A Supra has always been high up on my list of cars to own. I've been a member of SupraForums.com for over 8 years so I could read up on them. I decided it was time to commit to one. I had a pretty strict criteria. Had to be a white, pre-96, targa, rust free, clean title, automatic. I wanted a pre-96 so I do not have to deal with the strict ODBII emissions, and I wanted an auto because I wanted to T56 Magnum swap it. The Automatic rear diff is a better ratio than a true 6 speed. It also guarantees LSD for my year range. Plus automatic Supras cost less. The V160 6 speed transmissions are good, but parts are becoming more scarce. I good V160 can cost you $7000 alone. Sure enough one showed up on SupraForums that met my criteria. It was a little more than I wanted to spend but it already had some of the modifications done to it that I wanted so I justified the price. Plus it was 3 hours from my house which is very unusual.
Picking up the car:
The car came with with a bunch of bolt-on already (Greddy front mount, Turbonetics 61mm tubo with PHR manifold, PHR stage 1 fuel upgrade kit, Megan Coilovers etc..) My plans for it are pretty simple as the car is already in really good shape. It will be a few months before I can really start digging into it as I need to finish some house projects first.
Here are some more shots of it. One thing I learned is that the targa actually unbolts with 5 allen heads. Thanks Fast and the Furious for making me believe the targa could just pop off.
The fuel pump gauge was an easy fix. The car came with 2 oem Supra Fuel pumps attached to the stock assembly. This makes the assembly more difficult to put down into the tank. Someone must have bent the hanger in the process which caused the needle to lose contact with it's grid. I was able to bend it back. Someone also used a silicone coupler in between the fuel pumps which was a bad idea. The gas started to break it apart. I spent some time cleaning pieces of silicone out of my gas tank. I ordered a Walbro fuel pump cover to use as a spacer instead. I also replaced all the hose as one had a slit in it. I had to order it online as none of our local auto parts stores carried submersible hose. Two stores didn't even know what it was:/ While I was at it I bought some legit fuel hose clamps too vs the worm clamps that were on it.
The other thing I noticed was the basket hose was not connected to the bottom of the assembly. In the bottom of the tank is a boxy looking thing that the fuel pumps dip into. Under hard cornering all the fuel can slosh to one side of the tank. The fuel basket helps keep fuel available for the pumps. The fuel return line is supposed to also drain to the basket. The hose was disconnected. Probably because it was a pain to hook up and fit the assembly with 2 fuel pumps in the way. I removed the float arm and was able to re-attach it after the fuel pumps were dipped half way into the tank. Everything is hooked back up and working as it should now.
I cleaned up the wiring for the fuel pump too. This is a Tyco 75A relay as both fuel pumps can draw up to 30A under boost. While it's a nice relay, the positive leads that bolt on are exposed. Just removing the panel in front of it, I managed to bump it against the chassis and cause some sparks. I used some audio terminal covers to protect the wiring and zip tied it away from anything metal. I also cut one of the stud bolts shorter so it didn't poke out farther than it needed to.
My carpet has some foot wear on the drivers side. I figured I might as well order new oem carpet while its still available. I've never been a fan of aftermarket carpet fitment on any car so I'm glad to find new OEM stuff.
Both rear wheel bearings were bad when I bought the car. The back drivers side was the worse. The hub itself had enough wear to it that the new bearing could freely slide on. I decided to just replace both hubs for peace of mind.
Shortly after buying the car Joel from Grannas Racing announced on Facebook that he was having a T56 Magnum Group Buy sale. It would be his lowest prices ever on the packages. It was bad timing financially, but I made it work. I received the kit and had it installed in about 24 hours. Everything fit really well. I went with the OS Giken 3 disc clutch. I've only driven the car around the driveway as it's winter here. The swap process is documented well at Grannas Racing, but here is some of my feedback regarding the install:
Here are some pictures of the install. I left the interior panels off for now as I'm going to be sending away my climate control and cluster for an led conversion.
The 4" aluminum driveshaft is bigger in diameter than the stock one. It resides closer to the e-brake mechanism and factory carrier bearing mounts in the transmission tunnel. The factory rubber subframe/diff bushings had a lot of play in them. I didn't want to risk bucking the driveshaft into anything so I upgraded the bushings. I went with full poly 90 shore bushings from StrongFlex. They are an overseas company. I could have went with aluminum bushings but I've been in a car with aluminum bushings and the NVH was too much for me. A lot of people use SuperPro poly bushings but they don't offer every bushing in full replacement. Some of their bushings are supplemental bushings and push in around the factory ones. I wanted full replacements. Plus their rear diff bushings look weak to me. The metal plate in the center of the bushing just sticks into the surrounding poly. The StrongFlex has a full cylinder of aluminum that travels through the entire bushing and is hollowed out for the bolts.
I used my lift and some jack stands to remove the subframe. While it was out I took everything apart and cleaned it up with some fresh paint/undercoating. I also did the underside of the car as Toyota doesn't add any undercoating material above the rear subframe. The bushings all pressed in each. I had to use some heavy duty wood clamps for the rear diff bushings.
Since the underside in the rear looked so nice, I decided to cleanup the front too. My power steering reservoir hose was leaking so everything was coated with oil. The front lower control arms are also steel and surface rusted. I removed everything, blasted the control arms, then painted them. I cleaned up the hubs and dust shields too with some fresh paint. While I was in there I put the StrongFlex steering rack bushings in. I was able to install them without removing the steering rack.
I decided to clean up the engine bay some. My car was single converted several years ago by one of the previous owners. The heater core hose for the twin turbo setup involved rubber hose and metal tubing that routed around everything. With the single turbo setup this stuff is often hacked up to provide a path from the engine to the firewall. It never looks good. Someone figured out that pre-bent heater core hose for other cars actually lines up pretty well for the Supra. So I cleaned that up. I also got some hood struts for the engine bay so the prop rod would stop rubbing against my carbon fiber bumper shroud.
I removed the cruise control unit as the cruise cable assembly was already missing from the car. I don't run cruise control in my 3000gt either as the extra cable mechanism makes the gas pedal feel sticky. I also got rid of the traction control. On the Supra it consists of a secondary butterfly valve in the throttle body and then a pump assembly that ties into the brake system. The throttle body stuff was already deleted when I bought the car. I removed the hydraulic pump stuff that was in front of the brake booster. I also switched to a 97/98 brake reservoir bottle for a cleaner look. If I had kept the older reservoir I would have had to cap off some nipples on it. Eventually I am going to clean up the throttle body more. I want to grind off all the extrusions on the side and get rid of the traction delete plates. I'll just have the holes welded shut instead. then it can be ground down flush and no one will know they are there. I want to ditch the hks ssqv bov and go with a Tial too.
I sent my gauge cluster and climate control out to Stu Hagan on the Supra Forums to have an LED conversion done. Since my car will be down for a few weeks I decided to tackle some interior stuff. My dash is warped, and has broken defroster vents. Parts of it are also peeling. So I pulled it. I was going to try and fix it, but I just ordered a new one instead. I also noticed my ECU is not stock. It looks like it was flashed at one point. I need to do more research on "gforce" to see what exactly was done to it. My goal is to eventually go to an AEM v2 and get rid of the stock ecu with the piggy back systems.
I'm still waiting on my dash. The first one came in damaged so they had to order another one. If this one comes in damaged I may just have to plastic weld it as long as its just the internal structure that's cracked. Stu also finished my gauges! He sent me these pics last night. I can't wait to see them installed on the car. I went with a slightly custom design. The most common version he sells has TRD on every gauge. I thought it made the Speedometer gauge look kind of cluttered, so I had him remove it from that gauge. Then I had him put the Supra logo on the Fuel gauge instead of TRD. I think this looks perfect. When I go AEM I may try to add my own shift light LED or perhaps wire it to the stock warning light. Stu's sending me some other LEDS too for the key ring, glove box, and dome light.
The replacement dash came in and wasn't broken! I didn't waste any time putting it in. Before doing so I scrubbed all the vents and blower pipes with some water and baby shampoo. Since the factory tweeters mount from the underside, I decided now was a good time to upgrade my speakers. I have that full documented here: Supra Speaker Install
I took the car for it's maiden voyage with the 6 speed setup. I took it on the interstate and got the speedo dialed in. That was pretty easy to do. You literally just hold the +/- button until your speedo reads what your phone GPS says. The speedo was way off originally. It said I was doing 140 in a 35. My triple disk clutch is pretty noisy, and the transmission sounds were coming through into the car. Further inspection showed that some of the bolts that stick through the trans tunnel were actually touching the transmission. On top of that 1 of the transmission bolts that holds the Sikky shifter on was rubbing. I cut the bolts shorter, and ground down the sikky shifter bolts. It's so much quieter now. I spoke to Joel at GR about it and he said if I had to I could have added some washer spacers between the car and trans mount to give me some more clearance.
To try to make it even more quiet and keep the heat down, I decided to use some Thermo-Tec mat on the trans tunnel. I used the same stuff on my RX7. one 3x6 roll was just enough. It would have been a little easier to apply if I did this with the dash out, but it wasn't too bad.
I put my new oem carpet in next. I also have a variable resistor coming so I can dial the brightness of my gauges back some. Even on their lowest brightness, Stu's gauges are too bright for me at night. I don't like a lot of light in the cabin when I'm driving. Fortunately he had a solution for this.
I cleaned up the wiper cowl and wipers last weekend. The cowl itself is plastic and it was really faded. I know some people will use Armoral or "back to black" on them. I've gone down that route on other cars too. But this cowl was a little too far gone. Some of the faded areas almost had a white skim built up on the surface. I wet sanded the cowl with some 1000 grit, and sprayed it with light coats of Rustoleum Black Trim paint. The wiper arms had some paint chips that I sanded down. I used some Rustoleum Professional semi-flat paint on them after primer. I'm very happy with the results. While I had the cowl off I also removed the wiper arms and wiped them down. The area under the cowl was kind of dirty and had some very light surface rust spots from where water pooled. Toyota didn't really paint the wiper compartment area. It was all kind of overspray from the factory. So I cleaned that up as well and painted it with some Rustoleum Professional gloss white paint. Obviously it's not an exact match to the oem white, but the cowl goes over it.
The Turbonetics turbo on my car leaks a little oil out the bottom outlet where the coupler is. There is no shaft play on it. I eventually want to upgrade it to a ball bearing Precision 6466 turbo, but for now I have other things I'd rather spend my money on. I noticed the return line was kind of long. It also had a tiny dip to it, followed by a flat section. Per Turbonetics website this is not ideal and it could cause a backup of oil which would cause a leak. I removed the line and shortened it some. I pointed the 45 degree AN fitting upwards so it's as downhill as possible now. Hopefully this will help. Here's a before and after pic.
On the 4th of July this year Leatherseats.com had a 10% off sale. I decided to take advantage of it for some new leather. went with their basic black leather package with black stitching just to keep it stock looking. I steamed the foam cushions and it really helped bring them all back to original shape. After installing the seats I bought some new OEM covers for the seat rail feet.
Over winter I've been making some progress on the Supra trying to get it ready for summer. I've got AEM installed. I fully documented it here. I ended up making a custom ECU tray too so be sure to check it out. On Black Friday I ordered a turbo from Boost Lab. I went with a Precision 6766 CEA dual ball bearing divided 1.0 A/R turbo. I got the exhaust side ceramic coated and the compressor housing polished. I ended up having to repolish it because it wasn't up to my standards but Boost Lab made it right. I have some ARP exhaust studs coming and then I need to figure out the oil lines.
I also got my Grannas racing 8.8 rear installed. My poly bushings gave me some trouble. I believe when Joel designed his 8.8 kit he probably used solid diff bushings that were flush in the subframe. Stock bushings actually stick out of the subframe. My poly bushings actually stick out even further than stock. So I had to trim some of the poly off to get everything to fit. Beforehand the driveshaft touching the dust boot on the back of my trans. Everything is good now. I went with 4.10 gears so it will be close to the stock 6 speed ratio. I also went with a True Trac LSD. It's the same one I use in my rx7. Since I was under the car I installed some TRD swaybars too.