Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 26 to 44 of 44

Thread: 87 Corolla FX16 GTS Track Toy Build

  1. #26

    Default




    The alarm went off at 5:30am, far too early for any reasonable person to wake up on a weekend. Fumbling around in the dark, I throw on the clothes I had set out the night before, trying not to wake my wife or the dogs sleeping peacefully. Picking up the GoPro case and water bottle, I head out to the car which was already packed and ready to make the short 45-minute trip up 95 to Dominion Raceway, AKA the "Thornburgring".





    Arriving at the track just as the sun was peaking over the horizon, I passed through registration and tech with no problems and ventured out to the paddock to stake out a spot to set up. The first order of business was to remove everything from the car so the track wheels can be swapped on. The other wheels act as anchors for the pop-up canopy, as it is always very breezy here.





    After getting set up, everyone attended the mandatory driver's meeting. Afterwords we had about two hours of down time before the first "green" session at 10:30. The car got a good once-over, checking lug nut torque, fluid levels, and tire pressures, making sure there are no loose items inside, setting up the GoPro, and making sure my helmet, neck brace, and gloves are in the car.





    One of the best things about track events is hanging out with the other drivers. Adam had brought out his awesome Honda CRV "RaceUV". If there's ever a car event going on around central VA, odds are you can see this crazy thing out there.





    My good friend Micki was gracious enough to come out to take pictures. Every shot in this post was taken by her!





    The first session is always taken a little easy, as the car is getting warmed up and the drivers are getting to know the instructors.





    Adam and I were both in the "green" group for newbies with fewer than 5 track days under our belts.





    By the second session, most people are getting more comfortable on track. Temperatures are coming up, and people really start to push.





    My instructor for this event, Emil, pushed me really hard - which is just what I needed. I think I'll be hearing him say "brake harder!" and "open the wheel!" in the back of my head for a long time.





    Over the course of the day, Emil had me braking so much later than before. I had no idea how well this car responded to trail braking, which I need to practice a lot more!





    This front drive platform requires completely different driving style than the MR2 I've been driving for so long. Trying to break those habits is extremely difficult, but I slowly started to get the hang of it, if only a little.





    By the last session, I was keeping pace with a Subaru which I was told was making over 400 horsepower. That's four times the power my little quarter-million-mile 4A-GE puts down.





    The trusty Corolla made it through the whole day without any mechanical problems. When swapping the street wheels back on I did notice that only roughly 25% of the brake pads remain up front, so perhaps getting a spare set of pads and rotors would be a good idea to have on hand next time.





    I can't wait to get strapped back in for the next event and apply what I've learned. Hopefully they announce the next HPDE date soon!
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    189

    Default

    So happy for you, man! Car looks good and most importantly - it didn't break! Keep improving it
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  3. #28

    Default

    That's the plan. The list never ends. New sensor for the oil temp gauge, proportion valve for the rear brakes, master cylinder bracing, stainless clutch line, hood ventilation, roll bar, fab rear wing, make a front splitter that doesn't suck, clutch that doesn't suck, LSD, shorter final drive gear set, steering wheel w/quick release..... it just goes on and on, but the money tree looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  4. #29

    Default




    With the car safely home from HPDE back in April, a few issues that had made themselves apparent now needed fixing.





    The valve cover gaskets were seeping oil, so I went ahead and painted my spare set of covers and put them on with fresh gaskets. I love the white/black/red NASA-inspired color theme.





    The biggest takeaway from HPDE was how much I was under-using the brakes, and needed to brake harder. By the end of the day the front brakes were pretty toasty, with the pads starting to glaze and the rotors starting to warp after the last session's cooldown. The rear brakes were basically like-new though.





    Solution: remove the stock proportioning valve and install an adjustable valve for the rear brakes. This will accomplish two things: allow me to fine tune how much force goes to the rear brakes, and split the front and rear circuits for safety/redundancy.





    I wanted to be able to reach the adjuster knob from the driver's seat so I made a little mounting bracket and welded it to the shifter riser.





    A couple adapters and two 4-foot sections of steel brake tubing complete this end of the circuit.





    The lines run under the shifter and through a pre-existing grommet in the firewall.





    Without much room to hand-bend the lines, it's not the prettiest install ever, but so far nothing leaks or rattles and it seems to work as intended. Fortunately all of this is hidden behind the engine so you don't have to look at it.





    I'd had a stainless clutch line laying around for a while, and this seemed as good a time as any to install it. What's one more bleeder valve when you're already doing the brakes anyway?





    If you've been keeping up with this build so far it's probably pretty clear that this is a low-budget endeavor. That means funds for events are hard to come by, but I'm hoping to make it out to my first two-day HPDE event at Dominion in September. I can't wait!
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  5. #30

    Default

    I've known for a while that the design of the original splitter I made for the car had some problems. The Dibond sign material is just not strong enough to provide meaningful downforce, and the bracketry attaching it to the car was weak as well. It definitely did not pass the "stand on it" test. It was also a little too narrow, limited by the width of the sign from which it was made.




    Here you can see the original design. The air dam is only like 1.5" tall, the splitter is only one layer of material, and is not wide enough to extend to the edge of the fender.





    To add strength and width, I created a new splitter with two layers of material. The layers are glued together with a whole tube of Liquid Nails, then riveted. I figured if it's good enough to hold Lotus cars together, it's good enough for this.





    To allow the splitter to mount lower and be more effective, I used a piece of vinyl house siding roughly 4" tall, rather than a 1" strip of garden edging.





    To make sure the air dam doesn't fold back in the wind, it's held in place by ten steel brackets, riveted in. The strip of siding cost roughly $7, the brackets were 65 cents each. This is a VERY budget build.





    The air dam was painted black to blend in.





    One day at work I noticed this splash shield from a Chrysler 300 that was getting replaced had some pretty nice diffuser-like structures in it.





    There are places online that sell diffusers for like $150, I figured why not cut these out and use these for free? This thing was just going in the dumpster anyway.





    Here they are roughly mocked up on the splitter. They are a little uneven but I think I can make these work pretty well, especially for the low, low price of $0





    Final placement and orientation will depend on where the quick-release mounts go, which are currently in the mail.





    Here's a mockup of what the new splitter could look like on the car. I may order a couple more struts just to be safe.





    I also may do something about the corners to fill in that gap by the wheel arch, but I think it looks pretty good.





    Oh and I almost forgot - I made this little brake master cylinder brace out of some scrap metal and a $2 door stop.

    As of right now I don't have any events lined up until September, but that event will be my first two-day HPDE weekend at Dominion. Hopefully all these little things will add up to a more capable car on track!
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    189

    Default

    I am very impressed how that splitter turned out. Good work
    Also, great idea for the MC stopper. Can I steal it?
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  7. #32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Also, great idea for the MC stopper. Can I steal it?
    I kinda stole it from one I saw on a Miata once. They just drilled a hole in the bracket for the strut tower bar and used that for the door stopper. I didn't have that option, so I just used the two existing bolt holes in the strut tower to make my own bracket.
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Posts
    9,364

    Default

    had doubts about the splitter, but looks great mounted on the car. good stuff!

  9. #34

    Default




    With the splitter now sitting several inches lower, the old Longacre struts were barely holding on to a couple threads. New ones are expensive at like $35 a piece, so I took a inspiration from my friend Adam's CRV track 'car' and spent less than $20 on some hardware from Lowes to make my own.





    The upper mounts were welded to the metal bumper cover retainer strip.





    This strip is held to the bumper bar by several bolts and is pretty solid.


    [IMG]https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TX87FFD3-**/XQJGvV1OFkI/AAAAAAAABjE/8WLb3N5ZbaUIlfYoCq5eCs157tavYxRMwCEwYBhgL/s1600/4.jpg[/IMG]


    After some mixing and matching of turnbuckle parts, I finally had something that was cheap, strong, and easy to disconnect with minimal tools. This also passes the "stand" test much more securely than before.





    I also installed the diffusers cut from the Chrysler 300 splash shield. They aren't perfectly flat so on each, one side slots under the splitter while the other sits on top. These are held in with more rivets. I left the strip behind them intact to keep the splitter more rigid.





    And that's just about it for the splitter. I do plan on adding another bar of angle aluminum for extra rigidity, but as it sits now the thing is 95% done.
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  10. #35

    Default

    With funds running low this year, I've been pretty selective about what events to attend. Thus far I'd only done one HPDE back in April, but when I found out a bunch of friends were going to the July trackcross I couldn't say no.





    There was, however a problem. The last HPDE completely toasted my front brakes. Having run Porterfield's street and autocross HP-R4S pads for almost a decade on other cars, that's what I put on the Corolla as well. While they perform flawlessly on the street and even at trackcross events, the temperatures generated during HPDE are just too intense. The pads glazed and basically melted to the rotors, leaving deposits causing a vibration. Also the pad material had lost most of its friction, requiring much harder pedal pressure to slow the car.





    With only a few days to spare, a new set of rotors (whopping $13 a piece!) were installed, along with a set of pads that should be able to handle the heat. These R4 pads are rated for track use and are supposedly not very street friendly.





    Another issue that had popped up was air in the brake system. After installing the proportioning valve, I'd had trouble getting all the air out of the system by traditional two-person means. I've never been a huge fan of vacuum-based bleeders, so I picked up a pressure bleeder and proper master cylinder adapter off Amazon. After a.... somewhat messy learning phase, all the air was removed and a solid pedal returned.





    With the work done just in time, trackcross was a great way to test out the new splitter and brake system.





    With the heat index hovering close to 100*F, conditions were good for a heat stress test on every component (check out those blued rotors!), including the nut behind the wheel. I almost tapped out of the last run of the day due to the heat, but luckily I didn't as it ended up being my fastest run!





    Fortunately everything held together well and, with some adjustments, the new brake system performed flawlessly.





    Next up: two-day HPDE weekend in September!





    Miscellaneous non-Corolla stuff - I had to do the oil pan seal on my daily driver Matrix XRS and found something kinda interesting.





    The Toyota 2ZZ-GE engine has exactly zero baffling in the oil pan. No wonder they have slosh/starvation issues. Apparently the lame 1ZZ even has a factory baffle. Why Toyota would omit that from the high performance version is completely.....baffling.





    Supposedly a 1ZZ oil pan will fit with minor modification and only cost like $25 on RockAuto so next oil change I might swap pans. Seriously though, WTF Toyota?





    And since I don't know how to finish this up, here's a picture from the last Cars and Coffee of my MR2 with its Italian uncle.
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  11. #36

    Default

    Not a whole lot has been done on the Corolla this summer, as it's mostly just been sitting waiting for the event this past weekend - my first two-day HPDE weekend, at Dominion Raceway. This one was a bit of a rollercoaster so beware - wall-o'-text incoming.

    Friday:
    Since it was a two day event and I anticipated that the likelihood of mechanical malady to be high, I went ahead and rented a tow dolly from Uhaul. Last Monday, 5 days in advance, I had to go to two separate locations to place a reservation because the first didn't have one on hand. The second one did so I reserved it for Friday evening through the weekend. Friday rolls around and suddenly they don't have it even though I reserved one. So I have to go all the way across town to pick one up, and they tell me that as long as I return it before open of business Monday morning I will only be charged two days' rental. Whatever.





    Saturday:
    I rolled up to Dominion nice and early, got all set up and ready to go. First few sessions went well, classroom times were interesting and informative, things went smoothly on track. With a lot of first-timers in HPDE1 this time around, traffic was the worst I'd yet encountered so learning to deal with that was a good experience for sure. On session 2 the car started to get much louder, so over the lunch break I determined one of the exhaust hangers had broken, causing the flex pipe to start leaking. After a trip up the road to NAPA, the exhaust was secured with a few big metal hose clamps. Still loud, but at least it wouldn't potentially crack and fall down. Session 3 came around and all seemed well until around lap 8 or so when the car started to develop a bit of a shimmy at high speeds.





    We finished the session and put the car up on jack stands to have a look around. We found the right front ball joint was a little loose, so I started calling around to find parts. No AE82 parts were around, but there were some nearly-bolt-on AE92 ball joints back in Richmond. Deciding to skip the last session, I instead packed up and took the car back home to fix that evening, so I could get back out the next day.





    Of course nothing ever goes smoothly, and such was the case with these ball joints. There are supposed to be two pressed-in studs in each joint, but these were loose in a bag. When I went to go press the first one in by tightening the nut to draw the stud into the flange, the threads on the stud stripped clean and the nut just spun. I ended up using a bolt and nut instead, and using the bench vice with a socket to press in the rest of the studs. I also took a page out of Eric Kutil's book and wrapped each joint in heat reflective tape. I feel that the half inch clearance between the joint and the hot rotor may have lead to its premature wear.





    Sunday:
    Back at the track nice and early, I was excited to see how the car would feel with the new ball joints. First session starts off well, but after a few laps, the shimmy comes bad harder than ever and seems to be getting worse by the lap. I pulled into the pits, jacked up the front, put the car in gear, and let the wheels spin to see if there was something wrong with the wheel, tire or axle.





    Right away the problem was obvious - a huge tumorous bulge in the right front tire, caused by a broken belt inside. Being the awesome friend he is, my instructor Eric offered to let me use his Miata's rain tire setup to finish out the day. So off came the shaved RA1's and on went some fresh-ish RA1's just in time for second session.





    Things went well for most of session 2 until right at the very end when the mechanical bug bit again. This time, while at high speed in the uphill esses I heard a faint "pop" and suddenly the car was very unstable and the brake pedal was very very soft. Limping to the pits once again, we jacked up the car and that right front wheel/rotor had a ton of play, while the caliper remained still. The toasted wheel bearing would signal the end of the Corolla's weekend at the track. However, determined to not miss out on the two remaining sessions, I packed up everything as fast as possible and towed the crippled Corolla home. Running in the house long enough to pick up the keys, I hopped in the trusty MR2 and flew back to the track with only a few minutes to spare before session 3.





    With approval from the track day director, Eric and I went out for session 3 in the MR2. While on similar suspension as the Corolla, the MR2 is on 400tw staggered 195/205 tires and street/autox brake pads, all while being 400lbs heavier and with 50% more power. This was quite the change in driving style for sure, being basically the complete reverse of the FWD FX16.
    Eric was so impressed with my improvement over the weekend, plus my existing familiarity with the track and how I was able to adapt to driving two completely different cars, he gave his blessing for me to go out solo for the last session. All of the struggles and frustration of the weekend up to that point were immediately forgotten as soon as went out on the track by myself that first time. It was absolutely sublime, even in an under-prepared car. Not wanting to push my mechanical luck any further, I pulled in after 5-6 laps and called it a day, with a huge smile on my face.

    End tally for the weekend: 1 trailer misadventure, 3 mechanical failures, 2 cars driven on track, 1 session solo.
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    189

    Default

    Great stuff, happy for you that despite all the setbacks you had a good time. Keep it up, I love this little FX16
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  13. #38

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post
    Great stuff, happy for you that despite all the setbacks you had a good time. Keep it up, I love this little FX16
    Thanks for the kind words!

    Here's video of when the wheel bearing/axle failed, plus a closer look at HOW it failed.

    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  14. #39

    Default

    That's weird AF! Was the axle new-ish?

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  15. #40

    Default

    I'm sure the previous owner had changed it at some point, but in the two ish years I've owned this car I've never touched it.
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  16. #41

    Default

    Here's my best lap of the weekend. First session Sunday morning, a few laps before the RF tire broke a belt internally, one session before the axle stub snapped.

    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  17. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Central Coast, CA
    Posts
    1,919

    Default

    Man, this is all so cool. I love your level-headed approach to everything and making due with what you got. Such a rad little car too, I love it. Really enjoyed reading through this thread tonight, keep it up man!

  18. #43

    Default




    Have you ever just completely run out of motivation for a project, only to have a sudden deadline creep up, and have to kick it in high gear to just barely make it by the skin of your teeth? That was what the last month was like.





    Since I had no more events planned for the Corolla, with only our annual fall cruise left in my automotive calendar for the year - an event for which I prefer driving the MR2 - I didn't really think about much wrenching in the weeks after HPDE. We even took a day trip down to VIR to watch some SCCA Runoffs practice sessions and record a podcast episode while we were there.





    The Monday before the cruise, I went to flush the MR2's old brake fluid (now spongy from unexpected HPDE use) and immediately snapped a bleeder valve on one of the rear calipers. After failing to extract or drill out the remains, the only solution was to replace the caliper. Unfortunately these calipers are not available any more from anywhere I could find, so it was time to scramble and get the Corolla ready instead.





    I had already gotten the new bearing and hub pressed into the knuckle, it was mostly a matter of assembling everything at this point, with only a couple evenings to finish in time. First thing to go in was the axle. The old axle had a M19 or M20 thread, where the new axle has an M22 thread. Hopefully this will prevent it from shearing in the same way.





    Not a bad way to spend an evening, honestly.





    Friday night - the night before the cruise - everything had been assembled, with only lubricating the brake slide pins left to do. I had been using Permatex ceramic-based lubricant, but it seems like over time/heat cycles this stuff can't take it. It basically turns into cement which literally the opposite of what you want.





    I took everything apart, cleaned it, and re-lubricated it all with this rubber-safe silicone lubricant. Hopefully this will do a better job.





    With a wonky alignment (so much toe out) and the MR2 wheels put on, the Corolla made it out to the mountains just fine.





    There were absolutely zero mechanical problems all day. The car did feel quite twitchy with the crazy toe up front, but overall it felt perfectly solid as far as the bearing/ball joint/axle was concerned.





    We had a great crowd with some really cool cars. The weather could not have been better either. Overall it was a great day, and the little FX16 held up like a champ.

    Next project: hopefully a bigger-brake swap with factory components on the MR2. Something cheap, off-the-shelf, and readily available. That's if it all fits!
    Have you ever been so far even as decided to use go want to look more like?

  19. #44
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    189

    Default

    This is magnificent! The shots are great
    Interesting they changed the thread to M22, hopefully it holds up better indeed.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •