Find out how to shove a Camry engine into a Toyota MR2

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Swapping out a car’s engine is one of the most popular things anyone who likes to modify a car can do. Sometimes we do it to have a more reliable engine in our car. Sometimes we do it to have a more powerful engine in the car. And sometimes we just do it for fun. The guys from Gears and Gasoline are doing just that, taking an MR2 and transplanting a Toyota Camry engine into it.


The Camry’s engine was actually designed for fuel efficiency, so that’s one of the reasons to get the engine from this Toyota. But Gears and Gasoline, with the help of Marc Labranche of Frankenstein Motorworks, will also extract more power from the engine and modify it a little in an effort to double the power of the MR2. It might lose some fuel efficiency, but it will be great fun to see what this engine can do in the MR2. It is precisely an MR2 Spyderand the end results could certainly be very interesting.

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There are currently three episodes released so far on this interesting build. The first video focuses most of its attention on the intro construction and the philosophy behind it. Labranche has actually been working on MR2s for quite a while and swapping engines with them, since 2008. The 2AR engine is the 2.5 liter four cylinder engine, which will go from 158hp to 240hp when it comes into the MR2 which will be more than double the 107 hp that the MR2 produced in stock on the test bench.

It will be a little difficult to get the motor in, but it will be fun nonetheless. The Camry’s engine was actually a hybrid Originally, all of these additional electrical components will need to be removed before construction really begins, which we see in part one. The first part mainly focuses on the removal of these components, general engine disassembly and engine modification as well. For example, the intake cam is now advanced approximately one tooth or 20 degrees. This changes the cam from a high efficiency cam to a high performance cam. And to solve the exhaust cam, another plug will be added soon to fix this problem.

Reducing the weight of the Camry itself

The second part of the story mainly focuses on Weight gain with the MR2, offsetting the weight of the new engine. For example, a compressor comes out of the car and weighs maybe around 15 pounds. Lots of wiring also takes place, with the addition of a Haltech ECU thanks to the dual Atkinson-style construction nature of the Camry engine. On top of that, a new, smaller battery goes in the car, saving weight on the original large battery and also lowering the center of gravity.

The battery mounting location is also changing, with a plug going there now with some Frankenstein Motorworks custom plugs to come. For construction, Gears and Gasoline and Labranche use a mix of genuine Toyota parts as well as Frankenstein aftermarket and custom parts. Some of these parts must allow E85 to enter the engine also to obtain additional performance. Advance Auto Parts products are also used throughout the build. Finally, it’s time to try to put the engine in the car and start installing things.​​​​​​​

Get the Camry engine in the MR2

A little extra permission is on the firewall to get the camry engine in the MR2. It’s a bigger engine after all, with a few of the necessary bolts spinning in the bay. One thing they pay attention to are the mild steel threads in the mounts, which Labranche says love to cross thread, so great care must be taken when fitting the motor. A quick stop at Advance Auto Parts is then necessary for a new oil filter for the engine.

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It’s time to start the mighty Camry engine

The third part of the build features the engine starting for the first time in the MR2, and it starts cleanly and almost instantly, so the car is alive! A muffler is then added because it’s quite loud, and the guys don’t want to go deaf. The MR2 also gets a shiny new exhaust from Vibrant Performance, which looks damn good and adds a sportier look over the stock one. The rest of the video see the car on the dyno and the guys manage to squeeze 230 Wh (255 hp) out of the car on E85 fuel. We can’t wait to see this car finished and on the road.

Source: Gears and Gasoline YouTube channel

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