bay prep (archived)

So as of the last two weeks or so I have been hard at work preparing y engine bay for my swap. Being inspired by the car peace ae86 that was featured on speedhunters, I was going after something similar.

The first step of course was to get the engine pulled. That’s to he help of one of my 86 buddies, Joseph, we had it out in no time!


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86 Day in Texas

So every year, 86 day is celebrated around the time of August 6th.  This year, 8/6 landed on a Monday, which makes it difficult for many people to attend an event on the actual day — bc of work, school, etc.  So all of us local Texas 86 guys always celebrate 86 weekend, usually the weekend before 86 day.  This year, we decided to celebrate August 3-5.

This year, we decided to all meet in Austin and enjoy 86 festivities in this beautiful city.

Day 1 — 8/3:

Mark & Jonas were the only out of towners that made it this year.  Mark drove all the way down from Dallas.  Jonas trailered his hatch all the way from Houston.  They got in Friday afternoon and came down to the pho shop to meet up with Joseph and I.  P.S. most of the pictures in this blog post are shot with a Minolta MAXXUM 7000 35mm camera.  Circa 1985.  What better way than to celebrate an 80’s car with a period correct camera!  All images unedited.

here’s mark & his coupe

jonas & his hatch

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There are a lot of things that can motivate or kill that motivation when it comes to doing a big car project.  This 20v swap in my ae86 has proven to be a rollercoaster of that.  Starting out with really strong motivation and drive to get my swap going, followed by a dry spell, back to motivation.

As of the last couple weeks, I hit a wall with my swap.  The engine was in the chasis and was awaiting all the little things.  But I simply just did not have any motivation to get it finished.  I KNEW it was just a bunch of small things that were left to do…but I just couldn’t get myself to do it.  My motivation was lacking.  There were nights where Joseph was going to come over and help me finish the swap, but I told him I was too tired after work to do anything. Continue reading

motor is in!

So on my day off this past wednesday… I ran around picking up little parts I knew that I’d need to finish my motor.  Sadly, I got called in to work around 5pm :[  Story of my life.

I worked a few hours and Joseph came to the shop and grabbed some sushi.  Once business died down, I was free to go and it was homeward bound to drop my motor in!

After some Dreyer’s Dibs ice cream that joseph picked up from the gas station, it was time to get going on the motor.


I had to be really careful with the engine, so I don’t scratch the paint on the bay.  But as careful as I was, once it was secure in the mounts, the engine leaned backwards and my fuel return barb gauged the back of the engine bay :[  Luckily it’s behind the engine, so it’s a bit more difficult to see.

After a couple tweaks here and there, I got the headers in just to see what it would look like!  (in case you’re wondering about the headers, I got them used from club4ag.  they’re old JSP Fab headers.  Made by Formula Drift driver John Russakoff.  I think he might have run them in his old 20v competition 86)

go pho it!


By this time it was like 2 or 3 in the morning.  Joseph and I decided to call it a night.  He had to get up early for work and we were hungry as heck.  So we went inside the house, nommed on some eggrolls leftover from work — which wasn’t enough so I made some spring rolls to fill our bellies.

All that’s left to get the motor running is hooking up the radiator/oil cooler, finishing wiring up my coil on plugs, tucking the harness, then brake/clutch lines.  Almost there!  Everything that’s left is just super tedious.

in all its glory


long awaited update…

So, if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you might be caught up on my swap.  If you want to — follow me @thaisonnguyen.

I started this about a month ago and REALLY wanted to do a clean swap.  My inspiration?  The Car Peace ae86 from the Hellaflush meet in Japan late last year:

car peace ae86 engine bay

car peace ae86 engine bay

The first thing was to pull the motor — thanks a bunch to Joseph Dann for helping me so much with the swap.

joseph d, mounting the 16v

Soon enough we got it all removed and it was time to start removing everything and prepping the engine bay… Continue reading

too many projects…

I get people telling me “You have too many projects” alllll the time.  A lot of the people tell me to sell my other cars and just focus on ONE.  And I tell them — no fuckin’ way.  I can’t sell any of my cars.  And if I did, it’d only be to people I know and trust — that way I can still see my car, help build it, and get to drive it!

too many or not enough? i say…not enough

While I’m getting my blacktop swap together for the 86, I’ve been looking up parts for the ae71.  I’m gonna start transferring over my old (stock) ae86 parts onto the ae71 — yay the benefits of having the same chasis!  I also just ordered a bunch of parts from Malaysia.  Why Malaysia you ask?  Because in the southeastern Asia, people LOVE their Corollas!  Especially the older ones.  And because of that, there’s a huge market for Corolla parts.  For craaaazy cheap, since they’re OEM reproduction parts!  So I’m talking like $100 chrome bumpers, rather than $300 OEM JDM chrome bumpers.  And like $30 tail lights.  Crazy cheap.  Hit up Kay Parts for your OEM ke/te/ae70 parts.  He also has a bunch of oldschool JDM wheels and access to other old Japanese parts! EDIT: DO NOT PURCHASE FROM KAY PARTS.  I ORDERED MY PARTS MAY 2ND, IT’S NOW SEPT 5TH AND NO PARTS, NO EMAILS, NO COMMUNICATION FROM KAY PARTS.

E7 Slant Front

E7 flat front

So I’m essentially converting my ae71 to a “GL” model.  What’s a GL model you ask?  It’s the “last” trim model of the E7 Corolla generation.  They look a lot like ae86 Levin Sedans is the way I like to think about it.  They made them in flat fronts and slanted fronts.  Unfortunately, stateside we never got these cool GL models.  But they did in Austrailia, New Zealand, Japan, etc.

The “slant fronts” are commonly known as the ugly ducklings of the E7’s, however I think they’re quire nice looking when set up properly.

So coming soon, will be my slammed ae71 with chrome bumpers and GL flat front conversion.

ccm xiii — okc

So as many of you may know, this past weekend was Cupcake Meet 13: Cupcakin for CF Care.  Alllll the way up in Oklahoma City.  When Branden and I first heard about the new location, we KNEW that there needed to be a natsukashi road trip in store.  New city, new state, new people, new styles, new friends!

My original plan was to drive my peanut up there.  Given the history and turmoil that went hand in hand on my journey to attain the peanut, I thought it was only fitting to take the car back to where it originally came from.  In just the couple of days journey it took for me to drive up to Oklahoma City and drive it back to Austin, a LOT happened.  Both car-wise and non car-wise.  To say the least, a couple chapters were added to “The Life of Thaison.” Continue reading

blacktop swap progress

So the blacktop swap into the 86 is about to go full swing.  I’m waiting on a couple parts to come in from the mail!

I found a deal on a harness that I could NOT pass up.  So I ended up buying this harness from a gentleman on club4ag, rather than rewire the aw11 harness that currently is on the engine — I’m just gonna sell that harness instead.

I’m also waiting on some exhaust parts — a jsp header and a buddy club spec ii to be exact.  Meaning, this car is going to make babies cry and your ears bleed from exhaust tones.  So my set up will be 110 mm velocity stacks, jsp headers, straight pipe, buddy club spec ii.

jsp header

My parts should all be here tomorrow!  I’m excited to get started on this swap.  Should make for a completely different car