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You don't need to spend a fortune to have a very capable bush machine.


Our mate Kevin Y is a senior technician with a large international truck manufacturer, so his background is ideal for this project: turning a ‘softroader’ into a go-almost-anywhere small wagon.




Kevin’s starting point was a stock 1990 Toyota Corolla 4WD Wagon that came with a 1.6-litre 4AFE petrol engine. It was weary when Kevin bought it and he needed more grunt, so he located and picked up a later model 1.8-litre 7AFE engine, from an AE112 Corolla.

The original AWD transmission came with a with centre diff lock, so Kevin judged it would work fine, but he did slot in a heavy duty clutch between it and the more powerful engine.


Out with the old…


…and in with the new.


To make sure its stopping power matched its improved performance he swapped the standard front callipers for the larger AE112 Corolla brakes.

The Corolla 4WD was designed for mild rough trail work and Kevin had much more than that in mind, so he designed a 75mm lifted arrangement. He made up front strut spacers with extended strut tubes to fit RAV4 inserts. 

At the rear he squeezed in a pair standard EL Falcon springs and RAV4 shocks, plus a Toyota TRD LSD, with an adjustable Panhard rod and a home-made remote diff breather.



The lift job was topped off by Kumho KL71 mud terrain 27×8.50R14 tyres and the original steel wheels gave way to aluminium spoked ones.

Knowing he’d be tackling the odd creek crossing, Kevin built up a custom aluminium snorkel and plumbed it into the factory airbox. 

For highway cruising he fitted electronic cruise control from a Camry, along with a pair of Subaru Forester captain-style, heated front seats. The Corolla’s marginal sound system was upgraded, with larger speakers housed in fibreglass enclosures.



For camping overnight a bloke needs a fridge and to power that he built a dual battery setup, using an AGM battery from a golf cart. He redid the wiring, fitting ustom electrics for all auxiliary lighting.

Up top, Kevin made a custom roof basket with a homemade water tank and tap integration. He also fitted four LED driving lights up top.

The finishing touch was a Rhino Sunseeker dome awning to allow headroom underneath.

Since finishing his Corolla Project, Kevin has tackled many demanding off road venues and embarrassed the owners of some hard-core machinery.




























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