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Old 06-29-2010, 01:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking 1999 Toyota Corolla with big plans ahead

Hello EcoModder community!

I've been lurking around here for a couple of weeks now, just so happened to stumble upon the site and must say I like this community!

The ideas behind economical driving have always come natural to me since I've been riding bicycles for much longer than I've been driving. In fact I've spent more on the bike I own now than all 3 cars I've owned in the past combined! I had a 1993 Geo Metro for about 4 years but the rings began to stick and eventually started drinking so much oil that it wouldn't do over 15mph... and since my wife and I had our first son around the time that happened and my mom got a new car just before that we inherited a 1999 Toyota Corolla which we are now driving.

I still have the Geo it's sitting at my dad's shop waiting for me to decide if I even want to fix it up and drive it, or just modify the heck out of the Corolla and keep my family in the safer vehicle (things are leaning more towards the latter of that decision). So after a complete motor rebuild, and most likely putting in larger pistons, port and polish of the head that Geo may go up for sale soon.

The plans for the Corolla are extensive. Since I have some experience in composite layup I plan on getting a whole bunch of fiberglass cloth at which point I'm gonna go kinda crazy with making the car lighter. Fiberglass trunk, and hood will be the first and should take about 75lbs or so off of the car, then a nice air dam bumper to reduce air resistance, fiberglass front seats to take another 70+ lbs off the car. And if I can do so without blocking the rear window I'll add a boat tail, but that will require some Lexan work I believe; which I have no experience with.

One of the first things I want to change though is the automatic transmission... It's nice getting a free car, but it sucks not being able to break 40mpg. I have recently found a C64 transmission from a Lotus Elise (the Lotus Elise uses the same engine as our car the 1ZZ-FE engine, or 2ZZ-GE on more recent Corolla's and the Elise both engines use the same transmissions though so I can use the more modern C64 on our older engine :-D ). The asking price is $950 for just the transmission and I suspect it will cost me about $1,500 to do the complete change over. However I feel it's worth the price. Especially going from a 4 speed automatic to a 6 speed manual transmission. I'm not too worried about the cost this time either since my wife and I purchased a home earlier this year we'll be getting a nice $8,000 check from the Government :-D

There is a huge oil leak in the upper engine on this car, which sucks because I have to run very heavy oil to keep it under control. I plan on fixing that some time this month. I'm going to rebuild the head, in the process do a port and polish and go with some light weight Lotus racing valves, some titanium Lotus valve spring retainers, and some racing valve springs. All of which will reduce the engine stress by reducing weight the engine must throw around, and make the valves work more precisely by reducing flex and increasing valve movement speed with less weight. Hopefully the combination of being able to run light weight oil, a lighter engine, and the port and polish job will help increase gas mileage as well.

I have some CGI images of my plans for the aesthetics and aerodynamics of the car, but it'll take me a little while to render all the angles and be able to post them here.

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Old 06-29-2010, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site Archmaille.

Sounds like you are ready to go all out on this. I will tell you right now that the C64 is not a good transmission for fuel economy. It has very short gearing and you'd be better off getting a C59 (5 speed) out of a 98-02 Corolla. That transmission has the tallest 5th gear and final drive ratio (and thats still higher than most of us here would like to see).

The engine mods also sound neat, but I'd highly question the gains you get from them. They sound like horrible bang for your buck mods.

In any case, those are my opinions. Good luck with your car.
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Teh Corolla - '99 Toyota Corolla LE
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Thanks Daox I'll look into the transmission... It'd be cheaper and easier if I could find one in a junk yard around here to strip down anyways, that was the original plan. I've had troubles finding a 5 speed online, and finally found a place that has a few of the C6x series transmissions. I kind of like the idea of having tighter gears, but if it means sacrificing final drive ratios it's really not worth it (especially since it's the more expensive option)

Yeah, the engine mods aren't really meant to increase mileage by a whole ton. They are more for less wear and tear on the engine as a whole. I've got to rebuild the head in order to get rid of this nasty oil leak so in the process I figured titanium valve spring retainers, upgraded valves, and a port & polish job were in order. Of course having a machine shop do all that would be horrendously expensive, but doing so myself really only adds time, and about $50 more than it would be to rebuild the head to stock.
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Teh Corolla - '99 Toyota Corolla LE
90 day: 35.01 mpg (US)

Ron Paul Mobile - '08 Ford Focus SE
90 day: 35.15 mpg (US)

Focus Clean Slate - '08 Ford Focus SE
90 day: 34.2 mpg (US)
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Alright, got a profile picture of my planned aero mods done. I'll get some other pics rendered showing more detail, and the front design better.

P.S. I looked into those gear ratios and you were right Daox the C59 has the highest gear ratio of all the 5 speeds, and the only 6 speed with a higher gear ratio is the C63. I've found that I can buy the final drive gear from Toyota out of a C63 if I do go with the 6 speed tranni but that's quite a bit of money for minimal gains.

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Last edited by Archmaille; 06-29-2010 at 05:59 PM..
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