Project 86: Holding me down


As Im writing this, I’ve had some engine management issues and been a disappointment. So to stay motivated, I started to work on other parts of the car and just remind myself the end goal. To rip this thing at the track, and just have fun.


I went ahead and finally mount my bucket seats for the 86. Only one problem, the seat mounts I bought on eBay didn’t fit right. Just to let everybody know, do NOT get Weapon R seat brackets. Yeah it is super cheap but damn the quality control is terrible. Learn from my lesson, just go ahead and save money to by legit seat mounts.


The holes never lined up correctly and currently trying to get a refund back from the seller. Mad and disappointed for cheaping out, I went ahead and bought a Buddy Club Racing seat bracket instead. Yes it was more expensive, but there are just some things but I know for sure it was going to fit right.


And sure enough, the Buddy Club Racing seating seat bracket did manage to fit right and I was able to mount the seat lower then the Weapon R seat bracket. Having installed bucket seats before, it went like a breeze.


For anyone doing a bucket seat install, its best to mount everything up loosely to allow for adjustment and alignment.


I put the side mounts on the seat first before putting it on the seat rails. Makes its alot easier this way, because you can slap on a spacer between the seat and the mount to avoid scratches. And once you have everything aligned right, then you can tighten up the bolts!!!


The Status bucket seat is on the Weapen R mount, but not bolted. Just mocked up to show the different of height at its lowest setting too. Im 5’10” and with the Weapon R seat mount, my helmet hits the roof!!


The Buddy Club Racing seat bracket mounts much lower and have helmet clearance.

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My helmet fits!!! Next im going to try to remove the sun roof for extra room and less weight. Stay tuned!



Project AE86: rollers


After I installed my coilovers, the next thing on the list was put new wheel bearings, extended studs and rotors. I first tackled the front, since my wheel hub was already out.


I had to remove the race and wheel bearings, and you dont really need any special tools for this. I used a hammer and 6″ extension socket. Ill like the youtube video on what help guid me during this install. As you can see the old bearing was pretty dirty and looked like is wasn’t changed for a long time. I probably didn’t really need to do it, but since Ill be tracking it, Im sure these bearings wouldn’t last long.



With the race and bearings removed, its now time to clean out all the grease. I used paper towels to take out most of the grease then brake cleaner.


Next was installing the new races. This is where you need a spacial tool to make sure the races go in evenly.


Thankfully Autozone has a race driver set and lets you rent the tool for free!!


Next was applying high temp wheel grease on the race, to make it easier to slide into the hub. There are two side you have to do.

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Then you set the driver in the race and hammer away. There is a notch where the race will sit on, and you will know once you hear a distinct sound when hammering. If you are not sure just look into the hub see if the race is flush to the notch.

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Then you repeat on the other side.

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The race and bearings are slanted inside so there only one way to mount them into the hub.


The larger bearing is what you want to seal frist, becuase this is part that will go into the spindle first. Make sure to pack the bearing and hub with lots of grease before putting it into the race. The messier the better.

Untitled Then you have to apply the seal after the installing the larger bearing. I used the driver to make sure the seal went in evenly. Untitled

With the back side of the hub done, I had to install my extended studs and rotors. Make sure you follow that order, because if you did the rotors first, then you wouldn’t have room for the studs.


Look at the size difference from OEM and extended. I choose extended studs because its stronger, allows more more surface area for the nut, and you can run spacers safely. You don’t really need it for the street, but at the track its a must. The studs go though a lot of stress especially in the corners. You dont want to be snapping studs on a high speed sweeper.


Installing the studs is really quick and easy if you have a impact gun. I used a bigger nut that I didn’t need and another nut that treaded onto the studs. Then is was just basically impacting the stud till it sit flush. If you don’t have an impact for this, then you need a press. Because just using a ratchet and trying to to get the stud to seat right is almost impossible, and tiring.


After installing the studs, you then install the rotors


I replaced my rusty front rotors for new vented Stop Tech rotors. For vented rotors, make sure you install the rotors on the correct side. Mine came labeled on the packaging. If you are not sure here is a link:

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After the studs and rotors, its now time tome to finish the wheel bearings. First is to grease the spindle liberally.


Next was to slide the hub into the spindle. Make sure you don’t get grease on the rotor during installation. But you can use brake cleaner to clean the rotor after everything is installed.


After that, you slide in the smaller wheel bearing and cover. Then you install the nut into the spindle. You torque it to 20lbs, this makes sure the bearings are seated. You then losen the nut to where the hub can spin one full turn. I usually hand tighten the nut then 1/4 turn with ratchet.


Make sure you install the locking pin!! That is was prevents the hub from flying out the spindle!!! you could use the old pin but its best to use a new locking pin after any bearing install.


Then you apply the dust cap. Just hit it with rubber hammer and it will go in. Fresh new parts!!!



The next day I tackled the rear, and everything was just soo rusty! I even broke my cordless my ratchet trying to remove the rear caliper. Looked like the car hasn’t moved for years. There was spiderwebs and dead bugs all over the calipers and rotors. At least its GTS converted, right??


Eventually I was able to remove the rear caliper rotor with a lot of hammering, a stronger impact gun, and a lot of wd40. The rotor was rusted to the axle. Thats why you use anti seize.


Now the issue was trying to get the extended studs into the hub. I loosened the rear bolts that the hub to the axle. This allowed more space to work with.

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Once you loosen it, you can move the rear backing to allow more room to slide the stud in.


To remove the old studs, you hammer it out. That part was easy.


Once you slide the extended stud in, then you use the impact gun method.


Impact tools, and cordless tools makes the job soo much easier.


Than you reassemble everything back together!! I didn’t take pics on this part but you get the point. Oh, don’t forget to apply antiseize! After seeing the amount of rust on the bolts the hub, I didn’t want to go though that ordeal again. Joys of having a project car….. you never know what you run into sometimes.

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!!!