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View Full Version : 91 ST/4A-GE 20V track car planned build



wnull
06-10-2008, 05:53 PM
Hey guys,

I'm new to the boards here (first post), but I've been trolling around for a few months now. I have a stock 91 ST (my wife's car actually) and I've decided to turn it into a dedicated track car. The car will have to be driven to/from track days so it will retain headlights, taillights, turn signals, etc but other than that, she'll be stripped down as much as possible.

At the heart of the conversion is the motor choice, and obviously the 4A-FE will have to go. From doing my research I've decided that the 4A-GE 20V will be the powerplant of choice. I think I've convinced myself that the Blacktop is the way to go, but I am still not ruling out the Silvertop.

As far as sourcing the motor, that is still up in the air. Although I will likely hear otherwise from a few of you, I don't think I really need a front clip. I won't be using A/C or power steering so I'm not worried about that stuff, and I am in no rush so taking a bit of time sourcing parts is no big deal. My guess is that as long as I get a complete motor, ECU and harness I should be good to go for the most part. The stock tranny in my ST seems rock solid so I plan on just sticking with that unless I come across a 6-spd at a bargain price.

Other than the powerplant swap, I'll need to source all the suspension and brake bits. Coilovers are a must as will be good swaybars and endlinks. A 5-lug conversion will also be in order with a brake upgrade. I will be doing all of this on a pretty tight budget so I'll be making the most of interchangeability of parts between various models. Any input there would be greatly appreciated, especially with the brakes. Anybody here done brake cooling ducts?

The car will eventually get caged as well, along with a good restraint system and seat. Anybody have any experience with what race seats fit in the 5th gen cars?

I will also post this in the motorsports section for those who frequent that area.

Thanks for listening everybody, and I'm sure I'll be learning alot from you seasoned Celicatechs!

Cheers,

Bill

ciento44
06-10-2008, 06:16 PM
Hey guys,

I'm new to the boards here (first post), but I've been trolling around for a few months now. I have a stock 91 ST (my wife's car actually) and I've decided to turn it into a dedicated track car. The car will have to be driven to/from track days so it will retain headlights, taillights, turn signals, etc but other than that, she'll be stripped down as much as possible.

At the heart of the conversion is the motor choice, and obviously the 4A-FE will have to go. From doing my research I've decided that the 4A-GE 20V will be the powerplant of choice. I think I've convinced myself that the Blacktop is the way to go, but I am still not ruling out the Silvertop.

As far as sourcing the motor, that is still up in the air. Although I will likely hear otherwise from a few of you, I don't think I really need a front clip. I won't be using A/C or power steering so I'm not worried about that stuff, and I am in no rush so taking a bit of time sourcing parts is no big deal. My guess is that as long as I get a complete motor, ECU and harness I should be good to go for the most part. The stock tranny in my ST seems rock solid so I plan on just sticking with that unless I come across a 6-spd at a bargain price.

Other than the powerplant swap, I'll need to source all the suspension and brake bits. Coilovers are a must as will be good swaybars and endlinks. A 5-lug conversion will also be in order with a brake upgrade. I will be doing all of this on a pretty tight budget so I'll be making the most of interchangeability of parts between various models. Any input there would be greatly appreciated, especially with the brakes. Anybody here done brake cooling ducts?

The car will eventually get caged as well, along with a good restraint system and seat. Anybody have any experience with what race seats fit in the 5th gen cars?

I will also post this in the motorsports section for those who frequent that area.

Thanks for listening everybody, and I'm sure I'll be learning alot from you seasoned Celicatechs!

Cheers,

Bill

If you get a Silvertop, i would suggest running it on Blacktop electronics, as the Silvertop is not fun to tune from what i've read. Or just go with a full EMS.

Blacktop has significantly more power, but i understand that's mainly due to electronics. Blacktop has skinnier, lighter rods, less rotating mass, but also for that reason, is less robust.
I don't have hands on experience with the 20v, so that may be the bulk of my useful info.

As for the seats, you'll need some custom rails. Corbeau makes them. From there, what seats do you want? I think the Corbeaus are largly universal, and the only ones that don't fit to my knowledge are Sparcos.

JEDI
06-10-2008, 07:07 PM
I am running a silvertop with blacktop electronics and am very happy with it. I went with the silvertop because the internals are alot stronger than the blacktops. Toyota shaved alot off of the rods and pistons to make them rev faster. I see engines for sale with the transaxle attached mostly. It is easier to pull the whole thing and swap transaxle and all. Also the old 4afe tranny does not have the bearings and internals that can withstand 8000 rpm revs. So my suggestion is get one with a transaxle. Just remember to do your homework

wnull
06-10-2008, 09:26 PM
ciento44,

Thanks for the information. I'll research the Corbeau stuff and see what I learn. As for what I want in a seat: something that'll fit snug for a skinny guy with a 30" waist.

JEDI,

How much stronger are the Silvertops in a real world scenario? I have seen quite a few people claiming the Blacktops have weak rods but I have yet to see anybody talking about actually throwing one. Of course I haven't really searched for that either. I'm not adverse to going the Silvertop w/ Blacktop electronics route, but in my mind it was just creating more work. I'll have to research that option more and figure out exactly what parts would be needed and how it'd be done. I'm assuming I'd use the Blacktop ECU and a Blacktop harness? What else would I need?

Good thinking on the 4AFE tranny not built to handle the higher revs... motor with tranny it is.

Thanks guys.

Bill

andy
06-10-2008, 09:35 PM
Im also using the blacktop ecu with a silvertop engine. with a silvertop mt harness. to make it work you repin your silvertop according to the blacktop ecu pinouts. takes about an hour, all the info is available on club4ag.com if u need any help with that ask. good luck

90CelicaST
06-10-2008, 09:37 PM
I'm not adverse to going the Silvertop w/ Blacktop electronics route, but in my mind it was just creating more work. I'll have to research that option more and figure out exactly what parts would be needed and how it'd be done. I'm assuming I'd use the Blacktop ECU and a Blacktop harness? What else would I need?
It would be more work. Really, all you would need is a Blacktop ECU, but you would have to repin the ECU plugs on the silvertop harness, repin the AFM plug, and change a wire or two on the Circuit Opening Relay. Otherwise, with a Blacktop harness and a Silvertop motor, the only thing different you would need is a MAP sensor and Air Intake Temperature sensor instead of an AFM.

Ghosty
06-10-2008, 10:16 PM
Just wanted to throw this out there -- you might want to check to see how the swapped car would fit in with any class system in club motors ports (i.e. SCCA). Having an engine in your car that didn't come factory might rule you out of a certain class, forcing you into a separate class where the cars are far more competitive. But hey, I don't know if you ever want to compete in it or just go for lap times or whatever. Just something to keep in mind, to build in accordance with class regulations, if you want to do some friendly competition.

It sounds like you don't want to get a whole clip. I haven't done a swap myself but I do read, and never once have I heard anyone say "man I'm glad I didn't get the whole clip." There are other 20v swapped STs on here, and they all recommend clips for a variety of reasons.

As far as what clip to get, I'd recommend you look into clip of a car called the Toyota Levin BZ-R (AE111). This car was produced for the Japanese market from 1997 to 2000 (fresher motor), available by import only. This should not be confused with the BZ-G model, which only has a 5-speed and no LSD.

As far as I know, this was the last car that ever came with a 20v 4AGE. As a bonus, it came with a six speed manual transmission equipped with LSD. And you will want an LSD, having a track car. It seems to me that the price of final tune of the engine, the six speed, and factory LSD makes the price of the entire clip a good value.

ciento44
06-10-2008, 10:40 PM
ciento44,

Thanks for the information. I'll research the Corbeau stuff and see what I learn. As for what I want in a seat: something that'll fit snug for a skinny guy with a 30" waist.


Bill

I'm right there with you with the waist thing, except about a 27/28". Do you want REAL racing seats, or would you be happy with an OEM seat that is just miles better than stock?

Corbeau makes great seats, i love them. You can easily get them in size to keep you snug. Kirkley skinny aluminums would be good, too, but probably not as comfy.

If you want to go the OEM route, DA Integra seats are skinny compared to stockers, and have huge bolsters. I'm working on getting a pair adapted to fit my car. The only thing to worry about, is that doing something like this may not pass inspection for higher-level wheel to wheel racing.

JEDI
06-11-2008, 06:27 AM
Im glad I didnt get the whole clip. I just needed the engine,transaxle,wire harness, ECU, and all sensors. But thats just me. Plus afterward Id of had a big hunk of scrap metal laying around. The only reason I would see you needing a clip is if you were not good with understanding electrical schematics and diagrams. And you need to physically trace where everything went. Also in my case, I did use the blacktop harness with the ecu. A much better way to go so you dont have to repin everything and all the plugs fit on the silvertop also it has the rirght plug for the map senser. And as far as the blacktop/silvertop comparison goes, I did do ALOT of research and people have toasted those motors alot. They are delicate and if you go the blacktop route I would never put any kind of modification to it. Blacktop is not ideal for any boost at all or nitrous. It has 11:1 compression and the silvertop has 10.5:1. The silvertop is stable with 5 lbs of boost. And on top of all this, The blacktop is definatly way over priced compared to the silvertop. All in all my opinion is the silvertop is a way better choice because it is stronger and you can safely do more with it compared to the blacktop wich is prone to breaking with any modification and is double the cost usually for only 5 more horses and slightly quicker revs. You can only put out as much power as the engine internals will allow and the sivertop is alot stronger.

20v Blacktop ST
06-11-2008, 12:47 PM
Im glad I didnt get the whole clip. I just needed the engine,transaxle,wire harness, ECU, and all sensors. But thats just me. Plus afterward Id of had a big hunk of scrap metal laying around. The only reason I would see you needing a clip is if you were not good with understanding electrical schematics and diagrams. And you need to physically trace where everything went. Also in my case, I did use the blacktop harness with the ecu. A much better way to go so you dont have to repin everything and all the plugs fit on the silvertop also it has the rirght plug for the map senser. And as far as the blacktop/silvertop comparison goes, I did do ALOT of research and people have toasted those motors alot. They are delicate and if you go the blacktop route I would never put any kind of modification to it. Blacktop is not ideal for any boost at all or nitrous. It has 11:1 compression and the silvertop has 10.5:1. The silvertop is stable with 5 lbs of boost. And on top of all this, The blacktop is definatly way over priced compared to the silvertop. All in all my opinion is the silvertop is a way better choice because it is stronger and you can safely do more with it compared to the blacktop wich is prone to breaking with any modification and is double the cost usually for only 5 more horses and slightly quicker revs. You can only put out as much power as the engine internals will allow and the sivertop is alot stronger.

I can't agree with that 100%, there are multiple people out of New Zealand, Jamaica and other countries that have hit the blacktop with a 50 shot of nitrous on a stock block and are running high 12's to low 13's on the 1/4. Also the blacktop really isn't that expensive, I got mine w/ 5 spd for $995 from JDM Addiction in Ocala, FL. Great engine, just make sure that you use premium gas or you'll have some issues when you start banging it over 8000rpm.

ciento44
06-11-2008, 02:58 PM
Eh... and it is more than 5 horse difference....

Dyno the two back to back, and you'lll probably see more like 20whp difference. Silvertop doesn't dyno real high.

JEDI
06-11-2008, 07:38 PM
Yeah the blacktop does have a big advantage over the silvertop when its using its stock computer with the afm. But in my case where Im running the blacktop ecu and map its probably not that much more. As far as the blacktop taking spray, its risky. Alot of blacktop owners throw rods. All you have to do is google silvertop vs blacktop rods. You will get all kinds of hits about how weak these rods are. There was a picture somewhere i think on this forum with a blacktop rod next to a silvertop rod and it was shocking. The blacktop rod looked like a pencil compared to the silvertop rod. Im not trying to say the blacktop is not a good engine because it is a good engine. Just putting in my opinion. On top of all this, He wants a track car where the rpms will be high throughout the course. This would be very hard on the blacktop in my opinion. But I guess to each his own. ;)

90CelicaST
06-11-2008, 08:14 PM
Just to add to your post, here is a shot of a Blacktop rod, a 4AGZE rod, and a TRD Carillo rod
http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d139/20vtmk1/comparison2.jpg

ciento44
06-11-2008, 08:22 PM
Yeah the blacktop does have a big advantage over the silvertop when its using its stock computer with the afm. But in my case where Im running the blacktop ecu and map its probably not that much more. As far as the blacktop taking spray, its risky. Alot of blacktop owners throw rods. All you have to do is google silvertop vs blacktop rods. You will get all kinds of hits about how weak these rods are. There was a picture somewhere i think on this forum with a blacktop rod next to a silvertop rod and it was shocking. The blacktop rod looked like a pencil compared to the silvertop rod. Im not trying to say the blacktop is not a good engine because it is a good engine. Just putting in my opinion. On top of all this, He wants a track car where the rpms will be high throughout the course. This would be very hard on the blacktop in my opinion. But I guess to each his own. ;)

Makes more sense that way. :)

However, based on physics, i'm going to disagree with you on the higher rpms = bad for blacktop statement. Lighter rod, less inertia, easier to maintain those high rpms. The engine was built to rev easier/better than the Silvertop.

As long as he stays away from Nitrous (not sure why he'd do that on a track car anyways) or turbo, i highly doubt he'd have to upgrade the rods anytime real soon...





Although those TRD Carillo rods look SMEXY.

JEDI
06-12-2008, 07:10 AM
Also forgot to add another bit of info that some dont know. There are differences in silvertops. The earlier ones suck 91-92. The 93-95 is alot better. the later ones have the big throttle bodies like the blacktop and the same head port sizes. 91-92 is smaller and doesnt flow as well. Also during the run of the backtop there has a gain made as far as how agressive the ecu was tuned. The latest and best ecu for the blacktop came out of the levin BZR which had a 6 speed tranny. This is actually the ecu I am using with my late model silvertop block. Thanks for the pic you posted of the rods. I am pretty sure the silvertop rod looks identical to the 4agze rod so thats a good comparison. And as far as the rod being lighter is better for high RPM, alot of forum disussions Ive read say the rod threw out from reving to high. So I dunno. I have no personal experience with a blacktop but maybee there is an explanation. I would just figure the engine makes its peak horsepower at top end and the rods strength comes in to play when getting pushed and pulled 8000 times a minute. doesnt really have much to do with being light. the only gain with it being light would be how fast the engine could rev as stated in my previous post. The inertia factor would be helped only if the pistons were lighter so the rods would have less wight to move. Anybody else have any other thoughts on this? I would like to know

wnull
06-12-2008, 03:29 PM
Thanks for all your input on this everyone, I appreciate it.

Ghosty, thanks for the info on SCCA classing for race purposes. This car will simply be a HPDE car so I don't have to worry about building it to fit within any class rules. I've been doing HPDEs for a few years now with an '02 Impreza wagon but it is being returned to daily-driver duty so my wife can drive it in the winters here (moved to Lafayette, IN from southern California not too long ago). The Celica, as a result, has become my track car candidate. I would love to get ahold of a 6MT with LSD, especially for the track, but I would be okay with a standard 5 spd. The car will only see track duty maybe 5 times per year.

As for the reliability of the BT, I definitely would not be running boost or nitrous with it. My intuition tells me the BT would be plenty robust for sustained high RPM use, given that it is maintained properly. If I get a BT and it throws a rod, well, that's how it goes... lesson learned.

ciento, a real race seat would be great but I wouldn't say I need that, at least at first. A good, snug OEM seat with a CG Lock would do in the short term. I'll keep researching and see what I come up with.

Thanks again everyone. I'll keep you posted with how things progress.

Cheers,

Bill

ciento44
06-12-2008, 03:32 PM
Thanks for all your input on this everyone, I appreciate it.

Ghosty, thanks for the info on SCCA classing for race purposes. This car will simply be a HPDE car so I don't have to worry about building it to fit within any class rules. I've been doing HPDEs for a few years now with an '02 Impreza wagon but it is being returned to daily-driver duty so my wife can drive it in the winters here (moved to Lafayette, IN from southern California not too long ago). The Celica, as a result, has become my track car candidate. I would love to get ahold of a 6MT with LSD, especially for the track, but I would be okay with a standard 5 spd. The car will only see track duty maybe 5 times per year.

As for the reliability of the BT, I definitely would not be running boost or nitrous with it. My intuition tells me the BT would be plenty robust for sustained high RPM use, given that it is maintained properly. If I get a BT and it throws a rod, well, that's how it goes... lesson learned.

ciento, a real race seat would be great but I wouldn't say I need that, at least at first. A good, snug OEM seat with a CG Lock would do in the short term. I'll keep researching and see what I come up with.

Thanks again everyone. I'll keep you posted with how things progress.

Cheers,

Bill

Lafayette, huh? Howdy neighbor. :)

DA integra seats, or later Paseo seats should fit the bill. Easy to find in junkyards for cheap. Rails may be a small issue, but your local machine shop should have no problems modifying them for cheap.

What track are you planning on running at? Putnam?