Builds 1988 Toyota pickup completed 2tr-fe swap writeup

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Oct 8, 2022
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Kansas City MO
Hello guys! so I have noticed that during the research phase of my 2tr-fe swap there is pretty much no info about this swap other than 1 post on the yotatechs form from 2019 with a lot of info missing, so I figured I should pass along what I have learned. to date I have about 20,000ish miles on my swap my truck is more of a roadtrip/"overland" build so it sees a lot of highway miles, its also my daily driver. so some preliminary info, to do this swap I highly recommend finding a donor truck. In the states the 2.7L 2TR-FE is used in the 2005-present tacoma and the 2010 only base model 4runner, but you probably wont run across one of those. If you are considering a swap in either a 2wd truck or a ifs 4wd look into another swap, the 2tr has a 2 piece cast aluminum and steel oil pan that will not clear the 2wd/ifs 4wd frames. My truck has been SASed and there is not a whole lot of room in-between the steering linkage and the oil pan.
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so this is the truck before the swap during a 2,600 mile trip from Kansas city to new Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado (this pic was taken in Colorado) this trip is what made me decide to do the swap. the 22re was ok on the mostly flat low altitude highways in the Midwest, but it just didn't have enough power to drive in the mountains.
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this was when I was removing the 22re pretty much immediately after I got home from my 2600 mile road trip.
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the donor engine. this engine is from a 2015 tacoma, however the donor truck is a 2010.
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the donor engine removed. in this picture you can see me test fitting the w59 bellhousing that is required for the swap.
 
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now onto transmission compatibility. the donor truck was a 5speed manual truck. the 5 speed 4cyl 2nd gen Tacoma's use a r155f transmission. the bellhousing can be used to adapt a 2tr to a v6 transmission however my truck has a w56 and I wanted to keep that. the magic mix of parts needed is a w59 bellhousing from a 2rz/3rz Tacoma, a 3rz flywheel, a 2tr-fe clutch kit, the pickup clutch release fork, and a 2tr-fe clutch slave cylinder. with the exception of 1 bolt everything will line up and bolt together, however the clutch line will have to be shortened as the clutch line is swapped from the passenger side to the drivers side.
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now for engine mounts. the short block of the 2tr-fe is basically identical to the 3rz so at least in theory 3rz swap mounts will fit. However for me, air conditioning was non negotiable and the drivers side 3rz swap bracket was going to be in the way of the A/C compressor. so what I did was I bolted new 22re motor mounts to the factory 2tr motor mount brackets, then I attached a piece of 1/4" steel to the bottom, centered the engine in the frame so the compressor would clear the frame along with the exhaust manifold. Its a tight fit, but it will fit. after I welded the top of the bracket I cut triangle shaped reinforcement plates and welded them in to reinforce the brackets. the truck has done some pretty hard wheeling and the brackets have held up so far.
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Nice Job and I know it's a lot of work, many things almost fit, lol I decided to go the Hilux 2LTE Turbo with a full time auto 4X4 because more room & more power. Truck was a gas model so everything was fabricated but I didn't cut any body metal other than removing the rear transmission mount and making new. Good on Diesel too.
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I did consider a diesel swap but I wanted to keep it all Toyota and I didn't want something that was difficult to source parts for, and its kinda nice knowing that if I need 2tr parts they are readily available since they are still in production.
 
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alright so continuing the writeup, accessories. power steering was surprisingly easy to hook up. the 22r power steering pressure hose threaded right into the 2tr pump. A/C is a huge pain in the ass to hook up. the factory line set from the Tacoma is too big and does not fit next to the frame. I ended up having to cut the fittings and I had a coworker tig weld them back together. for the air box I decided to use a 3.4 v6 air box as it fits in the correct spot and has a very easy to replace air filter and I am not a fan of K&N style filters. the fuel system was interesting the 2tr has 5/16 aka 8mm nylon lines that run to the fuel rail with quick disconnect fittings. I ended up buying a fuel filter for a ford taurus and a roll of nylon fuel line, a line splice, and a 5/16 quick connect 90 and tied it into the factory pickup sending unit. the factory 22re fuel pump seems to be be sufficient for the 2tr, but if it ever dies I will probably throw a Tacoma pump into the tank. for the cooling system I am running a ebay special v6 truck full aluminum radiator with a radiator fan off of a 3.4 v6. I used the 2tr lower rad hose as the new upper hose and the 2tr upper hose works as the new lower rad hose. I used the rubber 90 degree lower rad hose from the T stat to a tube that wraps around the compressor, for the lower radiator hose. basically the same setup Toyota used on the 22r.

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I did consider a diesel swap but I wanted to keep it all Toyota and I didn't want something that was difficult to source parts for, and its kinda nice knowing that if I need 2tr parts they are readily available since they are still in production.
Understand that, I stayed all Toyota too and so far parts are available online and PRICY! The Hilux is common in Australia, Japan and the far east . If you notice in the picture the battery is between the firewall and motor sitting on the factory battery box base, lots of room to play with. Toyota's Hilux motor trans is legendary for toughness, some guy on Youtube tried to destroy one if your interested.
 
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now onto wiring, what is quite possibly the biggest pain in the ass and the scariest part of this swap for most people. so thankfully Toyota was pretty kind and the 2tr engine harness is pretty self contained and has most of the things you need for it to run. however what I learned is the engine harness plugged into the Tacoma's under hood fuse box and that is tied into the Tacoma dash harness and BCM. I really did not want to do a complete wiring harness swap to my truck, so I bough a universal under hood fuse box/relay kit to run the engine. I ended up using 5 relays and 6 fuses. the relays are fuel pump, A/F heater, starter, EFI, and a/c compressor. you will also need to swap in the Tacoma gas pedal as the 2tr is fly by wire. My truck has a sr5 cluster and I was able to make work with the exception of the temp gauge. the ecu outputs a tach signal and if you do the 10k ohm resistor mod to the factory tach it will work. I swapped in the sr5 oil pressure sender into the 2tr. they use the same thread pitch so its plug and play.

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Understand that, I stayed all Toyota too and so far parts are available online and PRICY! The Hilux is common in Australia, Japan and the far east . If you notice in the picture the battery is between the firewall and motor sitting on the factory battery box base, lots of room to play with. Toyota's Hilux motor trans is legendary for toughness, some guy on Youtube tried to destroy one if your interested.
oh I know. I have a "L" diesel out of a 82 pickup at my parent's house from a 82 pickup so I am pretty knowledgeable about the Toyota L series diesel engines. parts availability on short notice is why I went with the 2tr. I put roughly 40k miles on my truck per year and I don't want to be stranded somewhere trying to source some non U.S. spec engine part.
 
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OH how I remember that cluster F ! Many sleepless nights thinking about wires and connections. Is your ECU still mounted under the dash? I moved mine bc my back can't take it anymore twisted up lke a pretzel. Are you happy with the power to weight ratio now? Enjoy!
 
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Nice! Thanks for posting so others can benefit. Get ready for PM's asking for part numbers or more details.

I put a 3.4 in my 88 and had to use a 3.0 fan because the 3.4 fan is bigger than my radiator. Does your hood close with that radiator sticking up that high?
 
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OH how I remember that cluster F ! Many sleepless nights thinking about wires and connections. Is your ECU still mounted under the dash? I moved mine bc my back can't take it anymore twisted up lke a pretzel. Are you happy with the power to weight ratio now? Enjoy!
it was fun haha. my ecu fits in the factory location. the 2tr-fe ecu and 22re ecu are almost exactly the same size.
 
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so a little more wiring info. To install the OBDII port you will need to pull the canbus terminator from the donor truck. its buried in the dash next to the radio. unplug everything but the plug to the ecu and the plug that goes to the obdII port. Cruise control is actually pretty straightforward and easy to install. the factory vehicle speed sensor in the back of the gauge cluster actually provides the correct speed signal to the ecu. after that you just need the factory dash switches and a few resistors to emulate the Tacoma cruise switch and you are good to go. it works exactly like a modern car cruise control system. I can bump the switch to make it go 1mph slower or faster. It is really nice to have for long road trips.
 
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Nice! Thanks for posting so others can benefit. Get ready for PM's asking for part numbers or more details.

I put a 3.4 in my 88 and had to use a 3.0 fan because the 3.4 fan is bigger than my radiator. Does your hood close with that radiator sticking up that high?
I had to notch the hood so the radiator cap would fit, but yes it shuts.
 
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That's quite a project. Way to go! I looked up the HP for this engine, says 158. Just a bit more than the 3.slow..
 
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That's quite a project. Way to go! I looked up the HP for this engine, says 158. Just a bit more than the 3.slow..
they are not power monsters from the factory but the 2tr does make an extra 42 ft-lbs of torque and 42 more hp. the 2tr-fe also takes boost really really well. you can easily get another 100hp out of it with a turbo or super charger.
 
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Nice job! I've thought about doing this, or a 3RZ, if my 3VZ ever gives up the ghost. I'd be interested to see what fuel mileage you get since the pickup is a tad lighter than a Tacoma.
 
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