8/3/12 5:52 p.m.


Brand new here. I have an odd hobby-- I like to find unusual old cars and save them from "the crusher", just 'cause they're cool and deserve to drive again if possible. My last project was an '87 CRX Si that had sat for around a decade in a neighbor's yard.

I wanted to try something a little different this time. I got a '76 Celica ST coupe that I want to turn into a bit of a baby Rat Rod, or maybe a Mouse Rod. I want to do a swap, but do as much as possible with bartering and ingenuity, and only spend money when it's a last resort. I have tons of time and don't look at this as a "fix 'n' flip" opportunity, just a cool little project.

The car has a pretty solid original 20R in it, but I'm really hot on the idea of a swap. (I did a SBC into a FJ60 Land Cruiser once, but that's about as easy as it gets...) The guy who sold me the car thinks I should do an inline six, like a 1-gen Supra. I think that would be a lot of weight for not much gain. (And I'm assuming a turbo six swap would require a lot of driveline expense that wouldn't fit my plan.) How much power can the stock diff in a '76 Celica take? LSD available? Easy rear end swap options? I'm thinking even the rear end out of a fox-body Mustang would be way too wide, but I haven't looked into that. Ideally, I'd like to see 180 solid, dead-reliable WHP. Can that be done by just building the 20R?

The car doesn't have power steering or AC, and I understand the entire steering system needs to be re-engineered to put a V8 in one of these. I really really don't want to mess with the stock steering. I'm thinking the best thing would be to get a 22RE out of a truck or newer Celica, that's tired but complete. (I know from experience how fast things like alternators and starters can blow the budget.) I'm thinking completely rebuild it with a turbo in mind (low compression, stout internals, etc.). I've seen builders like that for a couple hundred bucks on CL-- is it realistic to think I can get a good, complete builder engine and solid five speed for $500? Any special places to look for failures (i.e., the blocks always crack in the same place...)? Once built, I'd just sit back and wait for the guy who has a complete 22RE turbo kit, but nothing to put it on. (I have saved so many thousands of dollars on wheels and tires with that little trick...)

Looking forward to any and all suggestions!

Lee in Denver

PS, let's test my picture posting skills. (Images of custom cars clipped from web-- not mine.) It should be pretty obvious which car is mine... I'm thinking a matte white body with a matte black roof, possibly extending down to the "lozenge" on the hood.

JoeyM SuperDork
8/3/12 6:07 p.m.
Conan wrote: I like to find unusual old cars and save them from "the crusher", just 'cause they're cool and deserve to drive again if possible.

Welcome aboard. You'll fit right in

HappyAndy Dork
8/4/12 3:58 p.m.

I hear 3TCs are bullit proof, and might even bolt right in. The one in my 'Rolla survived me as a teenage driver and was still running great when I sold the car with 200k+ miles on it. (Can't say the same for the rear axel). The only down side is finding a healthy one for cheap. That situation may be different in other parts of the country .

Good luck, that looks like a great project.

ScottRA21 Reader
8/4/12 10:25 p.m.

20R can make the 180 hp, easy with turbo, harder NA.

Otherwise, your options for swaps is endless. Check this dude's Starlet thread. Seriously, you've opened pandora's box by asking "What engine" :P

Rear end is the same as that in the AE86. AE86 (GTS) make good axle swaps if you want rear discs. But if you end up needing to hold more power? The fastest solution is the rear axle out of a first gen supra. Comes with discs, LSD (iirc), and is quite stout. Also bolts right in.

92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
8/4/12 10:53 p.m.

Turbo 3tc, 1uzfe, or f2t.

A rwd 3sge from an altezza overseas would be awesome.

fast_eddie_72 UltraDork
8/4/12 11:10 p.m.

How hard would it be to make a 3SGTE work?

I have a Kaaz 2 way LSD in my '84. Should be the same axle. Part number DAT1630 for a Zenki AE86. Works great! MkI Supra rears are getting very difficult to find. Actually, so are AE86 rears. Rules wouldn't let me swap anyway (building for SCCA Street Prepared autocross) but I'm very happy with where I've ended up. I'm planning to fabricate brackets and use AE86 rear disk parts.

Stock 22RTEs come up from time to time. That would be really, really easy. 22Rs are fine engines- all depends on what you want to do. They're oversquare and will never be high revving monsters, but they make torque practically from idle. I have an adjustable cam gear on my engine but haven't yet played with it. If I can move the power band up just a little I think I'll be happy. I'm told porting is a huge improvement.

Oh, wait- you have a 20R- A lot of people build "hybrid" 20R/22R engines. The 20R head is supposed to be better an on the later long block it's supposed to be a pretty nice set up. Google it and I'm sure there's tons of info. Might be an inexpensive and easy way to go.

92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
8/5/12 9:58 a.m.

3sgte would be the same work as a 3sge.

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