View Full Version : Need some ideas/input

08-11-2013, 04:18 AM
Recently I bought a 1990 Celica GT Hatch with the 2.2 5SFE.. I'm wanting to keep it as a daily driver, but I also want a good car to run on the track. Problem is I'm not sure which would be the best modifications to make this task possible. Any suggestions?

08-11-2013, 08:03 AM
That, sir, is one open ended question.

Is the track a quarter mile long? In a parking lot/airport? Paved circuit? Opponents on this track going to be Civics? Evos? Lambos? Pintos? Can you stand harsh rides? Know how to turn a wrench? Could you swap an exhaust manifold? Clutch? Engine? Like staying nice and cool in the summer? Ever need to carry anyone else in the car? Have a four digit budget for wheels and tires? Would you like green eggs and ham?

In short, FAR more info needed.

08-11-2013, 04:56 PM
Others will ride in the car but its not my family hauler. I'm not worried about staying cool in the summer, I usually leave the windows down anyhow. I'm looking at more of a paved circuit, maybe some quarter mile races. I would imagine that my opponents would be similar in class as I am. I am able to turn a wrench, but I do have limitations such as rebuilding engines and transmissions. As for a budget, it is small. $5000 is about my limitations for this project.

So I guess what I'm looking for is increased HP, better handling, smoother shifting, and a safer ride. I suppose I'll end up sacrificing fuel economy during this build.

08-11-2013, 08:00 PM
So...given those answers, I'll give you a quick 'off-the-top-of-my-head' answer. Definitely search for these options before pulling the trigger on anything. Also, this is all just my opinion, take it for that.

With what you're looking for, I'd rearrange the list as smoother shifting (easy/cheap), better handling (best gains with this car), increased HP (you're fighting a 5sfe, or jumping into a 3sge/gte swap), and a safer ride (prob won't want a cage in your daily).

Smoother shifting-
I use Valvoline dex/mercon ATF, stock components all around and my celi shifts smooth as butter. With that in mind, I'd say make sure your OEM components are in good shape and replace as necessary and change the fluid (if you haven't already)

For shorter shifting, I've heard the 92-93 shifter is decently shorter and swaps over (someone correct me if I'm wrong), or you could go with TWM. Bit pricey, but they definitely have some strong supporters here on the forums.

Better handling-
I've summed up the after markets parts list in another thread here (http://www.celicatech.com/forums/showthread.php?50798-Lets-talk-Suspension.&highlight=). A few things I should add to that post are that there are also adjustable end links available for us (twosrus sells them, I have 'em and stand by 'em). Tires and wheels REALLY should be at the top of that list, and for you I'd start my focus there. And don't drop the suspension more than 1" and expect it to do anything good for your handling.

Increased HP-
If you're going to stay with the 5sfe long/longish term, I/H/E/Safc2 and call it a day.
Did I forget to list this just above? Do it anyway :) It's better, cheaper, and easier to recover HP than to make it on top. Check ignition timing (advancing doesn't really make more power with the 5sfe), filters (fuel, upgrade air), plugs (check gaps), wires, cap, rotor, fluids.

I would recommend just a K&N drop in into the stock box, or you could get fancy and make your own cold air box. In any case, the gains aren't astronomical.

There are the 97+ camry header you might be able to score out of a junkyard for cheap. There is also the Surewin header on ebay. I have the surewin on my celi, definitely a noticeable difference, but still not much. Couple other options out there.

Best of my knowledge, there is only the Pacesetter 'Monza' catback made for us, past that it's going custom.

-Safc2/ basic engine management
Our 1g 5sfe's run rich. There have been results posted in the past of 9hp gains from leaning up the top end.

Wasn't listed above either, was it? Still, if you're comfortable, this will change the character of the engine drastically. Search the NA forums for details, but most people stick with the (relatively mild) webcams 294 grind. If you wanted to be adventurous, you could grab some cams out of a 2g 5sfe (92+ celica, 93+ mr2, 93(?)+ camry) and have them reground down to webcams 294 spec with the proper base circle.

-Engine swaps
Search. Then search some more. And just when you think you're about ready to ask a question, hit the search button a few more times.

I can't really help here. Seats and belts would probably be the main point here. Gonna have to search more on that.

Odds and ends (well, some not so much)-
For circuit racing, you will *need* to look at the brakes. There are different sizes between models and years, but I'd personally stick with the standard 90 (front) equipment unless you're going to swap st205 brakes. Early st185's (and st165's????) had dual piston front brakes, but even toyota decided to go to a large one piston in 92-93, so the 'upgrade' factor is suspect.

So back to basics. I'd say get good rotors (Brembos, skip drilling and slotting), good pads (shop around), good fluid, good bleed, replace the rubber hoses, but avoid stainless steel lines. I've heard of and seen too many properly treated stainless steel lines give out (on my own car too!) to ever recommend them.

Wouldn't be a bad idea to replace the rear drum setup with disks (will look really cool too behind your awesome new wheels :D). All FWD 5th gen Celica rear disk setups will basically be 'bolt-and-play'. You probably won't need to go overboard with stellar equipment in the back, doesn't do much braking really.

-Oil cooler
Helps a bit with reliability. Later 5sfe's came from toyota with an oil cooler (technically just a heat exchanger, but hey, who's counting?). It comes off the lines from the water pump and sits below the oil filter. Might be able to get one easy from a yard.

Hopefully this gets you pointed in the right direction.

08-12-2013, 03:22 AM
Great post Hiko. :)

Oh and for swap questions, just click the link in my sig. Should lead you far, far down the rabbit hole. :D

08-12-2013, 06:53 AM
Best performance upgrade?


08-13-2013, 02:26 AM
Best performance upgrade?


For keeping it simple and still having fun, absolutely!

08-13-2013, 04:15 AM
A lot of what you guys have said he's seen on my car and I'm willing to let him try stuff out before he buys (I/H/E ideas, twm shifter, coilovers, etc), but I do realize my car isn't really the greatest example either; my trans shifts way harder than his, exhaust is leaky, oversized tires... There's some stuff I can take from here too so thanks in advance Hiko if I get around to some extra modding. I will say though, I've been using my SS brake lines without an issue for over 6 years, however I do know if the caliper isn't supported and hangs by the line during brake changes (or other maint. requiring removal) it can cause them to fail. A lot of shops make that mistake if they don't realize you have them.

08-13-2013, 04:44 AM
Great post Hiko. :)

Thanks :)

Best performance upgrade?


2nd'd (or is is 3rd'd or 4th'd at this point? :hehe:)

I will say though, I've been using my SS brake lines without an issue for over 6 years, however I do know if the caliper isn't supported and hangs by the line during brake changes (or other maint. requiring removal) it can cause them to fail. A lot of shops make that mistake if they don't realize you have them.

Yeah, that's what I meant when I used the term 'properly treated' (I wasn't too specific though). That's the scary thing is that at least the cars I've seen, mine and a friends, we both knew better than to do that, never took 'em to a shop, and yet they *still* broke.

If SS lines work for you, that's great! And I hope they continue to! But for me, I'll take slightly looser pedal feel for the 'feeling-o-safety' I get from running rubber lines.

08-13-2013, 01:34 PM
Yea I know what you mean, I've had that happen with all sorts of parts, just thought I'd make the distinction on proper care. Like anything on these cars, run what makes the drive enjoyable.