5th Aug 2014, 10:50
The car is still going strong. I did replace the original radiator as it was starting to look a bit tired and I felt the fan was kicking on a bit too often. So a new aluminium radiator (slightly more robust looking and a bit higher capacity than the original copper core) was $90 from a local parts store plus postage. The car was showing no sign of parasitic current leakage through the cooling system, so I did a cooling system flush and filled it with long life red coolant (Toyota long life).
At the same time I replaced the thermostat and the housing, which was showing some corrosion around the hose fitting. I also replaced the radiator mounts, as though they were still servicable, they were original and showing tiredness and wear. Keeps things nice and vibration free.
Still no breakdowns and it's now riding on a set of Yokohama C Drive2s; much nicer than the S Drives I had prior for punting around the Brisbane streets.
I'm considering replacing the rear water fitting for the water pump and the water pump itself, which I'm pretty sure are still original. There is a little sign of seepage from around the hose from the pump to this rear fitting, but it's not showing in the coolant level.
I'm amazed that the CVs are still original on this car and are showing no sign of clicking yet (knock on wood) given the age.
The only things that I think probably need looking at are the engine mounts; they're starting to transfer a bit more vibration than I'd like. Also the clutch is probably original and starting to need looking at replacing, as sometimes I think the tension plate is starting to lose its spring. Possibly the rear rotors are due for replacing as they're nearing their wear limits. Apart from those things, everything still works as it should.
17th Aug 2014, 11:49
Mine is a 1998 Toyota Corolla. GLX, the top spec. Done 309k. Original clutch and suspension. Drives still like it's done 50k. Apart from cambelts 3 times, an oil change every 8-10k and once having the gearbox oil replaced, we did nothing. Still passes VTNZ WOF without any warning. Needed a few odd things like tyres and bulbs, but nothing mechanical. We strongly believe we can cross a million and we will. The clutch is fairly worn and we will be lucky if we can get 30 more ks out of it, but it's great for being original.
20th Nov 2014, 11:41
The car is now hitting 165,000km.
The 160,000km service, self done, replaced the following:
Air filter - Ryco, oil filter - Toyota, oil - Castrol Edge Sport, transmission fluid - Castrol Syntrax, brake fluid - Castrol Super Response Dot4, clutch slave cylinder fluid - as brake fluid.
Brake bleed, clutch bleed.
Brake rotors still within tolerances; rears quite close though.
Iridium plugs checked - still have 50,000km of their life left.
Timing still spot on.
No breakdowns, part failures, oil leaks or warning lights, everything still working.
Air conditioner internal evaporator and blower fan cleaned to improve A/C prior to summer. Did improve cool down and flow through (a cabin filter would've avoided ever needing to do this, but it's an older car so it had to be done).
The blower fan resistor insulation was cracked, so it could do with replacing, but it still works; will replace it soon, but the part is not easily available through Toyota Australia, so the good ol' internet comes to the rescue. The part is pretty universal across all AE10X series in all countries.
This summer is going to be a stinker, but the A/C is working better than ever, so hooray again for Denso Australia Air Conditioning and a proper full A/C service at a local Toyota service centre - not just those re-gas "services".
The car sits a bit higher than factory on those replacement "standard" height king springs, so I've been thinking of lowering it, but there are so many instances on the mean streets of Brisbane where I'm glad I haven't. Oh yes, if you put a bigger sway bar on the rear of this car, make sure you seam weld the shock absorber sway bar linkage brackets on them; the usual dinky tiny spot welds on them just aren't strong enough, and are guaranteed to ping off when turning a corner up or down a hill. I should've mentioned that in an earlier posting.
15th Mar 2015, 09:30
Just had a timing belt replaced due to its age rather than km (7 years old). At the same time I had the rear inlet pipe replaced (due to weeping issue mentioned in previous update) it was showing noticeable corrosion and would never made a good seal with the hose, rear inlet pipe hose, water pump (original wasn't leaking, but thought it worthwhile to replace), the associated gaskets/o-rings with these items. Also a front crank seal, camshaft seal, valve cover gasket for piece of mind, and a distributor o-ring which had just started to leak after 17 years.
The only noticeable issues are perhaps very slight clutch shudder when cold; after about 5 minutes it goes completely. This may be due to the age of the original clutch pressure plate/drive plate or the flywheel surface. The car doesn't get driven a lot during the week, and possibly a little rust develops on the flywheel surface due to humidity or has a little bit of glazing. The other possible issue is that the engine/transmission mounts need to be replaced due to age; I'm getting a little more vibration at revs over 3000 RPM than I used to get.
I am considering getting a newer car now that this one has hit 17 years, which is about how old my previous car was before I sold it. I will say this car has aged much better than my previous car, but it is perhaps less fun dynamically. Still as far as durability, reliability and longevity go, I can't fault it one iota.
Replacement choices at the moment are:
2011 Toyota Corolla Conquest sedan with a manual transmission (possibly hatchback). The new Corolla look doesn't grab me I'm afraid.
2013 Toyota Yaris manual (I like the more conservative front end over the 2014+ models with the big lower grilles).
2014 Ford Fiesta Sport or ST (known to be very fun dynamically, although the turbo engines make me a bit leery, having grown up with turbos in the 80s and 90s, for a couple of reasons). I love hot little hatchbacks; fun, light, chuckable and a boon in city traffic.
2013 Mazda 2 or 3, I quite like how these cars look and drive. The rear vision and cargo space are a bit poor compared to what I'm used to, and that silly engine shut down feature when coming to a stop doesn't sit well with me for a few reasons.
I'd also consider a Mini Cooper S, but I feel they're a bit too fussy on the interior trim and getting smash repair parts seems a little problematic in Australia; a friend is waiting a month to get a front driver's side guard (fender/wing) and associated components, and his is only a 2011.