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Vigo UberDork
8/14/13 1:16 p.m.

3gs are barely bigger or heavier than a dc3 integra, have 'good' suspension all around, can be slammed into the dirt (which is important to me, just being honest), have cool wedge-y 80s styling and flip-up headlights.

The styling on 7gs is not great but i like the interior and the v6 motor very much (other than the massively oversized gauge faces which is common to all accords for at least the last 15 years).

oldeskewltoy Dork
9/25/13 10:30 a.m.

This might help.... a dry sump oil pan for the Toyota "S" engine series.....

Vigo UberDork
9/25/13 11:40 a.m.

Damn.. url just takes me back to a tinypic account. Where did you actually find that?

oldeskewltoy Dork
9/25/13 12:05 p.m.

An Aussie known as "Celica RA45"

Celica RA45 said: made a few spares to suit any gen 3sge and 5sfe motors ,the std pump bolts up to the front so you can keep the std cam timming. we run the oil into the side under the exhaust where the heat exchanger is or where the oil filter was on the gen 1 and 2 motors


Vigo UberDork
9/25/13 4:17 p.m.

Link not working.

oldeskewltoy Dork
9/25/13 7:11 p.m.
Vigo wrote: Link not working.


TimM New Reader
9/27/13 4:46 p.m.

I enjoyed the series of articles.

It was an inexpensive car that the average joe might start with and go thru the same issues.

Kudos to GRM for the project. Unfortunate it did not pan out, but not all car projects are successful even for a magazine.


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/27/13 9:12 p.m.
TimM wrote: I enjoyed the series of articles. It was an inexpensive car that the average joe might start with and go thru the same issues. Kudos to GRM for the project. Unfortunate it did not pan out, but not all car projects are successful even for a magazine. Thanks

Thanks for the nice words. Yeah, it didn't pan out as expected. Know what, though? We learned something and generated some interesting editorial in the process. And that's why I get out of bed every morning.

3/25/15 2:49 a.m.

Hey, im building a camry lol

Vigo PowerDork
3/25/15 2:55 p.m.

.....go on?

p.s. lol

Inagawa New Reader
3/26/15 5:10 a.m.

In reply to Vigo:

Wanna build list? Lol, i wish i could post pictures here but since im on mobile it wont do it for some odd reason.... but i do have plenty on my instagram (inagawa60), lol... anyways heres my list.


YellowSpeedRacing Coilovers, 4th gen camry oem strut plates, jdmsport front strut bar, custom rear interior chassis bar, front spherical endlinks, front NA MK4 supra slotted/drilled rotors, front Avalon dual calipers, rear es300 slotted/drilled rotors And calipers, solara stainless steel brake lines.


TRD/TMG front lip, depo headlights, oem rare duckbill spoiler, xle radiator shroud, trd/Toyota scepter emblem, in the process of making more subtle aero mods too...


Nrg fixed back polyurethane/fiberglass racing seat, corbeau seat bracket,four point harness belt, grant tri-spoke steering wheel, rear chassis floor bar, hifonics front 6.5" speakers, hifonics 1" tweeters, hifonics rear 6x9" speakers, hifonics 10" subwoofers with integrated amp, soundstream uneasy stereo, gauges.rear seat gutted with partial interior.

engine/trans: 5sfe 2.2L, custom built 50trim T04E, custom 3sgte turbo manifold, external oil cooler conversion, huge fmic, xs-turbo bov, HKS grounding kit, custom heatshields, ebay boost controller, nology ignition wires, ac delete, cruise control delete, custom intake system, Civic 3Core halfsize radiator. I have some extra's on my other built 5sfe like Cxracing 3sgte H-beam connecting rods, machibed crank, std size ceramic coated 4th gen canry pistons, hand ported/semi polished cylinder head, ebay 2jz adjustable intake cam gear, oem 2jz valves,oem 2jz valve springs, oem 1zz shameless buckets, ported intake manifold,1mz dual throttle body. Stage two xtr clutch kit, knock off trd short shifter with weighted shift knob, brass shifter bushings, stainless steel clutch line, that's pretty much it.. and have not spent past four grand on modifications

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/26/15 7:51 a.m.

I'll be eagerly awaiting the outcome of your 5S experience. What are you doing about the transmission?

Another way to get more hp and torque for about a grand would be a 2GR V6.

Inagawa New Reader
3/26/15 2:48 p.m.

In reply to Tyler H:

Not too many people like the 5sfe's,but im a firm believer that you build what you got instead of swap haha, but on a reasonable amount of psi and a decent tune i shouldnt have a second thought about a swap... but if i did, itll be a 2AR-FE since it'll fit better and has the almost exact same layout as the 5sfe. a 2gr is a beast but eh... seems like a headache lol. And transmission wise... just the clutch and flywheel has been changed, i wanted to get a lsd but personally didnt know how to go about it and didnt wanna go through the hassle finding a E153 swap. Maybe if i dont blow this one up, ill go with a rebuild, a trans cooler and a Kaaz Lsd.

dj06482 GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/26/15 8:08 p.m.

You'll want to upgrade your swaybars front and rear. I went with Whitelines and found it to be a very neutral combination.

Inagawa New Reader
3/27/15 12:04 a.m.

3rd gen front sway bars are already huge. But i am looking for a rear sway bar.

NA_Cambrey New Reader
6/1/20 3:23 p.m.

This is my first post here, but hopefully not my last.

This thread is ancient and I apologize if the necro breaks any rules (couldn't find a rules thread or sticky), however I'd like to post a very relevant albeit very late reply to this thread, in the hopes of providing a positive and maybe more inspiring conclusion to this story for anyone who walks in my shoes.

I read this very thread posted by GRRM a few years ago, and while I loved going through it and while honestly I couldn't even change a headlight bulb at that point in my life, the ending left me feeling pretty disappointed, but I had that it's what I have so it's what I'll work with attitude and wanted to prove them wrong.

TL;DR: I made a Camry into a race car. It moves good. It turns good. It sounds good. It hasn't blown up. Not a dig at GRRM or the editors or guys who worked hard on this article, they just had really unfortunate luck (and it wouldn't make sense for them not to post the results they had gotten, blowing 2 engines like that makes it hard to not believe it's an engine issue, it made me believe it was.)

Backstory: Abut 3 years ago I decided I wanted to make my car (99 1MZ-FE Non VVTi Gen 4 Camry) handle corners better because although it was a couch, the body roll was abysmal. I started out with basic replacement parts figuring stuff was worn out, figuring out how to turn every wrench and bolt as I went. After I finished restoring the original parts with aftermarket Chineseium, the car was certainly more comfortable to drive but it was still lacking what I was looking for. 

I'm a 20 something male nerd who grew up in the era of MIN-MAX, and so I started searching around on the internet for people who had modded their Camry.  This is still one of the first Google results that pop up when you search that for modding gen 4 Camry. So I read through the articles and build and pictures like the rest of us, and was thrilled to see a Motorsports publishers' team doing something with such an old commuter car. However at the end I was extremely disappointed by the engine failures, and came to the conclusion that the car and build would forever be limited by an unreliable engine, so I threw in a mod here and there, but nothing too crazy because of this fear that I was going to make the car capable enough to starve the oil pump, always in the back of my mind due to this article.

About a year after that, and about a year ago, I've decided I'm just going all in and making my Camry into a race car screw the consequences, engines are available locally for cheap and I was now confident enough in my wrenching abilities to pull and reconnect an engine if I broke mine. At this point I wasn't super concerned about the engine anymore, because over the past year of small mods I had ran it up to redline thousands of times (still do a dozen times a day, it's my daily - That's what this thread is about right? Working with what you've got. )

At this point I was really sure that the engines used in these articles had pre-existing issues, because my engine was purchased with the car over 100,000 miles ago and has been abused like nothing else since then. Uncountable brake launches, Thousands of pulls through cloverleaf onramp sweepers holding wot revving 5k+ rpm for 10 seconds straight while the tires are at max lateral G, I was even confident enough last fall to haul it out to its first autocross event; going balls to the wall down slaloms while banging off the rev limiter for 15 seconds straight, more sweepers, more abuse, etc. 

This was about a year ago, with the biggest mods being done basically just a big rear sway bar and some stiffer springs. After my first autocross event in the Camry I realized I had a lot more work to do. So I started dreaming, and burning benjamins. Got my first real taste of wrenching on a car.

Skip past a lot of frustration, time, but not that much money; and queue up to today..  I'm "almost done" (haha no) making my Camry into a rice car.

I've still abused the car every day of it's life for the year in between that last autocross event and today, but while steady increasing how much lateral G the car can handle. At ths point my ORIGINAL 1MZ-FE w ORIGINAL A541E 4 Speed auto are showing no signs of dying and make more power and put it to the ground better than they ever have. I plan on driving it to the drag strip Friday night, then to and back from an autocross event this Saturday. I have no doubt the 1MZ will take whatever beating I give it. It hasn't complained the last ten thousand times.

Here is the current build. Small upgrades are planned, but likely will be staying NA except maybe No2 if I get bored.

Engine/Trans: 1999 Gen 4 TMMK Camry Factory NA 1MZ-FE Non VVTi Engine linked with factory A541E 4 Speed A/T.  313,000 (abusive) miles.

Intake/Exhaust: DIY Short Ram Intake, OBX Longtube Headers, OBX Y Pipe with no Kitties inside (PETA Certified counts right?), Stock 2.5 tailpipe & Muffler with extra drainage.

Weight Reduction: Firewall to tailgate down to the sheet metal delete: Passenger seat/mounts/safety equipment, rear seats/mounts/beltscarpet,  insulation, sound deadening (Swear I pulled out 60-80 lbs of this crap, took me an entire day with a chisel and acetone and filled 6 plastic trash bags full of what felt like bricks) , no trim, no glovebox, no roof liner, airbox system delete (it's like 20+ pounds including the sound stuff! ), weather guard/splash panel deletes. 

Suspension: 10kg/6kg Ebay Special Coilovers with Camber Plates (suprising value), Moog Camber Bolts all around, Stock  Camber Top Hat Inserts, Whiteline FSB/RSB, Godspeed Adjustable 1" Dia Links, Ghetto 3M WW Motor Mounts, Polyurethane in every suspension bushing, Rear IRS Balljoints deleted for Poly Inserts (they're unpredictable, multiple inserts that rotate freely around a single axis are not), Solara Front Strut Bar.

Brakes/Wheels/Tires/: Front: ES300 Dual Caliper Swap W 30% larger EBC yellowstuff pads - Rear: Stock v6 Calipers with Hawk HPS pads - Ebay blank rotors, 16x6.5 wheels, 215/45/16 Falken Azenis 615k+, -3 F Camber, -1 R Camber, +3.5 Caster, -.25 Toe.

Misc: 2 QT MANUAL VALVE ACCUSUMP - Yet to be installed (waiting on a part).

The car rotates flat and insanely quickly, Accelerates like a bat out of hell compared to stock. The 4spd auto trans v6 gearing and throttle/trans line tweaks combined with shorter tires, a quicker intake, and better flowing headers and much better flowing y-pipe gives me a torque range that is super wide and 100% torque any time I go WOT above 20mph. In my anecdotal experience the v6 drivetrain is the strongest part of this entire platform, the playdoh chassis and stock suspension are the limiting factors.

In order to race a 1MZFE you should have oil surge protection, and you must not have sludge clogging oiling any oiling pathways or the accumulator won't do anygood (My guess this is what happened to GRRM with used and unknown engines), but in my experience my non sludged engine is still doing fine without one - I've had a great time making my Camry into a racecar, and even banging off the rev limiter along a 1000 foot slalom 3 times in an hour gave the engine no trouble without an accumulator. It's worth noting I always run at least 1-1.5 quarts overfilled. I wouldn't dare try that with the current suspension mods and tires though. 




Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/1/20 4:01 p.m.

In reply to NA_Cambrey :

pics or it didnt happen. (Don't take that the wrong way! I really want to see your build.)

chada75 Reader
6/1/20 8:44 p.m.
jstein77 said:

Reading the Camry project car article leads me to the conclusion stated in the topic name. GRM took the best possible starting point, a V-6 with a 5 speed (unicorn), and quickly blew two motors. Using a manual car in the first place is unrealistic; if the premise is that your grandmother left you a Camry, there's a 99.999999% chance that it's going to be a 2.2 automatic, which will be completely worthless as an autocross car. And who (besides GRM) would purposely seek out a V-6 Camry as a race car when there are so many better alternatives available for the same cost?

At least it'll be faster than a crown vic.

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/1/20 10:39 p.m.

I reread this thread and was only going to say that im sorry i talked so damn much, but then i read the actual thread necro post and now im also going to say that even though the exact thing i suspected would happen actually happened to a prospective family-car enthusiast, I'm really happy it wasn't fatal to the project and there's another  modded cheap fwd family sedan out there raising eyebrows and making heads itchy at events. laugh

ProDarwin UltimaDork
6/1/20 10:49 p.m.

I will reserve judgement until new guy shares he racing results for his race car.  But on the surface it sounds like its a 300k automatic v6 Camry on cheap coilovers with 6.5" wheels.  Maybe I'm missing something?

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/1/20 11:54 p.m.

That sounds cheap coilovers better than i had when i consistently pax'd top 3rd in an almost stock family sedan when i first started autocrossing. But i apparently posted so much in this thread in 2013 that i heretofore ban myself from ever posting here again. cool

NA_Cambrey New Reader
6/2/20 1:21 a.m.
ProDarwin said:

I will reserve judgement until new guy shares he racing results for his race car.  But on the surface it sounds like its a 300k automatic v6 Camry on cheap coilovers with 6.5" wheels.  Maybe I'm missing something?

It's fair to withhold judgement, although based on your comment I think you're missing the build list, it's in the rambling necro post.

Regardless of what you want to call it, it's much more than some ebay special coilovers (which actually work incredibly well after adding koyo thrust needle bearings, Id buy the coilovers again for twice what I paid without a second thought over any mid range coil over, I know they work well, and I know they last under abuse.) It's not a fast car, but it's a quick car, and its cornering limits are way higher than I can legally use on the street, but I try my best to.

If videos of not entirely illegal spirited driving but not street racing are allowed to be posted here I'll show y'all what it can do, otherwise gotta wait until Friday and Saturday for autocross which I've already registered and paid for. I'll post clips of my runs even though I'm gonna drive like crap and I'll still post them even if my engine blows up and I have to eat my helmet liner.

I don't have much for pictures as they are all old, but here are three of my naaaaaasty engine bay and,  another old one of the outside of the car, and when I first started taking stuff out of the car. I can't find GRRM forum rules, maybe I'm blind, (anyone link?), but if its kosher, I'll add post some current build pics and a video of the Camry hauling ass around corners (on public roads).

Tyler H (Forum Supporter)
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
6/2/20 8:46 a.m.

Oiling is the problem with these (and many other) modern commuter car engines when they're pressed into race service.  An Accusump and oil pressure gauge are a must.  I could watch the oil pressure fall off in a sweeper, until it was buffered by the Accusump.  In sweepers, I was running 5-6k rpm with falling oil pressure.  Without an Accusump, it would be no oil pressure.  

I've seen this same battle fought with various race cars.  Worst one was an Eagle Talon 420A -- we did everything to keep that car oiled and it would still starve on long right sweepers.  

Love the hot rod Camry.  


In reply to NA_Cambrey :

Please start a build thread in the projects forum!

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/3/20 9:42 a.m.

I love people who make the best of what they have.  Props to you.

Can you send provide a link and or pics for this please?  "Rear IRS Balljoints deleted for Poly Inserts (they're unpredictable, multiple inserts that rotate freely around a single axis are not), Solara Front Strut Bar."  I think you're saying it's basically a heim joint made of urethane and rubber, but not sure.  It sounds interesting.

One note, I'd build some shielding around your intake, right now it's a hot air intake grabbing E36 M3ty hot air from the engine bay.  Try some shielding around it and ducting from the wheel well to get cool air.  Heck, you've already stripped the car so why not a NACA duct on the hood, still shielded.

I may not love the base car, but I love what you are doing.


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