Project AE86: Track Shakedown!

New year and first track session in the 86! For the most party she is 90% done, and was iching to start the new year right with a track session.

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I went to a members day at Motor Sport Ranch Houston (MSRH), and it alway less packed then a normal track event. That mean less cars, so I can test and tune it, and also more seat time!!

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First Sunday of the year and I woke up pretty early so I can get ready to hit the track. The only had the speedo, tach and afr gauges hooked up. I had my water temp sesnor and that was hooked up into the laptop but I couldn’t see what my temps was at the track. Risky, I know, but after 200 miles of driving and no overheating, I figured it must be good.

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But then… issues happened. My car suddenly lost power on the corner exit.

At first, I though I did a Takumi and blew the motor. But I didn’t see white smoke or trail of oil. My heart sank, because I just got her running and then it just died.

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I got towed back into the pits and when I started the car I didn’t hear the fuel pump prime. Naturally I thought it was the pump that was the issue. But thanks to track friends, they said to check the electrical connections first. Well, its all checked out. I was able to get 12v into the fuel pump but the pump wasn’t priming. For sure it was the fuel pump.

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I didn’t trailer my car, but some my track friends brought a trailer and able to trailer my car back home. I was bummed, but it could have been worse like a blown motor on fresh rebuild. And fuel pumps are cheap.

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When I got back home, I wanted to work on the 86 and begin dropping the tank to access the pump. But I wanted to make sure 100% its my fuel pump. I hooked up my laptop to the ecu so I can test the fuel pump. Weirdly, I wasn’t getting any power to the ecu. The ecu power wire is connected straight to the battery and sure enough it was loose!!! When I tighten back the wire, the ecu turned on and heard the fuel pump primed! She ran!!!

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I still had some time left, and immediately drove back to track! I wanted my seat time and to adjust the suspension dampening. Best part was when I got back it was an open track! Meaning, you can go be at the track as long as you please.

In the YouTube video, the she is running well but my diff noise got louder and louder. I will definitely need to rebuild the rear end. Thankfully, parts for those isn’t too expensive. Shit box life, probably needed a rebuild anyways.

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I ran her 30 mins at a time, and I was just having fun out there. The 86 feels like a bigger go kart. Handling is predicable, and never snappy. The response on the ITB is crisp.

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I saw some other issues I had, but nothing expensive and easy fixes. Right now the biggest issue is rear diff whining. Thats point of test and tune sessions. You take it to the track to find any issues before a track event.

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The best thing about the track life are the people are genueinly nice and always willing to help out. Shout out to all the friends and people that helped my out this far!

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I had soo much fun, and looking forward to 2020. Hopefully it will be a good year!

Project AE86: Tuning!

I have put 70 miles on the motor and the oil changes looking good. I have enough confidence the motor wont blow up. The base map made the car drivable, but it would lean out on wide open throttle or sometimes stall starting off in 1st gear. Link is a vary capable ECU with many features I don’t even know how to use. I didn’t want to tinker with it, and then damage the motor from my inexperience.

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Currently Link isn’t that popular in the States, not sure why, because Link is common in Europe and Asia. Link ECU is great quality ECU and the best bang for the buck for the amount of features it has. The downside is, it only works with a Windows base operating system. If you have an Apple operating system, you are forced to buy a Windows. Thankfully you can get a decently cheap Windows laptop for less then $150.

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I started to look around locally, and even out of state tuners that can tune remotely. Some tuners where more expensive then others, and some didn’t have much experience with Link ECUs. Then right after the holidays, my friend Danh told me Brad was in town. I never met Brad personally, but he was well known tuner, and is a corolla owner himself. He has tuned my friend’s AE86 and is vary familiar with Link ECU. The downside was he moved out of State this year but was back in town for the Holidays.

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I txted Brad that same day, and despite my busy work schedule and Brad taking the time to meet up during the holiday, we meet up that night. At first, I worried my neighbors would get mad with the engine noise, but I had no choice since Brad was leaving in two days. The cops never came by, so I think my neighbors were understanding.

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Before we could street tune it, we had to address some minor issues. Brad installed a Link air intake temperature sensor and mounted it to one of the trumpets. Then zip tied the wires to avoid anything catching under the ITBs. I worked on getting my headlights wired up,. I ghetto rigged it, but it was good enough.

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Brad synced the ITBs, and did some ecu tweaking via laptop before the initial drive. I didn’t take a pictures or videos during this time, but Brad knew his stuff. He did adjustments during the drive and making sure everything was within safe parameters. The AE86 runs a lot smoother, and sings all the way to 7800 rpm! We set the RPM limit to 8k, because the fuel map shows the AFR starts to taper at 7800 on wide open throttle. I consider it, as a win.

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Now with proper tune, I’ll be hitting the track soon!

New Year, New Car

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Yes, my wife and I bought a Tesla! We have never owned an EV car before, but times are changing and eventually cars of the future will be electric. Of course I’ll still keep my 86 and Land Cruiser. Nothing beats the raw driving of the 86 and the off roading capability of the Land Cruiser. But why buy a Tesla instead of another EV?

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The main reason is the technology packed in a Tesla. No other car company can self drive, or even do updates like Tesla. The updates that you get via wifi are improvements or new features that make Tesla even better. Its like getting a new car. Has even a built in dash cam too. If you are going to get a new car and want something different, Tesla is something to look into.

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People complain about the minalistic interior in the Tesla Model 3 with just a screen and steering wheel. I like that style, all the functions are in the screen and very intuitive. Its like a having a iPad in the car. Why would I get a car with 20 buttons, knobs, and touch screen too. Just too much clutter.

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Having an EV car means no need for gas. But with that, comes range anxiety because where would you charge up on a road trip. Tesla has that covered with their exclusive supercharging network. You just need to plug in your destination and Tesla will show the route to make it. That caveat is you need to plan ahead because if you forget something and had to turn back around, or in an area with no charing stations, your range will be affected.

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Tesla superchargers are mostly located in shopping centers, so you can eat or shop while the car is getting charge. Charging time is very quick, longest time it took up was 30min from 5% charge to 100%. Its even faster now with the latest upstate. Right now supercharging is free for us! Other brand EV chargers doesn’t have a supercharging network, but you can still charge with 3rd part stations. Tesla comes with an adapter if you decide to share at a non Tesla charger.

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First mod I did was a center console wrap. The piano finish is prone to scratches and showing fingerprints.

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The warranty on Tesla’s are comparable to other car manufactures. 4 years 50,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty, and 8 yrs 100,000 miles battery and drivetrain warranty. Another plus having an EV car is minimal maintenance! I plan to keep the Tesla for a long time, should help save money on gas and maintenance.

If you are interested in buying a Tesla use my referral code: https://ts.la/vinson56692. Currently, if you use the referral code, Tesla is offering 1000 miles free supercharging and $500 off your Tesla purchase!

Happy New Year!

Project AE86: Quick Drive

Just a quick video, taking the 86 around the city. Still on the base tune, but sounds healthy. I haven’t heard any backfire or stutter in the motor. Seems like the motor pulls all the way to 7k. I don’t go up to 7k often. Since the motor is still fresh, and needs more miles to fully break in the motor. ┬áNo smoke coming out the exhaust and that is another good sign, things are going smoothly.

Stay tuned.

Project AE86: Running Smooth

For the past month, I have been ocassionally driving the 86 on the base tune. Haven’t driven too far, only putting about 10 miles in each drive. Currently I have a small oil leak on the welds of the oil pan, and on my oil pressure sender. Not really a big deal, more happy she runs.

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I did another oil change after 35 miles of driving and thankfully no metal particles. Oil still looked pretty clean. One of the perks having a AE86 is the maintenance items are a lot cheaper compared to my former M3.

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I pulled the plugs to make everything is looking good, and all the cylinders seem to running good. Not too rich or not too lean. The only issue I have with the motor running, is the idling a bit high at 2100 rpm. Not sure how to fix it, but I think the ITBs needs to synced up.

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After comfortably driving around, and having enough confidence the motor won’t blow up. I went ahead and tidy up the interior wiring. I made a wire harness for the RPM gauge, and reinstalled my stock cluster. The only thing that works in the cluster is the speedometer, and everything else isn’t connected because it is all controlled by the ecu.

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I redid my fuse/rely panel set up to something I can easily access and wire up. For the future, if want to add extra gauges or sensors.

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Next on the list is getting a more refined tune then the base map, and hopefully hit the tracks for the 2020 season!

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Project AE86: New Heart Transplant

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Finally, the 4age Big Port motor is all freshen up. Now its time to put the new heart in.

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First step in anything, is alway prepping. I double checked all the bolts where tight, no missing hoses or bolts. This is the best time to check because once its in the engine bay, space can be tight in certain areas.

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Unfortunately none of my friends was available at the time, and put the motor in all by myself. How hard can it be?

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With prior experience in pulling the motor out, I had a general idea on how to put it back.

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The weather was sunny and fall like temperatures. Perfect for putting a motor in.

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This was probably the hardest part, because the transmission had to be moved downward, while pushing the motor forward. Hard to do myself, but I was able to get it done. Pushing the car out the garage really allowed plenty of space for me to move around.

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Almost there.

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I always stopped every few inches, just to make sure the motor and tranny wasn’t snagging on wires or resting on something it wasn’t supposed to rest on.

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I don’t know if it was luck, but the motor mount slid right in. Like a glove!!

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Thankfully no issues! Toyota knew what they where doing when they built this car.

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Next was just plug all the connectors in, fill up the fluids, and prime the oil pump!

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The 4AGE and the AE86 is a combo thats a match made in heaven. Even looks better with ITBS.

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For the initial first start up, I you want to use conventional oil because synthetic is too good at lubrication for the piston rings to set properly in. This is rebuild so it has a new bearings and rings. If this was a used, unrefreshed motor, then I would have done synthetic. Once the piston rings are properly set in, then I will switch to synthetic.

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Last piece to the puzzle, a brand new OEM overflow tank.

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Again I made sure no loose parts, all the bolts are in the correct place. I double check to make the timing is aligned right, and made sure no oil leaks in the motor.

She started right up!!!! Im really glad of this moment. I just want to thank my friends for helping me out and motivating me to finish this car. Im almost there, next is to break in the rebuilt motor.

Stay tuned.

Project AE86: Finding Motivation

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Recently, I have been losing some motivation to put the AE86 back together. One reason was it just taking soo long to complete. With work, doing house mods, or spending time with my wife, I didn’t have a lot of free time to work on the AE86. Eventually I put the car for sale as is, either as part out, or a complete package. I’ve gotten some interest but nothing really materialized.

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After my camping trip, and recently putting deposit on a new car I felt a need to finish my car. I had to make space in the garage my new car, and the 86 was just a sitting paperweight at this point.

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My new car wont arrive in another 4 weeks from my deposit, and that gave me a dedicated timeline. I have the get the AE86 up and running one month from now.

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The tranny and motor are sealed up and just have to join them together.

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I had my AE86 manual as my guide, and it wasn’t hard to reassemble the flywheel and clutch. I didn’t replace them to save some money, and they still have plenty of life left.

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Pecx let me borrow the clutch alignment tool. Without it, the install would have have proven to be very difficult. A tool you don’t use often but glad you have it when you need it.

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Next is to make sure all the parts are clean and lube is in the correct places.

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The hard part was aligning the tranny to the motor by yourself. But I did get it, and thankfully the tranny was light enough for me to muscle it into the alignment dowels.

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Next step is head to the bolt store, replace my missing bolts, and then put it all back into 86! I hope she will be running and at the track by end of this year!

Stay tuned.