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91 Camry DX 5-Speed 3SFE, 88 Camry Base Auto
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost time to do the swap over into my 91 Camry (Bumblebee). After searching, and blazing through both the Camry and MR2 forums in regards to information pertaining to the 5SFE motor in particular, I'm still a bit curious to those who've made the swap with theirs here. Alongside successes and what to expect. So!

The motor that is being swapped in is from a 93 Camry Auto. To my understanding is that majority of the 3SFE external components will work. I'll have to swap the oil pan, remove the balance shafts (I think), and plug a bolt for the oil sending at the bottom of the block. Might have mistyped the bit, so I apologize. A lot of information has been soaked up in the last few days.

The car the motor is being swapped into is fitted with the 5-Speed MT and I'm also curious to know if I'll have any issues in regards to matching everything up. The 5SFE has the 8 Crankshaft bolt pattern as the 3S.

Is there anything else I should do to the motor itself, or parts I need to go ahead and replace before I put her in, aside from mentioned above? Trying to leave a potential door open later on for the 5SGTE build, but right now I'll be happy to just be behind the wheel full time again.

Thanks in advance! Wanting to see her back at her best, but the current 3S needs to be pulled and rebuilt from lack of maintenance due to her former owners.
 

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Your '91 had the 8-bolt crank so you're good there. Yes you have to remove the balance shafts and block off the oil feed hole going to the balance assembly. Oil pan from your 3S goes onto the 5S. Everything external from the 3S goes onto the 5S, manifolds, injectors/fuel rail etc. you are putting in a long block with 3S everything else. 3S valve cover goes onto the 5S. I can't confirm if all the engine mount bracket threads in the block will be in the same locations only 5S I've put into a gen2 Camry was from a Celica.
 
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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
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Yes you have to remove the balance shafts and block off the oil feed hole going to the balance assembly.
Well, you don't have to remove the balance shafts, but if you don't you are missing out on some HP and I think you have to modify the exhaust to go around oil pan bump. Definitely make sure to block off the oil feed or you will quickly lose the motor from low oil pressure.

-Charlie
 

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Well, you don't have to remove the balance shafts, but if you don't you are missing out on some HP and I think you have to modify the exhaust to go around oil pan bump.

-Charlie
Doesn't the 5S pan pump into the sway bar bracket? Or am I thinking of the 3S-GTE
 
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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
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Doesn't the 5S pan pump into the sway bar bracket? Or am I thinking of the 3S-GTE
No, the 'high' spot is lower for clearance around the balance shafts bolted below the engine block. It may run into the exhaust if the exhaust is too close to the stock oil pan.

Only the 3rd gen+ 3s-gte (and equivalent 3s-ge's) have the oil filter up front and below the engine in the way of the swaybar.

-Charlie
 

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91 Camry DX 5-Speed 3SFE, 88 Camry Base Auto
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys. Really looking forward to the swap. Especially after swapping the the 88 from the Japanese layout to the North American earlier this year. Didn't realize how much pep even the autos had, but she's been fun to drive around and run in.

I've got another MT 91, but unlike Bumblebee, I plan to leave her mostly stock. I just wanted to double-check everything before going into the 5SFE swap so we can fix what needed to be fixed before dropping her in. That does leave me one last question though.

The car it was pulled out of had roughly 150,000 miles on it before it was t-boned. Should I replace the piston rings and pistons? Or not bother with it? I'm currently wrestling with the thoughts of having to do it, so I need some opinions or advice on that matter as well.
 

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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
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Oh god no. Don't do anything to the bottom end. You'll get a look in there when you remove the balance shafts, and a good look up top when you do the valve cover gasket. A factory built Toyota engine is basically always better than a rebuilt/opened Toyota engine unless it was really beat up during its life.

You will likely want to do all the seals due to age though - oil pump o-ring + seal, cam and crank seals, rear main seal, valve cover gasket, distributor seals/bearings, etc. along with timing components and water pump/thermostat (OEM!).

-Charlie
 

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I would replace the valve stem seals along with all the other seals but as Charlie says leave the bottom end alone it is impossible to duplicate the factory precision unless it is an extremely experienced high end rebuilder.
 

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91 Camry DX 5-Speed 3SFE, 88 Camry Base Auto
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would replace the valve stem seals along with all the other seals but as Charlie says leave the bottom end alone it is impossible to duplicate the factory precision unless it is an extremely experienced high end rebuilder.
Oh god no. Don't do anything to the bottom end. You'll get a look in there when you remove the balance shafts, and a good look up top when you do the valve cover gasket. A factory built Toyota engine is basically always better than a rebuilt/opened Toyota engine unless it was really beat up during its life.

You will likely want to do all the seals due to age though - oil pump o-ring + seal, cam and crank seals, rear main seal, valve cover gasket, distributor seals/bearings, etc. along with timing components and water pump/thermostat (OEM!).

-Charlie
Thanks again. You guys are awesome ha ha ha. Steer clear of the pistons. But replace all the seals. Figured that much after the 3S in her was burning/leaking through a quart of oil driving too and from work in a day. Mix of city driving and highway miles, with stop and go traffic.... I'm no mechanic, but my sole drive is to keep them running.

I've got the waterpump, timing, and seals on hand. Ordered those last week in preparation. Just need the OEM thermostat to be ordered. I'll reuse the distributor from the 3S since it was replaced last year, so that should be good.

Will keep posted on this as we start to do the swap. It'll be two swaps this year, so... Yeah...
 

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91 Camry DX 5-Speed 3SFE, 88 Camry Base Auto
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's an update:

After committing several dozen OSHA violations in the process of getting the lift to match my stand, it's on here. So far, the manifold has been removed and I'm currently in the process of removing the old wiring harness.

I don’t believe that I'll need the oil cooler portion of this due to it going into a manual trans car, but I could be wrong. In the morning, I'll go dig through both scrap motors I have and take what else is needed in preparation.

I also never realized what kind of torque these cars had till we pulled my brother's Explorer with Bumblebee. It was very surprising and very satisfying. It didn't damage the tow hooks nor pull the unibody frame out. Five years of ownership and these things still never ceases to amaze me.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Gas Engineering Auto part
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Another Update to this:

We pulled off the valve cover and noticed all of this gunk in it. So, I may need a second opinion on this head. When I pulled the plug from the third cylinder, I think, it had a lot of brown ish gunk. The other three are fine. I'll post additional pictures in the morning.

Again, I'm not a mechanic, so I'm a bit on the cautious side on how to feel about it. This motor would be going into my 91 after all.

Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive exterior Gas Automotive fuel system
 

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Very poorly maintained you should do a compression test. Good chance the valve stem seals are baked, since you have the engine out of the car and the manifolds will be off you can replace the seals them without removing the head.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Very poorly maintained you should do a compression test. Good chance the valve stem seals are baked, since you have the engine out of the car and the manifolds will be off you can replace the seals them without removing the head.
I'll look into it. I pulled the intake manifold off that night. Injectors are off alonside the fuel rail. Old wiring harness has been pulled along with the distributor. Seeing this much crud on the back makes me raise an eyebrow about the condition of the head gasket though. It was obvious that they didn't seal the valve cover off correctly since it was easy to get off. Might just be me overthinking things again.

Photo for reference:
Wood Motor vehicle Gas Auto part Engineering


I will never understand what's hard about doing regular oil changes on these motors. Even the 3SFE in the car now doesn't have this much burned oil. But for this thing to have sat in the weather as long as it has, it doesn't really surprise me. I'm about to pull the old AC compressor and waterpump.

Thanks again brother. In the end, I do not want to do this half baked. If everything goes correctly, it'll be painted to match the interior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'll get them ordered in about a week then begin the process. Got to order a new oil pump for the swap while I'm at it. I have everything else, both leftover new ones from the work done on the 88 Camry, and another box on the side. Did find out that the oil pump gasket itself was also compromised. Just the valves was an unexpected consequence of this.
 

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Can't tell if the HG is leaking or not the oil has been on the engine a very long time. Head gasket is not an issue with these engines unless there is a serious overheat condition then it's game over the HG will be cooked. Sometimes they leak coolant sometimes oil or both. I have a 5S right now that was severely over heated there are no oil or coolant leaks externally but it's pushing oil and exhaust gases into the radiator.
 
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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
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Shell Rotella T6 in 5W40 will clean up the inside of the motor fairly well and slowly over a few oil changes. It does look pretty questionable in there though... I'd still probably do a full external re-seal and leave internals alone as much as possible.

The oil on the back of the block looks like it came from the valve cover gasket, no worries there.

I've been away from the FE heads so long I forget how bad the valve stem seals can be... At least that doesn't ruin a motor - it is mostly just an annoying smoke show on startup.

-Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Can't tell if the HG is leaking or not the oil has been on the engine a very long time. Head gasket is not an issue with these engines unless there is a serious overheat condition then it's game over the HG will be cooked. Sometimes they leak coolant sometimes oil or both. I have a 5S right now that was severely over heated there are no oil or coolant leaks externally but it's pushing oil and exhaust gases into the radiator.
You saying that reminds me of when I almost blew the head gasket on the 88 Camry. Timing was off quite a bit, so it overheated constantly, but still ran. That has been fixed though. Still would use coolant till I got a bottle of K-Seal, has since 'fixed' the problem. Running fine now, though I'm still monitoring it like a hawk.


Shell Rotella T6 in 5W40 will clean up the inside of the motor fairly well and slowly over a few oil changes. It does look pretty questionable in there though... I'd still probably do a full external re-seal and leave internals alone as much as possible.

The oil on the back of the block looks like it came from the valve cover gasket, no worries there.

I've been away from the FE heads so long I forget how bad the valve stem seals can be... At least that doesn't ruin a motor - it is mostly just an annoying smoke show on startup.

-Charlie
That's the plan, to not dig into it no more than I have to. It's really not going to matter about the smoke, since it's straight-piped and, at the time, was cheaper to run a header. So it has a free flow exhaust. Might get some bashing over that decision, but it’s where she got her namesake from. It's helped with the gas mileage too.

I'll take the guidance you guys have lended to me in regards of the decision to make. I still have to pull parts from the blown 3SFE motor I have on hand, but it’s for a weekend ahead, and when I get the money to order more parts. This little project has been fun so far.
 

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Just a note, I had to swap the dipstick tube from my 3S over, as the 5S tube from a 92 Camry would hit the 3S exhaust manifold. That's a fun one to knock out. Also, had to swap the oil pickup as I could not use the '92 Camry oil pan (clearance around sway bar IIRC) and cut one of the two mounts. Other things are changed that are minor and will make sense when you run across it.
 
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