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Getting the most power for Corolla tuning projects

"Corolla Tuners"

 The Toyota Corolla is one of the longest running production cars in the world, and has sold more units than the VW beetle. We are going to look at the AE 86 in a future article, as this really is a special classic Corolla. In this article we're going to look at the more recent models of Corolla released in the 1990s. 

The Corolla was built for reliability and the economy and was typically marketed at the mature driver. As a result it is only recently that people have started modifying and tunings the Corolla.

The 1.3 engines, sadly do not offer much scope for tuning and should be avoided if you were looking for a tuning project. The 1.6l engine gets interesting, especially when mated to the six speed gear box. If you have the five speed gearbox you will improve your acceleration and benefit from the lower ratios of a six speed box.

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The Toyota Corolla is one of the most popular cars in the world looking at units sold.

The brakes on the standard car are pretty sharp but this can be improved with the addition of vented disks and sports brake pads. Choose a pad which has a good low temperature friction if you are using the car as a daily runaround.

I would describe the handling on the Corolla as comfortable. It has a tendency to wallow over lumps in the road. One of the first modifications I would recommend (even on the 1.3 models) is to uprate the suspension. Get 34mm lower springs and adjustable dampers and you will have a much better handling car.

The ecu is very hard to remap in the Corolla, so owners looking to change the ignition timing will usually choose an aftermarket ECU. This completely replaces the standard ECU and allows for full mapping. Early Corolla tuning enthusiasts used a piggy back ECU. ECU mods are not really worth doing unless you have fitted fast road cams and other extensive modifications.

Exhaust - get a racing header for the best flow rates and mate this to a good quality induction kit with a cold air feed pipe. There are a number of tailpipes around for the Corolla - we like the sound of the HKS legamax but most aftermarket exhausts will produce a better sound.

Engine swaps are also a good proposition and drivers are looking to the celica for suitable donors. It is quite a large job but with a celica engine and some handling modifications you have a good track day car.

Join us in the forum to discuss Toyota Corolla tuning in more detail with our Toyota enthusiasts. Have a read of our car tuning articles as well and get a good overview of the pros and cons of each type of modification.

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Your Constructive comments on this article

2 Responses to “Tuning the Toyota Corolla”

  1. Kellon says:

    i have done a bit more than that, i mated a 4spd manual to me 1.5l (once auto) head swap, stage 2 copper ACT clutch, hand build external induction. no exhaust work yet running on 13s still managed to hit 160kmph(100mph) from around 60kmph in around 200 meters :. I still have a lot to do.

  2. CATO says:

    What head did you use? Can anyone help with simple mods for 4age 20valve silver top that you can feel the difference?

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