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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just got my Washington state 30-year collector license plates and am now researching an engine upgrade. Car is basically stock 5s-fe with upgraded brake pads, suspension, and a roll cage with an install sticker that says 1991. The 5s-fe is in need of maintenance including timing belt, valve adjustment, clutch, distributor, etc.. Why spend ~$1000 on all that when I can spend $6000+ upgrading to a 2gr-fe ;)

Anyway I've been reading a lot and wondering how dumb it would be to use a 2gr-fe with the stock S54 non-lsd transmission and axles? The transmission is in decent shape for its age - according to an oil analysis from blackstone labs - although the 1->2 synchro is worn and grinds on high rev shifts no matter how slow I go even with double-clutching. Not looking to hit the drag strip or anything, mostly just driving around town with the occasional HPDE or auto-x. Am I just asking for trouble?

From what I can gather, the S54 longer passenger axle inner CV boot might interfere with the exhaust system depending on the routing, but it seems a conversion to a two piece style axle with a stub and carrier bearing bolted to the engine is doable with certain off-the-shelf mix'n'match parts: Equal length axles for the S54/S51


Aside from locating an LSD-enabled E153 and axles from a MR2 turbo ($$$$$), is there another viable approach such as converting to a more broadly available FWD transmission that's rated for more power than the S54? Did any FWD transmission come with an LSD that would be compatible?

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Intently following Wilhelm, Rat2, and Frankenstein builds....
 

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it's been done, afaik Nate Thalhuber got like 7k miles of hard autocross before the S54 bit the dust. so for a daily it would probably hold up fine, granted you're not doing clutch dumps all day.

If you're up for a challenge check out what Frankenstein Motorworks (youtube) is doing with the AR platform, a much more modern 4cyl that would definitely outperform your 5sfe and most stock 3sgtes by a fair margin. Rumor has it he may be working on a 2ar sw20 swap mount. Side benefit of this is that exhaust is WAY simpler than any v6.
 

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S series trannies work with the mr2 spyder helical LSD. If I were u I'd run the s54 until it blows, then swap in an s51 from a 97-01 camry. It has better gearing, better synchros, and is lighter than an e153
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
it's been done, afaik Nate Thalhuber got like 7k miles of hard autocross before the S54 bit the dust. so for a daily it would probably hold up fine, granted you're not doing clutch dumps all day.

If you're up for a challenge check out what Frankenstein Motorworks (youtube) is doing with the AR platform, a much more modern 4cyl that would definitely outperform your 5sfe and most stock 3sgtes by a fair margin. Rumor has it he may be working on a 2ar sw20 swap mount. Side benefit of this is that exhaust is WAY simpler than any v6.

Wow the 2AR-FXE build is fascinating. While I like the idea of a V6, a larger non-turbo I4 seems like a great idea. Looks like similar benefits to the Honda K swaps but without a mish-mash of custom parts.
 

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I think some of the beam motors came with s54 Lsd, I have a s54 with my gen4 3sgte swap and its fine as long as you don't do hard launches and burnouts.
 

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The S54 will work with the 2GR, just don’t launch it too hard or drive the crap out of it for two years straight. Mine finally let go after 7,000 miles and 20 autocross events on some sticky RE71R tires.So if you are just going to drive it around town and take it to the occasional track day, it should last forever.

I actually just swapped to an E153 with a Quaife LSD. The fluid I drained out of the S54 was very sparkly and filled with some pieces of metal. When I broke it at autocross it made very loud popping noises around corners, so I’m pretty sure it’s the differential. Supposedly that’s the weak point of the S54, so you could replace that with a ZZW30 LSD or an aftermarket LSD and have a stronger transmission. I still need to take the S54 apart to see what broke.

You can watch me break My S54 in the second half of this video haha.
 

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The S54 will work with the 2GR, just don’t launch it too hard or drive the crap out of it for two years straight. Mine finally let go after 7,000 miles and 20 autocross events on some sticky RE71R tires.So if you are just going to drive it around town and take it to the occasional track day, it should last forever.

I actually just swapped to an E153 with a Quaife LSD. The fluid I drained out of the S54 was very sparkly and filled with some pieces of metal. When I broke it at autocross it made very loud popping noises around corners, so I’m pretty sure it’s the differential. Supposedly that’s the weak point of the S54, so you could replace that with a ZZW30 LSD or an aftermarket LSD and have a stronger transmission. I still need to take the S54 apart to see what broke.

You can watch me break My S54 in the second half of this video haha.
The C series diffs fit in an S series? that's news to me. Interesting.
 

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To the OP -- I'm about to find out whether an S54 will live behind the 2GR, I'm in the middle of a swap -- and based on Nate's (pre-grenade :rolleyes:) experience with his S54 decided that since I'm not going to track it or drive it like I stole it, I was willing to roll the dice and give it a try.
I have opted for adding a helical LSD from a C-series -- I'll be rebuilding the S54 while it's out, so adding the LSD is not that much extra effort (aside from swapping the ring gear)
Overall progress has been slow -- but the plan is to get it back on the road this summer.
 

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So the Spyder Axle physically fits with the 2GR, but the axle carrier bearing is a smaller OD than the E153 axle (67mm VS 72mm) so currently there isn't an axle carrier bracket that fits. Unless you can get a spacer to make up the difference or find a different bearing that has the same OD as the E153 but a smaller ID you are stuck with the stock NA axle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The S54 will work with the 2GR, just don’t launch it too hard or drive the crap out of it for two years straight. Mine finally let go after 7,000 miles and 20 autocross events on some sticky RE71R tires.So if you are just going to drive it around town and take it to the occasional track day, it should last forever.

I actually just swapped to an E153 with a Quaife LSD. The fluid I drained out of the S54 was very sparkly and filled with some pieces of metal. When I broke it at autocross it made very loud popping noises around corners, so I’m pretty sure it’s the differential. Supposedly that’s the weak point of the S54, so you could replace that with a ZZW30 LSD or an aftermarket LSD and have a stronger transmission. I still need to take the S54 apart to see what broke.
Thanks for the input. And sorry to hear your transmission. Would be amazing to see photos of the aftermath - given more noise in turns, I guess the diff blowing up makes sense though - so a stronger diff could mean a pretty robust S54/S51
 

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So the Spyder Axle physically fits with the 2GR, but the axle carrier bearing is a smaller OD than the E153 axle (67mm VS 72mm) so currently there isn't an axle carrier bracket that fits. Unless you can get a spacer to make up the difference or find a different bearing that has the same OD as the E153 but a smaller ID you are stuck with the stock NA axle.
there may be room for an adapter if you're using the ZZ axle bracket with the 2gr.
 

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Thanks for the input. And sorry to hear your transmission. Would be amazing to see photos of the aftermath - given more noise in turns, I guess the diff blowing up makes sense though - so a stronger diff could mean a pretty robust S54/S51
It's okay, I was expecting it to break at some point. That's why I had all the parts ready for a E153 swap haha. Here's a photo of the very shiny Redline MT90 gear oil that I drained out of the S54. I will get more photos when I take apart the S54.
Head Eye Automotive tire Marine invertebrates Grey
 

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The S54 will work with the 2GR, just don’t launch it too hard or drive the crap out of it for two years straight. Mine finally let go after 7,000 miles and 20 autocross events on some sticky RE71R tires.So if you are just going to drive it around town and take it to the occasional track day, it should last forever.

I actually just swapped to an E153 with a Quaife LSD. The fluid I drained out of the S54 was very sparkly and filled with some pieces of metal. When I broke it at autocross it made very loud popping noises around corners, so I’m pretty sure it’s the differential. Supposedly that’s the weak point of the S54, so you could replace that with a ZZW30 LSD or an aftermarket LSD and have a stronger transmission. I still need to take the S54 apart to see what broke.

You can watch me break My S54 in the second half of this video haha.
What a beautiful sounding car!
 

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The S54 will work with the 2GR, just don’t launch it too hard or drive the crap out of it for two years straight. Mine finally let go after 7,000 miles and 20 autocross events on some sticky RE71R tires.So if you are just going to drive it around town and take it to the occasional track day, it should last forever.

I actually just swapped to an E153 with a Quaife LSD. The fluid I drained out of the S54 was very sparkly and filled with some pieces of metal. When I broke it at autocross it made very loud popping noises around corners, so I’m pretty sure it’s the differential. Supposedly that’s the weak point of the S54, so you could replace that with a ZZW30 LSD or an aftermarket LSD and have a stronger transmission. I still need to take the S54 apart to see what broke.
I'm very curious to find out if it is the differential that's the weak point. Adding a stronger diff would simplify a V6 swap from the 5SFE and just keep the transmission/axles. Please follow up here!
 

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To reduce torque steer, 5sfe powered Celicas used a RH axle similar to the E153, with a jackshaft and an intermediate bearing mounted to the block. That axle could possibly be adapted if you don't have a stock MK2na RH axle.
 

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The S54 will work with the 2GR, just don’t launch it too hard or drive the crap out of it for two years straight. Mine finally let go after 7,000 miles and 20 autocross events on some sticky RE71R tires.So if you are just going to drive it around town and take it to the occasional track day, it should last forever.

You can watch me break My S54 in the second half of this video haha.
Hello Nate.

I am beginning my 2GR Swap Research. Some time back I installed a TRD Helical LSD Differential in my '95 NA--I am hoping to keep it and the transmission. The swap is some time off; however, some of the first steps is building a budget--so keeping the S54 is a significant goal.

May I ask you to expand on the statement "Just don't launch it too hard?" Is the S54 not as strong?

Thanks, Ross
 

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Hello Nate.

I am beginning my 2GR Swap Research. Some time back I installed a TRD Helical LSD Differential in my '95 NA--I am hoping to keep it and the transmission. The swap is some time off; however, some of the first steps is building a budget--so keeping the S54 is a significant goal.

May I ask you to expand on the statement "Just don't launch it too hard?" Is the S54 not as strong?

Thanks, Ross
The S54 is not as strong as the E153. The weak point of the S54 is the differential, so if you have the TRD LSD it should be stronger.
 
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