I have been planning (as I'm an epic note/spreadsheet keeper; a requirement with the number of projects I'm constantly juggling) on upgrades and the like since the idea to pick up a T4WD (a whole other ordeal that led me to this one) popped into my head. Have been creeping here, bookmarking posts with good info, and bit by bit acquiring parts and ideas as plans can get much bigger when the car is already in a non-running condition.
So with less rambling (no guarantees) and more lists, here's the major points of the plan:
- 7AFE shortblock
170k mile 7AFE arrived yesterday and is next to be torn down to ready it for rebuild. Will of course involve the drivetrain drop to clear the hood as I don't want to cut a hole or do other mods that I don't think will blend well. I've seen multiple threads referencing the drivetrain drop, but haven't seen anyone that's actually done it yet, so if you know of the threads that actually reference doing the drop, I'll gladly take the links and thank you immensely. Will also be addressing the oil pan clearance issue which I've seen referenced, may just have to make a sheet metal oil pan to clear everything if I can't find anything off the shelf from another Toyota engine. Will take pictures of the two engine pans side by side for measurements and reference for others (I plan to do so all the way through the project).
- 4AGE head
Picked up a complete bigport 4AGE head off an AW11 MR2 for $75 from a guy I stalked at a donut shop (long story). One extra plus for this is that the distributor is on the driver's side front, so no firewall clearancing required to get the engine in the Tercel. If the TVIS fits well and I can figure out an easy way to control it, I'll keep it; otherwise I'll deal with the drop in low-end torque by getting rid of it. Might just keep it off entirely as this is just meant to be a fun car to drive around and play in the dirt on family/friend's land. I'm aware that I'm doubling the power and torque going through our hen's teeth transmissions and any little bit of relief will help as I intend to baby the transmission as much as possible.
- 4AGE smallport (SP) pistons, 4AGE head gasket
With the 4A head on the 7A block compression need might need to be addressed. From what I've found 3AC is 9.0:1, 4AGE bigport (BP) is 9.4:1, 7AFE is 9.5:1. Running numbers I've found online options are as follows:
7A pistons, 7A head gasket - 9.04:1
7A pistons, 4A head gasket- 8.67:1
4A SP pistons, 7A head gasket - 11.67:1 (or 11.3:1)
4A SP pistons, 4A head gasket - 11.02:1 (or 10.6:1)
Thoughts on this is that if I'm having to rebuild the engine, might as well go ahead and get a little bump in response and power out of it while I'm at it. Since 4A SP pistons share the same wrist pin diameter as 7A pistons, they're a direct swap. The parentheses are there as the first number is my math based on what I've found online for all the measurements of the 7A and 4A, the second is the compression ratio provided by AE86 guys and what they use as their reference for these, original author unknown. Of course if my numbers are wrong, then they're all high and the 9.0:1 7A/7A setup is actually 8.6:1 and lower than I'm willing to go, so I'm thinking I'll err on the side of caution and just use 4A SP pistons and gasket to not have to worry about it at all. Buying super unleaded doesn't bother me.
9.0:1 is acceptable, 11.0/10.6:1 is also acceptable, so those are the two directions I'm looking and will decide later after more research.
- Speeduino ECU
Had a couple of these made for me by a coworker, one for the Tercel and one for my buddy's D21 that'll be getting an engine swap soon, nice little bit of kit and will be just the ticket for this build. First time using a Speedunio, but not my first time tuning a standalone so just a matter of adapting to its quirks and getting it done. Thankfully on a non-performance, non-forced induction, non-racing application like this the wiring and setup is very simple. Also the circuit board for mine is in that older style yellow/orange/brown color that will more closely match the interior with the clear case I'll make for it to mount in the glove box.
- Modest Lift
The ever present item mentioned by all. Enough lift to put some chunky rubber underneath it, but not enough to make buying new axles a grocery list item.
- Enkei EK81 14" wheels
Also picked these beautiful period correct wheels up from the AW11 guy for $175.
Tercel has a few rust spots on the body, these will be addressed, corrected, and protected. I don't intend to have less and less car every time I go outside.
- Brake upgrade
Recently came across this link and will also be upgrading stopping power as it's been a concern of mine since I started looking to upgrade things. Brakes are usually the first item I improve on my performance oriented projects. They aren't exciting to most, but it keeps the car together and helps to get you home each night. The larger brakes should fit under my new wheels and I'll decide what I'll do for the rear as I won't be upgrading to 15" wheels and I don't know if that user took braking force balance into account.
- Maintenance, reliability, longevity, fabrication
Every gasket, bushing, bearing, sleeve, etc. that I can find will be replaced. Every one that I can't find that needs replacement will be fabricated. Of course will be fabbing headers, full exhaust, skid plate, and anything else that comes along. Not sure if I'll make my own aluminum radiator or hire that out. I already have a lot of parts as I prepped to get this project going, but won't bore y'all any further with every little minute item. MT-90 in the transmission, but I still need to research what's best for our cars for the rear diff oil (suggestions/links?).
Getting it running well is first priority, after that I'll go for aesthetics. Current plan is to fab some plate bumpers front and rear, spare tire holder on back bumper, white bed liner paint job, Truck-lite LED headlights (already have these, just not installed), possibility of LED light bar or older style round spotlights on roof rack(undecided), possibility of period correct/inspired vinyl (I have a vinyl cutting/sign/sticker business), possibility of fender mirrors, and green mudflaps because I just want some green mudguards for some reason (will probably 3D print these).