Building an IS350 6MT

Discussion in 'Garage Talk - Other Cars' started by Jeff Lange, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Jeff Lange

    Jeff Lange Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    Jeff
    Car(s):
    AE86, GSE21
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    Posts:
    175
    Liked:
    648
    Occupation:
    Engineering Student
    I contemplated making this in the garage section, but I figured it made more sense as a thread, since that's the format I kept it in while documenting the build. I spent years waiting and researching before I started this project at the end of 2015. I almost sold the car and was extremely close to ordering a 2016 BMW M235i 6MT but ultimately was soured by something almost inconsequential (the seat material) and so decided to give a bit of new life to my existing Lexus IS.

    It's of particular relevance in regard to the new Supra and it's (potential) unavailability with a manual transmission. I am really hoping that at least one of the Z4 models comes with a manual transmission to pilfer pedals and hydraulics for that particular swap... but onto the Lexus...

    The car started as a 2011 IS250 6MT that I bought in December, 2010 and over the years I have done a lot of changes to the car, including F-Sport/IS F suspension, LSD, a few computers (namely power steering) and exterior parts (spoilers, side skirts, headlights, etc.). Still, this is the biggest change I've done for sure.

    And so it begins!

    roadtrip_side1.jpg
    late_rear2.jpg
    late_front1.jpg
    interior2.jpg
    engine2.jpg
    new_lines1.jpg
    4gr_remove1.jpg
    4gr_remove2.jpg
    wiring1.jpg
    new_parts1.jpg
    pressure_plate1.jpg

    4GR-FSE successfully removed. Now to swap over any parts that I want to keep onto the used engine and need to finish modifying the engine-side of the wiring harness for the manual transmission. :) My attempts to find a larger clutch disc that would fit the 4GR pressure plate and flywheel had failed at this point (had hoped a 7M-GTE/1JZ-GTE clutch disc or 5VZ-FE clutch disc would work, they don't), so I stuck with a stock-sized 236mm clutch disc.

    Of note: the RA62 is in reality, quite a large transmission.

    4gr_removed2.jpg
    4gr_removed3.jpg

    Looking over the engine when I got it, I noticed a few things that looked pretty clean, but didn't think too much about it other than it looked like the heads had likely been rebuilt at one point or another. But looking at it again today, it looked like the timing cover (which I was planning on swapping from my old engine) had been recently replaced, which was interesting, and upon closer inspection it looks like the shortblock has also been replaced relatively recently, as indicated by both it's cleanliness and the fact that it has no engine number stamped on the block. (I also ran the VIN through the Lexus service history and saw indications of engine work less than 10,000km before the current mileage).

    So it looks like this was a very good find for a used engine, a lot of new parts going on up in here.

    2gr_prep1.jpg
    2gr_number1.jpg

    Started swapping everything I wanted to keep from my original engine over to the new engine, as expected the used engine looks even cleaner inside than my original engine, pretty rare when buying a used engine! I got a pretty amazing deal to be honest.

    2gr_inside1.jpg
    2gr_inside2.jpg

    Also finally got the final clamps and brackets required to get the port injection feed line installed into the car.

    feed_line1.jpg
    feed_line2.jpg
    feed_line3.jpg

    So here it sits, hoping to get the engine back into the car next week!

    swap_bay1.jpg
    swap_bay2.jpg

    So things are now finally coming together with the transmission and clutch bolted up and the engine harness, which I finished modifying and cleaning up yesterday, being installed on the engine. The new fuel feed line has been connected to the tank as well.

    2gr_ra62.jpg
    2gr_harness1.jpg

    I got the wiring harness almost completely installed before getting the engine back into the car. There's definitely a lot less going on in the bay now though!

    2gr_harness2.jpg
    2gr_install1.jpg
    2gr_install2.jpg
    2gr_incar1.jpg
    2gr_incar2.jpg
    interior1.jpg
    swap_bay3.jpg

    Engine is now basically assembled, save for a hose.

    2gr_incar3.jpg
    2gr_incar4.jpg

    So I figured now that the car has actually driven with a 3.5L engine, I can legit change the nameplate on the back.

    is350_emblem1.jpg

    I had really wanted to go with the GS350/RC350 2-piece 14-inch brakes, but I didn't want to be forced to run 18-inch wheels in the winter (plus needing 2 new sets of wheels, 2 new sets of tires, a new spare wheel and tire, etc.), and so I stuck with the 4-piston aluminum monoblock caliper 13-inch brakes from the IS350/GS350 that will clear 17-inch wheels. They're more than enough for what I do with the car, if it ever becomes a track car that may change, who knows. :) I'm using the stock F-Sport/high-friction Textar T4146 brake pads, they dust a lot, but the initial bite they provide combined with the low noise is a fantastic combination.

    brake_parts1.jpg
    brake_installed1.jpg

    I spent a month or so dealing with various electrical issues, some to deal with differences between the ECU and the car and so on. It was a bit more specific than I was expecting in some cases. At this point, during my testing and troubleshooting I managed to put approximately 1,000km on the car. It was even more fun than I thought it would be. I've driven a few cars with the 2GR-FSE including the IS, GS and RC and mine is by far the most fun. Love the manual transmission and the extra rev-ability that the 2GR has over the 4GR almost (almost) made me forget it had a dual mass flywheel at this point.

    AT this point it was really fun to drive, really. Though I drove for the first couple of weeks without ABS, VSC or TRAC and then a few weeks without some other stuff including cruise, but it was all coming together.

    2gr_incar5.jpg
    Sorry it's so dirty!

    After a few weeks the new reprogrammed computer showed up last week and I got that installed, added a relay, and rewired the starting circuits to work properly.

    new_parts3.jpg
    added_relay1.jpg
    2gr_incar6.jpg

    After a couple of hours of test driving the night I installed the ECU, I headed out for the weekend on a 2,500km (1,550 mile) trip through the mountains to properly test everything and give the car a good shakedown. Beyond a couple of minor issues, I declared the swap completed. I figured I'd make a couple of enhancements to a few things over the next few months, but nothing too major. I'm happy with the feel of the clutch and flywheel, though I had decided to look into a custom flywheel at some point if I had any issues with the dual mass springs holding up to the increased torque.

    At this point I was happy to finally present the world's first (to my knowledge), LHD IS350 6MT:

    trip1.jpg
    trip3.jpg
    trip2.jpg

    After driving it for a bit I finally got the new tires on the car, Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R. I've run a few different tires on the car over the years and these seem to be, so far, about the best I've had on it.

    exterior1.jpg
    interior1.jpg
    exterior2.jpg
    interior2.jpg
    exterior3.jpg

    I also took a video of the car starting up inside:



    At this point I had driven the car about 20,000 km over about a year and in that time I decided that while the clutch setup isn't terrible, it could use improving.

    yyc_event2.jpg

    After spending some time thinking about options and designing a new flywheel, I found what I've put together what I was looking for. My new flywheel is chromoly steel and weighs about 2/3 of what the factory dual-mass flywheel weighs. While it is lighter, it still has some weight to it.

    flywheel1.jpg
    flywheel2.jpg

    I am using an Aisin NVR 250mm clutch disc with a larger inner and outer diameter and a much larger sprung hub. I've used the NVR clutch discs in a few of my other cars and always been very happy with the way they drive. I will be keeping my existing pressure plate for now, but with the larger clutch disc, it should hold about 20-25 ft-lbs more torque while maintaining the same pedal effort.

    flywheel_clutch1.jpg

    After installation, it was a much lighter, rev-happy experience, but it's not crazy light and so does still drive very smooth, as a Lexus should. Additionally I did replace the 3.91:1 Torsen T2 differential setup with a low mileage 4.10:1 T2 to give me a bit more gearing advantage and did a few other items here and there as well.

    Original Dual-Mass Flywheel (120,000 km, 20k of which was with the 2GR-FSE), still in spec, but heavy:
    flywheel_original.jpg

    New Aisin NVR clutch disc beside previous TSB-updated clutch disc. More torque capacity:
    clutch_compare1.jpg

    GRMN clutch line/hose setup with no accumulator to replace my previous pieced-together setup:
    clutch_line1.jpg
    clutch_line2.jpg

    4.10:1 Torsen T2 Limited Slip Differential:
    zn6_diff1.jpg

    In an effort to freshen-up but also increase a bit of the tight feeling of the car, I went ahead and replaced a few of the bushings/mounts on the car. I carefully considered which engine mounts to go with and almost went with the Megan ones, but I just couldn't get enough confirmation about their characteristics to make the leap.

    2GR/6MT engine mounts / GRMN transmission mount (stiffer than 4GR):
    engine_trans_mounts.jpg

    Replacement shifter bushings:
    shifter1.jpg

    TRD differential mounts/stoppers (front upper/lower and rear solid rubber instead of liquid-filled):
    trd_diff1.jpg
    trd_diff2.jpg

    IS-F rear subframe mounts (stiffer than ISx50 stuff):
    subframe1.jpg

    Overall, the car feels fantastic at this point, I am still considering other ways to improve its performance, however now that I am back in school things will likely progress a bit slower. :(

    Jeff
     
    waleed, SPMS, Nurburgring and 3 others like this.
  2. Guff

    Guff Moderator
    Staff Member

    Car(s):
    FR-S, BRZ, Supra, Mini Cooper
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    Posts:
    925
    Liked:
    3,505
    Garage Profiles:
    1
    So glad you posted this here Jeff! Honestly, you got the best IS in the country and you gotta let me have a go in it! :p
     
    Jeff Lange likes this.
  3. OP
    OP
    Jeff Lange

    Jeff Lange Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    Jeff
    Car(s):
    AE86, GSE21
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    Posts:
    175
    Liked:
    648
    Occupation:
    Engineering Student
    Thanks, appreciate it. What state are you in?

    Jeff
     
  4. Guff

    Guff Moderator
    Staff Member

    Car(s):
    FR-S, BRZ, Supra, Mini Cooper
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    Posts:
    925
    Liked:
    3,505
    Garage Profiles:
    1
    Illinois! Not too far from old Canadia! :cool:
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Jeff Lange

    Jeff Lange Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    Jeff
    Car(s):
    AE86, GSE21
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    Posts:
    175
    Liked:
    648
    Occupation:
    Engineering Student
    Interesting, well I've been through before, but not often. If I am ever near, I'll shoot you a message. :)

    Jeff
     
    Guff likes this.
  6. RyleyMA61

    RyleyMA61 Well-Known Member

    Car(s):
    lots
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    Posts:
    847
    Liked:
    1,924
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    BUILD THREADS

    How I have missed them!

    Can't wait to read through properly. Looks like a lovely fastidious build too.
     
    Jeff Lange and Guff like this.
  7. metzger

    metzger Well-Known Member

    Car(s):
    IS350F
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2016
    Location:
    WA
    Posts:
    215
    Liked:
    376
    I love this swap, nice work. I've probably mentioned it before, but I had a 2nd gen IS250 6MT and then a 3rd gen IS350 F-Sport and while the 3rd gen was a great car, the 2nd gen with the 6MT, even with the 250, was so much more fun. I bet it's awesome with the added power.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Jeff Lange

    Jeff Lange Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    Jeff
    Car(s):
    AE86, GSE21
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    Posts:
    175
    Liked:
    648
    Occupation:
    Engineering Student
    I agree and people think I'm crazy. I had a ton of fun with my car when it was just an IS250. Way more than in IS350's I drove.

    Jeff
     
  9. bogglo

    bogglo Well-Known Member

    Car(s):
    Lexus GS
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2017
    Location:
    california
    Posts:
    112
    Liked:
    179
    #9 Aug 10, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2018
    Just curious did anyone at Toyota ever contact you to talk about this build?
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Jeff Lange

    Jeff Lange Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    Jeff
    Car(s):
    AE86, GSE21
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    Posts:
    175
    Liked:
    648
    Occupation:
    Engineering Student
    They did not.

    Wouldn't mind if they did though.

    Jeff
     
    bogglo likes this.
  11. Nurburgring

    Nurburgring Well-Known Member

    Car(s):
    911 Turbo, M3 E46, S2000, Mazda FC3S & FD3S, EK9 Type R, AE86, Evo7RS, F3 race car
    Joined:
    May 3, 2018
    Location:
    Chile
    Posts:
    92
    Liked:
    252
    Great work!

    When do you start shipping the Supra manual conversions?
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Jeff Lange

    Jeff Lange Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    Jeff
    Car(s):
    AE86, GSE21
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    Posts:
    175
    Liked:
    648
    Occupation:
    Engineering Student
    I expect it will take a bit of time after they come out, but if Toyota doesn't do it, I plan on it. We'll see.

    If manufacturers won't do manual transmissions moving forward, someone will need to start!

    Jeff
     
    SPMS and Nurburgring like this.

Share This Page