The Tweak'd Performance FR-S...What it is, what it isn't.
When the FR-S was introduced last year, I only had to take one look at it to know that it was going to be big. A lightweight, rear-wheel drive car for under $30k? Definitely. And expected, once we got our hands on one, we asked the question we always ask ourselves.
How do we get more power?
The two standard solutions to this question apply in this case: forced induction or engine swap. There are quite a turbo and supercharger options that are either on the horizon or already released, and we certainly could have gone that route. But... we are Tweak'd Performance, we're the ENGINE SWAP guys, so even though it might sound crazy to pull a brand new engine out of a brand new car... well... we never said we weren't a little crazy. (Speaking of which, anyone need a like-new FR-S engine or transmission? Anyone? No...? Alright...)
Once that decision was made, it was time figure out which engine to go with first... Yes, I said first... this won't be the only one. Options included the Toyota 3S-GTE, a GM LS1 variation, a WRX STI engine, and of course the glaringly obvious choice... the 2JZ-GTE. Why? Sure, it's getting older, but it's legendary in its ability to make big power, we know and love them, and there's massive aftermarket support. But will it fit? Answering that question requires me to tell you a little more about our philosophy here and why we decided to do this swap.
First of all, there are a LOT of 2JZ swapped FR-S out there, one trip to youtube will prove that. However, they all share one thing in common: they are race cars. These aren't cars that people drive on the street, they are stripped, gutted, caged, are running standalone ECUs with aftermarket gauges and self-contained wiring harnesses. They are basically using the FR-S only as a race chassis and nothing else. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, if that's what you want. That just isn't what we set out to do.
That's why, at least for this build, you're not going to see us ripping out the stock wiring harnesses, the dash, the interior, and turning it into just another full-race vehicle. Our goal in doing this swap was to PROVE or DISPROVE the theory that, with the proper mount kit and an engine swap harness, someone could reasonably do this swap in their garage at home, and still want to drive it on the street after. You see, the average FR-S driver probably doesn't want to convert his car into a full-race vehicle. They probably drive it to work, drive it around on the weekend, pick up their girlfriend and go out, whatever. The point is, they want a STREET car, just one with a lot more torque.
So that brings us to our current project. We're swapping a 2JZ-GTE VVTi engine in an FR-S and we're going to do it with the following conditions:
No cutting or welding to the chassis of the vehicle
Retain heat and air conditioning
Retain functional original gauges
Retain original chassis wiring harness
Further, our goal is to make the lessons we learn open source to our fellow FR-S owners. If it can't be done, we'll let you know, and we'll tell you why. We're going to tell you what obstacles we find along the way and how we solve them. Our objective is to use the Tweak'd FR-S as a test rig to see what engines fit, how they fit, what needs to be done to make everything work, what's possible, and what's not. Now, that doesn't mean that one day in the future we might strip it, cage it, tuck the engine bay and make it a full-race or full-show car, but that's in the future. For now, it's engine swap time.
4-29 We pulled the factory engine out and began mock-up for the 2JZ with the R154 transmission attached. Removing the old engine was a breeze. Our initial attempt at installing the 2JZ was done with the front bumper still attached. After some very careful effort, it was determined to remove the front bumper and upper core support (which unbolts, very handy) and the radiator. That gave us a lot more room to maneuver and we highly recommend it for anyone considering a swap. Once we got the engine leveled out and the transmission started going into the tunnel, we ran into our first snag: the mounting points on the FR-S chassis for the transmission protruded too much, so the transmission would not fit in the tunnel.
The R154 and V160 transmissions will NOT fit into the FR-S tunnel without chassis modification.
It was tempting to just get out the cutting wheel and welder and remove the mounting points to proceed with the install, but I reminded myself of our goal: no chassis modification. We want this swap to be feasible and the average guy doing a swap in his garage may not have the welding facilities and skills needed to modify a vehicle chassis. Therefore, we're sourcing a slightly smaller, narrower W58 transmission to either prove or disprove that it will fit. If it fits, we WILL proceed with the swap using the W58.
Although the W58 is not as strong as the R154 transmission, we are only planning on running about 400-450whp in this car. Personally I think that 400whp will be perfect for this chassis but time will tell. Now, if the W58 does NOT fit into the tunnel without modification to the vehicle, then it's decision time. Either we break our rule of no chassis cutting and welding, or we look into something else.
We'll find out tonight.