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Hello, I'm looking at buying an '85 Celica Supra from a family friend, I don't know a lot about these cars and was just hoping I could get some advice on what to look for when I go to inspect its condition. A bit of backstory on it: Single owner, 50,000k on it, runs but needs new fuel pump. the unfortunate part is that it's been sitting outside for 3 winters... basically just hoping to get some info on what to look for on an '85 that's been outside for so long. Thanks!
 

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Hi Devon,

I think that most forum members will agree with me when they say rust and then condition of the trim pieces.

Rust can be anywhere, but look in the area just behind drivers door and in front of rear wheel.

Automotive tire Automotive lighting Hood Motor vehicle Bumper

82_in_Fl pic of his rust restoration here.

This area rusts from the inside out. To look for early rust here, from the inside of the car, pop off the rear seat arm rest and shine a light in. You can see what's being hidden from here.

For an outstanding guide to rust and where it can hide, look at 82_in_fl's restoration thread on this forum. It's outstanding and so is his work! Study this thread and you will have an idea of what to look for.

Supra LS-type restoration

Another show major rust area is at the base of the windshield. There is a cowl trim panel that hides the worst of the damage, but unless you want wet feet in the winter, look here.

Again 82_in_Fl has done amazing work repairing rust here.
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The trim pieces on the card are very difficult to source. The windshield trim, the side window weatherstripping, and the body side mouldings are hard to get if you need to replace them.

These 2 items are my red flags when looking for a Mark II.

Dale
 

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Mechanically, its not too difficult to repair and keep on the road, but be prepared that nobody has the parts in stock locally. You'll have to spend a day or two scouring the internet and then wait on shipping for most every mechanical part. Main thing is the condition of the exterior trim, weatherstrip and interior vinyls. You can spend $6,000-$8,000 to get a decent paint job (plus additional for rust repair) but it won't be worth doing if all the trim and weatherstrip is tatty because you can't get replacements for most any plastic, rubber or vinyl. And you can spend $3,000-$4,000 for upholstery, but again, its not worth doing if there is big crack in the dash or the edges of the center console are all worn away. Being in Canada, you need to look in all the usual places for rust - there's actually some good threads on here regarding rust repair. That can be done, its just sheet metal, but at US $60-85 an hour for skilled labor, rust repair adds up fast so you don't want to have to do too much of it. But hopefully, 3 winters outdoors in Canada won't be too bad. Last three summers outdoors here in Texas and it'd be toast. Fingers crossed for luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you , I'll be looking at the car in the sometime next week I'll definitely take a good look at these areas for rust. I'll post some pictures of it when I check it out. Cheers!
 

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Me and my dad have started making trim for supras but we are in the testing stage so they probably wont be releasing for a while. Rust is bad but I usually don't care too much as long as there isn't any massive holes in structural parts and most of those panels can be fabricated. If you dont know how to fabricate id stay far away from any supra that has rust
 

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To get around NLA issues with electronics, you can retrofit aftermarket programmable EFI system like Megasquirt ~$300-400. Then you don't have to worry about finding ignitors at 2am.
 

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Everyone already mentioned rust and trim, but if you look at my daily driver, clearly those don't matter to me. But as a mechanic and fixer of old barn finds, here are some other areas of concern I'd recommend thinking about...

Rodent damage, could be a deal breaker...

Anything rubber or plastic (trim, hoses, plastic clips, brake lines, ect)

Expect to replace all the fluids (brake, transmission, clutch, diff, engine oil, coolant) and that any of the hydroscopic fluids (brake fluid in piticular) had damaged/corroded lines.

Belts are likely

Expect to replace entire braking system, (calipers seized, rotors rusted, pads shot). Three years in the elements is hard on these parts when never moved and brought to tempature

Tires will likely need to be replaced, and if replacing with the original size difficult if not impossible to find.

Off the top of my head...
 

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Yeah, but 50K kilometers is like 31K miles. Likely this one was in "storage" for a long time. Hopefully it was stored indoors for 33 of the 36 years and only evicted from its garage when they bought a more valuable classic car. If its not terribly rusty and the trim and interior has survived and cleans up well, then its more valuable as a stock restoration and modification would just be throwing money away.

Igniter and most everything else under hood hasn't been heat-cycled very much at all. Electronics are going to be the least of the worries. The biggest thing our OP already knows is the fuel pump is of course toast from the accumulated rust inside the tank. Tank will need to be dropped, cleaned, inspected and perhaps some work done to reseal the tank along with back-flushing the lines, a new fuel filter and possibly injector cleaning.

Other than that, I bet its going to need hydraulic work; a brake master cylinder, caliper rebuilds and clutch master and slave cylinders. Those will have rusted up just like the fuel tank. Hopefully its got the correct Toyota red coolant and it won't have any cooling system corrosion, but that's a remote possibility. Outside of that it will be more minor stuff like the front and rear main seals will have deteriorated from extended periods of no lubrication followed by dry starts. If he starts driving it fairly regularly, he can expect it will start to leak from many different places. Since classic cars don't get driven much, most people live with the drips unless its leaking profusely. None of these should present issues getting parts, tho he may have to purchase an entire engine gasket "set" in order to get one particular gasket.

One more thing to inspect since its been outside storage is less about the car but what's in the car. Look for accumulation of debris in the sunroof drain pan and hoses, in the cowl drain area, and in the area behind the front fenders between the liner and the door. Leaves and dirt get trapped, decay, retain moisture and promote rust. Clean all that out, including taking the bolts loose at the bottoms of the fenders to dump everything that has accumulated in there. Take out the cowl panel and clean out from under it. Also watch out for the work of rodents camping out in the car over winter. They can store hundreds of pounds of nuts and seeds in the car, chew on wires, and they're not housebroken, they don't clean up after themselves.
 
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Outside for 3 winters? Rust and rodents. Also remove the 2 cargo storage panels in the rear to the area around and below the tail lights.
 
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