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Finally, after about 6 hours of painstaking work to spare the connectors on the engine wiring harness, the engine and transmission came out. The 1UZ-FE is actually quite compact for a DOHC V-8. We removed the throttle body, fuel injectors, exhaust manifolds, transmission bellhousing, and some other drivetrain goodies that I thought might sell.
The first step: We removed the hood and yanked out all the possibly salable door hardware, including handles, lock mechanisms, and window regulators, before removing the doors.
Here are some video excerpts from the stripping process, including several time-lapse videos. Coming tomorrow: part three, how we turned all this stuff into cash.
I dove into the interior in a search for intact bits, but it was at here that we realized the extent of the air-freshener contamination. These Febreze clip-on air fresheners were scattered everywhere, like cluster bombs in the Kuwaiti desert after the Gulf War.
The final couple of owners of a once-prestigious car typically feel compelled to obliterate any odor that doesn’t smell like luxury. Every HVAC vent in the car had at least one of these horrible clip-on fresheners.
I also found a couple of liquid-dispenser types under the seats. Even after a half-dozen washings, my coveralls still smell like the Bed, Bath & Beyond in hell.
It didn’t take me long to realize that most of the interior components were too flawed to sell. All but one of the seat belts were frayed and/or stained, nearly all the wood trim was trashed, mysterious better-left-unidentified fluids contaminated every crevice of the console, and cracks and gouges rendered most of the plastic interior trim pieces worthless.
To get an idea of what parts might be worth selling, I spent a few hours doing painstaking “Completed Items” searches on eBay. I searched for used items in the Car Parts & Accessories section, using “SC400,” “SC300,” and “Toyota Soarer” as keywords, then sorting the results by price (high to low).
If a part appeared to have a decent history of selling (at least a couple of sales during the past few months), wasn’t too much of a pain to ship, and had sold for a good enough price to be worth the hassle of removing it from the car, I added it to this list.
I kept the list handy while yanking parts over the following few days.
In part one of this series, Murilee Martin documented his find of a cheap, worn-out 1992 Lexus SC400, which he intended to tear down and sell many of the parts. In part two, he describes the lengths one goes to to strip down a 20-year-old luxury car, and the treasures one can find.
The unwanted crap began to pile up in the rear passenger area and in the trunk. Each seat weighed about 75 pounds before I removed the track and adjuster mechanisms. It’s hard to believe this wreckage was once a super-prestigious sports coupe in Marin County.
Fix is even ambitious and neighborly enough to make sure the stripped carcass is removed in a timely manner, which I would totally never do.
We extracted nearly 5 gallons of decent gas from the tank, plus another gallon or so of usable windshield-washer fluid. This stuff went right into our daily drivers.
Because copper wire fetches decent money at the scrapper, we tore out all the wiring harnesses from the car’s body—no small task, as Toyota used hold-downs, clamps, pass-throughs, and every imaginable anti-NVH device to keep harnesses in place.
I hacked and pried and slashed what must have been 30 pounds of wiring from the car. The engine harness had to be removed intact, however, because 1UZ swappers will pay good money for a complete engine harness.
This proved to be a several-hour job, thanks to the aforementioned Lexus quality overkill.
Chris Fix is one of my favorite automotive instructable YouTubers because he breaks pretty much every project into a concise, clearly illustrated tutorial for numbskulls like myself to play over and over while I’m trying to learn a new skill.
Sure, you know how to unscrew a few bolts in your time. Maybe even been brave enough to hit a junk yard and harvest something off a dead car to put on your own. But what about dismantling an entire car in your driveway for fun and profit?
Meanwhile, Rich was tearing away at the front of the car, being careful to keep valuable items such as the headlights and air cleaner intact. For three long, freezing days, the Lexus strip-a-thon went.
Each night I’d load the stuff that seemed to have potential value into the hatch of my Civic. The heap of SC400 parts in my garage got bigger as the SC400 in Rich’s garage got smaller.
But you never know what gems you’ll find in a clunker. For example, the factory Nakamichi subwoofer was in good shape. Finding it made me start to realize the massive quality overkill of this car. In most vehicles, even high-quality Japanese ones, speakers are held in with a quartet of flimsy sheet-metal screws.
In the SC400, the speakers are clamped down with 8-mm bolts and glued in place with some sort of tenacious anti-NVH substance.
A few days ago he explained how and why you should think about buying a “parts car” to take apart and salvage for valuable components. This time, watch him get into the strangely satisfying process of removing (almost) every bolt and piece of this Jaguar X-Type.
To make engine removal simpler, a bit of Sawzall work increased body clearance.
Finally, the suspension subframes—the whole point of this exercise—were out. Here’s the front.
How To Strip A Car To Its Skeleton And Ditch It Before Mom Finds Out
Here’s the car’s last moment as a complete vehicle, hood propped open with the 2 x 4 we found in the trunk.
After getting the newly purchased Lexus SC400 to my accomplice Rich’s garage, we thought about waiting for the weather to warm up a bit, because December in Denver isn’t known for balmy, car-stripping temperatures.
So a couple of days after purchasing the SC400, we took it for its last drive around the block. The 266,000-mile 1UZ-FE engine was so tired that the car had a tough time breaking traction even on icy pavement.
We filled several coffee cans with excellent-quality Toyota fasteners, which we divvied up for our respective nuts-and-bolts collections. This stuff always comes in handy. Fuses and relays do too.
Bottom line, I don’t know if you really need to “learn” how to strip a car but it sure is fun to watch. Especially from the clean comfort of your computer.
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