"Take care of your AE86, Grasshopper, and it will last until the Moon crashes unto Earth"
When I first saw her, she reminded me of the 1984 Opel Monza GSE Coupe', only I liked the Toyota Corolla GTS's front end treatment much better. After reading an article in the Miami Herald, on Wednesday, May 29, 1985, Section E, entitled: "Capturing the Spirit of Alfa Romeo: Toyota Does It With Exotic Engine", I knew this car deserved a closer look. The only thing I did not care for were those HUGE decals on either side of the car proclaiming GTS TWIN CAM 16, and I would have preferred a solid color on the car and interior. But after test driving and seeing what else the dealer had, I opted for this one.
I bought her in May, 1985, at Kendall Toyota, Miami, FL, for $9,250, plus tax. Thankfully, we were far away enough from the beach so as not to have been affected by salty air, and we moved out of Florida deep inland into the USA 22 months after I bought her. She has been benefiting from dry, desert climates since. She has been a real joy. In May through July 8th, 2005, at 129,457 miles, I gave her a token of my gratitude with an engine rebuild. I had been stockpiling performance parts by buying them wholesale through my now defunct Japanese auto parts import company, Interex, from 1987 thru 1990. I REALLY regret not spending a bit more and buying the 5AGX Valve Cover Set (HKS Part No. 1344XX-10022X), which at the time retailed for $229.95, less of course in wholesale!) The rebuild included HKS Stroker Kit- 83mm stroker crankshaft with cast light-weight aluminum pistons (HKS Part No. 1029JA-10023X). An HKS 2mm metal head gasket (HKS Part No. 1396KA-10023X) was used to keep compression ratio down in view of relatively low-octane of today's "premium" gasoline ( 91 octane, feh!) I WISH HKS LITERATURE HAD MENTIONED THAT THE ENGINE BLOCK WOULD NEED MACHINING TO ACCOMMODATE THE KIT! This was a last minute, and fairly expensive little extra that bumped up the estimate on the rebuild, lol. Carrillo Connecting Rods (TRD Part No. 13201-FT001), TRD Ignition Wires (TRD Part No. 90919-AE851), HKS fuel injection camshafts (HKS Part No. 1326BX-10023X & 1326FX-10023X),
For the "Doubting Thomases" among you who have contacted me, yes, this is 100% purebreed Nipponese, Land-of-the-Rising-Sun, AE86L/AE88, Limited Slip Differential GT-S, and not a "hybrid" transplanted SR5! See "the stinkin' badges" below, lol.
I had turned this on its side to make it easier to read, but when I uploaded it, it printed it in its original position. Go figure!
1985 Toyota Corolla GTS Hatchback/Liftback
INTERIOR DRIVER'S SIDE. I'm not a smoker, nor have I ever been. Any little particles
you may see are from day to day use. Didn't detail her before the photos were taken.
Same as above. Lo mismo. La meme chose. Ditto
1985 Toyota Corolla GTS Hatchback/Liftback
The latest HKS Sport Exhaust System for the AE86-Toyota Corolla GTS
The HKS Sport Exhaust 3302-ST029
228-2832) HKS Heavy Duty Clutch & Pressure Plate Set (HKS Part No. 7010XX-10023J) , HKS Light Flywheel (HKS Part No. 7020XX-10023J) HKS adjustable timing gears, Injen intake system, TRD Header, HKS sport exhaust system, which includes a catalytic converter-shaped pre-muffler (HKS Part No. 2051XX-10423J) , Koyo aluminum radiator, TRD lowering springs (TRD Part No. 48131-AE801 & 48231-AE801-39), KYB Shocks (TRD Part No. 48511-AE862 & 48531-AE881). I had to make do with another brand's shocks, until at last I was able to get the KYB adjustables I was after for the rear. I'll re-photograph the car's corners without the wheels again to show that. Goodridge Stainless Steel brake lines, Bembro ventilated rotors, metallic brake pads. The engine was balanced during the rebuild. In December of 2005, I gave her a Momo steering wheel (now I can see all my gauges all the time!), Recaro seats, sisal mats, and a leather shift boot for her 21st birthday (she was manufactured in Japan in December 1984), those blue radiator hoses that add a bit of color to the engine compartment. Tires and wheels, I have three (3) sets of tires and wheels: The original "cookie-cutter" Toyota wheels (4) 5 1/2jj x 14" with Bridgestone 185/60R 82H x 14 Potenza, both in almost like new condition; I've got the also original "snowflake" Toyota wheels (5), 32-spoke 5 1/2jj x 14", with Sumitomo 195/60R 14 HTR200 with about 1,500 miles on them; and an old set of Enkei EK88 6jjx15 inch wheels (4) with Yokohama 195/50Rx15 tires with about 2,500 miles on them. I use them depending on road conditions.
I've kept every single receipt to prove all the parts and labor are in the car, and of course, then there are the photos themselves. She has been a great little car and at this altitude (5,200 feet) she still gives me between 25 to 29 mpg city driving- depending on driving conditions and time of the year- and 33 on strictly highway driving. Hardly a month goes by when some young guy doesn't honk at me, pulls over and tells me she was featured in the AE86 Initial D video game and offer to buy her. The most flattering instance was of a yuppy in a very late model gun-metal blue Lexus offering to buy her on the spot at a Sprouts grocery store's parking lot. I tell all them I'll drive her until the law says I can't drive anymore or I die, whichever comes first, lol! My GT-S: a great dependable Sleeper/Q-car that is fun to drive and gives great gas mileage! She is now a 5AGE or 5AGX, 1711cc, DOHC 16V. At present (10/28/2012) , she has 152,555 miles on the odometer and screams like a banshee, especially AT SEA LEVEL! In a run from Albuquerque to Colorado Springs, I had her up to 128 MPH on the clock which, with the 2MPH error on the speedometer translates into 126 MPH! It was a lone burst of speed after the engine was well broken in, and keeping my speed between 65mph and 75mph I got 33 miles per gallon on that trip, in August 2009. She is thoroughly enjoyed, BUT NEVER ABUSED!
I like the old look stainless steel better than the new model's look as well. The new HKS 3302-ST029 is superb however. It's heavy gauge stainless steel and evenly coated in ceramic. The muffler bears something new the old one did not: The JASMA metal label which apparently proclaims it has passed the standards of that Japanese body. It bears a serial number as well. I honestly don't know if that's the muffler's/exhaust unit's serial number, or the serial number of the JASMA control tag. Mine reads 051 (on the top portion of the label) and 94000017 (on the bottom portion of the label). The box it comes in is magnificent and the "packing pillows" are equally impressive. It could probably withstand anything short of an M1 Abrams tank taking a short-cut over it. My only complaint is that I wish that there was an English translation to accompany the documentation that comes with the product! It's not an instruction flier or anything of the sort. I'm just curious as to what it says! The system also comes with some equally excellent case-hardened bolts, nuts, washers & lock washers and two superb gaskets. It was delivered late in the afternoon
Well, here it is, Friday, November 2, 2012. By noon the chilly weather had turned pleasantly warmer and there was an abundance of light in the garage. The removal of the old HKS 2051XX-10423J Sport Exhaust (without the HKS pre-silencer/pre-muffler which I kept on) and installation of the HKS 3302-ST029, and taking off tires on both axles on the driver's side, jacking it up, clean-up, etc. took exactly 2 hours, which for an old fart like me I don't consider too bad. Everything fits the way it's supposed to. I did notice some melted black plastic on the HKS pre-silencer, which looks like a plastic lawn trash bag had an encounter of the 3rd kind with some time ago. I'm too tired today to hassle with solvent to remove it, so "manana". Here is a photo of both old and new HKS systems side by side. Though the muffler on the old HKS sport exhaust is smaller than the new one, it is heavier. The new HKS Sport Exhaust has a larger diameter, but as a whole it feels slightly lighter. The old sport exhaust's muffler is heftier and appears lined with thicker metal, though. I'm a little worried about how it will sound when I start it up tomorrow morning (heading straight for the shower now and a late lunch!). You can see from the tail pipe of the HKS 3302-ST029 right to the back of the muffler, something you could not do with the old one! It does look pretty nice on the car though. I wasn't able to retain the old pipe that goes from the pre-silencer (or catalytic converter in other cars) to the new muffler because the flanges do not meet at the same angles. Ah, well. Anyway, here they are, side by side and the new HKS Sport Exhaust installed on my GTS Hatchback!
November 3, 2012, 5:00 am. What a relief! I was very pleasantly surprised by how quiet the new exhaust system is. It is a bit quieter than the OLD HKS Sport Exhaust (which dated to 1987). It doesn't sound any different, just quieter, especially in 1st and 2nd gear. For one thing, my car no longer sets off the alarms of cars parked along the street in some neighborhoods, which used to be a major embarrassment! As far as power goes, it's really hard to say because my car had plenty of get-up-and-go before. I think it's a bit quicker in accelerating from 4th and 5th gears though. As far as mileage, only time will tell if it is also better miles-per-gallon wise. I've kept every gas receipt since about October 2001, so it should be very easy to see if there's a noticeable increase in mpg. Overall, I'm very happy. I do hate to toss out the old system, especially the pipe between the pre-silencer/pre-muffler and the muffler. It's stainless steel and in pretty good shape. But Lord knows as it is I have to do a clean-up in my garage to get rid of some stuff. I really don't need to add any more to the existing clutter!
THE NEW HKS SPORT EXHAUST 3302-ST029 NEXT TO THE OLD HKS SPORT EXHAUST 2051XX-11423J FOR COMPARISON. THANKFULLY, I WAS ABLE TO RETAIN THE HKS PRESILENCER, CLEVERLY DISGUISED AS A CATALYTIC CONVERTER. IT'S ALMOST LIKE WHAT'S NOW SOLD AS A "TEST PIPE", EXCEPT THE HKS PRESILENCER IS SHAPED LIKE A CATALYTIC CONVERTER.
THE NEW SYSTEM INSTALLED AND FEELING RIGHT AT HOME
1985 TOYOTA COROLLA GTS HATCHBACK/LIFTBACK
December 9, 2012: After carefully looking at everything out in the market, comparing prices and reading evaluations from user/purchasers, I've decided to invest in a Techno Toy Tuning (T3)short throw shifter. It looks like it offers the best combination of quality, price and quiet operation. I'll let you know more and post photos after I've received it and installed it.
December 14, 2012: My T3 Short Throw Shifter arrives! Beautifully machined and carefully packaged. It also comes fully assembled and with detailed instructions, something the "bargain" short-throw shifters don't include. Our happiness is overcast by the criminal insanity going on in our country. Not since May 18, 1927, in Bath, Michigan, has such a horrible criminal act been committed against so many young children. In the Bath, Michigan massacre, the act was perpetrated by, of all people, a Member of their School Board! But I don't want to use this blog as a soap-box to express my points-of-view of today's zeitgeist.
December 16, 2012: It has been almost non-stop broadcasting of the horrible news out of Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary and I've decided that in spite of the cold (it snowed overnight and into the early morning) I would install my new T3 Short Throw Shifter to take my mind off the latest tragedy if only for a little while and provide some "therapy" for me. Everything was just as basic and straightforward as Techno Toy Tuning stated. The most difficult part of the whole thing was working with the high-temperature gasket maker/sealant. The tube developed a tear and it was messy business working with it. The OEM shifter appears pressed and machine-pinned into it's second, and thicker stage. So in order to remove the dome-shaped rubber boot, and the squared off, accordion-shaped rubber boot, I had to use an Exacto knife and make a small incision along their seams to take them off the old (OEM) shifter and transfer them unto the T3 shifter, which I was able to do. Below follow photos of a few steps of the process and the finished project with leather shift boot and weighted shift knob installed.
Shifterectomy performed. Ready to install T3 Short Throw Shifter after hi-temp gasket former is applied.
T3 Short Throw Shifter side-by-side with OEM AE86 shifter
T3 Short Throw Shifter side-by-side with OEM AE86 Shifter
If the reader had owned an AE86 since new, or paid for an overhaul of their shifter and transmission, they would have an idea how good my AE86 feels with the T3 Short Throw Shifter installed! The car feels like it is brand new again! Even better, the shifts are extremely short/quick. It feels like you are shifting an exotic mega-bucks car with a gated shifter. That's how short and precise it feels. I took it on a 6 mile round trip run and I was totally floored! It exceeded all my expectations and made driving my Tougekaze even more fun that it has been the last 27 1/2 years! I used to experience an occasional "grind" when shifting into 3rd once in a while. That's gone. I'm sorry I did not find out about this product and check it out sooner! The folks at Techno Toy Tuning are geniuses! There is cheaper stuff out there that you can buy, but I've examined it first hand and none has the quality, offers the same reduction in throw, comes fully assembled, comes with instructions, or offers the level of customer service and attention that Techno Toy Tuning delivers. You will not find this kind of quality, ease of installation, quiet operation, reduction in throwing distance for this kind of price anywhere else. I'm totally sold on Techno Toy Tuning short throw shifters. When I have a bit more disposable cash on hand, I'm going to invest in their other product offerings! Thank you Gia, Gabriel and Myra!
One last thing: I'm still in search of the elusive HKS 5A-GX Camshaft Covers for my AE86. Anyone know where a set of them in excellent shape reside, please leave me a note!
R E S O U R C E S
MY FIRST LOVE: 1967 PORSCHE 912 5-SPEED
Bought from 1st owner, Jerry Baker, former United Airlines Pilot, of Perry Park Ranch, Colorado, in 1975 for $3,500. Sold to Jess Hord, formerly of the National Bureau of Standards, in Boulder, Colorado, in 1978 for $5,200. De-chromed, and fitted with 1972 trim. Seven coats of hand-rubbed Kunstharzlack Polorot lacquer, topped with 3 coats of clear lacquer, by Danny Carbone of Denver, CO. Big bore 86mm jugs at engine rebuild by John Greenwood's Stuttgart West, Denver, Colorado. Photos of the Porsche by Carol Beth Williams, Santee, California. You NEVER forget your first love!
1967 Porsche 912 5-speed