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'81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

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'81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:49 am

First, thanks to highwind for turning me onto this site!
I'm glad to find a place just for Coronas after having been a very active member on celica-gts.com and classic-celica.com, as they were the only sites I've found where I could fit in. Then again, I have 6 Celicas too - '78 coupe, 2 '79 coupes, '83 GT-S liftback, '85 GT-S coupe parts car for the '85 GT-S convertible.
My (ex) wife and I bought the sleigh over 5 years ago, after I found out that it was basically a "long roof" Celica with an extra inch in the wheel base and leaf springs. I spent 9 months looking for the right one, and have been very happy with it. We picked it up for $950, and it had just had the registration renewed (2 years in Oregon), had working R12 A/C, newer tires, fresh tune up... The only problem was the OD solenoid was shot, so it would only rarely shift into OD.
I had been building a 20R head for the wife's Celica, but decided it would go on the wagon instead. Ported, polished, oversize Si valves, milled to 77cc's so ending up with 9.7:1 compression, and a Cannon intake for a Weber 32/36 DGEV.
I also wanted better brakes, and having parted out and parts for a few 3rd gen (82-85) Celicas and Supras, we spent a weekend swapping parts. After I got it all worked out, I remembered that the 3rd gen Celicas and Mk II Supras had a "big brake upgrade", using 87-88 Cressida rotors, calipers and brackets that was a straight bolt on, so I hit the J/Y and voila! Killer brakes!
I could go on and on, but will just post my list of what's been done:

Early 22R bottom end
20R head, fully ported, polished, CC’d and milled (9.7:1)
Aluminum rocker arms
Si oversize stainless steel valves
Erson springs and retainers
Crane Cams (TRD) stage 3 - .444”/.458” lift, 234/244 duration @ .050, 282/292 advertised
ARP head studs
Weber 32/36 DGAV – choke removed, polished, knife edged, air foiled, changeable idle air jet
Cannon intake manifold
Carter electric fuel pump
MSD 6A box and Blaster coil
NGK iridium spark plugs
Energy Suspension urethane motor mount
Thorley Tri-Y header
Custom 2.25” mandrel bent exhaust Columbia River Bends / mandrel-bends.com
Magnaflow high flow cat
Dynamax “Race Bullet” muffler (resonator)
Borla muffler
Champion Aluminum “racing” radiator – ’67-’70 Mustang small block
Aux trans cooler
Inline (remote) trans filter
Energy Suspension bushings throughout front end
2nd Gen Celica manual steering box
Modified Corona steering arms
3rd Gen Celica (RA6x) boxed lower control arms
Custom shortened 3rd gen Celica strut tubes / spindles
KYB AGX front struts (MR2 SW20 “short struts”)
Coil-over front sleeves (generic Honduh)
10" tall, 300 lb coil-over springs
2.5" spring bearings
TechnoToyTuning (T3) camber plates and spring hats w/ bearings
Custom UHMW spring hat bushings/bearings
T3 RCAs
Addco 1 1/8” / 28.5mm Mk II front sway bar
Mk II Supra Master Cylinder
Cressida “Big Brake Upgrade” (272mm x 22mm rotors - 3rd gen / Mk II 258mm x 20mm, Corona 266mm x 12mm non vented) (http://www.celica-gts.com/forums/index.php?topic=22530.0)
Brembo rotors
KVR Semi-metallic/Carbon Fiber brake pads
Cressida "bottle cap" 15x6 wheels
BFG Touring Sport 205/60R15 tires
Hilux truck overload leafs – flipped
3rd gen Celica OD shifter
GT-S/Supra seats
Grant GT steering wheel
Pioneer AM/FM/Cassette & CD controller (25w x2), 6-disk magazine, Amp (160w x2) & Speakers (80w 3-ways & 200w 4-ways), Alpine 200w amp and Kicker subwoofer
H4 E-code headlights
Machining by M&B Cylinder Heads (http://www.mbcylinderheads.com/) and myself.
All other work has been completed by me (with a little help from my friends).

(Note – Toyota’s - 2nd gen Celica ‘78-’81, 3rd gen Celica ‘82-’85, Mk I Supra ‘79-’81, Mk II Supra ‘82-’85.5, Hilux truck ‘68-’76, Pickup ‘77-’94, Cressida ‘87-’88)


I also have the following parts waiting to go on, just need more hours in my day, more days in a week...

Prothane urethane leaf spring bushings
Leaf spring slider plates
Strut tower bar – 3 point – custom made
A43D Toyota truck auto trans (a.k.a. AW 03-71) with “shift kit”
Superior Torque Converters high stall converter
One-piece (truck) drive shaft custom built by Six States Distributors.
Mk I Toyota Supra F313 3.90 geared LSD 7.5” disc brake diff.
22RE A/C compressor & brackets


I'm also building what I have taken to call a "late 22R hybrid", using a late short deck block, 20R head with 0.120" milled off ending up with 10.5:1 compression, 48mm intakes and 38mm exhaust valves, beehive springs, lightened knife-edged nitrited crank, early rods polished and shot peened with ARP bolts...

And I suppose everyone wants pics too?
Sorry, but not tonight.


Oh, and lastly, yes, I'm a mechanic by trade, have been for 35+ years.


Last edited by a2ndopinion on Wed May 08, 2013 1:33 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by RT85CORONA on Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:08 am

First off I woul like to welcome you to vintage corona and secondly we def need pictures hahaha seems like u have been busy with the corona ... I'm wondering what did u do to modify the steering arms? Any details about this brake upgrade fitting anyother years ?
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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:17 am

The 3rd gen Celica/Mk II Supra steering arms are a different shape, so using them screws up the Ackerman angle - makes the car impossible to corner. They also have their mounting bolts at the bottom of the strut tube further apart, so to use the Corona arms to get the toe-in on turns correct, I had to very carefully oval the mounting holes so that the bolts and dowel pins would fit correctly.
This front end swap should work on the 78-83, but not the others. I have no idea what other models could be swapped for other generations. There is a guy who pipes up once in a while on classic-celica with some sort of new fangled idea for parts swaps to get different struts, brakes, lower.... but they aren't tried and true as far as alignment/handling, only that they'll bolt on and look close. There is also a "shonuff" out there on a few forums, both of the ones listed above included, that has done a few experiments, but I don't know what all he's found.
My swaps did widen the front track by over an inch, but I've put a good 30,000 miles on these tires, including some serious cornering in the mountains and canyons, and they are still wearing great.









exhaust before the Dynomax muffler was added















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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:59 am

what kind of hitch is that?

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by Lope70Mark2 on Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:29 pm

Welcome!

Now get over here and work on my car!

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:13 pm

highwind wrote:what kind of hitch is that?
I don't remember. I suppose it has the brand name on it, but it is for a Celica - took it off the ex's '79 when we got the wagon.


Lope70Mark2 wrote:Welcome!

Now get over here and work on my car!
Thank you. Since you're up that way, you should get ahold of shonuff.

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by Lope70Mark2 on Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:27 am

Sure, supply me his contact info. or what forum I should look at.

We were just trying to figure out how to repair the suspension on a rona wagon and the answer is honda accord coilover conversion kit!

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:36 am

celica-gts.com or classic-celica.com. He's also on a couple Toy truck forums - on and off road, as he has Celicas, a Corona wagon, Hilux pickups and a 4x.

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:36 pm

a2ndopinion wrote:celica-gts.com or classic-celica.com. He's also on a couple Toy truck forums - on and off road, as he has Celicas, a Corona wagon, Hilux pickups and a 4x.

heres shonuff's local forum

http://blacksheepauto.com/forum2/index.php?board=4.0

I stalked him to it from toyotanation (lol) he was the only expert in corona wagons i knew at the time.

if you can get him over here that would be great, the only thing is im not sure if hes sold the wagon or not.

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:40 pm

btw how did you do your front suspension?

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:46 pm

After many hours of mixing and matching and measuring and...
We (a good friend and I) finally came up with 3rd gen lower control arms for the proper length since they use the same ball joints as 2nd gen Celicas/RT130 Coronas so that the steering arms bolt to the ball joint. Also use the 3rd gen strut tubes to get the right spindle angle. I then had to modify the Corona steering arms to bolt onto the 3rd gen strut tubes, as the 3rd gen strut tube holes are further apart than the 2nd gen/Corona arms. All of the different steering arms (Corona, Supra, 3rd gen...) have different offsets between the ball joint and the bolt holes in the strut tubes, which also affects spindle angle/camber. You have to use Celica springs and strut tops, as Supra springs and tops are bigger in diameter and rub (bind) in the strut tower, or use craigslist Honduh Accord coil overs like I did, which makes springs and height adjustment very easy.
The biggest reason why we started this work was for better brakes, meaning vented rotors instead of the solid rotors. The Cressida big brake upgrade was an easy parts swap after that. Just get the rotors, calipers and brackets off of an '87-'88 Cressida and bolt them on.
I picked up a pair of (adjustable) KYB AGXs (for the back of an SW20 MR2) and currently have spacers in the strut tubes, as the MR2s are shorter. I do have a pair of shortened strut tubes that I need to install, which will give me more suspension travel that I'd lost after the lowering.
A friend gave me an Addco Mk II Supra sway bar (28.5mm) for my birthday last year. I needed to bend the ends in about 3/4" each to make it a simple bolt in. Thank goodness for 16t presses! All of the ES (or PST) urethane bushings for '78-'85 Celicas are the same for Coronas. I have sway bar frame bushings for the Mk II bar, I think I used 4" strut links, and the rest is out of the box.
Due to the lowering, the roll center and instant center has been lowered as well, to the point that the roll center is over 4" underground. I am making my own RCAs (roll center adjusters) to bring it back up. My measurements say they need to be almost 2" thick! This is supposed to make it drive better, remove bump steer, stopping it from following the road, and corner better.
I also have Prothane bushings for the early pickups for the leafs, but haven't gotten around to installing them yet. I also need KYB AGXs for the back. They will be the ones for Camaros for a slightly shorter length to work with lowering, which was done by removing two factory leafs, and then adding a Hilux overload leaf upside down. This lowered it and made it much more firm.
The other addition for the rear end will be a "wishbone" or "A-arm" rear axle locator, which is much easier than a Watts link, and much better than a PHB, and also works as traction bars. That won't go in until I get the Mk I Supra disc brake LSD diff swapped in though.
I also have the material and plans for a strut tower bar for the front that will clear the factory air filter, and will triangulate to the firewall as well, just need the time and a welder.
It already corners good enough that none of my Celica friends (even the GT-Ss) can keep up, so will only be getting better! It does ride a bit on the stiff side, but I drive about 40k a year, and don't complain at all (and I'm 51).

Here's a pic of the front tires that have about 40k on them, and still have 6/32s rubber left. They've never been rotated, and I run about 40 PSI in them.

Cressida rotors and 3rd gen/Mk II rotors

Sway bar
before bending

after bending

Rear leafs
Two out, one in

OE leaf and Hilux overload

Overload installed

A-Arm rear axle locators


Think the sway bar is stiff enough?

This is what my strut tower bar will be patterned off of


Last edited by a2ndopinion on Wed May 08, 2013 1:38 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:42 am

god I wish I had ur front suspension .

im running no springs up in the front Sad

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:09 am

They are all J/Y components for the most part.

highwind, where are you located (since your profile isn't complete - hint, hint)?

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:12 am

a2ndopinion wrote:They are all J/Y components for the most part.
whats j/y? was it alot of fabbing involved?


im in florida

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:20 am

Junk yard.
I just explained it all above. The fabbing was only the test fitting of parts until we got it right, and ovalling the holes in the steering arms. Other than that it is all bolt on. Oh - and bending the Addco sway bar if you get one. I had a factory Mk II bar on there before the Addco unit, and it bolted on with no bending, but it was a bitch of a fit.

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:16 am

a2ndopinion wrote:highwind, where are you located (since your profile isn't complete - hint, hint)?

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:53 am

florida, the space coast

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:58 am

Wow - can't get much further away. I guess I can't provide any hands on help!

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:17 pm

a2ndopinion wrote:Wow - can't get much further away. I guess I can't provide any hands on help!
im willing to make this happen but i hope i can still have the same lowered car that i have now. Sad

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:29 pm

Isn't yours basically resting on the bump stops? That will not help handling at all, as you must have some suspension to keep the tires in contact with the road when you hit bumps, otherwise the car will skip and skid in hard corners. Very stiff springs and/or shocks/struts present the same problem. That is why I'm going with the shortened tubes - to get more suspension travel back.

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:06 am

a2ndopinion wrote:Isn't yours basically resting on the bump stops? That will not help handling at all, as you must have some suspension to keep the tires in contact with the road when you hit bumps, otherwise the car will skip and skid in hard corners. Very stiff springs and/or shocks/struts present the same problem. That is why I'm going with the shortened tubes - to get more suspension travel back.

would any aftermarket coilovers made for celicas work for the wagon?

like those kits from Techno Toy Tuning?

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:49 am

I believe that I've said at least three times since I've been on this forum, twice in this thread that I'm using generic Honduh Accord coilovers that I got off of craigslist for $35 for the set of four. I don't see the reason for paying for the T3 stuff when I can get much better stuff for just slightly more, sometimes even less. It's kinda like LC Engineering - why pay their exorbinant prices when I can get the same stuff from their suppliers for less, comparable stuff for less, or better stuff for the same price or slightly more.
I've put my car together for probably 1/3 of what many others have by shopping prices, craigslist... Not that I'm a tightwad (I am), but I just can't see giving my money to people who are making more than I feel it's worth. Even stuff I've bought new - Amazon and Summit Racing have about the best prices of anywhere. eBay is also a good money saver, but some of the sellers can't be trusted. I haven't been screwed on anything (yet?).
The strut tubes are 50mm - 2" OD when they are cleaned up, and the coilover sleeves are 51.2mm - 2.016". Some of the cheap generic coilover springs are like 700 in.lbs, which are about twice as stiff as need be, but "proper weight" springs are available from Summit, Jegs, Speedway... for circle track cars for as little as $35 once you know what you want. About 375 is as much as you want for a street driven car, maybe 425, but that's getting to the point that the car will skip in corners if the road is rough. Then again, some of that depends on struts and sway bars too. Struts (and shocks) that are too stiff don't let the springs move enough, so are just like too stiff of springs.
Sway bars don't increase ride stiffness on the straights, but do in the croners when the bar is loaded. Also, don't go spensing money for a rear sway bar until you feel that the front is set up right, and the rear springs and shocks feel correct, because you may not need one. Adding one that isn't needed will make the car tight - push - understeer in corners, which can be much worse than oversteer depending on your driving ability.

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DD -'81 Corona wagon - 22R hybrid P&P, Crane stage 3, Si valves, Erson springs/retainers, Weber, Cannon, MSD, Thorley, Borla, 3rd gen Celica front suspension, Cressi Big Brakes, coilovers, Camber plates, RCAs, AGXs, Addco, all urethane bushings, Hilux leafs...
20/22R/RE & Celica Guru, 2nd & 3rd gens - GT-Ss - 'vert, coupes & liftback... & Chevy fanatic
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a2ndopinion
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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:03 am

a2ndopinion wrote:I believe that I've said at least three times since I've been on this forum, twice in this thread that I'm using generic Honduh Accord coilovers that I got off of craigslist for $35 for the set of four. I don't see the reason for paying for the T3 stuff when I can get much better stuff for just slightly more, sometimes even less. It's kinda like LC Engineering - why pay their exorbinant prices when I can get the same stuff from their suppliers for less, comparable stuff for less, or better stuff for the same price or slightly more.
I've put my car together for probably 1/3 of what many others have by shopping prices, craigslist... Not that I'm a tightwad (I am), but I just can't see giving my money to people who are making more than I feel it's worth. Even stuff I've bought new - Amazon and Summit Racing have about the best prices of anywhere. eBay is also a good money saver, but some of the sellers can't be trusted. I haven't been screwed on anything (yet?).
The strut tubes are 50mm - 2" OD when they are cleaned up, and the coilover sleeves are 51.2mm - 2.016". Some of the cheap generic coilover springs are like 700 in.lbs, which are about twice as stiff as need be, but "proper weight" springs are available from Summit, Jegs, Speedway... for circle track cars for as little as $35 once you know what you want. About 375 is as much as you want for a street driven car, maybe 425, but that's getting to the point that the car will skip in corners if the road is rough. Then again, some of that depends on struts and sway bars too. Struts (and shocks) that are too stiff don't let the springs move enough, so are just like too stiff of springs.
Sway bars don't increase ride stiffness on the straights, but do in the croners when the bar is loaded. Also, don't go spensing money for a rear sway bar until you feel that the front is set up right, and the rear springs and shocks feel correct, because you may not need one. Adding one that isn't needed will make the car tight - push - understeer in corners, which can be much worse than oversteer depending on your driving ability.
im sorry its just that im not too suspension savy, I can take apart an engine and put it back together correctly but anything other than that. nothing. i hate wiring as well.......

im sorry.

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by a2ndopinion on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:08 am

No need to apologize, and I don't mean to come across like an ass. I am just trying to save everyone $$$!

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ASE certified: Master Auto, Truck, Machinist & Collision Repair/Refinish Tech/Damage Estimator, Undercar & Parts Specialist, Service Advisor; Oregon Certified Vehicle Appraiser
DD -'81 Corona wagon - 22R hybrid P&P, Crane stage 3, Si valves, Erson springs/retainers, Weber, Cannon, MSD, Thorley, Borla, 3rd gen Celica front suspension, Cressi Big Brakes, coilovers, Camber plates, RCAs, AGXs, Addco, all urethane bushings, Hilux leafs...
20/22R/RE & Celica Guru, 2nd & 3rd gens - GT-Ss - 'vert, coupes & liftback... & Chevy fanatic
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a2ndopinion
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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

Post by highwind on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:09 am

a2ndopinion wrote:No need to apologize, and I don't mean to come across like an ass. I am just trying to save everyone $$$!
i completely understand. i guess i should frequent the forums more to find people that are parting out cars. Junkyards here are not really good.

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Re: '81 Wagon - aka the "sleigh"

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