2zz Engine Removal & Swap

This document was meant to be a guide on how the average joe may drop his 2zz engine out of his Spyder. While the focus is the 2zz engine, you can also apply more than 90 percent of what is done here to your 1zz if you wish to get it out of the way too. The goal is to take some of the mystery out of pulling an engine from a Spyder. Standard disclaimers of liablity go here. Basically, you’re using these directions as a suggestion on what to do and any damages resulting from following these directions are ‘your’ fault. If you follow these instructions and for some reason your porch light keeps turning on and off at 3AM for no reason at all – you cannot hold me liable.

Tools necessary:
-10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm wrenches (ratcheting kind is super handy)
-10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 19mm sockets
-ratchets and extensions for said sockets (the air variety will save time)
-channel lock pliers (handy for removing spring clips)
-cable, wire or string (for tieing stuff out of your way)
-clean table top or other horizontal surface, so you can
place the parts out of the way and not lose them
-cherry picker or lift (to pick the car up off of the engine)
-dolly of some kind (to roll the drivetrain out from under the car)
-catch can for coolant (you can drain this at any time, I choose
to do it when I first lift the car up over my head because its
-catch can for transmission oil (if you take the axles out, I do
not take them out of the transmission in this walk through. If
I did, I would drain the transmission first to avoid a mess.)
-flathead screw driver
-common sense (please do not be a booger eating moron and get
yourself killed, people will laugh at your obituary.)

Suggested Tools:
-impact wrench (with one of these the tight bolts you encounter
do not pose as much of a threat to your knuckles and your cereal
will taste better the next day.)
-bright portable lights (if I have to explain why, you should not be
reading this and you are a booger eating moron.)
-plenty of room to work (will also make your cereal taste better
the next day.)

Time Needed to Drop:
This was done in 3 hours and 45 minutes of actual wrench time. That includes the 15-20 minute call I had to make to Blitzo because I got stuck and also includes doing several things out of order and needlessly raising and lowering the car. If I were to do this again in the order laid out in this document, I could have this joker out in 1.5 – 2 hours without breaking a sweat from the halogen lights.

Another handy thing to have is a cushy place for your butt. I don’t know about the rest of the world but I enjoy sitting on mine. Especially when I’m “working”.

btw – I also suggest not doing this in the FREAKING cold. It required me to wear gloves because I can’t work when my hands go numb. I generally hate using gloves because I lose a lot of fine dexterity with my fingers, but given my choices I think I picked the better option. I wholeheartedly suggest you invest in a pair if it is FREAKING cold where you plan to do this swap.

Before you get started, I suggest removing the battery. As you can see, I didn’t do that immediately – however I do recomend it first priority as far as safety for the mobile goes.

All setup on the lift, ready to work. I do not condone this type of action with one of these lifts. It is not designed to have the ass end of a car hanging off of it like I did. However, I didn’t see why it wouldn’t work so I did it anyway.

Gratuitous butt shot.

This documentation in no way replaces the Toyota MR2 Repair Manuals. The purpose of this content is only to provide supplementary information to fellow MR2 enthusiasts. Midship Runabout and its contributing authors will not be held responsible for any injury or damages that may occur as the result of practicing any of the methods or procedures described within this website. Article and photo submissions are property of the contributing author.

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4 Responses

  1. Tony Higgs says:

    You sir are a star! i have to do this job in a week or so and this write up will help no ends. your right about the best tool being common sense, i didn’t use mine once to do a small job on a fiesta, you know how it is” i’ll just nip under this car without axle stamnds as its only a quick one” then the car falls off said jack. A night in hosptal and resulting brain damage tends to make you think twice about stuff lol lesson learned me thinks.
    Thanks again for the write up. wish there were more people who took the time to do great work like you with the photos and so on.


  2. Jared says:

    I cannot believe I go online to find a tutorial to re-install a motor in a spyder and I find my car used in a step by step picture guide! I recognize it by the tape pulled off mark behind the license plate, the stick welds on the modified header, and the way the wire was poked through the firewall grommet next to the main harness wires! Out of curiousity, why was the motor dropped for this tutorial? Was that when it was opened up and some of the rod caps not installed back onto the correct rods? I would love to know some more history for this car from before Brad owned it!

  3. Jeff Dickey says:

    Thank you. I’m glad the write up has proven to be handy. I had originally hosted this document on my own personal web site and was not aware of this site until I was looking for other 2zz related details and stumbled across it. Just as a reference for anyone who finds this document instead of the other; I totally glossed over the disconnection of the coolant lines. I imagine it would be fairly obvious to someone performing the work, but just in case, they get disconnected after the coolant has been drained from the car.

  4. Jeff Dickey says:

    Hi Jared, I apologize for missing your post. I don’t recall it being there when I posted my response to Tony several months back.

    I dropped the motor for this tutorial because I needed to weld some coolant ports for the 2zz swap. Truth be told, this engine may as well been installed with a zipper because I removed it so often for various repairs/modifications after the swap. I had rolled the car during a Fall Dragon Run and the 1zz started using oil afterwards so on a whim, we decided to swap the drivetrain while I was visiting Little Rocket. This was David’s first 2zz swap and we didn’t know to weld the ports at the time. We used rubber coolant caps as I recall and they failed which was allowing coolant leak hassles. Sadly, those aren’t stick welds on that header. I just had no idea what I was doing back then.

    If you’re curious about finding more of the car’s history, my username on SpyderChat.com is dmc-4359. I owned it from 2001 until I sold it to Brad in 2005. If you still have the car, and are ever interested in selling it, please hit me up on SpyderWeb or on SpyderChat.