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View Full Version : $1000 for upgrades, what would you spend it on?



LyGuy
07-12-2011, 09:49 PM
Okay guys, I'm having trouble deciding what route I should go with my car, so would like your input. If you had $1000 for PARTS, so excluding labor, what would you spend it on performance wise?

Please help me build a plan for this car :)

A little bit of background info: it's a 91 GT, completely stock engine except for a K&N filter. Lowered on springs only I believe.
It's gonna be my DD for the next 2 years at least, minus the winters when I drive a van.
This car is so slow it's almost borderline rice , so I'd be happy with around 180bhp as my goal.

http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/408/20110712163036.jpg

Now I guess the most common upgrades would be I/H/E, but after some researching I find the consensus is that intakes don't really give much of a boost, and could backfire from an improper install. Would an exhaust really help on a stock 125bhp car?

I know someone selling an Alltrac engine + transmission for $300, but factoring time/labor/missing parts the 3sgte swap is out of question.

grimmythereaper
07-12-2011, 10:06 PM
anything that u do engine wise to get that 180 -200 hp mark is going to cost over 1000 dollars, so i would spend the money on as much suspension parts as u can and set the chassis up for the engine swap so the body can withstand the power upgrade

Hookecho
07-12-2011, 10:08 PM
When I had my old 5sfe I had I/H/E, cams, port matching, milled the head to have a higher compression ratio, and an SAFC. All on a rebuilt motor and head. That'll get you close to 180hp.

It made it more fun to drive.

Hookecho
07-12-2011, 10:16 PM
You can do that with a grand. The bad thing is once you make those upgrades you have pretty much made as much power as you can with that motor. Aside from costly head work and pistons. Which can't get you much more power.

So if you are insistent on keeping the 5sfe than the aforementioned is the best bang for your buck.(a lot more buck than bang really)

Coming from someone who has been there and done that....I would suggest swapping motors.

LyGuy
07-12-2011, 10:32 PM
What's an SAFC?
See the thing is, I'm no good with mechanics. Never changed my own oil. So I'd be paying a mech to do the engine swap, and I don't even know if I'm gonna be keeping the car after 2 years. My buddy can do I/H/E and maybe cams for a good deal, but engine swap is a different story.

Whats the price breakdown like?
Intake - $25 (generic)
Header - $100
Exhaust - $250
Cams - $600

Total - $875

Is this close?
Would a 5sfte be viable? (Havn't done any research on that yet)

LyGuy
07-12-2011, 10:35 PM
@grimmythereaper
Is a new suspension setup really necessary to withstand 180hp? I won't be tracking the car. The most I've done so far is just driving it around hilly curvy roads, was plenty fun enough for me.

Galcobar
07-12-2011, 10:46 PM
Cheap. Reliable. Powerful.

Pick two.

Engine work is expensive to get real improvements. Hookecho's suggestions are about as far as you can take the 5SFE without either going after the engine internals or strapping on a turbo system -- either of which are expensive enough to make a swap at least as good a value proposition. For more information, try searching on this site for 5SFTE.

I'd second Grimmy's post, look at improving suspension. Upgraded anti-sway bars, shock dampeners, lighter wheels and most particularly better tires can have a dramatic effect on the vehicle's performance. You might not win a drag race, but being able to safely take corners at near full speed (when traffic conditions are appropriate) is not something to sneeze at.

Hookecho
07-12-2011, 10:49 PM
For a grand you can do the 5sfte if you source the parts for cheap. You would likely spend closer to $1500. It would be a good learning experience if you do it yourself. That is what you should research imo.

Murgatroy
07-12-2011, 10:51 PM
I have to vote for suspension as well. A grand isn't enough to get a lot of power.

However the Celica will outhandle a lot of cars on the road. Drop that grand in the suspension and it will do it with ease.

I have a lot of suspension work done on my car. A lot.

She has 100HP.

She will make the owners of a lot of more powerful cars cry.

Physlis
07-12-2011, 11:41 PM
I agree with the above, suspension is king. Fix up the car to handle the curves and you will be quick (not fast) but it sets you up for the speed later on after you've done your research. On those same lines doing the I/H/E will free up some small hp and make the throttle more responsive on the cheap. Depending on where you source parts this can be done for ~$500, I'd recommend you do it yourself too as it's mostly a bolt-on affair. You'll learn about the car and save $$ for your power choices.

METDeath
07-13-2011, 02:07 AM
Also a +1 for suspension, get a Suspension Techniques Rear Anti-Sway bar ($200-250) upgrade the brakes to either twin piston ST165/185 front brakes and rear disc conversion with stainless steel lines (around $300-400) and then get a real All-trac hood instead of the hood you have now ($150-300).

CollapsedNut
07-13-2011, 02:24 AM
Save your thousand bucks. When your radiator blows you will have money to fix it. You will wear the tires out so save it for those. Just set that money aside and use it for maintaince stuff over the next two years. That will assure you have a running car and you aren't skrewed if it breaks down. Then you can spend your paycheck on hookers and blow. Your friends will be jelious that you have so much extra money and your car never seems to break down. Girls will flock to you, but don't buy them shit. Just fuck them and drive off in your running car.

Murgatroy
07-13-2011, 03:06 AM
Save your thousand bucks. When your radiator blows you will have money to fix it. You will wear the tires out so save it for those. Just set that money aside and use it for maintaince stuff over the next two years. That will assure you have a running car and you aren't skrewed if it breaks down. Then you can spend your paycheck on hookers and blow. Your friends will be jelious that you have so much extra money and your car never seems to break down. Girls will flock to you, but don't buy them shit. Just fuck them and drive off in your running car.

Win.

CollapsedNut
07-13-2011, 03:09 AM
It may be funny but I'm serious. Save that money.

Murgatroy
07-13-2011, 04:26 AM
I am well aware. I think this is great advice.

grimmythereaper
07-13-2011, 04:58 AM
Is a new suspension setup really necessary to withstand 180hp? I won't be tracking the car. The most I've done so far is just driving it around hilly curvy roads, was plenty fun enough for me.

ok first thing look into getting 97 camery headers for you 5sfe that will give around 5 more hp and most likely change ur power band a little bit, they can be picked up super cheap from any pick a part or any forum site. im in the same boat as murg with the suspension set up we both have ST celicas with 4afe engines in them, and can out corner all most any other car on the road bc of it. You also gotta think about how often you would use ur power in a straight line on every day roads, and then think how often you turn while driving. a better suspension will put u into and out of the corner a lot quicker then more power would. I also live by the rule of if u upgrade the engine always upgrade the chassis. :)

LyGuy
07-13-2011, 06:09 AM
Hey I'm back, and thanks for the input everyone.

First off, @CollapsedNut, I understand the seriousness of what you say, that's why I have $2000 already set aside for emergencies. The 1000 I want to spend on upgrades is on top of the 2k.

From what you guys say here and on Celispeed, the two options I would have are to either upgrade suspensions or get cams + i/h/e.

Keeping in mind that I'm mechanically impaired, may I suggest a hybrid of the two?

Shocks (or coilovers, I don't know the difference) - $300 for used
Sway bar - $200
Camry header - $50
That leaves me $450 for cams, would I be able to get a set for that price?
As for wheels, I'm running on 17" Buddy Clubs and they are surprising better than the 16" 7th gen GTS ones that were on it before(noticeable difference on launch). However, I know I can do better with 16"s so I will trade them down the line for something lighter, so no cost incurred there.

I'm probably getting the 'suspension' part wrong so please list out the parts that would improve my suspsension.

LyGuy
07-13-2011, 06:13 AM
And for those who are wondering, the hood scoop is not fake, its just custom fabricated and actually ventilated. It came like that when I bought the car and my car has a custom paint, black with blue pearls so I'd have to repaint the replacement hood quoted at $300. I even have a stock black hood but it doesn't match at all, I wanted to put it back in but I can't justify $300 to match black with sparkly black.

grimmythereaper
07-13-2011, 06:25 AM
Shocks (or coilovers, I don't know the difference) - $300 for used
Sway bar - $200
Camry header - $50
That leaves me $450 for cams, would I be able to get a set for that price?
As for wheels, I'm running on 17" Buddy Clubs and they are surprising better than the 16" 7th gen GTS ones that were on it before(noticeable difference on launch). However, I know I can do better with 16"s so I will trade them down the line for something lighter, so no cost incurred there.

I'm probably getting the 'suspension' part wrong so please list out the parts that would improve my suspsension.

i think that is a very good start :), the supension parts i would start with a set of adjustable coilovers and anti roll bars front and rear. just a little advise when buying used coilovers, always find out how many miles are on them :)

KoreanJoey
07-13-2011, 07:34 AM
upgrade the brakes to either twin piston ST165/185 front brakes

Why are you telling him to do this?

PS: Get good pads (Hawk HP+, that's plus NOT S; EBC Yellows, Carbotechs, ETC), good fluid (ATE, Wilwood, Motul) and you're set on brakes. I do track days with this setup on the EARLY (READ, Smaller) 5th gen GT-S brake w/o any issues. Although, if you have drums in the back, definitely ditch those but keep the rear pads stock or you'll find yourself looking through the rearview mirror too often.

Honestly, best performance boost is a good set of tires. And a GOOD set of tires will eat a good chunk of your 1k.

KoreanJoey
07-13-2011, 07:38 AM
i think that is a very good start :), the supension parts i would start with a set of adjustable coilovers and anti roll bars front and rear. just a little advise when buying used coilovers, always find out how many miles are on them :)

If you don't know what you're doing with adjustable coil-overs (or don't have a shop that knows what their doing, if you don't) stay away from these. I've been in more cars with screwed up handling because of people throwing on coil-over kits without knowing what they're doing than anything else. Honestly for suspension you're best off with a set of konis, some good lowering-springs (nothing too drastic as the geometry will get totally out of wack) and a proper alignment (IE: NOT factory understeer monster).

Physlis
07-13-2011, 07:51 AM
As Grimmy said, that's a decent idea of what you should be going for. Your car already looks like it has a decent stance (couldn't see the pic at work) so you might not need to change the shocks/springs yet unless they're starting to get squishy, I'd suggest waiting until after installing a sway bar and a set of strut tower braces. I just did a lot of the same upgrades on my GT-S but I went new on my stuff.

I'd suggest using the extra $450 to get an exhaust made for better flow and possibly an intake. Getting both will probably leave some money left over depending on what you get and where it's installed. As far as I know cams won't really do much without upgrading your exhaust and intake systems anyway.

Get yourself a set of front and rear strut tower braces - $60 max on eBay. Search Mazda MX3 for the front and Ford Probe for the rear, redrill the holes and voila, stiffend chassis on the cheap (citing Car Barn Bandit for the help on mine, check my project thread for details).

Galcobar
07-13-2011, 09:19 AM
Camry tubular manifold is just the first step -- to install requires a custom-made front pipe, and you'll have to get a new catalytic converter since it's all but impossible to find a junkyard who'll sell the manifold with the cat still attached. Your prices will likely inflate once you factor in all the bits and pieces.

Physlis' tower brace idea is a good one, and inexpensive if done right as he says. Knew I was forgetting something in my list.

CollapsedNut
07-13-2011, 03:53 PM
You mean you really wanna mod your car?
Personally I'd be more for hookers and blow...
Like Joey said, Tires will make a big differance, and good ones cost good moneys.
Honestly Id leave the motor alone, its not worth it. Suspension and tires will take your 1k really fast. Do that.

lamont
07-13-2011, 04:07 PM
Since you have $2k in reserve and $1k to upgrade, I would suggest you sell the car for $1,500 or $2k and buy an Alltrac. Starting with the 5SFE and looking for good/cheap power is a nightmare. For the money $4,500 - $5000 you can find a decent Alltrac and just do bolt-ons and be good for much longer than 2yrs IMO. Many people start with the 5SFE and quickly figure out that it is cheaper to swap in a 3SGTE to make decent power as compared to upgrading the 5SFE. So save yourself the trouble and just get an Alltrac bolt on a decent suspension and be done, then in 2yrs. sell it for a profit or at least get back what you paid for it:2cents:

Ghost
07-13-2011, 04:34 PM
Since you have $2k in reserve and $1k to upgrade, I would suggest you sell the car for $1,500 or $2k and buy an Alltrac. Starting with the 5SFE and looking for good/cheap power is a nightmare. For the money $4,500 - $5000 you can find a decent Alltrac and just do bolt-ons and be good for much longer than 2yrs IMO. Many people start with the 5SFE and quickly figure out that it is cheaper to swap in a 3SGTE to make decent power as compared to upgrading the 5SFE. So save yourself the trouble and just get an Alltrac bolt on a decent suspension and be done, then in 2yrs. sell it for a profit or at least get back what you paid for it:2cents:

couldnt of said better myself. if u want to keep this car, just do suspension and tires. if ur not going to winter drive the car i would go with coilovers from megan racing its a ($1030) shipped to your door step in toronto including fees. And another $600 on tires and your done !

UtahSleeper
07-13-2011, 06:55 PM
So, why are you planning on getting rid of it in 2 years?

Since your not planning on keeping it why not just do an intake. So how she drives and if you notice it. If you want more after then do the headers and exhaust.

I would say replace your struts with a nice set and enjoy a better ride then save your money for the car that replaces this one.

Hookecho
07-13-2011, 07:02 PM
Honestly, if it were me and I didn't plan to keep the car, I'd spend my $1000 on guns and ammo.

90ToyAllTrac
07-13-2011, 08:02 PM
All my AT needs now is a bumper. And tires. Id rather get some taller gears for my Mustang, and switch muffs from flowmaster to magnaflow.

H8PVMNT
07-14-2011, 12:35 AM
You need to buy some tools and learn to work on stuff. That's the only way you will be able to afford to build this car and other cars in they future. You need experience and this is a good car to learn on. Do the minor bolt on upgrades everyone else mentioned for the 5SFE and add some suspension prowess. A good handleing cart is almost as fun as tons of power and will probably suit your driving needs better than a strung out, souped up street monster anyway. Don't expect too much from the 5S, but it is an interesting engine with unusually good bottom end and part throttle acceleration for around town and canyon carving bone stock. You will notice more pull from your 5SFE easing into the throttle rather than putting it to the wood. It's odd but true. Has something to do with the head design, I'm sure somebody could explain it better than that...

METDeath
07-14-2011, 03:35 AM
Why are you telling him to do this?

I forgot he was on a 92/93... (fronts are 277 vs 255 on the 90/91, larger disc diameter=more stopping force)

KoreanJoey
07-14-2011, 06:12 AM
You don't need more stopping force...

Azzazzyn
07-14-2011, 10:37 AM
I vote new platform. Rwd.

LyGuy
07-14-2011, 08:23 PM
Personally I'd be more for hookers and blow...



Honestly, if it were me and I didn't plan to keep the car, I'd spend my $1000 on guns and ammo.

People have different hobbies, those are not mine :)
But fear not, I'm listening to everyone's wise advice and not going to blow the 1k needlessly. Probably gonna cut out the cams unless I can get it for a good deal used.

I'm planning on doing my own intake like UtahSleeper said, using Hookecho's guide on here. That'll be like $25. I'll install a 97 Camry header or ebay header, at the most $100. That's it engine-wise for now and I'll see how it goes from there. My gripes with the car is how slow it accelerates, not with how fast it can go, so hopefully this will make me feel better.

The rest of my money will go towards struts and sway bar, but only after I'm done the intake and headers.


So, why are you planning on getting rid of it in 2 years?
.

Well it's not definite that I"ll get rid of it after 2 years, I'm still on the ropes on this one but I know that after I'm done school some options will open up for me (I'll be more financially stable) and may or may not change cars.

Until then, I think I'll save my money after doing said mods. Thanks for all the input guys for helping me make a mature decision. I will make a project thread soon to document the life of this celica under my ownership - I plan to do the mods when its out of commission during next winter, so stay tuned :)

H8PVMNT
07-18-2011, 06:22 PM
Oh I almost forgot... Get a short throw shifter from TWM you will love it.

Cavanagh
07-20-2011, 02:46 AM
Suspension. That's my rule of thumb, DO SUSPENSION FIRST!

Luis C
07-28-2011, 12:35 AM
Hookers and booze... nuff said

mikecole89
08-17-2011, 01:53 AM
cams and exhaust..unless you have plans for a future build then just save it.

tuner4life
08-17-2011, 02:34 PM
Throw an intake, header and exhaust on it, then use the rest and make it handle. I have see slow cars simply walk away from fast cars at the dragon almost every year *cough Murg cough*. A good handling car will be more fun that a power car on a daily basis. (Unless all you ever do is drag race)