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Marvin the ZZE122 Wagon

Hiro Protagonist

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So I went and did a thing the other day. Barring a KE10, we have now completed ownership of every single odd-numbered Corolla generation (3, 5, 7, 11 and now finally 9), and in some ways the fact that my pending existence caused my mother to have to sell her KE10 is kinda poetic (and ironic).
So, meet Marvin - both after Marvin the Paranoid Android from HHGTTG (the movie remake unfortunately, since the BBC miniseries version was silver rather than white), and Lee Marvin from the classic Western musical Paint Your Wagon (I was just stretching for any name connected to the word "wagon" really).
Pertinent details
2006 Ascent wagon
Manual (I am pathologically unable to buy an auto if manual is a viable option)
All 3 cupholder dividers present and correct (apparently a minor miracle)
Boot room for days
Yes it will be getting some (minor) modifications
No I won't be putting the 2ZZ in to it instead of the 102
Yes I still have the 102
No it isn't finished yet.





by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/156852526@N07/]Ian Rigby[/url], on Flickr

Edited by Hiro Protagonist
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  • 1 month later...
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First mod done - replace the (disconnected) factory headunit with a Bluetooth/ACP/AA unit, so I no longer get bored shitless driving a 1ZZ down the freeway with no audio enhancement

Still need to get the reverse camera installed and wired up, but that can wait until the towbar goes on


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Next step was trying to sort out the brake shudder - previous owner indicated that they had been told by the mechanic at last service/rego that the rears were almost done, so I figured that would be the first place to start.  Ordered new rotors and pads (didn't bother with the parking brake shoes), arrived quick-smart so got to work swapping them in....

Man I forgot how much I hated drum brakes.  Even though the rear brakes are disc, the parking brake works via shoes against the inside of the rotor hat, which means you have to back them off when replacing the rotors otherwise they can catch on a lip.  Well, it turns out that I mustn't have backed them off enough (or they stuck to the inside of the rotor), because when I pulled off the right rear (had to use the jacking screws because it wasn't coming by hand) the shoes had grabbed on to something and managed to _bend_ the entire backing plate (despite the only connection between the shoes and the plate being two nail-thin pins).  This meant that the new rotor (or the old one, for that matter) could not fit back over the shoes regardless of how much they were backed off, so I was up Schitt's Creek without a rowing instrument.



Cue a fit of inspiration to literally rip the entire parking brake hardware off the backing plate, smash the thing back as close to flat as possible with a sledgehammer, tie up the cable to the back of the hub and then make a break-of-dawn run down to Sydney the next day (with no working handbrake) to pick up a new wheel hub....which just turned out to be an entire rear torsion beam assembly, because it required less disassembly (and also gave a few spares).  Good thing I bought a wagon, and in a moment of poetic irony the first part the parts hauler hauled was literally it's own rear end (like a Babuskha doll)



All goes back together without a hitch, then the new rotors and pads finally fit and my brake shudder problems were solved.


Except they weren't.  So I figured that it must be the fronts, instead (not like there was any other option, apart from the uncomfortable possibility of excessive runout).  Didn't really have time before Christmas to order new rotors (at least pads I could get off the shelf), but fortunately I had a spare set of DBA T2s lying around that were slated to go on the ZZE102 (since the SuperStrut brakes run essentially the same 275mm front rotors).  Bit of overkill for a daily wagon hack, but time was more important and I wasn't driving up to Coffs to go camping over NYE with shuddering brakes.  At least these went in without a hitch (apart from having to take a few hours break whilst I tracked down which mate I had lent my caliper piston resetting tool to).  And lo and behold, the shudder was cured.



So speaking of camping, this was one of the reasons why we bought a wagon in the first place (other than being a parts hauler).  Still tonnes of room (pretty much from window line up to the roof)



Anyway, after we got back in the new year, I set about getting stuck in to the rest of the planned initial mods.  First up, towbar.  Should be simple, new towbar and straight car (no accident history) should mean everything lines up nice and neat, right?


Guess again.  Looks like Blind Freddy got a job at TAG some time last year, and welded together my towbar as straight as Mardi Gras



So now I've got to go through the hassle of an eBay return of a metre-long chunk of steel, which is always fun.  Still, at least the day wasn't a total write-off, as I acquired a set of 16" wheels to progress one step further along the path to Dad-bod Sportivo.51826340095_6cf0848ba4_b.jpg

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Love the story Ian !  It's like "life in the day of a Corolla Owner"  Remind me not to buy a TAG towbar.  Their on-line add, says "Precision Engineered".  Made in Australia.

Well, actually; Queensland, so I have to apologize for that, being a Queenslander myself.

P.S.   Maybe the guy that welded it that day, had COVID coming on ?  Covid makes your eyesight crossed a bit, I hear.

Keep up the great story.   It certainly looks good already, with the new wheels.

P.S.  Looking at it on the bright side !   It's not as bad as this poor chap in the UK, that I came across recently.


Cheers Banjo

Edited by Banjo
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On 1/18/2022 at 7:56 PM, Banjo said:

Love the story Ian !  It's like "life in the day of a Corolla Owner"  Remind me not to buy a TAG towbar.  Their on-line add, says "Precision Engineered".  Made in Australia.

Well, actually; Queensland, so I have to apologize for that, being a Queenslander myself.

P.S.   Maybe the guy that welded it that day, had COVID coming on ?  Covid makes your eyesight crossed a bit, I hear.

I've heard reasonable things about TAG so maybe I just got the Friday arvo/Monday morning special.  In the middle of getting the return sorted now so hopefully that goes relatively painlessly (annoyingly it is through eBay rather than direct to the manufacturer which doesn't help).

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  • 1 month later...

Short version, towbar now fits - just have to rip the interior trim out of the boot to see if there's any pre-wired plugs of whether we'll have to wire it in from scratch

Long version - measured the mounting points on the car with stringlines and plumbs, sent dimensions to manufacturer who confirmed that their entire batch was out (must have been an issue with the jig if that's the case), sent out a new towbar adjusted to the exact dimension of what I had (just in case) and arranged for Toll to pick the other one up (so at least I didn't have to schlep to the post office). One of the tow hook bolt holes was on the verge of stripping out however (not uncommon by the sounds of it) so had to chase it out with a thread tap, of course it had to be the one with the tightest clearance and worst access (muffler side, closest to bumper, and with a useless plastic tab on the bumper getting in the way).

Next up is chasing down a facelift ZRE152 steering wheel so I can have SWC for the headunit (although Android Auto is now broken due to my new phone, also seems to be a common problem with S22s). Also picked up a full set of power windows/switches and door trims, at some stage I'll have to pull the interior apart and see how much is also pre-wired for them.

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  • 5 months later...

No massive changes for a while, got a full set of foglights on their way but in the meantime I thought I'd raise the driveway about 25mm towards the chassis




Only went Lows as this still has to be a practical load-carrying daily.* Kings weren't my first choice but there are ridiculous wait-times for springs from Lovells these days (like 3+ months)

Edited by Hiro Protagonist
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The de-Ascent-ifying of Marvin continues - brand new genuine foglights and surrounds (from the top-spec Levin), everything was pre-wired so just needed the relay (installed ages ago when we had the dash apart) and combination switch. Globes are selective-yellow Osram Fogbreakers.

Also finally got around to getting the black steering wheel controls w/ the hands free buttons installed on the ZRE wheel, I probably still prefer the silver but the blacks are growing on me.


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  • 5 months later...

Amazing what a difference even just body-coloured door handles can make. Also replaced the front-left (passenger side) window belt moulding which was starting to peel quite bad.

Body-coloured rub strips are sitting here waiting to go on as soon as I can get a heat gun/hair-dryer and some goo-gone for the old weatherstripping adhesive.




And once again the wagon steals the good bits intended for the 102...swapped over the 101/111 Superstrut twin-piston brake conversion, figured I might as well make use of the pads and stop the seals drying out whilst the 102 stays off the road.


Edited by Hiro Protagonist
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