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The Orange Eyesore - 1977 RA23 Celica

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    Thanks for the turbo advice, I was pretty convinced it was destined for the bin but it's good to have a consensus.

    Originally posted by itsnotagsr View Post
    Loving the thread. Reminds me of the early Toymods days in the late 90s wen there were a number of these driven round the Hills district with 1GGTEs.
    First gen Celicas were everywhere in the 90's, I always loved them and spent many hours dreaming up how I'd build my ultimate RA23. I did buy one obviously but then life sort of got in the way, but I'm here now and it's going to happen! Meanwhile all those Celicas from the 90's have been crashed or rusted into a pile of red dust, you certainly don't see many of them any more. All the more reason to get mine back on the road I reckon.


      Originally posted by Norbie View Post
      Thanks for the turbo advice, I was pretty convinced it was destined for the bin but it's good to have a consensus.
      No worries. Truck turbo hybrids were a thing back in the day before all the new ball bearing options came about.

      First gen Celicas were everywhere in the 90's, I always loved them and spent many hours dreaming up how I'd build my ultimate RA23. I did buy one obviously but then life sort of got in the way, but I'm here now and it's going to happen! Meanwhile all those Celicas from the 90's have been crashed or rusted into a pile of red dust, you certainly don't see many of them any more. All the more reason to get mine back on the road I reckon.
      "If you can make black marks on a straight from the time you turn out of a corner until the braking point of the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." - Mark Donahue Penske Porsche 917

      "In Japan we no give fark for Subaru" - Trust Japan Technical Director
      (TM - AVENGE)

      "You can never have enough power. I remember when we had Group B cars... THEN we had enough power!"
      Juha Kankkunen - Rally of Argentina '02


        A couple of those Hills District 1Gs were mine. Still miss them 15 years later...
        Diseasel 80 series with 100 series :w:


          So I tried out the HKS turbo kit on the fancy engine:

          Yeah I dig that. When the time comes I'll get the manifold coated (I assume you can do that with cast manifolds?) and restore the wastegate to its former glory, maybe have the alloy part anodised. And a new turbo of course, but that will be tucked away so shouldn't ruin the old school look too much. Should look pretty ace!


            While I was re-arranging sheds I came across this, a home-made 18R-G turbo kit which I'm pretty sure I bought off Justengt4 way back in the day, like 20 years ago at least. The manifold is made out of some old 18R-G extractors hacked up and welded back together in a weird shape:

            It's designed for use with a series V RX7 turbo, which I also found in a box in a long forgotten corner of the shed:

            Somewhat unusually the turbo is mounted backwards with the exhaust outlet facing forward, so it has a 180 degree dump pipe - which explains the weird manifold shape:

            It was fun mounting this to an 18R-G, I've had it all these years and never got around to using it! Kind of a shame really, it's basically worthless now. Probably would have been pretty cool in 1999. Oh well, maybe I can offload it on some penniless 18R-G tragic one day?
            Last edited by Norbie; 09-11-19, 06:35 PM. Reason: typo


              Yeah lol, I inherited that along with a bunch of good bits o build my first turbo 18RG...Hmmm back in 1992 I think? That setup lasted as long as it took to find decent machinist to fab up a steam pipe manifold and get a FMIC on it.....on a fuel only Haltech F7 it was all good enough to run a low 12 on street tyres....pretty solid back in the day had many WTFs after runs with pretty much anything lol
              1UZ Celica
              1.07 flat Wakefield Park


                Low 12's in a street car was serious business in the 90's, you would have shocked many a V8-driving bogan with that!

                Another busy day today, I got the Celica up on the hoist after swapping places with the Supra:

                I had some trouble getting the Supra back into the shed, but I wound up dragging it in with the mower:

                That's just how it is sometimes when you have a shed full or broken cars! Anyway the Celica is up in the air now:

                I had a good luck at the undercarriage, luckily it looks pretty solid under there, no nasty surprises. It really is a remarkably clean and tidy thing, despite what you'd think by looking at the condition of the paint.

                While I was there I got rid of some stuff I don't want any more, like the hilariously tiny fuel lines which will get replaced with 3/8" hard line like I did with the Supra recently. I also turfed the 2.5" exhaust system which annoyingly had to be cut in half before I could get it over the diff:

                The real reason I have it on the hoist is to get the W58 installed, but first I had to deal with some sump clearance issues so I can tilt the engine back enough to get the gearbox bolted on. The wings which had been welded onto the sump are asymmetrical, so on the drivers side it touches the crossmember if it tilts back even slightly:

                Anyway the angle grinder sorted that out pretty easily. Next I found the super light aluminium flywheel I bought ages ago and bolted that up:

                That looks pretty flash, and it's freaky light, easily less than half the weight of the tractor flywheel it had originally. I have it bolted up using the original flywheel bolts, but that's probably not a great idea long term so I'll try to source some ARP bolts before I install it for good.

                I was going to test fit the W58 but it turns out the locating dowels on the 18R block are much larger than the corresponding holes on the W58 bellhousing I have, which is probably from a 21R or 22R. I need to drill them out to 17mm, but of course I don't have a 17mm drill so that will have to wait until I can acquire one.

                Pretty solid progress though, hopefully I can get it knocked over quite soon so I can get back to the Supra!


                  Guess who forgot to install the dust cover before installing the flywheel? Rookie mistake!

                  The cover was pretty manky though, even after a wash:

                  Nothing the old wire wheel can't fix:

                  And a bit of paint:

                  Before I put it back together I've decided I need to replace the flywheel bolts with something a bit better than what I have, which is likely the factory original bolts from 1977. According to my measurements they're M10x1.25 and about 25mm long:

                  That matches pretty closely with these ARP bolts for a 4A-GE:


                  So I've ordered a set of those and will wait until they arrive before I put the rest of the drivetrain together. I suspect new ARP bolts will hold up to turbo torque better than 42 year old OEM bolts.


                    Was wondering why the supra thread was a bit quiet...
                    This thing is so cool! Much envy for it and the sheds.
                    It sounded really smooth for an engine that's been sitting for so long... But I think it will sound even better with that new-er engine, HKS manifold and gate + G30 turbo and look fucking tits at the same time.
                    Continue the good work sir.
                    The Slowly IS300


                      Thanks! Yes it's going to be all kinds of extra awesome when the new engine is up and running with all its new bits, but I have to be very patient with that, realistically it's years away before it will be running. Luckily I'm not in any hurry, it's all about the journey right?

                      And don't worry the Supra thread will get busy again soon!

                      Anyway the dust cover and flywheel are back on in the correct order:

                      Haha that screamer pipe still tickles me.

                      Just waiting for the ARP flywheel bolts to arrive so I can install the clutch. I'm just throwing the standard clutch in for now, obviously that will need a substantial upgrade before I get it running with turbo power!


                        There have been a couple of impulse purchases recently. One is a custom centre console which should be arriving later today. The other arrived yesterday and it will be mounted on said centre console:

                        I'll have to see if I can find a TRD shifter knob to go with it. I think it will suit the car nicely.

                        I should also have my flywheel bolts today if Australia Post isn't slack, so 50/50 chance I guess.


                          The flywheel bolts eventually arrived, so now the flywheel is all torqued down to spec, Loctite'd etc:

                          I don't have a decent clutch to put in this yet so I just threw in the clutch that was originally installed, no idea what it is but it should be enough to get the car moving at least:

                          Now I'm waiting for my new twist drill set to arrive so I can embiggen the dowel holes in the W58 bellhousing, then the transmission can finally go in and I can get the Supra back on the hoist. Hopefully this week, but who knows!

                          Another package arrived this morning, the custom centre console I stumbled across on Facebook recently:

                          It's not in perfect condition but it's a damn sight better than the original crappy plastic console. At minimum it will serve as a good base when I get the whole interior re-trimmed. Anyway that's a long way off so I'll just throw it in my storage shed, but maybe a quick test fit once the Celica is down from the hoist. I don't think the W58 shifter will be in the same position as the original manual RA23 so I need to check if that works with the console or not, hopefully it does but I have a different shifter position I can swap to if needed. Fingers crossed!


                            My new drill set arrived so I was able to modify the W58 bellhousing and get it bolted up to the engine:

                            It all seems to be fine in that regard, but the shifter was a bit of a challenge:

                            That's the rear-most shifter position you can get on a W58 (excluding remote shifters) and it's a little too far back for the hole in my transmission tunnel. The other one I have is a mid-forward position and I'm pretty sure that will be too far forward, but I haven't tested it yet.

                            But I'm in a hurry to get this done so I can get the Celica off the hoist, so I broke out the hacksaw and hammer:

                            Now it fucken fits! I'll revisit this later, but for now this will do.

                            Next thing is to sort out the transmission crossmember. It bolts up to the W58 no worries, but it's a bit further back so only the front bolt holes in the crossmember line up with the rear holes in the floorpan. The recommended solution is to cut some flat bar and drill three holes to join it all together, so I'll try something like that. Then I can put the tailshaft back in and call it done, put the Supra upon the hoist and get back to that.

                            Oh and one other thing, I bought new front and rear rubber isolators for the engine + transmission so I should probably throw those in when they arrive today or tomorrow. But then I'm done I promise!


                              I really should have been fixing my daily but I worked on this today instead. The new rubber mounts arrived this morning so I decided to finish off the rear gearbox mount. First I needed to fabricate a couple of brackets, which consisted of a short length of 50mm angle cut into two flat bars with holes drilled in:

                              This allowed me to mount the crossmember to the factory mount points even though it doesn't line up properly:

                              It looks a bit sketchy but I did exactly the same thing in the Supra 15 odd years ago and the transmission never fell out despite my best efforts.

                              The cool thing about the W50 to W58 conversion is it has the same input/output shaft dimensions and the same overall length, so the original tailshaft slots right in:

                              With that done I was able to drop the car back on its wheels, and I'm basically done with this project for a little while:

                              I had a quick look at the shifter from inside the car, it's not terrible but I still want to fix this later:

                              You can see where I cut and bent the floorpan out of the way at the back (a bit more bending is required), and you can also see I'd done something similar on the other side. That was from the original W50 conversion circa mid 90's, because the car was originally auto and the hole is different for manuals. I was hoping the shifter location I'm using here would line up exactly like the old one but it looks like I need something 30-40mm further forward to get it smack in the middle of that hole. Hopefully I can find something but that can wait.

                              One last thing I want to do, lift the engine a bit and replace the rubber isolators with the new ones that arrived this morning. Should be a pretty quick job, then it's back to the Supra! Oh, I guess I should fix the Soarer first, but we'll see how disciplined I am.
                              Last edited by Norbie; 21-11-19, 08:01 PM.


                                So many projects!

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