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2003 Corolla S Motor Swap

By Manbat81, June 6, 2014

Can I swap my stock "03" Engine with a 3S-GTE Caldina ST215 4TH GEN engine? Does anyone have any info on this swap?

Sure, you can swap almost any motor into another chassis - it depends on how much money. time, and effort you want to put into it.

From a performance to cost point of view - probably a low return on investment going this way. There are a lot of other ways to make up the power, especially since the 1ZZ-FE has picked up more aftermarket support. 3S series of engines will always be legendary in the Toyota camps - for the amount of potential the engine had. But even the current JGTC/Super GT in Japan have dropped the 3S-GTE in favor for the UZ series engines and IRL based engines like the RV8K.

That said, this is a non-trival swap. A fair amount of fabrication will be required to make this work, definitely lots of electrical wiring/repinning connectors, etc. Also depending on where you live at / register the car, it may not even be considered a "legal" swap - ie, the car can no longer be registered for street use. As far as I know - there is very little online documentation on a step-by-step guide on making this swap happen. There are a couple of of 9th gens with this swap - Phoenix racing did a swap, and Fensport did an extensive swap + all the AWD drivetrain in a 9th gen Corolla body. The Fensport is not cheap - to duplicate that, you are talking $30K-$40K to start, minus the donor and target car.

Car overall balance will have to be addressed - sure the 3S-GTE engine will be significantly more stout than the 1ZZ-FE engine - but also nearly twice the weight. Add in the E-series transaxle, as the 1ZZ-FE will come nowhere close to fitting or handling the power - you've also doubled the weight of the transaxle. That is a lot of weight to put on the front end of the car that was already front heavy to start with.

Emissions will also be an issue - if you in an area that does smog - this will definitely fail federal emissions, as the 4th gen 3S-GTE (ST215) was only available in the JDM market. Even if a couple made its way across to here, they likely didn't have an emissions waiver.

At least it is OBD-II compliant, found in model years from 1997-2002 - so at least you save that time in rewiring it. Depending if you go with the 3S-GTE PCM, use the 1ZZ-FE + piggyback or other EMS to run the 3S-GTE, or go full standalone - you may loose a lot of functionality in the 9th gen Corolla body logic (certain power accessories, gauges, ABS, SRS, etc.)

Alternative option is to build up the 1ZZ-FE. Monkeywrenchracing is one of the few aftermarket groups to offer lots of 1ZZ-FE / 2ZZ-GE support. Their in-house built and turbocharged 1ZZ-FE project car put down 344WHP/ on 17PSI of boost from a GT28RS turbo. You can send them your original, working engine, and their build it up to your specs for you. Couple that with the bullet-proof E153 transaxle and proper tune - you have a boosted 1ZZ-FE that will out gun the 3S-GTE with less fabrication required on your part (almost drop in vs major fabrication - about 1/3 to 1/2 the cost to put in a 3S-GTE setup).

Man, I rely want to thank you for your quick repsonse. This was definitely the information I needed. I'll definitely look into sending my motor to have it built the way I want. I scoured the Internet piecing together upgrades for my current motor before I started thinking of dropping 3S-GTE motor in. I guess I'll continue with that route. Thanks for your insight!!

Yeah, typical bolt-ons for a 1ZZ-FE (Intake, exhaust, header) - return minimal results. For big power gains, you'll have to look at power adders. TRD made a supercharger for the 1ZZ-FE, intended for the 2003-2004 model year Corollas, there are a number of people out there that have modified it to work with the 8th gen Corolla. Not a huge power adder (adds a little more than 65HP) - it was intended as a DIY install and required no extensive fabrication - stock transaxle could handle the additional power without too much problems (~200-250HP max on the stock transaxle with additional cooling). Unfortunately, they are near impossible to find inexpensively, some selling more used than they were new, as they didn't make too many of them. Might be able to piece together a new kit using the original manufacturer of the supercharger (Magnuson MP45) and do some fabrication to make that work.

Turbocharge kits are available - but tuning is the most critical aspect of them. Most don't spend the time or money tuning them - end up grenading the engine. Spray is another option - many have run a 50HP dry and up to 75HP wet without any engine modifications. Probably the least expensive way to pump up power from the 1ZZ-FE and get tangible HP gains.

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