Posted 29 November 2005 - 12:32 PM
I'll add some things from my post on NHQ, since much of what I had to say was already posted.
I've played with cars since I received my first car, a hand me down 1975 Maverick, back in 1981. How many of you were born then? I did my first engine swap a year later, and rebuilt the top of my first Chrysler V8 in 1985. I've been a gas monkey and mechanic helper before college, and have owned a dozen cars in my lifetime.
So, with that said, here goes.
The guys are right when it comes to spending more on parts and stuff than the price of the original car. Yes, if you sink 5 large into a Celica, you'd have a pretty nice looking ride, but is that what you REALLY want, or is it something you're settling for that's not what you want, but just took whatever came along when opportunity struck.
Here's what I've learned over the years, especially with a first car, to improve performance with not too much money spent.
1) Lighten the car. If you can remove as much extemporaneous weight in the form of speakers, trim pieces, extra cosmetic pieces...lighter is better. It may be harder to do than the old clunker's I used to play with, since older cars had more heavy bumpers and chrome and stuff. It may also be illegal in your state to remove the bumpers from your car, but if you take out the steel inner bumper and keep the plastic cover on, you shed up to 150 pounds from total weight. Just don't get into an accident or you'll eat it.
2) Get the car tuned up and mechanically sound. All the add-ons (intake tube, headers, exhaust etc.) will be of marginal gain if, say, you have a vacuum leak somewhere, or if your car isn't tuned up properly, etc. If you're learning about cars, this is the perfect place to start, with basic preventive maintenance and upkeep. Get a Chilton's manual for your car, before you buy any other parts. That will be your bible for working on it.
3) Keep your expectations realistic. It's a 1.6 liter, almost 3000 pound car. If you had a Supra, you'd have a lot more in the way of out-of-the-box performance, but just be satisfied with what you have. The intake tube, header, and exhaust may make the car sound better, but it really won't make your Toyota beat say, an Integra Type R, or Lancer, or other rice burner. And forget about taking on any V8s.
Sound? What is it about folks wanting a car that "sounds" good, but can't move along? I'd rather have a quiet, fast car; a sleeper, if you will.
My '90 Honda Civic, which I bought new and still own, has about 100,000 miles on it. The only thing I added was a 2 1/2" exhaust system with a turbo muffler and a glass packed tip (to be as quiet as possible). I keep the 1.6 engine in as good a shape as possible, tune up once a year, and change oil and filter twice a year. These are things that any high mileage car must have to stay allive, much less to perform well.
My wife drives the car primarily now, and my toy is our company F-150 with Flowmasters that makes plenty of noise (and power to boot) while hauling garbage to the dump, or cargo from the wharf.
Some people talked about engine swapping. That's fine, but you'd better be really prepared and committed to do one. Engine swapping isn't as hard as it looks, provided you have the proper books and manuals to show the way. Chilton's is a good place to get your swap manual.
I did an engine swap, took out the six-cylinder from my '75 Ford Maverick, and dropped in a 351 Windsor V8. Quarter mile times went from 20 seconds down to 14. And that was BEFORE any modifications to the engine.
If you can find the engine with the most power that will drop in, that in itself may be the most cost-effective performance modification you can do. I got my engine in a junkyard for $50, and it took another $300 or so in parts from NAPA to get it all in. Rented the hoist and power tools, did it right in my friend's driveway in about 2 days (non stop). It may be different with a later model import, but heck, it was a fun learning experience for me, as it can be for you.
Bottom line--if you're happy with your Celica, and hot-rodding it, that's your perrogative. Not everyone will agree with what you want to do with it, as people criticized my Maverick, '76 Chevy Nova, '68 Plymouth Barracuda, Buick Regal, 3 Honda Civics, Honda CRX, Chevy Lumina, Nissan King Cab, and the vehicles I drive today.
Do it your way. Just know that you can't please everyone, so it's useless to get overly defensive. If you think criticism on a forum board is bad, wait 'til you get harassed on the street for a race.
-Piney- of White Dog Hobbies Armory
<!--quoteo(post=209846:date=Feb 5 2009, 06:27 PM:name=boom)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(boom @ Feb 5 2009, 06:27 PM)
It's to bad you live in hawaii I bet there are not many wars there.Wait what am I saying<b> you live in hawaii you lucky bastard.</b>