1mz-fe V6 Elise conversion

by Woodsport » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:12 am

Hi folks, i’m new here, my name is Paul Woods, i run an Mr2 engine conversion garage in County Durham called Woodsport, you can see the sort of thing we do here http://www.woodsport.org .

For years now i have wanted to carry out one of our awesome V6 transplants on an Elise, but we have always been so busy with Mr2 stuff that it never happened, but i thought it was time to get one under our belt to prove this can be done and very successfully. I put the word out a few months ago that i was after a “test mule” to carry out our first Elise conversion and was approached by one of your members (don’t know his forum name here yet!) but his names Kevin and this is his car on our lift ready for surgery….

UPDATE 17/5/11

I got the 1mz mated to a Celica gearbox (my preferred box of choice on this build for gear selection reasons) and test fitted it into the bay, it became immediately apparent that the project was not going to go any further without modifying the rear subframe, there just wasn’t the room for the rear exhaust manifold to recess into, so i took the decision to remove part of the subframe. We are no strangers to this sort of thing and beefing this back up to be just as strong as it was before is very easy, and if i found something that prevented the project happening at all then i could always rebuild this to be as good as it was before, if not stronger…. but for now part of it had to go.

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I still have the cable locating bracketry to make, but that’s simple in the scheme of things.

UPDATE 31/5/11

The gear selection is now mechanically finished, i made a holding bracket for the cables, it was a complicated little bugger, about 6 different plates went into it to clear everything but i’m pleased to report the gears all change very slickly and this is a huge part of the swap out of the way.

These parts have all been removed now for final dressing and painting.

UPDATE 1/6/11

As with any first time build a lot of the modifications need to be tested to see if they are going to work or not, all we can do is apply the best idea we can to the issue at hand, engineer a way around it and see how it performs. If it is a problem later on then we find another way, such is the nature of a first time conversion. The conversions that we have done hundreds of are so tried and tested now that there is nothing left to debug.

One such area that we have built a prototype solution for is a front torque mount, now i was a little reluctant to have one on this car, i am trying to minimize cabin vibration to a bare minimum, but until we try this we simply won’t know if it’s going to work or not. We have several other ideas on how to go about an alternative, but if this works it should give a very stable engine.

We have built an insert, much like the wishbone mounting points, except ours effectively “clamps” the chassis rail as well as being bolted to it, i have also internally braced it.

From this insert section i have attached the torque mount and made a bracket coming off the block, this is the raw welded stage of all brackets….

You can see a rosejoint coming off the lower part of the chassis insert, that is part of the second stage of reinforcing the rear subframe, i haven’t shown you stage 1 yet but seeing as i was doing the front torque mount it made more sense to do this part now.

I have tied the rear subframe together with 40mm box and made this fully adjustable tie bar that runs from the front mount to the rear subframe. The rosejoints are opposite handed so i can adjust the preload on the bar to help brace everything…. good idea or not? Again i won’t know until we try it out, but we are applying all of our knowledge and experience to the various problems at hand.

I have two more of these braces planned to tie the subframe into the car better than it currently is, which could be used on a stock engined car come to think of it, more on that when i make them.

I have some pretty good subframe reinforcing coming as well, and none of this is costing us too much weight.

UPDATE 2/6/11

Today saw the rear torque mount fabrication completed, i used the original K rear torque mount because it was the only one that would fit in the space i had, i can insert a stiffer rubber into it if need be to fine tune it though, we shall see.

The subframe brace has four captive nuts inside it for the torque mount. Again nothing is pretty right now, this is still the raw fab stage. Also ignore the spacer nuts being used on the rear of the torque mount, i shall be using correctly sized cap head bolts there instead.

Now i have heard from some of you that cracking on the subframe has been an issue in the past on other conversions, due to the differences in the thickness of steel welded in and the welds being the weakest point. So i am planning on speading the load from that member with plates that are in between the subframe and box section thickness, also acting as gussets…

That is just one of the planned upgrades for the subframe, i have quite a few more coming.

UPDATE 6/6/11

Work continued today, we are still in the raw fabrication stage, this build has taken perhaps more time to fabricate everything than any other conversion i think i have ever done, but the finished build quality should reflect that.

Today i decided to do a few of the smaller finishing off jobs that we usually leave until the last few days of the build, but i wanted to get all of the making stuff out of the way. I have converted the Elise coolant bottle to an “Mr2 type” expansion bottle, i don’t like the way the Elise deals with the coolant at all, in fact it could be contributing to the demise of the K having it vent off excess pressure to atmosphere with no reservoir to draw fresh stuff back in. I know of a few cars that do it this way but i think it’s crap, so the Mr2 system will be employed which uses a “tidal” ebb and flow past the pressure cap on engine cooldowns, linked to an expansion bottle, so whatever coolant the engine needs, it gets, without fear of it running (or boiling) dry.

So the Elise bottle is no longer a pressurized bottle, it just handles the overflow. I also made an expansion pipe for this bottle, now on most builds you will see a piece of rubber pipe routed from point A to B, that is not how things are done at Woodsport nor Toyotas way of doing it, a factory looking hardpipe is made with rubber only at each end is much more the done thing….

It needs painting and final finishing but it’s stuff like that that looks like it’s always been there, we thrive on that way of working.

The NS rad pipe has been sorted, using the original Elise pipe cut to fit and part of the Elise hardpipe, i’m going to make a bracket for that pipe to secure it to the chassis, again the way Toyota do stuff.

The OS rad pipe was a simple Mr2 pipe joined straight onto the original Elise one, no pic because it’s boring, who wants to see two bits of rubber joined together!

The clutch hydraulic line was a tricky little bugger, it has a double flare on its end and inside the Mr2 slave cylinder housing is a single flare, so although the Elise end screwed straight into the Mr2 slave (gotta love inter-manufacturer compatability!) it would not seal due to the coned ends not having the same flare, so i made this adapter.

The throttle cable was also sorted, pretty much a bread n butter thing to do, attach a cable to a bracket and hook it into the throttle quadrant…. simples!

I decided to finish the day by starting work on the exhaust system, this is the front bank pipe leading under the sump, i have a short flexi on it.

From there it sweeps up and over the subframe reinforcer, navigating both supported shaft and the front bank pipe which just does two 90* turns to exit through the subframe hole…

So this is what i am left with…. two pipes, one from each bank coming over the subframe bar, now it gets tricky, these have to merge together, have flanges on them so that the system can be removed and also lead into a CAT/DECAT section before entering the silencer, not simple at all with such little space to play with.

Ok so you know i am detailing every part of this conversion but there is one bit that i am afraid i’m keeping to myself, and that is exactly what i am doing about the driveshafts. I will say they are Toyota based, and i am having a very nice supported shaft set up that gives an equal length halfshaft arrangement (something that’s missing from the Elise K setup).

My reasons for witholding that part of the conversion is that i have put more research into that bit than any other part of the build and i have been all too often copied in the past by some plageristic twat who decides to offer the very same conversion using my build thread as a blueprint for “their” swap, so it’s a little bit of protection on my part. Likewise the wiring will not be detailed either, it will just be “today i wired the whole thing up” wiring done, i hope you chaps understand my reasons for not detailing certain aspects, it’s not funny watching all of your R&D work pop up on another garages menu.

UPDATE 7/6/11

Today saw more exhaust work, i managed to couple both banks together and into one flange. The main importance being that the whole front section needs to be removable both for seam welding it up and for future maintenance, far too many things get modified these days without thought as to how to actually remove it or access stuff. I also got the subframe gussets added that i thought about a few days ago, these are hopefully helping to spread the load from the reinforcing member i added so the total loads aren’t just on my welds. I have also added the centre section flexi, this will be coupled to a sports CAT when it arrives and into the Elise back box. I’m pretty happy with the current exhaust design.

The front pipes removed and lambda bosses added…

So all in all it’s mission accomplished on the exhaust front, just seam welding and final dressing on that needed during the rebuild.

EDIT: While uploading the pics i spotted another area i can beef the subframe, i think two nice plates in these areas could add a bit to both my subframe member and the subframe itself…

UPDATE 8/6/11

Today saw completion of the fabrication stage of the build, i have finished the exhaust fab (still to seam weld), but it is complete with a sports CAT and all flanges.

The last thing to fabricate before tearing this whole thing back down was the rear driveshaft bearing carrier. On the Mr2 projects we like to include a supported driveshaft set up, it’s much prefered than using one long and one short shaft, you get less torque steer on the rear end and it’s just a far nicer way of doing things. For the supported shaft to work it needs a simple 3 piece bracket, we have been making these for years so they are a well tried and tested part.

Here it is in its basic welded stage… we basically plasma cut out all of the plates, and weld them together in a jig i have that places the bearing carrier in the correct spot, get this wrong and the gearbox output seal will leak oil.

As with every part i have had to make over the last 3-4 weeks they will all need dressing, priming and painting before final assembly.

Next job is to pull the engine back out, strip everything down and rebuild.

UPDATE 10/6/11

Just before the engine comes back out i decided to take advantage of everything being in place and refitted the rear clam. We knew we would have to make alterations to the boot wall divider so that was removed to see how things looked. All in all pretty good, there will still be a useable boot and the wall i put back in will be unboltable around the rear bank of spark plugs for access.

I have added a full length sealing rubber that now goes the whole way around both engine bay and boot.

I am going to fabricate the new boot wall on Monday before the engine comes back out. The exhaust is also now hanging perfectly, it was all over the place on the K series…

We also knew that the engine lid would need modifying, the vented areas just extend too far into the engine bay to clear the rear plenum chamber, so after some careful thought about how to approach this we have decided to remove the original vents, build up the areas around them and reseat the vents, basically it should look like a stock lid (or very closely themed) but with the necessary clearance underneath for the engine.

The start of modifying the lid involves making two rear sections, these are aluminium and serve as the basic structure for our fibral. At Woodsport we do a lot of body modifications and painting work so this is relatively simple and the end result should look stunning.

I plan to relocate the lid lock and catch mechanism to the new boot wall so it retains all of its original functionality.

The clam and engine lid have not needed as much modifying as i thought they would which is a huge bonus.

UPDATE 13/6/11

Ok time to kick this project into second gear, with all fabrication finished the engine and gearbox were removed from the car along with all of my newly fabricated parts which will now go for final finishing and detailing.

I stripped the V6 down to the block, inspecting as i went, and the engine is in superb condition (all of these Camry V6 engines always are, way over engineered)

I haven’t cleaned the block face or pistons yet but the rest of the block has been thoroughly cleaned and inspected (Alfie looks on approving the build, in case you haven’t seen him on the webcams or previous pics, Aflie is Woodsport dog)

This is what quad cams and 24 buckets looks like…

Everything is to be checked against manufacturers spec and if found to be outside of tolerance replaced, but we never see any wear on these units, this one still has its factory bore honing marks on the cylinder walls, in fact they normally do even on engines with 150k+… these engines are a different class. Woodsport has carried out over 150 V6 swaps over the years and i’ve seen maybe 2 engines in that time with any significant wear.

A big box of engine parts all destined for restoration…

The heads have come up like new…

So there’s another full days work easily still in the block and probably a full week in restoring engine parts/painting etc

Every conversion we do gets a new water pump, timing belt, thermostat, oil filter and any other consumable item we can replace, along with only the best quality gasket sets we can buy (usually Payen), no cheap chinese parts on our builds.

UPDATE 14/6/11

Today saw the block cleaning complete, all bearings have been checked and found to be good. The block has been treated to acid cleaning and silver paint, this will get a clearcoat layer to make it “pop” . Very little of this gets seen in the engine bay but the devil’s in the detail so they say. The lower sump casing has been resealed and refitted with brand new bolts, no need for new bolts, the old ones would have done perfectly well, but we have thousands of new Jap bolts to choose from so why not. Every single bolt that can be replaced will be if for no other reason than cosmetics.

Six hours was spent on the cam covers and plenum chamber, first they were pressure washed off with degreasing solvent, then treated to an acid wash to remove any alloy corrosion, followed by a cellulose wash to remove any carbon on the inside and a final pressure wash to leave them immaculately clean.

They were then flappy disc’d down to remove any factory casting marks and ridges (makes the engine parts so much more pleasing to the eye) and finally panel wiped down with er…. panel wipe :p

Lastly a thick high build etch primer is applied to all parts to be painted, this high build takes out the last of the imperfections left from the flappy disc. Tomorrow this primer layer will be 500 grade sanded to leave the parts with a marble smooth finish on which to apply the basecoat colour and topcoats. All of this effort will make the engine parts bang like a whores headboard  i’ll let the pics tomorrow speak for themselves.

The colour scheme chosen for this engine is gunmetal grey and red, to match the cars exterior and interior, should look pretty good.

Building the engine up with every small detail taken care of is what i really enjoy, the fabrication part is ok i supoose, but it’s this stage i love the most and our show standard engine bays are world famous now. Not only does it have to work 100% but it must look the part, anybody can sling an engine in.

UPDATE 15/6/11

HUGE pic update today, we got a lot of work done today so this is very pic heavy.

The cam covers were painted and have turned out as expected, like strawberry coloured glass as someone put it, this is the benefit of all that prep work…

These will keep their shine for years even with the heat from the engine.

This diverts the belt away from the chassis bracket and is a very easy way to solve the problem.

UPDATE 5/7/11

Wiring now 100% completed, tomorrow is start up day.

UPDATE 6/7/11

It’s alive! The worlds first 1mz powered Elise is running. It actually fired first turn of the key but i did spend the rest of the day hunting down a strange wiring issue, basically the engine wouldn’t shut down when i turned the ignition off!

It took me almost 7 hours to trace the fault to an ignition wire that was picking up a residual stored current from a VSV which was holding the engine main relay latched which in turn was keeping the thing alive. The main thing is i found the issue and apart from that all is well.

As a result of spending all day hunting that glitch i didn’t get a start up video, that will come tomorrow now that i have everything sorted.

My first fire up was also with the rear silencer left off, i had planned to fit that as soon as the first test firing went successfully, so i don’t even know myself yet what it truly sounds like, but it’s bloody loud just running on its downpipes.

Guaranteed video tomorrow.

UPDATE 7/7/11

Here is video of it running, not the best audio quality, my mic tends to get drowned out by the V6, and it picks up valvetrain noise that isn’t present in person.

Also a quick check on the scanner that everything is working as it should be, and it is. All dashboard functions work and we have no issues electrically.

We did find the radiator struggling to keep the temps down during long idling periods, definately suffering from heatsoak and clearly not up to the job, so we are fitting a much more efficient alloy rad next week to take care of this.

The exhaust note sound so much nicer in person but you should get some idea….

UPDATE 20/7/11

I am now working on the rear clam bodywork and the engine lid, so i’ll post up pics of that when done, then we can finally get the car off the lift and start driving it.

Thanks Paul.

UPDATE 26/7/11

The new radiator has totally solved the slow heatsoak issue we were having, so we were correct all along, the Elise rad just cannot cope with the V6. With the new rad fitted we held 93* for 10 minutes before the fan cut in, the temp rose to 94* then settled back to 91* (all of these temps are at the engine, not the rad), this cycle repeated endlessly for as long as we wanted and at 900rpm.

On raising the RPM to around 4000rpm for a sustained period (bearing in mind no airflow through the rad whatsoever), the temp rose to 96* but the fan always dragged it back down to 92*. The 1mz coolant temp switch operates at 93*. The above tells us there is just not enough efficiency in the stock rad to cope with a bigger engine.

I am also going to fit a secondary fan so that the Elise fan is doing less duty and safeguard against any heatsoak it might see on track, i really don’t think the second fan is necessary but i’m going to fit it anyway.

Also today we fitted a Dakota unit to modify the tach signal, it was over reading so the Dakota unit (which we have used many times before) sorts that out.

I am still working on the rear clam but as soon as that is complete we can rebuild the rest of the car and drive it for the first time.

UPDATE 27/7/11

Work has continued on the subframe adding more strength everywhere i can, i already know the amount of structural strength i have added is way more than the small amount originally removed, but i’ll keep adding it anyway. Today i added triangulation plates to the underside of the subframe, i have also boxed in the area above the driveshafts which is now redundant on this car, so that is helping tie the subframe into the chassis attachment point better than it was previously.

I have some more brace bars being made tomorrow that will run from the bottom corner of the subframe onto the front chassis rail and i’m very confident now that this is more than strong enough.

We fitted the new swanky rear track rods today, Kev will be able to tell you the make if you wish to know.

Work is also progressing nicely on the clam, the weatherproof box for the ECU and all other electrics is now finished, i just need to dress this off and prime/paint, then make two removable panels, one for the ECU box and the other for engine bay access to get at the rear bank of spark plugs when need be. I also need to repair the clam with fibreglass where the original boot wall was removed, but it should all look meant to be when finished.

I’ve definately well underestimated the amount of work this has taken so far, but i will be keeping to budget regardless, such is the nature of a first time build like this, the next one will be so much quicker and easier.

UPDATE 28/7/11

Today saw the extra radiator fan fitted, which is not strictly needed, i prefer to think of it as a safety measure just in case the single fan struggles on a red hot track day etc, better safe than sorry.

I got the Woodsport torque bar refitted, that’s it boxed in RED, this should really help the rear subframe out, in my opinion the subframe lacks rigidity at its base, the only thing tieing that into the car are the lower wishbones and they still are, but i feel this beefy bar we have added will just give it some more where it needs it, this should also translate any rear torque mount downward force into the front crossmember, or at least help.

I also made two other braces YELLOW that run from the lower corners of the subframe to the front crossmember, these are lighter by design and will hopefully help.

So we are almost there now, just the car to refit now, both clams back on and it can be driven for the first time.

Last edited by Woodsport on Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Woodsport
We also knew that the engine lid would need modifying, the vented areas just extend too far into the engine bay to clear the rear plenum chamber, so after some careful thought about how to approach this we have decided to remove the original vents, build up the areas around them and reseat the vents, basically it should look like a stock lid (or very closely themed) but with the necessary clearance underneath for the engine.

The start of modifying the lid involves making two rear sections, these are aluminium and serve as the basic structure for our fibral. At Woodsport we do a lot of body modifications and painting work so this is relatively simple and the end result should look stunning.

I have also started work on mounting the 1mz ECU, now these are not an “all weather” type ECU, the plugs and connections (and the ECU itself) are not waterproof and it needs sealing away from the elements. So i am making its very own cubby box that will be sealed from any moisture. It will have a removable access panel from the boot side. If i end up needing to keep the original K series ECU for dash functions (unknown as yet) then that will be mounted in its original position on the other side of this wall.

UPDATE 6/7/11

It’s alive! The worlds first 1mz powered Elise is running. It actually fired first turn of the key but i did spend the rest of the day hunting down a strange wiring issue, basically the engine wouldn’t shut down when i turned the ignition off!

It took me almost 7 hours to trace the fault to an ignition wire that was picking up a residual stored current from a VSV which was holding the engine main relay latched which in turn was keeping the thing alive. The main thing is i found the issue and apart from that all is well.

As a result of spending all day hunting that glitch i didn’t get a start up video, that will come tomorrow now that i have everything sorted.

My first fire up was also with the rear silencer left off, i had planned to fit that as soon as the first test firing went successfully, so i don’t even know myself yet what it truly sounds like, but it’s bloody loud just running on its downpipes.

Guaranteed video tomorrow.

UPDATE 7/7/11

Here is video of it running, not the best audio quality, my mic tends to get drowned out by the V6, and it picks up valvetrain noise that isn’t present in person.

Also a quick check on the scanner that everything is working as it should be, and it is. All dashboard functions work and we have no issues electrically.

We did find the radiator struggling to keep the temps down during long idling periods, definately suffering from heatsoak and clearly not up to the job, so we are fitting a much more efficient alloy rad next week to take care of this.

The exhaust note sound so much nicer in person but you should get some idea….
UPDATE 20/7/11

The new alloy radiator has arrived and was fitted today, took a bit of figuring out how to remove the front clam, it was my first one, but the next one will remove a lot quicker. Kev we found a dead bird inside your clam, looked like it got caught in the vent at some point! 😀

I am now working on the rear clam bodywork and the engine lid, so i’ll post up pics of that when done, then we can finally get the car off the lift and start driving it.

Thanks Paul.

UPDATE 26/7/11

The new radiator has totally solved the slow heatsoak issue we were having, so we were correct all along, the Elise rad just cannot cope with the V6. With the new rad fitted we held 93* for 10 minutes before the fan cut in, the temp rose to 94* then settled back to 91* (all of these temps are at the engine, not the rad), this cycle repeated endlessly for as long as we wanted and at 900rpm.

On raising the RPM to around 4000rpm for a sustained period (bearing in mind no airflow through the rad whatsoever), the temp rose to 96* but the fan always dragged it back down to 92*. The 1mz coolant temp switch operates at 93*. The above tells us there is just not enough efficiency in the stock rad to cope with a bigger engine.

I am also going to fit a secondary fan so that the Elise fan is doing less duty and safeguard against any heatsoak it might see on track, i really don’t think the second fan is necessary but i’m going to fit it anyway.

Also today we fitted a Dakota unit to modify the tach signal, it was over reading so the Dakota unit (which we have used many times before) sorts that out.

I am still working on the rear clam but as soon as that is complete we can rebuild the rest of the car and drive it for the first time.

UPDATE 27/7/11

Work has continued on the subframe adding more strength everywhere i can, i already know the amount of structural strength i have added is way more than the small amount originally removed, but i’ll keep adding it anyway. Today i added triangulation plates to the underside of the subframe, i have also boxed in the area above the driveshafts which is now redundant on this car, so that is helping tie the subframe into the chassis attachment point better than it was previously.

PDATE 28/7/11

Today saw the extra radiator fan fitted, which is not strictly needed, i prefer to think of it as a safety measure just in case the single fan struggles on a red hot track day etc, better safe than sorry.

I got the Woodsport torque bar refitted, that’s it boxed in RED, this should really help the rear subframe out, in my opinion the subframe lacks rigidity at its base, the only thing tieing that into the car are the lower wishbones and they still are, but i feel this beefy bar we have added will just give it some more where it needs it, this should also translate any rear torque mount downward force into the front crossmember, or at least help.

I also made two other braces YELLOW that run from the lower corners of the subframe to the front crossmember, these are lighter by design and will hopefully help.

 

by Muu » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:44 am

Awesome post!

Is the engine stock? I’m not really aware of what it can make tuned, but wondered how it compares to

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