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Discussion Starter #1
Since I have been posting on my Reverse Cooling and Serpentine Belt threads, I thought that I would start this one to show what I have done to my '86 Laser.

First, some history, in late 2004, my son and I bought it on eBay. It had a rod sticking through the oil pan, but there wasn't any rust anywhere.







It cost more to have it shipped, than to buy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)

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Discussion Starter #4
In late 2006, I found a donor '88 Daytona and stripped the T2 engine and suspension from it. I had everything powdercoated and put it all in the Laser. I also had it painted Viper blue, with the hood from our '85 Laser.

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Heavy, one piece axles from The Driveshaft Shop.
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I ended up having to have them shortened, due to axle binding, but they did it at no charge. These axles have performed well, for the last 8 years.

In the summer of 2007, my son had been driving it, while serving in the Army. He came home in time to take it to the Syracuse Chrysler show and won 1st place in the FWD class.
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The Laser is actually his, but I end up getting to do most of the work on it. He can do it, but doesn't consider it fun, like I do.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Some of the hidden upgrades:

Since I had switched to the '88 Daytona T2 engine, I needed to add the intercooler. There was just enough room to put it behind one of the chin openings.


I replaced the original brake diaphram with a thinner one from a Lebaron. This provided more room for the turbo piping.


I wanted to make a cool airbox. I purchased a chipped SMEC, and cut the housing for the away.


I made a new battery box and located the air filter in it.




We have had great results with Optima batteries. My son even drove 2 hours, at night, without an alternator, and it started the next morning.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I decided to modify the vent ducting to pull cooler air from the side of the car, instead of from the rear of the hood.

I relocated the washer fluid tank and cut a new hole in the cowling.


I sealed the valley, to separate the 2 sides.


Built a cover for it.


Added a screen, to keep the chipmunks out.


And redid the cover.


Unfortunately, it didn't seem to flow cooler air. Maybe I'll revisit the design, someday, but at least it's not any worse than the original design.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We powdercoated the engine and tranny, and switched to a Sanden rotary type AC compressor.


I converted the tranny to the 520/555 hybrid. Installed the TU exhaust manifold with S60 turbo and 3" wastegate.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Front Suspension Mods

In 2009, I decided to convert the suspension from stock, to adjustable struts. It was at this time that Rich Bryant came up with the adjustable strut tower brackets.

I did a lot of research and ended up buying Megan Racing struts, designed for the VW Jetta.


I cut 4" holes into the top of the towers.


A bit of advise, tape and cover everything, before cutting. It took me hours to get the metal dust out of the nooks and crannies. If I hadn't, they would have quickly turned to rust.




I picked up the '93 Daytona K-frame and control arms, and had everything powdercoated, with poly bushings.


Also added the thickest Poly Bushing anti-sway bar.


It took a little lower mounting hole modification, but the struts fit nicely.


I later powdercoated the calipers and lower strut bracket.


Added a new, heavier, strut tower brace.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Rear Suspension Mods

I chose the VW Jetta setup, mainly because the rear travel closely matched ours. The top mount used a vertical bolt mount, instead of our horizontal mount.


I usually try to modify with an eye to being able to return to the previous design, just in case I fail. I drilled a hole through the top of the shock mount, thinking that it would provide the strongest mounting point.


This shows the top mounting hardware.


I had to drill through the interior panels, to allow access to the dampening adjusters.


This is how the stock shock mounted to the axle.


I had to widen the mounting tabs.


This shows the stock spring assembly. It has a larger diameter than the new springs.


I bought a set of Honda springs and adjustable mounts, off eBay. I don't have a clue what the spring weights are, but they worked OK. This was before Rich Bryant came up with his special setup.




I also added a new panhard bar.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Body Mods

In 2011, we decided to redo the interior, wheels and brakes. This is how it looked in 2010.


I converted the interior panels over to a '93 Daytona's, because the cloth interior was showing its age.


I grabbed some seats from a late model Celica and had them recovered.


We swapped to 15" Focal wheels, because they made the 11" brakes look larger.


A Camaro reverse hood scoop was added to the '86 turbo hood, to get rid of the hot air, from the engine bay.


I removed the bulbs and converted the taillights over to LED.
 

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I decided to modify the vent ducting to pull cooler air from the side of the car, instead of from the rear of the hood.

I relocated the washer fluid tank and cut a new hole in the cowling.
...... pic
I sealed the valley, to separate the 2 sides.
...... pic
Built a cover for it.
...... pic
Added a screen, to keep the chipmunks out.
...... pic
And redid the cover.
...... pic
Unfortunately, it didn't seem to flow cooler air. Maybe I'll revisit the design, someday, but at least it's now worse than the original design.
Isn't this the stock cabin fresh air intake??


6" to the left??
I'm confused???
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Odds & Ends

One of the mods, that I forgot to mention, was a short throw shifter. It has really improved the shifting, but wasn't easy to fit into the console.




New shifter insert.


Cool airbox redesign.






Besides adding another bay to my garage, the best addition is this set of ramps. They allow you to get under your car, while providing low overhead clearance. My wife likes them better than jack stands.


You drive onto them, then the rear jacks up to become level.


They allow me to enter from almost any direction, on a creeper.


The wheels are for my track day tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A couple odds and ends, the cool air box does have a top cover. Under the entire hood is a thick mat. When the hood is down, it seals the top. Cool air enters from the headlight area. There is also a gap above the headlights, below the hood.

Last year, I did two driving schools at Watkins Glen. I had a hard time getting solid info on what alignment specs to run, as there doesn't seem to be hard numbers to reference. The specs I used were:
Front Camber = -2.0 Toe = +.15 Caster = +2.8
Rear Camber = -1.5 Toe = 0.0

It was amazing to feel the difference in how the car handled. Gone was the feel of the front end washing out. Basically, the car went where I pointed it, as long as it was under power.

I have driven front wheel drive cars for over 30 years, but had not clue that they could handle like that. My instructor has only raced rear wheel drive cars. He kept trying to make me drive it like a rear wheel drive, but FWD allowed me to take a tighter arc, through the corners. I was even able to do some trail braking, which really freaked him out. He paid me back when I rode in his car, as I got out feeling sick, from the violent turns he was doing, LOL.

If you ever get the chance, do a school on a road course. You will become a much better driver.
 

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Hey thanks for posting ur project in detail wonderful going over them, i like the powder coating ideas, i have some work to do on mine. Thanks again LaserDad have a happy fathers day.Regards Errol
 

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Wow!!! What a nice laser!! When you converted to the led tailights, were there any problems with installation? Any flickering , fast blinking etc?? What name brand and size bulbs did you go with? Im really digging that led look for my turbo z. Ps- nice personalized plate! Love it!!
 

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Ok u have to let me in on those rear lightings,i've never seen those before on our cars. so please i'm all ears. Regards. Errol
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I bought the taillight LED's are from a company called Rodworx, in Florida, (Rodworx.com), but I'm sure they are available elsewhere. They were $25 each, but come with separate taillight and stop light circuits built in, so you just have to run the old wires to them.



The tough part was separating the lens from the housing. This pic shows only 2 LED bars, but I ended up going to 3, and keeping the original backup light bulb.




Here's a pic of the taillights:


And one of the stop lights:


I admit that $150 is a lot to spend for taillights, but I think that the improved visibility is worth it. I had previously tried the parts store LED bulbs, which are supposed to directly replace the 1157s, but they weren't as bright as the originals. If this car gets rear ended, I doubt that it will be repairable.
 
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