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1988 Toyota Supra
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I took the time to take a few quick photos of my new project car. I'd like to preface this post by saying I am a total noob in the automotive industry, as well as the whole world of cars.
I'm totally in over my head with this project but I have a lot of resources available and some very knowledgeable people behind me if I ever need help.
That being said, I am using this car as a platform to get more familiarized with doing automotive repairs. I'm a tow operator for an auto repair shop and have been working in the shop learning and lubing for a little under a year.

I was lucky enough to acquire the Supra from my dad, who had parked it 4ish years ago and recently decided to let me have it and bring it back to life.
There's quite a bit of things that need addressing with this car and I know I will miss some stuff but here's what I know so far.

1. The transmission has some kind of issue, it acts fussy according to my dad. I need to look more into it to actually know what's wrong but from what he's said it sounds like a shift solenoid?
2. It has major rust rot along the front windshield pillars. The window actually lifts away from the body about a 1/4in.
3. Possible exhaust leak somewhere, not sure yet.
4. Hazards work, turn signals do not.
5. Temp, tac, and fuel level gauges are all inop.
6. Dome lights do not work.
7. Car was originally parked because it ate oil according to my dad. After going through the engine bay it appears to have had some pretty good leaks somewhere. Lot's of caked on grime. Once car gets warmed up enough (takes about 6 miles of driving through rural backroads) it starts smoking from the exhaust manifold side of the motor. \
8. Redo entire front end suspension, and some of rear. The thing feels like a boat the struts are so shot. It's the sports package Supra and came with the TEMS but I plan on removing those modules and looking into coil over suspension.
-with those modules gone I'm probably going to figure out something silly to do with my sport button but thats far down the road.

Once I get the car ready to pass smog here in California there's a lot more I want to do with the car. From what I've read theyre the perfect platform for minor modifications and these are just some ideas.
-Back seat delete- I am a pretty big guy, 6'1" and about 290lbs so I like my legroom. I don't intend on ever having more than one passenger and I feel like that space is perfect for my car audio related stuff.
-Repaint once the rust rot is taken care of-
-As many things as I can do to increase performance while staying CARB compliant. This car is just going to be meant as a cruiser but I'd like some sporty action as well.

That's about all I can think of at the moment but I'm sure many things will follow as this thread progresses. Looking forward to sharing my fun with this awesome helpful community.
-Ryan

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1988 Toyota Supra
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That rust around the windshield is personally the worst I have ever seen in an a70, if the car stays outside I would recommend finding some form of sealing it off since almost all of your electrical connectors and anything powersource related inside the vehicle are below both corners of the windshield, a leaking windshield now can lead to a nightmare later when corrosion forms. Who knows, it could be a cause of many of your issues that you have now depending on how long it has been bad enough to possibly leak. I'm not trying to scare you out of the car in any form at all since the more a70s on the road the better, but maybe at least get a ballpark quote for that rust repair to get an idea if this shell is overall worth your time or not. Again, not trying to say ditch the car, I just know rust repair can get very expensive very quickly, especially in a complex multi seamed spot welded area such as around the windshield. The rest of the issues seem to be trivial in comparison and probably easily fixed so I wouldn't put a ton of weight to them vs the windshield personally. Welcome to the world of old supras! It's a frustrating, but ultimately super fun thing to be a part of, and the community is great.
-Corey
That would make a lot of sense that it would be causing my electrical issues. I guess the car had a small leak at the top center of the windshield before it was parked. I live somewhat near the coast, and seeing how those pillars are channeled tells me that was possibly the cause of all that rust damage. Luckily the shop I work for has a really good body shop guy that we work with that can at least quote me on that. I have yet to take him pictures but I probably will soon before I get too far into it. Would be a bummer if the shell is damaged more than its worth repairing, but then I would have an excuse to find another 88 with a body in better condition :p.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Rust is definitely something that can become out of hand very quickly, so you definitely need to weigh the pros vs cons of keeping this car vs buying another a70. These cars are 30+ years old at this point, so buying a rust free one is relatively non existent. Are there any other areas of rust on the car anywhere that you have noticed?
Nothing really that I've seen actually. I went through and wiped all the muck from almost every surface I could find. Going to figure out how I want to cover those bad spots because it does it foggy where I live.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, not to rain on your parade, but that is bad. First thing, I'd get an estimate on that repair, and based on my experience there will be massive rust elsewhere down low on the body from salt, unless you are from a warm climate coast? Pull your spare tire and have a look at the well where it sits. Others here report that's where rust gets this body as well. If the other pillar is also perforated, you are looking at an eye popping bill as I don't think there are repair panels for these roof pillars. I can also see the entire front edge of the roof is simply gone.

That's also a huge safety issue, as that roof would simply collapse in a mild rollover or a front end hit where the pillars are part of the heavy structure on a unibody.

I would not spend a dime on anything else until you have an estimate in your hand to repair what we can see, and have looked under the car around the wheel wells also.
the spare tire well is pretty good, I put it on the lift and did not see anything in the wheel wells but I will go back over that again. I haven't really put much money into yet aside from fuel and an oil change. It's definitely warm coast here, and I'm on the other side of a mountain from the ocean. We do get fog though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So the wheel wells are fully lined with plastic, and the bottom of the wheel wells are covered with plastic along with the rocker panels. So you are not looking at the metal behind the plastic with a quick look. I also see your hood edges look perforated completely through and I'd expect the rear hatch to also have suffered this fate. Check the areas around the hatch opening, and the bottoms of the doors when they're open so you can see the metal bottoms.
Thank you for your input its much appreciated. I will have to put it on the lift again tomorrow and check it out.

First off welcome to the mk3 world. Cali crew!
Definitely potential but quite a bit of work ahead of you. Yeah that rust is definitely an issue. Pull off your front mudflaps and check rust there. In the trunk, pull the plastic side compartment doors off and inspect the wheel well areas for more rust. A lot of oil/grime (like mine was) smoke coming from exhaust side probably grime dripping down on to the hot exhaust manifold. I also vouch for possibly looking for a shell just to keep your options open. Rust repair vs working with less rust and pulling everything out of your current car and transplant into new shell. Under the hood, it looks like everything is there.
Trans. Shift solenoid has recently been talked about on this board. It actually runs and drives which is a plus.
Seems you're in a positive environment to work and people to help you out. Looking forward to progress
I admire the hell out of yours man, that white is actually beautiful. Transplant is definitely an option I'll consider once I know where I am at. Luckily we have a body shop guy who is connected with the owners of the shop I work at. I'll be taking photos to him soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Small update; our body shop friend said basically the same thing. Find a shell to steal the A pillar off of. Said he could fabricate something but it’ll basically be an overall pain in the ass. I’m leaning towards moving forward with this shell and continuing work on it. He seemed very optimistic and excited for my build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah of course. He told me he won’t know for sure until he pulls the windshield. I’m in no rush on this car and intend on making sure everything’s good. He’s also a very good, reputable owner of a local shop.
 
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