I figured I would update this. It's been a while. I get as much done in 3 years as most dudes get done in 3 weeks.
I drove this out to California (and blew up an r154 in the middle of Ohio..then dragged it the rest of the way there) for the few months while I was there. Between the PA tags and stance-so-low-the-exhaust-pinged-off-lane-markers it was quite a cop magnet. I went over to Tein, picked up some new collars, and raised the rear up about 1.75 inches. It's still 17/18 stagger. The tires are way more suited to the height though. 225/40-17, 235/40-18. It still rubs a little.
this is still with the wrong size tires, but the rear raised up:
I drove it back here with no hiccups, save for almost burning the car and a gas station to the ground somewhere between Barstow and Havasu:
At some point it got some 800cc SARD side feeds, a Walbro, and a Hallman MBC. Then Matt at Import Intelligence dyno tuned it. I think it came out to about 295hp, 290 ft/lbs at 11.8 PSI. It feels great and runs hard. There is plenty more power to be had. Sometime. At the speed of slow of course.
I've pretty much been driving this thing around with the dash looking like a cat's b-hole post M-80 fireworks party. It was slightly better than this when I started working on this last week.
The gauge cluster, bezel, and radio were all there in spirit. The speedo was never hooked up during the swap, then the trans side bung of the speedo cable got caught on a speed bump or something and ripped off. The tach didn't work. The radio wouldn't power up. In doing the swap, I had the knee-boards out on both sides; to get to the wire loom on the passenger side and installing the clutch pedal on the driver's. All of the electronic do-dads were just hanging from zip-ties. Busy/lazy. Mostly lazy.
So I spent the last two weeks taking care of various odds and ends. The gauge cluster came out. There's a 30k OHM resistor that needs to be cut off the board and replaced with a wire to make the tach interpret the 1jz ignition signal. While I had that all apart, I decided to cover up the PRNDL auto trans indicator. I didn't have any vinyl laying around so I found some stickers. It came out OK I guess.
I put all the interior bits back in place, fixed the power issue for the radio, and bingo bango, I have something slightly more suitable to drive around in.
Special thanks to Keith for the steering column clam shell.
I have a box full of gauges to mount up now too. I'll probably tackle that sometime in the next decade.
The paint is still awful and getting worse, and the fender lips are rusted. The rear door jambs are getting bad too. Next thing on the list is a a pair of working OEM hood struts, a not broken windshield and correcting the rust.
Stay tuned for the next installment, 3 years from now.