Blue Bomber Build

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foxtherouge

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So since this forum could really use some content, I'm going to do a build thread on my 89 Celica over here.

Little history:

I picked up Blue Bomber from the original owner a few years ago. I got super lucky and got him pretty cheap and he is one month younger than me. He was built July 1989 and was one of the last of the ST162 Celica made. The original owner had the car repainted and then gave BB to his son to use, but his son went to college and BB just sat there unused. That's when I stepped in and bought him. Unfortunately, the previous owner thought that running premium fuel with extra fuel additives for about 25 years would make the car go faster. Now BB is super tired and isn't exactly as quick as he used to be. He also overheats a little and there is some electrical issue with the fans as the AC fan never kicks on and the cooling fan only works if the sending unit is unplugged. So there are some things to work in. The cool thing is the PO used to go to Japan frequently and picked up a set of wheels in the early 90's which I can find little information on but they are period correct and actually pretty nice wheels. The suspension on this old guy is worn and steering could use some love. But lets see how you operate after 275,000 miles!

So far the only things I have really done is keep it somewhat clean, fixed the overheating itself but the fans still don't kick in, and installed a factory strut bar. Oh and fog lights and headlight conversion to H4.

What my plans are for BB is to make him an enjoyable somewhat show car. I currently have him registered as a classic which is nice.

What needs to be done in no particular order:
Engine rebuild
Trans rebuild (Or replace the S54 with an E153 LSD from the MR2 Turbo)
Replace cooling system
Replace Power Steering hoses
Rebuild suspension
Install coilovers
Turbo
Install power locks and windows
Miscellaneous things

You'll notice the word Turbo in that what needs to be done. Don't get me wrong, I understand the 3sfe that I have is not exactly the best motor to turbo. I am not looking for crazy horse power out of this. I just want that little extra which I already know it can handle, especially after I rebuild. The stock 3sfe has a whopping 120 HP which means close to 100 to the wheels. Not a whole lot at all. With a turbo at maybe 6PSi I expect maybe the 120 to the wheels haha. Also, keep in mind I intend to do some shows with this car and that will add bonus points in the grand scheme of things.

Some pics before the next post:



You gotta love that pop up view!
 
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foxtherouge

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I recently found a place where I can rent a garage that is actually zoned for use which is great. I kinda wish I had gotten a larger unit but pricing scales pretty quickly there.

Currently, now that I have moved all my stuff into the garage, which I'll post a picture of that later, I can start working on some things. This morning I ordered a new radiator and all of the front suspension pieces except struts. I will probably install the suspension stuff when it gets here, but the radiator will wait until after rebuild. No point installing a radiator and then pulling it again.

But I did get something (that thanks to the whole COVID-19 things took forever to get here) that I can start working on now!

Front end is coming apart a little bit here:


And a glimpse of what I'm working on installing:


Euro/Jap spec corner lights! These look SO much better than the US Orange ones. And they have two bulbs instead of one! One for turn signal like the orange one and one for a running light. Still debating exactly how I want to run that light. I will probably have it as a DRL.

Oh, and about a year or so ago I got this for free:


3sgte turbo manifold and down pipe! I'm going to clean it up and probably paint it black so it doesn't rust. With high heat paint of course. It is a direct bolt in to the 3sfe head and is the beginning of my turbo journey. I will probably run the OEM CT26 turbo at or around 6 psi. I will also be running a slim front mounted intercooler as well, don't want it to be obvious though.
 
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71Corolla

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I'm sure you know this but a turbo setup is a whole bunch of work much of it custom. Can I talk you out of it? How about a BEAMS swap no turbo will fit perfectly but you'll be doing extensive wiring. Or the easiest way to get more power is a 5S-FE from a Celica no wiring no mods drops right in. Challenge is finding a low mileage example.

This generation of Celica is my fave except for the early 70's.
 
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foxtherouge

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I'm sure you know this but a turbo setup is a whole bunch of work much of it custom. Can I talk you out of it? How about a BEAMS swap no turbo will fit perfectly but you'll be doing extensive wiring. Or the easiest way to get more power is a 5S-FE from a Celica no wiring no mods drops right in. Challenge is finding a low mileage example.

This generation of Celica is my fave except for the early 70's.
I thought about doing a 5sfe swap but running it on 3sfe wiring would net less than rebuilding what I have and turbo with tune. As for a BEAMS that is getting a bit pricey. I can get a lot of what I need for relatively cheap so long as I am patient.
 
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71Corolla

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What do you figure a rebuild will cost?
 
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foxtherouge

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What do you figure a rebuild will cost?
If everything is ok inside around $300. If not then closer to $600 or so. My brother is a machinist so getting the block bored if needed and everything decked would cost me maybe $100 for his time.
 
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71Corolla

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My brother is a machinist so getting the block bored if needed and everything decked would cost me maybe $100 for his time.
No wonder you want to rebuild the engine that's awesome. Maybe bore it out to 2.2 litres? I think all you have to do is change the pistons.
 
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foxtherouge

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So today I started getting things ready for disassembly. Hood is removed, car is jacked up, wheels off, some stuff loosened for later, and fluids drained.

I had one HELL of a getting the lug nuts off. Turns out that each wheel had a spline locking lug on it. I didn't have a key for it because these guys are huge for splined lugs. I took a 19mm socket and hammered it on. Didn't bite. Started to get pissed so hammered it on the German way, good-n-tight. Got one lug off and..... lug stuck inside the 19mm. So I had to run to the store and buy a super tiny 3" vice. It is adorable haha. I also got an extractor set, a rolling seat, and a bottle jack. I used the extractor set to remove the other 3 lugs.


Look at how huge those lugs are for splines! None of the auto parts stores near me had the key big enough. The only place I found one locally was at Harbor Freight and it was the entire key set for $90, no thank you.

After getting those SOBs off I loosened the rest of the lugs and learned very quickly that my low profile jack that I had gotten because my MR2 back in the day was nearly touching the ground doesn't have much height. So I had to run off and get that bottle jack. What I ended up doing was jacking up the front and put stands under the front area. Then jacked up by the pinch point (As per Haynes manual) on each side for the rears. Then got the bottle jack and slowly went around the car numerous times to get the jack stands high enough. It took over half an hour to jack up my car, it was painful.

Then it came time to start draining fluid. Oil came out pitch black which I expected as I haven't really driven this car that much and previous owner didn't really maintain much oddly enough. The coolant concerns me as I had done a coolant flush a while back to try and sort out the overheating issue and it came out rust colored. I'm hoping the coolant channels in the block are OK, guess we will find out in time.


The debris in the bucket is just some stuff that fell off while getting the petcock to open, coolant came out debris free.

In order for me to pull the engine and trans out, I'm going to have to pull off the axels and since I have the front suspension stuff coming next week I wanted to start spraying things with penetrating fluid. Now, I have taken the axles off my 88 Cherry to do the clutch and that broke my breaker bar. Those axle nuts are no joke. So after spraying and letting them sit for a few minutes I figured I would put my impact on them to hammer it and hopefully loosen some of the rust and let the PB Blaster do it's thing. To my great surprise my impact took both sides off with no issue! I was not expecting that at all. Here is how badly rusted they were before I cleaned up the threads and PB Blaster'd them.

Driver side:


Passenger side:


That is all I got done today. I should have all the suspension parts on Monday, the boots for the steering tomorrow, and a brand new radiator tomorrow as well. So Tuesday I'll probably start all the suspension. The radiator was one of those "I'm already ordering a bunch of stuff so I might as well" type things. I will be replacing the front rotors and pads, painting the calipers, replacing the shocks, and all that later on. Right now I am also trying to source GTS rear hubs so I can swap to rear disc brakes. Going to try to press out the hub and keep it 4x100 but we will see when the time comes.
 
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foxtherouge

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No wonder you want to rebuild the engine that's awesome. Maybe bore it out to 2.2 litres? I think all you have to do is change the pistons.
Maybe, we shall see just how bad the internals are. If they only need a hone that's all I really want to do. 2.2 on the 3sfe would increase HP but not sure by how much. Would i still be able to use 3sgte head gasket on it or would the bore be too large for it? It is honestly something I hadn't really thought of.
 
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foxtherouge

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OH! I almost forgot, here is what my garage looks like. I have so many sets of wheels haha.


I already started a junk metal pile from some stuff I have been holding onto from my MR2 days
 
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71Corolla

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Would i still be able to use 3sgte head gasket on it or would the bore be too large for it? It is honestly something I hadn't really thought of.
The bore is - 3S:86mm 5S:87mm bore/stoke of the 3S is 86/86 5S is 86/91 so boring out the 3S would not get to 2.2 litres my assumption was wrong. That's why checking specs is kinda important. :cool: The biggest weakness of the 3S is the rods they are rather thin so keep that in mind they won't handle a great deal of power.

Looking forward to seeing what the internals of your engine look like especially the rod/main bearings.
 
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foxtherouge

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The bore is - 3S:86mm 5S:87mm bore/stoke of the 3S is 86/86 5S is 86/91 so boring out the 3S would not get to 2.2 litres my assumption was wrong. That's why checking specs is kinda important. :cool: The biggest weakness of the 3S is the rods they are rather thin so keep that in mind they won't handle a great deal of power.

Looking forward to seeing what the internals of your engine look like especially the rod/main bearings.
Oh I am scared to see what the rod and main bearings look like. Probably burned to all hell for starters.

I know everyone always discusses pistons but very few people talk about the rods themselves. I'm thinking of swapping the rods with something stronger for sure, just not entirely sure which set yet.
 
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71Corolla

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3S-GE rods are the obvious choice. Remember the ST162 GTS came with a 3S-GE I've seen a few at the salvage yards over the years too bad you can't find an entire car for a donor.
 
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foxtherouge

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Oh I know but even finding 4th gen celicas in the junk yard is getting to be very hard. Also, 3sgte rods work as well.
 
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insightbrewery

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Nice little garage space, how much is that costing you? Not that it's apples-to-apples, been shopping around, just to get a little bit of idea
 
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foxtherouge

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Nice little garage space, how much is that costing you? Not that it's apples-to-apples, been shopping around, just to get a little bit of idea

Since I am military I get a discount. If I had gone with with Extended Garage I could have fit 2 Celica in there and all my tools with very little space to get through. But I couldn't justify over $100 more for a few feet of space. Plus I got pretty lucky with where my unit is located. I only have one neighbor unit which is empty and it's a straight shot from the gate. Can't complain. You just park your car right in front of your unit so long as you don't block anyone else door. It comes out to about $4500 for the first year which isn't terrible for what I'm getting realistically. I will probably only do the one year though, but we will see.

You should see my office in my home. Everything in this garage minus the car itself was in my office. Now that it's all cleared out there is so much room!

By the by, I did a lot of research before getting this place. It really is the only garage that is actively zoned for use like this as far as I could find. My only other option would have been a per hour bay rental which I couldn't leave my tools there, have access whenever I want, would be surrounded by people, and a bay costs $18 an hour plus you have to pay overnight fees if you leave your car. I used to use the Auto Skill Center on base but for some reason they all doubled their prices! Went from $8 an hour for a lift bay $6 normal bay to $16 for a lift and $12 for a normal.
 
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foxtherouge

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Package was "delayed due to weather" in California so it ended up coming on Wednesday. Late Wednesday. So Thursday I gathered up all the parts I ordered and went off to my garage. After a little reorganizing to give myself some space I laid things out and started on the drivers side. Naturally I couldn't get the tie rod end or the ball joint out without a puller so I had to stop everything to go rent one. Everything was smooth sailing, and I was taking my time as I am in no rush to do all of this when I hit a snag. The Control Arm did NOT want to come off. It would slide out 2/3 of the way and then get stuck at an angle and not want to come out. So I decided to refer to the manual and it was about as helpful as glasses in a sandstorm. All it says to do is unbolt everything like I did and it will just slide off. Nope. So after a little convincing with a mallet I deformed it enough to slide past where it was snagging. I forgot to take a picture of it but what had ended up happening was the metal sleeve inside the bushing had cracked, which helped explain why the car was a bit clunky sounding on bumps. Glad I ended up replacing everything to be sure! I left Thursday afternoon with everything but the tie rod removed.


So the reason I had left the tie rod in was I left a future problem for a future me. These suckers are on tight by factory and the only tool I could fit was a stubby wrench at best. No way was I going to get that off with a stubby. So I took the time to think about it though not really at the same time. I woke up Friday morning with an epiphany, I could use a Crows Foot! So I started price checking and man can these things get pricey. So I settled on cheap as I would use it for one thing for now and possibly but not really later on in life. So I went with a cheap set from Harbor Freight. 7 pcs for $15 compared to the 8 pcs Craftsman sets in my local Ace for $53. Yeah, I made a mistake. I never checked sizes. Largest one was 19mm which was nowhere near as large. So I scrambled through my tools and realized I didn't even have a wrench that bit. Then I remembered that adjustable wrenches exist and that I have a large one. Lo and behold, the stars aligned and the small amount of space had the perfect little slot for the wrench to fit and the right angle to crack it loose.

Old on the right and new on the left. That boot has seen better days jeeze.


And no wonder my steering was all loose, this tie rod end was done


Now the drivers side is back together for the most part. Going to paint the calipers later.



The junker is coming to pick up Monty today so I have to wait for that call, so I am taking Saturday off so I can get some stuff around the house done while I wait on that call.
 
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foxtherouge

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I took my battery fully out to try and get a little extra light where I was working and discovered a little bit of rust. It looks like it's just surface rust so it's fine. When the engine is out I am deep cleaning the bay anyway and painting anything that needs to be painted.


And as I dug around for that adjustable wrench I made a discovery that pissed me off. I had the damn key all along. I know it didn't come with this car, it must have been one of those tools I had gotten over time. I have a lot of miscellaneous stuff that people gave me for free years ago and it was in that bag.


All that trouble I had to deal with when I had the key the whole time pisses me off a bit. Oh well, it is what it is.
 
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71Corolla

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Man I've been there with battery rust I ignored my '87 for years when I pulled the battery it was in a worse state than your car. Did the POR-15 regiment don't think I'll have the problem again. That tie rod is scary it goes and physics will have its way with you. 😳
 
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foxtherouge

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Man I've been there with battery rust I ignored my '87 for years when I pulled the battery it was in a worse state than your car. Did the POR-15 regiment don't think I'll have the problem again. That tie rod is scary it goes and physics will have its way with you. 😳
Thankfully rust is usually a non issue around me. This is the only bit of actual rust I have found on this car so far. We almost never salt the roads around me since we're right next to the Puget Sound. It does snow from time to time but usually less than an inch. Sometimes we get a fair amount though.

And yeah, I'm replacing most of the suspension stuff as preventative but that tie rod needed to go. I noticed my endlinks were bad too, so I ordered a set of those, should be here Friday. Have you ever watched Chrisfix on youtube? His first video about front suspension where he shows how bad the play in his steering wheel was, mine was about the same. I could wiggle the steering wheel from side to side with almost no movement on the wheels. Looks like my rack in pinion are good though, it's just the tie rods are blown.
 
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