View Full Version : Need advice on 2/3/4 gen swap into st165

02-08-2011, 05:45 AM
My engine has never run very well and I finally took it into a shop to have it checked over. It looks like it will cost a lot more to repair and restore than its worth.

I don't want to salvage my st165 though, I'd really like to swap in a newer engine.

There are a lot of 3rd and 4th gen JDM engines on ebay. I don't know if they would fit in the st165 though- or be a wise choice at all.

A US 2nd gen seems like the best choice because there is the best aftermarket in the US for them. They are hard to find though (I haven't seen any today looking around). It seems pointless to do a 1st gen swap, they are simply an inferior design and have almost no aftermarket. I did find one in a yard in Portland, OR with 111k miles. (I am in Bellevue, WA).

From what I've heard the 2nd gen swap is straightforward. Is this true? What changes if its the US vs JDM model? Are there differences if the engine is from an MR2 rather than an All-Trac? -What parts from the MR2 are not compatible? Is the ECU the same?

Is there any fabrication needed for the 2/3/4 gen swaps (if possible)?

I did some forum digging, but frustratingly, the search feature on celicatech and alltrac.net is not working for me tonight.

I also need to decide if it can be done by amateurs-- my friends and I have some experience working on cars, but not on internals. We have high school welding/fabrication class experience as far as fabrication goes. I have a 1 car garage to work on it in. I would have access to a large garage if I could guarantee my friend we could get it done in a weekend :].

How compatible are the different transaxles to the 165 driveshaft?

02-08-2011, 04:32 PM
Hey Andrew!

Swapping over to a newer engine can be a great choice. All of the 3SGTE engines will physically fit, so you don't have to worry there. Personally, if I had the choice and budget was not a constraint I would choose the 3rd gen 3SGTE (ST205 version, not MR2). There is just as much aftermarket for the 205 engine as there is for the 185, and you get a much better starting platform. Also, it has a WTA intercooler which swaps over with little work to your ST165.

The big issue you will have to overcome is the wiring. The wiring, although very similar, is a bit different between the different generations. That is the extent of the fabrication....no welding or anything like that is required.

Transaxles are all interchangeable.

It can definitely be done by amateurs, but probably not in a weekend if it is your first swap. It really depends if you plan on freshening up the engine with new seals/gaskets/etc. or just plopping it in. But wiring will probably still take the bulk of your time unless you send it out to have it done for you by someone like Dr.Tweak.

02-08-2011, 04:40 PM
I fully agree with Chris.

Any of the 3sgte's will drop right in (2nd/3rd/4th generations) without any mechanical modifications (unless it's from the MR2, then you need to change some stuff around). Wiring will be the bitch here. I did a st215 swap into my st162 and had Dr. Tweak at Phoenix Tuning do my wiring. When it came back, I just plugged it in and life is golden. The mechaincal part is simple (pull engine/drop in new one).

I highly recommend doing a reseal on the engine if you take that course though.

02-08-2011, 04:41 PM

Lots of motors and good prices. I have seen a fair amount of 185 motors on ebay though, in my past searches anyway.

02-08-2011, 06:54 PM

Is the reason I cancelled my ebay account.

02-08-2011, 07:01 PM
they dickheads to deal with, I recommend not doing business with them.

02-08-2011, 08:01 PM
I puchased mine from Venus Auto out in Cali. No complaints from here on their customer service or quality of engine.

02-08-2011, 10:27 PM
Thanks for all the info everyone!
I am highly considering the gen 3 swap now. I need to get quotes from a shop. I'd like to attempt it, but time might be a bigger constraint than money.
Anyone have an idea what it might cost for a shop to do it? --considering I had the wiring harness ready to go from Dr. Tweak.

To what extent would your recommend resealing? Are there gasket kits available?
I heard there was a guy named Chris in Oregon who made 3sgte gasket kits, I don't remember anything else about him though- Anyone heard of him?

I almost forgot. If I'm buying an engine, what parts do I want to make sure it has, or rather make sure it doesn't not have? Or other red flags to look for or ask for.

Does this come with transaxle? I can't tell...