View Full Version : 1991 GT-S "Blackhawk"

05-20-2010, 08:40 PM
No sooner did I pronounce the GT-S project DOA, did a friend of my dad's pull an amazing stunt with a business contact he had in Canada. It was meant to be. The car was unable to pass inspection in Ontario due to rust. There are two small wholes from minimal rust on the driver side floorboard. Apparently this was all that kept the car from being reregistered. 10 hour round trip to Buffalo, customs paperwork, and a beer with an acquaintance led to a project that will actually be worth something in the end.

Buyer specs:

Year: 1991
Make: Toyota
Model: Celica
Trim: GT-S, st184
Engine: 2.2L N/A 5SFE
Packages: All Factory Options


JDM Corners
JDM Side Markers
JDM Foglights
JDM Steering Wheel
A/C system
AT 2-core Radiator Install
Hella H4 Headlamp Conversion
Instrument Panel Swap
Brembo Rotors
Strut Tower Bars
Big 3 Upgrade
High Output Alternator
Yellow Top Battery Install
NGK Ignition System
Shallow Door Subs
Alpine Audio System
AT Bumper + At Hood
Megan Coilovers
JDM Sonic Vibration Mirrors
Borla Exhaust
Relocate Battery
Fender CAI
Power Assist Rear Brakes
Airhorn/Alarm Install
3VZ-FE Swap

05-20-2010, 08:42 PM
Keep in mind your foglights will be wired to Canadian specifications, which means they're you're daytime running lights and will go out when you turn on your headlights unless you hit the switch.

05-20-2010, 09:04 PM





05-21-2010, 05:35 AM
that's cool. i like the km/h speedo. it's a pretty clean looking car at that. congrats!

05-21-2010, 09:41 PM
Thanks man!

I got my customs forms today to get her registered and licensed. Got the intake hose swapped and topped off fluids. It's like driving a REAL car. So nice to not be in an automatic anymore!

05-21-2010, 10:45 PM
Have you inspected the rust? Easy fixes?

05-21-2010, 11:26 PM
Have you inspected the rust? Easy fixes?

I haven't pulled up all of the carpeting yet. Rear seats came out and I've inspected around the edges of the floor pan. Looks good. The only two spots are about 2-3 inches long on the driverside along the floorboard edge. I'll clean it out and seal it up. This was keeping the car from passing safety in Canada.

The passenger side fender is going to need to come off because the paint is bubbling around the corner light edge and the fender. I am going to clean the inside of the fender wells and seal them up with either Por15 or rust primer as I see fit.

Then under the stone guard on the driverside quarter panel, there is rust on the edges. I want to thoroughly clean that and grind the rust off. I'll pull the GTS fender guard and clean out what I am assuming is full of dirt and moisture. Por15 again.

Shouldn't take me more then a couple hours this weekend with epoxy and sealant. It's night and day difference to the terminal cancer on the last GTS! I don't feel exhausted looking at it.

05-22-2010, 03:30 PM
I went to go drain the transaxle fluid and give the car a full inspection underneath. The guy I bought it from told me the oil pan was rusted through and needed replaced. He wasn't kidding, but the JB Welding looks pretty fancy! When I do the oil change, I guess I'll also drop and swap out the pan. Should give me a good idea of how solid the block components are as well.

Also, figured out the steering problem, rack is shot. Boot is torn wide open and there looks like plenty of contamination. Debating whether to just replace the boot or the entire rack. Thank goodness I have a spare!

05-28-2010, 03:15 PM
1,000 miles later, the GTS is still running strong. Biggest challenge comes in the next couple days with long desert drives. No reason to suspect it won't handle it.

05-28-2010, 08:59 PM
Going to fix the oil pan before that type of drive? Or atleast change the oil? lol

05-29-2010, 04:56 AM
its black, yum

you guys do realize you could go to the south east and get non rust buckets

05-29-2010, 07:54 PM
Wow - that is a really nice looking car - and a great find!


I need to go look on the Wiki - as GT - GT-S - GT-4 - I don't really know all the differences.

05-31-2010, 08:46 PM
The pan got replaced for sure. Man, that was a good cross country trip. I have a job interview tomorrow, so I needed to get here without issue.

The 2-core 50mm Autopwr radiotor + AllTrac hood were AMAZING.

I watched the temp gauge climb ONCE. I was doing about 90mph with traffic in the Mojave desert. 4th gear, 5% grade going up for about 4 miles, and AC blowing. Moved to a little over halfway then dropped immediately as I hit the apex of the climb and got a blast of strong wind from the other side.

Can't believe I didn't overheat. I do have the LOUDEST brakes in the rear. As soon as I sign my apartment contract and have a space to work, I will be doing those brakes. When I drive, it's just a horrible metallic grinding sound. Pads do not exist.

This car will definitely get a bath too. The gravel backroads in El Malpais National Monument were unkind...

06-14-2010, 08:11 PM
Man, updating this is difficult without internet! Been trying to keep pace via my phone. I made it through 4 interviews with the mystery tech company that has yet to give me hours or a contract. As soon as they sign me, I get internet through AT&T so you all can see the progress.

The brakes were hilarious. The front driverside caliper came off. Someone oiled the top bolt and didn't tighten it. It finally rattled loose and fell out. There was some scraping on my rim, not too happy about that. By the way, I learned all this dodging a mexican in a truck and nailing a curb. Blew out both tires, blessing in disguise, free road hazard replacement on that.

Then I went to drop on my brembo blanks I ordered for the rust bucket GT-S, no dice. Vastly different diameters. Waiting for my calipers, heat shields and brackets to arrive for that upgrade. I can't live with 16 inch wheels and a 2 inch gap to the caliper. Looks wrong.

I'm done hauling stuff, so the roof rack came off and I think ill finally have time to polish and wax the car so it looks proper. Only thing else bothering me is the foglight bracket rusted a corner off that holds the light adjustment. Floppy foglight. Weak. I need to find brackets to replace both. Part of the left over rust bucket cancer from upgrading the 91 to a 92 grille.

Also, I really miss my HD radio. I destroyed the bus cable that goes to the HD box and can't find a place that carries a replacement. Damn you sony! at least its nice to be in a state that okays no front license plate and yellow headlights.

06-14-2010, 09:11 PM
so why not just 5sgte it?

06-14-2010, 11:34 PM
Because the 3VZ-FE has so many lovely features. Wide torque power band, detuned to not compete with the Supra, fuel effecient, N/A and cheap. It's stronger then it's all aluminum cousin, and requires that I upgrade the wire harness, ECU, passenger side engine mount, and transmission.

I'd take a reliable Yamaha tuned V6 powerplant any day of the week over a home engineered turbo 5SFE. The option to go twin turbo makes the car a real sleeper too.

06-15-2010, 01:24 AM
haha as is mine it has a gen2/gen3 hybrid 3sgte and my car puts around like a hondas toy with 28mpg and when i open that throttle the toy becomes a killer and you can hear my spooling sucking in its target untill the wastegate opens and vents to atmo by then all they see is my st165's tail lights. "spool titan" lol people say that the spooling is as loud as my bov idk i am in the car

12-15-2010, 08:01 AM
Finally, after 3 years, I found a set of the JDM round fog lights. (Thanks willmatic!) And I couldn't be any happier!

Some pics from my lunch break:



12-22-2010, 10:41 PM
I'm excited for some time off because the little things are trickling in. After I polish the swirls out of the paint I will be applying these:


I am thinking the C-Tech decal goes in the quarter window, while the TRD badge goes on the rear trunk body panel.

12-22-2010, 11:05 PM
This will also go on the trunk:


12-23-2010, 12:47 AM
The fogs look great. I've always liked that round fog light bumper. I've heard the lights can be tough to find. It's coming along good.

12-23-2010, 01:04 AM
The fogs look great. I've always liked that round fog light bumper. I've heard the lights can be tough to find. It's coming along good.


Ironically enough, the lights can be found as they have part numbers. I frequently see them offered on ebay and through JDM parts distributors. It was the damn grille inserts that were so hard to find. My only beef with them is the lenses need to be polished and the yellow filter inside is a little cloudy which effects their output. I am going to gingerly pry the lenses off (there are 4 snaps) and remove the yellow filters. I have been using Nokya Yellows, and the filter is no longer needed. With the lenses off, I should be able to get them nicely polished :)

12-23-2010, 03:37 AM
Nice pick up mike! Yeah the light can be found more easily then the grille inserts....which is why I have 3sets of lights...lol and one set of grilles. Granted I'm not saying you can go to the dealer and get the lights but there easyer to find than the inserts.

12-23-2010, 03:41 AM
Any pics of the radiator ? Always wondered if us non at guys could use em....mines looking preety de creped but still works with no leaks.

12-23-2010, 07:04 AM
Here is what a 2-core, all aluminum, 56mm, Autopwr radiator looks like.




01-07-2011, 02:15 AM
Gotta love 1-day shipping from Sparks, NV on Summit Racing. I ordered a pint of Rust Bullet (http://www.rustbullet.com/), a nylon stripping wheel, remote battery box and a 10" orbital buffer. Always wanted an orbital, and now I have one.

Washed Blackhawk tonight so I can polish and buff tomorrow.

01-08-2011, 01:22 AM
Spent the morning polishing and buffing using Meguiar's Ultimate Compound. Using an orbital really helped remove all the years of swirls. Paint looks incredible.

Also cleaned and applied a few decals...



I'll be applying another layer of wax tonight (Meguiar's Tech Wax 2.0) before I take her out for some photos.

01-10-2011, 01:29 AM
coming along nicely man. That's the same place i put my ctech decal. can't wait to see it after you wax it.

01-10-2011, 02:53 AM
This was a quickie I took while at work. I'll get some good closeups tomorrow. Almost ALL of the swirls are gone from the paint. I could stand to be a little more aggressive on the doors and rear quarters.


01-19-2011, 07:27 PM
I am pretty happy with the results on the buffer. Also, I love the JDM fogs. I may look for the smokey bumper lights instead of the cheapo clears.




01-22-2011, 11:59 PM
92' - 93' calipers are painted. I can finally install my bigger Brembo rotors and get back some stopping power. I also want my 16" 7th Gen. alloys filled. The gap looks stupid on the smaller brakes at the moment.


I also poured in a bottle of Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak last night just to see where that gets me. If it doesn't restore my power steering, I get my money back.


02-02-2011, 08:41 AM
Guess what arrived today...


I am both thrilled and anxious about cutting holes in my fenders for these lights.

02-09-2011, 09:56 AM
Here is some more progress on Blackhawk. I finally had an opportunity to install my 92'-93' brake calipers and larger rotors. I should have swapped the heat shield, but that would have required removing the heat shield, which I will save for when I need to do that. I bent the shield back and re formed it so it wouldn't rub or hit the rotor.

The rotors I put on are my Brembo blanks that I have had for awhile. They are so much heavier then the stock rotors that were on there. I can actually STOP now.

I discovered that my driver side axle boot is torn. Like finding a tumor when you go for a physical. I also found a knock sensor on the back of my engine block. So it appears that the engine I am using is not the original which makes sense. There were some wiring anomalies I had to repair, and the AC compressor was toast. Looks like who ever did the swap missed a few things. Never a dull moment.


04-18-2011, 09:25 AM
Got my oil leak issue fixed. New gaskets and lubricant.

I also got my timing light back and got to see where I was at with timing. 17 before top dead center. Running lean like a Nairobi marathon runner. Corrected that and the gasket sealant will set overnight. Got my ride back and she sure does need a bath. 2 weeks sitting in a garage in SoCal, and she's coated brown from dust.

Next up; wash, clay bar, polish and wax.

07-25-2011, 06:17 AM
My interior is naked. Sound dampening material chipped away. Rust ground, cancer cutout. Waiting for "Rust Bullet" to cure.

08-15-2011, 05:22 AM
I'm going to go back through here when I'm home and add some more detail to each of these posts so they're less cryptic.

That aside, I was finishing my rear suspension for the trip and I went to bleed the driver side rear caliper. Bleed nipple sheered off. Either I got to get a new caliper, or figure out a way to get this one out without damaging the caliper further.

08-15-2011, 06:04 AM
Torch, easy-out (made simpler by the bleed screw already having a hole in the middle), and some ice-cold water to run into the bleed screw to cause it to condense quickly and snap the corrosion. How the brake tech got the frozen bleeder screw out of the calipers I bought way back when for my rear disc conversion.

08-16-2011, 11:22 PM
Ditto on the easy out. I had to do this to a new front caliper I put on mine. It sheared off right away. I figured I try the easy out before ripping the caliper back off and going back to NAPA. Worked out fine.

08-18-2011, 08:44 AM
Torch, ice, Deep Creep, PB Blaster; it wasn't moving. To quote the Professor from Futurama "it's stuck in there with glue or something, I dunno!"

At the end of all of it with $ and time being in the way, I got a Caliper from a 94 Camry with rear disc brakes. The closest pull yard didn't have a single Celica, which I guessed would happen, so I gave the Camry a shot. The piston itself is larger and the caliper allows for more ventilation. Seems like it could be a cheap rear disc brake upgrade option...

Sent from my T-Mobile G2

08-18-2011, 04:03 PM
I like your car! Good progress Definitely needs some spacers in the rear though...

08-19-2011, 07:20 AM
I like your car! Good progress Definitely needs some spacers in the rear though...

I disagree. Hellaflush is on its way out FINALLY!

08-19-2011, 08:13 AM
I like your car! Good progress Definitely needs some spacers in the rear though...

Maybe I'll look into that when I'm gainfully employed again and get new wheel bearings to match.

05-06-2012, 11:06 PM
So, I've been busy, traveling the country, campaigning for Liberty. Finally had a couple days to work on Blackhawk as it's been sorely needed.

Gas tank ruptured the day I was to head up to Big Bear for a meet I planned.


Pulled the tank, and found it to be in incredibly poor shape. This is why I HATE rust proofing, it hides secret issues until it's too late.


Found a new tank and decided to clean up the rusty nightmare going on with fuel lines underneath.


Sway bar was so worthless I bought a new Suspension Techniques bar. Barely fits, we'll see how well it works jammed in there.


I installed a V6 fuel pump and the only thing I don't like is how close the top of the pump housing comes to the bracket.



Should be back and running again soon!

Eric Barrera
05-07-2012, 12:10 AM
so thats what you have been up too.

05-07-2012, 02:17 AM
It was a royal mess underneath. This tar based undercoating is garbage and I've been stripping it so I can clean spot rust everywhere. You should see the fender wells, rescued them just in time. The passenger rear is going to need some more work as the crease for the widebody fenders is becoming weak.

The new swaybar looks like it may rub the inside of my strut assemblies. It's just a little wider than the old bar.

If I get a chance tonight, I'll do the fuel filter, Evap canister and finish mounting my oil catch can.

05-07-2012, 08:29 AM
Once back on all tires, the rear ST swaybar pulled away from the strut housing. Guess I don't have to worry about rubbing.

New V6 pump is a little louder then stock. Took 5 seconds of turning over to get gas into the chamber and fire up. I feel a lot more confident now that the fuel lines are sorted out.

Maybe this will cure my lean/rich codes.

05-07-2012, 08:54 AM
Was going to mention that once the struts are compressed the anti-sway bar loads and pulls away from the struts.

Wanted to ask about your post from August 2011 where you were going to replace your rear caliper with one from a 94 Camry. Did that work, and if so what was required to get it to work?

05-08-2012, 06:05 AM
I forgot all about that. I had to replace the brackets as well. The location of the brake line moved enough to where when you replace the pads, it can stress the lines.

Work fine.

Fuel line blew near the firewall. New pump was too much for the old system. Should I get larger injectors? Maybe it's too much PSI with the bigger pump.

05-08-2012, 07:24 PM
Bigger injectors wouldn't lower fuel preasure would they? I mean, unless they were dumping more fuel into the cylinder, and even then, I can't imagine it would be by a whole lot.

I havn't seen many reports of new pumps (even high flow aftermarket units) bursting lines, think it's possible that having air in it even for a moment maybe caused a little flex in the line and made an existing crack worse?

05-08-2012, 08:19 PM
Doubt the FP caused the leak since the ECU should be basing the pumping off the FPR. Although FPR or return lines could be messed up causing excess pressure.

05-08-2012, 08:33 PM
I'm replacing the Fuel Pressure Regulator, I'm sure it's stock. I'm about to jump the fuel pump and see where I get my leak at.

05-09-2012, 06:26 PM
So far so good. Replaced the Evaporative canister, fuel filter, purge valve and all hoses. Gas mileage didn't seem too bad, and the car actually had some pep in her. I highly recommend replacing the fuel system on their Celicas to regain some lost power, and not have to deal with the liability.

Did I mention the sway bar is awesome?

05-15-2012, 11:56 PM
Then things went south gain. Blew a large crack down the side of the evaporative fuel return line near the firewall. That line was so thin, that the plastic lining was holding it together. Pulled the 3 lines and replacing them with new lines. I discover a small leak in the passenger rear brake line. We've gone from stupid inconvenience to partial restore of this car. Gotta love killing gremlins.

02-04-2013, 11:48 PM
It's been awhile, but Blackhawk has made another successful trip across country. She's been doing a lot of resting, aside from a quick trip to Kentucky last month.

I'm still having lean/rich fuel issues with her. I need to swap a couple more sensors to see results. I can literally drive hundreds of miles in a trip before the light comes on and the ECU switches to "dump fuel" safe mode.

Ironically enough, ethanol fuels are more likely to cause the engine light on, then non-ethanol additive fuels. What sensor would cause that? Is my O2 sensor, sensitive to this?

This last weekend I drove it New York City. My gas mileage was an astonishing 28-30mpg on the highway getting there. This Canadian car has now completed her coast-to-coast tour, as she has been to both Los Angeles and New York City.


02-05-2013, 03:39 AM
try running on fuel that contains no ethanol? or does most gas across the border have some % of ethanol added?

02-05-2013, 04:53 AM
There is nothing local for ethanol free as its availability depends on the state. I'd still like to get to the root of this lean/rich code.

04-05-2013, 04:32 AM
When I get the chance, I'm going to do some throttle body/intake cleaning and see if that clears anything up.

I've been using rental cars for work rather regularly, so Blackhawk just sits, collecting time. My rockers are going to be cut out soon, and any surface rust will have to be brushed away and sealed. Fortunately I have that set of convertible rocker-panel covers I'll use to cover up the mess.

Biggest couple of issues I need to attend to, are a shot ball joint (I'm guessing I have a few thousand left on her), brakes and tires. As soon as I source a decent set of All-Seasons, I'm cutting the tires off and having my rims cleaned and repainted. I really need to finish cleaning up the rust spots on the fenders, and give the paint a good long polish.

Time is counting down for the alternator as well. What a looming money pit.

04-06-2013, 12:14 AM
After a ghetto connect failure, I had my old exhaust properly welded on.


03-23-2014, 03:35 AM
This got a laugh from me last night when I was in Venice Beach.


03-24-2014, 05:30 PM

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03-24-2014, 06:22 PM

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Yes sir!

03-24-2014, 07:07 PM
You suck lol hope things are going good for you out there

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