MR2 Owners Club Forum banner

upgrade to 2GR? or spend money to buy a tidy turbo?

  • Upgrade to 2GR-FE! and don't look back after falling down the rabbit hole

    Votes: 12 92.3%
  • Stay stock and search for a tidy Turbo model.

    Votes: 1 7.7%
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From those of you that have gone down the route of upgrading to a 2GR-FE. Do you have any regrets about the decision? I'm still toying with the idea, and as I see it, I can either spend heaps of time, money and grief to get the 2GR in my car (which I picked up very cheap a decade ago), OR I can keep my eyes out for a nice example of a turbo car and spend all that 2GR upgrade money on an already complete Turbo model.
For reference, I'm not chasing massive HP numbers. I've currently got a rev1 NA. I'm just looking for a somewhat reliable performance boost. I'd probably keep the 2GR stock.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,276 Posts
I've had a brief ride in a 2GR SW and they are certainly a lot faster and more responsive than the GEN1 3SGE. Being stock it will be very reliable and NA means less things to worry about failing.

For me, I'm obviously going 3SGTE and probably spending a similar amount to get it in but I'm going a little bit beyond a typical swap and also came across a few issues that are costing me more. Why 3SGTE over a V6? I like the sound, the turbo and look. Don't get me wrong, the 2GR is a very capable engine plus has a very good sound for a mini van/taxi engine.

If you want NA, reliable fun power then the 2GR is the way to go. If you want a turbo then a GEN4 is the way to go. Both output similar power numbers stock so you'll definitely be getting a boost in performance just by bolting in either.

The question is, what do you like? The V6 howl or the 3SGTE tractor rumble?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
340 Posts
Nope, zero regrets. I've had multiple 3sgtes and a 2gr, I'd pick the 2gr car any day of the week. They sound better, and in general are faster. There's a reason that the fastest track SW20s are 2grs
 

·
Registered
91 gen 4 swap, 00 stock until the K20 gets installed.
Joined
·
196 Posts
The 2GR was faster throughout the rev range compared to my Gen 4 3SGTE swap. The gap would be even bigger on a stock Gen 2. 2GR will also be cheaper to replace if something goes wrong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've had a brief ride in a 2GR SW and they are certainly a lot faster and more responsive than the GEN1 3SGE. Being stock it will be very reliable and NA means less things to worry about failing.

For me, I'm obviously going 3SGTE and probably spending a similar amount to get it in but I'm going a little bit beyond a typical swap and also came across a few issues that are costing me more. Why 3SGTE over a V6? I like the sound, the turbo and look. Don't get me wrong, the 2GR is a very capable engine plus has a very good sound for a mini van/taxi engine.

If you want NA, reliable fun power then the 2GR is the way to go. If you want a turbo then a GEN4 is the way to go. Both output similar power numbers stock so you'll definitely be getting a boost in performance just by bolting in either.

The question is, what do you like? The V6 howl or the 3SGTE tractor rumble?
If I went the 3sgte route, I'd probably just keep an eye out for a new-to-me turbo MR2 rather than upgrade my old one. Though the Gen4 3SGTE didn't come out in time to be a stock MR2 engine did it?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,276 Posts
If I went the 3sgte route, I'd probably just keep an eye out for a new-to-me turbo MR2 rather than upgrade my old one. Though the Gen4 3SGTE didn't come out in time to be a stock MR2 engine did it?
No they only got GEN2 and GEN3 3SGTE. So all up they got 5 different 3SGTEs if you count the variations in market and year.
A decent GT or a GT-S here would still cost you more than a swap unless it's a total mess. Only advantage with buying a factory one is the gearbox. You are also better off getting a 94-99 as the GEN2 3SGTE is usually very worn out and also the CT26 is a terrible turbo for the 89-93 cars. In saying that the GEN4 is a better engine for stock power than the GEN3 but it does have the downside of the tiny rods so potential to bend then and blow a motor. That's really the only downside.

The 2GR can still be used with an S54 gearbox from your current car and so can a GEN4. Just be nice and it's fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts
I had a fairly modded stock block Gen 2 3S-GTE. EFR 6758, Gen 3 cams, 1ZZ coil packs, stand-alone, all the bolt ons. It was pretty quick, but it had all the turbo 3S in the SW20 problems. High boost so high heat, lack of intercooling, and IMO, the sound is kind of a letdown to me personally.

the 3SGTE has a lot of nostalgia, but the 2GR is a much better engine. They’re also way more available in the US, and will be for decades to come. 3S-GTE are already getting rare and expensive.

I’m going 2GR single turbo, it’s just what excites me, and closer to the experience of a late 80s Ferrari F40 crossed with a bit of Porsche GT2. You’ve got to do what excites you.

IMO, an NA 2GR isn’t a hard swap to do with all the excellent parts and documentation out there.
 

·
Premium Member
'91 MR2 Turbo, '20 BRZ
Joined
·
264 Posts
I've ridden in a few 2GRs, and they are indeed nicely pulling. My problem is, as others have mentioned, is nostalgia. Back in '96 when I got my first MR2 it was a 3S-GTE turbo, and I just identify with the sounds, mannerisms, and how full boost suddenly plants me. IF I could find a reasonable "project" MKII NA, then I would CERTAINLY put in a 2GR. Especially now that there are so many ways to get the custom retrofit parts needed. That to me is the best of both worlds, having both depending on my mood. (Sorry guys I've no love for the 5SFE!).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
It's like asking whats your favorite flavor ice cream. It is more about you than the engine. I think the nostalgia aspect and keeping it authentic to the time means a-lot to some people. Having the torque curve of a turbo engine and the sounds associated is a big part of the memory of these cars. I suspect the cars with 3sgte based swaps will become more valuable and sought after as time goes on for the feels and the rarity. Like you said 3sgte engines are already getting expensive and hard to source and will continue in that direction much like 2jz did. When the time comes that a 3s is pulling what an SR would it will make the car worth more to have a 3s. It will be like owning an FD or Supra with an LS swap. Yeah its cool, probably more "reliable" and "cheaper". But nobody will respect it as much as a period correct chassis correct engine combo. Some will like it some won't. I still have not even rode in a 2GR car so I can't say how good it is. I think in the future a 3s powered car is going to be a big draw and people will be like yeah sweet minivan swap to all the 2gr guys. But that is just my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts
Counterpoint, nearly every car today has a 2L turbo engine. While it was rare in the early 90s, it became very very common decades later.

A small sports car with a powerful V6? Very rare today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,523 Posts
The 2GR was faster throughout the rev range compared to my Gen 4 3SGTE swap. The gap would be even bigger on a stock Gen 2. 2GR will also be cheaper to replace if something goes wrong.
I beg to differ but thats just me..heres my old jdm gen 2 ....297flbs and 257whp on stock steel wheel turbo @18psi, open intake, 3inch dp, apexi gt spec exhaust

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
I mostly like turbos. The sound of spool is addicting and the pull it gives creates a sensation that, obviously, an NA car cannot deliver. However, actually driving a 2gr mr2 is a breath of fresh air. One guy let me drive his mr2 with a 2gr swap. The car had nothing but straight through piping and an intake.

Now, my daily is a 91 with a gen 2 with a few upgrades, but driving a 2gr made me want to convert 91 (NA) I have that has been sitting around. The power delivery felt nice, predictable, and the sound was sweet as well.

I think it will ultimately depend on what your aspirations are for the car, but I would highly suggest (if possible) to test drive both types.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,649 Posts
Zero regrets. I had a built Gen2 3SGTE making about 375whp before the 2GR swap, and I haven't missed it for a second. Sure in a straight line the 3S was faster, for any other purpose the power delivery of the v6 makes it much easier to drive.

For track days I turned the boost down on my 3S, never dyno'd it like that but it was probably around 280-300whp (12psi on a GT3071, the 375whp was at 20psi). First time at the track with the 2GR, I dropped 2s off of my best lap time with the 3S. With similar power, the 2GR was significantly faster.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ztarchitecht

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
From those of you that have gone down the route of upgrading to a 2GR-FE. Do you have any regrets about the decision? I'm still toying with the idea, and as I see it, I can either spend heaps of time, money and grief to get the 2GR in my car (which I picked up very cheap a decade ago)
The way you wrote this I'm a little confused, are you saying the car was cheap or you already have a 2gr-fe sitting which was cheap ready to be swapped?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
I don't have any experience driving the 2GR (I sat as a passenger in one a few weeks ago) but I was asking a similar question not long ago for my own upcoming project.

For what it's worth, two of the big MR2 specialists I spoke to both had the same thing to say. They both recommended going with the 2GR over the 4th gen 3SGTE. They both stated that finding/importing cleaner 3SGTE engines is becoming more difficult and expensive. Sourcing parts for the 2GR is also much easier since its a more common engine used here in the US.

Granted, 2GR swapping is more expensive at both of these shops so there may be a slight bias but I felt that all the reasons they presented were very strong. Plus they have businesses revolving around working on the MR2 so I'm sure their experience and authority on the subject should be trusted.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,711 Posts
While I'm not an owner of a 2GR swapped SW20, I have driven a couple including a 2GR equipped MR-S. I'm like you, not after large HP numbers - just something reliable to keep the car going. I like the sound of the 2GR, I like its availability - both the engine & parts - and I like the idea it will just have less miles on it so I can drive it to Mexico w/o worrying I might be thumbing my way home.

But otherwise, if someone gave me the option of a new-from-the-ground-up 3SGTE, I would not hesitate to put that in again. I know it will last another 20 years and there's not much I dislike about this engine. While I think the 2GR is a measurable improvement, that edge isn't enough for me to do back-flips about.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top