Project AE86: Getting low


Let me just say, this is my actual true real car build. My past cars I would do mainly maintenance stuff and thats pretty much it. They rest of the parts I would take it to a shop to do the installs. Im more of a driver then a mechanic. But getting involved in this build makes me understand my car better, with that, I’ll be installing my coilovers.


The first thing I tackled on was the front suspension. I was kinda familiar on how to remove it, when I helped Donnie do his suspension on his Carnia. I really do like how simple old Toyotas are simple to work on, you don’t need any special tools to do the work. There are three 10mm bolts on the top strut and 2 bottom bolts that hold the suspenion. Pretty simple and easy.


The stock suspension is alot longer then the coilovers so I had to remove the sway bar connection to get enough room to remove the suspension. Power tools made the work a lot easier. They pay for themselves! Worth the investment if you own a home or even do a lot of wrenching.


New verses old.


What I forgot to do was take measurements of the old suspension, but with a side by side comparison I was able to kinda guess how low I wanted to go. These new coilovers have room to go slammed, if you wanted to.


And removing the wheel hub from the suspension was pretty easy too. I didn’t take any pics because its a messy job. But basically, you remove the dust cap with a hammer and flat head screw driver. That exposes the locking pin, where you use a plier to remover. After that you remover the nut on the spindle, should be loose enough to remove by hand, and then you put the entire wheel hub out!


The wheel bearings install ill do another post. You could use the repack the old bearings but for me I wanted new ones since the car was going to see track time. I do like the fact of not having a front control arm made the front suspension easy to remove. I bolted the front coilover back and moved on to the rear!


When I removed the rear lower bolt for the shock, I thought I stripped or broke off the bolt considering how short it was. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and is actually the bolt length. Then I removed the top bolt holding the stock, used used the rubber hammer to get the shock out. This worked just fine.


I noticed the the solid rear axle was resting on the exhaust, so I remove a section the exhaust so the rear axle can droop more. The car came with a buddy club exhaust and had a quick release conveniently placed behind the rear axle. The extra droop allowed me to pull out the rear springs.


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The AE86 came with Eibach lowering springs but look at the hieght difference!

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The collars comes with a lock so you dont have to worry about the springs getting loose.


With any lowered cars, you have to make sure to cut off the bump stops. I know I was going to be pretty low so I opted to cut of a majority of the bump stop.


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I could got a lot lower haha, but I did adjust the hight a little to something more functional


I left it with about 1″ wheel gap. I know the suspension will settle more on the ground. I probably had about 3″ more inches to go lower. I didn’t mount the front wheels for test fit, since I didn’t get around to finishing my wheels bearings and extended studs. She is getting there little by little.

If anyone is wondering, the coilovers I bought was from Battle Garage very own product and hasn’t been on the market yet. They come with adjustable dampening and front camber plates. I have front swift springs 8kg and 6kg rears. Its kinda on the stiff side, but the AE86 will mainly see the track time and on r comp tires. If it was going to be a daily or see more street time would get lower springs rates.


Project AE86, more weight loss

After after removing all the sound deadening, I still had one more task to lose more weight. This was taking out the interior HVAC system, because I already pulled out the AC system of the 4age motor. My goal, hopefully, is to be under 2000lbs and every bit of weight savings counts.

Untitled Now to remove the HVAC, I had to remove the dash. Since the car was pretty much bare with minimal trim pieces left, it shouldn’t be that hard to remove right? Well, Im not really good with mechanic stuff and I had no idea what I was doing haha. I removed some bolts thinking that was it, but the dash wouldn’t budge. I was getting frustrated, because how hard could it be? Untitled

Thankfully, my friend Thaison messaged me and sent a youtube link for dash removal on the ae86. This gave me a general idea where to looks for bolts and this allowed me to remove the HVAC. Ill send a link at the end of this blog.

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I gotta say, working on old cars is much simpler and less complicated then newer cars. All I need was a 10mm and a screw driver to remove the pieces. My Milwaukee power tools made the work less tiring.

Untitled With the HVAC removed, I think I lost another 30lbs… I didn’t weight it all because the parts are pretty bulky in size. After removing the HVAC, it sure opened up the space behind the dash. More simple and clean. Untitled


While the dash was removed I had time to fit the AEM air/fuel gauge to one of the vents. I used a dremel to widen the ac vent hole. Looks a lot better then it was dangling before. Then I put my dash, and remaining trim pieces back in! I think Im done losing as much as I can at this point. Next is coil-overs and brakes!

The link for AE86 dash removal:

AE86 Stripdown


With 30lbs of dry ice and couple bottles of rubbing alcohol I was able to out 99% of the sound deadening from the 86. The dry ice and alcohol makes some kind of comical reaction which basically freezes the sound deadening. This only takes about 10mins, you’ll know when the sound stops popping. Then with a scrapper and hammer they break away in big chunks. I wasn’t able to remove all of the sound deadening around the pedals and front footwell because of the angle and tight space. I’m focusing on the intior part of the track build then working my out. Still some more work but she is getting there.

Start of an Epic Road Trip Part 5: Death Valley Day 2


Waking up to a nice sunrise overlooking the mountains.


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Cabin fever.

DSC_0342 After morning coffee and some cooked spam breakfast, we headed out to Father Crowley Overlook. There is an off-road trail that took us to the edge and gave us nice view of Death Valley. DSC_0344

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Lambo exploring and sniffing around. I was kinda nervous that he was going to find a venomous bug under those rocks, so I kept him on a short leash.

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Then we headed out to Saline Valley Road. Its dirt road trail that would lead us to other trails. This is when planning out the route before hand comes to play. There isn’t any cellular reception here. I pre downloaded the map route on my phone and I also brought an actual map of Death Valley just in case my phone GPS messed up. Lucky we didn’t lost, and saw some views only few people have seen.

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Always got to air down when going offloading. Provides a bigger footprint for traction and smoother ride.


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Really impressed with the Nangkang Mud Terrain tires, super cheap, and tough for when the road gets rough. I aired down to 20psi for this journey.

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Stumbled upon a little oasis.

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The trail lead us into the mountains and different side of wildlife.

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Teakettle Junction!!!!

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Made it to the moving rocks!!! But unfortunately there are vandals the move the rocks from its original postition. Kinda of a bummer on how we cant have nice things.

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DSC_0428 Then remade our drive to Ubehebe Creator and the road turned from desert rocks to volcanic-like sand. Felt a lot smoother because the heavy rutted road was a nightmare. The driving going from Teakettle Junction to Racetrack Playa was the worst riding experience ever.DSC_0429

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It was super windy that day.

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There was a trail that looked like it takes you to the bottom, but with Lambo in the car and the heat, we didn’t want to risk him getting heat stroke. He is super furry.


We then drove to Old Stovepope Wells, and was pretty hot desert. From chilly mountains to the hot desert all in one day.


Veiws you dont get anywhere else, and its off the beaten path.

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The Land Cruiser looking good, and racking up miles.

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We made it back to our small cabin, and called it a day! I didn’t take much pictures after that, because I just wanted to soak up the moment. Not many people are able to visit Death Valley and yet alone even drive the off road trails. Two days in the Death Valley isn’t enough and need at least a week to really explore the place. We did bring three 5 gallon jerry cans and used two jerry cans for the trip. Mainly because the only two gas stations in Death Valley is very expensive and only serve diesel and low grade octane. Its understandable considering you are pretty far from closest city. In the next series, we will be heading to Nor Cal and looking forward to the cool weather and sea breeze!!! Stay tuned!!!

Start of an Epic Road Trip Part 5: Death Valley Day 1


Nadine and I where pretty excited to drive to Death Valley because we never been and has just been one of those bucket list things we wanted to visit. Since we have a Land Cruiser, might as well hit the dirt trails Death Valley has to offer!


After eating a hearty breakfast in Las Vegas, we headed to Titus Canyon Road. This an off road trail that leads directly into Death Valley National Park.


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Airing down for the rough roads…. I went down to 20-25psi for the rocky terrain.


Lambo loving it.

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This Land Cruiser is one awesome rig.

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As we climb through the mountain pass, the scenery changed to more greener vegetation and clay roads.


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Along the trail you’ll arrive at an abandoned old mine town.

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After exploring the mines, the trail descended back down into the canyons.


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The trail leads into a dry river bed, which I didn’t want to get caught in a flash flood. Good thing there was the forecast called for sunny skies.

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Then the canyons tightened up but wasn’t claustrophobic tight.


The pictures doesn’t give this place justice. You have to see it to really put to scale how tall the canyons are.


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Out of the canyon and you are greeted with Death Valley!


Time to air back up for the paved roads!!!


Seeing the sand dunes, felt like I traveled to Egypt.

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The decent… but we had to climb that mountain to make it into Panamint Springs. Didn’t really notice big of the climb it was till you actually drive it. I remember its was a 6,000ft climb hahaha. I felt the Land Cruiser chugging along just eating up the miles. The Land Cruiser isn’t fast but you know it will get you there.


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After cooking dinner, we had time to catch the sunset.

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And as night fell, we saw the night sky. This time the moon’s light was blocking the stars.


My night shot wasnt the greatest and even playing around the the settings this was the picture that was about to capture the stars and background. Believe me it was a starry night. I really enjoyed the calmness and getting away from city living. It was time to go to bed, since the next day we had more trails to explore in Death Valley! Stay tuned!!!


Progress, AE86

Last time I worked on the 86 was when Thaison and I gutted the interior. The only stock trim Im keep is the dash. That was back in Febuary. Fast forward to June and Thaison was able to pull out the old motor, to make room for a high comp, 4age motor. This motor came from Thaison’s Black Limited and already has ITBs, and stand alone ECU. Those where the two things I really wanted. ITBs just sound better, and produce less heat then boost. The stand alone ecu gave me tuning options, for more mods in the future.


We did tackled maintenance items for a more reliable track car. While the motor was out, we replaced the water pump, thermostat, and the belts. I ordered an oil pump but after cleaning the motor, the pump looked like it was recently replaced. All good, at least I have some parts.


In one day we did the maintence and dropped the motor in!!! She still needs more work but its getting there. I have acquired most of the parts already and its just finding the time to work on it.  Hopefully by the end of year Ill be able to take the 86 out on the track.

Start of an Epic Road Trip: Las Vegas Part 4


Early morning we set the GPS for Las Vegas as our end destination with some stops one the way: Grand Canyon, Kaibob National Forest, and Hover Dam. I love road trip, its alway about the journey.


We left during sunrise and was a nice view driving trough north Arizona.



The steep climbs was even more of a struggle for the 18 wheelers. With the Land Cruiser fully loaded, I had my foot planted on the floor during the climbs only maintaining 60mph. Felt like I was driving a bus. Made me miss the M3 but at least I knew the Land Cruiser wasn’t going to break down.


Thankfully some sections leveled out and the skies opened up.

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It started to rain and get colder as we drove towards Flagstaff, Az.


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Lambo enjoying the ride. If you are thinking about bring your dog on a road trip, I highly recommend. They make great companions and your dog will be well cultured!

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The landscape changed from desert, grasslands, then to forest. I started to notice how cold it was outside becuase snow was on the ground!!


Kinda nervous driving on snow because I never had experience. The Land Cruiser did make me feel safe with the full time 4wd and the heavy rig made it seem planted. Yeah its wasn’t a blizzard but being form Texas, snow is something you don’t deal with yearly.


After passing Flagstaff, AZ the snow/rain mixture started getting stronger. It was an experience to remember!

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This was crazy, because its May and its snowing!!!! I just traveled through for seasons in one day!


The snow did let up but it was still pretty cold.

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Nadine and I decided to explore some back roads before entering the Grand Canyon.


DSC_0064 Kinda muddy but nothing the Land Cruiser couldn’t handle. Lambo did get his paws all muddy, which in turn made for muddy paw prints on the leather seats. Sigh.



Sometimes I don’t know what Lambo thinking.



Back on the paved roads we the Grand Canyon, wasn’t too far away. Looking forward to the snow covered canyons.



I didn’t know it was $30 for entry but it’s good for 7 days. Too bad we where only doing a day trip. Next time we will stay longer.



The weather was like Texas, one minute its clear sunny skies, next minute its gloomy.


Lambo’s first time in real snow!!! We had some light dusting in Houston before but this was pretty deep that it was touching Lambo’s belly. Soo cute.

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Unfortunately the view of the Grand Canyon wasn’t all hype as it was. Pretty foggy and we where at the Grand Canyon overlook haha. Oh well, there is always a next time. We did wait it out till the sun came out but the fog covered the views.


With all the attention Lambo got, you would think he was a movie star. We had lots of people taking pictures of Lambo. This lady didn’t speak English, but with charades, we deduced she wanted to pic up Lambo for a picture haha. Lambo just seemed more nervous about falling down then looking at the camera haha.


After roaming around Grand Canyon and giving up hope that the fog would let up, we left and looking for more off road trails.


We were at Kaibob National Forest, I wish I had downloaded the map prior because we didn’t have cell service. The trails are well maintained so we couldn’t get lost or stuck.



Back on the paved roads, we headed to Hover Damn and Las Vegas!


Started to get warmer and drier nearing Las Vegas.

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Feeling adventurous we went off beaten path and explored a dirt road.

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The views off the beaten path is awesome.

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Some of these places would make a great campsite but not sure it is allowed here.


There was a small rock slid that didn’t totally block the trail.



We went back on paved roads and was nearing Hoover Dam! But we didn’t really stop haha. Mainly becuase we where running low on time from all the off roading and wasn’t sure if dogs are allowed to enter Hoover Damn.


We couldn’t see Hoover Dam passing through, because the bridge blocked the view but I guess that a safety issue too. You don’t want distracted drivers crashing.

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There is always a next time to explore more.


Back in the city and Las Vegas in view. Who knew a city in a desert would be a popular tourist destination.


Vegas traffic is always terrible.


After the times I’ve have been to Vegas, this was my first time driving here and passing the Vegas sign!


There is actually parking for the Vegas sign but its pretty small and limited. Luckily we came on a weekday and was able to find parking easily.


Lambo and I waiting patiently to get a a prime picture. I could only imagine how packed it gets during the peak times.


Lambo just living life.

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DSC_0179 In the city sometimes finding dog friendly restaurants can be hard but thankfully this restaurant was close to the strip.


DSC_0185 The Vegas strip…. so fancy.


I remember coming here on July 4th weekend, the strip was just packed with people and cars. Felt like a sardines in a tin can.

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Passing though the strip, all I could think of was the song “Flashing Lights” by Kanye West.



After being on the road roughly for 12hrs we called it a night. It was nice being back in the city life, but the next day we planned to head to Death Valley!!! Stay tuned!