e've all been guilty of spending too much money on our project cars. We have girlfriends, fiancs, wives, ex-wives, moms, etc... nagging at us about the kind of money we spend on our junker but we don't care. It's our baby, our pride and joy. The joy and sometimes pain a project car brings will enrich our lives by tenfold compared to the money we spend. Money can always be made but the experience of building a project car is priceless. With that being said our project Corolla is a money pit with no end. There's always something needing to be repaired or replaced and the local Pick-A-Part has become our second home.
To date the Corolla has gone through some much-needed TLC. After graciously lending the Corolla to Sport Compact Car for a test they were performing, we noticed the brakes were barely working. In order to come to a complete stop we'd have to practically stand on the brakes with both feet. Everybody knows the saying "speed kills, and brakes give life," and we wanted to live just a little bit longer. After removing the front calipers from the knuckle the brake pads literally fell out in two pieces. The brake pads were so abused that the friction material no longer stuck to the metal backing (thanks SCC). Being the cheap bastards we are, we found a set of barely used rotors at the Pick-A-Part and had them resurfaced for about $20 total each side. In hindsight we could've purchased a cheap set of rotors from the local auto parts store for about $25 but then again what fun would that be.
The rear shock setup is a...
The rear shock setup is a little more elaborate than the front. The shock height can be adjusted for optimum shock throw. An extra-large threaded perch allows you to adjust the height.
After replacing the front brakes, we tackled the rear end that was giving off a god awful whining sound. Having owned two Corollas before I knew the ring-and-pinion gears were out of alignment and needed to be adjusted or replaced. In order to remove the entire differential assembly both rear axles had to be removed, which also requires the removal of the rear brake calipers. And, of course, to our surprise once again when we removed the right rear caliper of the Corolla the brake pad fell on the floor in multiple pieces (thanks again to SCC). Needless to say, that's the last time I loan a car to SCC. This time instead of rummaging through Pick-A-Part for GT-S rear rotors I coughed up the $18 for each rotor from Pep Boys. Once the axles were removed I was able to remove the differential assembly. Upon inspection of the ring-and-pinion we knew the gears were beyond adjustment and needed to be replaced. Fortunately, we had a spare rear end so we were able to salvage the gears and install them onto the TRD LSD.
With the Corolla all buttoned-up and filled with fluid we went on our test drive. It was music to our ears, or more precisely the lack of noise emanating from the rear of the car. We can actually hold a conversation in the car without shouting at one another. And what a surprise - brake pads are actually necessary to bring a vehicle to a stop. What a difference. Now we're not afraid of rear-ending someone each time we go for a spin.
The GReddy Type-S front shock...
The GReddy Type-S front shock is completely brand new down to the spindle.
Another problem we noticed after the fateful track day was that the front right shock had sprung an oil leak and started to feel unresponsive around corners. Upon disassembly the shock was blown, even though it was barely six-months old it died. Rather than spending money on another TRD short stroke shock we opted to reach deep into our pocketbooks and cough up the money for a set of brand new coilovers from GReddy. The GReddy Type-S suspension kit is an impressive piece. Unlike many of the coilover kits on the market that require using the factory shock and hacking it into two pieces and then re-welding it back together, the GReddy unit is all new down to the spindle. Also, another key feature to the coilover is the threaded base and spring perch, which allow for height adjustments to be made through the shock without affecting the spring preload or shock stroke.