM
Not dead, just on a back burner. It will live one day.

We've decided to build new exhaust manifolds from scratch and revise the passenger side engine mount to create more clearance for up to a 4" downpipe. We're also pondering the idea of turning the turbo 90 degrees so the downpipe will have more room to curve under the manifold.