Bits for me

The Caldina has now had a new timing belt fitted and everything cleaned up, new oil seals, oil pump gasket and water pump. It’s all running smoothly. I put new antifreeze in it then ran it only to find out the cooling system is full of rusty residue still. It was all through the hoses and I suspect most of it is still in the radiator and the heater core.

I’ve ended up dumping all the new antifreeze (bummer!) then flushing the whole system through with water, it kept pouring out rusty water for awhile then started to run clear again. So once again I filled it right up with antifreeze and all seems good.


Since getting it running, I decided to start stealing the up-spec stuff for my one. I swapped over the rear tail light lenses and got stuck in to modifying my car so it could take the factory side skirts off the one I’ve done up. They needed a good paint up so I sprayed them then fitted them on to my car. It’s looking good so far. I heave plenty more to swap so tomorrow I have planned to urethane fill the lower control arm bushes, these were so far gone that I pulled out the arms and had the inner rubber and shaft fall out. They need to dry once filled for atleast 7 days which will give me an excuse to go for a run finally (been a bit slack lately).

IMG_0571 IMG_0574 IMG_0576

I also have the front factory bull bars to fix and fit to mine which requires me pulling apart the front bumper from the ‘doer-upper-er’ to get the proper factory mounts to fit it, plus I have the rear factory boot handle to mount to my boot lid too.

Dying to finally finish the one in the garage to sell so mine can sit in there to finish off. The one I’m selling needs one hell of a good clean in and out too, the engine is pristine now but the amount of dog hair and wood chips in the car is ridiculous, atleast we have a Vax and a decent vaccum cleaner too which should sort out that job.

more updates later as things progress!

Mark… Out!


It works!!

The engine is in, it has all new fluids including fresh DX3 Trans fluid, engine oil + filter, new power steering fluid, new thermostat and gasket and new spark plugs.

It started first pop, probably due to my OCD-ness making sure everything went back exactly where it was meant to. No bolts were left out! I topped up all the fluids and checked it drives forward and back properly, no problems at all!!

I sorted out some wiring inside the car then tried the heater, it made a loud ‘wurrrrring’ noise at any fan speed so i pulled apart the heater fan to discover a whole lot of pine needles inside the fan housing, once these were removed I tried it again to hear it running really smoothly, everything was put back together from there.

Now knowing I have everything working perfectly, I am on to the cam belt next. I already have everything removed after struggling with a tight crank pulley bolt, all the replacement parts are sitting there to fit so that’ll be my next mission on the four days off coming up. I’m not cutting corners with anything done on the car so the water pump will be replaced as well as all three seals behind the timing parts and the oil pump gasket too. The new engine is very tidy, apparently its only done 150,000kms and I’d believe that, even the timing stuff on it doesn’t seem worn, all the idler and tensioner bearings have no play and move smoothly, the waterpump had no leaks and no play in the shaft either, I may end up doing the head on the old engine yet and putting the old timing stuff from the new one on to it to sell as a working engine.

This car will end up possibly being the most mechanically sound Caldina in NZ shortly for the distance its done. It really needs one hell of a groom, the previous owner was a smoker and there is dog hair all over the back seat but I’m pretty good at cleaning that all up, the paintwork needs a good cut n polish too.

Looking forward to this being done, then my car will be getting all the good stuff put on it!

A couple of pics below from where I’m up to now:

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Project Progress

The engine is now out with a huge thanks to my next door neighbour who I think also loves working on cars for fun.

The old engine is completely munted, oil all down the back of it, you can see milky looking oil through the exhaust ports of the middle two cylinders so I’d confidently say it is a warped or cracked head problem.

Due to all the oil that had leaked out the back of it, I spent a day cleaning everything up. The transmission has had a good degrease, the power steering rack was covered in oil along with all the front right suspension and arms it’s now looking a heap better.

The CV driveshaft was also well degreased. The replacement engine will be here in about an hour so looking forward to swapping what I need to back on to that tomorrow, if I’m lucky I might even have the trans bolted back up and it sitting back in the engine bay tomorrow (wishful thinking!).

A couple of pics:

Cleaner engine bay

engine bay clean

Auto transmission cleaned up

Existing Auto Trans clean

Old engine all oily!

Old leaky engine

Update: The engine is now here and looks tidy but has been banged about a bit, I’m going to have to change a lot of things over from the old one to the new so it’s ready to put in. A few more hours of labour involved before its ready to bolt back to the transmission and be lowered back in. Big boys lego!!

Hubbys Hobby – Project 2

Car number 2:

Another 1996 Toyota Caldina has been bought for $800. This one had amazing specs like: Factory Aerial kit and side skirts, rear boot spoilers, clear rear and front indicators, sony usb headunit, factory mags, front factory bull bars (that the old owner had ground off!!!).

Only thing this one had was a blown engine… what!!

The spark plug leads had melted to the head and were impossible to remove without extreme force. To do a compresion test after they were out was still impossible as the plugs couldn’t be removed with all the melted plastic around them, there mustve been some heat put out by the engine before it died so….

New engine bought and arriving on Wednesday via Trademe ($250!!) and the loan of the neighbours engine crane to get the old one out and the new one in. image1 image2 image3

Everything has now been pulled off the engine ready to remove bar two engine mounts, leaving the engine hanging there until the engine crane arrives tonight.

In the mean time I noticed that there was a fog light switch in this car (being the better spec model) which operated the existing factory fog lights. My own Caldina didn’t have this switch but had the factory fog light lenses, bulbs and wiring so the wiring for the fog lights was removed and swapped into my car leading me to discover that was all it needed to make mine work!!

I have also swapped the lenses for the park lights over to mine as they’re the matching clear ones for my clear headlights.

There’s still plenty of things to swap over to mine like the side skirts, rear boot lid and mountings for the factory front bull bars but they can all wait until this replacement engine arrives, is in and away runnning.

Next update…. engine in and running (I hope)

Over and out.

Hubby’s Hobby

Hubby and I had been having rather passionate verbals about his subsequent need to be out in the garage… we came to a mutual meeting ground of, I have a hobby and now… so does he.

Hubby’s hobby: Tinkering on cars.

I’ve created a category “hubby’s hobby” so hubby can just do a post per car 😀

The first car

Make: Toyota

Model: Caldina 1996

Cost: $1400

Repairs: $600

Labour: $0.00 a month of tinkering between shift work

Sold: $2500

State upon arrival:

  • tar and horse and cowshit all up and over it
  • black bonnet
  • oil leaks coming out its arse (yep I’m typing word for word this info as dictated by hubby lol)
  • clicking cv joint perished cv boot
  • idling problems
  • timing belt, water pump, seals, and tensioner idler due
  • tyres low on tread




Engine bay once all the leaks had been sorted:


Let the fun begin….

First hubby did the timing belt, seals, idler, tensioner, water pump, and rocker cover gasket.

He started it up and it wouldn’t idle it properly, he knew he had it timed right so replaced the spark plugs thinking that might help, no luck! it continued to stall so spent a day thinking about it and figured it had to be the idle control valve.  He pulled apart the throttle body and cleaned the idle control valve and throttle body properly putting it all back together.

Hurrar!! it was then running properly.

He next purchased some cheap near new tyres and mags online an put them on his own car then put his own steel wheels on the project car giving it good tyres for selling.

Why wouldn’t he just put the tyres he brought online on the project car….

Here’s his answer:

Because he didn’t want steel wheels on his own car.  He wanted mags.

Carrying on….

He swapped head units between the project car and his own car so he could have a USB one…

His car is an identical or close to it model to the project car by the way.

Then the clear headlight lenses over to his own car.

He painted the ugly black bonnet with paint matching the project cars body with a can from RJ Patterson who color matches car paint using the paint code under the bonnet of the car.

After test driving it he found the CV joint was buggered so replaced that and the boot.

He tidied up the cars wiring behind the head unit.

Then listed it on trade me.

This car went to a awesome new owner who has saved a huge amount on labour and parts, getting something that is now incredibly reliable.

A dad came and test drove it for his rugby playing son needing a wagon for all the sports gear and training.

The son came and test drove it.

They placed a hefty deposit down even though we insisted no need to.

Then paid the rest by internet banking and came to collect the car a couple days later.

On to the next Caldina project!!