So as most of you probably know, about 12 months ago I finally pulled my finger out and get started on an engine conversion that I've been umming and ahhing about for the last ~10 years. Over the course of that time my mind would sway every few months, from a supercharged 20V to a high-comp smallport 7AGE, to a redtop BEAMS 3SGE, and then off to more exotic pastures like a 1MZFE or 2GRFE. Eventually though I decided that most of the standard conversions out there (A- or S-based) are getting long in the tooth design-wise, and I should probably look at something more modern (but not too modern that would make the electronics a nightmare) - enter the 2ZZGE. Good power straight out of the box, aftermarket support, locally delivered so parts aren't hard to find, plus the added fun/awesomeness of Lift and a 6-speed manual.
So with my annual bonus from work fresh in my pocket, I started trawling Gumtree/Carsales/Facebook for cheap ZZT231 Celicas to rip the drivetrain out of (my main reason going with the Celica rather than the Sportivo is the better final drive ratio for cruising, plus Celicas tended to be cheaper and more plentiful) Initially started to get slightly depressed when I realised I'd still have to burn half my budget buying a rego'd runner only to scrap 90% of it, until one day a wrecked but "complete" low-k 2000 SX fell in my lap for the ridiculously cheap price of $700 (the gearbox and engine combo alone can go for $2k). Cue a mad rush to clear space in my garage (because the wife wouldn't want a shell sitting in the driveway and I needed cover to rip stuff out) as well as organise a trailer/tow-car - borrowed my mate's diesel Ranger and found a local guy who rented out car trailers for $50 a day.
Just to make things more fun, picked up the trailer the afternoon before but none of the lights worked. Checked with my BiL's Jeep and everything worked fine (couldn't take the Jeep though as the brakes needed to be replaced), so figured it would have to be in the wiring on the Ranger....turns out whomever did the wiring harness for the trailer plug used Scotchloks instead of braincells, and had basically disintegrated. A morning-of patch job by another mate saved the day, however no trailer brakes (ute didn't have them fitted at all) left me a bit nervous negotiating the steep hills of the F3 on the way home with 2 tonnes of car trailer behind (turned out to be completely unwarranted though, the Ranger towed like an absolute champ).
What will hopefully await me whenever I open the bonnet in the future
Back home and tucked away
First purchase was an MWR order to get the ball rolling - JDM ECU w/ no immobiliser, short-shifter (the Celica 6-speed housing bolts directly in to the Corolla), new dipstick (ring had broken off), solid shifter bushes, and the obligatory lift bolts.
The beginning of the strip - battery, ECU and air intake removed. Over the next few months I would slowly chip away at the engine bay, focusing on making room and getting rid of anything that I didn't need and would just get in the way - radiator, air-con condenser, overflow bottle, by the end of it I had basically stripped the entire front of the car (one of the good things about the Celica is that you can unbolt practically _everything_ from the front end). Then moved my attention to the gearbox and the driveshafts
Turns out that you really do need to un-stake the axle nuts before you whale on them with a 300Nm rattlegun.....ended up with 2 stripped axles (wasn't planning on re-using them anyway) and 1 nut in particular that was stuck on because it had stripped but there was still thread either side of it on the axle (part-drilled it out and then pried off with the biggest bar I had). Gearbox oil was green too, which was a bit concerning as I hope it isn't the dreaded Redline Shockproof (which would indicate that the synchros could be on the way out, despite being only 130k). Equal-length driveshafts will be a bonus though.
Then made a start on the plethora of pipes and hoses in the engine bay - heater hoses, power steering lines, fuel line (got to love factory-fitted quick-connects) vacuum lines, air-con (at which point I "accidentally" released the entire load of R134a in to the atmosphere as I assumed it had already leaked out from the accident....turns out noooooooooooope), and fitted the engine lifting hooks (figured it best to lift the engine the way Toyota intended, rather than via seat-belts/random bolts etc) - the rear one was a real prick as there is basically no room between the back of the head and the cowl
At this point I realised that the only thing holding the engine in to the car were the 4 engine mounts...........so I thought "bugger it, this thing is coming out today". Of course I chose to attempt this with the car parked in just about the worst position possible, had literally millimetres of clearance between the engine, gearbox, chassis and roller-door.
Success! Note for future conversions - load leveller is worth its weight in gold.
And I only tested the tensile strength of a single ground wire strap.....guess who won.
Next step was splitting the engine and gearbox so I could measure the bolt lengths required and get the block up on the engine stand (stupid fine-threads...). Block and gearbox were slightly harder to separate than I expected until I realised the wiring harness was still attached to both.....oops. 20190112_190806 by Ian Rigby, on Flickr
So that's how things stand at the moment. At this stage I'm considering starting the 7A removal around Easter (depending on when my bonus comes in and when rego is due on the Corolla, so I can have it off the road for the maximum amount of time possible without rego cancelling).
Timing-end engine mount from a Euro-spec 4ZZ ZZE111 (the E11x has essentially the same chassis as the E10x) - the 3 other mounts should essentially bolt straight on (benefit of the C-series transmission)
MWR adaptor mount (used to fit the 2ZZ in to the 1ZZ-powered MR2/S)
Fuel pressure regulator (so I can keep the returnless fuel rail)
Custom exhaust headers as the Celica ones will hit the firewall/steering rack
New clutch and flywheel (Fidanza probably, not sure on the clutch yet)
New intake (might need to relocate battery too)
New CVs (mix-n-match from a couple of different cars to get the splines and lengths right)
Obvious shits-n-bits for power steering, brake booster, clutch lines, air-con etc etc
Oh, and something about wires....meh, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it