New Member, 1UZ RA24 in Colorado.

Please introduce yourself and Celica or ride(s).
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thatdirtykid
Posts: 5
Joined: January 1st, 2024, 3:06 pm
Location: Colorado USA

New Member, 1UZ RA24 in Colorado.

Post by thatdirtykid »

Hello and thank you for adding me to the page!

I have been lusting for a 1st gen since I started finding interest in Japanese nostalgic cars back around 2007. My first car (in 2001) was a 1974 Super Beetle, I wanted a Nova or Camaro but I couldn't afford the insurance as a 16 year old. I restored the Beetle in the driveway throughout highschool. Later I got into two wheels and had/built a couple bikes. I had an 1980 RX7 as my 4 wheeler... Then I started having kids and traded the RX7 for a Subaru GL... Handful of years go by and it was finally time to take on a project car. Sadly a Celica was not easy to find, especially in my budget. I picked up a Datsun B210 as a much cheaper and less sporty way to scratch that itch. It became my long term side project while I ended up flipping/fixing cars for fun. I had everything from a Crown Vic to a Mirage Turbo or E21 BMW, even a 70 Chevy C10. Well we ended up selling the house and pocketing a little equity. I planned on using some $ to swap the datsun and finally throw some cash at it. One night laying in bed not sleeping I thought, why spend a bunch on the running datsun when I really wanted a Celica anyways. I loaded up craigslist and started looking. Next morning I woke up to an email in my inbox... Apparently I had emailed a few guys overnight.
Well one of those cars was this beauty. An extremely clean (though plasti dipped) rust free car in Detroit. We go back and forth for a week sharing videos and having questions answered. The price was fair, assuming the car was legitimately rust free, and I ended up putting a deposit on it.
I must be crazy cause I got a buddy, packed up his truck and made the 1350 mile trip to buy a 1uz swapped project with the intent of driving it home (and the expectation we would be towing it).

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This was September of 2022. The car was cleaner than expected, I couldn't find a spot of filler or rust on it. It even drove better than advertised. The only issue was a slight whine from the input shaft bearing, which was disclosed prior to making the trip. The decision was made and I was going to drive the thing home.

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Didn't even make it outside of city limits before it died while coming to a stop in an intersection.
Battery wasn't strapped and slid enough to break a spade connector. Fixed that, bungeed the battery down and got back on the road, a little more apprehensive of what was to come.

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We took our time, and visited friends outside of Peoria and Omaha.

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Well, before we reached the Colorado border, I started having a little bit of clutch issues and the trans tunnel was getting warm. It was sunday and there weren't great options to pick up a trailer to tow it, so we pushed on.

About 150 miles from home the trans blew, so I limped it home in 4th. Anything that wasn't direct drive was gone... Well I made it all the way to the last light before my house without having to stop (radios and a truck to follow made timing lights easier). Instead of trying to launch in 4th from a stop across a busy intersection we put a strap on and drug it the last mile...

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Remember I was moving? The new house needed my attention more than my broken dream car, so it didn't get worked on too intently. Slowly gathered parts and am close to getting it back on the road now. Getting this through CO emissions is on the forefront of my mind now.

1977 RA24 with a OBD1 1UZ from a LS400 mated to an aluminum plate w58 trans (blown up). I am swapping in a w55 to hopefully get it registered and some bugs worked out. Once I have it plated here successfully (need Cats and emissions test) I will be more comfortable throwing a little more $ at it. W55 will be revving pretty high above 70mph...

Later on A5 or maybe a CD009 which will also handle torque better than the W series. I have a Chevy 7.5 rear with 3.73 gears and posi that will eventually go under it as well.

Also need to sort out the steering box, which is way too close to the headers. Seat belts (not a fan of harness without a full cage), and some 1989 Prelude buckets I have been holding on to (maybe the best factory bucket ever), Maybe better wheels. Most of all I want to drive and enjoy this thing. Plan to have the ECU rebuilt since the early 90s lexus seem to have capacitors go bad regularly. Relocate the battery to the trunk to make up the 45lbs this thing gained up front, which not much for double displacement, aluminum block, AC and power steering delete goes a ways. Battery in back also means I can build a better air box too.

Well, hope you enjoyed a little story to go with the intro. I hope to post here a bit more as I get things moving again. The replacement trans is going in next saturday. So I am getting closer!
thatdirtykid
Posts: 5
Joined: January 1st, 2024, 3:06 pm
Location: Colorado USA

Re: New Member, 1UZ RA24 in Colorado.

Post by thatdirtykid »

I will also add, that while I love gobs of smooth torque from the 1UZ (I also drive a 2UZ Sequoia), It probably wouldn't have been my first choice for a Celica. I do have an eclectic taste in cars and love muscle, but I think a good beams or a 2ZZ would have been the direction I would go from scratch. This car is just too clean and was timed right. Even if I pull the motor and go another direction I couldn't pass on this one.
Honestly this car is probably too clean, I never owned something quite as nice.
Sturla76gt
Posts: 4
Joined: January 23rd, 2024, 7:29 pm

Re: New Member, 1UZ RA24 in Colorado.

Post by Sturla76gt »

There’s a company in New Zealand that makes a 2zz Bellhousing for a w55 but I’ve only ever seen one longitudinally mounted 2zz. I’m also interested in a 2zz swap but I have a lot more that’s on my list first
steveh
Posts: 134
Joined: July 17th, 2017, 7:08 pm
Location: Tasmania, Australia

Re: New Member, 1UZ RA24 in Colorado.

Post by steveh »

I enjoyed reading your story and the "adventures" you have experienced with the car so soon after purchase. No doubt, there will be more to come.

Those first days are ones you can/will not forget.
All the best for your plans with the car.
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