Roman's beams 3SGE Toyota Carina

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Sooo, I just got back from spending 12-13 days lurking around the South Island.

Just before I started my trip, another Carina popped up for sale in Timaru...

3AU, T50, T series drum rear. Really tidy interior!

Major draw card though, was next to no rust due to being in such a dry place for so long.

Soooo ended up having my arm twisted into getting it :)

Ended up driving it from Christchurch > Reefton > Christchurch > Timaru > Oamaru > Dunedin > Queenstown > Haast > Fox Glacier > Greymouth > Nelson > Piction > Wellington > Palmerston North > Taupo > Hamiltion, and then finally back to Auckland in it.


Did over 3,900kms on the way home, didnt miss a beat! It's got new gaskets/rings/etc, rebuilt about 30,000kms ago.

Probably the most love that I've ever seen given to a 3AU, hahaha.

Had an awesome time wandering around, going skating, going swimming, and being a general nuisance. :D

It was pretty much the perfect car to tour around the south island in. It was reasonably good on gas, and it was just happy putting along at 90/100kph the whole time. If I was in a fast car, I'd be more interested in hooning around the roads rather than looking at the scenery.

Still not sure what I'm going to do with it, Not sure whether to put it up for sale, daily drive it, or put it in storage in case I smash my other one into a wall :D

In other news,

Just prior to leaving Auckland I put the motor and gearbox etc back in my other car.

After fixing a few vaccum leaks etc, all started up fine, but then stopped dead and now doesnt want to start again.

I'm not sure what the problem is yet, but one thing that's always been a total pain is checking for error codes.

I can never remember which pin to earth out, which wire to connect up to a light, and then its always a pain trying to find a list of the correct error codes for this type of engine. I'd hate to have this type of problem at a trackday, and spend half the day chasing my tail trying to sort out these things.

So I've decided that I'm going to turn the glove box into a diagnostic bay of sorts.

There's normally a switch on the glovebox door that activates a light when it's opened.

So I'm going to use the glovebox light to flash the error codes, and the switch will be used to earth out the diagnostic pin.

I'll also have a list of error codes printed on a panel in there, so if I'm at a trackday or something and I'm having problems, I can just about instantly check for errors just by opening the glovebox door :)

Will have something printed out sorta like this.


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10 days till OS trackday!


Not much left on the to-do list to get the car ready before then.

I've been procrastinating about fitting some shorter steering arms, from a PS ST141 Corona but finally got this done.

Steering feels a bit snappier, with no discernable difference in steering weight which is good.

With rpms there's a bit of smoke out the exhaust, hopefully it's just clearing out oil left in the exhaust from the valve guide incident...

Otherwise I'm super pissed if it's got some other issue causing smokeyness!

Oh well, trackday should be a pretty good test of whether it's likely to blow up again or not :P


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Oldschool trackday ruled my face! Such a sweet range of cars there.

A few highlights/shenanigans below.

A few things on the to-do list before next time, but car was much nicer to drive this time around. It's getting closer to how I want it to drive anyway.

Need a better brake bias solution, (still too rearwards) better radiator and softer rear springs/fit rear swaybar are the main things from here.

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More glacial progress :oops:

My Dad has been doing more work on his Toyota Soarer, so he wanted to pinch one of my front struts to figure out how a brake upgrade is going to work.

We're looking to fit Nissan 4 pots to the front of the soarer, and since the Carina has more or less the same struts we figured we'd do the same for that too. So I've been working on a CAD drawing for an adapter bracket.

It took quite a few prototypes to find something that was going to fit behind the old style wheels though!


Calipers are currently split apart and being sandblasted etc before a paint up and seal kit and reassembly.

Apart from potential stopping power, the 4 pots are great because they are less than HALF the weight of the current caliper setup!

You dont need to pull the caliper off to change the pads which is nice, and a good range of aftermarket brake pads by comparison.

Less downtime if I nuke some brakepads at a trackday.

I've also been thinking about how to make a consolidated GPS system, camera system, etc for trackdays.

Bond and Bond had a sale where micro laptops were $299, 1.6ghz, 1 gig of ram and 320gb hard drive, so seemd a good deal, couldnt say no!


I could justify it to myself partially because it's useful not just for car stuff, can use it the other 99% of the time for other things too.

This has three USB ports, so current plan is:

1 port for 20hz GPS receiver, running race chrono on the PC

1 port for a high framerate webcam, that could be used for picture in picture on a trackday vid or something (so looking out rear window, or maybe at the pedals or something)

And the third port for plugging in my main camera to switch it on and off.

If we can figure out how to datalog the engines OBD output, this will come in on the same port as the GPS. 8)

So like so:


Since the car is pretty much ready for cert, I thought I'd get some extra suspension goodies to chuck in there before that time, as obviously you cant legally fit them afterwards:


Front castor arms - these are rediculously grunty compared to standard items, quite a bit heavier too!

However I guess controlling castor changes etc is a lot more of an issue when you're running sticky tires, compared to... well, suspension that's designed for gripless 185 wide tires :)

Roll Centre adjusters are really light and nicely made.

Will be interesting to see if it makes any sort of noticable difference on the track.

The GPS system is awesome, it can give you real time splits and laptimes as you go, as well as comparable data for later about which line is quickest, etc etc.

I went for a bit of a test run in my daily driver, with the GPS system I haxed together something to give an overhead map view as you go:

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Been lazy over winter once more, woops!

Anyway, last few days have made some meaningful progress.

After a considerable amount of revisions, Front brakes version 2.0 finished with Nissan Sumitomo Calipers:


Sits up on a funny looking angle but works all the same.


Shiteload easier to change brakepads now!


-Front RCAs and rose jointed castor arms fitted

-Wilwood bias valve fitted

-Rear springs swapped for softer ones, lowered a tad

-Front springs swapped for softer ones, lowered a tad

-Rear exhaust hanger arrangement changed for something that hopefully wont melt (the rubber was previously touching the rear of the muffler)

So that should be 75% of the handling gripes sorted, but will see how it goes.

I've got a bottle of Cusco friction modifier oil ready to chuck into the diff housing to make the LSD a bit more tolerable as well, should make it turn in a bit better too.

Planning on a bit of a test run tomorrow!

Then keeping a beady eye out for another trackday to go test at again. :D

Maybe a Pukekohe open day.

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Definitely a lot better with softer springs in the rear!

Brakes and suspension etc etc are great so far.

Bit of an exhaust leak from somewhere which means it sounds pretty yuck, but I'm getting the exhaust modified hopefully soon to give some more ground clearance, so will sort that out then.

Just needs to come down a touch, and paint gas cap, and put side trim on, and blah blah...


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Guest Roman

[tl;dr warning]- heaps of words, no pictures, no actual work done rambling update

This has pretty much just been sitting in the shed for ages, with nothing done - I've been a bit over it to be honest.

I dont know if it's just me, but having a car project is like just getting kicked while you're down, financially and otherwise over and over with no end in sight. Kinda wished I just spent the money travelling or something, but I guess I've at least got something to show for it.

So I've just been enjoying other things over the summer, such as company of friends, a bit of photography, the outdoors, and other things which dont involve bashing my knuckles and swearing at an old car for seemingly no reward.

However! After just attending the OS nats without an OS car, it certainly gets me back on track motivation wise, and keen to get this thing over the finish line.

Both figuratively and literally, I cant wait to get out there for a trackday now, especially an oldschool event. Although I was glad to have something to do rather than twiddling my thumbs, filming stuff doesnt nearly compare to getting out there on the track!

One thing that I have managed to do, is fix the exhaust so it's got heaps more clearance. I had to remove the middle muffler to do so, so it's only running the rear one and is a bit raspy and loud for my liking. But at least it can drive without scraping on everything. Also changed back to an Altezza radiator, and standard air filter box, and re-relocated the relocated oil filter.

I've been searching for rear lower window trim for pretty much years, and have now resigned to the fact that I'm just going to have to use the crappy ones I've got. It's a bit of a shame to have really nice paint and crappy looking trim, but I've given up on trying to make this thing look nice now, I just want to get some enjoyment from driving it. Especially since managed to scrape the paint on the rear quarter panel on one side while it was in the garage, a bit dissapointing to spend heaps of time and money on repaint and then have it damaged before it's even left the garage.

The interior is pretty crappy as well, so I dont think it will ever look that nice apart from the paint, which is slowly aquiring dings and scratches anyway.

However to not sound like a totally miserable bastard, the basic ingredients are all there for a bit of fun, and everythings running well.

Since Kyteler was in town post Nats, I thought he might be able to help diagnose some traction issues...

Nope, still a mystery, more field testing required I think.

and went for a bit of a geez at my Dads Z10 which is still very much a work in progress.

Plan is to take the car for a cert check, and then if it fails I'll have a list of things to work on. It needs driveshaft loops, but hopefully that's all.

Speedo accuracy might be an issue, from memory it's still a bit out. I cant remember which way though, I'll recheck - changing tire profile or diff ratio might be the easiest way to solve, or changing speedo drive once more.

My motivation and state of mind re: this project have picked up a bit... It was just amazingly refreshing and motivating to head to the OS Nats, and see everyone elses awesome cars, and speak with some like minded people.

It's not often in my day to day life that I talk to anyone who likes or owns older cars, so it's easy to just leave the money pit under a blanket in the garage and get on with other things.

Being surrounded by so many awesome people and cars who were enthusiastic about the same sort of thing was fantastic.

With OS nats filming now done and dusted, might sell some of my camera stuff to put towards a cert etc and try make some progress. 8)

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Sooooo back to the full size altezza radiator, standard airbox works well.

The diff was really just stupidly clunky, so I put in a bottle of friction modifier oil, and it's made it heaps better.

Can go around round abouts without feeling like my teeth are going to rattle out. Seems to turn a little easier too, but might just be imagining that.

Found that the drain plug on the gearbox was slightly loose and slowly dripping oil out, topped it back up maybe 1/2 a litre, thankfully it didnt completely empty!

Took it out for a test run last night and it's running pretty good.


A few ground clearance issues though (exhaust flange is slowly getting eaten by the road, destroyed a hedgehog..)

so I might raise the front back up a bit, or go back to a 205/50/15 all round rather than 195.

Still need to lower the back a little though, if anyone's got some standard rear springs from a live axle carina/celica/corona or similar, let me know! cheers.

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Cert tomorrow :o

The laborious part of Project Forever hopefully draws to a close soon.


And forever onwards, just posting .wav files of doort noises and tire squealing till happily ever after.

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Cert tomorrow :o

So this went pretty well for the most part!

Took my car to Clint Field / Cletus as he'd been reccomended by many others from here and elsewhere...

Found him to be very knowledgeable and easy to deal with, A++ recommend.


A few things to fix up though:


Brake hose from body to diff needs replacing (easy fix!)

Driveshaft loops required (expected this one... Not looking forward to this job though!)

Rear axle seals leaking (easy fix, sorting this out today)

Rear springs need to seat correctly at the top (will get some replacements made up...)

Engine mount on one side needs reinforcing (Now sorted)

A brake hard line too close to the manifold (Sorted this while getting the engine mount out)

Engine check light is required, if using a factory ECU (Didnt know about this one! should be easy though)


And surprisingly... The car had super horrid bump steer!

As in, when the car was lifted up on the hoist you could see probably 5-10 degrees toe out just from static height to full droop.

This was a real surprise, seeing how I've used all factory steering bits.

However, it probably does explain why I've never really felt particularly confident driving this car so far.

The only things I can attribute it to are the fact the car's never had a proper wheel alignment, a quick run of the tape measure showed that it had pretty horrid toe-out, even before it starts increasing.

If the tie rods were adjusted way too short it could contribute to toe out through suspension travel I guess.

The other possibility is that since I've changed to Power Steer steering arms with a non PS rack, it's messed the geometry up a bit somehow.

Since I've got two months to get everything fixed, I'm going to put the standard arms back in, take it for an alignment and then hopefully it should be okay.

Pretty happy on the whole though, even though it didnt pass it was a pretty satisfying milestone to reach. :)

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Oh yeah.


Also, while I had the intake manifold off to fix the engine mount, I noticed a 4-5mm ID hose coming off my throttle body, with nothing plugging on to it or blocking it.


I blew through one end, and it tees into the throttle body ahead of the throttle plate, which is the same place my idle speed controller draws air from.

The car has never idled too well and bogs a bit at low rpm, I'd attributed this to a light flywheel and different manifolds etc to the standard motor... Nope!

Once I blocked this off, it now idles fine first pop! And revs out a lot nicer.

As previously, air was sneaking in past the MAF sensor and the engine didnt know wtf was going on.

I'm glad I spotted this, because since it's not a vaccum leak it's pretty tricky to find an air leak.

I've got to replace the rear brake hose and fix the axle seals etc before I can take it for a test drive, but it's looking a LOT better just from idle anyway. Pretty stoked about that, because I was running out of ideas for what could have been causing the crappy idle, next thing I was going to try was replacing the ISCV.

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Things have been a bit shit!

I've been busy working to get everything crossed off the list, for cert recheck.

I've only got a few things left to do - swap back to factory steering arms, wheel alignment, and check Engine light.

Plenty of swearing was done while fitting driveshaft loops! Happy to have that finished though, I've been putting it off for years haha.

I've got about 3 weeks left to complete it all, I was hoping to have it done already but then my daily driver decided to spring a water leak from 'the hose from hell'... A 90 degree rubber hose on the side of the engine block that the rest of the car is built around, basically.
So I had a week with no daily driver while I was pulling it to bits trying to fix the leak...
Then borrowed my old mans car to go get some parts to fix my daily, and crashed it on the motorway. :( Pretty much written off.
I was super gutted about this, I've never had a crash before. Spent the whole Saturday of Labour weekend sitting on the side of the motorway waiting for a tow truck, talking to cops, or contemplating how shitty it is to crash a car.

The cars in front of me had a nose to tail, and the brake lights never came on so I didnt expect the car in front to stop so suddenly.

So that sucks! Supposed to be concentrating on this, now I've got these whole other set of problems to deal with. Bah.

In more positive news however, I had some springs custom made by Snells, fitted them and they were too tall.


Called them back up, and they were happy to modify them to be shorter for free. Good service!

Fitted these springs back in, adjusted front suspension to some more sensible castor/camber, and took it for a run up the road.

It's driving so much better than it ever has! Cant wait to get a proper alignment done, I'm sure it would work wonders. The softer rear springs are perfect, I had these made to 3.5kgmm. My front springs are probably a bit soft currently, so will try find out the rate and source some at maybe 10-20% stiffer.

I was hoping to take it for an alignment tomorrow, however, the ONE damn thing that I'm using from the original car (T50 slave cylinder) dumped its guts tonight, thankfully just as I got to the top of my driveway. So I'll have to try source a replacement tomorrow, and fit it over the weekend. pooz.

If you wish discuss any of my first world problems such as:
-Lack of pictures in thread
-Too many words in thread
-Lack of cert

-Lack of daily car
-Lack of non smashed borrowed car
-Lack of lack of ride height
-Lack of skids
-Lack of T50 slave cylinder (giz?)

You may do so here: //

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Oh yeah, so just to get the picturelessness out of the way:




Have made some progress, changed the steering arms back to the proper ones.


As Clint suspected, (ARE YOU A WIZARD?!) the proper steering arms have a 'drop' to the tie rod end, where as the steering arms I had in it had everything more in a flat plane.


Which is weird, as apparently they were from a Carina, and I dont see how you could *not* have bump steer, with a flat arm. I would be interested to see the suspension setup of the car they came from!


It cant be an MZ10 or MA61 or GX71, as they have a larger ball joint on the LCA.


It must be from some variant of either Carina/Celica/Corona with some wizard magic tie rods or something. Perhaps from a... power steering, steering box setup or something. Dunno! Big thanks to Ken/Kinloud for helping me out with some other steering arms though.


I had my rediculously helpful Dad come around and wire up a check engine light, and he also made some spacers for the front suspension:



As basically, the front spring rate was good, but it was preloading the bejeezus out of the springs to get it to the height it was at.

As is often said, having an adjustable spring platform is more about accomodating different spring rates/lengths, rather than height adjustment. So my options were to fit longer shocks (Which then might not fit in the strut casing anymore, as the bottom part would be longer too?) or put spacers between the strut towers and top of the suspension.

But yeah, it pays to think carefully before cutting down your shocks/struts!


This raises the front by 10mm, meaning I can wind the springs back down a bit, for sake of mechanical sympathy/having more suspension droop.

Although, the car currently gets down my driveway without scraping, and steers really nice, so... screw it!


More interested in doing sweet jumps/gravel bashing/Takumi style gutter dives than having a low car.

So might cert it at the current height, and hopefully spend summer cruising around in it without fear of destroying my sump and being stranded in... fuck knows where.


Sooo I've just a wheel alignment to go, then pester Clint/Cletus into a recheck before my time runs out 8)

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Exciting news, on the "Make my engine run less shit" front!


It's been theorized for a while, that although not OBD2 compliant, these motors actually have an OBD compliant serial stream from the ECU.


Which as it turns out, is the SIL pin.


Some crazy russians have spent some time with a scope and figured out the baud rate, protocol, etc of the Japanese OBD data, which means....


With some wizard magic wiring into the Diagnostic port (Courtesy of my Dad) we have got an ELM327 Bluetooth OBD2 reader connected to the ECU successfully.


It needs some custom commands to make it work, so currently it only works with the app "Torque" for android devices.


Well worth the $7 for this app!
Awesome for troubleshooting. Can look at idle speed, TPS angle, coolant temperature, etc without having to look at the gauges.

I've had some issues where the car runs a LOT better with the TPS disconnected.


Turns out that as far as the ECU is concerned, when the throttle is fully shut it's at 27% throttle and when fully open, it's at 60% throttle.Which meant it had a fairly crappy 1400rpm idle running super rich.

I unscrewed the tps from the housing which let it unwind a little further - now shows 9% throttle opening as far as the ECU is concerned, and drops to a stable 850rpm idle. Booya! This should hopefully help make the cold idle a bit nicer when the TPS is replaced with the proper one.

So I need to find a 3 pin TPS from a gen 3 or 4 3SGE, does anyone have one kicking around? I also need a 3SGE knock sensor in working order... If anyone's got one, Love you long time!

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Looks as though one of my injectors has packed up, dont suppose anyone has any of the pink FWD beams injectors spare?



In other news it was actually a bit of a mish to get the speedo reading correctly.


My Dad had been on the case for building some electronic wizardry to correct the signal - which tested fine using a Toyota speedo drive and dash cluster.


But when in the car, the actual speedo signal recieves a lot of interference from other electrical stuff, so it had to be remade a bit to filter out this.


So now the car has a little matchbox sized box under the dash, I can press one button or the other to speed up or slow down the speedo. Then you press both buttons together to save the changes.


So it took a few doorts up and down the motorway later, and now has an accurate speedo!


So in conjunction with fixing up a few other final bits, organised for Cletus to come back and...


Booya! Pretty stoked to finally reach that milestone :D


The motor is running great, the brakes are great, the suspension is great.


Took it for a WOF straight after that, have a few minor issues to sort out. Nothing that'll cost me a significant amount of time or money though.


Stoked! Hopefully depending on how lazy I am, should have the wof sorted within the week.


By which I mean month.


By which I mean year.




Bring on the next OS trackday!

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Surprisingly economical! On a trip to Thames im averaging 9.0 litres and 0.5 police stops per 100km.


I went through my wof and reg yesterday (and have the stickers, receipts, wof sheets etc in the car)


However it hasnt gone through on the system that the cops look at yet apparently.


So the guy was like "Wait a minute, this says it was last wof/reg in 2007, and the car is white. Can you open the bonnet please"

He had  bit of a look around under the bonnet etc, and goes "Are you sure this car used to be white, I dont see any white bits"

And I was all like "I know, right?!" *smugface*

He was also asking me questions about why the zeros on the numberplate didnt have a strikethrough thing, but the ones on the reg sticker did.

Honestly how do you answer such a dumb question? It's a different font because it's one of the older plates, I'm sorry if that breaks your brain officer. lol.

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