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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Before I get absolutely spit roasted in here, the point of having and building this car was not, and never will be, to go fast. My goal for this car is to make a mechanically bulletproof and supremely safe handing/driving machine for both my sister and myself. I include my sister in this because I believe once I get a GRC this will be the vehicle she is driving, and I want her to be safe and in something she does not have to worry about being stranded on the side of the road with.

All of that being said, I will outline everything I have done so far and everything I will hopefully be doing in the near future.

This is my 2003 Toyota Camry LE. I purchased it from my girlfriends family for $2000 after both my girlfriend and her little sister drove it through high school. With 69k miles on it, I felt that it was a good deal and that I could breathe new life into the car.

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Speedometer Car Odometer Trip computer Tachometer


Just as many other teenagers who were given a car, they did little to take care of it during their time driving it. When I purchased it, I had no idea how bad the condition truly was. Some things were evident, some were not...
This was one of the evident ones.

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During my drive from her house to where I would be working on the car, I noticed quite a few issues. There was a loud clunking noise from the rear, the engine light was on, and when I pulled into the parking lot where I would be working on the car the temp gauge shot straight up.
As it turns out, the head gasket was blown and leaking coolant into cylinder 4. I saw this once the exhaust manifold was removed and the exit in the head was noticeably wet. After some research into the motor, the 2AZ-FE has a semi common issue where if the motor is overheated bad enough the head will warp and pull the head bolts straight out of the block, threads and all. Thankfully after disassembling the motor, that was not the case.

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My thought was that if I had to do all of this work, I would at least do it right so that I hopefully would not have to do it again for a long time.

So, here is everything that was done powertrain wise:
New OEM oil pump and chain
New OEM timing chain, guides, sprockets, and tensioner
New OEM exhaust cam gear
New OEM intake vvt sprocket and solenoid
New OEM water pump
New OEM front main seal
Head machined and cleaned, .006 taken off
ARP headstuds
Cometic headgasket .030 thickness
New OEM injector seals and filters
New Doorman valve cover, (currently being powder coated in grandma gold)
New Platinum plugs
ACCEL coil packs
New OEM accessory belt and tensioner
Resealed all applicable parts, new gaskets everywhere needed (intake, throttle body, etc.)
Trans filter change, fluid flush, and reseal
New trans cooler lines
New OEM engine/trans mount kit
Mishimoto radiator
Mishimoto low temp thermostat
New OEM coolant hoses (did 2 fluid flushes to removed dried coolant from passageways)
Cometic exhaust manifold gasket

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I don't have a good photo of the engine bay as it is still relatively dirty, and the new valve cover is not done yet.
The car does run and drive at the moment as I drove it last weekend. Once the engine bay is finished I will update with a good photo.

The next step in fixing the car will be everything suspension related.
The suspension parts list is as follows:
K-sport pro street fully adjustable coil overs
Whiteline front lower control arm solid bushings
Whiteline rear lower trailing arm solid bushings
Whiteline camber adjustment bolts
New OEM front lower ball joint
New OEM outer tie rods
New OEM inner steering rack boots
Bridgestone Driveguard 225/40R18s (on sale on tirerack), which will be put on my extra set of EVO X MR BBS wheels.

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Tire Wheel Automotive tire Tread Synthetic rubber


Based on my my calculations with the wheel and tire fitment calculator, the fitment should be perfect. I will be bringing the car to have the suspension work done and car aligned next week so I will also update on that.

After everything mechanical is done, I'll be focusing on interior and then exterior.
The interior is all cloth and the seats have certainly seen better days. From my research it seems that the nicer leather seats out of the solara and ES300/400 bolt right into the Camry. As of this weekend, I will be putting in a much nicer Sony touchscreen stereo with apple car play. That will at least keep me from blowing my brains out from having to listen to talk shows in the morning instead of music.:cautious:
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Once the interior is done, I will turn my focus to the exterior, most notably the paint. There are some very rough spots on the hood that need to be taken care of, and most of the top facing panels are missing almost all of the clear coat. To be completely honest, I don't mind the grandma gold color. I think if I am going to learn to paint and end up repainting the car, I will probably do the exact same shade but with more flake.

As of now that is all I have. I will update with more info and photos soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also... I love seeing rebuilds on these OEM daily commute-type cars. It's satisfying working on a car like this and knowing its rock solid for the next 200K miles.
Exactly. I really believe that I with what I have put in it so far, it will last even longer than another 200k.
This car is also a great investment for me strictly from an insurance perspective. It cost me 80ish dollars a month to insure in Mississippi and I can keep it as my daily and put the GRC under limited mileage to keep the cost down.
 
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Exactly. I really believe that I with what I have put in it so far, it will last even longer than another 200k.
This car is also a great investment for me strictly from an insurance perspective. It cost me 80ish dollars a month to insure in Mississippi and I can keep it as my daily and put the GRC under limited mileage to keep the cost down.
That's exactly my plan as well. I do have a 2012 Honda Fit that I was driving but I recently put it on HyreCar to rent (a passive income idea I've had for a while). And well, it's working a little too well... car was rented in December and I haven't seen it since.

Currently paying me about $275 a week in passive income. So I figure that'll just pay for the GRC lol.

Now I need a new daily smh
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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New stereo installed this weekend. I'm pretty impressed with how it sounds even with stock speakers.
This is actually the first car I've had with apple car play and having nav and music on the screen is pretty cool.

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I'll give you $3500 for it. Think about it, a quick $1500. :ROFLMAO:
Those old Camrys are so dead reliable I would love to have one as a backup car.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'll give you $3500 for it. Think about it, a quick $1500. :ROFLMAO:
Those old Camrys are so dead reliable I would love to have one as a backup car.
Considering I have about 4k in just parts in it now... I'm going to have to pass on that one. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's a bit more out there. 😂

It is my first car.
View attachment 6782
Ya I think that's just a little bit nicer than mine lol.
It's at the shop getting the suspension done today so hopefully the K-sports and BBS look half as good as that fitment.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm sure it'll look great! I for one can't wait to have a Corolla and Camry side by side in the garage. 😂
Agreed.
On a side note, I bet my dad $20 yesterday that the Camry could smoke his 66 small block vette once the suspension and tires are done. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
 
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Agreed.
On a side note, I bet my dad $20 yesterday that the Camry could smoke his 66 small block vette once the suspension and tires are done. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
That's gonna be tough even against a 327 small block, lol. You better cheat if you want to have any chance. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That's gonna be tough even against a 327 small block, lol. You better cheat if you want to have any chance. :ROFLMAO:
Here is my thought; the camry is roughly 300 pounds lighter than the vette and an auto. I don't have to worry about wheel spin or missed shifts. With all the engine and suspension work done, it should be at least close. Of course I hope I win just so I can mess with him until the end of time.

If he beats you, send him to me. I'm the final boss. 😂
He's got to get through the blacklist first.:ROFLMAO:
 

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So this is an awesome thread lol. My grandmother has a 2005 Beige LE Corolla with just 23k miles on it. And she’s about to quit driving. And I already called dibs on the cars as a beater.

I showed her my GR and took her for a spin, she's 88 and cannot comprehend that my car is also just a Corolla.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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So this is an awesome thread lol. My grandmother has a 2005 Beige LE Corolla with just 23k miles on it. And she’s about to quit driving. And I already called dibs on the cars as a beater.

I showed her my GR and took her for a spin, she's 88 and cannot comprehend that my car is also just a Corolla.

View attachment 6786

View attachment 6787
There's something special about old pedestrian Toyotas.
 
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