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Thread: Ecotec swap into RWD Celica

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    Red face Ecotec swap into RWD Celica

    My plan is to start with a Gen I 2.2 liter engine with Solstice Bell housing and Toyota R series transmission. Wikipedia tells me these engines are good for 150 Hp stock giving us a bump of about 30 Hp over the 20r hybrid that we were running in the Celica. I would like to use this platform to fabricate engine and transmission mounts and basically get the car running and later upgrade to a Gen II 2.4 liter or add Turbo or Supercharger

    The reason for this is the Gen I is cheaper and the wiring harness should in theory be easier to convert to standalone and I won’t have to deal with drive by wire.

    So my first round of questions…
    1. Is there a particular donor car that would be better for the Gen I 2.2 liter engine? I need something to fit a front cross member RWD so the further back the oil pan hump is the better.

    2. Are the basic blocks the same between the 2.2 and 2.4? So if I fabricate mounts for a 2.2 will I be able to drop a 2.4 in later if I want to?

    3. What basic maintenance should I be doing to ensure this engine lasts? I assume timing belt, pull the pan and check the bearings, oil and filter. Are there other areas that I should be looking at before installing the engine?

    4. How many miles are too many without a rebuild on these engines?

    5. Any tips and tricks for cheap but effective HP and reliability gains in these engines? We are budget constrained in the series but some things are allowed especially if it a modification that can be done without fancy after market parts.

    6. What are the known weak points for these engines?

    The racing we do is endurance racing on road courses and we run usually 8-12 hours straight, sometimes full 24 hour races with stops for fuel and driver change only so good oiling and cooling is essential. Any tips or tricks to improve oiling and cooling beyond an external oil cooler and big ass aluminum radiator?

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    The reason for this is the Gen I is cheaper and the wiring harness should in theory be easier to convert to standalone and I won’t have to deal with drive by wire. I am assuming from this that you plan on using MegaSquirt or similar to control this motor?

    So my first round of questions…
    1. Is there a particular donor car that would be better for the Gen I 2.2 liter engine? I need something to fit a front cross member RWD so the further back the oil pan hump is the better. 2002+ Grand Am, 2002+ Olds Alero, 2003+ Cavalier/Sunfire, 2004-2006 Saturn Ion, 2005-2006 Chevy Cobalt

    2. Are the basic blocks the same between the 2.2 and 2.4? So if I fabricate mounts for a 2.2 will I be able to drop a 2.4 in later if I want to? This should be fine. Beware, there have been 2 different reluctor styles used on EcoTec platforms. If you plan on switching to a 2.4 then you would be better off with a 2.2 from an Ion or Cobalt unless you don't mind using an external crank trigger.

    3. What basic maintenance should I be doing to ensure this engine lasts? I assume timing belt, pull the pan and check the bearings, oil and filter. Are there other areas that I should be looking at before installing the engine? Timing components (full timing kit has a revised tensioner design and higher flowing oil nozzle for the chain), lash adjusters are known to stick as the miles add up so a new set of rockers and lash adjusters might not be a bad idea, can be done later with relative ease though.

    4. How many miles are too many without a rebuild on these engines? There are a number of people running these motors >100k miles at aggressive boost levels. Personally, I am nearing 140k boosted as a daily and have zero trouble with it and done nothing internally.

    5. Any tips and tricks for cheap but effective HP and reliability gains in these engines? We are budget constrained in the series but some things are allowed especially if it a modification that can be done without fancy after market parts. Depending on what budge allows, a valve train upgrade would be good for reliability and a little extra performance, would allow you to increase the red line RPM. A pair of neutral balance shafts to replace the factory balanced shafts would reduce parasitic power loss and allow you to rev higher safer. ZZP offers them at a reasonable price. You might want to browse the Hybrid section of the forum, contains info about mixing different motor parts (ie: 2.2 block with 2.0 head).

    6. What are the known weak points for these engines? Unless you really build the hell out of it, my only concern would be the valve train although I have never ran it hard for a time anything close to what you will be so you may encounter shit that my experience level isn't coming up with.
    Brett85p Quoted Post
    Hope that helps

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    My plan is to start with a Gen I 2.2 liter engine with Solstice Bell housing and Toyota R series transmission.
    Brett85p Quoted Post
    I believe you'll run into input-shaft length issues. Shouldn't be an insurmountable problem, but may require a custom input-shaft.

    1. Is there a particular donor car that would be better for the Gen I 2.2 liter engine? I need something to fit a front cross member RWD so the further back the oil pan hump is the better.
    Brett85p Quoted Post
    You'll probably have to notch your crossmember or weld up a custom oil-pan regardless of which engine/oil-pan you use.

    2. Are the basic blocks the same between the 2.2 and 2.4? So if I fabricate mounts for a 2.2 will I be able to drop a 2.4 in later if I want to?
    Brett85p Quoted Post
    There are some subtle differences between some of the early 2.2L and the 2.4L blocks. Some of the mounting bosses on the sides of the blocks are a little different. I don't know if the later ('06-later) 2.2L and the 2.4L blocks have the same differences or they are more similar.

    6. What are the known weak points for these engines?
    Brett85p Quoted Post
    It would help to know how much power you're looking to make.

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    Thanks for the responses.
    Sparkey, I'm planning on starting with the factory ECU and injection, it's almost impossible to get MegaSquirt in under budget and I'm going to be pushing the budget with the swap anyway. These are supposed to be $500 cars but creative accounting is allowed so I can sell parts off the car and replace with parts from another.

    Fallen, I'm not looking for huge HP if we could get a 2.2 to around 180 then we would be competitive with most cars we race against. If I can do that without spending too much and without compromising the reliability then I'd be very happy. The alternative is to jump to the 2.4, can I do that and disguise it as a 2.2 ?

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    Would this be a good start?

    http://stlouis.craigslist.org/pts/4549339550.html

    What are the chances it just needs a head gasket?

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    Fallen, I'm not looking for huge HP if we could get a 2.2 to around 180 then we would be competitive with most cars we race against. If I can do that without spending too much and without compromising the reliability then I'd be very happy. The alternative is to jump to the 2.4, can I do that and disguise it as a 2.2 ?
    Brett85p Quoted Post
    The 2.4L LE5 is pretty close to making that much power stock. You could make what we call a "hybrid" Ecotec motor. Basically, you use a 2.2L L61 cylinder-head on top of a 2.4L LE5 short-block. Unfortunately, this requires buying two separate engines, usually. This will give you a 2.4L engine that doesn't have VVT or drive-by-wire (as long as the L61 cylinder-head is pre-'06). If you could, a stock LE5, even with it's DBW and VVT, with a tune, would have the easiest time of making the power you're looking for. You'd need the complete wiring harness for that engine, the DBW pedal assembly, and some splicing/rewiring would be necessary.


    Would this be a good start?

    http://stlouis.craigslist.org/pts/4549339550.html

    What are the chances it just needs a head gasket?
    Brett85p Quoted Post
    Considering the ad says there is coolant in the oil, I'd say that engine absolutely needs a new head-gasket. Otherwise, I don't know what else could be wrong with it. Bearings might not be too good...

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    OK so maybe a L61 would be a good starting point, get that up and running and then look for a LE5. That way we can get the harness sorted and everything else working first.

    Thanks again for the info.

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    I wanted to do what Fallen said(hybrid) ever since i found this forum. But no luck at Salvage yards when i was piss poor.

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    Some progress, Bell housing, slave and shifter arrived today. Found a complete trans on craigslist that had a bad 4th gear. Now looking for a Colorado transmission. They are the same only cheaper
    Last edited by Brett85p; 08-29-2014 at 10:18 AM.

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    Why are you no longer planning on using the R154? The R154 has much better gear ratios than an AR5, and it's just plain better.

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    It seems from the internets that the R-154 needs modifications to the input shaft and the AR-5 is pretty close in ratios.With the 20R/22R we had a lot of torque and could for the most part use 3rd and 4th. 2nd will be a bit of a reach.

    R-154
    First Gear: 3.251:1
    Second Gear: 1.955:1
    Third Gear: 1.310:1
    Fourth Gear: 1.00:1
    Fifth Gear: 0.753:1

    AR-5
    First Gear: 3.75:1
    Second Gear:2.26 :1
    Third Gear: 1.37:1
    Fourth Gear: 1.00:1
    Fifth Gear: 0.73:1

    Also the AR-5 is less desirable and therefore less expensive option for my LeMons car I need to stay in budget and this means value of parts in should equal value of parts out.

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    Oh, this is LeMons car. That makes more sense. LOL!

    I just can't get over that 1st-2nd gear drop of the AR5. It's depressing. But, it should still work more than well enough for what you're doing.

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