PROJECTS - 1988 Toyota Supra Turbo - The UNDEAD

The Purchase

Oct 2009

This was bought from a 40-55 year old guy who had it in the 90ís and into the 2000ís. He had it overheat and stopped driving it. 9 years later I found the car on Craigslist and wanted to restore it. It was stored in a garage collecting dust and putting flat spots in the tires.

Price: $1450


Body was SUPER clean with no obvious blemishes.


Interior was intact and very clean save a couple tears in the drivers leather seat.


Auto trans was unknown on purchase. Motor hadnít run in 9 years. Radiator was dry. Engine appeared complete.


128,000 miles. Everything was present, shocks appeared worn.


No issues


Get It Running


Battery was dead after 9 years of sitting. Go figure. Easy test here. Any auto parts store can test batteries if youíre unsure.

Fuel Pump

9 years and no fuel treatment in the tank meant a nasty and non-functioning fuel pump. This can be checked on the Supra by jumpering the appropriate terminals in the diagnostic block. If the jumper the terminals and turn the key ďonĒ you should hear the pump run. It will make a whirring noise. No noise means a dead pump. Itís time to drop the tank and clean that nasty gunk out. Used pumps are dirt cheap from a breaker yard.

Now It Runs! What's Still Wrong?

Blown Head Gasket

In true Mk3 Supra fashion this car had an obviously blown head gasket. This was obvious after the car warmed up. You know how when you start your car the temp needle slowly rises and stops about half way up? Well this carís gauge went straight to red. In some situations this might mean a stuck thermostat. In our case, however, it was the head gasket leaking combustion gases into the cooling system. Itís a very common failure mode of 7M engines, especially of the turbo variety.

The fix for a BHG isnít too tough, but itís basically an engine rebuild. Details are here (BHG Fix)

Steering Rack Leak

Why is the car leaving a trail of ATF every time you turn left? Oh thatíd be the steering rack hemorrhaging fluid out of a blown seal.

Transmission is Weak

The transmission was a little slow to respond at first. With the known BHG this wasnít a main concern right off the bat.

Radiator Leak

Whatís that spraying liquid flying through the air? Oh thatís the radiator crying. Time for a replacement.

Final Product