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Racing 1986 BATTLE COUPE
Looking for a new
car to build and race for research and development,
PDM Racing was on the hunt for a clean Toyota
Corolla AE86 to work on. After 6 months of finding
rusty, overpriced shells, Don finally persuaded
a customer of his to part with his 1986 Coupe
that had previously won the B.C. Region F Street
Knowing that the car was going to be torn down
and most of it rebuilt, we were only looking
for a clean, reliable shell that had minimal
rust. Unfortunately, the car was not entirely
rust free – with rust in the common rear
wheel arch area and front rocker area, but this
damage was not going to prevent the car from
being a race car, as it had been used as a daily
driver and solo car for years previous.
We picked up the car minus a lot of the suspension
components and parts that the previous owner
had installed, knowing we were going to build
up the suspension to the max of the rules.
With nothing more than a bone stock 1986 black
on black coupe with only lowering springs, no
lsd, worn rubber bushings and stock brakes,
the crew at PDM set out on a task to transform
the sedate street driven car into a serious
During the winter of 2003/2004 the rules changed,
and the car was re-classified into D/SP, meaning
that it would be competing against faster cars
not originally anticipated, so the crew had
their work cut out for them to build the car.
After discarding the stock Pizza Cutter 14”
rims and all season’s tires, Don found
a set of used Toyota Supra rims with well worn
Falken Azenis he slapped on to drive the car
around on the street while the arsenal of parts
were collected to start the transformation.
“Coming from a Nissan 240SX background,
I was familiar with the rear wheel drive layout
of the Corolla, but did find the ride quality
and creature comforts not up to par for a daily
highway driven work car.”
The small 1600cc engine lacked a lot of torque
that his 240SX’s and RX7’s possessed,
so he knew he had to change that. Plus with
a car nearing 20 years of age, many of the original
suspension bushings, and components were definitely
showing their age when pushed to the limit.
First on the agenda was to open up the tiny
1.5” pee-shooter exhaust that the car
was delivered with, so it was decided to build
a true race exhaust. Pondering on exhaust size,
it was boldly decided to build a 2.5”
304 stainless system with free flow muffler,
high flow catalytic converter, and small resonator
muffler for sound. Many felt that 2.5”
would be far too large and lose too much bottom
end, however there were more plans in store
for the Battle Coupe than just an exhaust. PDM
designs and builds custom mandrel bent 304 stainless
exhausts, which are purged inside with argon
to create a smooth and corrosion free weld.
Also to minimize weight and exhaust restriction,
an under-axle system was also designed.
|- PDM Racing hi flow 2.5”
Magnaflow Cat in place mated to the TRD
down pipe section. We wanted to be fast,
but also emissions clean for the environment.
||- 2.5” 304 stainless
tubing and Walker stainless muffler clamps.
Muffler clamps were retained to allow
easy removal rear section of the under-axle
exhaust when the car is on the hoist.
|- Magnaflow 304 stainless
2.5” in/out race muffler. Super high
quality, deep tone Magnaflow mufflers PDM
uses on many projects.
||- Lengthwise shot of exhaust system.
|- Rear Border N1 style 304
stainless muffler with stainless hanger.
Next, the car’s breathing
needed to be improved to feed the new 2.5”
exhaust, so a true cold air intake was fabricated
out of lightweight thin-wall mandrel bent aluminum.
|| - The stock AFM was retained,
but using one of PDM’s MAF adapter
for Toyotas, they necked down a 2.75”
mandrel aluminum pipe into the MAF, then
3” down into a hole cut in the right
inner fenderwell, to drop the air filter
into the front inside of the bumper assembly.
||- Notice the air intake being
dropped right into the front air stream
for maximum air intake.
As the suspension components began to trickle
in, the car was taken off the road in early spring,
and the entire front and rear suspension was removed
to be completely rebuilt.
The car had to run coil-overs in order to get
it low, and adjustable for race use. However,
looking at some of the commercially available
rear coil over units on the market, we weren’t
100% confident in using the stock rear unibody’s
shock tower mount to take the entire load of the
rear housing. The stock shock mount was only engineered
to withstand a certain percentage of the vehicle’s
rear weight, with the spring and reinforced spring
area on the chassis meant to take the majority
of the rear suspension’s load under cornering
and hard acceleration. Don felt that the rear
floor pan would have to be reinforced with sheet
metal if a true spring over shock coil over were
to be used, which would have entailed a somewhat
complex upper mount which would have to allow
for shock for/aft movement.
Not wanting to re-invent the wheel, it was
decided to retain the spring position in the
stock area, however making a new spring perch
area on the rear axle housing and the upper
chassis area to accept a much smaller 2.5”
i.d. ERS race spring.
So the rear axle housing came out, and was
stripped and cleaned, and all new bearings and
seals were replaced.
||- Rear housing has been removed,
stripped and repainted with POR 15 epoxy
|- The center of the OEM sized
spring was located, and we hole sawed out
a chunk of the stock spring perch to locate
our new threaded collar perch
||- Then we tack welded in
the pipe in place where our collar would
fit over, and cut off the stock perch
with a cut-off wheel.
| - Then a collar was made
using hole saws to locate the threaded
collar, and was welded in place.
|| - Next a ct down threaded
collar was used to allow for spring height
| - While out, a KAAZ 2 way
LSD was installed along with new carrier
and snout bearings, while the 4.6:1 stock
ring and pinion gears were retained to
allow shorter gearing for this auto-x
coupe. We used the supplied oil to break
in the KAAZ unit, but we immediately switched
to Motyl 90PA LSD oil, which gave a much
more smoother clutch pack engagement,
and quieter rear end.
the rear end out, we had a chance to clean up
and replace the rear lateral arms. The lower
arms we cleaned, bead blasted and installed
Whiteline WO565 bushings in. The upper arms
were replaced with Whiteline KTA110 adjustable
arms, to help re-align the pinion angle for
the much lowered car. In addition, KTA111 Whiteline
Rear Traction Brackets were added to help set
up the rear end for maximum traction and hook
Then with new bearings and seals, new stock
AE86 brake calipers were painted and installed,
with KVR rear cross drilled rotors, Porterfield
R4 race pads and Goodridge stainless steel
brake lines. Along with Whiteline BTR25Z 6
way adjustable swaybars, PDM race endlinks,
and Tokico Illumina Camaro rear shocks modified
to fit the stock bottom mount, and a Whiteline
KPF010 rear panhard bar to re-align and solidify
this racing Toyota. This is definitely one
very trick rear end !