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Jukka's AE72 Corolla Wagon

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For the past year and a bit I've been toying with the idea of starting a new project with an older Toyota. I spent many hours on the internet looking for a suitable candidate and 2 weeks ago I managed to come across my perfect project. I picked up this AE72 Corolla Wagon from a kid about an hour away from my place in Calgary who had bought it, but decided not to do anything with it. It has some issues and the kid just wanted out before getting too deep into it.


Anyways, so here's my Corolla, also known as Project Coral! (Walking Dead joke/reference)

car 1.jpg

She's a Canadian Spec 1983 Corolla Wagon. Has only 130xxxKM on it, all original except for the fog lamps, an aftermarket radio and some speakers in the back trunk area. interior.jpginterior 2.jpg


Interior is in great shape for the year, seats could use a good cleaning/reupholstering and the carpet is burn and stinks like cigarettes, but over all no complaints.


The exterior is another story. Due to living in Canada, and living in a part of the country where we have massive swings in temperature (we can go from -30C to +17C in less than 48 hours, or from +30 to -1 and snow in the same time frame), cars up here usually rust out. This little rolla is actually in great shape for the year. The rear arches are pretty bad, but are solid underneath, the worst spots are the rear arches, the driver's side rear apron, a small patch on the rear apron behind the bumper, and the chunk in the hatch.

rust 1.jpgrust 2.jpgrust 3.jpg


She's a bit rough, but this will be a long term project.


My plans for it are going to be fixing the body work, deleting the side mirrors and putting on a set of fender (I guess they are also called wings?) mirrors, rear bumper delete, a set of early TE tail lights, and figure out the front end. The lamps on it right now from what I've figured out is a USDM/CDM specific front end for 83, and the side marker lamp lenses are broken on mine, and are like hens teeth to find. The right side is discontinued from Toyota North America, and the left side is still available, but about 2 months turn around for it. I do have some questions about front end's that I will post in a later post.


Interior: I have brand new aftermarket carpet coming in next week, front seats are going to be replaced with a set of RA64 Celica seats and for when I want to have fun I have a rare Tommy Kaira Recaro Speed seat sitting in my garage to go in. Rear bench will be reupholstered, and anything that is currently brown on the interior will be painted black. 


Suspension: I'm either going to run the OEM front suspension and get a set of weld on coilovers from Techno Toys Tuning, or I may see if I can source out some AE86 front suspension. Rear leafs are going to be repacked, adding a leaf spring into it and add in a panhard bar eventually.


Wheels: I managed to snag a pair of 14x6 Enkei 92's and a pair of 14x6.5 Riken Mesh wheels for $200. They will be refinished and slapped on the car soon.


Driveline: Canadian market cars were sold with a 4AC engine with a T50 gearbox behind them, so it makes swapping in a 4AGE or a 20V a lot easier than if I had the 3TC in it. I'm thinking I'll go Blacktop 20V eventually and run a Supra rear differential in the back.


But yea, that's my little corolla project. I'll be posting more soon.





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Since picking her up, I've had a little bit of time to play around and work on it. I have a new born at home, so time is mostly spent taking care of her. One of the first things I did was pick up the wheels I mentioned up top. The guy had them listed as Enkei's and SSR's. When I got to his place and found out they were Rikens, I pretended to get upset and told him that they weren't worth the $400 he was originally asking for them, and bascially worked him down to $200. Works for me.



One thing I hate about buying used wheels here, for some reason apparently people can't drive and find a way to rash wheels easily. You can see in the picture of the Enkei's above where the lip is slightly bent and rashed at the top. I'll be sending these out to get straightened and the rash fixed, then I'll be painting the wheels.


During my time working on it, I decided to clean the car out of all the old junk and cigarette butts the previous owner decided to leave me. My buddy was giving me a hand and saw this big bubble wrapped thing in the back seat and decided to pull it out. He unwrapped it found this thing in it.clean out.jpg

It's for tobaco use, I swear.....


No other major surprises, but I did manage to get $4 back from loose change, so car only cost me $746. I also got rid of the stupid ugly fog lamps and head lamp grills.


The engine is in good shape, runs great except the car flood out when it reached operating temperature. I have a carb rebuild kit on order right now too, so once it comes in, I should have the car drivable.



Here is my headlight/front end question. So, the front end currently on the car has 5"x7" sealed beam headlights and as i stated before the marker lenses are broken and one side is discontinued from Toyota. I've done a bunch of looking around online and it looks like the TE71 panel vans have a similar lens for the marker. We never got the panel vans up here, so does anyone have one they can measure the lens to see if it will fit??


car 2.jpg

Second question is I've been looking on ebay for the marker lens and have come across parts to do a flush face conversion. Since my front guards have the angled cutout from where the markers fit, I don't want to try and track down some earlier model guards to do a quad conversion to it, so i was wondering if anyone knew if I could do this front end without modifying the apron??


also already have those same mirrors on order too.

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Got some new parts yesterday. I picked up a set of mint RA65 Celica seats for $50, ordered up the flat front headlight conversion from ebay, received my first box of parts for the car which included new drums for the rear and my carb rebuild kit. Still waiting on my drum hardware kit and replacement carpet.

The collection of seats that will be going in the car at some point. 


The Tommy Kaira Recaro needs to have it's nylon bushings replaced, there's a bit too much movement back and forth.


The Celica seats are in great shape, just needed a good vacuuming.

seats 2.jpg

The grey just doesn't cut it. I'm going to be doing a full black interior conversion on the car, so the grey had to go.

seats 3.jpg

Much better! Still needs a few more coats of dye before it's done.


Biggest piece of the puzzle to get this thing on the road. 

carb rebuild.jpg


Going to be rebuilding the carb sometime mid week and hopefully have it good to go for next weekend.

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Well, had some ups and downs with the car since the last post.

I managed to get a few hours to do some work on it and found some really nice surprises and a really shitty one too.

The nice surprise was that I pulled out the old musty, super dirty, cigarette burned and ash filled carpets. The car smelled a million times better after doing that, but the best surprise was the floor pans under the carpet were absolutely mint. No rust, no mold, no nothing. My 2002 WRX had more rust on the floor pans than this thing does.

floor pans.jpg

Still needs a good deep clean to get rid of the dirt, but I'm so happy with how clean they are.

Speaking of carpet, my replacement carpet showed up the next day.

carpet 2.jpg

carpet 1.jpg

Fully formed, has the heel plate, just needs to have the holes for the shifter plate, hand brake, and seat holes cut out before I put it in. 


The last bit of good news is I got my new headlight setup in from Asia. 

headlight 1.jpgheadlight 2.jpg

I couldn't find the replacement lenses for the marker lights, so I decided to pull the trigger on the JDM flat nose headlights and bezels. I mistakenly only ordered the right side bezel/marker light, so I need to order up the left side this week.


The bad news of all of this, went to go rebuild the carb last week and found this.

carb 1.jpg

Hairline crack in the carb body. It explains why the carb would start puking fuel out when it got up to operating temperature. Since finding parts for older Toyota's up here is like finding a needle in a haystack, so my buddy is going to take it home and see if he can either seal it up using a special epoxy he has, or see if our other buddy can just do a quick weld on it. Either way, carb should be taken care of soon and hopefully wont flood out.


I also had a quick question for anyone else who owns a KE/AE Wagon. I'm going to start working on the body work in the next couple of weeks, and one of my first things I'm going to be doing is pulling the glass out of the rear 1/4 windows and the hatch window. I had a question about removing the rubber seal outside of the window. I took a quick look and it looks like for the rear 1/4 windows the rubber seal pulls out, is that true? I know for the hatch window I need to pull the chrome trim off, then the seal.


I also checked with Toyota over here and the hatch glass seal is discontinued from Toyota, should I just use a thick coat of urethane when I replace it?

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Well, a couple of small updates. We managed to get the carb rebuilt, sealed up the crack with epoxy, slapped it back onto the car, fired up and ran great....for 10 minutes... It's still doing the same thing as before where it runs, but dies off after it gets up to operating temperature. This time, we decided to do a bit more diagnostics into it, and found that when it stops running, it's not due to lack of fuel, but lack of spark. We pulled the distributor cap off, it has a new coil, cap, rotor and wires, but it looks like the ignition control module and pickup are fairly old. I've got a new set of them on order, as well as a new distributor o-ring, so once everything comes in, we'll be pulling it out and rebuilding it. If that doesn't fix the issue, I'm not sure what's going on.

Also managed to get a couple hours to work on the car this past week after work. I decided it was time to get rid of the disgusting original carpet out of the car and install my new replacement one. The carpet company gives A LOT of excess material, and even though it was "form fitted" it needed some massaging and a lot of trimming. After about 2 hours of fighting with it, trimming and punching holes in it, it was finally in.


I still need to clean up some of the holes, punch out the holes for the seatbelts, the under dash box, kick panels, and the trim around the bottom of the seatbelt, but it's technically in. I did the initial install on Wednesday and haven't been back in the car until yesterday afternoon and the car smells a million times better. I also used some DEI spray-on Boom-Mat sound deading material on the floor pan to help seal it up and to reduce vibrations through the pan it's self. I've used it on a number of projects before and for the $8 per can I buy it for at my work VS $150 worth of materiel, it does as decent enough job.


Next week's job is going to be fit the new flat-face headlights, hopefully fix the ignition system, and get on to making the patch panel for the rear 1/4 and the rear arches. Once that's all taken care of, I'll be plating the car and bringing it to my house and my buddy's house to do the rest of the work on it.

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tiny bit more progress. The weather finally started to turn around and we had a couple of days of +16 degree temperature, not bad for still being "winter". I decided to spend one of my lunch breaks at work and decided to fit the flat face head lamp lenses.

headlights 1.jpgheadlights 2.jpg

Still need to order up my drivers side marker lens, but they are at least in and fit great.


I also took a few minutes at work at fitted a new stereo. The car came with this old crappy Sony unit that was poorly installed where the factory radio was originally located, it also had an aftermarket cruise control unit mounted above that which looked hokey as hell. I picked up a spare gauge surround and am going to fill in the original stereo hole with a panel, mount a gauge or 2 in there, and a switch to adjust the electronic bolster in the Celica seat. I decided to pickup a new Kenwood stereo from work and fit it in the cubby hole below the dash in front of the shifter.


Best part of the stereo is that it has programmable time delay for the rear channels, so I can tune in the stereo to have a surround sound feel to it.


On a side note, all the replacement ignition components are on order and should be arriving next week, insurance inspection is done and insurance is going to be put on the car by early April. I'm thinking of getting some vanity plates made up, but not sure if I want to spend the extra money on them, or just register the vehicle and get whatever plate they give me.

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Had some time this weekend to keep tackling the interior. Managed to get the door sills plates, door seals, kick pods, trunk panels, c-pillar panels, cubby, e-brake cover, and steering column cover cleaned, and dyed black. Also got around to installing my new tachometer, steering wheel, front speakers, rear speakers, and headunit.

interior 1.jpg

interior 2.jpg

I bought another cluster surround to see if I could deal with the poorly installed old headunit, but the one I purchased was from a coupe, which has a slightly different dash, so I had to use my original one. I drilled out the old cruise control plate and pitched it, then fabbed up a block off plate out of some acrylic we had kicking around the shop. I'm going to use it as a spot to install my phone mount.

trunk 1.jpgtrunk 2.jpg


I also took out the severly weather beaten old 5.25" speakers in the rear and modified the panel, plus the sheet metal behind to accommodate a set of Rockford Fosgate 6.5" 3 way speakers I had from my old Subaru. I also mounted them with a foam BoomMat basket on the backside to give them a bit more clarity. Sound system sounds great, just needs some low end. After I get around to mounting my celica seats in, I'm going to go shopping for a slim subwoofer to put under the passenger's seat.

Still needs some work on the interior. I still need to figure out what I'm going to do with the cracked dashpad, and dye the rest of the brown black. I also tried to remove the fake wood section around the climate control, but it is stuck in place, so I may just leave it as is. 

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Not much to update, finally got the car home from my old work. Downside of quitting is no longer being able to park the car up there and use their shop at will. Oh, well, better job now which gives me more time and money to be working on it.



Forgot to upload this earlier. But it's amazing how small this thing is. When I parked in the garage, this is how low the roof line sits compared to my lowered WRX roofline.


I do have a question, I already asked it to no avail, but for people who have removed their rear 1/4 windows (furthest ones back on the car on the sides), do the seals pull out? or are their clips holding them in place? I've got some rust work I need to do on the driver's side and I want to pull the glass, but don't want to risk damaging the seal, or glass in doing so. I also need to do the hatch glass as well. Can someone provide some insight so I can get working on that?

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Picked up another set of wheels this week. I have no idea what brand they are, there are no markings I could find except for on the rear inner lip there is the wheel sizing specs. They are 15x6.5 ET20 2 piece. The hardware that bolts the faces to the lips on a couple of the wheels look like they were gold plated at one point. Picked them up for a really good deal, 2 wheels are mint, 1 wheel has 2 minor bits of crub rash, and the 4th wheel has rash about 1/3rd of the way around the lip and has a slight bend in the lip on the backside.



Any ideas on what they are? I've rules out they are SSR's, Works, Weds, Takeshi Projects, Crimsons. They have the valve stems on the backside of the wheel face, and no bolt holes for a bolt-on center cap.

EDIT: Figured out what they are after spending a few hours in the depths of the internet and getting my mate who has been selling wheels for almost 20 years and loves old Japanese wheels to take a look. They are Super Star Racing Nore Super Fins. And yes, I said Super Star Racing, which is not SSR. Super Star is now better known for their luxury branded wheels, Leon Hardiritt. I managed to figure it out from a guy who had a set for sale posted on the Honda Tech forums that he took pictures of them without the center caps and it had all the same markings as my wheels, same hardwear, and same engraved wheel measurement specs on the rear side of the barrel. Here's what they would look like in good shape and with the center caps.


I'm going to strip them down, refinish the barrels, and probably either paint or powder coat the centers in gunmetal. 

This is kind of a cool option too...


Matte black center with a bronze lip/barrel.


I also picked up a mig welder, some sheet metal, and all the other good things I`ll need to start the body work. Hopefully I`ll get a chance this weekend to start on my first patch panel.

I'll be posting another update tonight with my collection of new parts that came in and some interior updates.

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