GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE – Any takers?

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:

RAV4 GTT EBAY AUCTION

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

Why The Caldina Gen4 3SGTE?

One might ask why….why the ST215W Caldina 3SGTE?

I’m not going to get into the performance specs or numbers, you can just Google that yourself. I’m going to simply provide you with a personal opinion and how I came to my conclusion for this particular project.

Now I contemplated this for months…do a choice a BEAMS 3SGE, Gen3 or Gen4 3SGTE? While I also considered a V6 1MZFE and even 2GRFE. The 2GR was just not economically efficient…on top of the fact that the V6 platform interferes with the transfer case. I just didn’t want to go there, especially for only 200hp from the 1MZ. Now the BEAMS, this was definitely more inline with what I’m use to & absolutely love, high revving NA power…BUT, on average its almost the same price as a Gen3 or Gen4 3SGTE…and there it was…I was left between two choices.

I have to take a step back and ask the question, I’ve asked so many plotting to do an engine swap…what is your vision? what are your goals…what are you looking to get out of this project?

My vision was to create something I couldn’t find or buy anywhere else…the motto “built, not bought” sums it up! If you go back go back to my intro post you’ll find I wanted something with “More Then 200hp”. Well a stock Rav4 doesn’t cut it but thankfully it had something else I was looking for, “Engine Swap Potential.” With a 3sgte, I was now looking at 250-300hp. With that said I was going to exceed my vision and goals. The swap also had to be as reliable as possible, just as any other factory Toyota would be.This leads me into why I chose the Gen 4 3SGTE.

As I read forum post, after forum post, I gathered more and more info & data. I soon came across a well known and growing Northeast MR2 shop called PRIME. They have been specializing with these engine for quiet sometime. Their presence on the forums (MR2.com & MR2OC.com) and Facebook have influenced my decision.

So here it is….I’ve taken PRIME’s “Top reasons why you want a Gen4 3SGTE” and gave it a Rav4 twist:

1) Newest breed of swappable 2.0L 3SGTE engines for a Rav4.1. Built from 1998-2003.

2) Coilpack ignition, 550cc injectors, 1-piece turbo and manifold, high volumetric efficiency intake manifold.

3) Gen4 has the most modern electronics, which means every system operates more efficiently.

4) You have to drive one to understand how much better it runs, drives and goes than any other gen 3sgte motor.

5) Optimized for high response, this super fast spooling turbo 3SGTE engine drives like a naturally aspirated engine with no turbo surge or lag. Drives like a modern day turbo car – not one designed in the 1980’s (Gen2 3SGTE).

6) Has more then twice the power over a stock 3sfe…and with a basic boost control, it’s an easy 300hp at the flywheel.

7) The Gen4 is by far the easiest 3SGTE to work on in the engine bay once your swap is done – due to the lack of the spider web of hoses typically associated with Gen2 and Gen3 3SGTE motors. Yields for a cleaner and less cluttered engine bay.

8) Prime supplies a custom wiring harness that creates a plug and play solution for the Gen4 motor. No cut wires or hack jobs. Their harnesses retain the functional factory diagnostic port (not OBD2 port), cruise control, and A/C!

9) With its increased turbo response and torque it’s the best 3SGTE engine for autocross or road racing hands down. Nothing is more responsive than a Gen4.

10) Don’t take our word for it. COME FOR A RIDE IN MY RAV4 GT-T OR GO TEST DRIVE ONE OF PRIME’S GEN4 MR2’s FOR FREE!

Here is one of Prime’s Gen4 DYNO RESULTS. NOTE…these are wheel horsepower figures (AWD will yield slightly lower #’s). Engine flywheel power is ~280HP and ~300TQ. The test car was a 1993 MR2 with factory catalytic converter and running a  Prime Stage 1 setup.

With that said, this was certainly enough for my to pull the trigger on a Gen4 3SGTE. The biggest take-a-ways for me were: reliability, responsiveness and power potential. The Gen4 was the perfect match me.

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Lastly, there are some pros to a Gen3 3SGTE:

– It has a better air-to-water intercooler

– If you have a 96-97 model it will be easier to wire up the distributor and stock tachometer

– The Gen3 manual transmission will have a Differential Speedo Gear Ring

– The CT20B will yield more peak boost and peak HP

– The exhaust manifold will make it easier to upgrade to a larger turbo

E150F Transmission Swap

When planning my AR4 project I knew my stock E250F transmission was going to have to be replaced. The 3rd gear synchro was baddly worn on the downshift side (worked perfectly on upshift though, bizarre). Anyhow as I search for 3sgte’s I was debating whether to acquire a transmission with the new motor. I then began compiling gear ratio data and comparing it to what I wanted out of this project. I’ll spare the details unless you guys are interested.

Ok, once I got through the data, I decided my choose was going to be either a E154F from a ST205 Celica GT4 or an E150F from a ST215 Caldina. I decided to get a Gen4 3sgte with a E150F from a Caldina GTT. After picking up an ST215 motor with E150F transmission, I unknowingly came across a few issues:

1. It does not have a Center Differential Lock

Now depending on your stand point, this could be a good thing or bad. The bad is, well if your stuck in a tough situation, say a heavy snow storm, you don’t have the option to lock the center diff to guarantee a 50/50 front/rear power split. The good, less weight…and from a motorsports perspective, you really don’t want 100% lock at any given time from center diff….you want 40/60 or 50/50 but never lock the front/rear together as that will cause major understeer from what I understand. So, in the end I’m ok with this.

*PLEASE Watch this video for a better understanding of the Alltrac system:

2. It does not have a Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS, SXA10 RAV4 OEM # 83181-12050)

With no VSS, I’m not able to determine the speed of the car. The Caldina is more modern, in the sense that it uses wheel speed sensors to tell you how fast it is going.

3. It does not have a Differential Speedo Gear Ring (OEM # 33481-20130)

Without the gear ring, I’m unable to use a VSS and again I’m unable to determine the speed of the car.

To solve #’s 2 & 3, well let’s just say, sometimes things get complicated. You have to be wondering why…well to keep this short, the E150F has different gear ratios then the stock E250F. I needed to match the Differential Speedo Gear Ring to the appropriate VSS gear to get an accurate speedometer reading. I ordered a new Differential Speedo Gear Ring shown above and decided to reuse my original stock Rav4 VSS. This combo was going to work best with my new wheel diameter setup and E150F transmission gear ratios.

But here was the tricky and time consuming part…I had to completely dismantle the transmission to install the Differential Speedo Gear Ring. So, I ultimately do not recommended using a E150F from a Caldina ST215.

Here is the stock Rav4.1 VSS & VSS Driven Gear:

4. The inner axle shaft (side that connects to the transmission) is different from the SXA10 Rav4’s.

Now, what is the inner axle issues:

– The RAV4’s inner CV spline has a 23 or 24 teeth (can’t remember) and has a short length spline.

– The Caldina inner CV splines has 25 teeth and requires a longer length spline.

It’s been stated by Bongbong10 that an ACA21 or Rav4.2 axle would work. Now I needed to figure out which Rav4.2 driverside axle would work; AWD or FWD, Manual or Automatic, ABS or Non-ABS??? I ended with a Cardone Remanufactured AWD, Manual, Non-ABS Driver Side Rav4.2 Axle.

With it’s longer inner spline and proper # of teeth, this axle fits the E150F transmission perfectly. But we’re not done, the outer part of the shaft is a bit fatter or thicker causing the inner shaft to rubber and not fit in properly. It will need to be machined down or grinded down to fit.  OR another option to get it to fit, which is what I did at the expense of a shortened wheel bearing life span, is to remove the wheel bearing dust deflector and seal.

I’ll here more pics when my swap is complete, to be continued…

PLEASE NOTE: Both outer CV splines (the ones that connect to the hubs) have same # of teeth and length as the stock Rav4. Thus there is no modification needed. Also the stock Rav4.1 passenger side axle fits the E150F, no problem.