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.


The Infamous Clunk

The first day I drove my Rav4, I immediately noticed the clunk or thud noise in drive-train. The noise came from the rear…turns out this is what was actually going on:

I took a look and saw my rear mount of my rear differential was filled with some type of hard urethane. I knew there had to be another mount and I knew there had to be a center driveshaft mount as well. Confused I decided to start researching info on it…turns out this is a fairly common problem.

Here are the 2 rear diff mounts at hand:

My next step was to correct the problem properly. Initial findings suggest filling the rear mount of the diff with a polyurethane caulk. Well, mine was already caulked with some, so just doing that alone with only partial fix the problem or make it worse. If you fill or replace the rear mount, the front mount of the rear diff will simply become the new weak point. The bottom line here is, you need to replace or fill both.

A fellow Rav4 enthusiast known as cb1000rider on Rav4World.com has done alot of research and replied to many us with this issue. He’s gone above and beyond to make his own more affordable aftermarket Differential Mount Replacements for Rav4.1.

I went ahead and ordered both mounts last year.

I then decided to take it extra step further and urethane fill the mounts with a what’s been recommended across the internet, 3M Windo-Weld. I started by using masking tape first, to keep things neat and then I used my standard caulk gun to make it all happen. I let these dry for a over 2 weeks before I installed them.

Filling the mounts was my way to insure that they were as stiff as possible. 3M Windo-Weld is rated as Shore 60A, stiff enough to be better then stock but not too stiff where it would become too uncomfortable while driving. Lastly another reason for doing this was to prepare from my Caldina Gen4 3SGTE swap, more power, more engine & drivetrain movement.

Also note I opted to fill my front and rear motor mounts at the same time.

*IMPORTANT NOTE* I’d also like to point out that I installed the rear diff mounts first…there was a noticeable difference but there was still a hint of clunk. As I had suspected, if your engine mounts are worn out, changing just the rear diff mounts will not be enough. You’ll have to get new engine mounts too. I’ve confirmed this when I installed the new filled engine mounts a few weeks after and the noise was completely gone. So please, DO NOT under estimate the need for new engine mounts. All of these parts, engine and entire drive-train are connected, if one moves, it translates to more movement at another location. Cheers!