View Full Version : Mk1 V6 engine conversions

7th June 2009, 11:20 AM
What Do I Get With A Conversion?

Every conversion includes a top end rebuilt 3VZ-FE or 1MZ-FE V6 engine, a Mk2 NA gearbox, drive shafts, fuel pump, engine mounts and every component needed to make the swap a reality, all supplied by us. The engine gets new head gaskets, seals, new water pump, thermostat, new cam-belt, oil filter, gear oil and a new clutch kit.

Every engine then gets fully detailed and painted in whatever colour scheme you want. This includes a complete respray of the engine bay as well.

We can also fit the TRD supercharger unit, but these need to be sourced from the US by the customer.

One of our 1MZ-FE v6 engines with TRD supercharger unit fitted.


How Much Does It Cost?

Typically we can build a Mk1 3VZ-FE V6 for around £3,500 all in, this rises to £4000 for the 1MZ-FE version

Is The Handling Affected By The Extra Weight Of The V6?

With the 3VZ-FE engine yes it is, but not as much as you'd think, in fact the difference is that it feels a lot more planted than before but we advise the upgrading of the suspension and brakes with every conversion, usually fitting koni adjustable shock absorbers and Gt4 brakes is all you need to keep the handling in check. (read Peter Scatchard's review of the Mk1 V6 below)

With the 1MZ-FE engine the handling remains practically unchanged,as it is a much lighter unit and is my own personal favourite for the Mk1.

How Long Does A Conversion Take?

Around 4 weeks from start to finish, its probably the most involved mr2 engine conversion there is, its very labour intensive and everything needs modifying to make it fit, but a 4 week turnaround is the norm.

Will Everything Work As Before?

Everything will work exactly as before except the tacho will need recalibrating by a specialist company that we know of so that it reads the 6 cylinder signal properly, this costs around £50 and can be arranged by us.Or we can fit a separate tacho pod to the dash.We can even wire in an OBD2 diagnostic connector on 1mz-fe versions.

We will have to modify the boot wall to accept the bigger engine and part of this means you get a nice access panel to the rear bank of spark plugs, something the Mk2 boys dont get with their conversions.Also the engine lid will need modifying, you will lose the engine lid catch so we will have to place the engine lid on bonnet pins or similar.

What Major Modifications Are Involved?

We need to completely remove the old engine mounts from the chassis, and then weld in new engine mounting brackets to support the weight of the new engine.


Here is a freshly prepared engine bay, all new mounts welded in,spark plug access panel at the rear (optional) and the engine bay resprayed.


The Finished Conversion


1MZ-FE above, 3VZ-FE below.


Peter Scatchard's Mk1 V6 review

Beauty and the Beast

About the time I was getting my 1987 T-Bar re-engined by Paul Woods, I was getting my ear bent by Richard Brett about Woodsports generally. My experiences were very satisfactory (as recounted a couple of years ago via the pages of this self-same magazine), and partly as a result of this, Richard entrusted his white coupe to the same guy.

But no weedy AW11 engine transplant like mine for the brave Mr B – oh, no, let’s go for a V6 Camry lump, shall we? And while we’re at it, let’s make it the 3 ltr rather than the puny 2.5, okay?

Net result is 202.5bhp, with some 167 at the rear wheels, and 185 ft/lb of torque – with my basically standard mill producing maybe 130 horse at the crank, thanks to a Janspeed zorst and K&N filter, perhaps 110 at the driven wheels, that’s gotta be a very noticeable difference!

I’d heard the beast sing, indeed I’d had a two miles drive up to the M4 junction and back early in its history, and sure enough it’s different all right. But it can’t ALL be good news can it?

With CCZ 8962 now set up as a road-legal MoT’ed track-car, for run-as-you-brung-fun, and displaying wonderful poise on the circuit thanks to the Koni Adjust-A-Rides, poly-bushed suspension, chassis-stiffening and safety-enhancing roll-cage, and the dramatically improved Wilwood 4-pot fixed callipers clamping down onto ‘petal’ Rotor disks all round, I’ve had a lot of fun the last two seasons doing some significant giant-killing thanks to the controllable high-speed handling.

Noises-off from John, my partner-in-crime with the track-car, have been muttering about more power, but I’ve firmly resisted the siren-calls; “Hey, John, we’re not racing, we don’t have to BEAT anyone, we’re just having as much fun as we can within the car’s limits. More power will mean faster accidents, and almost certainly spoil the balance of the car, which is its secret-weapon, so let’s just stick with what we’ve got, huh?” I’m fearful of too-much power trying the get the car to swap ends too readily, the extra weight up the back creating massive oversteer thanks to the pendulum effect, and problems of reliably laying down a lot more power in such a small car.

Fast-forward to Castle Combe in April 2009 – Richard has track-day’ed his wagon before, but seems he wants someone else to try and break it! Well, he claims he wants to see how she goes in the hands of someone who know Combe reasonably well, and has had some race-experience, and seems I fit the bill. Oh well, if I MUST!!!

With Richard having to trog a lot more miles (and even more klicks!!) to get to CC than me, I have time for four sessions in the AW11 engined standard(ish) car. Two are with myself at the wheel, two are with son Neil popping his track-day cherry under my tutelage – “Squeeze the throttle, don’t stomp on it!!”, “Sweep the steering wheel round, don’t tug and yank it about”, “ Get the vast majority of the braking done in a straight line”, “Get the gear-change done and get off the clutch BEFORE turning-in”. It’s all rather new to him, but by his second session, he’s starting to get the feel of the car, and to make sense of what I’m trying to tell him, that to go fast it’s much, much better to be SMOOTH – indeed, not being smooth is what will have the car swapping ends much sooner than before it reaches the real limit, as he eventually finds out exiting the chicane after Quarry, but we manage not to collect anything, so all ends well, and he’s enjoyed himself a heap.

After my sessions concentrating on instruction, it’s now my time to play – and in Richard’s vastly more powerful tool. 203.5 bhp against a top-end 130 horse from mine is no less than Plus 56% - should be interesting!!

Fortunately, the showers have stopped, and the track is now all but bone-dry as we trundle out on a sighting and tyre-warming lap. Hummm, pick-up is distinctly and not at-all surprisingly more rapid, which could be interesting exiting the bends! Not sure about the extra weight, it’s not really noticeable at sensible speeds, so let’s see what happens as we up the pace a bit, now I’ve started to get a feel for her and the rubber is warmer.

Exiting Camp and into the second lap, we’re now onto the fastest section of the circuit, so let’s let her rip! Errr, yes, quick she is!! And after the fastest part of the track, we’ve the dodgiest corner to cope with, the infamous Quarry Bend – trick here is to straight-line the approach from the far right-hand (inside of the clockwise track) to the initially unsighted turn-in point on the rumble-strip on the left of the track. It’s really hard braking, with a momentary lift as the car goes light over the hump that creates the un-sighing of the apex, before hard back on for another 30 yards braking still heading straight for the banking, deep into the bend before off the brakes fully to commence the right-turn to an apex point well around from where first-sight would suggest, a sort of hockey-stick bend in fact. It’s now on the power hard to drift across the track to line up for the next right-hander, the entry into the Esses chicane. I’m a little cautious of unleashing full power – remember, 202.5 is 130 + 56%!!!! The turn into the Esses is nice and neutral, no great evidence of significant extra weight in the back, then it’s a few yards diagonally through the corner, before the left-hand exit, all handled fine and dandy. Old Paddock is another right with a tightening, fast approach, flat in third, modulating the throttle gently to gain maximum traction without powering off onto the grass on the exit, back over to the right for the left-hander at Hammerdown, and the low gearing forces me to grab fourth, where in the AW11 I can JUST manage it to the braking point for the sharp right, Tower – well, perhaps it’s also the faster exit I’m achieving that requires another cog being grabbed? I’ve not time to look at the speedo, but it’s mighty quick for sure! The exit from Tower sees me giving it full wellie as my confidence has built up that the V6 is not actually going to bite that badly, then it’s hard on the brakes again very, very soon for the second chicane, Bobbies.

Now Bobbies is a much shorter Right / Left flick that the Esses, no steadying few yards of straight-lining, and here I can feel the extra weight for the first time, as the back end starts to fishtail out to the right on the swap to left-lock, but it’s very catchable, and I’ll know for next time to be a bit gentler on the wheel. Back hard on the gas, and the car flies round the slight right-hander that’s Westway, then the short straight up to Camp once more, and we’re flying – I’m grabbing fourth again where the AW11 can just get away with third, back hard on the brakes for the comparatively short turn-in to Camp, then we’re hard on the gas in third crabbing across the circuit to the left, into fourth as we line up for the little right swerve that’s Folly, and what’s this, I need FIFTH? I NEVER need fifth in the AW11, but hey, I’m never doing 120+ at the approach to Quarry (fastest in my car is about 116 at the approach to St Mary’s at Goodwood, close to the rev-limiter but still only fourth).

Come lap three, and I now have significant confidence in Richard’s Beast – this is no nervy, highly strung, temperamental mount – the power is beautifully even, no sudden steps to catch out the limits of grip, just more throttle = more power in a very predictable, even manner. More than the predictability, though, is the way the power actually forces the machine onto the track – far from losing grip, the application of more power actually enhances grip. I’ve heard Porsche owners raving on about this in 911s, and here it is in our wee machines. Pour on the power, the back simply squats down with more weight being applied right where it’s needed, over the driving wheels, but not so much that the front wheels are hoiked off the ground (as can happen in Porsches!!) so there’s still plenty of feel to the steering – result, a nice controllable drift can be set up, with the steering influenceable by both throttle and wheel – nice!!!

Back to Bobbies, I’m now aware of the extra weight up the back, so apply less but of necessity just as sudden left lock after flinging on right lock to enter the complex. Yup, that’s fine, just a matter of getting used to the feel of the car, not a problem or a fault at all. And all the way round, I’m exploiting the exit-grip the extra torque and power confers to rocket out of the bends considerably faster than in the AW11.

Mind you, it’s just as well, coz the entries are becoming increasingly ragged, as Richard’s brakes are starting to cry ‘enough’ – he’s upgraded to Celica twin-pot swinging callipers, but they, the disks and the pads are just not up to track use. No disgrace though – in all my MR2 track activities, in two different racers and my own road-car, I could never get through the 15 minute barrier, at any circuit, without the brakes cooking to nothing. It took a major upgrade, bigger diameter rims, bigger diameter petal, slotted disks and Wilwood competition 4-pot fixed callipers, and hairy pads before I finally sorted things out, so I can now run 45 minute sessions without degradation – and I suspect longer would also be possible, just I start to get tired, or need a pee or a drink after about that long!!!

So, yes I liked the V6 Camry engined MR2 Mk1 a lot!! In almost every way, the car is significantly better than a standard 4-pot car, and now has the capability of even more giant-killing – our challenger was the 4.5 ltr TVR that snapped at our heels most of the session, threatening an overtake just before Quarry, before we disappeared through the rest of the circuit, for the speed advantage of the big-engined car to then claw back up to us from the exit of Camp, through the ultra-fast sweep of Folly to the braking zone for Quarry.

And as a road-car? Well, it is certainly a sweet, smooth engine, with a lovely exhaust note, much nicer than the blare of the 4-pots through a zingy Stainless zorst system; there’s plenty of torque on hand, and no trace of that over-low first and second / big jump to third feeling of the AW11 box (this is from a MK2) – the whole gearing is lower, in fact, and there are stories of people running into the rev-limiter in top!! The boot space come down a little, but it’s still reasonably usable (get a space-saver spare and use the frunk as well, then!!); and you’re looking at 25 mpg instead of 30-35 that I average, running the red ’un pretty hard much of the time.

In summary, I am now sore tempted, that’s how much I liked it! If anything happens to our AW11 mill, it’ll be a V6 3 litre for me please!! Now, how do I disconnect the rev-limiter……………… €¦â€¦â€¦???

Peter Scatchard 28Apr09