Toyota Corolla 1970-1987 Repair Guide



See Figures 1 through 11

Naturally, without the proper tools and equipment it is impossible to properly service your vehicle. It would also be impossible to catalog every tool that you would need to perform most operations in this repair guide. Of course, It would be unwise for the amateur to rush out and buy an expensive set of tools on the theory that he may need one or more of them at sometime.

The best approach is to proceed slowly, gathering a good quality set of those tools that are used most frequently. Don't be misled by the low cost of bargain tools. It is far better to spend a little more for better quality. Forged wrenches, 6 or 10-point sockets and fine tooth ratchets are by far preferable to their less expensive counterparts. As any good mechanic can tell you, there are few worse experiences than trying to work on a vehicle with bad tools. Your monetary savings will be far outweighed by frustration and mangled knuckles.

Begin accumulating those tools that are used most frequently; those associated with routine maintenance and tune-up. In addition to the normal assortment of screwdrivers and pliers you should have the following tools for routine maintenance jobs:

Metric wrenches-sockets and combination open end/box end wrenches in sizes from 3mm-19mm and a spark plug socket 11 / 16 in. or 5 / 8 in. (depending on plug type). If possible, buy various length socket drive extensions. One break in this department is that the metric sockets available in the U.S. will fit the ratchet handles and extensions you may already have (1/4inch,3/8inch, and1/2inch drives)
Jackstands for support.
Oil filter wrench.
Oil filler spout or funnel for pouring oil.
Grease gun for chassis lubrication.
Hydrometer for checking the battery (unless equipped with a sealed, maintenance-free battery).
A container for draining oil.
Many rags for wiping up the inevitable mess.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Most procedures will require an assortment of ratchets, sockets and extensions

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Fig. Fig. 2: In addition to ratchets, a good set of wrenches and hex keys will be necessary

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Fig. Fig. 3: A hydraulic floor jack and a set of jackstands are essential for lifting and supporting the vehicle

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Fig. Fig. 4: An assortment of pliers, grippers and cutters will be handy, especially for old rusted parts and stripped bolt heads

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Fig. Fig. 5: Various drivers, chisels and prybars are great tools to have around

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Fig. Fig. 6: Many repairs will require the use of a torque wrench to assure the components are properly fastened-DON'T attempt a procedure without one if it specifies a fastener's torque

In addition to the above items there are several others that are not absolutely necessary, but handy to have around. These include oil dry, a transmission funnel and the usual supply of lubricants, antifreeze and fluids, although these can be purchased as needed. This is a basic list for routine maintenance, but only your personal needs and desire can accurately determine your list of tools.

A more advanced set of tools, suitable for tune-up work, can be drawn up easily. While the tools are slightly more sophisticated, they need not be outrageously expensive. There are several inexpensive tach/dwell meters on the market that are every bit as good for the average mechanic as a professional model. Just be sure that it goes to a least 1,200-1,500 rpm on the tach scale and that it works on both 4 and 6 cylinder engines. (A special tach is needed for diesel engines). The key to these purchases is to make them with an eye towards adaptability and wide range. A basic list of tune-up tools could include:

Tach/dwell meter.
Spark plug wrench and gapping tool.
Feeler gauges for valve and point adjustment;

A tachometer/dwell meter will ensure accurate tune-up work on cars without electronic ignition. The choice of a timing light should be made carefully. A light which works on the DC current supplied by the car battery is the best choice; it should have a xenon tube for brightness. Since most later models have an electronic ignition system, the timing light should have an inductive pickup which clamps around the No. 1 spark plug cable.

In addition to these basic tools, there are several other tools and gauges you may find useful. These include:

Compression gauge. The screw-in type is slower to use, but eliminates the possibility of a faulty reading due to escaping pressure.
Manifold vacuum gauge.
10V test light.
A combination volt/ohmmeter
Induction meter. This is used for determining whether or not there is current in a wire. These are handy for use if a wire is broken somewhere in a wiring harness.

As a final note, you will probably find a torque wrench necessary for all but the most basic work. The beam type models are perfectly adequate, although the newer click types (breakaway) are more precise. The click type torque wrenches tend to be more expensive and should be periodically checked and recalibrated. You will have to decide for yourself which better fits your purpose.

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Fig. Fig. 7: Battery maintenance may be accomplished with household items and with special tools like this post cleaner

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Fig. Fig. 8: Although not always necessary, using specialized brake tools will save time

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Fig. Fig. 9: A few inexpensive lubrication tools will make maintenance easier

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Fig. Fig. 10: Various pullers, clamps and separator tools are needed for the larger, more complicated repairs

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Fig. Fig. 11: A variety of tools and gauges should be used for spark plug gapping and installation