Coupe Wagon Driftcar Van

Wow, its been four months since i updated this , i cant believe how fast time passes! haha.

Well , we left off with warning lights on the dash of the JZS171W Crown. Shortly after the last blog post i managed to figure out both the items causing warnings.

First of all the JZS171W rear brake light out warning error. This was a simple one.
In the upper brake light of the wagon, the previous owner in Japan must have replaced it with a standard T10 wedge. Instead of replacing with the larger 12V – 16W wedge globe pictured here :

The second warning i had was the “Auto headlight leveling function” was not operating correctly.


This was due to a sensor on the passenger rear lower control arm, there is a sensing rod that bounces up and down with the movement of the LCA. After changing over the coilover suspension from the CUSCO to the Buddyclub. I managed to slip the sensor rod upside down.
Explained very well in pics here :

I never went through with the CCFL install on the headlights, as the two “round” Athlete headlights i have were too clean to mess up. I thought id keep them as spares.

Moving on from that, I replaced the front discs and pads using JZX100 gear from RDA .
Simple to do, with the floating rotor style.


I also managed to buy back the original wheels that came on the Crown, which suited its style.

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I also managed to fix the electrical drain by repairing a wire on the MPX DOOR (tailgate) ECU.
Which dropped the considerable 600mA “Phantom” drain, to nothing.

I then got stuck into a bit of MZ11 work!
Drained the tank of dirty fuel, over the months of sitting, getting painted and generally not used, i could smell the stale fuel just by walking past it… I guess the rubber seal on my fuel cap is also perishing ?
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Then removed the MZ11’s tired diff slightly more noisey diff and replaced with an identical 4.11 from the previous purple GZ10 i scrapped.

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In September Holly had organised a secret trip for me and friends to goto Singapore for the F1 !
We got to walk around for a few days , then we had a few days of track time at the Formula 1.
We had an amazing time, what an incredible city !  The F1 was sensational i could have stayed for double the time !
(we even got to go for a special dinner at the top of the Marina Bay Sands)

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After i got back from Singapore, I had a new project on my mind. It had actually been on my mind for a while.
So i set my priority to sell poor Clifford. Although I loved the car and finally got it working amazing after so many oil issues, I wanted to let it go. I’m never home for drift events, when i am, something else more important is usually on as well. Its cool, I have other things i want to do, and having a drift car sitting around isnt helping. Many years of drifting was fun but it was time to move on. So the final headlight clean on Clifford was completed, and it was sold on to someone else in the Perth scene.
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In October TOYOTAS IN THE PARK annual event was on !
Morgan and I managed to get down there, and get our Z10 Soarers in the public eye for a day.
Boy it was nice to drive an old manual car again ! haha
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We even got to got for a little cruise with some of our friends from the X-Chassis crew of Perth.

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At the same time I had been looking at Toyota Estimas online over a few months (maybe 6 months lol). Originally i was looking at the 2005-2006 MCR40 , which is a 3L V6 M-Series engine from Toyota. The “40” is for All-wheel-drive. Which in my mind would go really well. However the troubles i had with the MPX network in the JZS171W was off-putting. The ACR30/MCR40 Estima’s had MPX, probably even more complex than the MPX network in the JZS171W…..

I then found out there was a SC14 Supercharged version of the previous TCR series Estimas… Otherwise known as the “BEAN or EGG” versions of Toyota’s Estima. The majority of the 2TZ-FZE Estima’s produced between 1991-1999 were TCR20/21 which were Toyotas “All-Trac” AWD versions.

So I started looking around to find out if the TCR20/21 series was allowed to be brought here. As i have seen a lot of Toyota Enima / Lucida models around, which were the thinner,shorter,diesel variant. However the TCR20W full wagon size versions were identical to the Australian Tarago of the era, so one would assume that they were denied importation.

Looking up RAWS / SEVS laws on the Estima TCR20w series I found a bunch of information on the workshops that were allowed to comply them “back-when”
RAWS estima

SEVS Ruling

Vehicle Details:

Ruling: 511//00     View Official SEVS Register
Make: Toyota
Model: Estima R20 (Campervan)
Model Code: R20 Series
Category: MA
Date From: 1992/01
Date To: 1999/12
Conditions: Linked to 377/02. R20 is 4WD

I contacted Hybrid to ask some questions on importation after spotting this TCR10W (2TZ-FE, RWD) on Goo-Net:

I spoke to Robert from Hybrid he advised that there has been no “want” for these for a long time now, however they are still RAWS compliant “as a Mobile Campervan” .
He went on to explain the loop hole which importers used in the early 2000’s was to import them as Campervans. Meaning removing the rear seat and setting up some “basic” camping items, like a small gas oven, a table and a bed was all that was required for compliance in Australia. (in accordance with Administrators Circular 0-4-12.)

I asked how much importing / compliance would be if i was to import one along with a bunch of other things, when Robert mentioned his father still had a TCR20W (AWD – S/C) version from back when they were a common import and if i’d be interested ! Apparently it had been sitting around for a while on a farm in south A.C.T.

He flicked me through some pictures:

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Turns out Robert had a 1997 Toyota Estima “V Pearl Edition” , with the 2TZ-FZE S/C engine and 78,000 kms on the clock!
I totally could see the potential in this van to be something pretty unique and great for a daily driver.
After a bunch of easy , relaxed conversation and organising, Robert sold it to me for a very reasonable price. We organized shipping and by late October I collected it from TOLL Perth Depot. (Special thanks to Nuwan at i-REV for assistance!)

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The drive home from TOLL Perth was interesting to say the least.
It felt like the suspension had seen nothing but corrugated dirt roads and potholes for most of its life. There were rattles, there were noises that sounded like metal banging against each other and there was floating on a cloud as it went over bumps, allowing the Estima to change lanes on its own !

Robert had warned me of the suspension multiple times before purchase, and there was a damn good reason why. HAH!

The good news was that the 2TZ-FZE drove smoothly home, perfect idle, 2,100RPM at 110KPH on the freeway and the captains chairs in the front were super comfy and in GREAT condition !

First order of business was to find out what the hell was wrong with the suspension. I thought maybe new shocks were required ?
Lucky i had pre-purchased TANABE coilovers from Yahoo (thanks Jesse!)

estima coils estima coils3

Upon further inspection :

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The rear shocks were completely gone, no rebound what – so – ever.
So I replaced the blown shocks with my recently imported Tanabe Coilover Shocks and springs.

However i didnt really like how the spring seat/spring adjustible part was mounted. I also didnt think it was a “LIKE-FOR-LIKE” replacement and our Perth vehicle inspectors would also deny me using them legally, I mean, if i think something doesnt look right, I’m pretty sure an inspector would fail me ….

So as an alternative, I found that the old front springs from the front of Loch’s JZX90 Mark II were the same internal diameter.
They were Pedders (a local suspension company) springs, which were lower and slightly softer than standard.

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That looks a bit more “normal”

I then moved onto the front, which is where the majority of the noise was coming from during my drive home.
First i found a broken brake line : which was easily replaced !

Then I removed the struts completely to replace with the coilovers…
And the top hats decided to stay behind :
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Yep, completely gone….
Anyway.. In go the fronts :
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I continued on replacing everything into the evening. Changed both Diff oils and bled the brakes.

Coilovers were in, LEXUS IS250 16×7 wheels with excellent tyres were fitted and the car drove great! (up and down the street only , of course 😉 )

I had one more day before heading for registration, finally some of my engine seals showed up.
I accessed the engine under the seats, which is an annoying task. Removed the cam cover and replaced all the seals.

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A not-so easy job after a non stop day fitting suspension, replacing brakelines, brake discs, pads, changing diff oils and adjusting other stuff.
(my back was very sore!)

Off to registration the next day.
I spotted this 1998 Estima Lucida on the freeway ! It must have meant good luck !

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I arrived at Osborne Park Examination Centre around 9am.

Handed over my keys, and sat in the waiting room for an hour or so watching daytime TV “news”
Lucky it was Channel 9, my favorite “news” …

The inspector came out and called my name, I went over for the chat, assuming as this was my first attempt to pass the vehicle I would fail for something so that i can come back a second time and pay them more money ! (how else would they make money right ?) Usually I pull out a tail light globe, or something simple for them to fail me on and write down on the “list” to which i just go home and replace the minor things and pass the next day. But hey , This Estima had done 79,000kms it was barely “run-in” and id replaced all the bad stuff i could find.

Sadly I was right.

The Inspector , who i might just say was “in a good mood” , or just a general nice guy. Advised me the car was beautiful and drove perfectly. All the suspension “upgrades” were excellent and that he would have passed the vehicle then and there.

Except it had 8 seats in it ……
Of course it had 8 seats in it, its an Estima ……. oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……. thats right….
Robert said they complied them in using a loop hole and “converted” them to Campervans , reducing the seating capacity to

5 Seats….

Well, fuck me.
However, the inspector went on to say that he has seen this before. The way i need to tackle it, is completing the Modification Application for Light Vehicles document, and providing pictures of all the mounting equipment of the seating to prove it is factory and can be used within Australia.
He also mentioned i might as well put in the wheels (16″ instead of 15″) and the Coilovers as upgrades as i will need to go through engineering.
This is the same process that some people are unlucky enough to go through when they want to “legally” modify their vehicles, for instance:

Installing a more powerful engine ?
Changing from an automatic to a manual gearbox ?
Adding a Rollcage ?
Installing adjustable control arms ?
Lifting a 4WD ?
Installing larger (safer!) brakes ?

And so on..

So, I wasnt too happy, But i could totally understand why I was knocked back. I gave no attitude to the Inspector and left.

When I arrived home, I took approx 30 photos of the mounting of the seating, the mounting of the coilovers. Completed the document above and I hand delivered it to the Technical section of Welshpool Vehicle Services.Estima pic mods

The Gentleman behind the desk advised I should receive a letter in the mail (Hello ? Its 2015?) within the next “few months or so” , which is usually Australian for “Fucking Ages”
Then I need to pay an Engineer to sign off on the factory rear seats, and the coilovers.

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So until then, I will be installing some of the parts ive received from Japan Auctions and an awesome sound system.

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Updates soon (i hope) 😉


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