2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
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Kozuto_98
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2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

20210209_184228_HDR.jpg
Last week I picked up a 1997 Corolla as a donor car for a future 4A-FE swap.
I was hoping that this corolla had the 7A-FE but there was a lot of mismatched parts so I wasn't sure until I got it home.

I already understand a lot of the difficulties this swap has and I do have plans on how to overcome them.

My main concern is getting the wiring correct. The donor car is an automatic so I will need to sort that out. I am also having some trouble finding
a wiring diagram for these Tercels. I would like to use both the diagrams of the 3A-C harness and 4A-FE harness and mix together what needs
to be wired in.

In terms of the distributor I am planning on going for a Link AtomX G4 ecu and getting a COP kit.
To sort out the intake manifold, I will be converting to an ITB setup from SMR2U which is meant for 7A-FE and 4A-FE heads.
For the exhaust routing I plan on cutting and hacking the original manifold and down pipe to clear the steering and starter.
I have yet to decide how I'll route stuff like the coolant tubing.

I've read 83toybeater's thread on his swap, which was very informative.

I don't plan on doing the swap right away as I want to have everything ready to go with a solid plan before I start.
Plus I want to do a rebuild of the 4A-FE motor since this example has done a lot of km's
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dlb
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by dlb »

this thread may be useful to you, not sure if you've seen it yet:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=11237

I think I remember one or two other people swapping 4afe's in but can't find the threads right now. Maybe others here will remember better.

Btw, I've had a half dozen Corolla's with 4afe's in them and I like them a lot. Nothing fancy, just a solid, reliable, fuel efficient engine. Just like I like it.
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

Just took a look at that thread. I really like how teranfirbt did the exhaust manifold.
I'll probably do something similar with routing the coolant to the radiator. I'm thinking of trying to run some steel tubing
from the back around under the intake manifold. Might not work out but might be worth a try.
Hopefully the 2nd gen valve cover has the oil cap lower.

Thanks for bringing that thread to my attention, it was very informative!
1987 Tercel Wagon SR5 4WD
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

Giving a quick update to this thread.
This info is for using a Link G4X AtomX ecu to convert the 4A-FE (5A and 7A should be roughly the same) to coil on plug.

Coil packs:
Looking at what coil packs to use, most 16v and 20v 4A-GE folk use either 1NZ-FE or 1ZZ-FE coil packs.
The bore of the plug tubes seems to be about the same, but the plastic on the coil packs will need to be sanded to fit the bore.
1NZ-FE coil packs can be a little more expensive new, but can be found in the Echo and earlier Yaris models.
1ZZ-FE coil packs are cheaper, and may have a stronger spark. These can be found in E110 & E120 Corolla, 7th gen Celica GT,
ZZW30 MR2/MRS, Matrix, and Pontiac Vibe.
I'd recommend pulling the coil packs from a junk yard so you can get the connectors to go along with them!
You'll also need to make a mounting plate for the coil packs.

Crank Position:
Going off the conversion kit for 20v and 16v 4A-GE motors, it would appear that the Link ecu can use the factory crank position sensor
for triggering the coil packs.
I was worried that I might have to rig up something, but as far as I can tell this doesn't seem to be the case.
One thing to note when using a base map is depending on the map's triggering, you may need to add an offset of 180 degrees for the
engine to fire properly.

Cam Position:
The factory cam position sensor is located inside the distributor, so you'll need to keep part of it. Covers do exist but these are meant for
20v and 16V 4A-GE motors. Making a custom one shouldn't be too much of a hassle and depending on the motor, the 4A-GE cover from
MRP might fit. Do not take my word on that last bit as I am not 100% on that.
https://www.mrpltd.co.nz/product/4age-20v-cas-cover/
https://www.mrpltd.co.nz/product/4age-16v-cas-cover/

One final not about using a Link ecu for this setup is you will also need a separate O2 sensor controller so the Link ecu can
read the signaling. So far it seems the best bet is to go for a controller from Innovative.
https://www.innovatemotorsports.com/products/lc2.php

Hopefully this info helps whoever else is interested in doing a 4A, 5A, or 7A swap and wants to go coil on plug.
I'll be sure to give an in depth update on how I wired in everything when the time comes!
1987 Tercel Wagon SR5 4WD
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

Got another quick bit of info regarding this swap.
This more or less has to do with making room for the distributor and also some ecu options.
If you have the manual transmission ecu some of this may not be a concern, but if you are in my shoes aftermarket would be a good choice.

ecu options:
If cost is not a concern, the Haltech Elite 550 / 750 or the Link G4X AtomX are great options. Both have a great range of base maps and
extensive amounts of info to read up on for help. The Link especially in this case due to how much it is used in 4A-GE applications.
If cost is somewhat a concern, Megasquirt is a great choice.
If keeping cost low is a must, I would look towards the Speeduino platform.

Depending on pricing and availability I may be switching from the Link ecu to a Speeduino. I'll update this thread as I progress in this project.

Distributor options:
If you're ok with cutting into the firewall of your Tercel, keeping the stock location on the 4A-FE is the easiest way to make the swap work.
If going coil on plug doesn't suit your project, there are some other solutions that may work out.
a0f9uXt.png
One method of relocating the distributor is to drive it off the cam gear, like seen here on this 20v 4A-GE.
I personally like this method the most as it's fairly straight forward and elegant.
You'd need to build a bracket, 2 pulleys of the same size (1:1 ratio), and of course find a belt suited for the application.
I should also point out heat shielding for the distributor is probably a good safety due to how close it is to the exhaust.
A longer bolt for the cam gear is probably also required.

file.png
This method again uses a cam gear to drive the distributor. I'm not exactly sure how the person has the distributor mounted
to stay in place but this seems to work too. this may or may not work in the Tercel depending on how much space up front there is.

I found both of these solutions here
https://www.toymods.org.au/forums/threa ... -4AFE-7Afe

If converting to coil on plug proves to be too involved, I may opt for the belt driven distributor.
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by drafting3d »

Hey Kozuto
Nice info. I am also interested in an engine swap in the future. (later gen 7afe due to availability here)
I have seen a few very interesting ideas online over the years but nothing in person.
I have owned an AE95r (Corolla All-trac Wagon) with the 4afe and it was very very solid. It survived 3 years of limiter bashing shifts and gravel roads in Tasmania (Australia)
The only issue I ever had was replacing the coolant hoses and heater hoses etc, they were perished and did seep a bit. I put in an array of sensors for datalogging, just for fun. The 7afe has a knock sensor too.

For my engine I am looking at something like this:
https://technotoytuning.com/toyota/ae86 ... nt-adapter
Would this then enable you to mount a CAS and run distributorless ignition possibly?
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

drafting3d wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:14 pm Hey Kozuto
Nice info. I am also interested in an engine swap in the future. (later gen 7afe due to availability here)
I have seen a few very interesting ideas online over the years but nothing in person.
I have owned an AE95r (Corolla All-trac Wagon) with the 4afe and it was very very solid. It survived 3 years of limiter bashing shifts and gravel roads in Tasmania (Australia)
The only issue I ever had was replacing the coolant hoses and heater hoses etc, they were perished and did seep a bit. I put in an array of sensors for datalogging, just for fun. The 7afe has a knock sensor too.

For my engine I am looking at something like this:
https://technotoytuning.com/toyota/ae86 ... nt-adapter
Would this then enable you to mount a CAS and run distributorless ignition possibly?
From the looks of it I'd assume yes. For coil on plug you'd also need a trigger signal from the cam, in the case of the 7A-FE and 4A-FE that can be
pulled from inside the distributor. Both the stock crank and cam sensors are VR sensors and depending on what engine management you
use, the stock sensors should work fine.
The factory CAS is located behind the damper.

https://www.toymods.org.au/forums/threa ... -4AFE-7Afe
This thread is a good read.

I'll point out that most of the info I researched so far is based off converting a 20V 4A-GE to coil on plug, but it seems that doing the same
to a 4A-FE or 7A-FE should follow the same general process. The Link G4X AtomX ecu seems to be the easier route for coil on plug as far
as I can tell. That setup on 20V 4A-GE setups uses the stock sensors.

The corolla all-tracs are really cool cars, my mom used to drive one and it's the car I learned stick in!

I'll be sure to give more updates on using coil on plug as I make progress with this swap so make sure to check back!
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

Giving another update on some information I've pulled together for ignition related stuff.
I'll point out that I'll be doing everything on the Speeduino platform because the cost of the Link ecu would have been too costly.

For anyone reading this in the future and wants to know more on the Speeduino platform, please visit their wiki, it's amazing!
https://wiki.speeduino.com/en/home

Keeping the distributor:
Like I've mentioned above I'll be keeping the distributor and relocating it to the belt driven setup.
With this setup I'll be keeping the factory igniter, or at least I'll try to.
Here's what the setup will look like.
Screenshot 2021-02-15 135211.png
This setup still requires an ignition module, and the Speeduino wiki recommends using the Bosch 124 module, but I think the factory one should work.
Screenshot 2021-02-14 221544.png
Here is a pinout of the factory igniter. (I know this is for a 5S-FE but it is the same part number used on the 4A-FE and probably 7A-FE)
Looking at these 2 diagrams, it seems that pin 2 will need to feed to IGN1 on the Speeduino,
pin 3 will need to feed from 12v switched, pin 4 could be used to drive the factory Tach (board adjustments on the tach pending),
and pin 5 will feed to the coil inside the distributor.
I have yet to figure out where to ground the igniter, but I'll update this when I do.

Factory igniter for COP:
An idea crossed my mind when looking at the igniter pinout.
It may be possible to drive a COP setup with the igniter. I personally and not too sure on that but if anyone has any ideas
please feel free to chime in!

Another idea popped into my head today, but I'm again unsure how this would work out.
It may be possible to rig up the wasted spark system seen on later 5E-FE motors (5th gen Tercels, 2nd gen Paseos).
I'll have to do some more reading to see if that idea will work.
Again, feel free to chime in on that idea if you have any input.
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Petros »

You got an interesting build going on. It will be fun to watch it come together. the 4afe engine is a great up grade for the Tercel4wd, it is very economical, reliable and has a great power curve with a remarkable flat topped torque curve profile. with a few tweaks it could be made even better.

a few observations:

Exhaust manifold: I do not know what is available, but there are fairly cheap stainless headers avilable from importers on Ebay and Amazon for most model of totals. Get one for the corolla, typically only about $140 or so, just to get the flange and all of the sensor mounts. cut it up and use the parts to build one up to fit the 4afe in the Tercel, seems like the easiest way to go. Having a custom header made is likely around $900-1000 in a header shop, so starting out with one already for this engine, even if not for the Tercel, seems like it might save a lot of costs. you also might see if there is an exahaust manifold for a turbo charger set up for this engine, not as good a fully custom header, but it should be easy to just put a flange and single down tube on it, like some have done for the 4age to Tercel4wd conversion.

Distributor: I love the modern distributorless ignition sets up, clean and simple. I would personally want to go with a distributorless ignition with the 4 coil set up, it is more modern and should be fairly simple to rig up in the 4afe. it eliminates a lot of mechanical parts and de-clutters the engine compartment. it seems to me making the parts to Jerry rig the stock distributor to the front of the engine would be costly and may be troublesome to work out, while the distributorless set up should be a clean bolt on solution. That exposed cog belt is a really bad idea in a car you intend to take off road, sand and grit would grind it away and you would have to replace it often. I would think you should be able to buy all the parts you need for a distrubutorless set up from a wrecking yard as well, making the conversion cost less, and you will have a source of spare parts. Something you should investigate is how reliable the coil packs are, my daughter drove a Suzuki wagon when she was in collage (nice car with a pretty good all aluminum twin cam 16 v 1.8L engine) that also uses the distirutorless set up. But those small coils would fail after about 100k miles, I kept having to replace them as the car approached 160k miles, they struck me as rather fragile and lasted about as long as the spark plugs. They may be a different brand or type, but OTHO, the honda civic we drive, and my wife's Lexus both uses them, and they so far have been flawless and maintenance free, both are about at 155k miles. So it may be worth seeing if coil either set up you are considering has reliability issues.

the ECU: although the programmable ECU is interesting, and allows you to optimize the engine out put to match your needs or desires (for my own daily driver I would go for max fuel economy!), but even the "economical" after market ECU adds a lot of cost, unless you can find a used on on Ebay or something. It seems to me that going with a suitable factory ECU that you can get from a wrecking yard would not only save money, but it is a reliable system with predictable output, which might be a good idea considering how many other new systems you are having to sort out at the same time with this proposed engine swap/conversion. Once you have the new installation all sorted and working properly, than you can considering installing a programmable aftermarket ECU, it will also give you more time to think through costs, and what your goals are for this engine installation. I can not imagine you will be going for a max hp build, it is a 4afe you are starting with, so why is it necessary to spend the extra money on a programmable aftermarket ECU? or is there a reason I am missing to use a megasquirt on your build?

On the "lost spark" ignition, I do not know anything about them as far as their practical application, but it seems like an interesting way to simplify the signal generator and the whole ignition system. but I do not know if it is a reliable system in practice.

I always advise "KISS" on a new build: keep it simple stupid. you will be facing a lot of unknowns with such a complex build, stay with what you know works, and than after it is up and running, swap out the parts to complete your modern conversion up grades.

Good luck!
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

Thanks for the input Petros!

From my experience with 1ZZ-FE coils they seem to be very reliable. I had a 9th gen Corolla that was nearing 400 Km on the odo that still used the
original coil packs. Not sure if the 1NZ-FE coils are as reliable.

My main reasons for going aftermarket on the ecu is because my donor car is an automatic.
Some junk yards around here are weird with ecu pricing, but if I find a manual ecu for a good price that would keep me from going aftermarket.
I'm only after stock power from the 4A-FE since my transmission has a couple worn out syncros and other possible problems. I could really
use a rebuild.

I'll certainly look into cutting up an aftermarket header. I don't have a gas welder so the final product may look a wee bit ugly but should
function just fine.

Really appreciated the feedback!
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

Had some extra time last night so I tore into the 4A-FE distributor to see what's going on inside.
20210215_181749_HDR.jpg
Seems like this would be the cam sensor, and from what I've gathered is an inductive VR sensor, however it feels magnetic.
I can't really find anything on this being a hall effect sensor.

Seems like this can be used for for a wasted spark setup and probably for sequential firing.

This thread may be worth giving a read
https://www.toyotanation.com/threads/ca ... or.236029/
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

Here is the full pinout sheet I've been going through in order to run a Speeduino ecu with the 4A-FE swap.
I am for sure set on using an aftermarket ecu for this project as I could not locally find a M/T ecu for a decent price.
Spent the good part of last night tearing into the factory wiring harness and taking all non-essential stuff out.
(12V, fuse/relay box, starter stuff, A/T stuff)

I've decided to go the route of relocating the distributor and I have plans on creating a proper dust shield to protect everything.
Thanks to Petros for pointing that out, that gave me some good insight!

The Speeduino currently does not have a specific pin or code for a oil pressure sensor, so I will be using an aftermarket gauge, and or tapping into
the factory Tercel stuff to keep the warning light in the dash.

Here is the full 40 pin map of the Speeduino including color codes. These codes may differ depending on the model and year.
NEW PINNOUT.png
v0_4_board_annotated_1.jpg
I'll create a much more detailed diagram of the complete harness once I have it all made!
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by 82te72 »

I did a 97 4afe swap in my 86 tercel.
Made a custom exhaust, cut and welded the intake (which still doesn't fit under the hood). I opted for cutting a pocket in the firewall for the distributor for mine. I did make contact with someone who made a system to use coils on plug with wasted spark by reading and outputting signals with a arduino and was successful. I used the auto ecu in my swap.

If doing a speeduino you shouldn't need a distributor at all and could easily run a wasted spark setup since the 97 engine should have a crank sensor and I believe speeduino has at least 2 ignition outputs. May have to make a new trigger wheel as I believe the oem one isn't supported by tunerstudio, but it has been a while since I have messed with tuning.

I'm not on here much but feel free to PM me and I can shoot you my email sometime.
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by 82te72 »

Attached are a couple pictures I was able to dig up on my phone.
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Re: 2nd Gen 4A-FE Swap

Post by Kozuto_98 »

82te72 wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 11:07 pm Attached are a couple pictures I was able to dig up on my phone.
Very nice!
How much of the original harness in the car did you need to tap into?
1987 Tercel Wagon SR5 4WD
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