View Full Version : AE-86: "would I be better off burning my money?"

07-10-2004, 08:20 PM
I need a play thing to mess with while I work out how the Previa is gonna go down. I've been doing some research about AE-86 and I think I'd like to get one to turn into a street drifter/daily driver. I looked at one today, I need advice from those of you familiar with 86s.

Here goes, today I looked at a 1985 Corolla GT coupe (it was listed as a GT-S but the lettering on the car was only GT). The car had 277 000 kms on it. Also, there was a lot of rust on the fenders and the brakes were very soft. The price was $1500 CDN which would translate into something like $1100 USD the seller also made it clear, when I decided not to make an offer today, that the price was very flexible. I think I could probably get the car for $900CDN ($675 USD). The rust on the fenders had not eaten through the body but it was bubbling severly enough that the body panels would probably have to be replaced altogether or heavily modified. There was also some rust on the sunroof and trunk lid as well as the rocker panels. The strut towers were clean, and the engine and drivetrain seemed sound (to my untrained eyes). The brakes were concerning as they had much less grab, then the disc and drum combo on my Previa. It sort of felt like the car was just engine braking, and not actually using the brakes at all. I suspect that the master cylinder is faulty. My question to all of you is: should I buy this car and spend money on it to restore it to good condition, or should I simply wait and spend more money on a better condition hatchback? Also, is the aftermarket support for the 86 hatch the same as the coupe? I believe that they are both based on the same chassis so any suspension mods, or engine swaps would work equally well on either vehicle, but I wonder if the abundance of aftermarket body parts that are available for the 86 hatch would be available for the coupe in equal abundance? If this is the case could I simply buy aftermarket fender flares and have them put onto the Corrolla instead of trying to restore or replace the OEM ones? If this is the case I think I would buy the Corrola and simply fix the parts that are wrecked by doing them according to the standards I would like to have the car built to anyways.

The underlying theme here is money. I don't have a very large buget for this project, and I would like to not only make it look good again, but also modify the suspension and possibly swap the engine. Could the above-mentioned problems be remedied fairly easily?

Sorry, one last thing, could you suggest to me a site where I could learn about/purchase items for the Corolla GT-S coupe?

07-10-2004, 08:26 PM

07-10-2004, 08:59 PM
^ ditto.

No major difference b/w the coupe and hatch. Make sure that the frame is straight and solid. Rust on the fenders wouldn't be my number one concern. As for the brakes, maybe they just need some bleeding.

07-10-2004, 11:33 PM
dude... dont think budget with a corolla... you're gonna spend money. and lots of it if you plan on getting a corolla. now i'm not trying to discourage you but you really need to realize it might not be for you. personally unless if you're rich, its not a car for temporary fun. its a car you keep for life because the amount of resources you invest into it. also you'll have alot of heart ache.

there is a post on club4ag forums check it out.. its about people who are interested in purchasing a corolla... read it... it'll outline what to expect.

if you do choose to buy the car... g'luck and hope you have alot of patience and dont give up on the car.

07-11-2004, 08:17 PM
If you said the panels are not rusted through then it can be repaired by a skilled collison repair tech. I would frown on doing this work yourself because 9\10 times, home done body work is failed horribly.

When I owned my Corolla, its brakes were terrible and the only way to stop the car was with engine braking. I'm sure your problem is nothing to worry that much about. Some new pads, and resurfaced rotors, and bleed the brake lines would probly cure this problem, though i could be a wrong and it could be much worse, like a bad master clyinder or rotted brake lines. Theres many books avaible on this car, and repair manuals like Chilton, that show how and what to do while fixing the car. I know for a fact that Chilton has a master clyinder rebuild in it, because I owned one....

Then again the car may not be to your tastes, they're a blast to drive but still some people just dont like them.

07-17-2004, 01:24 PM
go for it. definetly. I bought one for $700 usd that has been hit by another car on the side, WAAAAY badly damaged as in replacing the damaged part is the only option and its my best operating 86 out of all 3 of mine.
Thats the best way to go, get them cheap and crappy and fix em up.
People take advantage of the 'scene' these cars have because of the cash flow others are willing to fork out to get one, but little do they know, the car isnt all its cracked up to be (initial D...yea right).
They are not that fast, but they handle great and drift great as well.

I say go for it, especially for that lower 'talked-down' price.

How do you think I got all mine?

07-17-2004, 01:39 PM
Buy the Corolla if you're a corolla enthusiast. It's an old and underpowered car, but it brings a smile to my face every time I take it out for a spin.

If you're just looking to drift, there are more cars out there that give you much better bang for your buck.

You'll be spending a decent amount of money to get a Corolla into decent running / looking condition, but nothing outrageous. Corolla people tend to be scavengers and cheapskates when buying parts, but if you want the good stuff, you need to pay to play.

You can get a lot of really nice goodies for a GTS for a ballpark figure of $5,000 for aftermarket parts alone. After that you'll probably need a supplementary budget to fix the things that will break down on a regular basis too.

Spending $5000 on a 16 year old car might sound like a waste of money, but I don't think you can buy / equip a similar car for the same amount of cash.

clay payton
07-17-2004, 02:25 PM
dude, getting the GT-S into good condition will take more work than the previa.

it's so hard to find GT-S parts cars at the junk yard, and all the used parts online are expensive.

07-17-2004, 04:24 PM
Get an SR-5 for a few hundred bucks then change the 4AC with a 4A-GE or whatever else you want to cram in there. The GT-S's call for alot of money. The 4A-GE can be had for 500-800 and you do the labor yourself it's easy. That swap is an easy one and bolts in minus some of the mods you have to do to the harness. Helped a buddy do that one over a year ago but most of the info we got was from club4ag, it's a good source for info. Hachi's aren't all that expensive from what I could see either. You guys think you guys need alot of money to do it, but just go at it with some patience and they're pretty cheap.

07-17-2004, 11:14 PM
Yea, U don't have to be rich to have a nice decent hachi. A friend of mine is always drifting his hachi and let me tell u he ain't rich. It's always breaking but he makes enough money to get him through. Trust me I own an FD and I'm not rich, I'm a college Student nor do I have a good job but I still own and drift my FD. It all comes down to patience with every car, If u have patience you'll get through it. JUST FINE:D

07-17-2004, 11:46 PM
If u have patience you'll get through it. JUST FINE o man, is this true ot what!!

07-18-2004, 11:59 AM
its just like any car, check everything out, if it has good brakes ,electrical system , powertrain.....etc if it needs replacing it will be prob be expensive. dont worry about the mileage 4ag's will last forever. if u find a nice functioning car it will be cheap. just depends on what u by. believe me i have had my car since spring break, i bought its, i have replaced stuff, bought new springs, shocks, coilovers, steering wheel and hub and so on with the shittiest job on earth. and i have spare money i havnt decided what to use on yet. so it can be a good cheap car, or if it has its problems and is a little biotch it can be expensive. i say go for it, for that little money good luck finding a better drifting, handeling car. besides restored u could sell that thing for wwaaaaayyyy more than u bought it. people are payin 10k for thses things restored and all perty. i love mine even though it has given me some *Censored**Censored**Censored**Censored*.

07-18-2004, 03:16 PM
the good thing about rollas is how cheap the engines are. But they are a bish about most everything. If you ask me its worth it though.

07-19-2004, 09:10 AM
I got my corolla for $425 after someone hit a curb pretty bad in the front. I got a new strut casing for $45 and got it aligned and it was fine.

Most of these cars are going to need some work to be road worthy, they're old and usually the owners of them don't take good care of them. They're also going way up in price and I say you should go for it. If it doesn't work out, sell it for $1,000. I swear someone will buy it.

As for the body panels, you can find them pretty easily, the SR5 panels fit great, there's always SR5s at the junkyards around my house.

The brake master cylinder is probably busted in the one that you drove, I got a rebuilt one for less than $50.

I think they're cheap cars to maintain. I also drive an E30 M3. Try maintaining one of those and say the AE86 is expensive!!

07-19-2004, 09:32 AM
You've got to be kidding. A 4AG-E swap for an SR5 isn't "just a plug 'n play" deal. You're better off just buying a GT-S from the start.

Originally posted by 180fan
That swap is an easy one and bolts in minus some of the mods you have to do to the harness.

07-19-2004, 11:13 AM
It is if you run Webber Side-draughts and no computer :D


Originally posted by OBAKASAN
You've got to be kidding. A 4AG-E swap for an SR5 isn't "just a plug 'n play" deal. You're better off just buying a GT-S from the start.

07-19-2004, 02:16 PM
i don't get it.

Originally posted by mranlet
It is if you run Webber Side-draughts and no computer :D


07-19-2004, 02:20 PM
I'm sure he mean SideDraft, but still, you would need more than that.

Ghost of Duluth
07-19-2004, 03:23 PM
No way is it plug and play. You can forget that on a budget. WHy? cause you have to have 2 cars instead of the one inexpensive one you were trying to start with. Also the rust is a big deal. If it's on the rear quarters, you may as well give it up. Chasing rust out of a car on a budget is impossible. If it's front panels, it's alot easier, just swap em. But rear, no way. Especially if it's got the Corolla problems such as rust around the tail lights. Also check to see if it's an LSD car. Some were not. If it isn't, you can chalk an LSD up on the bill too.

Honestly, Corolla's are not cheap. They used to be really cheap before the Revolution, but now they have skyrocketed. Just think about what the guy above said abot them going for 10k restored. If they were cheap to restore, don't you think everyone would be restoring them and selling them for 10k? If you want the car, get it. 675$ for a car is nothing to snicker at. Plus it will be something to drive around. Just remember, the Corolla is NOT the end all of Drift car's and they really handle like a sponge on stock, worn out suspension. But in the end, they are just about as much as every other car to mod for the basics. So the choice is yours. Far as i'm concerned, you can't waste your money on a Corolla. Not in this day and time.

07-19-2004, 11:50 PM
I picked up my AE86 GTS for $100. Runs good, all that needs to be done to it are, new starter, Radiator, and very minor rust. This car is a blast. Previous owner couldn't get it to run due to the starter. So we threw a quick solder fix on the radiator, so we could get it home, and just push started it.

Now it's time to give Alex a call for some kick *Censored**Censored**Censored* parts.


07-20-2004, 03:12 AM
I did nothing to my SR5 and its still kickin! yaaaaay!

07-20-2004, 03:29 PM
Every car I have driven since I got my 86 feels like a fat pig. The car goes where I want it when I want it. Drifting it is a very difficult thing to learn and the corolla is a very unforgiving car. Last sunday i went to the VDS event in vancouver and learned how touchy the car is, every little streering throttle and brake imput does something drastic, I didnt use the e-brake all day and I think it taught me alot.

You have to be very patient with the corolla(and with yourself), you cant pick it up and and expect the world from it. i am 23 and have been driving for a while, just like alot of people on here, and I am having a blast leaning new things. It just takes time.

Just make sure that this is the right car for you before you buy one. I hate the "I just crashed my corolla!(pics inside)" threads.

07-21-2004, 11:13 PM
you buy a AE86 these days out of love. and its not love for money i promise you that. i've got about 7 grand in mine right now, and it still isn't close to where i want it. during the winter its going to be stripped down to the bare body, completely repaired (rust), stiffened, painted, and re-assembeled. this is not cheap by any means and its incredibaly time consuming. but i love that car so much, i want a lot more years with it. and for me, a clean slate is what i need.
AE86=money pit.
but its worth it to some people.

07-22-2004, 12:17 PM
you spend lots of money on any car...nots just th ae86....
for god sakes those cars are the lowballer of the lowballer sellers...
grab a car, put 1000 into it...and you got you a good machine!


07-22-2004, 12:20 PM
Originally posted by Boro86driver
you buy a AE86 these days out of love. and its not love for money i promise you that. i've got about 7 grand in mine right now, and it still isn't close to where i want it. during the winter its going to be stripped down to the bare body, completely repaired (rust), stiffened, painted, and re-assembeled. this is not cheap by any means and its incredibaly time consuming. but i love that car so much, i want a lot more years with it. and for me, a clean slate is what i need.
AE86=money pit.
but its worth it to some people.

same said about my mk3 supra turbo ( being totally rebuilt as we speak, about 4 weeks from completion!) i am buying and importing ALL jdm stuff....NO AMERICAN CRAP..and no new products, they all are around the age of the car...and look it too...for that original look;)

07-22-2004, 04:13 PM
Remember, Google is your friend, use it, also try their other site, www.froogle.com. I've found a 180SX taillight assembly there for under $500 for all 4 pieces. Theres also alot of cheap never used body parts and used mechanical parts on ebay. Every summer sales on ebay seem to go down, so it's pretty easy right now to buy stuff without competing too much on bidding. Not to mention ebay now offers the buy it now option, and ebay stores have inventory for sale thats not up for auction yet

Get the Corolla or not... if it's under $700 US and runs, and is RWD, it'll do the job.
Like others have already voiced, go with what feels comfortable.
I almost went out and bought a 81 Fiat Bertone to go drifting in, then a buddy called and said his uncle had a 240sx hatchback for sale.
For rust, depending on what DOT rules are where you live, and how good you want it to look, you can always grind off the rust, use a plastic sign cut up to cover the holes, spray on rust inhibiter, and cover it with waterproof tape, like what we americans call duct tape.

07-23-2004, 10:38 AM
The corolla is a money pit. Less so than some cars, more so than others.

Remember that it is an OLD car and parts will break once you start driving it hard.

I've replaced most of the major systems on my car, and that is because of failure. Broken tie rods, broken exhaust, leaky hoses, bad steering rack, bad o2 sensor, AFM, Throttle position sensor, brakes, suspension, ect. The car was fine when I bought it, but after a few drift days and some spirited driving, things give out.

I'd advise it as a second car though for fun.

07-23-2004, 12:11 PM
honest to gawd, im bouts to trade all 3 of my 86 in for a GTO...tire of fixing these, but I have 3.. most ppl just have one.
i dunno, do wachya want and wachya like.