Hey everyone. This is my 96 Corolla wagon I got it back in summer 2008. It's an auto (unfortunately) that had 150K at the time. I bought it from my aunt who was the original owner and she's always maintained it at the dealer instead of random shops. So for the condition of the car especially the engine/drivetrain, I got it for a steal. I needed a car better on gas since my Explorer at the time was only getting 13-14 MPG. You've seen photos of it before on Corolla Car Club, Toyotanation and and a build thread on 4AG that I forgot about. I laid low for a few years and just daily drove it for a while but now working on it again. I'll try to post everything I've done from when I got it to what it looks like today.Exterior:
-JDM H4 black housing headlight
-DDM 5000K HID light
-JDM ITR Front lip
-JDM Corolla C*** grill
-JDM Corolla wagon chrome mirror caps
-JDM Corolla clear taillights
-Yakima roof rack w/bike attachment
-AWS window visor and hood deflector
-Rally Armor mudguardsInterior:
-Nardi Classic woodgrain 360mm steering wheel
-NRG 2.0 quick release + hub
-Plaid fabric Suspension:
-Tein S-tech lowering springs
-Tokico Blues HP struts
-Ultra Racing 3 point strut bar. Wheels/Tires:
-15x7 Enkei RPF1 +35 offset
-205/50/15 Kumho AXSEngine:
-K&N stock air filter
-NGK spark plugs
Here's a photo of the car when I first got it at 2008
Cleaned interior and engine bay as much as I could and removed the hub caps. Just drove around with just the steelies for a while until I figured out where to start.
Then I started looking at wheels/tires and suspension. I was on a tight budget (still am) and didn't wanna spend too much but still wanted quality parts. Coilovers were out of the question so I settled for Tein S-Tech springs and Tokico shocks. For wheels/tires I got a set of 15x7 +35 Enkei RPF1 in black with 205/50/15 Kumho tires.
I got some cheap Walmart fogs and Autozone tint for my windows temporarily just to be able to get around at night easier since we don't have street lights here. Living in Arizona it's impossible to drive in the summer without tinted windows since it can hit up to 120 degrees during a July afternoon. I'm surprised at how long the tint has lasted before they started to turn purple. I'll be removing them soon and getting them done professionally.
The car had a lot of faded plastic parts on the exterior so I got this trim paint and repainted the door panels, rain gutter, wipers, roof rack and other plastic pieces.
comparing the old faded one and the newly painted one
after painting the mount
Then I got some hood bra and window visors
Installed on the wagon
Didn't like the chrome lugs that came with the wheels so I got some random black lugs with wheel locks. Looks way better in my opinion.
One day I was adjusting my mirror and just randomly broke it. Didn't have a Corolla at the junkyard so I got one from eBay. It's even cleaner than my broken one.
Went to the store to get some plaid fabric to do my interior. Thought green was the best choice.
Interior shot after putting everything back together
I thought the original roof rack was useless and only good for tying luggages on top so I got some Yakima roof rack for my bike.
The basket case and bike attachment
Installed on the wagon:
My car started to vibrate a lot whenever I drove from 65-75 mph. It would go away when I let off the throttle. After reading some things online and jacking up the car I figured out it was my left CV axles. The boot has ripped and was leaking a lot of oil.
I decided to get both left and right axles so I didn't have to deal with it for a while. I didn't want axles from auto parts stores and couldn't afford OEM axles. After looking around online I heard about Raxles. I called the guy Marty and he was pretty cool and told me they should be better than OEM. I read some reviews on some forums and a lot apparently agrees so I went for it. They were like $80 more for both than auto parts store axles but still a lot cheaper than OEM.
They even gave me a free pocket knife.
I have like three spare keys for my car so I took one of them and grinded it down. I then got one of these switchblade key from eBay and installed the spare there. Looks pretty cool but it's empty inside.
I got some sandpaper and steel wool and tried to polished the stock exhaust. Didn't come out like the way I wanted to but it looked a lot better than it did before. This was the only photo I could find of it.
I was looking around for a strut bar. The 3 point TRD strut bar was out of my budget and I didn't really want the 2 point version. So I looked at Ultra Racing stuff and got their 3 point strut bar. I bought it from Malaysia for pretty cheap with free shipping and only took a week to get here!
Was looking around for some mudguards. Couldn't find any used ones for the wagon so what I did was buy a used set for sedans on eBay. I kept the front ones and sold the rear ones then got some brand new ones from toyotapartscheap.com
Then I ordered a front lip from a JDM Integra Type R. Obviously they were too wide so I had to cut it on the middle and take a small chunk out. Unfortunately, I cut a little too much so there's a half inch gap. I also had to take a little bit of plastic with the sander on the sides so it would mold perfectly with the bumper's shape. When I got all of that done I started to sand it so the primer would stick and then after that I laid a few coats of Black Trim Paint. When it dried I sanded the imperfections
I sprayed a few more coats until the paint look like black plastic instead of flat black paint. Here's a few shots of the lip and mudguards installed on the wagon:
I started to bondo and sand the window panels. They were cracking and chipping off so the chrome metal was starting to show. This was my first time dealing with bondo. I was kinda rushed into it and the results weren't perfect. I'll eventually redo this in the future or at least find some window panels in decent shape to save me the work.
Instead of painting it, thinking this was temporary until I get some panels in better condition, I decided to use this thing called blackout tape. It's this black tape that looks like semi gloss black paint.
The tape is thin yet durable so you can really bend it around without it getting wrinkled. I thought it worked out pretty well. Sure looks a lot better than it did before.
The rear left side of my car was still rubbing on big bumps when I have other people or cargo. So I rented a fender roller to roll the rear fenders some more
Not too long after that I was involved in a hit and run.
After paying the $500 deductible, I got the wagon fixed. Only had to replace the lift gate and repaint the rear bumper
Seeing the rear of my car looking brand new with the new paint and then seeing the hood and roof faded didn't sit too well with me. After some saving up, I thought it was time to get it repainted. This was still my daily so i wasn't ready to shell out two grand to repaint the whole car. After talking with body shops trying to get the best deal, I settled for one with a good reputation. He gave me a decent deal to get the whole roof, pillars and hood repainted. I don't have any photos of the car when I dropped it off before it was repainted but if I find it I'll post it here. Here's a photo of when I got it back though. Decided to ditch the hood bra. They polished the whole car which was pretty cool considering other shops didn't offer that service. They figured it would help match the new and old paint. So now even the old paint was more glossy than it was before.
I got the car back on Friday the 13th. This was the total bill for the paint job…crazy.
My headlights were getting more and more yellow no matter how much i wet sand it. I think the UV protection was gone by then causing it to yellow. I don't have the money to convert to H4 and get real Koito headlights yet so I settled for eBay ones. Also got some DDM HID lights in 5000K. I've had them for a few years now and have not once failed it on me so I recommend them if you're looking to get some HID.
Also got a good deal on a cluster with a tach since mine didn't come with one. I adjusted the odometer with a tiny flathead to match mine.
Wayyy better than my old headlights
And then this happens. I swear I have the worst luck. Luckily, the other driver had insurance this time. Her Nissan Versa was wrecked and looked worse than mine so it's not like she could take off.. Thought newer cars were suppose to be stronger haha. This is exactly the reason why I only got the top of the car repainted. My car constantly gets scratched or dented in parking lots especially with shopping carts.
I just put on some red tape and drove the wagon like this for a while. I was busy with finals for a couple weeks.
I dropped my car off to the same body shop that repaired my rear end the first time I got rear ended. My insurance was able to provide me a rental car so it was all good. Things got complicating when the body shop took it apart and realized there was more damage. They thought they only needed to repair the quarter panel and get a new bumper and left taillight. Apparently, the rear bumper reinforcement was damaged too. What was supposed to be a two week job ended up being one and a half months. I dropped my car off mid May 2013 and didn't get the car back until early July 2013. Not once did I see it which got me worried but luckily they parked it in a storage. The reason it took forever was because they couldn't find a rear bumper reinforcement. Toyota obviously doesn't make them anymore so their only choice was to find a used one from a junkyard. Seeing as these wagons are less common than sedans, it was a lot harder to find one. They searched every junkyard in the U.S and was able to find four. The first three were either damaged or cracked. One had bondo on it so the insurance rejected it all for safety reasons. I was losing hope and was scared they were gonna total it. Finally they got the fourth one and it was in decent condition. Needless to say I have the last rear bumper reinforcement in the U.S so the next time I get rear ended that's it. I finally got my car back and the total for parts and labor including the rental car that I had for 45 days was just under $5000. Insurance was pissed cause if they knew all of this would happened, they would have totaled the car.
The rental car I put 2000 miles on just because
When I got it back and after putting the parts back…fresh paint!
I started getting a few tiny rock chips on the hood from the constant driving on interstates driving back and forth from AZ to NV. I thought it was time to get a bug deflector. I'm not a fan of the way they look but seeing how my car is dark and both are glossy, I thought it would blend in well…and it did. You can barely tell it's there. Plus they match the window visors.
I've been wanting a new wheel for a while but just could never find a good deal on one. I was looking around eBay and got this Nardi woodgrain wheel from Japan used. When I got it it was basically brand new. The only signs of use was where the bolt goes in the wheel. Other than that it was perfect.
I just kept it for a while until I could find a good deal on a hub and quick release. A month later I was able to get some NRG hub and quick release 2.0 during a sale.
Installing the hub after wiring my ghetto horn setup haha.
On the wagon…I wanted the polished one but I figured black suits my car better. Plus it was basically brand new!
That's basically up to date. Hope you guys dig it.