Lots of things have happened. I used to be really good about updating when I had a build thread on 1GC. But that was 5 years and 3 kids ago. Not as much time nowadays to update. I’ll try to be better. 🙂

A couple things have happened. I bought a wrecked 77 liftback. I stripped and scrapped it in about a week. Got a bunch of good parts from it.

Also finished the trigger wheel kit for 20/22R. I’m running it on dad’s Celica and it is AWESOME!!! They’re now available for sale on ebay.

I’m trading my 18RG for a rebuilt 22R. Headed to pick it up end of July. I got my motor pulled out and I’m working to clean it up and start some wiring while I’m waiting on the motor itself. My biggest hurdle is getting the high pressure fuel. I made a custom surge tank, but I screwed it up and need to start over with it.

I’ve also pretty much finished the boards for the Megasquirt driven gauges. I’ve finished the tach and speedometer (with working odometer!!!) and just need to physically mount them in the smaller gauges.

The smaller gauges will primarily display fuel level, coolant temp, oil pressure, and I’m leaning towards O2 for the last gauge, but still not set in stone.

I’ve been working slowly on the gauges. They will all be driven from the Megasquirt. The Megasquirt send out all the data over CANbus to a Teensy3.2 microcontroller. The Teensy will then digest everything into raw stepper positions, and send that out over I2C to the individual motors. Each motor will have its own microcontroller, and it will receive the data from the Teensy then move the motor. Each “slave” module will have its own address that is decided during assembly. I can have up to 16 slave motors, but I don’t know why anybody would need that many gauges. Each slave module will have the exact same code programmed into it. Only difference is the hardware address. That makes for very easy modifications. The code on the motor models themselves won’t ever need to be modified. The only modifications will be in the Teensy.

I have also converted the factory original odometer and trip meter to being driven by a stepper motor. Now the gauges are completely new and computer controlled, but still look factory original! Close to factory appearance is the goal. After the controls are all working and in good working order, then I’ll work on getting the faces remade so the light will shine through the numbers like a modern car. But that’s down the list.

I’m still deciding what color needles I’m going to use. I’m kinda meaning towards the white ones.

I haven’t updated on here in a long time. Sorry about that! But news though. After I did all the work on the water pump last summer. I never changed out the water for coolant, and it froze solid in my garage, and cracked the block in my 18RG. 🙁 It was a very expensive and stupid mistake. I have a spare block, but I don’t have the funds for the parts and machining costs to put everything into that block. So out comes the 18RG. I have a 22RE that’s destined for my dad’s 77 Coupe, but he said he can wait, so in the mean time in going to put it in mine just so I can drive it this year.

So the short term plans have changed and I’m going to force towards installing the 22RE. I’ve disassembled, cleaned and otherwise prepared the intake manifold. I’ve completely gotten rid of all the EGR and emissions stuff. Tapped all those holes to standard NPT sizes, and plugged what I don’t need. More info coming in that in future posts.

I attached a bunch of random pictures on my phone. I’ve been steadily working towards getting the gauges to be driven by the Megasquirt, and have a very solid solution. The tachometer and speedometer will be driven from a stepper motor pulling it’s info from Megasquirt. The factory mechanical odometer has been left intact, but converted to be driven from a stepper motor as well. That gives me the ultimate control over it. The other two small gauges will be a piece of cake to convert. I’ll post another post with the video about that.

I also started work on the surge tank needed for the EFI conversion. Factory fuel pump will feed the tank, and the high pressure pump will be inside the tank so it’s quiet. I will use 3/8" aluminum tubing for the fuel system, and all -6AN fittings.

I hope to be driving it by the end of March so that gives me two months. I would like to daily drive it this summer!

Capacitive fuel sender

I had to move the car from the road into my garage because a rain storm is coming and all my window seals still leak. I reinstalled the fuel pump assembly so I could move it.

The capacitive sender fit just to the side of the internal baffles. I need to trim a touch more off the bottom of the sender though because it touches the bottom of the tank.

I’m still waiting on the 3D printed wire pass through, so I just stuck the fuel pump wire through the square hole. As long as I don’t drive it that will be just fine.

I stuck my phone into the gas tank and took some pictures and I’m very happy that there is zero rust in there! I’ve got a small amount of sediment I need to get out, but overall the tank is very clean!

I have timed the arduino clock and I now have it to losing less than 1 second per day. I can’t get it any closer than that because then I would start moving it to being too fast. (Though I think I’d prefer it drifting fast rather than slow) At that rate it would be more than a month before it’s off by a minute, and I’m OK with that! At least that’s at room temperature. The arduino is driven by a crystal so it shouldn’t be affected by temperature changes, but I’m going to stick it in the freezer and see how well it holds time.

Electronic clock conversion!

I’ve always been fed up with the inaccuracy of the factory clock. I had it timed very well at room temperature, but in the car is was slow when it was cold, and fast when it was warm. The only way around that is to make it computer controlled. Cue the arduino!

I bought a gauge face for a 98 Audi A4 because it had a nice clock from the factory. Paid $12 for it.

Pulled that motor and gutted my factory clock. Mounted the Toyota faceplate to the Audi stepper motor then wrote the program for it. Took about 4 hours of coding to write the program. It takes 6 “steps” to advance 1 minute. So I just had to tell it to step every ten seconds. Using the same switec library I used for my other gauges made it extremely easy. I had to modify the Arduino library a little though to allow unlimited forward and reverse stepping. I can share all the code is you’re interested.

There is a clock stepper motor on eBay for about $15, but doesn’t include hands. That’s why I opted for the audi face.

It has two switches, one to move the time forward, and backwards. If I press and hold the forward button, then at the same time press the other button it will jump to warp speed in the forward direction. That will allow me to set the time if it’s off by many hours. The reverse direction works the same way.

I want to make it GPS controlled so it’s self setting and absolutely accurate, but I don’t have a way yet to detect where the hands are. Without knowing where the hands are I can’t set it. So for now it just blindly ticks forward.

Here is a video on YouTube explaining basically the same stuff and showing how it works.


I will have more pictures in the next post.

Capacitive fuel level install

I got the capacitive level sender in the mail yesterday, and went about installing it. I’m doing my best to not modify the tank in any way, so I mounted it where the factory level sender was mounted.

I removed the mount for the factory sender bracket and drilled the holes for the new sender, then the center hole. I should have done it the other way around though. After I got the center hole done, none of the screw holes lined up. I had to drill new mounting holes and the whole thing ended up looking like Swiss cheese with holes all over the place. I welded up the extra holes then smoothed them off. I tapped the mounting holes, then decided to weld a nut to the back side of the ones where it wouldn’t interfere with installation in the tank.

One bolt will use the original sender assembly mounting hole (just using a longer bolt).

I tested it in water, but because water is way more conductive than fuel it didn’t read correctly. Oh well.

I also removed the aftermarket convenience crap I installed in 2008. That was the keyless entry system and cruise control. I didn’t take the time to install them correctly back then and it was wreaking havoc on the electrical system because I had exposed connections that weren’t fused and the wires were burning up.

Neither of them worked anymore anyway so it was no loss.

I will be reinstalling a keyless entry system eventually, but it will be a respectable brand name, not the cheapest possible set I can find on ebay.

If I do cruise control, I will build it myself. But I have no active plans at all for that.

I blew up my Arduino Nano doing something stupid so I’m waiting for new ones in the mail.

Switec stepper gauges 


I finished up the first side of the gauge conversion to using stepper motors. I sent a board off to be printed last week and it came in today. I hadn’t really given much thought to how I would mount it, but it turned out to be pretty easy once I realized I could mount it to the black faceplate instead of trying to mount it to the blue plastic.


I used two small nylon machine screws, and it looks pretty good! The two screws will be hidden when it’s mounted in the dash.


I uploaded a video of it in action to youtube, and you can see it here:




I had all three items (both stepper motors and the PWM backlight) running off the same input. I don’t think I’m going to need the PWM capabilities on the backlight as I think it looks pretty good at full power. We’ll see how I feel about it when I get it in a car though.


I have 4 extra unused outputs that I could use to do things like set off a warning light if the temp gets too high, or the fuel gets to low. I haven’t given those any thought other than to run them through a MOSfet driver to do somthing. I could very easily use one to control a cooling fan when I go electric.


The new water pump with the pulley and clutch fan came today. I put it all back together and installed it. I have another idea I’m going to try when I try to flush the block out. The nice clean parts look really out of place on that dirty engine! I need to at least take it to a car wash and power wash the engine.


I also got the PCB’s for the power fender mirrors.  I’m excited to get those working!


The mirrors are only held on with a single bolt, and although it’s tight, it’s still relatively easy to rotate the entire body of the mirror. So while I have them off to hook up the wire harnesses I need to figure out how to keep them from rotating.


18RG water pump and t-stat housing

I pulled the entire pump housing of, because I couldn’t get just the pump off. It was very crusty and full of icky rusty gunk. I left straight tap water in it for a long time.

While cleaning it up, I broke a bolt in the water pump housing, then broke an easy out in that. 🙁 Messed it all up pretty good with a drill press. I thought all was lost. It was then suggested to use an end mill. That took care of the easy out, then I drilled, tapped for , and inserted a keensert. (Google it!) I faced it smooth after that because the hole wasn’t deep enough to screw the entire keensert into it, then made new pump mounting studs.

I tapped the other two holes in the thermostat housing and plugged them off.

I sandblasted all of the parts and made them nice looking!

I completely destroyed the old pump trying to press off the fan clutch and pulley. It’s not meant to come off. So I bought another pump, this time with the clutch and pulley. Lesson learned: don’t be cheap.

I need to clean a LOT of rusty gunk out of the block after having left straight water in it for a long time. I’m going to pull the radiator and install the new pump that doesn’t have the pulley. Then make a bucket of diluted CLR and run that through the engine for a while with a drill spinning the pump. Should be interesting!