Original photo uploads from the beginning went walkabout, will try and find them later, but I'll give the crib note version to start:
Bought granny-owned KP starlet 'SPRINT' - the NZ top spec one, supplied with such luxuries as a 1.3l pushrod 4k, 5speed k50 box, larger U-code diff, red and cream bucket seats (!) etc. This was super tidy, bar some paint fade from NZ's harsh UV radiation.
Drove it as-was for several months, then decided to make a few tweaks ahead of the OS Nats 2015. Think RRG down under and you'll be about right. Project thread begins thusly:
So it turns out I'm not very good at keeping project threads up to date. Or using reliable image hosts (facebook? What was I thinking?!).
Also can't seem to find the edit button, so the above posts will have to stay as-is for now.
I'll try and give a bit of info on the direction the little KP has taken over the past 14 months. May well have missed out some major bits, so please comment in discussion thread if I've missed anything vital! Plenty of stumbling blocks in what I naively assumed would be a reasonably easy project, so hopefully some good points come out that will be useful for others. Bear in mind my only real previous projects were stripping a Saxo for track days and modifying my MR2 with new seats, chopped springs and banded steels...
Yes, got some Work Equip 01's from Beaver
Shod them in rubber and got them bolted on. Arch gap present to an alarming degree, but this was imminently pre-nats '15 and I owned a socket set and some screwdrivers.
Plus I was a little busy trying to get some shonky twin 40 DHLA Dell'ortos running. Had never tuned a carb in my life at this point.
Eventually gave up on the rubbish linkage and bought a nice Mangoletsi one from Europe which helped balancing and throttle travel adjustment immensely. Seriously recommend these.
Miracle of miracles, I got the car running pretty nicely on the crabs. New exhaust had turned up the previous day and didn't need to change the tune too much. Would cold start okay, idle happily, keep a sensible temp (I think, lol Toyota gauges) and over my (whole) 30 minute test drive was happy throughout the rev range and emitted plenty of doorts. Oh, this was the night before Nats, sweet.
Nats started wonderfully, did a 4 hour burn up to Taupo after work the night before, stayed the night there, then set off for a further 4 hours to Coromandel the following morning. Cold starting an over-carbed 4k with a loud exhaust in a motel car park at 6am is a fun game.
Got stuck behind a boat trailer on the wiggly Coromandel coastal road for about 40 minutes, meant a lot of partial throttle compared with the all-or-nothing it had been getting up to that point, and that's when I noticed something wasn't right. A bit of hesitancy coming out of corners, a little coughing. Quickly developed to a bigger problem...
Plugs were coked to hell. I knew it was rich (safe, bruh), so cleaned them up and set off again.
Better, but quickly buggered itself again. Noticed fuel pouring out of the rear carb, forming nice little fuelly waterfalls from the trumpets. Damn.
Pulled the carb apart at Beaver's parents place, looked to be a float issue, the pivot for the float had broken and been bodged with a bit of wire at some point. Had worked for a while but the curse word fuel was almost certainly down to that. Abandoned the KP there, it would get shipped back thanks to AA plus (win), and I'd have a fun nats tagging along with Sparkle and Goat.
When I finally got it home, I swapped the original carb and some fresh plugs on to see if it would run. No luck, barely ran on a couple of cylinders, rough as curse word. Suspect overfuelling on 3 and 4 had washed the bores or something? Oh well. Was thinking of getting a 5k (1500cc 'big block' version of the 4k) anyway.
5ks were about $500 at this point for a runner. Not bad. Could rebuild carbs (arguably better suited to a 1.5 than a 1.3 anyway) and swap them over to the BIG BLOCK.
Oops. Looks like it needs a decat too.
Mate back home made me a keyring to celebrate this new direction:
Dragged the little green paperweight to Goat's workshop, and things started happening.
Massive shout-out to Goat at this point, couldn't have gone any further with the car without his help. There are definite downsides to moving to a new country and not knowing anyone, but one of the major upsides is meeting ultimate GCs that are willing to help out at any point.
4k took about 15 nanoseconds to remove.
Pulled off the 4age loom and sent it to that chap on trademe what chops wires. Meanwhile, fitted the SQ engineering waterline and dizzy relocation kits to get things more latitudinal than longitudinal. Lovely quality kits with pimp CNC, nice fittings etc. Shame its all covered up by 20 year old plastics but whatev's.
I'd also picked up an A-series bellhousing pattern k50 gearbox to fit the 4age. Transferred the shifter and tailhousing from the starlet k50 so it'd line up with gbox mount, prop, gearstick hole etc. Handy.
Got the engine and box sitting in the bay on trademe-special mounts (damn it Jim, I'm a vet, not a fabricator) but ran into a slight snag. The capped off dizzy mount was interfering with the firewall and the heater matrix pipes.
Modified the mounting points and moved the engine forward 20mm, and got one of the heater matrix pipes brazed on a little further outboard, and this just about sorted it. Still tight, but no longer interference fit. Obviously this also changed the position of the gearbox, but that would be a problem for another day.
Noticed at this point that the clutch cable locator on the gearbox had been chopped off by some enterprising dick somewhere along the line. Ballz.
Was having second thoughts about using a k50 behind the XTREME POWER 9000 of the blacktop at this point anyway. Suppose a bracket wouldn't be too hard to fab.
T50 is about the same length as a k50, handy. Also came with a beefier and longer corolla prop.
The KP prop was too short, (we moved the engine forward 20mm, remember), so I had the corolla prop shortened and balanced to fit. While I was at the engineers shop I had them braze a second, wider pipe into the fuel tank pickup.
Now using the wide one as the feed to my Carter low pressure lift pump. This sends the fuel forward through 8mm aluminium lines I routed alongside the 6mm factory ones. When it gets to the engine bay it deposits it into an Ali-Express-Special surge tank with an integrated Bosch 044 that supplies the fuel rail. Return from the surge tank runs through the narrower diameter factory fuel lines and back into the tank through the original (narrow) pickup. Seems to work quite well! Hopefully not all too noisy when the exhaust is on, we'll see.
Starting to look pretty good in there now I reckon.
One of the big differences between T50 and K50 boxes is the T50 is hydraulic clutch rather than cable. Came at this from a few angles; ended up buying an ae86 master and slave cylinder, as well as some nice braided clutch line, but didn't want to curse word around with the pedalbox too much. A lot of the modified ones out there looked a bit compromised, with big flex forces on the pedal where bits of steel bar had been tacked on to get it actuating the MC. Bought a pedalbox from an EG civic for super cheapz on trademe and the separate clutch pedal actually looks like a promising alternative. The other route seemed to be to fit a Wilwood pedalbox or similar, like Snoozin' is doing for his. Pimp, but didn't want to rush down that route just yet. I'm 6'2" and was worried that a floor mount pedalbox would sit closer to the drivers seat than the factory one, and I already struggle to get my gangly legs wedged in. Hmm.
At this point, Nats '16 happened, shotgunned my way around for a stress-free time this year.
Found a clone in Horopito, poor thing.
Was having a chat with Beaver, Manu, Goat, Ned and Cam, and one of them suggested a cable fork conversion kit from a company in Ireland. Ideal! Some googling revealed that FLOS.IE was the company that did them. GCs to deal with and did me a discount for sending a k50 donor fork for them to molest into one of these:
Got myself a Christmas present, an N2 style aluminium rear wing. Nicely modelled here by a goat majestically sunning itself in it's natural habitat:
Flippity flip I hate wiring.
Spent ages trying to work out why engine was turning over but not firing. Had spark but no injector pulse. Finally found this absolute treasure trove of 4age wiring goodness. Had to re-wire my fuel cutoff relay circuits to incorporate the ECU starter trigger like so:
A bit of rust to sort in the heater channel, so loom came back out for now (also to solder and wrap properly, rather than the twist-and-tapes that you can see in the video...)
Gave the exhaust bits and bobs a tidy up. It's a 20v manifold (not sure what make, but the bolt spacing is 20v specific), and my original 2" system.
Oh yeah, lows.
Got some other bling from T3, these are just lovely.
Fitted up well (though they sent the wrong bolts with the RCAs). Gave the dust shields and calipers a bit of a spruce before shifting them onto the shiny legs.
Have since swapped the brake lines out for some pimp gold (don't judge me) Hel stainless steel braided ones. Don't trust 32 year old brake lines too much, and while it was all apart... No pics unfortunately.
As for the rear, figured a good low spring/short travel adjustable damper combo would be the way to go. Integrated shock/coilover units are available, but didn't want to go to the lengths of reinforcing turrets/axle spindle etc, at least not yet. If I eventually go T-series rear end that'll be the time for those fun and games.
Seems some people use mk2 escort rear dampers as their short travel shock of choice. With the amount of competition options available for them I thought that'd be a sound choice, so got some GAZ (English company, played with some of their stuff before I came over here) 38-way adjustable shocks for the rear. Should be enough adjustability to get it riding well I hope! Expecting to have to modify the Cobra springs to get them low enough. We'll see.
Current ultimate racecar spec as stands:
Stock kp61 Sprint body
T3 adjustable front coilovers
Cobra superlow rear springs
GAZ adjustable dampers (mk2 escort)
Hel braided SS brake lines
13x7 Work Equip 01s
A-series to K-series engine mounts
Battery relocated to boot.
Stock 4AGE 20v blacktop from a Levin
SQ engineering waterline kit
SQ engineering Dizzy kit
T3 100mm velocity stacks
4-1 20v manifold (unknown brand) with 2" custom exhaust.
1G-GE high torque starter with Niteparts spacer kit
Carter Lift pump/engine bay surge tank/Bosch 044 EFI pump setup
Bit more progress today. Made up some bracketry to mount my generic electric fans to the slam panel, ahead of the ae86 rad. Really fiddly getting them to sit right against the rad without attaching them directly to it, but got there in the end. Even managed to modify the original kp radiator clamps to hold it all in place, pleasing.
Also wrapped the exhaust manifold. Needs a bit more wrapping, but waiting for some more steel ties to turn up.
Wasn't happy with the engine mount setup I had. The A-series to K-series mount adaptors I got came with some rubber mounts that were gradually deforming just having had the weight of the engine on them, not even put any torque through them yet. Grabbed some Landy v8 ones from ebay as they were the same depth but much more solid, see?;
Next on the list was brakes. Car should have a decent amount of go, so wanted some stop to match. Plumped for the MRP kit www.mrpltd.co.nz/product/kp61-starlet-big-brake-kit/ rather than faff around with building something up myself, the KP has a weird system where an offset disk bolts to the back of the hub, curse word mucking about with that. Plus these are pimppppp;
Only pain with them is I specifically ordered a setup to fit behind 13" wheels and they don't fit behind my 13" wheels. The WORKs have an indented lip on the inside barrel that interferes with the caliper. Got some 25mm bolt on spacers to help with clearance, but definitely going to need some serious arch tickling with them on. Problem for future me.
One job I've been putting off for ages is finishing the dash wiring. Bit the bullet today and sorted it;
Now have working oil pressure warning light, charge light, and check engine light. Pleased. Hate getting my head around this sort of thing - ended up bringing in a fused common 12v IGN feed to the back of the gauge to run the new circuits through, since they use a switched earth to complete the light circuit rather than the common earth arrangement that the stock starlet dash uses. I've got a nice custom 10k RPM tacho setup coming that will also tee off of that IGN, so saved myself some work there too.
Left on the to-do list in my head:
-Wire in new tacho when it arrives
-Finish fan switch setup (waiting on a part), fit rad and fans back in, fill with coolant
Fitted all the radiator gubbins back in and filled it up with coolant. Thought I ought to let the old girl put her face on.
She's a pretty lady! Dropped her down on the ground to check wheel clearance after adding the 25mm bolt-on spacers. Sits thusly:
Not insurmountable and almost exactly what I expected, but the bigger issue is that the now-spaced wheels rub the back of the arch on lock, didn't think about that. Hum. Might have to get some less dishy wheels on the front. Anyone got any 13x6 equips?
Oh, filled it up with coolant and brought it up to temp to start getting air out. First time I've been able to get some warmth in this engine, seems to run pretty well!
These ought to solve my offset issues. They have the same rear step as the WORKs, but are a little skinnier with a higher offset. Pair of 13x6.5 +10s, and a pair of 13x7 +15s.
Outer edge of the fronts, with the 25mm spacers, sits only 5mm outboard of where the WORKs sat pre-spacer. Should give me the wriggle room I need. Rears might just get away without an arch roll as well, sit slightly in from the WORKs.
Don't want these to be mint, but they HAVE been sitting in a dude's garage for 15 years, and were corroded to curse word around the bolts.
Pulled the bolts, got some new ones coming. Pulled the shagged valves, got some new ones coming. Got some SSR shank nuts on the way too.
Gave the lips a rub down with some graduated wet-n-dry, and a run over with some polishing compound. Prefer the bare ally finish to the chrome-like reflective finish they ought to be, so I'll probably just clearcoat them like this. Wire wheel and some brake cleaner on the centres and they are ready for paint.
These were originally offered with an orange centre option, and I had some quite close orange paint in stock. The Starlet came with a green and and orange pinstripe down the side (of a green car, with a brown, beige, cream and red interior. Jesus, Toyota), so it should tie into that nicely.
The exhaust I'm using is the same 2" one I'd had made up before 2015 OldSchool nats, when it still had the 4k engine. The chap that put it together made it with a downturned tip, not quite what I was after, but didn't have time to change it at that point.
The 'downturned dumpy' look is a kiwi staple, but I'm really not a fan. It's like this:
Chopped off the curved section. I'd nabbed a nice polished rolled tip recently, one of the ones that has a big jubilee clip inside for holding it on.
The rearmost hanger was in the way, so I umm'd and ahh'd about chopping that off too, welding the tip on, and welding the hanger back onto the outside of the tip.
Went for the slightly easier method of cutting a channel in the tip to slide over the hanger, then clamped it in place. Works well, sits nicely in relation to the body, and both the hanger and the jubilee clip are tucked away under the rear valance. Happy with that.
On a whim decided to offer up the spoiler. Got it in about the right place and marked holes for drilling, but will hold off until I've painted it before I go there. Along the top it's going inside a box section, so will be sealed and riveted on.