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Hey fellas,

 

I am new to the classic car scene and I have stumbled upon a Toyota AE70 liftback, which I shall be buying sometime next week. This has a 3AU engine mated to a T50 gearbox. The body looks tired but sheet metal seems to be in generally ok condition (Only one way to find out 😄). I am planning on doing a ground up restoration while restomodding the internals where necessary, such as brakes and maybe the engine. A bit torn wether to rebuild the original motor or to throw in a 3sge or a 4age. Did a test drive today. A good amount of the original horses still seem to be live and kicking. Steering is wobbly. Brakes are appalling. Clutch sinks right to the bottom. Gear shifts are ok, but could be a bit tighter. 

Lots of spaceship like bits have been bolted/glued on to the body, which, needless to say, will find their rightful place in the garbage.

Any suggestions and advise on how to proceed would be lovely and be most welcome. Thank you!

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Edited by Khamsin

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Well..if you buy it...congrats ! It will be a fun ride...it seems to be a Sprinter Liftback...

These cars, especially the Sprinter, is best left with subtle mods due to its rarity. I would say just do a restoration and some simple mods like upgrading the suspension and brakes and maybe the engine. 

Two ways to go about it....you can do a complete GT conversion (GT is the Liftback and Hardtop equivelant of the Trueno which only came in Coupe form and just a grade in the E70 and earlier series). This is going ot cost a fortune and hard to do because GTs are hard to come by and when you do its quite pricey.

Second option is what you probably seem to be wanting to do...do a resto-mod. Most of the AE86 aftermarket parts fit the E70....and there are PLENTY of AE86 aftermarket parts. You can go for second hand AE86 parts but those can get as expensive as new parts. Brake parts can be sourced from Starlets to Honda Fits (which actually are cheaper than trying to find actual upgrades for the E70 liftback. 

Body parts for this is going to be hard to find...you will have to get them imported. Its starting to get quite rare in Japan and sometimes you have more luck finding it in Australia than in Japan. If I am not mistaken this had lights from a B11 Sunny or something in the back....

Engine...this is going to be a matter of budget, personal preference and what you plan to do with the car. The 4A-GE is quite an easy conversion if you go with the 16v variants. The 20v variants will be a good choice too but you will have to do some modest modifications to turn the FWD designed engine in to RWD. But many in SL have done it with AE85s that plenty of people know how to do it. The 16v RWD engines are the easiest to put in there as its just a simple drop.

 The 3S-GE will give the most amount of power. So if you want power..sure...but it will require some significant effort to put it in. 

You will need to upgrade the gearbox. The K50 gearbox will not handle it and you will just break it if you try to use it with the new engine. Go for a T50 (for a 4A-GE) or a W5x gearbox for the 3S-GE (or the 4A-GE if you really want to). 

The engines and gearboxes have become quite pricey over the last few years.

Mind you..if you do a proper build of the 3A, the 3A by itself is quite fun in that car....

Personally I find the 4A-GE a good balance for the E70/E80 Corolla/Sprinter. It is peppy enough for the light body to keep the body well planted. For me the 3S-GE ,although feels much more modern than the 4A-GE, is a bit too powerful for what the car is. It does make you want to push the car more but then it does scare you in to thinking that the car is just going twist up to just break off the tarmac. The 4A-GE does make you want to push the car but within limits to what the stock frame can handle. So..engine choice will be a matter of preference. Keep in mind that the model was designed (by default) to handle 70 - 80 hp with not much torque...and then the Trueno/GT variants got a some additional weld points to be able to handle 110ish hp...

You might want to swap the rear-end too...but doing that is a bit tough. You will have to do some mix and matching if you want to come up with a local solution. 

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Congrats and all the best for your new project. We have a couple of E70-series corolla enthusiasts here. @kmeeg is one of them, as I recall.

You might also get some valuable advice from @iRage. The guy knows his old japs.

My advice for you is try not to overdo it. From your post, I understand that it only needs some minor mechanical work, although the photos show a couple of alien looking bits and pieces.

 

 

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4 hours ago, iRage said:

Well..if you buy it...congrats ! It will be a fun ride...it seems to be a Sprinter Liftback...

These cars, especially the Sprinter, is best left with subtle mods due to its rarity. I would say just do a restoration and some simple mods like upgrading the suspension and brakes and maybe the engine. 

Two ways to go about it....you can do a complete GT conversion (GT is the Liftback and Hardtop equivelant of the Trueno which only came in Coupe form and just a grade in the E70 and earlier series). This is going ot cost a fortune and hard to do because GTs are hard to come by and when you do its quite pricey.

Second option is what you probably seem to be wanting to do...do a resto-mod. Most of the AE86 aftermarket parts fit the E70....and there are PLENTY of AE86 aftermarket parts. You can go for second hand AE86 parts but those can get as expensive as new parts. Brake parts can be sourced from Starlets to Honda Fits (which actually are cheaper than trying to find actual upgrades for the E70 liftback. 

Body parts for this is going to be hard to find...you will have to get them imported. Its starting to get quite rare in Japan and sometimes you have more luck finding it in Australia than in Japan. If I am not mistaken this had lights from a B11 Sunny or something in the back....

Engine...this is going to be a matter of budget, personal preference and what you plan to do with the car. The 4A-GE is quite an easy conversion if you go with the 16v variants. The 20v variants will be a good choice too but you will have to do some modest modifications to turn the FWD designed engine in to RWD. But many in SL have done it with AE85s that plenty of people know how to do it. The 16v RWD engines are the easiest to put in there as its just a simple drop.

 The 3S-GE will give the most amount of power. So if you want power..sure...but it will require some significant effort to put it in. 

You will need to upgrade the gearbox. The K50 gearbox will not handle it and you will just break it if you try to use it with the new engine. Go for a T50 (for a 4A-GE) or a W5x gearbox for the 3S-GE (or the 4A-GE if you really want to). 

The engines and gearboxes have become quite pricey over the last few years.

Mind you..if you do a proper build of the 3A, the 3A by itself is quite fun in that car....

Personally I find the 4A-GE a good balance for the E70/E80 Corolla/Sprinter. It is peppy enough for the light body to keep the body well planted. For me the 3S-GE ,although feels much more modern than the 4A-GE, is a bit too powerful for what the car is. It does make you want to push the car more but then it does scare you in to thinking that the car is just going twist up to just break off the tarmac. The 4A-GE does make you want to push the car but within limits to what the stock frame can handle. So..engine choice will be a matter of preference. Keep in mind that the model was designed (by default) to handle 70 - 80 hp with not much torque...and then the Trueno/GT variants got a some additional weld points to be able to handle 110ish hp...

You might want to swap the rear-end too...but doing that is a bit tough. You will have to do some mix and matching if you want to come up with a local solution. 

Thank you very much for taking the time to type a lengthy reply! Now you’ve got me thinking if a more powerful engine is a good idea at all due to the design limitations of the chassis! What are your thoughts on having a frame reinforcement done before throwing in a newer engine? Also, I think this has a T50 gearbox, (I could be wrong and I need to take a closer look at it in any case) but if it is, it should be good to go with a 4age, shouldn’t it? 

I plan to keep the styling minimal and close to stock as much as possible and not destroy the car 😁, but I’m thinking wider jdm wheels because I can’t stand the look of these flimsy tyres. (It’s probably a phase and maybe I’ll outgrow it!) 

If I’m putting in a new engine, I plan on getting a compatible LSD diff, but let’s see. 

Suspension and brake upgrades are right at the top of the list. Again, google is my tutor and I’m thinking aftermarket stuff like D2, Gecko or maybe eibach (if it’s not going to break the bank). The interior seems to be original and I’ll share some pics so that you gents can decide. Please disregard the “Thing” on the steering wheel! 

5 hours ago, Crosswind said:

Congrats and all the best for your new project. We have a couple of E70-series corolla enthusiasts here. @kmeeg is one of them, as I recall.

You might also get some valuable advice from @iRage. The guy knows his old japs.

My advice for you is try not to overdo it. From your post, I understand that it only needs some minor mechanical work, although the photos show a couple of alien looking bits and pieces.

 

 

Thank you very much for kicking off the replies and also the referrals! The alien bits are going to the landfill ASAP. Keeping it simple and close to stock is what I plan on doing. Thanks again! Cheers mate! 

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CB255FBD-9FB0-4501-BABA-D4155D61140F.jpeg

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The 3A was mated with K50 5-speed transmission. So...no the K50 will have to be taken out. The stock frame with the 4A-GE engine is fine...but anything more than that I would recommend putting stiffening plates, welds, etc...

The diff...well....TRD had a direct swap LSD for the S series end..but those things are rare and costs a fortune. The issue is you do not get a direct LSD unit itself. You will need to swap out the entire rear-end. The easiest would be the T series rear-end from an AE86, Carina/Corona, or even look in to one out of an old Hilux or the likes of it.

As for wheels....the stock wheels 5.5 for those...and 6 - 6.5 for grades like the GT. If you get wheels that between 6.5 - 7.5 it will nicely ling up with the arch (i.e. not need flares).

D2 and Gecko can be found locally so it is a lot easier...other options are actual TRD stuff and T3. You would also want to look in to braces in the GT/Trueno and put them on your ones....makes a world of a different.

Make a progressive plan depending on your cash flow....personally I would upgrade the brakes and suspension before putting in a new engine. Does a world of wonders in handling even with the 3A engine (90% of the AE85 truenos in SL prove it).

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25 minutes ago, iRage said:

The 3A was mated with K50 5-speed transmission. So...no the K50 will have to be taken out. The stock frame with the 4A-GE engine is fine...but anything more than that I would recommend putting stiffening plates, welds, etc...

The diff...well....TRD had a direct swap LSD for the S series end..but those things are rare and costs a fortune. The issue is you do not get a direct LSD unit itself. You will need to swap out the entire rear-end. The easiest would be the T series rear-end from an AE86, Carina/Corona, or even look in to one out of an old Hilux or the likes of it.

As for wheels....the stock wheels 5.5 for those...and 6 - 6.5 for grades like the GT. If you get wheels that between 6.5 - 7.5 it will nicely ling up with the arch (i.e. not need flares).

D2 and Gecko can be found locally so it is a lot easier...other options are actual TRD stuff and T3. You would also want to look in to braces in the GT/Trueno and put them on your ones....makes a world of a different.

Make a progressive plan depending on your cash flow....personally I would upgrade the brakes and suspension before putting in a new engine. Does a world of wonders in handling even with the 3A engine (90% of the AE85 truenos in SL prove it).

All points noted! 

First plan of action is to strip it all apart and start on the tinker work and refurb the interior bits. I’ll start looking for a powertrain+drivetrain combo in the meantime. On that note, would any diff (with LSD) from any model of Toyota hilux do, or is their a specific model I need to look for? 

The suspension and brakes are definitely getting upgraded before the car is taken back out on the roads.

thanks again! Cheers!!!

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Ideally the 2wd small cab...the 4wd is a bit too wide but can be made to work.

Whilst you are doing the tinkering..be mindful about when it will be finished up and when the new engine will go in. Quite a few of us got burned by finishing the paint work and then doing the engine upgrade, only to have the mechanics totally mess up the paint work...just saying...

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3 hours ago, iRage said:

Ideally the 2wd small cab...the 4wd is a bit too wide but can be made to work.

Whilst you are doing the tinkering..be mindful about when it will be finished up and when the new engine will go in. Quite a few of us got burned by finishing the paint work and then doing the engine upgrade, only to have the mechanics totally mess up the paint work...just saying...

That was something my friend and I also talked over this morning. I’m thinking maybe have the strip down start and in the meantime explore engine+gearbox combos. Once that’s finalized, get the parts, do a mock fit and then go in for paint. 

Also, how can I tell if a diff has LSD or not? Any visual  indications?

 

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16 hours ago, Khamsin said:

Also, how can I tell if a diff has LSD or not? Any visual  indications?

Some have LSD imprinted on it...some have the sticker that says LSD....but in your case it ill say neither....

There are plenty of youtube videos showing how to check whether the car has a LSD.

Jack up the rear-end spin one wheel and see which direction the other wheel spins (or if it spins at all) :). If you spin one wheel clockwise and the other side also spins the same direction then its LSD, if the other wheel spins in the opposite direction its an open diff.Again, this method works if the car has a simple mechanical LSD as opposed to something like a Torsen or electronic LSD (which your car and the donor cars you are looking at would not have)

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Wow this is indeed a rarity. Congrats on your potential purchase 🙂 Please keep us updated on this thread. 

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Posted (edited)

Hey everyone,

So, I made the purchase yesterday! I thought I might have to put it on a car carrier and bring, but ended up driving it to kegalle, where my hometown is. The brakes need to be pumped twice to stop, but whatever. The car is parked for now and will most likely get started on the resto in about a month or so. Can’t make up my mind as to if I want to put ina new engine or rebuild the original 3au with new bits like and upgraded carb, and maybe some head work. It was lovely to drive. The engine is quite peppy and shifting through the five gears is quite fun! Will keep you all posted! Thanks for the support!

Edited by Khamsin
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On 2/25/2019 at 8:21 AM, iRage said:

Some have LSD imprinted on it...some have the sticker that says LSD....but in your case it ill say neither....

There are plenty of youtube videos showing how to check whether the car has a LSD.

Jack up the rear-end spin one wheel and see which direction the other wheel spins (or if it spins at all) :). If you spin one wheel clockwise and the other side also spins the same direction then its LSD, if the other wheel spins in the opposite direction its an open diff.Again, this method works if the car has a simple mechanical LSD as opposed to something like a Torsen or electronic LSD (which your car and the donor cars you are looking at would not have)

Thanks mate! 

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23 hours ago, Khamsin said:

Hey everyone,

So, I made the purchase yesterday! I thought I might have to put it on a car carrier and bring, but ended up driving it to kegalle, where my hometown is. The brakes need to be pumped twice to stop, but whatever. The car is parked for now and will most likely get started on the resto in about a month or so. Can’t make up my mind as to if I want to put ina new engine or rebuild the original 3au with new bits like and upgraded carb, and maybe some head work. It was lovely to drive. The engine is quite peppy and shifting through the five gears is quite fun! Will keep you all posted! Thanks for the support!

Well....to be quite honest..those cars (including the AE85 and other Corollas) are quite decent with that engine. The engine produced only about 80hp when new but the car bodies were so light that they were quite peppy for it. A little less peppier on the likes of the Corona/Carina but still a fun drive.

I would say go for a decent resto on the engine and try to get the 80hp back....and then get the body stuff sorted out. You can upgrade the carbs and  get a bot more out of the engine. However, depending on what you want...these carbs can get rather expensive (for example...Weber carb setup can cost more than the cost of the 3A engine)....

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Posted (edited)
On 3/7/2019 at 4:28 PM, iRage said:

Well....to be quite honest..those cars (including the AE85 and other Corollas) are quite decent with that engine. The engine produced only about 80hp when new but the car bodies were so light that they were quite peppy for it. A little less peppier on the likes of the Corona/Carina but still a fun drive.

I would say go for a decent resto on the engine and try to get the 80hp back....and then get the body stuff sorted out. You can upgrade the carbs and  get a bot more out of the engine. However, depending on what you want...these carbs can get rather expensive (for example...Weber carb setup can cost more than the cost of the 3A engine)....

I’ve decided to go for a restoration of the original 3A engine. I understand that it may get expensive, but it sounds like a shame to rip out the original engine when it’s good and restorable! 

 

In in the mean time, I’ve chanced upon a set of rims which I was hoping you gents could help me ID. Attached are a few pics.

 

thank you!!!!

012EB5E4-04D3-499E-BF30-AE8854751C6D.jpeg

94AC6D62-5A0F-491A-97A2-A1335E44260A.jpeg

Edited by Khamsin

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Posted (edited)

Hey Good to see this car this nice. Because the only few cars in the island. I have Toyota AE70 Sprinter Hard Top coupe. And one of my friends got KE 70 Hardtop Coupe .Still on the restoration. Let me give u an idea for your liftback. Find the original power mirror set for your fenders. It'll be nice then. 😊Hope You;ll keeping it as it is ❤️ Good Luck with your ride. 😊

Edited by Sandeesha

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