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> Old Cecil Restoration : 96 GT gen4 3s-gte swap, My Celica (Old Cecil) has sat around long enough
post Jul 9, 2020 - 12:00 PM
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OldCecil

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I should have started this thread when the project began, but I'll catch everyone who is interested up in a flash. I decided to compile my experience into this forum to keep track of progress and have a place to go to collect my thoughts and stay organized. I'm no pro, but consider myself to be mechanically inclined. I hope this write up can potentially help people with their projects, maybe answer some questions about this particular swap, and be somewhat entertaining and not too boring of a read. I'm sure there is no shortage of more experienced mechanics and garage wrenchers on this site, so any suggestions are, of course, welcome.

Four years ago I bought this car because its rust free, the underneath looks great and the mileage isn't too hateful at 160k ish. That, and these cars are becoming more and more difficult to find in a GT manual trans format. I initially had zero intention of swapping it or doing any sort of restoration work. I just wanted a clean and reliable daily driver that was somewhat fun to drive... This car was just that.

IMG_20160330_091244 by zac savage, on Flickr

I drove this car for a few months until it developed a bad vibration at idle... and was hit in a parking lot on St. Patricks Day 2016... big bummer. After this, The car sat around for years until one day I decided I wanted something fun to drive again. I decided I was going to breath some new life into good Old Cecil.

IMG_20180219_174458 by zac savage, on Flickr

First step was to pressure wash the thick layer of grime that had developed on crusty old Cecil.

IMG_20191021_115827 by zac savage, on Flickr

The next step obviously was the easy part, tearing **** apart. Remove the beat up body panels, pull the engine and trans, get covered in goop and grime, turn some wrenches, and drink some beers.

IMG_20200405_162357 by zac savage, on Flickr

OK, now the old 5sfe and s54 are out and I'm waiting on something to replace it with... I ordered a "low mileage" JDM gen4 3sgte caldina motor and it'll be here soon. Ordered from Dallas JDM Imports in case anybody is curious. They were reasonably priced at $1350 shipped. I put "low mileage" in quotations because everybody says that, but who the hell knows really how many miles are on these things. (after I got the motor and opened it up, it sure didn't seem super low mileage). Anyways, I took the down time to clean things up and coat brackets and what not with POR15 or powdercoat.


IMG_20191021_123104 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20191024_222252 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20191024_222304 by zac savage, on Flickr

Will continue this post soon. I've got to figure out how to upload photos from google drive or something... The cool stuff is coming I promise!

This post has been edited by OldCecil: Jul 15, 2020 - 3:27 PM
post Jul 12, 2020 - 2:22 PM
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BonzaiCelica



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wow great work so far. you went all out on the paint like i did. engine bay and removed all windows.

honestly kinda of a let down for me. the car just looks so naked without sideskirts a lip and rear spats.


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post Jul 13, 2020 - 6:15 AM
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bloodMoney



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Very cool.

Can't wait to see more!


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post Jul 15, 2020 - 1:53 PM
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OldCecil

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It's been a fun project so far, I'm hoping to be wrapped up in a couple months... I've made more progress than what's posted so far... will get caught up in the next couple days on this thread.

This post has been edited by OldCecil: Jul 16, 2020 - 2:34 PM
post Jul 15, 2020 - 1:56 PM
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OldCecil

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QUOTE (BonzaiCelica @ Jul 12, 2020 - 3:22 PM) *
wow great work so far. you went all out on the paint like i did. engine bay and removed all windows.

honestly kinda of a let down for me. the car just looks so naked without sideskirts a lip and rear spats.



Yeah I'm a little nervous about how it's all going to come together without the ground effects... I think it'll look alright, but I may regret being so conservative on the body add-ons.. we'll see!
post Jul 16, 2020 - 1:08 PM
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OldCecil

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So the next step for me was definitely to freshen up the motor.... new timing belt, tensioner, water pump, cam seals, front and rear main seals, vc gasket, plugs, idler pulley etc....

I decided to do a little cleaning in the top end (mostly because my OCD kicked in)... and of course i drop a Q-tip down an oil passage..... which leads to popping off the two piece oil pan and cleaning what I can get to in the bottom end... I felt like such a dumb ass for dropping that.. but is what it is..

IMG_20191106_224547 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20191026_121036 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20191026_121025 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20191026_121441_01 by zac savage, on Flickr

anddddd the cleaning took forever and was pretty unnecessary more than likely, but I did manage to get a good bit of gunk out of the engine...

IMG_20191026_120100 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20191026_153952 by zac savage, on Flickr

This is where I realized I had a problem and needed to quit with the cleaning nonsense.... i pulled the camshafts and soaked them in degreaser... Then almosttttt split the short block.... but reeled it in and decided that was far enough...

IMG_20191106_234130 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20191106_224812 by zac savage, on Flickr

Next up was to do something with the disgusting old s54 trans..... this thing shifted great and never gave me any issues.. I had to decide whether to do an e153 swap or just go with the s54... Since I don't really expect to make more power than the s54 should be able to reasonably handle... that's what I went with.. I do have an LSD e153 and the mounts necessary laying around to do that... but I decided to save that trans for the next project... 77k mile california mr2 sitting in my other garage... Anyways... the s54 needed some major cleaning..

IMG_20200419_093244 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200419_115610 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200419_130337 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200419_162237 by zac savage, on Flickr

more coming soon!
post Jul 17, 2020 - 9:35 AM
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OldCecil

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At this point, I'm going deep enough down the rabbit hole that I might as well get to the bottom..... So I get online and start looking for parts cars.. I figure if I can find a couple cheap ones, any inadequate part that I come across on my car I can replace with something better.. any broken clips, bent brackets etc. I end up buying two other cars for cheap... (if anyone needs any parts please let me know... I have a ton.)

IMG_20200513_080059 by zac savage, on Flickr

Then I went ahead and got to the bottom of that rabbit hole I'm talking about.... stripped out the interior, all the glass, every panel, tore the doors down, cleaned the engine bay... basically just starting from the ground up... ordered some new nut and bolt kits so I didn't even have to use the old hardware.... I've done this sort of thing with quads and tractors and stuff.. but never a car. It can be pretty intimidating after the tear down.. it's a lot of parts and pieces to remember how to put back together, but it's a learning process... and I'll be able to say I truly built this car when it's all said and done.

IMG_20200503_185428 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200505_220806 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200506_203331 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200512_204315 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200513_184300 by zac savage, on Flickr

My family and neighbors would stop by in the evenings to see what the hell I was working on at midnight every night and every one of them decided I was crazy.. there were nights I couldn't disagree, but at this point you just have to keep your eye on the prize... Finally the car was stripped to my satisfaction and I threw it on the trailer for paint... I decided to go with a factory dodge color called destroyer grey. I think the color will turn out pretty good.. it will still need cut and buffed after it's all assembled, but my initial impression is that I love it.. pretty cool color, and having stripped the car down like I did, I think it'll call come together quite nicely. I made some subtle changes to the body just to clean it up. I welded up the side marker lights on the fenders, welded shut the rear antenna, rear wiper and sprayer, and debadged the whole thing.... small changes, but I think it'll end up being a cleaner look.

IMG_20200507_122215 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200507_122224 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200510_141059 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200609_115927 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200614_191235 by zac savage, on Flickr

More soon!
post Jul 22, 2020 - 6:42 AM
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bloodMoney



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I should have painted more stuff while mine was apart....

Things are looking good! Keep it up!


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post Jul 22, 2020 - 11:06 AM
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OldCecil

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So while the car was at paint, I spent some time cleaning and prepping more parts to go back on the car. Pretty much went through everything. I cleaned up and put a new o-ring kit on the a/c system.. got a new condenser and expansion tank, took off all the brake lines and flushed them out and painted them, rebuilt a spare steering rack, put new wheel bearings in and put a coat of hi temp caliper paint on dust guards, spindles, coated the sub frame and control arms in por-15, got new bushings for the control arms.. I even got new horns for God's sake. I also sent the wiring harnesses out to WireGap. That $540 is worth every penny if you ask me. I see on this forum that a lot of guys are building their own harnesses.... You guys are the real crazy ones.

IMG_20200614_220236 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200625_210456 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200504_194427 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200502_190637 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200502_190630 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200528_181403 by zac savage, on Flickr
post Jul 22, 2020 - 9:30 PM
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cheela



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LOL just read up on this thread. Seems like the celica bug bit you pretty hard again. We all end up with a parts car or two or three at some point. The build looks amazing. can't wait to see it finished!


--------------------

*1997 Celica ST - 3SGE Greytop BEAMS
*1977 Celica RA29 - Classic Cruiser
*2005 Matrix AWD - dedded but still hanging around like a ghost
2019 Rav4 XLE Premium - Sports mode is fun.
post Jul 23, 2020 - 1:26 AM
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haha good luck getting engine in from top without scratching your nice paint in the bay.


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post Jul 23, 2020 - 8:01 AM
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bloodMoney



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I'm super jelly of the painted engine bay.

I spent two hours cleaning mine when the engine came out, and now that it's back in, the bay is back to looking like ****.

Yours is going to look like new when you're done!

This post has been edited by bloodMoney: Jul 23, 2020 - 1:04 PM


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post Jul 23, 2020 - 9:13 AM
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OldCecil

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QUOTE (BonzaiCelica @ Jul 23, 2020 - 1:26 AM) *
haha good luck getting engine in from top without scratching your nice paint in the bay.



haha Those were my thoughts exactly... which is why I put it in from the bottom. I've made a lot more progress than what is shown so far.. I'm still catching this thread up to speed. For some reason, after I post a reply to this thread, it takes anywhere from 1 to 3 days to actually show up.. but I'll keep on chugging and update the thread as I can.
post Jul 23, 2020 - 9:16 AM
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OldCecil

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QUOTE (cheela @ Jul 22, 2020 - 9:30 PM) *
LOL just read up on this thread. Seems like the celica bug bit you pretty hard again. We all end up with a parts car or two or three at some point. The build looks amazing. can't wait to see it finished!



definitely got bit hard.. but hey if you're gonna do something...
post Jul 23, 2020 - 7:18 PM
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Very nice work! Love the attention to detail. Can't wait to see more.


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post Jul 24, 2020 - 2:47 PM
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We're getting to the good stuff soon, but here's another update on what I've done so far...

I decided to put at least a little bit of love in to the interior of this car. It came with tan leather, but the seats were really rough and I'm not a big fan of the tan anyways. I want all black. Almost unbelievably, I found a mint black cloth interior at a junk yard and pulled it on half price day... that'll never happen again, most things are trashed at the junk yards around here. Anyways, i managed to get the front and rear seats out, and the 98 convertible parts car I've got had some really nice black leather door panels and steering wheel. After I cleaned the grime off the door panels and painted the speaker mesh, they came out pretty slick. The last piece to the puzzle is the headliner... tan headliner wasn't going to fly, so I decided to try my hand at upholstering. I ordered some foam-backed black and gray camo fabric and went to down. It was actually pretty easy to do. The headliner may be a little weird for some people... but it works for me and beats the crap out of tan with an all black interior.

I also ordered all new Rockford fosgate speakers for the car, a nice benefit to the new door panels is that I can upgrade to the premium sound option.

IMG_20200524_132012 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200524_135000 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200524_141043 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200524_145247 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200524_165228 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200524_165837 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200524_173552 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200524_165442 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200524_173639 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200528_195606 by zac savage, on Flickr

The next step before beginning the long, arduous process of reassembly was to mate the motor and trans. I put on a new rear main seal and got some arp flywheel bolts and a lightweight flywheel and an exedy clutch. went ahead and put the wiring harness on and a few other little odds and ends... and bingo, next post should get me to the powerplant install!

IMG_20200621_115443 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200621_122309 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200621_124544 by zac savage, on Flickr

IMG_20200621_211311 by zac savage, on Flickr

This is the point where it really started getting exciting for me... can finally start putting things together instead of taking things apart, cleaning, painting, prepping etc. All the hours of part restoration and **** can finally begin to pay off.

post Jul 27, 2020 - 6:59 AM
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Welcome!

I wish I had a quarter of the energy that you do, I could get so much done!


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2001 Miata LS 5-speed
post Jul 27, 2020 - 11:27 AM
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OldCecil

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QUOTE (Box @ Jul 27, 2020 - 7:59 AM) *
Welcome!

I wish I had a quarter of the energy that you do, I could get so much done!



Thanks!

I don't feel so energetic sometimes but I'm a man determined. I want to be driving this thing by fall if I can
post Jul 27, 2020 - 7:57 PM
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cheela



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man that looks so nice and clean! part of me wishes I would've spent the time to clean up my engine that well when it was out, other part of me realizes OCD will never let me finish cleaning it so just let it be.


--------------------

*1997 Celica ST - 3SGE Greytop BEAMS
*1977 Celica RA29 - Classic Cruiser
*2005 Matrix AWD - dedded but still hanging around like a ghost
2019 Rav4 XLE Premium - Sports mode is fun.
post Jul 27, 2020 - 8:08 PM
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OldCecil

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QUOTE (cheela @ Jul 27, 2020 - 7:57 PM) *
man that looks so nice and clean! part of me wishes I would've spent the time to clean up my engine that well when it was out, other part of me realizes OCD will never let me finish cleaning it so just let it be.


Yeah man I totally get it. It's hard to know when to stop... So basically I just haven't stopped.... I literally brush coated the underside of the engine bay and front of the unibody with por15 this week... This is some majorly tedious stuff, but eye on the prize.

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