View Full Version : 1988 Celica Vert 5SFTE Project

01-09-2012, 12:06 AM
With the garage at my new house done, I'm finally ready to start working on my first big project.

I've never tried a swap before, never even taken an engine out, but I have been stalling so long that I've decided I need to just bite the bullet and dig in.

I have almost every turbo part I think I'll need in duplicate. I also have a 93 vert parts car with a sub 100k rev2 5S and Manual trans. I wil be attempting to swap in the newer trans as well.

Wish me luck!


Here is the 88 Vert, I know she looks a little forlorn sitting there like that, but she hasn't been sitting there long, and the interior is nice.


The old 3SFE isn't that nice though. The wiring is decrepit, and everthing is rusty, I'll be glad to her out of there.


Here is the donor.


And the nice-clean 5S and Trans, waiting to come out.


Sort of a shame, the top is nice, interior clean and the paint is shiny. But yeah, she's a goner.

01-09-2012, 12:36 AM
Good luck brother. I better get to drive it!

01-09-2012, 03:47 AM
If it ever moves, you sure can man.

Got it all up on stands tonight. Trying to decide if it would be within my abilities to change the head gasket while it's out. I'm also thinking about using the modified throttle body fitted to a mustang throttle body I've got laying around.

01-09-2012, 04:02 AM
Not gonna do a 5sgte?

01-09-2012, 04:39 AM
Not yet, this is my first turbo, I want to get a feel for it before I take on somthing like that. Not that a 2.2l turbo isn't on the list, but I just want somthing safe. And I feel like a well tuned 5SGTE will be fairly reliable. Also, this car is more of a cruiser, I'm not going to be installing roll bars any time soon, so i'm not looking to get any more then 160hp, top. I'll settle for 150.

01-09-2012, 05:38 AM
Having just finished a large project I thought I'd offer a few tips..

-Bag and tag everything. Its very frustrating trying to put something back together when you don't have the proper hardware, brackets, etc.

-Take lots of pictures. Not so much to post online, but to remember how things go back together. Same as the last point.

-Stock up on degreaser, shop towels and floor sweep. You will need them.

-Have a clear idea of exactly what you want to do and how your going to do it. My project quickly snowballed into something much bigger than I'd expected, what was supposed to take a few months, took over two years.

-One step at a time. If you start looking at the project as a whole it becomes daunting, just focus on whatever you need to do to get to the next step and don't worry about how much is still ahead.

-Pace yourself. I think nearly every corner I cut came back to bite me in the ass.. Have patience and do it right the first time.

As far as your abilities, don't doubt yourself man.

It's not really about how able you are, its how bad you want it. Good luck!

The Captain
01-09-2012, 02:48 PM
Looks like the donor was in good shape. 3.5 months until the Dragon!

Eric Barrera
01-09-2012, 03:42 PM
As dudeman said, BAG EVERYTHING. We both got finished with projects that took for ever. Even the littlest things, put them somewhere your going to be able to find them.

01-09-2012, 06:38 PM
Best of luck to you. It's not as daunting of a task as it may seem.

01-09-2012, 08:43 PM
Not gonna do a 5sgte?

Stag.....not to badger you or anything.....but if you're going to do a project of this magnatude you should just use the G head. I think you're going to run into all kinds of ECU problems throwing a turbo on there. Plus, the F head deosnt flow well. And how are you going to mount it? I don't know of any turbo manifolds that are made for F heads. Maybe you have thought this out and you just haven't shared the details, but from where I'm standing it looks like you just want to take advantage of the motor you have and slap a turbo on it. If that is your general line of thinking I think you're in for Pandora's box. If this is your first turbo swap then I'd suggest getting a 3SGTE and throwing the 5S block on it if 2.2T is what you're going for.

Either way, good luck and have fun.

01-09-2012, 11:43 PM
^This. Im not gonna tell you what to do, but using the 3sgte head, or even a 3sge head, is not going to add much complexity to the build. Its a fairly straight forward swap. You can use your whole 5s bottom end and use the gte or ge head. Either way good luck.

01-10-2012, 12:15 AM
Stick with the 5sfte for simplicity, IMO :)

Since the 3sgte turbo manifolds fit the F head its a straight swap. The ECU may be a pain, but you could use a SAFC to tune, or get a stand alone. Plus, should be cheaper this way.......maybe.

01-10-2012, 04:45 AM
Well, as to the 5SFTE V.S. the 5SGTE, I'm definitely going to stick with the FE head for now, lots of reasons.
First, while it's true the I do have a couple 3SGTE heads around, that's almost all I have for sure. I have no wiring, ecu, 3S MAF, sensors, water pump ect. It's not that I don't want to take on a hybrid project some day, it's just that this is going to be a budget build. I mean, parts car, turbo and accessories I'm really only in this project for something like $1200, and since I have two complete powertrains to get parts from, using the 5S is the easiest way to go in my mind.

The other thing is that I feel like I will get a lot less unknowns with the 5S from the parts car. I mean, I have almost every part I need and I'm pulling them all off a car that is low miles and as far as I can tell, was in fairly decent shape before the wreck.

Also, I'm not too concerned about sticking with the 5S head. I can't imagine ever wanting more then 200hp in a 4th gen vert, and if I can get 160hp to the wheels with the catless down pipe, FMIC, supra injectors and emanage blue that I'll be utilizing in this build, i'll be perfectly happy. This car is more for cruising anyway, this project is more for getting my hands dirty then anything. I'm sure the 5S head won't be that much of a restriction.

I've already got a dedicated shop camera and I'll be setting up a computer out there soon just to keep everything organized. I know I'm not going to stand a chance getting this thing back together without plenty of labels and reference pics.

Just for fun, here are the parts I've collected.

3 x CT26 Turbo's - I have to pick a winner and find a place to get it rebuilt
1 catless down pipe
1 3sgte manifold
2 x 3sgts oil pans
1 front mount intercooler
4 lime green supra injectors
2 x turbo oil lines (I think thats what they are at least)
2 x Emange blue with software and wiring. (toying with the idea of getting the option timing-control wiring)

So, from what research I've done, I'm thinking that a blow off valve, boost guage, 3 bar MAP sensor and turbo piping are pretty much the only things left on the grocery list. but if anyone see's anything missing, feel free to chime in.

Thanks for all the opinions thus far everyone!

01-10-2012, 06:11 AM
What's gonna happen with the doner car after you pull the motor? Pm me about it please....... any ways,sounds like its gonna be a good fun project!

01-10-2012, 06:28 AM
new exhaust ? down pipe back?
maybe fuel pump. could've just been mine but i was running lean on the stock 5s fuel pump.

01-10-2012, 06:25 PM
What about the internals? Are you going to run a turbo setup on a bottom end that's not built for it? What about the cams? How can you tune the engine when the intake and exhaust cams are slaved to each other? And AFAIC the only parts youre going to need for the G head are the head itself, the sensors that mount to it, and the manifolds. In fact, you could use the sensors for the F head if you're so inclined. This is what I'm saying about Pandora's box. If you don't do this the right way you're going to be in for way over your $1200. Pinto is the only dude I know of that has done this project. Should should follow his advice carefully.....

Since the 3sgte turbo manifolds fit the F head its a straight swap.

It does?

01-11-2012, 12:37 AM
What about the internals? Are you going to run a turbo setup on a bottom end that's not built for it? What about the cams? How can you tune the engine when the intake and exhaust cams are slaved to each other?

All of your concerns are of course completely valid. If I was looking for anything more then thirty of forty horses over stock I would probably be on the boat with ditching the 5S head. But i'm convinced that the bottem end can hold up under mild boost.

As for tuning with the slave cam system, I agree that it's a limiting factor, but my main goal in tuning will be safety and reliability, not performance.

I mean, if I swapped over to a 3S head, I'd still be using a 93 5S block. If I used both the 3SGE head and block and just slapped on a turbo, I would be ignoring that advantage of my parts car. I have read the write-up on using 5S electronics on the 3SGE head, and while it's a great idea that i'm VERY interested in, it just doesn't feel right for my current goals and resources.

I'll tell you what RedRkt, i've got a lot of respect for your advice so i'll give you "told you so" dibs when this one blows up on me, work for you?

01-11-2012, 01:45 AM
It does?

Yes. All of the S motors exhaust manifolds are interchangeable, well atleast the 1st and 2nd gen as far as I know.

01-11-2012, 03:09 AM
I feel bad,
I got the donor 5th gen lifted up on jacks and stands to where I feel comfortable, and I charged up a spare battery.
Just for giggles, I hooked up the battery, cranked the key, and after a major front end collision, and a year sitting in a garage, she started right up on like the 3rd crank. Kinda a shame.

On the plus side, the convertible top still works just fine, so I'll be able to try to retrofit the pump onto the 4th gen. The impeller is worn out on the 4th gen, so it will be nice to have a power top again.

01-12-2012, 07:45 PM
I'll tell you what RedRkt, i've got a lot of respect for your advice so i'll give you "told you so" dibs when this one blows up on me, work for you?

I'd rather you avoid that.....

I'm asking these pointed questions because I think your reliability will come from a G head setup up. It'll be easier to tune (read: run). And when the time comes you'll have the platform ready for introducing more progressive mods. And that way you won't be forced to start all over again. Another point I'd like to bring up is that you can control how much HP you make. If you started off with a 5SGTE you wouldn't necessarily be driving some beast that is neither reliable or safe; It doesn't mean that you're going for performance. It would just mean that you're starting with a stroked GTE platform. Where you go from there is your decision done on your timeline with your level of comfort, nothing more.

I don't want to detract from your ideas. I just want to make sure you've asked yourself the questions I'm asking. If so, great! If not, think about it. Either way I would prefer to see you succeed and if you fail I'm not going to rub your nose in it. That wouldn't help anything.

All of the S motors exhaust manifolds are interchangeable, well atleast the 1st and 2nd gen as far as I know.

That is less than 100% true. I own a 1st Gen 3SF and no other manifold fit on it. I'm pretty sure that 1st Gen 5SF heads are the same way. Beginning with the 2nd Gen 5SF you'll start to see some interchangability with 3SG heads, but even then I think it is only 2nd and 3rd Gen 3SG heads.

01-12-2012, 08:36 PM
I am moostly going off what I have read. When I had my 88 GT everything I had read said the 3sgte turbo manifold bolted up (1st and 2nd gen). The 5sfe has the same bolt pattern which is why people have swapped the 1st gen 3sge exhaust manifold to it. All irrelevant as I am sure he has verified the manifold and engine will match up for his build :)

Looking forward to seeing this come to life and the reviews you give the 5sfe with the turbo.

01-17-2012, 05:35 AM
I tested the compression tonight.

Engine was cold of course, I can't run it with the front end smashed like it is.
It's also been sitting for a while.

On the first run I got from left to right: 90-140-110-160 (Psi).

That seemed a bit alarming so I re-ran the test immediatly.

The second run I got 150-155-145-160.

I wish I could warm her up and give it another shot, but i'm sure I would lose a coolant line or have one of the belts catch on somthing.

It might just be me, but EVERY time I pull the plug wires, I lose on or two of the plug wire boots around the plug. I had to grind down a little barb thing to get them, always a PITA.

01-19-2012, 11:55 PM
Got one of the most important tools for my swap today.


And the electrical should only be a day behind.

I think I should probably complete my 4th gen collection Next.

Also, here is what I'm talking about with those spark plug boots. I've Spent hours trying to dig those things out.


They are just little rubber boots, but they get stuck on the end of spark plugs like so;


And with the 5S's long spark plug tubes, they are a pain to get out.


I had to use my finest nose picking rod, and I usually reserve that for ming nose gold.

01-20-2012, 12:10 AM
Ya major pain, I just got new wires and used dialetric grease on the white porclen part of the plug

Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk

01-20-2012, 12:45 AM
The first time I had that problem, I had no idea that it was a boot from a plug, I thought it was the little cushion from a spark plug socket that some one had left in there.
I spent hours in the main parking lot at my college trying to dig that sucker out, and even then, I know some of it ended up in the cylinder.

01-20-2012, 12:52 AM
I thought it was the little cushion from a spark plug socket that some one had left in there.
Lol, I've done that. Bitch melted on and hardened, took an hour to get it.

01-20-2012, 06:29 AM
Had the same problem changing my plugs. My best friend was a pair of long handled needle nose pliers.

01-29-2012, 02:00 AM
I got the front suspension off tonight. I didn't end up having to cut anything I had planned on re-using, so that was a big plus.

As you can see, I decided to take off the entire knee assembly instead of seperating everything, it made it all a lot easier, and it will be a lot easier to swap it on to the 90 GT when I get the chance.


Hopefully I'll get started on the rears tommorow.

01-29-2012, 02:11 AM
It's so nice to finally be workin on a car and have a cement floor and decent tools, i'm getting stuff done in hours that used to take me days!.

The impact wrench has been great. Now I want a smaller cordless one.

01-29-2012, 02:24 AM
LMAO I love your light bar!

01-29-2012, 03:22 AM
Lol, yeah, thats just four cheapo light fixtures wired together, I use CFL bulbs, and with four 100w equivlents, it really lights up the place.
I was suprised when I was buying parts for this at lowes, the cheapest electrical cable you can buy is what comes with those cheap brown extension cables.

01-29-2012, 03:56 AM
Make a shield to keep the light from being in your eyes if your laying on the floor beside it.

01-29-2012, 04:45 AM
Haha, at some point maybe.

The Captain
01-29-2012, 03:34 PM
LMAO I love your light bar!
You mean they aren't four pie tins with burning kerosene in them?

When you get closer I may have to come up and check this out!

01-29-2012, 07:23 PM
Any time man!

01-31-2012, 02:39 AM
Nice project man!

02-01-2012, 03:05 AM
I got a little more work done tonight. I ran into a couple bolts on the rear suspension that the impact wrench couldn't defeat. While I decide on another angle of attack on those, I decided to start removing some of the torn up pieces on the front.


I couldn't save too many lines, most were crushed. I also did not realize that the line up front was power steering, thought it was part of the AC. Didn't quite expect the resulting mess.


Finally got the radiator and condensor off. Cut the upper tie bar out and got my first good view of the front of the engine. Got me excited for whats to come.


I did accidently cut what I really hope was the body wiring harness while I was getting the condensor out. Any I didn't find any coolant in the system, another thing I'm a little worried about, but other then that, most of the things i'm going to need, look fairly intact.

02-01-2012, 04:04 AM
Nice work!

02-02-2012, 11:28 PM
I just had a thought, with the engine exposed like this, I can test fit all these headers I have lying around. Won't check for clearence b/c all the cooling is gone, but I will get an idea of what i'll be up agaist to fit these onto the rest of the exhaust.

The Captain
02-03-2012, 03:13 AM
Nice progress. I worked on my vert swap tonight. Hope to get her running in the next two weeks.

02-06-2012, 03:12 AM
I added a new garage upgrade tonight.

I wanted to get a computer out in the garage before I really began trucking on the disassembly. I wanted to have the vast and resourceful C-tech at my fingertips for this build. Spreadsheets will also help.

The hold up was getting wireless to the detached garage, the main router is in my basement, which is fine for the house, but has to go through too many cement walls to reach the detached garage. I finally found my one mac-daddy ethernet cable that I hadn't seen since we moved in today. I was able to get it through some old plumbing openings and stretch it from my basement to my attached garage. I hooked up a spare router and I was in business.

I also set up my BGB's in a spare book shelf I took out there today.


I also drained the engine and transmission oil and took off the air box.


I think I'll start by bagging and tagging all the engine accessories I can unbolt. I'm going to need a lift or somthing here soon I think!

The Captain
02-06-2012, 02:25 PM
Looks awesome!

02-19-2012, 01:55 AM
Got the damaged area cut out tonight. I was a little nervouse about cutting through the lower core support because the trans mount is connected to it, but it turned out ok.
Big relief, looks like the crash didn't damage the block, so thats good.


02-22-2012, 04:48 AM
I got my 5 lug 4 wheel disc suspension!!!

Unfortunatly some one left an old rusty GTS on top of it (Thanks Patrick!).


I also got in some wrench time in on the doner. Got the alt and manifold off. Kinda a cool vew with no front end.


02-24-2012, 05:51 AM
Great work Eli!

Gives me some motivation to get Stacy's 165 running for the dragon.....

02-25-2012, 03:41 AM
Great work Eli!

Gives me some motivation to get Stacy's 165 running for the dragon.....

You dream big chris j/k. Hell I've never even been there and my cars been running everyyear.

Eli-i got your mesage. Ill reply tommorow when I have more time. Ill also shoot youa txt.

04-30-2012, 02:35 AM

Cut the damn wiring harness trying to get the heater core out.
I'll wire in emanage there I guess, but AAAAAAAAAARRRRG!

05-03-2012, 03:34 AM
I so wanna come see this one day
I love seeing builds in ohio

10-15-2012, 04:28 AM
Ok, so proof that this project is still in motion.


What does this pic of an engine picker prove? That now I have a sane way to get the engine and trans out of the donor car!!

And only mounts are holding it in at this point.

Yeah, you heard me right, those diabolical shift cables are almost out!

And the last pic is just to demonstrate why I never let my natural joyous smile into pics lol.

10-15-2012, 04:29 AM
The last pic is why I refuse to stop by for a visit Eli...

10-15-2012, 04:45 AM
Aww but all those natural smile lines mean that i'm honest and outgoing right!?!

I mean Phrenology is still a valid science right?

10-15-2012, 05:21 AM
The last pic is why I refuse to stop by for a visit Eli...
Lol! He looks evil, but he's an awesome guy.

10-15-2012, 05:26 PM
I just read through this, interesting plan you've got going on here. I'd suggest ditching the BOV in favour of buying a wideband though, unless your ECU has one built in for tuning.

10-15-2012, 05:42 PM
Ok, this shows how new I am to the world of preasurized air. When you say BOV I think blow off valve and when you say Wideband I think 02 sensor. Sticking with the stock NA ECU so it's not going to have any provisions for boost and now i'm terribly confused because i'm not sure what any of those parts would do in place of the others...

10-15-2012, 07:56 PM
Sorry, I meant that since a blow off valve doesn't actually do anything besides making nice sounds it would be a better use of your funds to buy a wideband O2 setup so that you can monitor your air/fuel ratio, especially since you're sticking to the stock ECU. Some aftermarket ECU's apparently have a wideband built in, so you wouldn't need a separate one.

10-15-2012, 09:20 PM
Yeah, I will be picking up a wideband one way or the other. I won't use a BOV if it isn't neccesary.

10-17-2012, 05:18 AM
You should check out some old threads on 6gc.net
This use to be a common build on there an has been done had around200hp on a fairly stock 5s
If you go there an look in the stickys there's full parts list of still running 5sfte build cars

10-17-2012, 05:25 PM
If you run a front mount IC you will need a bov to prevent a boost spike that will eventually damage your compressor wheel. Doesnt have to be fancy, Im running a stock eclipse one on my celica.

10-28-2012, 07:38 PM
Another Milestone today!

(Also another first for me as a mechanic)

Got the engine trans out today!

Also got Bruce's shift cables out (not hard without that damn engine in the way)

Anyway, Pics, because it happened.





This means that the donor will be dragged away soon, and the 4th Gen will take its place for the operation!!