Upgrade outline, ideas & suggestions

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  1. #1
    crashtest dummy turbo MKI's Avatar
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    Upgrade outline, ideas & suggestions

    Since there seems to be quite a growth of MKI interest lately - I've been wanting to put a list of performance ideas together for everyone... Hopefully you'll find some of this useful:

    As many of you know from my turbo MKI or w/ your own - the suspension is one of the biggest problems. For shocks, I think Tokicos are certainly the way to go. If you are looking for more of a selection - Camaro rear shocks are a direct fit, so that opens alot of options. For the fronts - I am pretty certain that I used MKII strut cartriges (in the MKI assembiles) way back when I first got my PP MKI - they are slightly different but do fit so that offers a few more choices. For springs, there are several choices depending on how you want to go about it. If you search for parts that are for the '81 and earlier celicas, you'll find that Dobison and possibly Whiteline still carry springs. Aside from that, Ground Control makes a coil over kit for the earlier celicas, but the other kits available for the MKII could work as well. Not sure how much stiffer or lower (if any) the PP (performance package) springs are - I never thought to compare them back in the day and now I dont even know which ones are what I pulled out of my PP MKI... MKII springs wont fit on the back and the front springs have an overall larger diameter but can fit - I've done it (my white MKI has Suspension Tech springs for a MKII upfront), but you need to use the MKII spring cap and I ended up cutting the spring slightly to get it to all sit right. Also, I have figured out a few ways to get the entire MKII strut assemblies on the MKI (that is what my black PP '81 has on it since the late '90s; I used tokico struts w/ K-Mac springs). It takes a bit of work and has some minor side effects, but the results are huge...
    For rear springs, numerous other springs can work - in my PP MKI, I'm using MKIVtt rear springs; for the turbo MKI, I'm using '93 Mustang Cobra springs - both were cut slightly to get the ride height I wanted.
    After that, the bushings seriously need attention - Energy Suspension makes everything needed, as does SuperPro. Swaybars are another real weak point - the difference from driving my '81 PP MKI to any of my other MKI's back to back is absolutely unreal (even from back when it was stock). Getting the PP bars is ideal. Even though the front bars are laid out basically the same as the MKII, the MKI is narrower so no luck there. Its been a while, but I think its Whiteline who carries upgraded bars for the MA4X.
    After addressing all these issues, the wheel hop problems will be improved but you're going to see how the rear suspension geometry is all wrong and going to need to start getting creative. For the turbo MKI, I made new beefier control arms that also changed the pinion angle which really helped. T3 makes a complete set of adjustable rear control arms but they are expensive. They also have an adjustable panard bar as well (as does Whiteline if I remember correctly). I think its Whiteline as well who carries a front strut tower brace, but I just modified one to fit (I believe it was from an accord).
    In general, there are many things that are available (or will work) for our MKI's, but much of it is just listed for the '81 and earlier celicas (as well as some parts for the solid axle '82-'85s).

    Now the brakes - there isnt alot you can do w/ a small non-vented rotor, but.... On my turbo MKI, I used solid Brembo rotors - I would certainly stay away from cross drilled - they will hurt more than they help. A slotted rotor would work but for the price, you'd be better off just going w/ a high quality solid rotor. Brembos are the best available period, but they can be hard to get - often back ordered and listed oddly (be careful not to get the ones for the same generation celica as they are different). I've used Bradi's before and they are just as good (made in italy as well), slightly cheaper and were easier to get. I use Metal Master pads - I think they are the best available for the money and performance. I also had S/S lines made up front and back. You can use the MKII or MKIII brake masters as well. W/ all that, it will be a huge difference from the original stuff but still have its limitations. On my PP MKI, I have the MKII strut assemblies w/ the MKII brakes - w/ solid brembos and metal masters, it is my best braking Supra I own period! Its unreal how much difference it made.

    As for more power - there is plenty to do w/ the 5M-E... I cant remember all the details of what all I have done to my PP MKI but I'll try. Using an '82 MKII AFM is a 'direct' swap - and then use a cone filter. I'd get rid of the intake silencer as well - I made a 3" 1 piece intake tube for my PP MKI (similar to the ones for the MKII). All of this made a huge difference. After that, the exhaust is a huge restriction - mainly those damn converters! I made a 2.25" mandrel bent exhaust from the manifold back to a Dynomax SuperTurbo muffler. For a header, there is one that is said to be a direct fit for the MKI from a company called Paeco but they are pricey ($400+). One for a 5M-GE could possibly be made to work - the bolt pattern of the exhaust manifold is exactly opposite of the 5M/6M/7M-GE's, the actual exhaust ports line up perfectly; the mounting flange could just be flipped over. The one thing I havent confirmed and am uncertain about is if there would be any clearance issues down by the steering linkage. I also can not say how this would effect the powerband as the headers for the 5M-GE are designed for a higher reving twincam motor... To upgrade the ignition, the '84+ coil and igniter set up can be made to work and would be worthwhile upgrade. I run NGK V-power coppers gapped between .040-.045. I made up some 8.5mm wires from Crane. W/ these mods and if your motor is in good condition, you can run the timing between 13-15 degrees (w/ premium of course), just make sure that the vac advance is working...
    One thing I have yet to do but have half assed test fitted is use a 5M-GE throttle body. There is a huge difference in size (the one on the MKI is shaped like an hour glass w/ a butterfly about the size of a 50 cent piece - if that!). It has the same 4 bolt pattern and will work w/ out too much trouble....
    I suggest using a 180 thermo as the single cam motors seem to run pretty hot... Both of my MKI's have MKIII rads in them but to be honest - the MKI, MKII and MKIII all have the same size core so its of little advantage. I use the 7M-GTE clutch fan set up on my PP MKI which helps...

    A few random tidbits - the '82 MKII ECU works w/ the MKI (I cant confirm for the '79), but I'm certain it works w/ out issue in both the '80 and '81 - though I noticed no real gain using it. Also - the external MKII fuel pump will fit and work w/ the MKI - just have to extend the wires. W/ a little work - MKII P-type seats fit pretty nice in the MKI. The one bolt hole needs to be enlarged and the lower seat section needs to be narrowed slightly (just bent by hand).
    I use W-58 tranny's as they are about 50lbs lighter and shift better than the original W-50 trans. The gearing is slightly different but its not drastic... The MKI clutch set up is much smaller than the 5M/7M-GE ones. You can upgrade to the later set up, you just need to use the matching flywheel. I didnt realize this at the time, so I just ended up using a MKI CenterForce DualFriction in my PP MKI - the only good thing about it is that the MKI flywheel is several pounds lighter...
    The MKII LSD section is a direct swap into the MKI rear. It will work fine for a mildly mod'd car, but I blew up several of them w/ the 7M-GTE - though I account most of that from the terrible wheel hop and that I was just using random used units that I had. Many of us learned relatively recently that some of the Canadian MKI's have factory LSDs and would be good if you can get one - though it is a weaker set up/ older design than the MKII LSD so no idea how much it could handle. For anyone wanting to go beyond that, the trutrac, powerbrute, lockers, etc... will fit as well.

    W/ much of what is listed above, my PP MKI has run 15.3 @ 93 mph w/ crappy 2.3 60' times. It has about 207K original miles on it now but back a few years ago it put out 145HP and 173 ftlbs of torque.
    For more power beyond all of this, 5M-GE or 6M-GE swaps are actually pretty easy and are really impressive in the MKI. Getting the 7M physically in the MKI is just as easy, though its a little more involved to get it all to work. The real challenge is actually getting the rest of the car to handle the power.

    Please take these suggestions for what they are worth; simply ramblings of my experiences. I did some of these upgrades 5-10 years ago on my '81 PP. I did the 5M-GE motor swap to my '80 back in '01 or so and then did the 7M-GTE swap to my white '81 shortly after - so I'm doing the best I can w/ the memory I got
    Last edited by turbo MKI; 05-07-2009 at 11:48 AM.
    damon
    '76-'77 Celica GT's (x3)
    '81 MKI Supra's (x3.5)
    '82-'86 MKII's (lost count)
    '88 Celica all-trac
    '88 2WD Truck
    '87t -'90t MKIII's

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  3. #2
    CelicaSupra.com Member Tire Shredder's Avatar
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    Good write up Damon, I'm sure it will be helpful to some members on here.

    Do you see any solution to the large amount of wheel hop the car has when power is applied? New trailing arms would add strength, and the panhard bar would add lateral strength but those shouldn't help wheel hop. Is fabrication and engineering the only answer?
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  4. #3
    crashtest dummy turbo MKI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tire Shredder
    Good write up Damon, I'm sure it will be helpful to some members on here.

    Do you see any solution to the large amount of wheel hop the car has when power is applied? New trailing arms would add strength, and the panhard bar would add lateral strength but those shouldn't help wheel hop. Is fabrication and engineering the only answer?
    Thanx Steve. From what I learned - no matter what, just replacing stock parts will not solve the wheel hop problem. W/ my turbo MKI over the last few years - I used 3 different sets of rear springs (trying different ride heights as well), about 7 different sets of rear shocks and probably 10 different sets of rear tires - that along w/ the urethane bushings really helped compared to back when it was all stock - but certainly still didnt get rid of it completely. W/ the last combination I had on there - it actually hooked up pretty well as far as traction goes - but it still hopped violently under hard acceleration (when it would spin); that's in a straight line from a start, from a roll, while turning, on all types of pavement (even when wet), etc... It wasnt until I made up new control arms that it almost eliminated the issue all together - it still would hop slightly every once in a while but nothing else I had tried made as much of an improvement. I believe that the next step is adding sub-frame connectors, bracing up the control arm mounting points and undoubtedly a roll bar/ cage.
    damon
    '76-'77 Celica GT's (x3)
    '81 MKI Supra's (x3.5)
    '82-'86 MKII's (lost count)
    '88 Celica all-trac
    '88 2WD Truck
    '87t -'90t MKIII's

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  6. #4
    CelicaSupra.com Member Xeno_omega's Avatar
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    Awesome writeup damon. Good to see you finally had time to write what you had been planning for quite a while.
    This should be stickied!
    Chris G
    84 Super Red 1jzgte p-type
    85 Black 7mge p-type
    94 Renaissance Red 2jzgte 6-speed TT

  7. #5
    Thanks for the write-up Damon!!! This will come in handy.

    So I'll throw in my 2 cents worth of shiznit.

    Swaybars: Stock vs. Performance Package.

    Yes, there is a difference. Small in front, very obvious in the rear.

    Stock: Front: 22mm. Rear: 14mm.

    Performance Package: Front: 24mm. Rear: 17mm.

    Bushings. PST does offer the PolyGraphite set for the MKI as well. Full set for the front, for the rear, they only offer the bushings for the trailing arms (similiar to what they offer for the rear control arms for the MKII).

    Brake Rotors: Hrmm... Last time I had a chance to look inside the Parts listing catalog for Brembo, I was told that they don't have rotors available for the MKI & I would have to order some other oddball brand.

    Pads: I know at least as of 3 years ago, KVR did have a set of CF pads for the MKI. I still have a set in the boxes waiting for install in the Slug. Still getting conflicting feedback on these pads. Some have said that if you're pretty easy on them, they work very well & don't admit much brake dust on the wheels. Others have said that if you are really hard on them (esp if you are doing laps on a track) then they will eventually chew up rotors. Guess we'll find out.

    Damon is right on the Tokico HP struts/shocks. Firms up the car pretty well, much more so, than on a MKII.

    As some of you know from 3 months ago, I had the opportunity to see & touch a set of the Performance Package springs (see the "Pillage" thread). Was not able to get them off before the car had to be hauled away. Was on our list of things to do, but hauler would not take the car w/ no springs in it. So they had to stay. Did pull the PP swaybars, they are stashed away at the moment.




  8. #6
    thank you damon, phil told me about car in a phone conversation and i was hoping youd share some knowlage with the mk1 crowd. wow i think theres alot of renewed interest in these cars and i think its awesome.

  9. #7
    CelicaSupra.com Member Dangerous Ken's Avatar
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    Good to hear from you Damon.

    Earlier this year I picked up a black 81 w/5mge.

    thus,

    will add to thread as it gets suspension and 6m

    Ken

  10. #8
    crashtest dummy turbo MKI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSREDPRA
    Thanks for the write-up Damon!!! This will come in handy.
    So I'll throw in my 2 cents worth of shiznit.

    Swaybars: Stock vs. Performance Package.
    Yes, there is a difference. Small in front, very obvious in the rear.
    Stock: Front: 22mm. Rear: 14mm.
    Performance Package: Front: 24mm. Rear: 17mm.

    Bushings. PST does offer the PolyGraphite set for the MKI as well. Full set for the front, for the rear, they only offer the bushings for the trailing arms (similiar to what they offer for the rear control arms for the MKII).

    Brake Rotors: Hrmm... Last time I had a chance to look inside the Parts listing catalog for Brembo, I was told that they don't have rotors available for the MKI & I would have to order some other oddball brand.

    Pads: I know at least as of 3 years ago, KVR did have a set of CF pads for the MKI. I still have a set in the boxes waiting for install in the Slug. Still getting conflicting feedback on these pads. Some have said that if you're pretty easy on them, they work very well & don't admit much brake dust on the wheels. Others have said that if you are really hard on them (esp if you are doing laps on a track) then they will eventually chew up rotors. Guess we'll find out.

    Damon is right on the Tokico HP struts/shocks. Firms up the car pretty well, much more so, than on a MKII.

    As some of you know from 3 months ago, I had the opportunity to see & touch a set of the Performance Package springs (see the "Pillage" thread). Was not able to get them off before the car had to be hauled away. Was on our list of things to do, but hauler would not take the car w/ no springs in it. So they had to stay. Did pull the PP swaybars, they are stashed away at the moment.
    Thanx Chris. That ES Bushing kit for the rear is pretty decent and has the bushings for the panard bar as well - I cant remember what it cost off the top of my head but it was very reasonable. No matter which brand - every MKI needs firmer bushings for the rear atleast - the stock bushings where crap even when new. There is a noticable difference.
    I got the Brembo's for my turbo car back when I first built it so that was in '01 or so - it was a real PITA but I did eventually get them. I can try to see if I still have the part #s around...
    I'm not sure how the KVR's would do on the MKI but I've used both the metal masters and KVRs on MKII, MKIII and others - The KVR's are good, better than any OEM pad but I still favor the MM's for most applications. No matter what - MM's, KVR's, Performance Frictions, etc... are not intended for heavy track use - its just past there sustained temp range, just like any endurance pad would be well under their intended operating range on the street; but they are a great compromise of price and performance for the street.
    Dont feel too bad about those PP springs Chris, if there is any difference, its minor (still too soft). I just wish I could remember which springs are which so I could atleast know if they are in fact different (height and/ or stiffness)... Back when I pulled them out, I didnt have as much stuff and didnt think to tag or mark them...
    damon
    '76-'77 Celica GT's (x3)
    '81 MKI Supra's (x3.5)
    '82-'86 MKII's (lost count)
    '88 Celica all-trac
    '88 2WD Truck
    '87t -'90t MKIII's

  11. #9
    crashtest dummy turbo MKI's Avatar
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    Thanx jgae8612a, its only a minor contribution compared to some of the guys on this forum but hopefully it can help someone...
    Hey Ken, good to hear from you as well. I've seen a few pics of that GE-MKI you have but dont really know too much about it; I'd like to hear more... So how many MKI/ MKII cars/ projects do you have going now?
    damon
    '76-'77 Celica GT's (x3)
    '81 MKI Supra's (x3.5)
    '82-'86 MKII's (lost count)
    '88 Celica all-trac
    '88 2WD Truck
    '87t -'90t MKIII's

  12. #10
    Damon,

    Hey Ken, good to hear from you as well. I've seen a few pics of that GE-MKI you have but dont really know too much about it; I'd like to hear more... So how many MKI/ MKII cars/ projects do you have going now?
    Actually he "had" 1 1/2 81 MKI's. First one is the obvious one. Run a search using the members profile & look for old postings from Sam O'Holloran (Black_Dawg). I remember he did post quite a bit about the mods that he did to the car. Basically, it's a Black MA47, Hardtop, Slushbox, Black/Gray Cloth interior.

    The "half" car that Ken bought was the Black Partsmobile that was featured in the "Pillage" thread. Black MA47 w/ the Performance Package, Hardtop, 5-speed, Beige leather. Myself & Carfreek pretty much gutted out everything out of the interior that we possibly could, but we could not get much out of the running gear. Car still had to be "mobile", otherwise the wreckers/hauler would not take it.

    He "almost" picked up a White 81 that someone in Colorado was selling, but he was unable to swing it. Looked pretty nice.

    Unfortunately, I've lost track as to what exactly he has in his MKII L-Type collection. He's always on the lookout for L-Type hardtops!!




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