View Full Version : Project: "blanco"

08-28-2011, 09:44 PM
2 years ago I spent $300 on a 1990 GT hatchback for my brother. Him and my dad spent hours curing rust issues, brake problems and drivability issues. A timing belt and water pump resurrected the 130k mile engine. She runs as smooth as silk, but currently rests because of a parasitic battery drain...

Today officially marks the beginning of project "blanco". In the next month this resting machine will go from sitting to road worthy. She has had a plenty of shoddy body work from rust cancer repair. It is time she looks and functions half-way decent for her mechanical condition.


08-28-2011, 09:44 PM
Buyer specs:
Year: 1990
Make: Toyota
Model: Celica
Trim: GT, st184
Engine: 2.2L N/A 5SFE
Packages: Sunroof, Power Windows, AC

The car had plenty of seized suspension parts, a shredded timing belt, rocker panel/floorboard rust damage and a few dents from accidents. The touch-up paint has yellowed, so we will be sanding and patching rough areas to be smooth. The car will get new paint (promising a surprise) and convertible side skirts to cover rocker panel repairs.










08-28-2011, 09:45 PM
* reserved for repairs *

08-28-2011, 09:45 PM
Currently I am in the process of nailing down an annoying open circuit issue. Battery lasts about 30 in before it is drained to the point that it cannot hold a charge. We have replaced the battery and alternator. Tracking down this problem is going to prove to be fun.

A number of fuses were wrong when we got the car initially. Electrical gremlins are my favorite.

Eric Barrera
08-28-2011, 09:49 PM
Can't wait. Pic's of said project

08-29-2011, 03:06 AM
Can't wait to see it

08-29-2011, 04:57 PM




08-30-2011, 11:37 PM

Coal mining is worthless without picks. This is my project and I will do as I please.

(Delay was related to my lovely neighbor)

*pics of security camera system installation*

08-30-2011, 11:40 PM
Also, I get the lovely task of replacing a leaking fuel line along with a driver side CV axle.

08-31-2011, 12:37 AM
Nice looking car

08-31-2011, 01:57 AM
That thing is a bit rough looking. looks like someone shut the hood before gathering their tools up.

Reminds me of mine when I first bought it.

08-31-2011, 01:59 AM
The hood is dented as it came off my beloved 92' GT Christine. Drunk driver. We worked it back into shape as best we could.

The car is REALLY rough looking. 3-4 shades of white, cracking paint, dents, riveted sheet metal, etc. The rocker panels and rear driver side look the worst. I plan on smoothing out the rear and then masking the rocker panel work with side skirts.

Mechanically, she is SOLID. She has almost 130k miles and the engine/tranny are rebuilt. Clutch is rock solid, and she has some real get up in her. Great, ugly, winter driver. We have some plans though to make her look a little more fitting for her shape...

09-01-2011, 06:23 PM
Still hunting down the electrical short.

Comically, the drain is so big, that it happens in about an hour of sitting with the ground connected on the battery.

09-03-2011, 08:00 AM
Still hunting down the electrical short.

Comically, the drain is so big, that it happens in about an hour of sitting with the ground connected on the battery.

Get a clamping amp meter and start pulling fuses. When amperage disappears you pulled the right fuse. Harbor freight has em for like $10 I believe.

09-04-2011, 06:05 PM
Holy cow! Its on wheels! Last time I saw it it was on jackstands with almost the whole car sitting next to it in the garage....good work.

09-06-2011, 03:54 AM
Get a clamping amp meter and start pulling fuses. When amperage disappears you pulled the right fuse. Harbor freight has em for like $10 I believe.

Having a hell of a time finding an ampmeter. Closest thing I've found are battery testers with built in meters. Nothing outside of that.

09-06-2011, 04:10 AM
reminds me of my 90 super white gt. i still have some parts around if you need anything including a good white driver side power mirror.

11-11-2011, 09:25 PM
Project got shelved for a couple months while I used the good weather to fix a number of things around the house that needed desperate attention. We weren't planning on insuring the car till it made it's way down to Cincinnati so it's sat.

Finally located the drain on the battery. It's on the ECU-B circuit. Anyone have a list of devices on that circuit?

11-17-2011, 02:50 AM
dont want thread jack but, just so you know, i have lots of parts that can help with your build. i have almost a complete jdm exterior goodies such as jdm mirrors, 92-93 vented taillights, fender markers, gauge cluster, fog light grill insterts for alltrac (same as blackhawk's bumper), plus more. btw, im selling my 6th gen sideskirts as i picked up another set. this would be great for blanco as the sideskirts comes up higher at the fender and rear quarter panel. lmk if your interested.

11-24-2011, 11:12 PM
blanco..nice..I have a white 6th gen. Previous owner decided to name is shadowfax after the LOTR big white horse. He was a nerd, 2nd owner, he left the car completely stock, so I was lucky to get it. I have yet to call it shadowfax though.

11-24-2011, 11:33 PM
We did find the problem with the battery drain, and basically removed it from the equation. ECU-B was disconnected and the drain is gone. Fuel line work, the parking break and some much needed body work are going on now.

Sent via Imperial Comlink

11-25-2011, 03:52 PM
Parasitic drains are the pits. Glad you found it.

08-23-2012, 09:39 AM
New O2 sensor, e-brake rebuild, power steering line replacement, radiator flush, thermostat replacement, new fan, new fan sensor, a new coil, broken wheel studs, misc blown fuses and a radio missing it's faceplate; my brother has a DD.

Congrats bro, you've taken your first step toward being a free man.

08-23-2012, 03:17 PM
*slow clap* nice work sir!

08-31-2012, 04:55 PM
The ball-joints are certainly shot. On my way to Cincinnati, my brother picked me up from Columbus, and I drove her back down. The steering is considerably sloppy in sharper turns. The driver-side drive axle is still making turns in sharp turns as well (CV grinding) and we have a spare to replace it when the time comes.

The E-brake went back out, yet has resistance at the handle. I'll get underneath to solve that mystery. I'm assuming it is hanging up on something.

When put into gear to park, the transaxle holds the car (on a hill) and then pops out of gear. Doesn't matter the gear, it behaves the same. Either linkages are worn, or the gears are bad. Doesn't make sense to be the second, because it shifts great through all gears in all driving conditions.

Then all sorts of electrical issues happened. It started with a couple symptoms; headlights quit working but the high-beams were still functional. Right-front turn signal went out, but hazard lights still worked, cruise control became inoperable. Thinking back, the airbag circuit was causing a slow drain. Now the HVAC is popping it's 15a fuse every other day after AC use. The Relays are popping in the engine as well. Dashboard goes out, tach stops working.

Now I believe the steering column controls are toast. I'm going to a yard right now to get a new unit. Sometimes the stick to control brights is intermittent. I tried cleaning the entire unit with alcohol, but I think it falls into the category of corrosion and heavy wear. Things don't feel tight like they should in a Toyota.

The HVAC itself has a fried wire (tan w/brown stripe) going all the way back on the harness. We will have to get into that later, but I'm going to replace the control unit just for safety sake.

The last little problem is idle. Every now and then, the car will idle so low it stalls while coasting with the clutch out. Then it will choke when given the gas in 2nd-3rd gear in the 2k-3k RPM range. It has no power, then suddenly jumps. It isn't the transaxle because the RPMs drop out. This seems sensor related.

I'm glad I got a chance to come home and take a look at the car. It needs a good exorcism by me today.

09-01-2012, 08:00 AM
Idle is low after the engine warms up, have some ideas on that.

I went through the entire steering column troubleshooting and finding issues. Then I found a harness underneath that was half connected. Explains EVERYTHING in regards to the controls on the steering column. So easy.

I give the front drivetrain 2,500 miles before something dies.

01-01-2013, 09:40 PM
My brother has been forced to make his car more reliable. After a year with him in college, he has come back knowing more than he ever has mechanically. Confidence is always a hard thing to come by when your ride doesn't come apart easily.

I give the front drivetrain 2,500 miles before something dies.

We decided that the something may be the driver. Ball joints really showed their age with the increasing play in steering. Got a couple reman ball joints courtesy of Moog (genuine Toyota parts are for cars not likely to be wrecked in the next 2 years). I had a couple axles lying around from an old parts car (automatic w/ABS). Jacked the car up in the garage and went to work.

I needed my angle grinder and a cutting wheel to remove both ball joints. These were definitely originals. They were held in place with the type of corrosion one finds on an old shipwreck. Passenger axle came out of the tulip due to a torn boot. Cleaned and regreased the housing and installed the outer-shaft. Driverside was more of a fuss, but replaced the axle and ball-joint just the same. New gear oil and seals all around and we're about to take her for a test drive.

01-05-2013, 06:04 AM
Oh the joys of the rust belt!!

This is the first time I could see the pics of this project (I usually read at work where it's blocked), it's great to see some one else saving a Celica that is that far gone bodywork wise. Mine is even in worse shape, and fixing it doesn't make any sense. But looking at this one, I would say the same thing, and here it's being done, so like I said, it's nice encuragement.

01-06-2013, 01:12 AM
this car is very similar to the state of mine I have a 1990 GT with some issues, I am currently working on rebuilding mine as well. I got lucky that most of my bodywork is between replaceable parts and the underside, I have a friend that is good with metal work to repair the underside. My plan is to start in an area of the car and work on small areas at a time to avoid being overwhelmed.

01-15-2013, 03:13 AM
For your information, the ECU-B circuit feeds the following :

-SRS light
-Check Connector fo fan control

Good luck!

01-15-2013, 03:18 AM
Steering improved considerably. My brother complained about having "jumpiness" in the corners. Next culprit will be the rear bushings.