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97 Corolla


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#1 eripey

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 05:59 PM

I am looking to engine swap my corolla, seems that something is leaking oil down below and not sure if it's the seal in the oil pan or something. I am thinking about getting a 1.8L 7A FE swap from my 1.6L, and putting the 20V head on from the 4A GE, I been reading a little bit around and seems that this should work?

#2 fishexpo101

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:12 AM

An engine swap is a pretty extreme fix for a leak - unless the 4AFE you have is on its last legs already.

The Silvertop head on 7AFE bottom end has been noted to make a decent motor - but will not run out of the box, after mating the two engine halves. If you plan on spending the time and money on tuning this - might be a worthwhile project. Performance wise - you'd actually get more bang for your buck sticking with just the silvertop or opt for one of the supercharged variants of the A family (4AGZE). Most people that run the 20v head on the 7AFE bottom end do so for boosted applications, NA is much more challenging (read "expensive") and generally produce not much more power than sticking with the 4AGE by itself.

If you plan on sticking with the 7A bottom end and want to run a naturally aspirated "Franken" engine - only real options are to toss silvertop or blacktop head on there. Need to run lots of new hardware - new rods are highly recommended, higher compression pistons w/oil squirters, make sure the crank is up to snuff, might also have to do some port work as well - to make the most of the mods. This doesn't even get into the engine management side, wiring, or sensors - can be a nightmare if you haven't done something like this before. Toyota aftermarket support is not like Honda or others, where there are entire subassemblies and harnesses to allow for near plug and play swaps. The locked down nature of the Toyota ECMs makes it even harder to tune the engine on a budget.

#3 eripey

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:46 AM

An engine swap is a pretty extreme fix for a leak - unless the 4AFE you have is on its last legs already.

The Silvertop head on 7AFE bottom end has been noted to make a decent motor - but will not run out of the box, after mating the two engine halves. If you plan on spending the time and money on tuning this - might be a worthwhile project. Performance wise - you'd actually get more bang for your buck sticking with just the silvertop or opt for one of the supercharged variants of the A family (4AGZE). Most people that run the 20v head on the 7AFE bottom end do so for boosted applications, NA is much more challenging (read "expensive") and generally produce not much more power than sticking with the 4AGE by itself.

If you plan on sticking with the 7A bottom end and want to run a naturally aspirated "Franken" engine - only real options are to toss silvertop or blacktop head on there. Need to run lots of new hardware - new rods are highly recommended, higher compression pistons w/oil squirters, make sure the crank is up to snuff, might also have to do some port work as well - to make the most of the mods. This doesn't even get into the engine management side, wiring, or sensors - can be a nightmare if you haven't done something like this before. Toyota aftermarket support is not like Honda or others, where there are entire subassemblies and harnesses to allow for near plug and play swaps. The locked down nature of the Toyota ECMs makes it even harder to tune the engine on a budget.


I know it's extreme, but don't you have to take out the engine block to replace the oil pan anyways? excuse me, I am a newb. I thought the 97 corolla was 7AFE? Are you saying the 4AGE is better than the 7AFE? is the swap just bolt on, and I can reuse the wires and harnesses? So from a stock 97 corolla, what would be in your opinion best engine swap for performance without getting expensive and complicated?

Edited by eripey, 16 August 2012 - 10:48 AM.

#4 fishexpo101

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 12:08 PM

You can get at the oil pan without having to pull the entire engine. There is a central support where two engine mounts attach to, but you can remove the pan without having to drop those mounts. If you can't get your hands in there - you'll have to use a jack or similar to unload the central cross support while you undo the mounts. Not a hard job, but can be quite labor intensive.

The 7th gen North American market Corollas had either a 1.6L 4AFE or 1.8L 7AFE, depending on transmission and trim level. None of the 4AGE 20v variants (4th gen silvertop or 5th gen blacktop) were available on a production market vehicle in the US. Wiring is completely different, even going between the 4AFE and 7AFE, there still is some swapping that needs to be done. You can still use much of the wiring, as in some cases, just the connector is different. Usually in those cases, it is actually harder to find the matching connector than knowing how which wire goes where. No such thing and a perfectly drop in swap on a Toyota - unless you get the same engine from the same model year donor - even then, it is not always 100% guaranteed.

Depending on where you live at - this could complicate things - as emissions wise, this is not considered a "legal" swap/modification. Some cases, you cannot even register the car for road use. Double check before you get too far into the project. On the note of emissions - you'll also want to match up the OBD requirements - as the 1993-1994/5 Corollas were OBD-I, the 1996+ were OBD-II. 1995 model can be funny case, some were OBD-I, some where OBD-II. You'll have to look under the hood at the emissions stamp to be sure - as some of the OBD-I came with OBD-II diagnostic connectors/wired in a similar way. Mixing OBD types is just a surefire way to overly complicate this sort of swap.

As for the best engine swap for performance without getting expensive and complicated? That is a pretty loaded question. It depends on your view on what is expensive and what is complicated. For the swap you wanted to do in your post - assuming typical market prices and accounting for all your labor having a tangible value - could be easily looking at $2000-$3000 for a tuned piece. Some have pulled this swap off for less (up to half the cost) - but that was when the market was saturated with imported engines and people were actively building up those swaps.

I haven't even addressed the transaxle aspect either. Depending on what your ultimate goals for this project - even $2K-$3K would be considered very conservative. Example - if you plan on running boost later and what to run a transaxle that can handle the power, like a E153 5-speed transaxle - could be easily looking at another $5000+ plus misc parts and "NOT" including any labor.

If you don't want to get into any sort of serious fabrication, separate tuning, etc. - best to stick with the same family series of engines - in this case the A-series engines - (4AFE, 7AFE, 4AGE, 4AGZE)

4AFE and 7AFE would be the easiest and less costly swaps. 4AGE (both 16v and 20v versions) can take to modifications much better than the fuel efficient 4AFE and 7AFE engines - plus you have stronger aftermarket support. 4AGZE is a factory supercharged engine - donor vehicle will like be the 1st gen Toyota MR2 (AW11). That can get complicated really fast, without all the pieces. In any of these cases - getting at least a 1/2 cut, will help make this swap go much easier for you. In a 1/2 cut, they basically cut the car in 1/2, to prevent later resale of a salvaged unitbody. But they generally leave the powertrain intact - so engine, transmission, cooling system, auxillary systems, gauge cluster, some interior pieces, wiring, and ECM all come together - all from the same donor car.

This sort of donor car will cost a little less than a complete donor car - but will cost considerably more than just piece-mealing the parts from various sources. You can offset the costs by selling off unused parts and leftover scrap.