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crew10489

Need Advice On Some Basic Work

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I have a 1998 corolla LE (USA Model). I am looking to do some basic work to it just to make driving a little more exciting... I am on a very very tight budget. I have already bought a ram air intake online but it is still shipping to me. I was looking at mufflers the other day. I was wondering if 1) is it worth it to put in a better, less restrictive muffler? 2) what size is the tail pipe which connects to the muffler (i think its 2in. but not 100% sure) and 3) what kind is good?

 

I do not have the money for a full exhaust and i don't want a muffler that will sound like a fart can. Just want something that will sound nice, perform better and that is cheap.

 

Lastly, is there any other cheap upgrades that i can do?

 

Thanks,

 

-Matt

Edited by crew10489

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With the 1ZZ-FE, I'd hold off on exhaust mods until you save enough for a catback system. They do make a decent bolt on muffler (TRD) - that has shown to uncork a couple of WHP on a dyno. I'd expect similar results with good aftermarket exhaust systems. But be mindful that most of the gains will be audible, and less on tangible power gains. With bolts ons, you really have to go all out to see decent gains - piecemealing one together may or may not be beneficial. Some cases, you'll actually end up losing power for your troubles. I believe the 8th gen has a 1.75" crushbent exhaust system. If you are staying N/A with mostly stock parts - upgrading to a 2" mandrel bent would be my suggestion. Keep the cat, keep the resonator in the middle - otherwise, people will hear you 1/4 mile away and sound a little blatty.

 

Easiest and some of the best bang for your buck. Least expensive option, upgrade the front brake pads to performance street pads. Hawk HPS, Porterfield R4S, Carbontech, etc. - they are rotor friendly and still provide good operation in street conditions. But their more aggressive initial bite, and better fade resistance really improves overall braking feel. Upgrade the suspension - springs and struts. Going with a mild performance spring (between 1.0" - 1.5" drop or so) coupled with the appropriate strut will greatly improve handling. So much in fact, the car will behave completely differently. The OEM springs and struts were keyed to be on the softer side, more compliant ride. Replacing them with performance springs will greatly reduce dive and squat (car pitching back and forth) as well as improve cornering attitude (car doesn't roll as much). Couple this with better tires - and the car will handle exceptionally well for an "economy" car. Lightweight weight wheels - can run sizes from 14" up to 18" on the car, though most prefer to go no larger than 16" on the 8th gen Corolla for overall cost, rife, and road hazard resistance (a 16" wheel will have a 205/45-16 tire - pretty low profile, have to watchout for potholes).

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With the 1ZZ-FE, I'd hold off on exhaust mods until you save enough for a catback system. They do make a decent bolt on muffler (TRD) - that has shown to uncork a couple of WHP on a dyno. I'd expect similar results with good aftermarket exhaust systems. But be mindful that most of the gains will be audible, and less on tangible power gains. With bolts ons, you really have to go all out to see decent gains - piecemealing one together may or may not be beneficial. Some cases, you'll actually end up losing power for your troubles. I believe the 8th gen has a 1.75" crushbent exhaust system. If you are staying N/A with mostly stock parts - upgrading to a 2" mandrel bent would be my suggestion. Keep the cat, keep the resonator in the middle - otherwise, people will hear you 1/4 mile away and sound a little blatty.

 

Easiest and some of the best bang for your buck. Least expensive option, upgrade the front brake pads to performance street pads. Hawk HPS, Porterfield R4S, Carbontech, etc. - they are rotor friendly and still provide good operation in street conditions. But their more aggressive initial bite, and better fade resistance really improves overall braking feel. Upgrade the suspension - springs and struts. Going with a mild performance spring (between 1.0" - 1.5" drop or so) coupled with the appropriate strut will greatly improve handling. So much in fact, the car will behave completely differently. The OEM springs and struts were keyed to be on the softer side, more compliant ride. Replacing them with performance springs will greatly reduce dive and squat (car pitching back and forth) as well as improve cornering attitude (car doesn't roll as much). Couple this with better tires - and the car will handle exceptionally well for an "economy" car. Lightweight weight wheels - can run sizes from 14" up to 18" on the car, though most prefer to go no larger than 16" on the 8th gen Corolla for overall cost, rife, and road hazard resistance (a 16" wheel will have a 205/45-16 tire - pretty low profile, have to watchout for potholes).

 

Im not that worried about breaks and handling, im not planning on racing on a track lol. I just am mostly concerned about the engine and stuff. Mostly power and sound. ans what do you mean up grade to a 2'' pipe? i dont know too much but im trying to learn, this is my first car. SO i would replace my exhaust with 2'' pipes so that i have more exhaust flow all the way through?

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The 1ZZ-FE is pretty optimized as engines go. There is not a whole lot you can do to get extra power unless you are willing to dump in a significant amount of money into the engine. To get more than a handful of HP gain - your options are supercharger, turbocharger, nitrous injection, or engine swap. Even with the best bolt ons - you might be able to get 10WHP (12-14HP at the crank) gain, tops. Even with Toyota introducing VVTi in the 2000+ model years - they only gained a 5HP (crank) gain. Granted, the power is spread further in the powerband, but not a significant gain. The 2003+ models gained another 5HP for a total of 130HP (crank) - but most of that is from ECM reprogramming, new intake, and revised cams. The 7th gen Celica GT (1ZZ-FED) made 140HP (crank) - but that is a different beast all together.

 

Monkeywrench racing has a project 1ZZ-FE that is making some decent power, without resorting to forced induction. But that is a $$$$$ build - pistons, cams, bore and stroke, custom intake/exhaust, EMS and tuning - looking at several thousands of dollars easily (parts and labor).

 

What I ment by the 2" pipe, mandel bent - is that the OEM piping is 1.75" crush bent (look at the where the pipe bends, the piping is actually squashed in slightly) - increasing the exhaust to 2" (assuming stock engine) in diameter will help exhaust flow at high RPMs without sacrificing too much exhaust scavenging (so called "back-pressure"). Crush bending has the affect of decreasing the overall cross-sectional area of the pipe by 15% or so. A 1.75" pipe will "look" like a ~1.5" pipe to exhaust gases. Opening that up to a full 2" pipe will yield ~25% greater cross-sectional area without being too big. Bigger is not always better - have to balance the intake and exhaust mods to take advantage of the potential power gains, or you could end up loosing power. Good example is the Acura RSX - Sport Compact Car had an article where they were looking at various bolt on exhausts and intakes. One case, they added an intake that added 2-3HP and an exhaust that added 3-5HP separately, but used together lost 2-3 HP overall stock parts. If matched correctly, good things will happen - another case of an intake showing 2-3HP gain, exhaust 3-4HP gain - but combined - they added over 15HP gain (same car, same dyno). Unfortunantely, there is a little bit of trial and error involved, every car is a little different + power gains (dyno numbers) cane be very deceptive. Just because you get big numbers, doesn't translate to instant performance boost - really depends on where that power is made.

 

If you are looking at power and sound - definitely look at handing and brake upgrades. Not just for overall handling characteristis, you'll be able to brake more effectively (more wieght from custom enclosures, and heavy electronics), plus the springs will allow you to handle any additional loading in the car. used to be on my 2002 Corolla - I could bottom the rear suspension if I loaded my trunk up with anything approaching 100lbs or so. After I installed my TRD springs (rebadged Eibach Pro - both are unfortunately discontinued springs) - never bottomed out the suspension and the ride didn't really change at all. Still sofa smooth on the highway and around town.

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The 1ZZ-FE is pretty optimized as engines go. There is not a whole lot you can do to get extra power unless you are willing to dump in a significant amount of money into the engine. To get more than a handful of HP gain - your options are supercharger, turbocharger, nitrous injection, or engine swap. Even with the best bolt ons - you might be able to get 10WHP (12-14HP at the crank) gain, tops. Even with Toyota introducing VVTi in the 2000+ model years - they only gained a 5HP (crank) gain. Granted, the power is spread further in the powerband, but not a significant gain. The 2003+ models gained another 5HP for a total of 130HP (crank) - but most of that is from ECM reprogramming, new intake, and revised cams. The 7th gen Celica GT (1ZZ-FED) made 140HP (crank) - but that is a different beast all together.

 

Monkeywrench racing has a project 1ZZ-FE that is making some decent power, without resorting to forced induction. But that is a $$$$$ build - pistons, cams, bore and stroke, custom intake/exhaust, EMS and tuning - looking at several thousands of dollars easily (parts and labor).

 

What I ment by the 2" pipe, mandel bent - is that the OEM piping is 1.75" crush bent (look at the where the pipe bends, the piping is actually squashed in slightly) - increasing the exhaust to 2" (assuming stock engine) in diameter will help exhaust flow at high RPMs without sacrificing too much exhaust scavenging (so called "back-pressure"). Crush bending has the affect of decreasing the overall cross-sectional area of the pipe by 15% or so. A 1.75" pipe will "look" like a ~1.5" pipe to exhaust gases. Opening that up to a full 2" pipe will yield ~25% greater cross-sectional area without being too big. Bigger is not always better - have to balance the intake and exhaust mods to take advantage of the potential power gains, or you could end up loosing power. Good example is the Acura RSX - Sport Compact Car had an article where they were looking at various bolt on exhausts and intakes. One case, they added an intake that added 2-3HP and an exhaust that added 3-5HP separately, but used together lost 2-3 HP overall stock parts. If matched correctly, good things will happen - another case of an intake showing 2-3HP gain, exhaust 3-4HP gain - but combined - they added over 15HP gain (same car, same dyno). Unfortunantely, there is a little bit of trial and error involved, every car is a little different + power gains (dyno numbers) cane be very deceptive. Just because you get big numbers, doesn't translate to instant performance boost - really depends on where that power is made.

 

If you are looking at power and sound - definitely look at handing and brake upgrades. Not just for overall handling characteristis, you'll be able to brake more effectively (more wieght from custom enclosures, and heavy electronics), plus the springs will allow you to handle any additional loading in the car. used to be on my 2002 Corolla - I could bottom the rear suspension if I loaded my trunk up with anything approaching 100lbs or so. After I installed my TRD springs (rebadged Eibach Pro - both are unfortunately discontinued springs) - never bottomed out the suspension and the ride didn't really change at all. Still sofa smooth on the highway and around town.

 

do you know what kind of springs i should get? i don't know much about suspension, just the engine and stuff. I found a TRD strut bar for around $150. will one of those make a noticeable difference? i know that it makes the car much stiffer...

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Strut bar will make steering a little sharper, but won't do a whole lot for overall chassis stiffening. That said - the TRD part is significantly "stiffer" than other aftermarket bars. Many are just for looks and will do nothing for the car.

 

Springs will depend on what you are after - performance or appearance. H&R springs, TRD/Eibach, Sprint springs are considered more performace oriented - something like a Tein H/S-tech are more for show, but will still get the job done.

 

You do have to watch the drop - how low they will drop the car. Most aftermarket struts, unless they specifically advertise it, can get quickly damaged if the suspension is dropped around 2" or more. Popular struts like KYB-GR2 (good OEM replacement - soft ride) and Tokico Blue (little stiffer than KYB-GR2) specifically mention that they are designed for no more than 1.7" drop. Probably OK with any of the springs listed here except for the possiblity of the Tein S-Tech, as they tend to drop the car a little more than 2".

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Strut bar will make steering a little sharper, but won't do a whole lot for overall chassis stiffening. That said - the TRD part is significantly "stiffer" than other aftermarket bars. Many are just for looks and will do nothing for the car.

 

Springs will depend on what you are after - performance or appearance. H&R springs, TRD/Eibach, Sprint springs are considered more performace oriented - something like a Tein H/S-tech are more for show, but will still get the job done.

 

You do have to watch the drop - how low they will drop the car. Most aftermarket struts, unless they specifically advertise it, can get quickly damaged if the suspension is dropped around 2" or more. Popular struts like KYB-GR2 (good OEM replacement - soft ride) and Tokico Blue (little stiffer than KYB-GR2) specifically mention that they are designed for no more than 1.7" drop. Probably OK with any of the springs listed here except for the possiblity of the Tein S-Tech, as they tend to drop the car a little more than 2".

 

Thanks for all of this help man. Um, where is a good website that i can look at alot of products, read reviews, and compare? does that exist? lol

 

Also, when you say springs, do u literary just mean "springs" or is that mean like the whole strut? (and im assuming that the strut is the thing that connects the suspension to the car?)

 

thanks again

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Unfortunantely, I haven't run across a decent review site - most of the stuff you'll run across is posted on forums like this. For your generation of car - this forum, TRDforum, and Toyota Nation are your best bets. There used to be quite a few more, but they have just started or have long disappeared. Compact Sports and Import magazines have good information as well - many do not specifically use a Corolla for comparision, but the tech information is still applicable to most cars in general. Good background information. Online retailers like www.Tirerack.com also have good tech articles, they have some product reviews that are related to the car.

 

Correct - springs are what's holds up the car - coil spring at each corner of the car. The strut run inside of the spring - they work together as an assembly that makes up part of your suspension. Being a strut setup or MacPherson Strut suspension (spring and shock absorber assembly) - the strut body has perches that the spring sits on, making for a very compact suspension package.

 

Bottom of strut is tied to the axle carrier, be it steering knuckle and control arm up front or the trailing links in the rear - top part is mounted to an upper spring/strut mount that is attached to the unitbody itself. Springs lift up the car and define its road height - struts control the up/down motion by dampening the spring motion.

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Fish years ago I saw a lot of people had brake fade issues with hawk pads which is why I chose akebono ceramics. Im guessing that has improved afterward from what you posted. From the pad brands you listed which do think is best?

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I still like my Hawks on the Corolla - but of the ones listed, Carbotech Bobcat 1521 (street/occasional track compound) - if you can find them, are supposed to be best. http://www.ctbrakes.com/

 

BMW car club guys and lots of SCCA / road track guys swear by those pads, and you got to believe that those guys are going to be pretty tough on pads. Porterfield R4-S and EBC Greenstuff are considered very good street pads / occasional track use. Hawk HPS, if you track the car, will fade/eat the rotors pretty quickly - they don't really take to tracking. Hawk HP+ and Hawk Blues are better in that regard, though they are pretty aggressive on rotors.

 

Akebono is fast rising in the tuning circles. They are now the brakes of choice on the new Nissan 370Z, replacing the Brembos on the 350Z as those were getting too chewed up. I think Infiinity did the same thing too - as the older G35 and FX series were plagued with fading/warped brakes from Brembo. Not sure if it was the just the application or the size of the Brembos, as they are still used on Subarus, EVOs, and the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe Track model.

 

I've heard pretty good results with Akebono ceramic pads, Hawk has their own ceramic pad with similar spec's - the OEM pads on the Matrix XRS are also a ceramic composite pad - pretty decent stopping power and high resistance to fade, but does lack the strong initial bite of the Hawk HPS. Maybe from switching from OEM pads, I would have jumped on the Akebono's, but once I got used to the high initial bite and torque of the Hawks, I couldn't switch.

 

I have also heard that some ABS system do NOT like the strong initial bite of performance pads - confuses the ABS system and shortes pad / rotor life, grossly extended the stopping distances. There were not on Corollas, but could still be possible. I haven't noticed anything weird with the Matrix (Porterfield R4-S front and rear), though I don't go stomping the brakes enough to cause ABS to come on all the time.

 

The Carbotech ones are ceramic composite as well - but their release and modulation is good enough that ABS won't care - supposedly. They run up there in price, similar to Porterfields, about $120-$130 a set retail, can get them for around $80-$90 if you shop around. About the same price as EBC Greenstuff and Hawk HPS. EBC Ultimax (OEM replacement) runs about half that - similar in performance to the other ceramic composites in its price class.

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fish, do you think i'd be going astray with hawk hps on the celica front and rear or would you suggest something else? street driving and some ocassional track like driving or possibly a track day.

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Thanks for the info fish. Your hawk HPS pads arent wearing down your rotors? I certainly dont drive track but I do drive spirited at least once a day. At times I find myself having to break hard at near full pedal to stop near the intersection although Ive been braking mid pedal long before then, like on downhill freeway off ramps ect. Not a feeling of confidence with these brakes to stop fast if you needed to in an emergency and I have had close calls in bad traffic to where I almost hit people who stopped suddenly. I know its mainly because of the corolla design but if the hawk pads will help with that to where I wont have to use full pedal to stop from high speeds and without them costing me new rotors then I'll get them next time around. I could always upgrade rotors too but I dont have the money to do that for now.

Edited by 01loadedLE

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01loadedLE - Hawk HPS pads have been good to me so far. I had one odd-ball set that worn unevenly and squeaked like crazy - but other sets were golden. I also drive a little spiritedly - times where I'm one and off the brakes nearly constantly, not really give them a decent chance to cool. This set, I installed with a new rotors (Brembo blanks from Tirerack - had a deal for $36/each - I couldn't pass that up) - almost 50K miles and they are still good, lots of pad and rotor looks fine. I recently pulled the calipers off, so that I could check the backside of the rotors and verify that the pads were OK (even wearing), lubed them up where needed, slapped them back on.

 

Definitely, that increased initial bite will tend to shorten your stops, since you're slowing down more quickly. Saved my bacon more than a few times, plus once you get used to them - you will swear that you can stop the car on-top of a quarter laying on the ground. They do have some drawbacks - tend to be a little noisy when cold and tend to dusty very quickly - I haven't washed my wheels in a while, and they look like black powdercoated wheels instead of silver paint.

 

EBC has revised their formulations - I had a set before and they were pretty bad. Ate up the rotors very quickly and were "greasy" feeling. Might give them a go next time, just to try them out. Carbotech is another one I was waiting for - depends on if I start tracking the car more. Its to the point where everything is pretty loosie goosie - might be an excuse for an upgrade.

 

Bitter - depends on how much tracking you plan on doing. HPS will take a litle bit of track, but if you get them heated over 800-900 degrees - it might cook out the resin and the pad will start eating the rotor something fierce. I'd go with Hawk HP+, Porterfield R4-S, or Carbotech. HP+ is not really rotor friendly, but I've seen guys get a decent amount of life out of them.

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eh, it would be uncommon that i'd track the car i think and i could always swap pads if i end up getting more serious about it :) HPS's it is!

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