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Hey everyone. 

I recently acquired a KE20 Corolla that's been sitting for some time. It's going to be a long project; however, I will want to engine swap it. I would love to do a 4A-GE swap, but in the US, these seem to be relatively hard to source. I do however, know of an inline 4 that I have been pondering. GM's GenII and Gen III ecotec engines are in abundance because they seem to throw them in everything that they can. Cobalts, HHRs, Saabs, Colorados, etc etc. The problem (or so I thought) was a RWD transmission. I recently found that RWD is actually possible relatively easily as the Gen II Ecotec has the same bellhousing pattern as some rwd colorados, solstice, sky transmissions (AR-5). AND the Gen III LTG engine was developed as a crate engine that was in the Cadillac ATS, ALSO with RWD.

So my search for an attainable 4 cylinder, RWD, manual that I could potentially swap into the KE20 has grown. I've seen that some have done a 6 cylinder Ecotec swap in this forum, so I'm sure someone out here might have some semblance of an idea of what it would take to pull this off. This will be my first project car, so I know there will be a steep learning curve, especially if I go this route with all the extra fabrication that's probably going to be required. I'd just like to ask if anyone has looked into this engine as a possibility and what things should I look out for to try my best to source parts that have already been produced - as opposed to starting this journey and basically having to custom fabricate something that I haven't even thought about yet.

This is just at the research and ideas phase, I have not purchased anything yet - I just want some ideas from people who have done these projects before.

Thanks in advance for any insights.


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Road-going afterwards? Are you allowed to cut 'n shut the transmission tunnel/firewall??  That would be the first thing to look at. Also the 4cyl would fit easier than the 6 I assume, and put less weight over the nose.

The Gen 1 are a little long-stroke for revving, so that won't be a screamer, but 2L of torque will be great to drive. The Gen 2 is a big step ahead if you can get one of those in 2L for it's equal bore to stroke.

What was the Gen 2 in that had RWD??  I wouldn't recognise any of the cars listed with it in Wiki, they didn't appear in Aussie, but the Solstice looks a good start. You'll need to see how it gets mounted North-South, as the FWD cars often don't have bolt-holes on the sides of the block for RWD conversion, and they must have done something for that RWD.

Whichever you get, it will involve new engine mounts on the cross-member, new gearbox mounts, hydraulic clutch pedal box conversion, custom driveshaft and exhaust, and a stronger diff. Probably no harder than any other engine, but look out for how tall it is. There may be lots of excitement around the steering box in a small engine bay, and there will be plenty of mind-bending wiring to blend together.

Remember the MX5-Miata are around, they are one of the few remaining RWD setups in light 4-cyls.

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Yes, it would be road going, and so far I don't think I'd have any issues cut'n shutting the tunnel and firewall. Here in the US (North Dakota) from what I've found there isn't much in the way of restrictions for engine conversions on these. I'll do some more research, but I don't plan on this being a screamer - would like to some day daily it, but have some extra power over the stock 3k to have a little extra fun on some weekends. 

The Gen 2 that came stock RWD in a car platform was the Pontiac Solstice and it's twin the Saturn Sky. There are also 2 wheel RWD Chevy Colorado pickups that apparently work with the Gen 2, if you get the Solstice/Sky bellhousing. I've also seen some people here in the states swap the Gen 2 into older Chevy S10's presumably with the stock S10 tranny, though I'm not sure the details on those.

I was trying to get some dimensions to compare these ecotecs to something like a 4age or 3sgte, so I'll see what I can come up with. I have toyed around with the idea of swapping a Miata engine and trans into it. I have seen a youtube video of someone doing a 2.0L ecotec swap into a El Camino (though that's a much larger working platform that didn't need as many fabrication mods)... 

Anyways, this is a great list of things you gave me to look into. I thought this would be something interesting to build, as there are an abundance of ecotecs here in the states, and I daily an ecotec Chevy Cobalt already.

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