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Thread: decision on engine swap?

  1. #1
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    decision on engine swap?

    so after putting some thought on what to do with my vans i think i have decided to rebuild my 87 first. YR32-LV MRBEA production dec 86 fed

    this van is a manual, standard (model) it has 386k miles on it.
    it has an aftermarket window kit, with small sliding windows on bottom 6 inches of window and has manual locking hubs and high low 4wd.
    the body is very straight and rust free (except for dent in drivers door) the person i got it from rarely used 4wd and said it was solid except blown engine (single owner)


    i have two doner vans with low mileage, i have an 88 manual, LE model YR31-LG MQEA production dec 87 cal
    87 auto LE YR31-LG PQEA production jan 87

    the second van is an exact match of my current running van except 1 year older i believe as runners production date is nov 87
    so i would like to keep tranny and engine together for future parts or swap.

    the first van is in the best shape as far as body, undercarriage and is bright white and an LE. unfortunately wire harness for main engine compartment and ecu were completely destroyed by rats and previous owner. I have been looking for a wire harness for this vehicle for 3 years now and tried to salvage old one and reconfigure different harness to no avail. In this search i have found numerous manual LE's of the 86 or 87 variety and feel like at this point to get the white van on the road i will be buying a parts van and swapping ecu, motor(rebult) and tranny.

    I am planning on taking engine out of first van (YR31-LG MQEA), rebuilding and putting it in YR32-LV MRBEA. I am doing this because i already have van in my shop with doors off and interior completely disassembled. also since this van is a project for later, was thinkin it would be best to use as a learning experience than when i take other motor out and put new one back in i will be well versed at procedure and risk less breaks or mistakes.

    I have a few questions:

    1. are these two vans relatively compatible? (YR31-LG MQEA)dec87/(YR32-LV MRBEA)dec86 (i did notice that air chamber on 31 is one with O2 sensor on it and 32 doesnt have one, both on exhaust. I ran into this problem on previous top end rebuild. However i am planning on using most of top end of 32 engine as it matches ecu.

    2. how hard is it two swap gauge cluster? the rebuilder32 has speedo only cluster and i would like to put in one with tac from31

    3. is gearing compatible in pumpkin and differentials on the two vehicles? i am planning on swapping tranny also, as doner only has 196kmiles and rebuilder has 386kmiles

    4.does anybody have a 1988 manual LE CA van (ecu#89661-28090)

    i know this may be confusing as all hell and there are probably only a few members who could answer this (TIM)
    it may seem silly to pull an engine out of a diifferent van to rebuild to put in another instead of its original, and i wont if its to much of a pain.
    but as it is now, winter is upon us and it would be easier to pull engine out of van in garage now, put doors on and then wheel it out. Have the space(only two car garage) to rebuild engine over winter then pull in other van in spring and swap out engine and tranny

    If anyone has insight on this, your input and opinions are appreciated.
    thanks steve

  2. #2
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    Re: decision on engine swap?

    Hey Steve,

    I moved your thread over to the Van section as most information here is not 4wd specific. When it comes to interchanging parts, nothing is out of the question. I divide these vans into three main groups, 84 - 85, then 2wd & 4wd. In each of these groups there are 2 sub-groups, auto & manual. Interchangeability between all these groups is decent, but gets better when you stay within one of the main 3 groups. You have selected your donors well as they are both in the same main group as your primary. There is nothing in this group that cannot be interchanged. That being said, there are some challenges with some parts/systems. Due to these difficulties I would avoid making some swaps (such as automatic transmission to manual) but even that is possible. It's good the van you want to save is already a 5 speed, so that's not an issue. There was no California spec in 87, so that's also a non-issue unless you swap the harness from the 88 (CA spec started in 88). If you don't mind a bigger challenge, you could swap more components from the 88 into the 87 and use the 88 ECU, but that would be a lot of extra work and something I would avoid. As a general rule anything is possible, but I like to follow the path of least resistance. If the van started life as an 87, I would keep it all 87 (in regards to 02 sensor set-up, ECU, injector connectors, etc). Engines and drive trains are completely interchangeable with 87-89 4wd's, but if I were to put an 88 engine into an 87 (or visa-versa) I'd swap the intake manifolds to keep the injectors/connectors the same style they were originally on that model year (I don't like finding mis-matched sensors & connectors between years as it makes things more confusing). If you change the harness, ideally you would want one from an 86 or 87 manual van (2wd or 4wd shouldn't matter). You could mod the harness from either of your other two vans, but there are some issues that would make this less than ideal. If you swap in a "less than ideal" harness, you will need to open things up a bit and add, subtract, or change some of the wires and connectors. Nothing is impossible here, just detail oriented and time consuming. All the clues you need are there, just don't disturb them until you're ready to swap. At that point you should mark, take pics, or whatever you need to keep things in order.

    I haven't seen your damaged harness, so I can't say for sure what I'd do, but usually it's easier to save a damaged one than swap one out. When doing this type of work it's important to NOT look at the job as a whole. Just concentrate on fixing one wire only, when that's done, fix another, then another. When you run out of wires to fix, other than wrapping, securing, & general house keeping, the repair is complete. If you look at the job as a whole, it will look like a big mess and this can be discouraging. The wires in the harness are all color coded so it's usually not too hard to identify and figure out where everything goes (just remember 1 at a time). Find the most accessible place to splice close to the damaged area (each side), strip back the tape, loom, fasteners, etc and start identifying wires. If using butt connectors, use a quality nylon insulated type and use a decent pair of crimpers (I like Klein). Don't use the cheesy ones that you get for $10 at WalMart! Soldering and shrink tubing is better (the best actually) but it is detail oriented and time consuming. When prepping for repair, rather than chopping all wires to same length, stagger the cuts over a 12" or so area (if space is available) and stagger the splices over this larger area. This is because the new connections are bigger in diameter than the wire and when all lumped together makes things messy. I would also advise to use specific wire. You could cut it out of another harness for an exact match, or you could get a selection of colors of appropriate gauge off of eBay. If there's lots of wires in the area you're splicing, this is important. It will reduce confusion and reduce the diameter of the new section. Another hint would be to make an effort in regards to uniform length. All wires in the new section should pull tight at the same time (having stragglers sagging out makes things a bit messy & puts more stress on the tight ones). If the damage to your old harness is excessive, you may wish to swap a complete harness. Each case is different, so that's a judgement call for the person doing the work.

    Addressing your specific questions:

    1. The 88 has (2) o2 sensors (one front & one rear). The front sensor is a 4 wire heated sensor, so there will be that difference regarding the engine harness (87 uses only 1 single wire o2 sensor in the front). The 88 harness will have more wires and a slightly different pin configuration at the ECU. With the proper pin extracting tools these can be easily pulled out and positioned into the correct locations. Just use the FI section of both factory service manuals as a road map to identify these locations. Extra wires can be ignored & chopped or taped off at the point where they exit the bundled part of harness. In some cases you may need to substitute original colors, but it never hurts to leave extra wires in the harness (might come in handy for future add-ons).

    2. Toyota was frugal with van harnesses. Most US manufacturers make one harness that can accept all options. Toyota makes several harnesses and these are specific to the options the van received from the factory. This means there it will likely NOT be pre-wired for the tach. In addition, in many cases (not 100% sure on the van) clusters with tachs have re-arranged pin positions on the cluster connectors. If you swap in a cluster with a tach, it's likely you will need to run more wire(s) and you may even need to move some pins in the cluster connector. I have run into this on other Toyota models from this era and newer, but haven't tried this exact swap yet on a van. If you want a tach, you might consider adding an aftermarket one like what's outlined in THIS THREAD

    3. The 2 manual transmission vans should have the same differential gear ratios. The automatic will have a slightly different ratio. Before swapping things around, check the tag below the front passenger seat. Here's a thread that shows how to identify: http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...tial-questions. If you're thinking about running larger than stock tires, it may be beneficial to swap differentials from the auto into the manual. The advantages are explained in this thread: http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...ing-2wd-to-4wd

    4: http://www.ebay.com/dsc/i.html?_from...kw=89661-28090

    Pulling an engine from one van, rebuilding, and putting in another makes perfect sense to me. I did this with my van featured in my blogs. I'd rather leave my good van intact until I have an engine ready to swap in. Leaving anything in pieces for too long is never a good thing (especially now that I'm losing my mind ). Once an engine (or whatever you're swapping) is ready, doing the job will only take a day or so. This way things stay fresh in my mind and all the tools are still laying where I want them when the new component is being installed. Everything works better (at least for me) when doing it this way. Another plus is my shop doesn't get all jammed up with multiple projects while the engine is at the machinist or while I'm waiting for that part I forgot to order, or whatever. Tim

  3. #3
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    Re: decision on engine swap?

    wow thanks for all the info and being so detailed.

    the rebuild is on the 87 YR32-LV MRBEA, as far as i can tell this is the bare bones of the lot, no a/c, no cruise, etc.
    the engine and tranny is coming out of 88YR31-LV MQEA an LE and what i would consider "loaded" as far as these vans.
    so i think i will be using the top end of simpler engine.(what ever i have to use to match ecu)

    though the doner engine has only 196k on it, i am going to do a complete rebuild on motor (cylinder, head, etc.) i am taking the advice from previous post and going to take it a performance oriented shop for honing and such.

    do you have a ballpark number on cost for performance rebuild?

    a question on the transmissions:
    as i stated, the rebuild van has 386k on it and i am planning on swapping tranny also. my plan is to drop newer tranny when i pull engine,
    and wanted to take it to have it looked at and make sure its in decent shape, before i pull other tranny, have it serviced and then when i pull the other engine out drop that tranny and swap. my question is on this procedure, i am hoping with engine out the tranny will just be linkage, driveline, couple hard lines, a few plugs and mounts? I want to put a new clutch in,(are new clutches still available?) so i was just gonna have shop put tranny and clutch in at same time as i am not well versed with clutches, know there relatively easy if your just putting new one in and tranny is dropped.i am gonna be at the end of my budget with rebuild so there is good chance i will just be doing clutch/tranny myself. Also wondering on the difficulty of swapping transmission, because even with high mileage since it is a manual i may just leave tranny in and swap engine only (PO said it was in working order and clutch was decent). This way i would be able to have old transmission rebuilt with more time and money and just have for back-up.
    Sorry thats pretty confusing, main question is whats approximate time and parts on a transmission swap for me to do myself? is it substantially more efficient to do both tranny and engine together? WIth engine out clutch should be a breeze?

    I think i am definitely just gonna do aftermarket tach, thats pretty cheap and relatively easy right? (sorry didnt look at thread yet)

    So a simpler question for ya (sorry if i am a PITA)

    I finally scored the factory "bed" seats, the kind with the 2 seater in middle that slides forward then folds back to connect to rear bench.
    i noticed that there are two channels in the floor to take the recievers. In my other van that is stripped down i could only see one of the channels i am assuming that the other is there but just covered by "torch down"floor insulation.
    questions:
    do all bodies have reciever channels for fold down "bed"style middle bench seat? (all mine had captains seats originally)

    Is this middle seat supposed to be removable with lever just like rear bench seats? (on the one i took it out of on inside latch there was a bolt that seemed to be retrofit)

    do you have the plastic trim piece that covers bottom of this seat? (passenger side)

    thanks again for all your info and the time you put into answering my questions.
    hopefully i have obtained enough info to this point to give you a break for a while
    happy holidays
    steve

  4. #4
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    Re: decision on engine swap?

    Quote Originally Posted by hikersteve View Post
    do you have a ballpark number on cost for performance rebuild?
    I have that all listed in the "my blog" link in my previous post. Of course there's always more this or that and it's easy for things to get out of hand. Sometimes you have to just stop spending money and put it together.

    Much of the other info you seek is also available in the forum. If you haven't already, try the search feature and much will pop-up. Here's a few clutch threads:

    http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...ch-Replacement

    http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...gine-need-help

    http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...something-more

    Clutches and related parts will likely be available for many many years to come. These type parts are the last to go. Even Toyota still has them (last I checked). Everybody has their opinions on where to shop. For best prices try www.rockauto.com or perhaps eBay. Believe it or not Toyota's prices on these type parts are still pretty reasonable as well. For the clutch parts that require transmission removal, I prefer to pay Toyota's prices and gett what I believe to be the best quality.

    The only way to swap a tranny & engine together is to drop the assembly out from underneath. If you pull the engine out from the top, you will need to separate them 1st. If the transmission is coming out anyhow, I'd pull that 1st and get it out of the way. Here's a couple threads where engine removal is shown:

    http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...eekend-project

    http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...4y-engine-swap

    http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...gine-need-help (already posted above, but there's advice here on how to align when installing separately)

    I know you have more questions, but the wife is wanting to go to WalMart. Do some searching/reading and if you can't find what you need ask again. Lots of info here and there's also www.ToyotaVanPeople.com. There's not much activity over there but they do have some great archives. Happy hunting. Tim

    PS: Kestrel (member here) just had her engine rebuilt by a shop. If you're thinking about going that route you might ask her what the end charge was. I'm guessing you should be sitting down for that news .

  5. #5
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    Re: decision on engine swap?

    HS - The tach swap isn't as hard as it looks.
    I put an 89LE auto 4wd pack into my 88 DLX std and while there are a few lights that are unnecessary I do like having it all contained within the instrument hood.
    The biggest part to remember is to go by the info on the circuit board for rewiring the pack.
    In the end, I only ended up moving a half dozen wires, that and run the wire for the tach.
    Oh what, you also gotta change out the oil pressure sender as you need a signal for gauge, not light.
    Oh and then there was the whole low oil circuit thingy, (DLX uses one circuit/lamp for low pressure/level. LE has 2 circuits with separate indicators)
    I just taped off the wire for the original sender and ran a new wire for pressure.

    Given the number of donor vehicles you have you should be able to make something work.
    As long as you stay within model lines (DLX (single trip meter) vs LE(dual trips)) you can swap willy nilly.
    I had the pack already to go in when I realized the speedo housing was damaged and had to swap in a 140KPH speedo from an early LE.
    Also a good chance to replace all the bulbs while you're in there.
    You do lose the clock with the swap (mine rarely ket time accurately so it was no real loss) besides, most radios have a clock display.

    If you do the pack swap, make a note of where the gas gauge sits. I failed to do that and when I had to swap out the speedo guts, I had to pull all the needles off. While tach and speedo are easy (they have a zero position) the fuel gauge has no such reference point.
    BB

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    Re: decision on engine swap?

    tim, thanks for all the advice and i will start looking around and doing research, sorry i know im bein lazy, just a plus actually getting response, i had been checkin out TVP the last year or so and like you said theres not much activity there. last i checked there domain was expired.
    thanks again.

    bb, for the tip on tach, seems like aftermarket tach is super easy with that service wire connection on dizzy. i already have a new wire channel goin from cowling for hi-fi stereo, manual reverse light switch, push button starter and so couple more wires no biggy. besides if i put a new engine in her i should be able to get odometer over half million and that would be cool. "oh whatta feelin,TOYOTA"
    BTW what kinda T4WD do you have?
    When is your sis gonna be around Cali? (for parts exchange)

    steve

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    Re: decision on engine swap?

    I rather swap in a 3C-T engine or some other suitable diesel engine.... better MPGs, more torque... the liteace did come with a 2C-T, so it's not an impossible swap considering you can use most of the parts to make it work
    the Y engines in the vans weren't known to make a lot of power lol

  8. #8
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    Re: decision on engine swap?

    I never liked Toyota's diesel engines. Back in the 80's and early 90's when I worked for Toyota we probably had 10 or so customers with diesel engines (most were in trucks). These things would eat injector pumps and every time it was a $2,000 repair. Not sure how the 2C-T & 3C-T compare, but I don't like the idea of timing belts (which they both have). When the timing belt breaks, so does the cam shaft (and that's if you're lucky). If you're unlucky, you might end up with a valve in a piston. Even if that never happens, something eventually will & finding parts for these sucks. The only way I'd consider a Toyota diesel would be if I had an endless supply of cooking oil to burn. Just my 2 cents. Tim

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    engine removal

    so got engine of my 88, really wasnt that bad did it in two days by myself(and probably could've done in 1 but was takin it slow)

    thanks for tips and pics they were a life saver. after hooking up cherry picker i sat down for lunch and looked at threads to see if there was

    any other bolts than tranny bolts and stabilizer and engine mounts. good thing i did i noticed that i had 4 links of chain coming down off cherry

    picker, this would have been a disastrous brain fart. only took a minute to shorten chain, dont know what i would of done, probably would of

    had to remount and adjust. so i thought i would make a point to every one.

    IF YOU ARE PULLING ENGINE THROUGH DOOR MAKE SURE CHAIN ON CHERRY PICKER IS AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE!

    One question, is it safe to move van with tranny disconnected? (have it strapped up to frame, but just with small cargo strap to stabilize)

    or how hard is it to drop tranny? its a MANUAL (dont have a cradle jack)

    thanks steve

  10. #10
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    Re: decision on engine swap?

    Supporting it from the front is important. A strap should be enough. If moving it would probably be better in neutral, but probably won't matter too much as the input can turn freely. Tim

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