It pains me to write this but up for sale is my beloved ’96 Toyota RAV4. This is no ordinary RAV4, its rare, unique and more of an enthusiast car then your typical grocery getter. It’s been modified to receive a ST215 Toyota Caldina 3SGTE engine and its E150F transmission. It’s AWD, has dual sunroofs, power accessaries, working AC as well as some more goodies!!

Check my eBay auction at:



If you’re interested contact me at scubastevoviii@aol.com. 


3sgte Gen3 vs Gen4 Differences

There are plenty of notable differences between the Gen3 and Gen4 3sgte variants. For reference purposes, here are a few of them:

Gen3 vs Gen4 3sgte Timing Belt Idler Pulleys


Gen3 vs Gen4 3sgte Upper Oil Pans (the lower pan is the same on both)


Updates & News…Stay Tuned!

I’ve received a bunch emails from you guys lately regarding a 3sgte swap and I just want to say thank you for the support. I’m happy to answer any of your question, so feel free to email me at aw111mr2@msn.com any time.

Secondly, I will be working on some new post for you guys.



And if you these site has helped you please let me know and send me some pics of your completed swap.

3SGTE Engine Swap Tips

When a car enthusiast like myself buys a new car, we often have a plan…a collection of ideas of what we want. I’m no different. Before I purchased my Rav4 I knew this was going to be something big in more ways then one. If you recall, in my blog introduction, there was one specific requirement that the Rav4 doesn’t meet…having “More then 200hp.” Not satisfied by what choices I had amongst the cars I looked at, I figured if I can’t find everything I want…I’ll just build it!

I’ve received a bunch of messages from you fellow enthusiasts, asking tons of questions, looking for tips and advise. This has lead me to the hiccups…the giant ¿question-marks?…so lets highlight those:

1) Does the 3sgte bolt right up to the Rav4 engine mounts?

Yes, all S-series engines (includes: 5sfe, 3sge & 3sgte) will “bolt in” the Rav4 chassis with no modifications. And technically there is only 1 engine mount that actually bolts onto the engine…and that is the passenger side mount. The other 3 mounts connect directly to the transmission. I would advise replacing and urethane filling the engine & rear differential mounts.

2) Will the 3sgte fit stock E250F transmission?

Yes, all S-series engine share the same transmission bolt pattern thus the 3sgte will mate up to the stock E250F transmission.

3) These leads into,will the stock Rav4 clutch & flywheel fit as well?

Yes & no. Yes, they technically share the same bolt patterns and yes, you could reuse your stock flywheel (I recommend machining it before reuse). But the stock clutch is only made to handle 120-130hp and are too weak to handle the added power. So you will definitely need a new clutch kit with the 3sgte swap. On another, there has been a debate on whether or not the stock Rav4 3sfe has an 8-bolt or a 6-bolt flywheel setup. From the information I’ve gathered, the early versions of the 3sfe from late 80s Celica & Camry had a 6-bolt flywheel setup. Sometime in the 90’s Toyota made the switch from 6 to 8 bolts. Lastly my Rav4 had an 8-bolt setup.

4) Does the Celica or Caldina E150F transmission swap fit?

Yes, it bolts right up, reuses other 3 stock engine mounts…the shifter cables & shifter itself work just fine…but you’ll need a Rav4.2 driver side axle. Also the clutch line, .  Note that the speedometer will not be accurate. And lastly note that the Caldina transmission doesn’t have a VSS or Speedo Gear Ring. See my post regarding this situation HERE.

5) Is the 3sgte wiring harness plug and play?

No, you will need to either custom fabricate a harness yourself or reach to a specialist like Doug at WireGap

6) Will the stock fuel pump work?

No, the fuel pump will not flow enough volume for the injectors. You will need an upgraded pump. Check out my MOAR Fuel N Stuff post. I’d also recommend servicing the injectors.

7) Does the stock Rav4 have a returnless fuel system? Will the 3sgte required a fuel return line?

Yes, the stock Rav4 has a returnless setup and yes, this swap will require adding a fuel return line to the gas tank.

8) Are there any clearance issues in and around the engine bay?

Yes, the 3sgte turbocharger interferes with the stock Rav4 radiator fan. So a slimmer fan (less the 2.5inch thick) is needed. Since I’m using the stock Caldina air box, I had to modify the lower half to fit in properly. It also interfered with the stock coolant reservoir which I have moved slightly from it’s original position. Please note that a custom intake setup will eliminate this issue.

9) Where do you mount intercooler?

This will be your choice. If you want a front mounted intercooler, you will most likely have to sacrifice your AC condensor to create space to fit one. I opted to keep my AC and retain the stock Caldina top mounted intercooler. This required cutting the hood, adding a hood scoop with splitter to direct air flow thru the intercooler.

10) Are there any miscellaneous items that need attention?

Yes…here’s a summary of the smaller things that you will need address:

Throttle Cable – the stock Rav4 cable is too long for the Caldina intake manifold setup. So we made bracket relocating the mounting position to correct this issue.

Cruise Control – works but continuously tries to spool the turbo and once it hits boost, it cuts off. Since this has been a low priority, I really haven’t looked into it much but I suspect acquiring a 3sgte cruise control ecu would fix this.

AC Compressor – since the AC lines on the Caldina compressor are arranged differently then the Rav4’s, you’ll have to reuse your stock Rav4 AC Compressor. Also note keeping AC will limit the space in the front to mount an intercooler.

Alternator – if you choice to retain the stock Rav4 AC system, you will also need to retain the stock alternator as well. This is because of clearance issues from the turbo and the oil dip stick. I also needed to fab up a lower alternator bracket as well…to prove extra clearance.

Exhaust – since no such exhaust system exist for this type of swap, you will have to create your own custom exhaust setup.

Custom Intake – in general this is an easy one to handle, nonetheless you will also to create a custom intake setup. As noted above, I’m my setup consist of the stock Caldina air box custom fitted to the lower portion of the stock Rav4 setup. I will be upgrade to cone filter setup in the future.

OBD2 – like nearly all JDM engine swaps, you will lose OBD2 functionality. This means, depending on your region, you may have or may not have issues with inspection.

MOAR Fuel N Stuff!!!

It’s a simple equation….more power requires MOAR FUEL!!! With the anticipation of building my Rav4 GT-T, I needed to prepare my fuel system. An upgraded pump was necessary, as well as a fuel return line.

For reference, Rav4 Fuel System Components:

rav4.1 fuel system

sxa10 gas tank 1 sxa10 gas tank 2 sxa10 gas tank 3

I searched around the inter-web and came up with Deatschwerks, a company dedicated to high-performance fuel systems solutions. They sell affordable, high quality fuel pumps for a variety of applications and offer an industry best 3-year no fault warranty. But what I really like about Deatschwerks, is that they are a family own business, that stand behind the name of their brand.

I selected a Deatschwerks DW200 In-Tank Fuel Pump as my replacement:


Features Include:

  • Flows 255 litres per hour
  • In-tank application specific fitment
  • Ethanol compatible
  • 3-year no-fault warranty
  • Quiet and reliable turbine impellerIMG_8719

Though this isn’t an exact video of a fuel pump swap, its a good visual illustration of how to find and remove the fuel pump from the Rav4. Definitely useful!

Here’s another resourceful link on how replace a Rav4 fuel pump…

Off-Road.com’s “Rav4 Crawler: In-Tank Pump Swap”…just click the photo:

Rav4 Crawler: In-Tank Pump Swap

More fuel detail to come shortly…

Intermittent Wiper Stalk Swap

While on a vacation in a rental car, it was rain and I thought to myself…it makes me sad I’ve never owned a car with an intermittent wiper feature. This may not be a big deal for some but for me, it’s just annoying to constantly switch the wiper from intermittent, to low and then back. Becuase the Rav4.1 never came with one from the factory, I was left to figure it out on my own.

I’ve been on a hot streak with part compatibilty sourcing, so I had hunch that this was a easy fix. Determined, I started searching for Toyota models with a intermittent wiper stalk and rear wiper function as well. I came up with:

Toyota Part: 84652‑26530 SWITCH ASSY, WINDSHIELD WIPER
TOYOTA CELICA (1996 – 1999)
TOYOTA SIENNA (1998 – 1999)
LEXUS RX300 (1999 – 2002)

Here’s what what it looks like:

IMG_9242Searched around the interweb and came with one for $12 bucks shipped.

It easy to install, it bolts right in. Simply remove 4 screws on your steering column cover, unplug the harness, remove the 2 screws holding in the wiper stalk, then remove it. Next install the new stalk in and reverse the order…DONE! No wiring needed.


Here’s a quick comparison…the top is the original wiper stalk and the bottom is the new intermittent wiper stalk.


Here is the final product…


Got Some New Shoes!

In an ideal world I would have purchased Michelin Pilot Super Sports tires and Work Emotion CR‘s with a low offset and deep concave face. While I’ve always LOVED the look of Work Emotion CR’s…I never loved the price.

As I live in NYC, one of the most unfriendliest places for wheels…I wanted something that was affordable, looked good and would hold up to the daily abuse. Shortly after I begun my search for a new set of shoes, I decided I definitely wanted a set of gray wheels with sticky, ultra high performance summer tires and a lower offset to improve the static stability factor.

I soon discovered there were some replica look-a-like versions of the Work Emotion CR’s. The manufacture was Drag…the models were DR-31. Next, I went to Discount Tire Direct to get a good deal on a set of Gunmetal Gray 18×9 with a +15 offset. Now it was time to find some super sticky tires. I then came across a sweet deal at TireRack for some 255/40/R18 Dunlop Sport Maxx GT.

Here is cool video from Motor Trend’s Jessi Lang as she heads to Indiana to experience firsthand the impact tires have on a vehicle’s performance.