Soaring off into the sunset

Amazing isn’t it? After being advertised for all of 48 hours it still took 3 hours and a meticulous check of the supplied paperwork before the first viewer of ProjectWRX was keen to buy it on behalf of his son. In comparison Project SOARER  (my 1991 Toyota Soarer Twin Turbo) has been listed for over a month now and only took two corners for the buyer to suddenly decide ‘Well why not?’..

Given that two small street corners do not a decent road test make, I encouraged him to continue on given that we had both plenty of time and fuel and while he added a couple more corners to his road test (along with enough straight to make sure the twin turbos spooled up just fine) it didn’t sway his opinion and after paying cash on the spot and a little paperwork on the kitchen bench, my 1991 Toyota Soarer finally found a new home.

Considering the ‘interesting list’ of things I discovered when I took ownership of it over 12 months ago, it’s fair to say it’s been an interesting year of 1JZ-GTE ownership – but hey, I loved every second of it. Once you iron out any little niggles, you end up with a very comfy and reliable cruiser, a heavy Japanese GT car that still looks pretty special considering that it ‘s now creeping up to 24 years old.
If I’d known about the ‘needs fixing list’ at the start though…

Wait what is that?

  •  The coolant in the 1991 Toyota Soarer is supposed be the color of red cordial. The stuff I flushed out was coffee brown. Seriously, how long does it have to be in there until it looks like a morning brew? It’s highly unlikely it was actually cooling anything.
1991 Toyota Soarer

That doesn’t look very effective..

  • The blown globe light warning was on constantly and the previous owner explained that it was indeed a bulb out in the taillight. When i finally got the light cover off, the bulb looked like it had seen the worst part of a head on collision. A blown globe is one thing, crushing the globe to paste to end the warnings is pretty stupid given the low price of a replacement.
Seriously? How does something like this happen??

Seriously? How does something like this happen??

  • Exposed wiring. All over the shop. Probably had a few things piggy backing on it once upon a time but no one ever thought to cover up the exposed stuff when they were done. The soldering iron really got a work out in the first week of ownership.

  • The cam gears cover on this 1991 Toyota Soarer was missing. Either someone really wanted to see how they worked or…well I don’t know..

-The stereo system was wired into the air conditioner. Not the factory stereo wiring (where it is now and works just fine), the air conditioner. That one confused me for days.

So he told me..

  • According to the previous owner, the heavy power steering was caused by an air bubble in the power steering fluid somewhere and a flush would clear it right out. A flush is one thing, a busted power steering pump is another.

  • It had 555cc injectors in the ad. On closer inspection it has stock colored ones. Right..

Time to get dirty then..

Given that I had zero history on this thing, I needed to change everything and quickly before it probably exploded or something. So out came the unknown oil and in went some fresh stuff along with a new filter and a complete ‘ghetto’ power steering flush. I ran two bottles of radiator flush through the system until I got all the coffee out and put in what it was craving, Toyota Red. The O2 was probably still the original from 1991 and probably gave up the ghost a while back so out it came along with the spark plugs of various colors. A fresh set of capacitors in the ECU came next and after some weird behavior from the idle one morning, I cleaned up the wiring in the MAP sensor where it was barely hanging on. A local suspension place replaced the shot bushes and another local mechanic swapped over a ridiculously hard to reach leaking o ring. After an ECU reset and a quick relearn for it, I now had a car that idled like it should, drove like it should, cooled like it should, was still heavy to turn (work in progress) and probably wouldn’t spontaneous combust on the way to work.

I still had a couple of typical but minor 1991 Toyota Soarer things to get through – it needed new struts in the boot, the lcd screen bled out and of course a seal kit in the power steering pump wouldn’t go astray..but hey, the new owner was stoked with the condition (having explained all the work involved probably helped pointed that out.) He paid in cash, he drove it away 10 minutes later.

Till the next two door..

And so ends my adventures of my 1991 Toyota Soarer, after a little over a year of ownership. Ripper of a car but make sure you find one with all the work done for you, or get really familiar with your toolkit, especially if you buy one with very little history And while I will miss it, my 2000 Nissan Stagea is filling the gap something turbo yet practical…I never realized how much I missed 4 doors and a bit of decent boot room…

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