Elise/Exige 2GR V6 Swap

Elise/Exige 2GR V6 swap mini-FAQ:
Monkeywrench Racing started swapping the 2GR-FE V6 into the Elise/Exige chassis long before Lotus realized what a great combination it is. The wide power band, instant response and simple naturally aspirated configuration make it an excellent setup for street or track. The supercharged variant from the Evora S is even more fun.

Bring your car to MWR for a turn-key install! Can’t bring the car to us? This swap is doable but is by NO MEANS easy or a bolt-in plug-in deal. This FAQ will lay out the basics but be aware that a high level of expertise and skill is required to complete this swap. MWR provides many of the parts needed but we cannot provide full technical support for the wiring, etc.

Car: 2005-12 Elise, Exige originally equipped with Toyota 2ZZ or 1ZZ engine (not for Rover powered cars)

Engine to be swapped in:

  • 2009+ Evora 3.5L V6 (with or without supercharger)
  • 2012+ Exige 3.5L V6 (with or without supercharger)
  • 2005+ Toyota 3.5L V6 2GR-FE (Avalon, Camry, Highlander, Rav4, Sienna, ES350, RX350)
  • Does not work with other Lexus RWD/4WD models (2GR-FSE direct injected) or hybrid models. These engines are very different externally and do not bolt to any transverse transmissions.

Oil cooler: be sure to get an engine with factory oil cooler (Toyotas with tow package, all Lotus models). You can use the Toyota oil/coolant cooler or plumb the lines to an external oil cooler if desired. It is very difficult to add an oil cooler to a non-oil cooler engine.

Air Intake: MWR makes a cold air inlet tube. We also sell the airmeter flange in case you want to make your own. Toyota or Lotus ECU will require the OEM airmeter be installed.

Exhaust: No 2GR exhaust manifolds will fit. MWR sells a very nice long tube header, y-pipe and muffler system. You can build your own but be aware space is very tight and the 2GR is somewhat sensitive to primary tube size and length.

ECU and wiring:

  • OEM Toyota ECU: MWR sells it. We use a brand new Toyota ECU in our swaps. If you want to use a used Toyota ECU you’ll need the immobilizer, immobilizer, key, etc from the donor vehicle. MWR has not tried doing it that way; much more complex. MWR sells the engine wiring harness that goes with the ECU that we use. There is significant CUSTOM wiring necessary to integrate this with your chassis wiring. Stock ECUs will require 2 OEM type wideband O2 sensors mounted in the headers. MWR often adds the GReddy eManage Ultimate piggyback ECU which allows fine tuning of fuel and ignition timing as well as raising the rev limiter.
  • Evora or Exige V6 ECU and wiring: probably possible. We haven’t tried it.
  • Aftermarket ECU and OEM wiring harness of your choice: you’re on our own. There are a couple of aftermarket ECUs out there that will handle 4 VVTs and electronic throttle. MWR does not currently sell or support them.

Gauges: None of these ECU options will operate the Elise/Exige gauges. MWR uses aftermarket gauge clusters like the units available from AIM and Racepak. These will display a mixture of OBD data and aftermarket sensors. You’re on your own for selecting gauges and making them work.

Engine cooling: with a little work you can hook the 2GR up to the stock radiator pipes. The stock radiator is prone to failure anyway so do yourself a favor and upgrade to a quality all-aluminum unit.

Air conditioning: there is room on the 2GR for an AC compressor near the stock 4-cyl position. Managing and wiring it is up to you.

Transmission to be swapped in:

  • 93-95 E153 from MR2 Turbo is most popular, works great, very strong, has factory LSD. MWR stocks them. MWR also stocks the Fidanza flywheel you’ll need as well as a broad range of E153 clutches. MWR has custom bolt-in axles. MWR also has a shifter cable and slave cylinder adapter kit so your current shifter and cables will work as will your current clutch release system.
  • Evora 6-speed – should fit but we haven’t tried it. E153 is stronger and much less expensive- new Evora Sport transmissions cost USD$12,000 without the expensive Lotus OEM clutch, flywheel, adapter plate required. No aftermarket clutches or flywheels available currently. MWR’s mount kit currently does not work with the Evora transmission. You will need to have completely custom axles made. You will need to figure out shifter cables and shifter, clutch release, etc.

Chassis Modifications: none. With our mounts and exhaust it all bolts right in.

Body Modification: a small section of the internal trunk area must be cut out to clear the rear cylinder head and intake manifold. It’s easily replaced with a divider plate. The Elise engine lid can be cut for clearance to the intake manifold or you can do a custom engine lid that sits higher in that area. The Exige lid is much higher and does clear. You’ll lose the engine lid latch on both the Elise and Exige so you’ll need an alternative latch or hood pins.

Fuel system: It’s fine to keep your returnless fuel system, just hook the fuel feed line up to the 2GR rail. We recommend a 190LPH fuel pump or better. Stock 2GR injectors are fine unless you’ve built the engine up or added serious forced induction.

Suspension: only a small amount of weight is added so stock suspension works. Upgrade the suspension to a height adjustable coilover system for best results.


Toyota / Lotus Performance Parts