1986.5 Supra Restoration Story

zhenya

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Aug 21, 2022
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I'm recreating a thread I started on here before the site went down, and unfortunately my thread didn't come back.
So everyone, welcome to a major restoration/learning project. I found this car in the middle of nowhere, where it's been sitting for almost 20 years. The registration expired in 2002, and I don't think it's moved since then. The car had no battery, tires were all flat, and overall the car is a mess.
I got it really cheap because it's in a really bad shape. Faded paint, dents, rust, the dash is disintegrating, and obviously doesn't start. The plan is to use this car to teach myself how to do a lot of things I've never done before. Suspension, body work, paint, interior, wiring, and engine.
The good news is, the car is manual, and anything I do will be an improvement.
Without further ado, here you go
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zhenya

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Aug 21, 2022
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I'm going to summarize things because all of this happened a couple of years ago.
One of the problems with this car is I couldn't get a title for it, so while trying to get it to start, I was also trying to figure out what paperwork I needed to do in order to get a title and make it legally mine. That was a whole other adventure.
The first time we connected a battery, the electronics surprisingly came to life. The crazy thing is, the pop up headlights, power mirrors, power seats, all worked perfectly. That's the quality of Japanese engineering of the 80s.
When we tried to turn the key, obviously absolutely nothing happened. We knew that to get it working and reliable, basically all the normal stuff would have to be replaced. The starter was a giant pain, involving a whole bunch of socket extensions and turns and cursing. With that done, the car actually tried cranking. We had changed the spark plugs (which was also a pain because of the throttle body sitting right on top), so the next guess was not getting any fuel. And wow were we correct. After pulling out the fuel tank, we realized there were rusk holes in it, and the inside of the tank and fuel pump looked like a rusty coral reef.
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A few trips to junk yards later we were able to get a fuel tank and pump that was rust free. Progress!
 
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zhenya

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I'm glad to hear you remembered! It's been a lot of work to get it to do anything. We ended up replacing the TPS, clutch slave cylinder, and a few other things. But in the end, victory!

First Start

First Start Part 2

My favorite part is that there were so many spiders in the car that every morning we would see a bunch of new spiderwebs going from the bottom of the car to the floor. For a few weeks, every day, we would clean up/burn those webs, and new ones would appear overnight.
 

zhenya

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Aug 21, 2022
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Since the car started and moved under its own power, it was time to get serious about making it driveable. We changed all fluids, spark plugs, and s
tarted looking for leaks.
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There was a noise coming from the water pump like the bearing was bad, so we replaced it.
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It was also having trouble idling correctly. Turns out there was a giant hole in the intake boot. Duct tape to the rescue!
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Last but not least, a new steering rack, because this one was done with life.
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zhenya

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Aug 21, 2022
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After doing all that, we wanted to give the coolant system a proper test, so we drove it around until it got up to temp, and then kept on going higher. Using scientific testing (picture below), we were able to determine that the thermostat is bad, because it wasn't opening.
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After getting that sorted, we took it to a local Import meet, parked next to a friend of mine we made "team pop up headlights".
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Surprisingly the supra got a lot of positive attention, second only to a beautiful original FD RX7.
 

zhenya

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Aug 21, 2022
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After some time of driving around and everything looking fine, the car decided to drop most of its coolant all over my garage. The culprit was this tiny hose in a very difficult to reach spot on the engine block.
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But on the bright side, my daily got a new head unit so the supra got the handmedowns.
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zhenya

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Aug 21, 2022
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You've done some nice clean-up on the interior. Looks a ton better, from first picture to most recent.
Thanks! The car started in a pretty low place so the only way to go is up.

Big news today everyone! After owning the car for over 4 years, I finally got a clean title for it! Thank you to everyone who offered advice and support in the original thread about how to accomplish this. I ended up getting a bonded title and then had to wait 3 years to make sure no one claimed it, and I just got back from the DMV with my new clean title in hand! This is a huge step forward, since I can start bigger projects without worrying about someone else trying to take the car.

I celebrated by immediately going to the nearest Toyota dealership to order some parts from the Heritage program. The only one that's relevant to me is the fuel level sender, but that has now been ordered. Overnight parts from Japan! Except in this case it's 90 days from Japan...

So to celebrate, I'll post some pictures that we took a few years ago when we first got the car. The location is a fancy golf course in the nice part of town where I live, just to scare the people with my supra a little bit.
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zhenya

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Aug 21, 2022
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Wow. Nice work, but the road ahead would terrify me.
I'm over here thinking taking inspiration from your projects, doing multiple cars at the same time lol.

Honestly I'm looking at this car as a learning opportunity. It's already so bad that anything I do will be better than the current situation. So I'll be doing body work, paint, wiring, building the engine, and anything else that comes along.
 
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JDMMA70

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Houston
Cant wait to see where this project goes.

Years later, and it must be stated again since this is a new thread.

Looking at your dash made me itch
 

zhenya

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Aug 21, 2022
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Some small updates. I got a new fuel level sender from the Toyota Legacy program. Pretty cool to be able to get fresh parts from a Toyota dealership for a 30+ year old car. I'm hoping they add more parts to it in the near future. But now I can see how much fuel I have!!
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Of course the supra thanked me for this with the clutch pedal starting to stick pretty badly. It only comes halfway off the floor and I have to hook my foot under it the rest of the way. I'm not sure if I need to bleed the clutch or look at something else. It's a tomorrow problem.

And now that the car has some legit parts in it, I need to start thinking security. Obviously none of the locks work right now. I would really appreciate some guidance on where to get some functional locks and what my options are.

Cant wait to see where this project goes.

Years later, and it must be stated again since this is a new thread.

Looking at your dash made me itch

I promise the dashboard itch will be addressed soon!