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Toyota Celica (Hatchbacks / All Years)



  • adrian777adrian777 Posts: 1
    So, I am thinking of purchasing an '00-'01 Celica to replace my 2000 Mustang Conv.

    So, how long are the celicas going for before they need major repairs? I know Toyota is great as far as reliability, but how long should I expect a Celica engine to last? I always try to put a ceiling on the mileage I look at when I consider used cars, and was wondering, is 60K miles too high to consider when buying? I am planning on using this car about 1500 miles a month, and want to make sure it will last for 5 years.

    At any rate, I enjoy toyota having a rep as far as being solid and million mile engines, but was wondering if this applied to celicas as well.

    Also -- as a sidenote, is the GTS that much cooler than the GT? :lemon:
  • peterpanpeterpan Posts: 120
    I had a Toyota Camry I4 whose engine lasted over 270K miles and still running strong. Engine, transmission and steering were all in good condition. I was routinely cruising at 95 MPH for hours on long trips without any problem.

    The struts were all original and working well. The car was running straight and very stable at high speed. The steering was precise. There was no shimmying or wandering in the steering during lane changes, unlike what I have found in older Honda Accords and new GMs, FORDs etc..

    The car had full power. Everything in the car worked well except the rack and pinion unit which was starting to leak. The front and rear engine seals were also leaking oil. It consumed about 1 quart every 3000 miles.

    To keep the engine and transmission to last long, you need to replace oil and filter every, say, 5K miles, transmission fluid every 20K miles or when smelling burned.

    Overheating does the worst damages to engines. So keep the radiator clean by flushing every 2 years or 30K miles to prevent corrosion and blockage. Use only Toyota's red coolant which is less corrosive than the normal green fluid. Use only distilled water, never tap water, to prevent calcium deposit to block the radiator core.

    Toyota's engine and transmission should work reliably for about 300K and Lexus 500K miles, if you do half way decent preventive maintenance like I do. I did all preventive maintenance, oil, brakes, tune up etc.. myself, except a few major jobs like replacing the leaky power steering line and starter.

    There was time when the Camry was running slightly rough. I checked the records and found the plugs had not been replaced for 150K miles. I put in new plugs and it ran smooth again.

    Regarding the GTS, the engine has special valve design that allegedly pumps out a lot of HP over 6000 RPM. I also has firmer suspension than the GT and 4 disk brakes. It's designed for high-speed racing. You definitely feel every bump on the freeway, however small. I feel kind of tired driving the GTS for 1.5 hours, 100 miles freeway trip, whereas the GT's softer suspension is less tiresome. The GTS is priced about $5K more than the GT.

    The only feature that I wish the GT has is the tiptronic manual shifting on top of the automatic transmission, which is fun to rev up in street cruising. If you can put up with manual transmision, you are not missing much. You are more likely to find leather seats and side airbags the GTS.

    The bottom line is I would buy a GT with tiptronic shifting, side airbag and leather seats.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    is the same block as the Corolla's engine, strengthened and reinforced for high-RPM use. I would say you don't have much to worry about there. They have been using this exact block since '98 in the Corolla, with no systemic problems reported to date.

    With a GTS, just make sure to buy from an older person if buying used, as some kids have really made this model their street racing darling, and you wouldn't want one of those once they are done with it!

    The GTS has bigger rims (the way all the ones sold were actually equipped), and razor sharp handling (including a slightly punishing ride, as someone mentioned). I am sure you will not find one WITHOUT leather, and xenons were pretty common in the early years, and I believe standard for the last year or two? Its power is all above 6000 rpm on the tach - below that point it actully has slightly LESS torque and power than the GT. Above that, it takes off like a rocket, similar to the VTEC Hondas of the mid-90s.

    Oh, and 60K miles is NOT too high a mileage to consider buying. Look for records of maintenance.

    peterpan: while new Celicas may still technically be available, I believe they stopped exporting them to the U.S. several months ago and they are pretty much all gone. As far as new, check out Longo Toyota's inventory on-line - they are located in Southern California and are the biggest Toyota dealer in the world outside Japan (and maybe including Japan). If they don't have what you need, it is unlikely that other smaller dealers will.

    I have also noticed the phenomenon you mentioned - owners are hanging onto these Celicas a lot more than the Celicas of the past, and used ones are hard to find. There were only 150K or so sold in the entire model run throughout the United States, so it's not a huge population. AutoTrader is a good source for that, also if you are thinking about possibly looking for a certified car, Toyota's own website will help you locate the car you are looking for.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Celica engine is the same block as the Corolla's engine......"

    Since the GT engine is completely different from the GTS engine (larger bore/shorter stroke in the GTS motor), which Celica engine is the same block as the (std.) Corolla engine?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    sorry, I should have clarified, the GT engine is the same as the one in the Corolla. The one in the GTS is the same engine series, but with a different bore and stroke as you mentioned.

    There have been no problems with either engine in Toyotas, to my knowledge. However, a couple of different magazines mentioned that when Lotus did high-speed testing on the GTS engine for the U.S. Elise, there were "durability issues", annd Lotus beefed it up some more. Never saw anywhere that these "issues" were elaborated on, so I don't know if it was just extreme stuff that only Lotus would worry about.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Thanks. I was only pointing that out in case someone got the idea that the GT and GTS had essentially the same motor with just some valvetrain differences.

    I've heard the same thing regarding the 'Lotusification' of the GTS motor. For some reason, I think it had to do with oiling issues under high-g loads but I could be completely off base. It's been known to happen from time to time (the offbase part; not the oiling issue part) :blush:

    I've always wondered why in the heck Toyota would kill the MR-2 when they should have dropped the GTS engine in it to offer a low cost alternative to the Elise?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    can you imagine a mid-engined car, as light as the MR2 is, with 190 hp under the hood? Slightly sobering imagining that in the hands of someone not well versed in the control of such things! :-/

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Oh, I don't know. I think most of the problems associated with mid-engine cars comes from a handling perspective (ie, the are VERY responsive yet their low-polar moment of inertia means that once they begin to swap ends, they are harder for a novice to catch). I don't think more power would make this all that much more of a problem. Besides, as you've rightly pointed out, the additional power of the GTS motor over the GT motor is all in the upper end. What tends to get people in trouble where excess power is concerned is (IMO) more the fault of more TORQUE than the driver can handle as opposed to more hp.

    Frankly, I would be more learly of 300 hp in the hands of a novice in a Mustang than 180 hp in the hands of a novice in an MR2.
  • peterpanpeterpan Posts: 120
    Hi Nippon,

    Toyota is still making the Celica. That's what the fleet managers of a few dealers told me. They are mostly either white of black, with cloth seats. They told me I can order any color I want for MSRP with 6 weeks lead time.

    Longo has 1 white GTS. I was at the Longo Lexus dealer next door and went over to look at it, just to check out color compatibilty. White color looks OK on this car. Longo Toyota usually has the highest prices and the rudest sales people on earth! I would not buy from them.

    Other dealers do have Celicas. Cabe in Long Beach has 1 red GTS. Carson has 1 white. Pasadena has 2 GTS. Kearney Mesa has 1 white. You just have to call and work with them.

    I will do another 100-mile test run. If it wears me out, I will probably buy a GT with softer suspension and more comfortable ride.

    peterpan: while new Celicas may still technically be available, I believe they stopped exporting them to the U.S. several months ago and they are pretty much all gone. As far as new, check out Longo Toyota's inventory on-line - they are located in Southern California and are the biggest Toyota dealer in the world outside Japan (and maybe including Japan). If they don't have what you need, it is unlikely that other smaller dealers will.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    well I don't believe Toyota is going to STOP making Celicas in Japan. What they have stopped doing is exporting them. I know they have done that, because they made the announcement several months ago. So whatever Celicas are left out there have already been in the country at least 3 months, and are just "trickling down" through distribution channels.

    As for Longo, I am surprised at your response, but certainly they can't please everybody. I have a number of friends and family in the L.A. area, ALL of whom have bought from Longo and gotten a significantly lower price than other dealers they cross-shopped. But I just thought of Longo because it has such a large standing inventory. I DO think it is telling that in a huge and heavily populated area like the LA basin, you only found a half dozen Celica GTSs...they are definitely down to the very last of the new ones.

    It is sad we won't have a Celica here any more. :-(

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • peterpanpeterpan Posts: 120
    I did another 200 mile round-trip run with the GTS. The time was between 9 PM and midnight. The weather was nice and warm, with a clear sky. The freeways were dry and clean. Traffic was light and flowing smoothly . There was no congestion. I was cruising mostly between 80-90 MPH.

    My work load was light during this trip, However, I still feel a deep fatigue 24 hours afterwards. This is unlike any other trips that I have done with other cars.

    The fatigue must be caused the rough ride with the very firm suspension in the GTS.
  • guitarzanguitarzan Posts: 632
    How do your hips feel? Lower back? Any lasting soreness? These seats are torture on the ol' alignment. I feel that saps a lot of my energy.
  • peterpanpeterpan Posts: 120
    The seat was fine. Could use more support under the thighs.

    I felt no soreness or pain after this 200 mile 3-hour freeway run in the GTS, just deep fatigue similar to jet lag after 10-hour flight across the Pacific.
  • peterpanpeterpan Posts: 120
    I had the flu last week and it was more likely the cause of the fatigue, not the test drive in the GTS. I have been coughing my lungs out the whole week, and it could not have been caused by the GTS. The flu and cough medicines really slowed me down.

    I feel much better this week, so I will have to redo my test run.

    I was at the Porsche dealer this week and took a test drive of a Carrera. It retails about $75K, has 320 HP compared to 180 in the GTS. The new 05 Carrera type S retails about $180K.

    The Carreras are very nice, solid cars. It's faster but is heavier and the steering is also heavier. Porsche's tiptronics shifting is very quick and smooth, while the GTS shifts slowly. The Carrera has a lot of engine, wind and road noise. The GTS seems to have quicker handling and lower wind/road noise. While the GTS I4 engine has the high-pitch whine of jet engines spooling up, the Carrera's flat 6 rumbles loudly in low frequency, sort of like the big Harley bikes.

    I wouldn't want to spend that much money for a set of wheels and make the same kind of noise as the Hells' Angels in my neighborhood. Do I look like the kind of tough guys with leather jackets, tattooed forehead, cruising around in noisy cars, terrorizing women and children?

    There is no way I can justify paying 3 times the GTS' price for the same amount of fun. Besides that I don't trust German engineering. German products have lost a lot of confidence among consumers with lower reliability and high life-cycle costs.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I think that your comparison of a Celica GTS to a Porsche Carrera is a first. Congrats.

    I also think that your feelings of fatigue after your stint in a GTS could be attributed ENTIRELY to the flu. As a 42 year old with occasionally back/neck stiffness, I can honestly say I could drive my GTS for a solid 8-10 hours with no problems. I definitely think you should redo your test run.
  • 01gt01gt Posts: 4
    First of all, germans and italians make the best autos and bikes. They like the rumble. Check out Ducati, nothing sounds better than a v-twin roaring past at the honda super bike classic. Second of all, you can not even begin to compare a toyota (unless tt supra) against a porsche. The part about you not wanting to go through your neighborhood being loud makes you sound "to good" for a porsche. Noone will look down on you for driving one, it doesnt matter what neighborhood you are in.
  • 01gt01gt Posts: 4
    I drive a 2001 gt, and the suspension is "softer" than the gts' but still sporty. It also still handles really well. plus i heard that the 2zz in the gts is knows for messing up valves when miss-shifted.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "plus i heard that the 2zz in the gts is knows for messing up valves when miss-shifted."

    Well, it's kinda hard to NOT mess up the valves if you downshift at 75mph and grab 2nd gear instead of 4th. :surprise:

    Don't think that's really the fault of the engine. More of an issue with the shifter (both the one installed by Toyota and the one sitting behind the wheel IMO).
  • 01gt01gt Posts: 4
    I can admit that I miss a gear occasionally, but the second that I begin to let off of the clutch, I realize what I did and immediately slam it back to the floor. And your right, I suppose it is the drivers fault. I need to realize that not everyone is ment to be a JGTC racer like me ;)
  • I have a 1994 Celica GT with a 5-speed manual trans. having about 55,000 miles. I recently brought it into the dealer to have its first major (60K) tune-up + its annual state-required safety inspection. The dealer's mechanic also found the following "problems": the timing belt needed to be replaced; the power steering fluid was thick; the brake seal hose needed to be replaced; the ignition wires were arcing; the temperature switch (thermostat?) opened only half-way; the antifreeze was now "5/0" and should be "25/0"; and the fuel-injectors (4 of them?) needed to be replaced. The only other major repair done, about a year-ago, was replacing the starter. Otherwise, the car has has run very well throughout its 11 year career - I am the only owner, and the car is kept in a garage daily. It has never been driven long distances (greater than 50 miles) on any single day, and never been driven out of state. We agreed to have all of the these repairs done. We were then notified by the dealer's service dept. that during a required "pressure test" that the top neck portion, that connects the bulk of the radiator to the radiator cap, blew off, implying that there must have been a crack at that juncture. Now, the radiator needs to be replaced. Can the radiator develop such a crack under normal conditions with the driver not knowing it, or is the dealer's mechanic possibly at fault when they did the pressure test? Can the failed pressure test lead to other possible problems in the motor or elsewhere? Thanks for any advice or insights on this matter.
    Sincerely, Toyota94
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