Help me choose my next engine! - MR2 Owners Club Message Board
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old August 15th, 2019, 14:28 Thread Starter
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Exclamation Help me choose my next engine!

Alright bois, the time has come.

I used to be a member of mr2dotcom but that site got slow as heck so here I am. I own a 1991 MR2 NA with a 3VZFE swap, which blew up and is currently outside of the car (although already rebuilt). I plan on putting this engine back in and driving it for the time being but I plan on changing to a 3SGTE in the upcoming year as I figured the cost of upgrading the 3VZ would come to the same cost of swapping an entirely new engine in. As I'll be gathering up parts in the long term, money isn't too much of an issue, but please don't kill me (as I'm still a college student). I've always wanted to try a turbo 4 banger, so don't suggest another V6 swap (unless 3SGTE's are really that unreliable, in which case-- please tell me).

This brings me to my current dilemma: what gen of the 3SGTE to pick. There's gen1,2,3,4, and even 5. I've done plenty of research, but there's a lot of contradicting info. Here's my use for the car: I hope to turn into a daily street car with MAYBE rare drag visits. I'm looking for a reliable 350-400hp clean build, no more than that (as the MR2 weighs nothing and I don't want to kill myself lol). I've seen gen4 and 5 all-in-one kits and actually already have a BERK exhaust under my bed (with the downpipe), but I'm not sure if even those require much custom work (the gen4-5 DIY kits). I'm willing to tinker a bit, but I am by no means a skilled mechanic / have never welded before. I like electronics though.

So that brings me to the question, which gen do I choose for a reliable 350-400WHP that'll last me a fair bit for college (given proper maintenance and not abused, of course) and won't be a total wallet killer in terms of custom work / has plenty of existing aftermarket support? I know I'll have to rewire the whole car, upgrade my fuel pump, get the E153 (the car has an S54 right now), and other little things to make the swap work. That's fine by me.

Also, if anyone has a guide to swapping the engine they think is best to an NA shell, that'd be great to include

Looking forward to hearing all of your 2cents! Thanks!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old August 15th, 2019, 15:05
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GEN4 or GEN5 which is pretty much a GEN4.5 as it's essentially the same motor with a different intake manifold and electronics.

Ok, they have weak rods so running no more than 300hp on good pump fuel is normally the safe limit. Yes others have run stock internals up to 400hp but so many of these engines go pop when you go past 18psi. Normally due to bad fuel or the owner messing with the boost levels and they over boost. You get detonation, a rod bends, the crank hits the piston and out the block it goes.

So in saying that and being aware that you have a budget to do some extra work, look at new rods which also means new pistons as the wrist pins in the stock pistons is too small for aftermarket rods.
Then you can add more boost safely up to the limit of the stock fuel system. When you get to that point new injectors are required as is a new tuneable ECU plus probably a new turbo. Others will be able to advise on exact power limits of these engines with stock internals.

A GEN1 was never fitted to the MR2, GEN2 are old, GEN3 are harder to find but a bit stronger in OEM form but have the upgraded oiling system that the GEN4 and 5 have inherited.

That's my opinion on the mater. If I had some spare cash that's what I'd do if I was after that power level. My realistic goal is just bolting in a GEN4 and running it in stock form with the supporting MR2 parts to make it reliable.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old August 15th, 2019, 21:54
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The easiest setup to meet those power goals would probably be the gen3 conversion. The main reason being if you buy a gen3 clip, you get the lsd e153 and most other components you need with it. The gen3 block should reliably sustain your power goals without having to open it.

As GDII stated, the gen4 is another option, and it will require engine work. The benefit is you get a newer engine and the stock COP electronics. Downside is it will require much more work to get running, and then some more to meet the 350-400 HP goals.

In either scenario you are upgrading the turbo and electronics, and possibly fuel to get 350+ WHP. A CT20b or CT27 might get 350 peak with heavy mods and not very reliably at that.

If you plan to someday go above 350 HP, then go with the built gen4. If you think 350-400 is your max, gen3 will probably save time and money.

Personally, I'd pop in a gen4 without engine work, and max it out the stock fuel/electronics system. Slap a CT27/ct20b on it and be happy for awhile. You won't beat that reliability. This however won't meet your power goals.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old August 18th, 2019, 16:42
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Originally Posted by mr2advanced View Post
The easiest setup to meet those power goals would probably be the gen3 conversion. The main reason being if you buy a gen3 clip, you get the lsd e153 and most other components you need with it. The gen3 block should reliably sustain your power goals without having to open it.

As GDII stated, the gen4 is another option, and it will require engine work. The benefit is you get a newer engine and the stock COP electronics. Downside is it will require much more work to get running, and then some more to meet the 350-400 HP goals.

In either scenario you are upgrading the turbo and electronics, and possibly fuel to get 350+ WHP. A CT20b or CT27 might get 350 peak with heavy mods and not very reliably at that.

If you plan to someday go above 350 HP, then go with the built gen4. If you think 350-400 is your max, gen3 will probably save time and money.

Personally, I'd pop in a gen4 without engine work, and max it out the stock fuel/electronics system. Slap a CT27/ct20b on it and be happy for awhile. You won't beat that reliability. This however won't meet your power goals.
You've got some very good points there. Helpful.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old August 19th, 2019, 19:57
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Too bad you are so far away..I have a rebuilt gen 2 in my garage collecting dust.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old August 20th, 2019, 07:10
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I have a Gen4 with S54 on stock boost and pretty happy with the setup, I've been told you can increase the boost to 16psi, max, that might get you close to 350

If I wanted 400hp I would def go with a K20 or k24a2 turbo, but its gonna cost you. checkout Hux Racing.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old August 22nd, 2019, 12:48 Thread Starter
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@GDII Thanks for the reply. I'll probably go with the GEN4 in that case. However, wasn't there an inconvenience regarding headers / turbos being welded into the block? I heard something along those lines but can't remember exactly what it was. I'd like to know though, because I'll likely want to mount a full exhaust.

Last edited by scarletthemr2; August 22nd, 2019 at 12:52.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old August 22nd, 2019, 12:48 Thread Starter
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No idea how to delete duplicate replies

Last edited by scarletthemr2; August 22nd, 2019 at 12:50.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old August 22nd, 2019, 12:54 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mr2advanced View Post
The easiest setup to meet those power goals would probably be the gen3 conversion. The main reason being if you buy a gen3 clip, you get the lsd e153 and most other components you need with it. The gen3 block should reliably sustain your power goals without having to open it.

As GDII stated, the gen4 is another option, and it will require engine work. The benefit is you get a newer engine and the stock COP electronics. Downside is it will require much more work to get running, and then some more to meet the 350-400 HP goals.

In either scenario you are upgrading the turbo and electronics, and possibly fuel to get 350+ WHP. A CT20b or CT27 might get 350 peak with heavy mods and not very reliably at that.

If you plan to someday go above 350 HP, then go with the built gen4. If you think 350-400 is your max, gen3 will probably save time and money.

Personally, I'd pop in a gen4 without engine work, and max it out the stock fuel/electronics system. Slap a CT27/ct20b on it and be happy for awhile. You won't beat that reliability. This however won't meet your power goals.
I'm willing to compromise on the power goals slightly if it means that I'll have reliability. That being said, I might just go with a GEN4 for simplicity's sake. Thanks for the input though
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old August 22nd, 2019, 12:54 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sarnodude View Post
Too bad you are so far away..I have a rebuilt gen 2 in my garage collecting dust.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old August 22nd, 2019, 12:55
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Originally Posted by scarletthemr2 View Post
@GDII Thanks for the reply. I'll probably go with the GEN4 in that case. However, wasn't there an inconvenience regarding headers / turbos being welded into the block? I heard something along those lines but can't remember exactly what it was. I'd like to know though, because I'll likely want to mount a full exhaust.
I believe the stock turbo is integrated into the exhaust manifold is the only issue. But as far as I know you can replace it with a manifold from a Gen3 and then apply whatever bolt-on turbo / turbo kit you want.


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old August 22nd, 2019, 12:57 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rdmr2 View Post
I have a Gen4 with S54 on stock boost and pretty happy with the setup, I've been told you can increase the boost to 16psi, max, that might get you close to 350

If I wanted 400hp I would def go with a K20 or k24a2 turbo, but its gonna cost you. checkout Hux Racing.
I've heard many good things about the GEN4. How hard was it to get running? Did you use a DIY kit? I've heard about the headers being integrated into the block or something which is why people stay away from it, is that true? Thanks
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old August 22nd, 2019, 16:47
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I had a shop in Canada do my conversion, there are a lot of write ups on how to do them, PRIME has everything you need, the motor and ECU is only $1500, you have to do engine refresh, down pipe, berk exhaust, intercooler, intake, new clutch, wiring and fluids. It adds up.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old August 22nd, 2019, 20:40
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Originally Posted by rdmr2 View Post
I had a shop in Canada do my conversion, there are a lot of write ups on how to do them, PRIME has everything you need, the motor and ECU is only $1500, you have to do engine refresh, down pipe, berk exhaust, intercooler, intake, new clutch, wiring and fluids. It adds up.
Quite a few write ups but nothing that I have found on doing specifics for wiring. Yes, each type of car has slight differences but I haven't found any write ups on how to splice the wiring harnesses together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarletthemr2 View Post
@GDII Thanks for the reply. I'll probably go with the GEN4 in that case. However, wasn't there an inconvenience regarding headers / turbos being welded into the block? I heard something along those lines but can't remember exactly what it was. I'd like to know though, because I'll likely want to mount a full exhaust.
The exhaust manifold and turbo exhaust housing are cast as one piece so this does limit upgrades. One thing to watch with these manifolds is there is a potential leak on cylinder 1 where the manifold warps due to a missing lug for a stud and nut. Almost all ST215/GEN4 3SGTEs have this fault except for the ones built between June 2002 and August 2002. See link below for the extra lug image.
MANIFOLD / toyota | part list?JP-CarParts.com
The ST246/GEN5 used this manifold for all the engines.

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I believe the stock turbo is integrated into the exhaust manifold is the only issue. But as far as I know you can replace it with a manifold from a Gen3 and then apply whatever bolt-on turbo / turbo kit you want.
Yes you can bolt on a GEN3 3SGTE exhaust manifold and a CT20b or an other turbo that fits the stock flange or adapter for this flange.
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