View Full Version : tuner4life's 1981 TE72 Corolla build thread

11-02-2009, 05:27 AM
Since the transmission in my Saab is still broken and the celica needs a heater core, I went looking for a good winter beater.

My wife actually found this car for me and as soon as I saw it I knew that it would only be a winter beater this year. After that it will undergo an "extreme makeover" and the Saab will become the DD since it awesome in snow.

Anyways, the car is a 1981 Toyota corolla sedan. It is absolutely base model. It has a 3TC with a 5 spd and "factory RWD!". What is amazing about the car is that even though the paint looks awful, there is barely any rust anywhere, and every function and light on the thing still works like it should. The original owner took very good care of it mechanically and even had it undercoated every few years. He traded it in for a yaris to the dealer that sold it to me.

It also came with a ton of extra parts and an extra set of steelies with almost new blizzacks.

I did a quick tune up and fluid change and have been driving it without any problems for about a month now.

This should be a fun project since just about everything from an AE86 bolts up from the 4age to coilovers.





Stay tuned.

11-02-2009, 05:36 AM
The stock Vinyl seats were in decent shape, but the mehanicals of the driver's seat were shot, so I swiped a set of 1983 GT front seats from VikingJZ's parts car and they pretty much bolted right up. they are alot more comfy, lower, and wider than the stock seats, but they will only be used until I can get the stock seats redone in black leather or something of that sort.


11-02-2009, 05:56 AM


Yup, CelicaSupra rims!! They were nasty and sort of corroded when I got em, but they are straight and not curbed up, which is amazing judging by the lack of care given to the car I got them off of.

Yup, they'll look alright on there...




Anyone know of a good place to buy/rent a fender roller for cheap?

Following are the steps that I used to refinish the rims:

First, I cleaned them with purple power and a stiff brush and a wire brush.

Then I taped up the lip and painted the silver using Dupli-color silver wheel coating paint.


Then I taped off the spoke faces and painted the rest of the rim with Dupli-color Graphite wheel coating paint.


This is quite possibly the most tedious part of the whole deal. Taping off the pinstripe on each wheel and using a touch up bottle of black to paint each one.



Now I clearcoated them with Dupli-color High temp engine enamel since I have found it to have a shinier finish than the wheel coating clearcoat. Then I untaped the lips.


Lastly I jacked up one rear wheel of the car and, utilizing the open diff, sanded each lip progressively down to 2000 grit and then polished them using mothers mag/aluminum polish.


I may touch up a couple places before i get tires mounted in the spring, but overall I am satisfied with the way they turned out.

11-02-2009, 06:18 AM
Yea ur wife found you a great car. Those old 3TC Corolla's can run forever. Probably the best engine Toyota ever made. I'm sure you will enjoy it for a long time. Good Luck fixing it up. Wish it was mine.

11-02-2009, 05:35 PM
supar noice!

11-05-2009, 04:45 AM
Yea ur wife found you a great car. Those old 3TC Corolla's can run forever. Probably the best engine Toyota ever made. I'm sure you will enjoy it for a long time. Good Luck fixing it up. Wish it was mine.

Trade? ;)

11-05-2009, 05:06 AM
Nice find and good work so far Turner.

By the way, that car would look sexy in a Dupont gloss Black ;)

11-05-2009, 05:38 AM
Love the work you did on those rims. Great job man :D

11-05-2009, 05:39 AM
Nice find and great work on the supra's. Those turned out good. I love the 3t engines. Mine ran great before I took it apart, lol.

11-05-2009, 04:20 PM
Thanks everyone.

I am a little lost as to what size tires to get. I am already planning on rolling the fenders, but without the car being lowered, I have no clue as to what size to get. Any ideas?

11-05-2009, 04:34 PM
Nice find and good work so far Turner.

By the way, that car would look sexy in a Dupont gloss Black ;)

It will probably get repainted next summer, and I'm keeping the color a secret until I get it done. ;)

11-05-2009, 05:01 PM
If you get a slightly smaller tire, and stretch them about like aarons, I bet you wont have to roll the fenders. Oh, and if you do decide to roll them, tire rack rents rollers man.

11-05-2009, 07:01 PM
You can usually get a fender roller from a body shop to rent out for a day. I know the place that rolled my 205's fenders rented theirs for free for a day.

11-06-2009, 12:56 AM
Awesome, if you stick with this car it could turn out to be a classic, nice work so far, looking forward for more..

11-13-2009, 09:25 PM
This car is pretty funny but cool.

The rust is minimal.

And his pics don't do those rims justice. They look INCREDIBLE in person.

I know the color he's painting it and I can vouch for it being completely badass.

And you fucker...you didn't steal those seats, you TRADED me a bottle of Toyota red coolant. *hugs*


11-17-2009, 08:00 AM
those wheels on a celica and celica supra had a 225/60/14 stock

mikes sra non flared gt had 205/60/14s

andy i think was running 195/60/14s on his rolla, or at least 2 of em were

thats to give u an idea about tires

11-17-2009, 05:00 PM
its really hard to find 225s any more. 205 are avail but not needed, get 195/60. its a good look and the tires actually fit correctly.


12-04-2009, 06:57 AM
Awaiting new pics Turner!

12-04-2009, 08:29 AM
Wednesday and Thursday, Aaron (VikingJZ) and myself painted the rolla. I wanted to do the car some sort of flat black until I get around to actually giving it a proper paint job. Aaron used Krylon Satin Black on his Honda and it turned out quite well, so I figured I would give it a shot.

The body was in pretty good shape, but the paint was terrible, there were several layers of primer over a faded out silver. And it was flaking, chipping, and generally rough all over. So we sanded out as much as we could without having proper power sanders and got to work taping and painting. The whole project could easily be completed in a day if you worked hard with 2 people.

While doing this we stripped the side molding trim and added a front chin spoiler from a 1994 cavalier rs that I have had sitting around.

Heres pics:












Aaron eating an apple turnover:


The paint is still partially wet in this picture, that is why the hood looks different from the rest of the fender


After I got done I decided to paint the rims gunmetal and polish the trim rings, lug nuts and center caps. I am going to wait until spring before getting tires for the Celica-Supra rims.








Overall I am very pleased with how it came out. Thanks alot Aaron!

It is probably going to stay this color for a couple years until I can give it a real paint job, but it looks tons better than it did.

I also converted all the dash lights to red LEDs and added a sunpro mini tach a couple weekends ago and never got around to taking pictures. So here it is:


12-05-2009, 04:51 AM

The caps and rings turned out nice on the wheels!

I can't wait to see it in person.

(I didn't stay the whole night. It was 3AM when I left.)

Get a cheap chrome tip for it dude.

12-06-2009, 09:03 PM
wow, the rolla looks nice.
What else do you plan on doing to it? lower?

btw that grey fender with the rim in your garage looks freakin sweet! haha

12-06-2009, 09:25 PM
Thanks, I am going to lower it using AE86 drop springs and shocks. Eventually it is going to get a nice paint job and 4ag swap. but that is going to be quite a while.

As for the fenders, I painted those while I was at the Career center in high school. The wheel under the grey fender was on my celica and got bent by a pothole last year. It now has a extension cord wrapped around it.

12-06-2009, 10:17 PM
That thing looks really sweet, can't wait to see the Supra Wheels on that thing!

12-18-2009, 02:17 AM
It's going to be parked for a while because I popped a head gasket the other day. It is going to be completely redone show quality but I am fixing the other 2 cars first.

Anyone have a 20 valve, t50 trans, or ae86 lsd rear end they want to sell? lol

12-18-2009, 02:31 AM
Dam that thing looks good.

12-18-2009, 02:51 AM
i have to say that thing looks pretty good.

*as for your question about a roller for the fender. talk to a body shop about doing it or where to find a roller.

*if you want to to it backyard style like me and my buddy did to his subie, we stuffed a wooden bat between the tire and fenders and just drove the car forward.... lol. worked perfect and looks nice too.

01-10-2010, 07:03 AM
Fixed the transmission in my Saab and for now both Toyotas are parked temporarily for the winter.



01-10-2010, 08:57 AM
hey nice car, i got one too! cept mines red. 4door ftw!

01-19-2010, 02:07 AM

Well I did a compression check to see how bad the head gasket was. And it came out awesome. 175 - 180 all across the board!! From an engine with high miles!

So i did a massive engine flush and got several large chunks of stop leak out of the system. I flushed the engine, radiator, and heater core, now it runs cool, and the heater is hotter than ever. I am now daily driving this car again.

This car is amazing, You really cant kill this thing!

01-19-2010, 04:23 AM
old toyota ftw

11-18-2010, 04:06 PM
Alright, I potentially have the opportunity to get my dream car so this one has to go. Everything works like it should. Couple small rust spots, nothing major at all. Crack right at the bottom of windshield.

$2000 obo.

(574) 520 - 8272

I will start a for sale thread later today.