Any way to know if it is the original engine in my project 1988 Targa?

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Thread: Any way to know if it is the original engine in my project 1988 Targa?

  1. #1
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    Any way to know if it is the original engine in my project 1988 Targa?

    Subject says it all. There does not appear to be a place on the VIN plates or chassis stickers for the engine block's serial number on my 1988 NA Supra Targa 5M. I'm trying to decide whether to work on saving what I think is the original engine vs a nice running engine for sale. I prefer having the original engine in it, and will work on that to preserve it as a goal. However, if I could check and perhaps find it's not the original engine, I'd just toss it and buy that
    running engine. Not interested in swaps, etc - just looking to end up with a nice stock fun driver.

    For instance, many older car will have a paper build sheet hidden under the back seat, or in the trunk under the carpet, etc which has this information.


    Thanks in advance.

    Doug

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  3. #2
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    I think a 2.8L 5m in a1988 mk3 supra would def not be the original engine

    how to talk about original motor: "I think Im pushing 2x the original motor's hp"
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  4. #3
    SupraForums Member plaaya69's Avatar
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    You also have a vin sticker on the front black metal bumper support, in between the rear hatch and body and there should be vin stickers on the door jams. The serial number would be located right under the oil pressure sender on the motor. Personally if the motor needs work I would just pull it and rebuild it vs buying another motor unless you are going with the jz or another motor option.


    What do you mean by 5m, do you mean 7m motor?
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  6. #4
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    If it were me and I could find a motor for 2-300 bucks and I heard it run...I would be tempted to just toss it in (considering its an NA car). summer is getting closer. wouldn't be hard to toss in seals and timing belt and re torque cyl bolts to correct ft lbs.

    its a lot of work/ time to rebuild one right so it holds together. if your going to turbo that down the road then a rebuild is a better bet.

  7. #5
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    On 5M, meant it's a 5 speed, pardon the confusion. It's the 3.0 standard engine for the GIII - a 7M, and I was hoping to help decide which course of action makes sense if there is a way to ID the engine's serial number somewhere on the chassis. Doesn't sound like anyone's aware of a way to do that. So I'll see if any further replies shed light and then make the call. I like the pride of ownership of the original engine.

    Right now I have it stripped to the bare block and it's decision time to hone the cylinders, re-ring and new bearings and put it together. Or the other engine someone's got for sale. I'm leaning toward building this up as a totally stock original car.

  8. #6
    90T 3p141592654's Avatar
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    The only person who I can think of who would know the answer is Jeff Lange. You might try asking this on his site over at SM. I've never seen a build sheet for a Toyota, so they probably consider that proprietary info.

  9. #7
    SF Contributing Member 87supramario's Avatar
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    I had assumed the following:

    For LHD cars:
    "MA70" VIN = 7MGE
    "MA71" VIN = 7MGTE (or all turbo engines)

    No?

    My 1988 Turbo car's VIN starts with MA71. My 1986.5 NA (all were NA) starts with MA70.
    Last edited by 87supramario; 03-25-2019 at 07:51 PM.


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    **********edit, Info from Jeff Lange in 2005 (sm post) *******



    Correction:

    If you look on the firewall of all turbo cars with an MA71 VIN, the firewall chasis stamp will say MA70.

    Toyota starts all Chassis codes from 000000. If there were any with MA71 chassis codes, (which some people apparently have seen at some point, but nobody can ever prove, ), the chassis codes would be so low, lol.

    Toyota ALWAYS does this, I don't know why all the Supra guys don't want to accept it, but the chassis code rarely matches up with the VIN "code". My Corolla has AE86 stamped on the firewall, but has AE88 in the VIN, because it's a GT-S model. It still has the AE86 chassis. The Supra turbo has MA71 in the VIN, but it's still an MA70 chassis.

    Someone prove me wrong, lol. Someone post up a pic of a car with an MA71 chassis code on the firewall, or even a chart with MA71 chassis codes relating to production months, like exist for the MA70, JZA70, and GA70...
    Last edited by madisonMK3; 03-25-2019 at 07:46 PM.

  11. #9
    90T 3p141592654's Avatar
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    He is asking how to know if the engine is the original for the chassis. The engine has its own serial on the block. It does not match the VIN or the chassis. You understand the problem now?

    In the classic car world, cars with the original serial numbered engine are more valuable than those with a swapped (but same model) engine. There are for many classic cars registrars who keep databases of these things so that cars can be certified genuine.
    Last edited by 3p141592654; 03-27-2019 at 09:49 AM.

  12. #10
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    I understand what you are saying 3p / OP about original engine / matching numbers in other classic cars

    I had not seen/thought that numbers matching mattered in the supra world. but thinking more about it and the values of un-molested low mile cars I see where that could something gaining popularity in the supra world

    Is the consensus that we as a community currently have NO way to verify Vin# VS engine serial ?

  13. #11

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    I'd be more concerned that the mechanical specs are all in order. Until you tear it down and measure it, you don't know what you have for certain. I'm on my 3rd engine. The 1st one lasted 238,000 miles. One notable difference between blocks is that Turbo engines have a oil squirter at the base of each cylinder to cool the piston from below. Non-turbo engines do not. Non-turbo blocks usually don't have the Turbo plumbing drilled for oil cooling and a oil return.
    Turbo blocks have 2 knock sensors. Non-turbo blocks have 1 knock sensor.
    Last edited by Bruder; 03-28-2019 at 04:08 PM.

  14. #12
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    Yes, 3P's on point with what I'm focused on. Establishing that my block is the original engine. On many other cars I own, there is a way to do it and I have not found that to be the case on my Supra. I'm essentially doing a light restoration on a 1988 Supra that only has 124k on the clock, was adult owned and parked 19 years ago due to a head gasket. Interior is near perfect, it's a Targa, and a 5 speed and its red. I think these G3 cars are wildly undervalued at the moment and that they'll rise in price at some point. So, if this is the original block I'll just deglaze the cylinders, and re-ring it with new original size bearings and seals. I'll just end up with a nice NA driver.

    If it's not the original block, I'm thinking of doing something wild. A Lexus V8 conversion, wrap the body in 3M Tangerine Orange, or White with gold flakes, etc.

    I'm taking the stripped block to a shop today to have it boiled out. Lots of crud in there from sitting. The bearings all looked good. Couldn't even see the faintest copper color except the front bearing on the crankshaft and even that was a broad nice pattern and not fully exposed, just able to discern it had the thinnest layer of the bearing coating atop faintly visible copper color becoming evident. Looking very good. I've been a member here since picking it up in Seattle a year ago and I'm aware of the HG issue and the apparent error in the head bolt torque, so I'll fix that. If anyone has any other tribal knowledge of things to look at or correct with this block, let me know.

    Doug

  15. #13
    YotaMD.com author
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    This has given me a neat idea. It would be very cool to make a spreadsheet with known original engines and compare serials to build dates. I bet you could make an estimated range for each production range with only a dozen or so examples.

  16. #14
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    Good thought. I'll post mine to see if we can draw a statistical inference.

  17. #15
    Dr. Jeff Lange Jeff Lange's Avatar
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    The engine number would have likely been on the original paperwork for the car, it is also kept by Toyota USA/Canada in a database these days, but as for how far back it can be looked up, that varies. The engine number (which will be stamped on the block) does not relate to any other number on the car. If you just have the car and nothing else, there is no way to tell if it is the original engine or not. You need to either have that original paperwork or you use the VIN to look up the engine number then compare that to the number stamped on the block.

    If you PM me your VIN, I can see if it can be looked up.

    Jeff
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