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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of transforming my Elise with a REVX kit. I have done all the work so far. I am down to needing to swap out the pistons and connecting rods. I haven't done this level of engine work before so I got some local quotes that were crazy high. They were around $8,000 if I bring the car to them or $5,000 if just bring them the engine. Do these prices seem high? They were from the dealer and two local shops well versed in our cars.

I think I can do it myself if I can find the right guides. The shop manual for the right torques and the following certain 2ZZ teardowns online. Has anyone done this without removing the engine? Is it possible to remove the oil pan and properly get at the rods? Any other guides would be appreciated.
 

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Yes,

You can pull the pan to get at the rods. You can even change the mains while you're in there.

You CAN do everything with the engine block in the car but you perhaps should learn some new profanity first. The biggest issue is the timing gear, pumps etc... that stuff is really not fun to do blind. So, pulling the clam MAY be a compromise. FWIW, I had to make a couple special service tools to access some of those 10mm bolts with the engine in the car.
 

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i am also interested on learning to build a engine by myself.

The most critical point in the process ís for me the measurement of the diameter of the cylinder and the correct fitment of the pistons with the piston rings so that they fit perfectly and what i was told they could be different on each engine depending on wear.

I think it would be saver to buy a build engine from somewhere like monkeywrench as they even could sleeve it for you. With the revX the pressure will be quite high :)
 

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There is no rocket science in assembling an engine.

Buy the tools
Keep it clean
Keep it lubed
Stay organized
You need to torque most everything, if you are unsure, go back and check. Back to stay organized. Using a method to, for instance, torque the rods and mains means you won't forget one. Only takes one.

I don't know if there is a special technique to installing pistons in aluminum liners.

Yes I have made mistakes that cost money.


But not 5 grand in 37 years of Lotus ownership.
 

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Pull the engine. It doesn't take that long and you will make up that time and then some on the timing cover side. The 2zz engine manual is out there somewhere and it goes through the procedure for teardown, rebuild and torques.... Redline Assembly lube is your friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice guys. I am kind of looking forward to the project.
 

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Take your time! It's not hard, but you'll want to make sure everything is cleaned, installed, and TQ'ed. Also take your time when setting the ring gaps. Easier to do before you put the piston on the new rod. As always, LT is here to help you along the way if you have any questions. Feel free to check out my engine build log and shoot me a pm if you have any questions. I have the engine and S2 manuals if you need those as well.
 

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I recommend pulling the engine, a bunch of the front end parts are a PITA to remove with the engine in the car the biggest one being the bolt that holds the tensioner pulley in place keeping the timing cover on. Now it is entirely possible but getting the engine on a stand will give you more freedom to do inspections and will let you have access to the crank and main journals.

The 2ZZ uses a single piece lower engine block with the main caps integrated so if you want to inspect and potentially replace the main journals you'll have to pull it out of the car anaways.

This is the PDF version of the ZZGE manual I used for my build
 

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I did exactly this with my RevX build. As others have recommended, I removed the engine, bought some precision measurement tools (outside micrometers, bore micrometer, machinist level and a high-resolution scale) and did all of the work myself.

The more modified your engine configuration, the less you will want to reference the Toyota 2ZZ manual for torque specs, dimensions, etc. Example: if you install aftermarket connecting rods, use their torque specs and lubrication procedure. If you use ARP head studs, use their torque specs and installation procedure. You get the idea.

From there, I carefully disassembled the engine, cleaning and measuring as I went. The cylinder bores were a bit of a sticking point in my build. My measurements showed some taper and ovaling, increasing along the height of the bore. My engine had 53k miles on it before disassembly. It had good compression and didn't burn oil, but I have auto-xed and tracked it quite a bit on stock power levels. The ovaling was larger in the for-aft direction, which makes sense considering the piston side loading. However, multiple sources stated the ovaling of the cylinders is also a function of not having the cylinder head installed. I discussed the measurements with a Mahle application engineer who advised me to install the pistons "as is". He also explained that the only difference between a piston that is designed for MMC bores vs. cast iron bores is the skirt coating. You can use the Mahle pistons designed for MMC bores in a cast iron sleeve if you remove the skirt coating with a light media blast. You can't go the opposite direction, pistons designed for iron bores in MMC bores, as you would need to somehow add the MMC specific coating to the piston skirts.

I documented the piston diameters and bore diameters. From there I matched the pistons and bores to provide the most uniform piston-to-cylinder wall gaps across all 4 cylinders.

Piston ring gap is a big one that no one has mentioned. As you increase the cylinder pressure (and temperature), you need larger ring gaps to prevent the ring ends from touching due to thermal expansion. I used Mahle 9:1 pistons designed for the MMC cylinder walls. If I recall correctly, their recommended gap formula is 0.0075" of gap per inch of cylinder diameter for high boost applications. That comes out to ~0.024" or 0.61mm of ring gap for the 82mm bore. I didn't touch my cylinder walls. My leak down is 1% across all cylinders even with the large ring gaps.

For connecting rods, I went with Carrillo Pro H-Beam. Similar to the pistons and cylinder walls, I measured the diameter of the connecting rod big end journals, the crankshaft rod journal diameters and the thickness of my connecting rod bearings. I then matched each connecting rod to a crankshaft journal and bearing to obtain uniform bearing gaps across all four cylinders. Thankfully the bearings were very uniform, so it was more of a rod and crank matching exercise. I chose ACL Racing rod bearings.

With the pistons matched to cylinders and the rods matched to crank journals, I set about comparing the reciprocating weight of each resulting piston and rod combination. I also weighed the big end and small end of each rod separately, looking for differences in weight distribution there. Wrist pin weight was also measured and considered when trying to obtain even reciprocating weights. For some of the rods and pistons, I removed small amounts of material from non critical areas to help even out the weights. As best I could measure, everything came out to within 0.2 grams for the total reciprocating weight of each cylinder.

There is a bunch of work to ensure the cylinder head is in good shape. I punted on this task and had Kris at DRS build a head for me with all Ferrea hardware, VVL eliminator rockers, MWR stage 3 cams and light port smoothing.

One thing I will say... I highly recommend avoiding the MWR billet oil pump. The one I received was way out of spec to the point where I could not rotate the engine when certain teeth of the rotor and ring aligned. This would have destroyed my engine at first start, had I not caught it. Instead, I bought a billet pump from Track-Group in the UK. Even then I had to touch up a couple of minor spots where the rotor and ring had hit each other during shipping. Maybe just stick with the stock oil pump. hah.

Anyway, hope that helps. Feel free to hit me up with questions.
 

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More questions related to your RevX build...

Are you planning to pin the crank pulley?
What belt and pulley configuration are you going to run? I'm using a 10-rib belt setup
What transmission are you going to use?
What is your fuel system plan? If E85, you're going to need a lot of flow.
What is your charge cooling setup?
And... most importantly... what is your plan for tuning?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
More questions related to your RevX build...

Are you planning to pin the crank pulley? I didn't put any thought into that one.
What belt and pulley configuration are you going to run? I'm using a 10-rib belt setup. Same
What transmission are you going to use? BWR 3/4 upgrade, ACT XTSS
What is your fuel system plan? If E85, you're going to need a lot of flow. E85 with the upgraded pump and injectors
What is your charge cooling setup? front HEX (A/C removed)
And... most importantly... what is your plan for tuning? BOE will supply a rough tune. I will bring it to them for a final tune.
Your build sounds exactly like I have planned (9:1 Mahle's, Carillo rods, MWR stage 3, JCR head, Ferrea rockers). I am following BOE's direction. I am concerned about the MWR oil pump. That's that one I have.

Thanks to each of you for adding input and advice.
 

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I am concerned about the MWR oil pump. That's that one I have.
Maybe yours will be better? With a decent set of calipers, you can measure the worst case radial thickness condition. This is how I measured mine.

1282016
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
For reference, the stack up variance on my MWR oil pump was .23mm.

So now I need to remove the engine. I have most of the hoses off of the engine. The question is do I pull it with or without the transmission? It looks like it is a clean pull without the transmission. If I pull it without the transmission after I unbolt the engine from the transmission, is there anything else holding them together?
 

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The question is do I pull it with or without the transmission?
I have been thinking about pulling mine without the transmission as I don't want to have to deal with the driver side axle again but I don't think there is enough room between the engine and the frame to clear the input shaft before some of the accesories hit the frame.

The bellhousing bolts and the passenger side engine mount are the only things holding the engine to the car. You might as well try it just make sure you get the clutch and spline separated before you start trying to lift the engine and if you can't get them separated it's easy enough to just throw a few bolts back in and pull it with the transmission.

I am interested to see if anyone has successfully pulled just the engine so I can save the 80$ in gearbox oil and having to deal with the CV circlip again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Direct from Fzust:
"You will need to pull out the passenger side motormount by disconnecting it completely from the subframe. 4 bolts on the inside plus several on top. This gives you clearance to pull out of the trans and rotate a bit toward the firewall."
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Does it make any sense to take the head off first before removing the engine to reduce weight and just make it easier to maneuver while lifting?
 

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Does it make any sense to take the head off first before removing the engine to reduce weight and just make it easier to maneuver while lifting?
No, you have to take the idler pulley off in order to get the timing cover off and the bolt that holds it in hits the subframe if you try and remove it in the car. You can do it but it will take more time and you have very little space to work in.

I do recommend breaking loose the crank bolt while it's in the car if you don't have a hefty engine stand that you'll be working on the engine with. you will need a crank pulley holding tool to break it loose, I used this Amazon.com: For Lexus and Toyota Harmonic Damper Pulley Holding Tool Crankshaft Crank Holder: Automotive
 
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