Progress for real!

I have a car show with the “Utah Japanese Classic Car” club this Sunday, so I’m working to get it drivable by Saturday!

I finally got rid of my 77 Corolla shell and that means I can now officially work on my Celica! (We cried when they crushed the Corolla. It’s like putting a beloved family pet to sleep. We both knew and it was coming and we both still shed a couple tears.)

I was able to get the Celica to run off a bottle by forcing it into the carburetor. The mechanical fuel pump stopped working after a couple minutes (I think it’s because there’s no insulator spacer…)

The in tank fuel pump didn’t pump or even make noise. I checked and I had power in the back which meant a bad pump. I pulled it out and it was crusty looking, but didn’t look super bad. Tried applying 12 Volts directly to the pump and still no go. I called around and O’Reilly happened to have one in stock for $63 a couple miles away. When I convert it to EFI I’ll still need the in tank pump so it wasn’t going to be a waste.

I tore my old pump apart just for fun and it wasn’t rusty at all inside as I’d feared. That means there isn’t likely to be any water in the tank.

A trip to the auto store and $113 later I had a new pump, strainer, fuel line, can of sea foam, ground strap, and some cork gasket material. (I need to make a gasket for the spark plug tubes in the 18RG. They fill up with oil from just a little idling.)

I thought my water pump was leaking, but it doesn’t appear so any more.

It runs decent (but not great) on the weber 32/36 and homemade intake. The accelerator pump doesn’t work very well. There’s a check ball in it that is sticky. I had the carburetor apart several weeks ago and used two cans of brake cleaner to clean out every passage in the carburetor, but I couldn’t find a way to get the accelerator check valve completely out. I’m hoping once I get it driving with the sea foam in it, it will clear up. That will making starting it a lot easier.

Still to do this week:
Install fender mirrors (they are power mirrors, but I won’t be hooking up the wires just yet. I’ll tell you why in another blog post…)

Get it registered (Easy to do in Utah, it’ll be registered as a vintage and that means no safety or emissions inspections!)

Change tires over to good set

Clean up interior

Spray paint rear drivers quarter panel.

Stay tuned for another post tomorrow!


Project before the project.

I have this 77 corolla that has been my dependable daily driver for many years. My wife and I drove it to Yellowstone for a week last year without a problem. I bought it for $50 in 2003. It was very rusty. I bought a black one last year with a blown motor but very little rust. After careful consideration I decided to put the black interior and good motor into the black car, then scrap what was left of the yellow car.

I’m still working on finishing that up, and I have to finish this before I can start seriously working on the Celica again.

New gauges in the planning

I have spent a couple hours on building my own gauges using arduino microcontrollers and GM gauge style stepper motors. (The same type of stepper motor found in pretty much every new car)

It will all be open source and I will freely share the PCB files and code with anybody who wants them. Typically I won’t share developments if I think I could market them, but gauges would be waaaaaay too time consuming to make any money from them, so I’ll share everything freely!

I’m not that great with writing code, but designing PCB’s is my specialty!

I have a stepper motor now responding to the input from a potentiometer (which is basically the exact same as a temperature or pressure sender!)

I’m going to fuel inject my 18RG using Megasquirt and the are several things I want to monitor on gauges, but there aren’t commercially available gauges that have what I want, so my only option is to build them. I would like the gauges to communicate over a CANbus with the Megasquirt, but I’m not sure if I can hack that much code together.

I want to make the entire suite of gauges controlled by an arduino.

Speedometer (will be GPS)
Fuel level
Coolant temp
Oil pressure (could double for fuel pressure)
AFR (O2 reading)

It will be a while before these are completed, but at least it’s something I can play around with for the Celica inside. 🙂

Here’s how my Celica sits now. It was last driven August of 2011. Four years of utter neglect really shows through. I’ve built a manifold for a Weber 32/36 for the 18RG until I can get the EFI sorted out. (winter project?)

I’ve taken a bunch of parts off over the years and never bothered to put anything back together. So the interior looks trashed, but it’s just in pieces.

I used it as a daily driver (even in winter!) for three years and the rusty holes are proof of that. You can also see all the rock chips in the front bumper from those nearly 80,000 miles I put on her. That’s what I get for using Home Depot paint on it. It’ll get the right treatment on paint when the time comes.