Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Technical info on the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix including do-it-yourself info
jlkwiththree
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Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:51 am

Fortunately my daughter walked away from her totaled 2003 Vibe this past Friday. So I now have an opportunity to build her another one on the cheap. After seeing the damage to her Vibe I am convinced another Vibe is the way to go. It was SMASHED!!!!! and she walked away.

Anyway the engine is still solid and running smooth so I want to pull it and drop it into another one. So I found a great 2003 AWD with a blown motor and plan to start the process this weekend. What I would like advise/guidance on is the best approach and any gotchas. I have done V8 swaps in early cars but never one of these little ones. Both are 1ZZ FE with automatics. So I wonder if:

1) it would be easier to pull the engine and transmission together and split and re-marry on the bench, then reinstall or
2) split them while in the bay and re-marry the same way.

In both cases I plan on removing hoods and pulling the parts from above since I do not have a lift or any safe way to get the cars into the air, which would enable removal from underneath. I also plan on removing the radiator and condenser and other bits that may get in the way.

With option 1 I have concerns about fitting the engine and larger AWD transaxle from the new car out through the top, as well as the challenges associated with the front half shafts that I have read repeated nightmares about.

With option 2 I have concerns about accessibility to fasteners that marry the transaxle to the block. I also have concerns over maneuverability of the block once in the bay to enable proper alignment and preload between the engine and transmission in the new car.

If there is a third option I am all ears. Any advice on options 1 and/or 2 would be appreciated and also whether I will need to mess with PCMs or ECMs.

Thanks!!!!!!
Last edited by jlkwiththree on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KITT222
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby KITT222 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:00 am

Welcome to GenVibe! Glad to hear she walked away from quite the wreck.

The engine should fit perfectly. But I'm pretty certain the AWD transaxle is completely different. If I were doing it, I'd just pulll the engine from the AWD, and mount the still-working engine into the AWD chassis with the transaxle still in the car. A little less convenient, but also less work. There's a good amount of space in the Vibes engine bay, so it might not be too hard. You could start by trying to get the bad engine out of the AWD, and if that's too hard, go with the first option.

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Salsa Guy
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby Salsa Guy » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:03 pm

A any 1zz will fit a 1st Gen Vibe/Matrix/Corolla (and even certain MR2/Celica/Lotus cars with of minor mods) any transmission combo. Yes pulling the 1zz out of the Any 1st gen vibe will fit fine into a 1str Gen AWD Vibe/Matrix
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jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:04 am

Thanks guys. I pick up the AWD car tomorrow and will begin the transplant over the long weekend. I am going to start with option 2 and hope I can find and get to all the bolts and bits. I will be taking my time so that I can clean up the bay in the new car while I have the room. I am also going to drop the oil pan on the doner engine and clean out the oil pick up just to be sure it is clear. This will be fun!

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tpollauf
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby tpollauf » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:27 am

Can't offer much advise here (like you, all I ever did years ago was small block Chevy's in/out of GM F-body cars) BUT I will give you one big "attaboy" for rescuing a wrecked Vibe and putting it back on the road (at least most of it). Keep us informed on all progress & post pics along the way :D
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jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:01 am

Ghost of Dirk1.jpg
The transplant patient.
Ghost of Dirk1.jpg (93.08 KiB) Viewed 3485 times
Dirk the Doner1.jpg
The donor car.
Dirk the Doner1.jpg (113.96 KiB) Viewed 3485 times
Thanks all! So far I have begun the process of taking the donor car apart. Unfortunately the photos of my progress didn't come out. But here are two pictures of the donor and the new car.

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Rayven01
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby Rayven01 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:13 pm

Does having the donor car upside down make it easier to get the engine out? ;)
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jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:43 am

Upside down? LOL! :lol: It looks normal to me on my side. Maybe the admins can take a look at that.

I have another technical question: Does anyone know how many bolts are holding the fly wheel to the torque converter? I want to make sure I get them all....

jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:51 am

Progress is being made. Both engines have been removed. However, to my dismay I discovered the block castings for FWD and AWD cars are different on the 1ZZ engines. :x

AWD cars have 2 extra threaded studs just above the freeze plug at the back of the engine to accept a cast iron mount bracket that connects to the AWD differential (pictures forthcoming). Also there are threaded holes just below the power steering pump that accept bolts that hold another bracket that connects the right side of the ADW differential to the block. I should be able to drill and tap these holes into the FWD engine.

I am too far into this to give up now. Plus I believe there is a solution. I have a few ideas. One is to have a bracket made from 1/4 inch stock that bolts to the diff on one end and will angle over toward the bell housing where two of the bolts that merry the block and transmission will be used to secure the bracket. I had another suggestion to get threaded studs welded to the block, but I don't know enough about that and whether the composition of the block will allow for any kind of welding.

Suggestions welcome. I can't afford another engine (even if I could find one) or a rebuild of the current AWD engine.

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Salsa Guy
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby Salsa Guy » Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:09 pm

I've have not heard of this before. Now I heard the same thing about putting a Vibe/Matrix/Corolla 2zz in a MR2. The are a few spots on the block the need to be drilled and tapped but there are re-enforced areas to do that. Sorry you are having issues, hope you resolve them easily.
05 Matrix XR 4WD and 03 Vibe GT
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jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:07 pm

I got these pics off EBay Motors. Although the blocks in the pictures are upside down you can see the difference. The red circles show where the threaded studs are cast into the block, while the blue circle show where the right side bracket would bolt up. The FDW block pictured here is also slightly different from the one I pulled from my FDW car. Mine looks like the AWD block in the location of the blue circle but without the holes drilled and tapped. Weird.
Attachments
AWD Block.jpg
AWD block
AWD Block.jpg (64.92 KiB) Viewed 3411 times
FWD Block.jpg
FWD Block
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KITT222
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby KITT222 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:29 pm

That's unusual. Definitely not expected. I'm intrigued. And the transfer case (or whatever the proper term is) mounts there? Hmm... Could you make a bracket and mount it to the body of the car, or other places on the block? Based on those pictures, the cast is totally different and probably shouldn't be drilled/tapped.

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Salsa Guy
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby Salsa Guy » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:38 pm

Well I feel like a putz. Sorry dude! Will jack up my car tonight and take a look and maybe suggest a work around. That hole could be tapped but the lower 2 will be interesting.

Sorry again!
05 Matrix XR 4WD and 03 Vibe GT
"If you want Government to solve your problems, then you are the problem!" BMSR
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jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:45 am

I have a medal fab guy coming to the house today to see if he can create something that connects the top of the AWD diff to the bell housing bolts. In the meantime I am going to take a stab at drilling a tapping bolt holes (inside the blue circle).

No worries on previous posts. This is how we all learn. Someone's got to be the first....

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Salsa Guy
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby Salsa Guy » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:54 pm

^Thanks for your understanding however it will cost you time and money. I will certainly be more careful in the future.

However this experience has explained a lot regarding replacing my block when the engine blew and wrapped the block. Toyota replaced it under warranty but took them over 2 month to do the repairs. Now I know why, the AWD block is harder to get.

I'm sure you can make up a bracket for the top but the bottom will be more interesting.

Good Luck
05 Matrix XR 4WD and 03 Vibe GT
"If you want Government to solve your problems, then you are the problem!" BMSR
Trix MODS: SRI w/ AEM filter, Vibrant/Magnaflow Cat-back, Alutec Lightweight Crank Pulley
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jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:07 am

PROGRESS!!!!! I final got some time to focus on this project. Since I last wrote, I was struggling with making custom bracketry for the AWD differential. That was solved by having a custom bracket fabricated by a local guy who was very talented and cheap. The next order of business was to drill holes in the right side of the block to accept bolts that hold a second "C" shaped bracket that connects the right side of the AWD differential to the block. before doing that I decided to drop the oil pan so I could verify that there was material to drill into. Given what I have faced so far I figured I better be sure before potentially trashing a perfectly good engine by punching holes through the block.

Good news here. Plenty of material cast into the block for this purpose. So I cleaned up the pan, and the oil pick up while I was there, new gasket, and bolted back up. Lining up the holes was a bit of a chore but I took a swag at it figuring I could tune the fit later with washers or a grinder. I just used the bracket for alignment and went at it with the drill, then followed up with my 10x.125 tap.

One more block modification. The AWD differential has a protrusion that requires clearance of about 3/8 inches to be trimmed from the bottom of the block. after some cutting and grinding, I got the clearance I needed (see pictures).

Last night, I spent 3 hours futzing with the toque converter as I could not get it to completely engage all the way into the transmission. I finally got it all the way back onto the trans input shaft. Note for all. While you have the torque converter out make sure you get as much of the old crud out of it and put fresh fluid in. Finally, I dropped the block in and have it almost bolted up, including the "C" shaped bracket which fit almost perfectly. I also got all the electrical connections buttoned up.

Remaining tasks:
- Cooling - all the coolant lines and hoses, new radiator and fill.
- Plumbing for power steering.
- Vacuum lines, air box, etc.
- Bolt up the torque converter to the flywheel.
- That custom bracket - well it ALMOST fit. I just need to open up one of the holes for the top bell housing bolt. Should be a simple fix.
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Vibe Block mod.jpg
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KITT222
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby KITT222 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:34 pm

Good to hear this project is still rolling. Interesting that the block had to be modified to fit the AWD transaxle/transfercase. I never would have expected that.

jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:14 pm

IT'S ALIVE! It started on the first turn of the key. The only hick-up was with the power steering fluid taking it's time to flow through the system. I took my daughter on a short drive around the block and so far so good. No surprises. The tranny behaved normally, there were no strange noises from the chassis and it felt good overall. The brakes were noisy as expected and will be the focus of my energy tomorrow. It's great when a plan comes together!

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KITT222
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby KITT222 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:16 pm

Woo! Great job! Took two dead cars and made one whole again. Nice work!

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Salsa Guy
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby Salsa Guy » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:02 am

Congrats! You posted some good info there also! Sorry again for leading you the wrong way.
05 Matrix XR 4WD and 03 Vibe GT
"If you want Government to solve your problems, then you are the problem!" BMSR
Trix MODS: SRI w/ AEM filter, Vibrant/Magnaflow Cat-back, Alutec Lightweight Crank Pulley
GT MODS: Cosmo SRI, DRL, Auto Stop

jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:53 am

The now running Franken-Vibe running Christmas errands! Still a few minors jobs to do but overall the darn little thing just keeps going! Thanks for all your help and support! Merry Christmas!
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Salsa Guy
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby Salsa Guy » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:49 pm

Some guy on MO wants to swap in a 2zz in his trix. That would really get ugly with doing the electronics. Not many GT/XRS Auto transmissions out there to donate the harness and ECU
05 Matrix XR 4WD and 03 Vibe GT
"If you want Government to solve your problems, then you are the problem!" BMSR
Trix MODS: SRI w/ AEM filter, Vibrant/Magnaflow Cat-back, Alutec Lightweight Crank Pulley
GT MODS: Cosmo SRI, DRL, Auto Stop

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tpollauf
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby tpollauf » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:32 am

jlkwiththree wrote:IT'S ALIVE! It started on the first turn of the key. The only hick-up was with the power steering fluid taking it's time to flow through the system. I took my daughter on a short drive around the block and so far so good. No surprises. The tranny behaved normally, there were no strange noises from the chassis and it felt good overall. The brakes were noisy as expected and will be the focus of my energy tomorrow. It's great when a plan comes together!


Congrats! It's always good to hear that all your hard work was not wasted and that you do not have to start all over or anything else like that! Now your daughter can start driving this resurrected Vibe and think of (thanking also) her papa for what he's done. Other than a long laborious journey, how much $$$ did you end up investing to pull this off? Awesome story with a happy ending :D
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jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:31 am

THANKS! I have not tallied up all the receipts but I am figuring I have just less than $2K in it, including the car. I had a few unexpected expenses like a replacement radiator and water pump. We still have a way to go to get it to "John" spec (I could be accused of being a perfectionist). The paint is badly oxidized and the interior was a mess. It also needs a set of factory floor mats. The last few days were spent scrubbing seats and buffing paint. We're getting there!

jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:55 am

As a follow up to several PMs I have received about the custom bracket I had made for this project I wanted to share a few pictures of since it is now out of the car. I do not have an technical measurements on the car as it was done by hand and used the engine/trans/transfer case as the template. I hope that these pictures will at least show where and how it was attached.
Attachments
Vibe Bracket4.jpg
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Last edited by jlkwiththree on Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:57 am

Additional photos of bracket
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Vibe Bracket3.jpg
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jlkwiththree
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Re: Engine swap on a FWD to an AWD car

Postby jlkwiththree » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:09 pm

Last photo
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Vibe Bracket1.jpg
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