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PDM Racing 1986 BATTLE COUPE AE86 Build-up

     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 Prepared title.

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 competitor.

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. PDM Racing Hi FLow Cat
PDM Racing Custom Exhaust - 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.
Magnaflow Resonator
PDM Custom SS Exhaust - Lengthwise shot of exhaust system.
- Rear Border N1 style 304 stainless muffler with stainless hanger.
Border N1 Style Muffler

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.

PDM MAF AE86 Adapter - 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. PDM Custom CAI
PDM AE86 CAI - 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.

POR 15 - Rear housing has been removed, stripped and repainted with POR 15 epoxy paint.
- 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 Custom AE86 Spring Perch
Rear AE86 Coilovers - 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. Rear AE86 Coilover Collar
PDM AE86 Rear Coilovers - Next a ct down threaded collar was used to allow for spring height adjustment.
- 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. KAAZ 2-Way LSD

With 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 up.

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 !

AE86 Rear KVR Rotors
AE86 Whiteline Traction Brackets Porterfield Race Pads
AE86 Whiteline Rear Swaybar