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6G Celicas Forums > 6th Generation Celica > My Project
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This is how my story goes. My name is Mike Kern and I live up in MA. I'm only 17 years old and I will be turning 18 in November. This is my second car because I totaled my first one in a snow storm. I'm scared as hell to drive in the snow ever since I lost control and hit a telephone pole. This is my first time ever working on a car this in-depth, and I thought it was going to be really hard to fix, but I took the challenge.
My first car was an Acura Legend. I loved the car for the way it drove. It was just very comfortable and there were a lot of features to the car. That's mainly because it was a luxury car back in the day. The suspension I didn't like because if I took an off ramp at 40mph, the car would nearly tip over because the suspension was that loose. It got up and going very fast, that's because it's a V6 and had 200hp.
My Acura Legend went from this:

To this:

I sold it to some guy for $550 or $500. Not bad I guess.
Then I saved up over a month or two and found this baby on Craigslist for $1500. smile.gif

^Only upgrade I had in that picture was the aftermarket fogs.
I got the seller down to $1200 so I think it was a steal!
Originally, I was skeptical about getting it cause of the rust, but when I drove it, I knew she was a winner.
My dad didn't want me to get a coupe cause they are not great in the snow, but he could tell I really wanted it.
I had her for a few months, about 4 to 5 I'll say, and I didn't do any upgrades at all to her.
Then, one lovely day on my way to work, disaster struck... frown.gif

At first, my mom and dad were telling me to scrap her, and I was like no.
I told them about this forum, and how there are so many useful resources, and that I know I can rebuild the front end of her.
So I did, whether they doubted I could do it or not.
It started off with the tear down, which was oh so very fun.

At one point I can say I had a reverse opening hood haha

After that I just kept tearing her down more and more.

Eventually, I got a new window installed and it was free cause insurance covered it.

Then I acquired this bad boy from a guy in Mansfield for $450!

Finally, the two Celicas meet face to semi face lol

I had originally gone to the junk yard to slowly get parts for my car. That is why the red radiator support is on.
Soon after I got the Silver Celica. I spent about $200 there so my total came to $650 for everything.
Slowly, but surely, the swap started progressing! smile.gif

Just did some mocking up to make sure it was going to be ok.

I got a new exhaust and intake with the car as well!


^Not installed yet.

Some pictures of me cutting out the radiator support on the Silver Celica.

Some pictures of me lining the radiator support up onto my car!

I bolted down the radiator support, on both of the sides by the fenders with two bolts and on both the middle legs with a good amount of bolts as well.
I started installing some more parts on the front end little by little.

I also replaced the fuse box cover because it had a decent size hole in it from the crash.

Here is how the front of the car is as of right now. I don't have any recent pictures, but I'll be getting some soon smile.gif
In the picture the front bumper and hood are just mocked up, nothing is bolted down.

I have some goodies coming my way right now so I'll put them up as I receive them!
Right now I'm saving up for a paint job. I am hoping that will happen in late October or early November.
I'm looking to just get a Midnight Black, but Manny said he might be able to throw a small amount of Blue Pearl in it so it glistens in the sun smile.gif
I'll keep you all updated!

What I'm so pumped for is that I just convinced my dad that a manual swap will probably cost less than getting tires for the 18" rims off my parts car. WIN!
So that will go down this spring as well as swap out the 5s from the parts car (126k) into my car (214k).
I would love to save for a 3s over the winter, but I think that just learning how to drive stick on an N/A car will be easier. smile.gif
Once you learn, it's second nature. I'm never going back to Auto again. Manual is just too much damn fun. No worries, it's not too hard to get down.
Everyone says it's not that hard, and it really doesn't seem like it. I've started driving my auto like a manual, I up shift and down shift. I don't know it that's bad since it's and auto, but I could care less right now haha
Main thing is the clutch foot. The actual act of changing gears is the easiest part. Gotta get them smoooooth shifts makes her sound sexy! Haha. And I can't wait to follow the progress man!
that's going to be really fun to learn lol
i got some goodies coming my way, I'll post them up tomorroww smile.gif
Complete story is up right now, will add more as it comes!
good stuff man, your dad is a super cool guy, i hope you bring him to EVERY meet from now on.
man i did not realize how much work you'd put into that car already. well done dude.... haha hopefully i can follow your work ethic and not get lazy on my car.
yeah i've put a lot of work into her so far, and a lot more will come in the future as well! smile.gif
it's a slow process sometimes, but just make the best of it.
I know for a FACT that I'm never selling this car now! Not after all the work I've put into rebuilding the front end.
QUOTE (HectortheRican @ Sep 13, 2010 - 9:32 PM) *
Main thing is the clutch foot.

i went from a 5-speed mustang gt to my auto celica, and my foot still shoots out for the non existent clutch when i have to hit the brakes hard. kindasad.gif its hard to switch back to auto. lol
QUOTE (Zake @ Sep 19, 2010 - 12:20 AM) *
i went from a 5-speed mustang gt to my auto celica, and my foot still shoots out for the non existent clutch when i have to hit the brakes hard. kindasad.gif its hard to switch back to auto. lol

LOL that's why I'm not gonna
auto is boring as hell anyway! i drive it like it's a stick...just without the clutch, but I've been practicing the foot movement haha

Here is a little bit of an update.
I've decided that I'm going to wait till the spring to get my car painted!
I'm going to be saving up for the manual swap all winter as well as for some other goodies! (and the paint job of course)
Also, I will be getting a GT-4 Hood right now, no bumper though. Looking to create a Knight Rider look to it haha
To each his own my friend, to each his own!

but lovin the progress, i can't wait to see this keep gettin better and better

It's going to keep on getting better and better!

Here's another part I received in the mail today!

If you can't tell, it's the green L.E.D.'s from They look amazing!
I can't wait for the gauges from Mike (Novakx17) to come in! I'm going to have some fun with them haha
Pics will be up when they are done!

I got another present awhile ago that I haven't posted. I'll get pictures of that up tomorrow smile.gif
I got LEDs from them and the one that lights up the tach area is a bit gimpy frown.gif
In that picture, it's cell phone quality and I threw a blanket over it since there was still daylight, but at night when I went for a drive, I didn't notice any gimpy areas.
I'm gonna take it all out and see if it's plugged in right. If it is, I got a gimp bulb frown.gif
I hope you didn't man! That wouldnt be good!

Update: Putting Side Skirts on today!
Also, receive rear splitters from dustin15brown.
I'm going to try and get them on within the week.

Pictures up later!
To start off, I have to say sorry for the bad quality of the cell phone pictures.

Here is what I put on my car about 2ish weeks ago now, they are CF riser blocks and they look amazing!

As for today, the side skirts that were originally on the parts car went on my car!
It's a bit of a hassle to get them on since you have to drill out the holes.
Overall, it came out good, but when I go to get my car painted (or maybe even before that), I need to patch up a few of the holes I drilled because they were the slightest bit off and that made all the difference when I was putting the skirts on.
On the passenger side there is a gap near the fender because it didn't line up right, I drilled a little too high. In the rear, I drilled a little too low, but no gap smile.gif
Same goes for the driver side on the rear, but the other mistake was in the middle. It doesn't look bad at all and the gaps aren't noticeable from far away.

I'm really starting to dig the whole black and silver look now. Probably because it cuts from silver to black in a pretty close proportional manner now.
If you look at the pictures, you will see what I mean. Also, I cannot forget about the other present that came for her today!

Rear Splitters! Woo!
The only problem that I am going to have while mounting them is drilling the wholes out in the fiberglass, drilling out the 2 snapped bolts under the bumper (driver side and passenger side) and that's where one of the mounts are for the splitters. Oh yeah, and the muffler is right underneath the passenger side bolt so that will need to come off as well, and on the drivers side, the bottom part of my quarter panel rusted out. There is about a inch and a half long hole now and its about an inch wide. I'm going to cut the panel off the parts car and get it welded onto mine. It's going to be a fun ride putting all those things on haha I just hope its doable!

After work, I'm going to take some pictures and try I'll see if I can get them up tonight!
looks niice i take it no 404 for you!
Looks good Mike.
JDM tails would really make it look better though wink.gif
Good stuff, Mike thumbsup.gif I had no idea you were only 17 and you've only owned the car a few months. I assumed you were older and had the car a lot longer.
pipes: Nah sorry man, I need all the extra cash I can get right now.

Dustin: I'm definitely going to get a set of them soon! smile.gif

richee3: Yeah I'm only 17 and I'm going to have a lot of memories with this car, I can say that for sure! In the few months I've had it, I've realized it's an amazing car and I might get another one in the future, after college though. For now, this is my project/ DD car though.
I want to get a 3s engine over the winter and swap it in, in the spring, but depending how the money is, I might just go completely rebuild the other 5s I have and turbo that instead. We'll see what happens though!
Alright so today I went to DQ with my girlfriend and as I was coming out, walking back to my car, I noticed something that I never noticed at all since I owned the car.


Here are somethings that I think help to contribute to this find:
1. The parking space I pulled in was pretty much perfectly leveled.
2. The front of the car was angled to the left because that was how the parking space was setup so I had a nice view front to rear.
3. The side skirts I put on extended the look of the body in the middle of the car, and I could easily see the difference.

What this explains to me now:

like WTF, the previous owner never mentioned anything about it being lowered.
I'm happy, but pissed at the same time because I have to figure out how to adjust the camber on the front wheels so that they don't wear unevenly.
LAWL!! That's really funny man xD But good luck getting that camber ship shape!
Thanks! I just have to figure out how to do that now...
I've never touched any of that stuff before.
soooo today my steering wheel came in! Thanks Dimitri (Cyprus_GT)!
Here a crappy cell phone picture:

It'll be a while before it goes on because it needs some modding.
Sweeeet. I really wanted it, but the blue stitching didn't match my SSIII seats
I wanted it too! lol so I jumped on it cause it was either this or an aftermarket steering wheel.
The stitching is semi faded to white so it's a blueish white stitch now. I still have to get a part from him because it doesn't use a clock spring.
It actually has a metal tab/stick/pole that sticks out and makes contact with the ring on the back of the JDM wheel.
I'll have some fun trying to get it to work once it's shipped over.
Also, I'm thinking about relocating the buttons for the cruise control because the switch doesn't mount on the JDM wheel or I might just leave it off altogether.
I hate cruise control anyway. Thought my whole 10 hour drive from Fort Worth to Albuquerque I didn't use it once.
I don't hate it, but I'm not a fan of it. It's good to use when your screwing around with your friends and you're sticking your head out the sunroof, but other than that, no fun.
so today I got the piece I need from Manny (pressure2) to swap out my steering wheel!
How to/ progress pics will be up later!
Finished swapping out the steering wheels! took me about 2 to 3 hours to do it because I didn't realize it was so simple at first!

Finished Product:

Here's the link to the How To:;#entry879913
Looks awesome Mike biggrin.gif , glad to see you got the steering wheel on there.
Nice wheel mate biggrin.gif


keep going....
Thanks you guys! My next project will be to make my own custom cruise control buttons, can't wait to get it started smile.gif
wow that looks great!! nice job!
wow dude.. look alottt different since the meet lol. great job so far tho! very impressed.
and good idea in waiting to paint her in the spring. you dont want the NE winter to beat the snot out of the fresh paint! lol
a midnight black pearl would b sexy dude, do it up!
cant wait to see it all done at the next meet!
my car should b completely done by then as well biggrin.gif

good luck dude keep it up!
thanks man! I'm not even sure if the paint job is going to happen in the spring or not lol
it all comes down to what happens over the winter, but well see!
and that was my other reason as well cause the NE winters are horrible! lol
I'm hoping to do a ton over the winter with her.
I do, however, want to get the skirts and rear splitters molded on before the winter or at least just the skirts.

do you have a thread for your car?
(i didn't look to see if you did haha)
yeah, so I'm getting another Celica within a week or so...
i feel like im becoming an addict lol

on a good note, it's a 5spd so you know what that means! smile.gif
QUOTE (mkernz22 @ Oct 14, 2010 - 11:07 PM) *
i feel like im becoming an addict lol

....I know the feeling laugh.gif
QUOTE (jcbass7 @ Oct 15, 2010 - 9:23 PM) *
QUOTE (mkernz22 @ Oct 14, 2010 - 11:07 PM) *
i feel like im becoming an addict lol

....I know the feeling laugh.gif

The worst is when you're an addict, but you're broke laugh.gif
QUOTE (HectortheRican @ Oct 15, 2010 - 11:48 PM) *
QUOTE (jcbass7 @ Oct 15, 2010 - 9:23 PM) *
QUOTE (mkernz22 @ Oct 14, 2010 - 11:07 PM) *
i feel like im becoming an addict lol

....I know the feeling laugh.gif

The worst is when you're an addict, but you're broke laugh.gif

which is how i am right now lol laugh.gif cause I'm saving week by week for this car.
I gave him a despot like 3 or 4 weeks ago and I'll have the rest of the money on thursday haha
So i realized my car has been guzzling a quart or so of oil about every 2 to 3 months, maybe less? I don't have blue smoke and it doesn't smell like it is burning anything. Also, there is something leaking on the ground, but I found out that it is the tranny liquid cause it was a sparkly red, which was the color that of the stuff I put in. I'm wondering where it could be going then? If someone could help me out, I would appreciate it! smile.gif
Is your valve seals and maybe piston rings. Same thing happens to me and plenty of other members. You're lucky, when I was driving 23 miles to and from work everyday, I'd go through a quart every 2 weeks. It's gotten better though.
well the good thing is that I'm putting the engine from my '97 in, but I'm thinking that I should get the valve seals and some other gaskets changed out before I drop it in. And actually it might be a lot less than 2 months cause I just remembered that my dad put another quart in last weekend. sh1t. ummmmmmmmmmm, so that was only like 3ish weeks before I first added some.
Yeah bro, it's already coming out, you might as well spend the extra money for a light rebuild. Gaskets, seals, water pump. I highly recommend it.
Yeahh, I'm definitely doing the water pump as well as the T-belt and a light rebuild. I'd rather be safe than sorry after the swap
QUOTE (mkernz22 @ Oct 17, 2010 - 6:25 PM) *
Yeahh, I'm definitely doing the water pump as well as the T-belt and a light rebuild. I'd rather be safe than sorry after the swap

x2!! Haha Good luck Mike
Great work you're doing!!!
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