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I last owned a starion almost a decade ago and it didn't end well. Since then I've gone on to be a bad owner of a number of other cars, and I can't say I ever kept an eye out for another one, or really even thought about them. Doesn't help when you literally never ever see one on the road ever ever ever.

I was doing the obligatory "old coupe under x amount" search on Trademe and this one came up. I actually knew a guy who owned it for YEARS back in Hamilton, and he'd always taken good care of it. As it turned out it was also advertised for sale here on OS. Anyway I chucked a bid on it for fun and never thought about it again. I'd had a bit to drink and somehow didn't see the red flag come up. Fast forward to when I got an email late at night a couple days later, my blood ran cold lol. The missus was fucking furious


The seller was a good fella, straight up about the issues with the car, he'd bought it off the previous owner that I knew but didn't get far before having to get rid of it. It had a cracked windscreen but he arranged to get it replaced - didn't get that far unfortunately as the rot around the lower part of the screen would have to be dealt with first. So it came up with the screen taped on, workmate had to collect it for me as the missus was still too angry. 


In the garage, starting to strip it down for an assessment. Didn't get far before the list started growing. The good news is that the motor had been rebuilt a few years prior (with receipts), Vr4 pistons, balance shafts removed etc. Couple of grand spent there. Oh and a serious crapload of spare parts. I have a pic somewhere but can't find it right now. The car was running, but not great. No handbrake, offset by the fact that all the brakes were frozen. Power steering pump noisy but that's so far down the priority list I could barely care


THIS was the bigger issue. Where the car was straight, it was bloody straight. And where it was rusty, it was bloody rusty. I'd written off my last starion over corrosion like this and I'd be damned if I'd let it happen again. Plus pride was on the line for my accidental purchase, I couldn't just write it off.


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The green and silver rust converter earnestly applied by someone down the line was reminiscent of band-aids on a terminal cancer patient. Turns out after all the love and attention the car received back when I knew it, it'd somehow ended up parked under a tree for a few years which basically rooted it


Inside of one of the guards. Both were completely blown out at the bottom.

Someone had cut the top of the firewall out to assess the rot beneath the scuttle, it'd punched through in about half a dozen places


This was rapidly getting beyond my mediocre ability to fix. Workmate knew a panelbeater who worked from home and offered decent prices. I tee'd a time for him to come and have a look, then lockdown hit. So I stared at this rotten old thing for a month or two. Actually I did a bit more than that, fixed the brakes up, and pulled the turbo to bits for fun

But first some more corrosion gore


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I pulled the dashboard and wiring looms to get them out of the way, had a bit of a panic here as I thought the floor had been dodgily repaired with fibreglass, but on second inspection it's clutch fluid leaking from the blown master eating up the dynamat.


Here's where the water has rotted through the scuttle, through the upper firewall, and is running down to the bottom of the A pillar, to rot out the sill and onto the floor. Door hinge attach points are mercifully solid. But it's the reason all the wiring had to come out. LHS was marginally better so the (extremely rare) ECU hadn't gotten wet at least


Lockdown was dragging on so I started to peel the scuttle back, to just find rotten shit everywhere. Had a look around for donor vehicles (good luck)

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Pulled the whole scuttle panel in the end. Rot had even punched through the side of the heater duct for good measure. I've got a bunch of other photos but you get the idea


moisture defying gravity to rot the underside of the scuttle panel because nothing nice is ever allowed to happen.

Lockdown ended, replacement scuttle arrived but tbh was only marginally better, I was a little upset about that. Pictures somewhere but can't find em

Panelbeater showed up for a look, he was surprisingly upbeat about the whole thing. Gave me a fantastic price to do the job, I was stoked as. This is where I feel like a bit of an ass as a lot of oldschoolers would just post up a few quips and a montage of them fixing this shit like it was no big a deal, but I have zero ability to weld. So yup, a good chunk of my "project" was just to pay another guy to fix it up. Sorry. Actually it was extremely liberating to sit on the couch with a beer knowing that some other poor bastard was wrangling the rot out of that old hulk. Panelbeater was impressed with how many pieces I'd managed to pull the car into.

I've got a bunch of other pics but need to work out how to resize them


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The buggered scuttle

1152619246_20200221_131702(Large).thumb.jpg.70cf233f9ebbbbfb005f9a10ec1fffed.jpgStuff like this is what ultimately made me realise I could never fix this myself - seam/upper side of the firewall blown through beneath a box section stiffener - the whole section would need to be unpicked to get at it.

907234538_20200501_130208(Large).thumb.jpg.65ffcf3a714b6e7df2e193d1fdcd102f.jpgSo I loaded it up and didn't have to look at it for another couple of months.

In the meantime I contacted the original owner who I don't think was 100% thrilled about who had ended up with his pride and joy - surely he remembered the sik modz I did to my old starion back in the day. Anyway he had a bunch of other spare bits and pieces still in the garage, so popped by and donated them to me. 

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982045098_20200511_092423(Large).jpg.4396892dcda8985c332b5c397f91bfa2.jpgBox popped off and seam rebuilt

1287573983_20200511_120823(Large).jpg.d6b6035956aa3a7b47a09cf62e066fd9.jpgBox back on again


Patching the holes in the firewall - I did have a go at doing this myself before I realised just what a job it was going to be to do it properly

594776719_20200512_114909(Large).jpg.2469e4f4675c33082dafeacefb263b95.jpgSoo easy to do when it's just an OS montage. 

1103064399_20200515_163001(Large).jpg.e7322e1c9d862305299af4b7f1de64e1.jpgRot at the bottom of the A pillar post removed. A side note, the underside of the car is actually in fantastic condition.


Patched up, simple as. 

1952957409_20200519_121849(Large).jpg.1ce95400b16cfb9fba2e403b72803cd7.jpgRH upper firewall getting the same treatment. Box section off, rot out and the whole lot cleaned back


more new than old

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got absolutely shat on by the weather over the weekend, garage had a bit of flooding but I was ready for that from experience so everything was already up off the ground. Poor old triumph took a bit of a bath from a leaky roof but no damage done.

I went on another sikk modz tangent because the CA18DET inlet manifold arrived. Port spacing is unnaturally similar, both Mitsi and Nissan even decided to go with the same PSSP PSSP layout so I get the injector bosses in the correct ports. It's quite a strange design, the primary ports get ALL the fuel, the secondary is air only. The DASH engine opens it's secondary inlet valves around 2500 rpm if I recall, things might get a bit strange for a millisecond there as the injector has to double it's output, and God only knows how the charge will mix. Lucky the injectors are so close to the head that the air won't have much of a head start. In retrospect the factory setup is even worse with the injectors way upstream where Mitsubishi originally lazily wedged them in a hollowed out carburetor back in '82 and called it a day. The DASH engine activates the valves at the rockers a la VTEC, the Nissan deactivation system is a bit more agricultural with a TVIS style butterfly which had already been removed from this manifold. The old butterfly shaft bearing hole might be a good place for a vacuum signal.




The coolant port was never going to work so that got trimmed off and went into the bin. Unfortunately the mount hole positions are a bit shit, there's only about 4 studs along the top of the manifold, and two of them are DIRECTLY under the injector bosses. I thought I had a solution by flipping the manifold upside down but that ended up misaligning the other ones even more. Decided in the end I'll pull those studs and countersink those holes on the flange. That'll allow it to be secure, and prevent it from fouling on the injector bosses. The only real downside is that that means the flange will have to go on first, then the rest of the manifold be assembled up against it, rather than it being a nice complete unit. The injector slots in the top of the port may be a problem too, right now they'd effectively be firing into a wall, I only have the thickness of the 7mm flange to try and relieve that. Might end up making a second flange to double the thickness and give me some more room to play with.


Drilled and tapped the flange to suit, couldn't find my tap handle amongst the mess so did the bugger in the vice. The manifold spacing is extremely close to how it wouldve been on the Nissan engine. I could've just about used the factory upper manifold too. The flange will require a little bit more reshaping and probably some hysol/devcon to help build up the larger CA primary ports to match the smaller mitsi ones. The secondary ports are pretty bloody good and will only need a tickle. 


Instead I went with quad throttles for the cool factor, they line up so well, the width is perfect, I could've actually just shaved the eyebrows and gotten away without an adaptor plate, if not for (again) the unfortunate position of the mount lugs, one of the three hanging out in the middle of nowhere, and a second one over an existing, larger threaded hole. Thought about back drilling and tapping the throttle bodies so I could bolt them up however I liked but don't actually want to permanently modify them - as we all know they're the second most overpriced engine component on earth (after the RFB 300zx airflow meter) so if the whole thing comes to naught I'd like to be able to on-sell them


Offered the throttle bodies up, became vaguely aware that it was beginning to look like a bit of a tower of shit tbh. I'll give it a clean up and a paint perhaps. By the time the (outlandishly large) 4AGE plenum goes on it'll be quite a big unit hanging off the side, I wonder if I can brace it a bit better. This is assuming I even use it. The 4AGE inlet I bought didn't come with a TPS but the starion one bolted up perfectly after a minute with a flat file lolol. I believe they work opposite the factory toyota ones but it looks like Tunerstudio has provisions for that.

Next project might be cleaning up the bench

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  • 1 month later...

Been a slow couple of months, lighting in the garage is garbage so doesn't exactly lend itself to crawling around an interior or doing paint prep, which is exactly what needs to be done



got all the heater doodads installed (and replaced the dreaded tiny water pipe that lives on the heater box, thanks to starquest forums for pointing that one out)


dashboard back in... not gonna lie, not every single nut and bolt made it back in. I call it "interior by Lotus". Previous owner fitted some swank white faced gauges... however I also have a prized '83 digital dashboard in the cupboard which is kinda tempting.


Windscreen back in and the engine and turbo back together, just the airbox left to go. Had so much fun routing allll the wiring back around the engine bay, gosh

I've just started scuffing the body back for painting but unfortunately only have a half-hour attention span before I start half assing any given job (ESPECIALLY) panel stuff, so it's slow going. At this point I also heard my son sitting in the Triumph shouting "sticky! sticky!" so had to hurriedly drop tools and intervene


Bonus question: what on earth do the weight numbers mean on the dataplate?



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  • 3 months later...

another quiet enough day at work to get some stazzin' done. paintstripped the donor door, not a single spot of bog to be found, she's honest as. very happy about that. ground off a little bit of surface rust and converted the dregs, then a coat of filler primer which came out pretty good considering the 20 knot crosswind. I will have to bog up a couple of shopping trolley dents but otherwise it's all on track


the next thing to look at is the area around the wraparound rear spoiler - it'd been originally faired into the body with some substance which is absolutely fucking rock hard, and I think protruded a little too much too. I'm currently looking at not fairing the kit into the body - it makes removing anything down the line a shit as obviously everything cracks. So I'll have to chisel off all the shit that's on there to allow a really clean looking joint. thought about smoothing the spoiler in and leaving the skirts looking distinct but I'd rather keep it consistent, I dunno

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  • 3 weeks later...

made some pretty big fuckups over the last week or two, lads. Blew some high-build primer over the body and that came out pretty good at least. Yucky stripes on the roof, my compressor decided it was no longer self-regulating so I had to manually shut it off every minute or so to stop things going pop. definitely need to get that sorted before I do anything beyond laying waste with the primer


Decided I had to smooth the spoiler into the body - it'll never fit perfectly so shit was always going to get trapped between it and the body, and ultimately rot out. So I banged some sealant  (KD bond+seal) on the side pieces and fixed them on. I was originally going to blend them in with bog, but when some of the sealant squicked out the side, I thought "why not just mask it up and blend it in with the sealant?" So I did just that. Then it dried and didn't look very good.... and you can't sand this stuff.... so I ended up trimming all the carefully-shaped sealant off and then reformed the blend with filler 

Then I made another fuckup. At the top of the spoiler where it blends in, the radius forms a little valley all the way along. And so I thought "why not just pour paint into the valley, it'll self-level and come out perfectly smooth?" as it turns out, paint doesn't like being poured in real thick, and it all cracked and just turned into a bag of roaring ass. So I scraped THAT back, and reshaped it with some filler. Two cockups from being a lazy ass SOB


this is the Valley of Death. Best of all it's 90% hidden by the window and trim so really it's a lot of work for no great reward. blending this fucking spoiler in has nearly beaten me tbh. 

I wonder if I should have just owned the seam. masked up a tidy, straight seam of bog or even sealant, painted it up, and have it visible through the paint rather than spending hours trying to make it all blend in. It's a 4mm bead of sealant around a bodykit, who gives a shit? I probably will end up doing this around the sideskirts as it's less likely to root the paint if they ever have to come off


started prepping the guards too. Thankfully they're pretty straight, some meaty repairs at the bottom but it's all steel and again will be under the kit


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had another wonderful day of pushing shit up hill and trying to paint my car with it.

decided that the amount of faffing around with the side spoilers warranted a can of high build primer, to save cleaning the gun a trillion times. drove to town and bought one. pulled the trigger and it promptly fountained paint all over my fucking hand.

drove back to town and hit up the paint shop guys for an exchange. "no, you mustn't have shaken it up enough, here.... OK i've cleaned the nozzle out and gave it a real good shake up, works like a charm now"

drove back home feeling like a bit of an idiot. went back to work on the car, grabbed the can and hit the trigger:



if you can make out the picture through the tears of rage which somehow permeated the camera lens itself, this is what happens when a motherfucking geyser of paint from a shitbag fucking paint can hits 1k filler primer. well what you can see is from after i quickly wiped it off.. too bad it'd already taken the paint with it. not sure if leaving to dry would've been any better. guess i shouldve tested it first :/ didn't go back to the paint shop again, too mad


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  • 3 weeks later...

quiet day at work again today so I got back down to real business. Blew some primer on the guards to see what I was dealing with. So many chips, cracks, fuzzy lines from drowning in twelve coats of paint.... I flipped them over and saw no dents or anything in the sheet metal so thought bugger it, I'll paint strip them

One guard is a donor and obviously from an earlier year stazza, hence the welded up nose mirror hole. funny enough I swear the metals had different sheens to them... import vs domestic treatments perhaps?20210122_114610.jpg.2f97653a8dfc51d847d09ab9604113d8.jpg

Otherwise my hunch paid off and they were all pretty good honest metal underneath. Feels good to not just blast more high build and paint on top of everything. Can proudly boast that the car is a 1/8 bare metal jobbie now


Paint stripper, bonderite C-IC surface prep, zinc phosphate primer onto the bare metal followed by strontium chromate altra-bond. I'm the script kiddie of paint prep and basically blazed away with carcinogens for the better part of the day. This car is going to be a rolling fukushima. fume extraction was less comprehensive so feeling wooo


Couple of little dents but otherwise we're in business. There are some weld repairs at the bottom of the guards that I didn't disturb - they look good from the inner side of the metal, I wasnt really interested in grinding bog out just to put it back in again

I also painted the first door and it came out... average. Forgot to get a pic but just a reminder that paint hides nothing lol. Painted the B pillar vents and they came out GREAT (could be the fumes talking)








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  • 3 weeks later...

Been paintin'. de-masked and in need of the meke polish but otherwise pretty excited to start bolting stuff back together. If only I could find where I put anything 


Played a LOT of huey lewis during painting to try and correctly channel the 80s spirit. Yuppie rock in the background, assuring the wife that everything was going just super great, white powder everywhere.. this must've been what it was like to be a stockbroker back in '85 

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