The History of Our Family Car

Our First Family Car: TOYOTA COROLLA 1500 SE - E70 series (1981 - circa 1984)

Orthodox, rear-wheel drive, four-door sedan with 1500cc 3A-U SOHC engine and 3-speed automatic transmission.

"A wolf in sheep's clothing" : TOYOTA CARINA Twin Cam Turbo (1984 - circa 1988)

Orthodox four-door sedan with 1.8 littre twin-cam turbo-charged (self-manufactured by TOYOTA, not Garrett's) 3T-GTEU engine (160ps), rear-wheel drive and manual 5-speed transmission, some would call her "a wolf in sheep's clothing"

Present from retiring father Tatsuo: TOYOTA CROWN Royal Saloon S110 (1988-1989)

I transiently used Japanese prestige car, with 4-speed automatic transmission.

In the background, Yokohama Bay Bridge is under construction, whose construction (cable-stayed bridge) started in 1980 and was completed in 1989.

Our Friend: NISSAN PATHFINDER (TERRANO, 1989.9. - 2006.12.)

With our Nissan Pathfinder, (hopefully Pathological Evidence Finder), the first generation model designed in California, on which we are making a short domestic trip. Please pay attention to the new tires!

Firestone brand, ATX

"Mr. (former) President George Bush, Japan-US Structural Impediment Initiative (SII) worked so well that almost every US product including auto parts is available in Tokyo at reasonable prices now."
(ADDENDUM: All Firestone Radial ATX and Radial ATX II tires in size P235/75R15 produced in North America, including Mexico, are being voluntarily recalled in August 2000. Those Firehawk ATX of this picture are embossed as 30x9.50R15LT. Ummm,,no problem, hopefully)
(ADDENDUM - September 3 2000: The U.S. government recommended on September 1 that motorists replace 1.4 million Firestone tires that have not yet been recalled by the manufacturer, the list of which includes Firehawk 30X9.50R15LT + Plant Code VD. I try to locate the DOT code to determine where my tire was built. The DOT number is located on the blackwall side of the tire. Finally, I found it. DOT VD66. Bingo,,,!)
(ADDENDUM - July 24 2004: The Firestone tires are finally replaced with Yokohama Geolander A/T + II at a local garage, after regular check-up reveal ominous fissures near the inner and outer edges of the lateral surfaces. These tires were not recalled with mandate by Bridgestone Co. in Japan, maintaining "judging from the fact that most of the accidents occurred in Southern states (of the US), we estimate that driving in high temperate, at high speeds and under tire pressure are factors in these accidents.")

BTW, our Nissan Pathfinder has been alive and well with almost no serious problems to the V6 Otto-cycle NA engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, electronics/alternator, engine oil circulation, and suspension until December 2006, when we finally say goodbye to loyal Nissan Terrano (Japanese name) at odometer 65,898 km (circa 40,000 miles). This durable car served us for over 18 years, with no extra and unexpected expenditure and accident. Thank you for your unfailing loyalty. We will miss you.

SAAB 900S TALLADEGA (2006.12. - 2021.7.)

After my family is shrinking as kids are taking off to their own flight path, I change car to a bit sophisticated and compact 5-door hatchback
(Model Year 1997, second-hand, but only 16,700 km at odometer)

Inline 4-cylinder, 2.3 litter, 16-valve NA DOHC engine (B234i, Opel/GM), 4-speed automatic transmission, with Bosch electric components.

205/50R16 Michelin tyre on BBS 6 1/2J16 cast wheels.

I love "black panel" switch for instrumental lights during night driving and center-console-mounted ignition switch, peculiar to the Saab, which is actually an acronym from "Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget" which means "Swedish Aircraft Company."
They insist "Born From Jets", i.e., J29, Lansen, Draken, Viggen, Gripen,,,,
North European white leather seats are of fine quality, too.

Engraved Serial Number (chassis number) by the manufacturer (Y: North Europe, S: Sweden, 3: Saab Automobile AB,
DD: 900S, 5: 5 door, 8: 4-speed automatic, B: 2.3i, X: ?, V: 1997, 2: location of manufacture = Trollhattan, 046822: manufacturer's serial number)

Parked at my weekend retreat in Hayama of Miura Peninsula


Repair of the front emblem and renewal of tyres in the summer of 2009

In the spring of 2009, I noticed film-peeling injury of the front emblem,

In July, I called Yanase Global Motors (03-5440-5334) for parts, and they very kindly responded with quick delivery using courier service (Parts# 4522844 for emblem and 6915706 for bush, costing 3,170 yen including sales tax). The practical problem was that the front bonnet is composed of two-layer iron panel, and it is closed. So, I draw a circle on the internal panel using a pair of compasses, and bore holes one by one using electric drill,

and after tedious work, I finally did it!

Now, the peeled emblem is detached (right, drill is on the left).

The front proud emblem is perfectly replaced and restored.

As a finishing stroke, I fair the punched hole, using cheap rotary rasp units (300 + 700 Yen!),

I polish and smooth the edge using them, in order for techs not to injure their fingers when they grope for an opener of the bonnet (compare with the image fourth up)

Finally, I splay chassis-black paint for corrosion proof of the cutting edge, after complete masking with paper.

(PS: If a hole-saw component for the drill is available to exactly cut a circular hole, it is better, although it may a bit expensive)

The Michelin tyres have shown many cracks for a while, maybe after over-10 year-duration of service.

Now, I replaced the aged tyres with new Yokohama DNA 205/50R16 at the local shop called TYRE SHOP Goodman in South Ohtsuka, Toshima-ku, on July 16 2009.

Chrome mesh grille installed in the autumn of 2009

I pick up mesh grille package at e-bay and fairly easily facelift her front ;)

(Compare with the image of the original grill)

Detailed images: 1.
Package delivered only after one week with USPS tracking number, purchased at e-bay from automotiveauthority at $23.99 (item) + $23 (transpacific shipping). 2. Detached original grille and newly installed chrome mesh grille.3. Enlarged view of newly installed chrome mesh grille.

Interior lamp changed to LED in December of 2010

It is noticed after passing the compulsory automobile inspection that
the lamp on the anterior ceiling is broken. I survey the net auction and find LED-type replacement unit - Parts-1, Parts-2, Parts-3 - at 840 Yen (+ SH 210 Yen). Workflow is quite simple - Remove the cover, Install the lamp unit (just fit!), ditto, Looking good, and pack the unit to the ceiling again.

Repair of the hood emblem in December of 2012 (second time)

In the winter of 2012, I noticed recurrence of film peeling-off problem of the front emblem, since the summre of 2009. This time I procured 3 emblems on e-bay (sender: focuslima in Portugal), and when compressing the emblem I added quick-drying glue at the external margin of the circle.


Repair paint of add-on mesh grille in July of 2013

In the summer of 2013, rust is becoming unbearably conspicuous of mesh grille, so, I painted it silver with brush. Firstly I masked with tape (this photo is taken after painted, so rust is not seen anymore), then painted with brush, using cheap paint can and brush purchased at near-by home center several years ago, mission accomplished, voila! now masking tapes are peeled off, ditto close up view


Odometer hits 80,000 km on July 5 2015

Instrumental panel


Electric polisher applied in July 12 2015

By way of experiment, I polish Saab with AstroProducts polisher with compound (pink) and wax (black). On July 12, as a preliminary research, I polished the engine hood (bonnet).

Tyres replaced on March 17 2016

Aged tyres are replaced once again to new Yokohama DNA Ecos ES300 205/50R16 87V as usual at the local shop called TYRE SHOP Goodman in South Ohtsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, on March 17 2016 (formerly replaced at the same shop on July 16 2009).


Repair paint of add-on mesh grille on March 20 of 2016, once again since the summer of 2013

Mesh grille is multifocally covered with rust again, so, I treat patches of rust with (1) clear anti-rust primer paint firstly, then (2) silver paint - Photo-1: Masking with tape (see dotted rust), Photo-2: After clear primer is applied, silver is painted with brush, Photo-3: Finished, Photo-4: Masking tape removed.


Odometer reached 90,000 km in December of 2016

I noticed the distance recorder indicates over 90,000 km - Photo-1 on December 4 2016.


Alive and well in December of 2017

With backdrop of Mt. Fuji across Sagami Bay, at Mitohama Beach, in the morning of December 11 2017 (Odometer 98,000 km - Photo-1.


The odometer exceeds 100,000 km in February of 2018

The odometer exceeds 100,000 km on February 5 2018 - Photo-1 at 99,999km, Photo-2 at 100,000km, Photo-3 on the Bayside Express Way (Wangan-line) at Haneda Airport.

The fuel cap of my Saab 900s (1996 model) is lately being damaged (left green), so I procured the equivalent part (right black one) from the USA on e-bay (ID: qeautoparts1). These parts are very expensive in Japan, but thanks to internet, I can get very cheap (1,263 Yen + Shipping 1,150 Yen) very quickly across the Pacific pond (ordered Jan 21; received in Tokyo Feb 3) - Photo-4.

The Bosch Battery is replaced in July of 2018

On July 29 2018, I finally replaced BOSCH battery being used since 2006.12. I can't believe that endurance, though, I in a preventive manner determined that this is the time to replace - Photo-1 My workshop at Hayama; Photo-2 Old battery (PSI-6C) since 2006.12. I can't believe that endurance, certainly German product; Photo-3 Newly installed battery PSIN-6C, which I purchased at Amazon, Japan; Photo-4 The challenge was the fixing stay for the battery is located deep at the base plate, and the extension of my ratchet wrench does not reach; Photo-5 I finally did it, with rwo extensions connected.


Repair of hanging ceiling cover (DIY) in September of 2018

In September 2018, ceiling cover began hanging probably worsened in association with extreme heat wave in this summer. Actually, this is the point of weakness of European cars in Japan. Treatment - Photo-1 First step, with spray starch 3M 99 , Photo-2 Wider treatment, extending the pasted area bit by bit. After applying spray bond through minimally-cut hole and pressing to the roof, the cover is stuck to the wall with thumbtacks. I used the bond-spray named Z-3 by Kinishi - Photo-3 Next step, Photo-4 Final step, almost finished. I wonder if this emergency operation has continuous effect.


Repair of exhaust pipe at the repair plant in December of 2018

On December 4-10, regular compulsory automobile inspection was performed at the repair shop at Bunkyo City of Tokyo (model year 1996), when two perforations of the exhaust pipe were revealed (odometer: 107,000 km). Auto mechanics explained me this perforation is most likely caused by water after being processed with catalyzer for exhaust emission controls, which is originated from gasoline. Parts was still available from official import trader and dealer Yanase and was exchanged - Photo-1 two perforations (red and gree arrows), Photo-2 enlarged view-1. Photo-3 enlarged view-2, Photo-4 replaced new pipe.


Wax coating with DIY in Februry of 2019

On February 17 2019, wax coating was applied at Hayama retreat. I did this in
July 2015 last, limited to the engine hood, however, this is the first time for whole body in my memory. Firstly, wax coating applied with sponge, including to roof top - Photo-1. I used this liquid wax, being stored probably over 10 years - Photo-2. Wax applied - Photo-3, then, I wipe off and polish manually and using electric polisher - Photo-4. Finished - Photo-5, Photo-6.


Odometer exceeds 110,000 km on March 9 2019

I noticed the distance recorder exceeds 110,000 km on the road from Kohinata to Hayama on March 9 2019 - Photo-1: Before and Photo-2: After. Very decent outcome.


Abrasion mark of right doors repaired with plate work and spraying till June 3 2019

By oversight (, or in my dotage?), I grinded the right front and rear door with utility pole at my son Takao's mansion
Photo-1. Considering that the injury is slight, my Saab is fairly old and durability limit may be near (model year 1996), I for a while was driving her as it is. After consulting with the Meister of Elite Mortors at Miura Shore, which has been tending my Birkin Seven for over 15 years, the presented price was very reasonable compared with that of Tokyo area, so I ordered. On June 3, the work has finihed and I receive the car Photo-2. This die-hard internal reinforcement (silver-colored metal) lessened the impact of the rear collision and protected me. What a reliable design,

Rear-end collision on June 8 2019 (Wounded-side story on insurance policy)

On July 8 2019 on the return drive from Hayama to Tokyo, I was bumped from behind at the tollgate at the junction of Yokosuka-Yokohama Road and Coastal Road (pݓH, Wangan Road in Japamese). Since my car had been completely halted, voluntary insurance company of the rear car paid compensation (100 vs. 0 %) -
Photo-1 When I stopped at the inner booth (remotest in this view), my car was bumped from rear, Photo-2 I lead the collided car (light green car) to the road side, Photo-3 Firstly I cannot identify the damage of my Saab 900s, Photo-4 On the contrary, the head of the collided car was dented, Photo-5 Outer panel of the right front door, too, was dented by the impact, the model is Toyota Duet (Daihatsu-made OEM car, produced in 1998-2004), the single driver is fairly old woman, Photo-6 In Japan, when involved in car accident, we must call police for papers.
After returned to Tokyo, I consulted the car repair shop called Lotus Sanko at Bunkyo-ku, Ohtsuka, to check the damage from the professional viewpoint. The chief mechanic reveals the punched hole on the underside of the bumper, which had been caused by getting-into-underside collided car - Photo-7 - in addition to several small light-green scars (same color with the collided car). The collided rear car was sneaking under. After searching the net for replacement, I was lucky to get the fairly beautiful secondhand part (900s, E-DB234I), which I bring into the repair shop on July 29 - Photo-8. Rear bumper was finally repaired with second-hand part successfully and economically - Photo-9. Inspection of the detached rear bumper revealed this die-hard internal reinforcement (silver-colored metal, red arrows) lessened the impact of the rear collision and protected me. What a reliable design - Photo-10, Photo-11


Wax applied on February 9 2020

On February 9, after washing, I manually apply traditional wax, followed by the same on December 1 2019 - Photo-1 Rinrei semi-mixed car wax, Japan Wax, - Photo-2 Finished, front view, - Photo-3 ditto, rear view.


Mileage exceeding 120,000 km on April 27 2020

On April 27 2020, in the middest of COVID-19 crisis, my Saab 900s (1996 Talladega edition) has attained 120,000 km mileage in Yokohama on Metropolitan Express Way (return road from Hayama retreat) . -
Photo-1 Landscape. - Photo-2 Dashboard, - Photo-3 ditto, enlarged. Regrettably I overlooked the 120,000 moment.


Cylinder Head Gasket changed on December 08 2020 on compulsory inspection

In December 2020, slight oil leakage is detected during compulsory safety inspection. Cylinder head gasket is changed at Lotus Sanko garage in Bunkyo borough of Tokyo (near my residence) -
Photo-1, - Photo-2. At the same time, malfunctioning windshield washer check valve of the left side, too, is changed.


Mileage exceeding 130,000 km on May 1 2021

On May 1 2021, my SAAB 900S TALLADEGA (Model Year 1997) reached 130,000 kilometer on the distance recorder on the road from Kohinata to Hayama iKamariya toll boothjin the night of May 1 2021 -


Wax manually applied on May 2 2021

On May 2 2021, wax is applied, using this common solid and cheep wax, approximately once a year -
Photo-1, manual work finished - Photo-2. - Photo-3.


"Check Engine" Warning Light Flashing on the intrumental panel on June 26 2021

In the evening of June 26 2021, when I was driving my Saab from Kohinata home, in Tokyo, to Hayama retreat on the Rainbow Bridge over Tokyo Bay, "Check Engine" light starts flashing on the intrumental panel, firstly intermittently. I decide to park my Saab to the Ooi Parking Area. When I am seeking the vacant space with braking, the engine stalled abruptly. Fortunately, there was no following car and the engine can be restarted. After stopping the car, I open the bonnet and check that battery, coolant fluid is OK, and there is no oil leakage from the engine. The manual of Saab indicates that this warning means misfiring from fuel injection system, etc, and driving is still possible but take care, and consult with the factory. So, I restart and cautiously drive, and with no problem reach Hayama retreat. However, I notice near my retreat, when I drive slowly with braking, the engine sound becomes unstable. At noon of the next Sunday, I bring the car to Elite Motors at Nagasawa of Miura Peninsula. During this drive, the engine stalled twice at red light stop. Meister Sakamoto check the engine using OBD II scanner, which cannot access to the engine at that time - Photo-1. He says it is better to go slowly, so I leave behind the car - Photo-2. After returning to Tokyo, I search the internet, especially Saab Central Forums, and there are many "Flashing Check Engine Light" threads, indeed.

Finally, I discarded Saab 900s in July between tears because of too much cost to obtain electric module from the abroad. I finally say good-bye to a long-time friend Saab 900s at Elite Motors on July 26 2021 - Photo-3.

Newcomer: Toyota Corolla Sports G, model NRE210H (2021.7.23. - )

After Saab 900s is discarded, I change car to a same compact 5-door hatchback Carolla Sports G
(Model Year 2018, second-hand, but only 4,617 km at odometer).

This car is received on July 23 2021 at Car Lots Iruma (A large used-car center under the direct management of Toyota), and her specification is 1.2 litter, turbo-charged engine with intercooler (8NR-FTS), 6-speed manual transmission - they call it iMT - , front wheel drive (2WD).

Number is your choice with a minimal cost in Japan, so I select 8086, which is an origin of x86 code (Intel). A ceremonial photograph with a mechanic and business managing chief Masaru Hosoda.

After I receive the car, I drive back to Kohinata home, enjoying almost new car.

The internal view of engine room (Oil filter: Toyota 90915-10003).

Rear-end view.

At Hayama retreat.

Image sketch for initial prototype (from Motor Fan, supplementary volume, 2018.8.13.).


Aftermarket parts - accelerator and brake pedal aluminium cover - installed on October 24 2021

Before -
Photo-1, and after - Photo-2 and Photo-3. These parts are purchased at Amazon Japan.


Tire chains tried in advance on December 26 2021

For fallen snow of the coming winter season, I purchased tire chains for Corolla Sports at Amazon, and train implementing them in Hayama. Firstly I failed to implement, and after watching YouTube video for this product, how to, I finally succeeded -
Photo-1, - Photo-2.


Fuel consumption record in 2022

On April 23 2022, in the night on the way from Kohinata residence in Tokyo to Hayama retreat, my Toyota Corolla Sports G reaches 19.9 km/litter fuel consumption on overall 12,432 km travel distance (accumulated data on computer with no reset, see Photo-2 below). I drive this car almost exclusively on the express way between Tokyo and Hayama (Wangan Road, Tokyo Bay Coast Road) in every weekends in very light traffic (circa 80 km drive, one way), with minimal and stable accelerator opening, i.e. 80 km/hour. Thank you, Carolla, in these days of high gasoline prices. BTW, I record travel distance, refilling gasoline volume and price, with fuel comsumption data between filling at gas stations (pit stop) on the paper note, somewhat like medical record on paper basis. The best fuel consumption between pit stops is 22 km/l, can you believe this ?, because this is the car with internal combustion engine with gasoline. -
Photo-1, - Photo-2.

On May 21-23 2022, fuel efficiency reached 20.0 km/litter

On June 13 2022, fuel efficiency reached 20.1 km/litter

On July 2 2022, fuel efficiency reached 20.2 km/litter

On July 25 2022, fuel efficiency reached 20.3 km/litter

On September 5 2022, fuel efficiency reached 20.4 km/litter (odometer 16,000 km)

On July 12 2022, my carolla undergoes annual inspection (not biennial compulsory one) at Lotus Sanko in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo. One year goes by since the purchase at 4,617 km and Odometer now indicates 14,599 km, fuel efficiency keeps 20.2 km/litter.


Water pool within left front door

Lately, I notice the jerky sound of water within the left door (opposite side of the driver's seat in Japan). Inspection of the door on May 15 2022 at Hayama reveals rubber plug remaining on the lower end of the door, and when I unplug it, water is flowing out for five minutes. I suspect the TOYOTA dealer forgot to unplug them before delivery of the new car, and the former owner did not notice the mistake for the last three years (till last summer). I unplug all the rubber plugs (two x 4 doors), revealing no water retention in other three doors. -
Photo-1 Drain holes on the lower end of the door, - Photo-2 Unplugged rubber.


Operation for a small dent on the right front door

Within one month after purchasing this car in last July, I made two mistakes. The first is I uncauciously mildly bang the right front door to the parking pole at Hayama retreat -
Photo-1, causing a small dent - Photo-2, - Photo-3. Firstly I try DIY dent repair kit (puller + glue gun + tabs), purchased at Amason Japan - Photo-4, - Photo-5. I tried many times, however, it did not work. Then I take another course, filling the dent with putty which I use making plastic models - Photo-6 firstly I encircle the dent with masking tape to protect the surrounding surface, - Photo-7 ditto enlarged, - Photo-8 then fill the dent with putty, - Photo-9 rubbing up with compound for plastic scale model, - Photo-10 first painting with car repair paint pen with special composition for TOYOTA 8W9 Cyan metalic - Photo-11 peeling off masking tape, - Photo-12 this time further smoothing with waterproof sandpaper #1000 and art knife (Exacto type), - Photo-13 rugging again with compound, - Photo-14 Finished. This operation continued for four months till this October 2022.


Rear roof spoiler installed

On November 20 2022, rear roof spoiler was installed at
Elite Motors at Miura Peninsula. This aftermarket product was purchased at ebay, and received in Tokyo 4 days after the order input, with Standard International Shipping free of charge. This is being painted with #8W9 blue (other similar marchandices for Corolla are usually sold unpainted). This is probably OEM in Taiwan (for TOM's ?, TOYOTA's official tuner). This spoiler does not protrude to the side and to the rear end.

- Photo-1 Original, - Photo-2 After installed, - Photo-3 View from behind, - Photo-4 View from left behind, - Photo-5 View from right front, - Photo-6 View from side.

I suppose that this spoiler is aerodynamically almost no effect at legal speed with which I cruise on the highway (80 km/hour), however cosmetically looking genuine and sharp, withi minimally increased wind noise and minimally worsened fuel consumption (circa 0.5 km/ litter down) ,,,,


Accumulated fuel efficiency measument reset

On March 27 2023, I mistakenly reset the counter of accumulated fuel comsumption on the instrumental panel (automatic digital computation) at 20.2 km per litter at a total 21,309 km drive distance. However, this happening makes it possible to evaluate the effect of the installation of the rear-roof spoiler (since November 20 2022).

On May 15 2023, when returned from Hayama retreat to Kohinata, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, the meter indicates 20.6 km per litter at a total of 22,685 km drive distance.

On June 5 2023, when returned from Hayama retreat to Kohinata, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, the meter indicates 21.0 km per litter at a total of 23,217 km drive distance after reset at 21,309 km (so, for net 1,908 km run).

After compulsory biennial automobile inspection passed at Lotus Sanko in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, in the last week, and returning from Hayma retreat on July 3 2023, the mileage is as shown at mileage 23,915 km. Toyota Carolla Sports (Model Year 2018), 6-manual shift (they call it iMT), 1.2 littre, three-cylinders, twin-cam turbo gasoline engine.

On October 28 2023, when arrived at Hayama retreat, the meter indicates 21.3 km per litter at a total of circa 26,700 km drive distance.

On November 3 2023, I mistakenly reset again the counter of accumulated fuel comsumption on the instrumental panel (automatic digital computation) during round-trip to the pathology institute of Biken at Koiwa on the Kuramaebashi Road, at 21.3 km per litter at a total 26,800 km drive distance.

Recently, my model of Carolla Sports G (model 210) has been recalled on high-pressure fuel pump, and the part is exchanged at TOYOTA Mobility, Gokokuji, Bunkyo-ku, on November 27 2023. Before this day, my car is checked there on November 13 for evaluation of the necessity of part exchange, which took within an hour and confirmed the necessity. On November 27, the work was finished in 1.5 hours. The removed fuel pump is as follows, - Photo-1 I think red arrow indicates entrance of fuel to the pump, and blue arrow indicates exit to the fuel injection, - Photo-2, - Photo-3 Under side. I appreciate the traceability of this company.


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