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· Registered
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey guys and gals, newb here looking for advice, i have read alot and surfed a few other supra forums, but in the end, there are alot of opinions and alot of threads to fish through, so im making this thread to get answers/advice/suggestions directly.

Situation: leaking/blown head gasket on a 7MGE with 115k miles, auto tranny
budget: $2500 maximum..
location: Nebraska
goal: dependable daily driver (with a little bit of a kick if possible) not interested in a turbo, largely because i am intimidated by potential for error and i just need a reliable mk3
I will do little to no work on this engine myself , strictly financing only, my mechanic will be doing the work, or machine shop if needed..

i prefer to keep the car fairly stock or replace parts with toyota parts or equivalent..
but open to suggestions..

mechanic quoted me $1000 parts and labor to replace head gasket, if i go this route, what else should i have him replace? what other work will need to be (or should be)
done to motor at this time? does that price sound fair?

I can buy a jdm 7MGE for $600 plus shipping, have my mechanic install new gasket and change to ARP bolts before engine goes is in for how much $$?

how much am i looking at if i have my 7m rebuilt/refurbished?

I drove the car about 4000 miles since purchase and in that time the symptoms i experienced were light white smoke on cold starts, and a sloshing sound coming from engine bay just on other side of firewall, sounded alot like water in a bucket being swished around, odd sound.. never overheated, add coolant light came on once one morning and before driving i added coolant and dash warning light went off..

basically no real problems, other than engine just seemd a bit weak, but hey its a 7mGE..

to summarize, what is best way to invest $2000-$2500 into my mk3 engine only??
~the body/exterior is fine, needs no major work, im ok with paint as is.
~i could use new tires, not wheels, i like the sawblades (need to refurbished them too)
~interior is tits, all original intact
~i like the idea of lowering the suspension if i have money for it down the road..

so the engine? fix/upgrade the 7mge ive got now? swap in a jdm 7mge with arp bolts and head gasket? what are other options (in my budget) i am overlooking?

im prepared to catch some grief about the 7mge, but would really appreciate thoughtful responses. thanks yall

· The Great Kruso
4,230 Posts
I would keep your existing 7M and get the mechanic to replace it with a metal hg and ARP hardware. JDM's this old are just as big of a gamble, back in 2000 I was lucky enough to get a rodknock and BHG JDM 7MGE for my, at the time, Cressida.

· Supra Hoarder...
1,006 Posts
go 2JZ-GE, you can run it off 7MGE electronics...

· Registered
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
guys, question.. what do yall think of this?

says the 7mge engine comes with new head gasket for $980 with shipping, good price? good idea?

im wanting to just work on the 7m i have, here is what mechanic quoted me on friday:
GAtes timing belt kit: $138
new water pump: $98
head gasket set: $281
arp head bolts: $??
Gates belts(p/s, a/c, wp): $50
plugs: $30
machine shop services: $700
Labor: $1100
plus tax = $2600 +/-

can i do the engine swap for a jdm 7mge for less? im confused..

· Driving: 1991 Supra Turbo
993 Posts
Well, I mean the biggest bearing on your pricing here is labor. Most of the members on this forum are mechanically inclined, so we're able exclude the price of Labor from our budgets in most cases. I completely understand if you don't have the experience or the facilities to do this yourself, and I don't blame you for having a professional mechanic do this for you, but you're going to have to deal with the labor prices. The prices look ABOUT right. I feel like they COULD be lower, and I mean you may be able to shave off a hundred or two (if you're lucky) by shopping around for different machine shops, but at these prices I think you may just be better off buying a used 2JZGE from a junk yard and having your mechanic install that instead.

The prices would be something like this:
2JZGE Motor: $250-400 (You've gotta shop around. I've personally found plenty in that price range)
Gates timing belt kit: $60-$80
New water pump: $40-$80
Gates Serpentine Belt: $60-$70
Spark Plugs: $30
Extra Expenses: $100-$200
Labor: $1000-$1500
Total Plus tax (7%) = $1480-$2310

So, depending on how cheap you and your mechanic can find these parts, and how much he'll charge for labor you'd be within your budget. If your Supra is pre-89, there may be some problems with this, and the prices will go up accordingly, but if you're lucky enough to have a post-89 car, these are the prices you'd be looking at. Keep in mind this would be running a 2JZGE with the 7MGE electrics (ECU, harness, sensors) you already have. If your mechanic thinks this is madness, he needs to do some research because it's been done many times (here's an example on this very forum). Most of the things needed would just be stripped off your motor. Also keep in mind that there may be a little bit of luck involved with finding a viable motor. Sometimes you just never know what you're gonna get.

Another option would be to just go ahead and fix your 7M using an OEM head gasket with ARP head bolts to save some money on machine work, but that all depends on if it's still even an option. Your head may be warped, you may have no choice on that matter.

Also, that JDM motor seems like a good idea, but I just can't help but be skeptical about it. Just so you know, they never look like they do in the pictures. It doesn't give much information. Sure, they claim to have replaced the head gasket, but with what? an OEM gasket or a metal gasket? Was any machine work done? What year and model car did it come out of? Maybe if you can E-mail them and inquire specifics about what you're going to get it may be a viable option.

And don't get me wrong... I'm a 7M guy. I love these motors, and I may even be a bit biased toward them. The 7M is a great motor, but if I were in this exact situation, and I didn't want anything to do with Turbos I would go for the 2JZ option. This is strictly a second opinion, and all of the information I've provided is subject to error as with any other human being. If any other users feel the need to correct me on anything I've left out or misrepresented, you're more than welcome to.

· Registered
40 Posts
go 2JZ-GE, you can run it off 7MGE electronics...
have fun paying for this within a 2500 budget.
i agree with the others keep the 7m get a metal head gasket and arp head bolts. make sure whoever works on your 7m has previous experiance with the motor, this is why 7m's have such a bad name cause everyone lets a damn retard work on their motor. in my opinion 7m is a great performance motor but not when built incorrectly. pay the price to get it done by someone with experiance and never look back!!!

· Registered
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
guys, thank you for your replys/advice, i am loosing sleep over this, but am having some fun trying to figure it all out ("best" way to spend my $$)..
CheesePhantom, your post was excellent and helpful, and i intend to answer a few of your questions..

MY supra is an 89 targa top! ALSO my mechanic is a sharp and capable fellow! he has swapped in some SR engines into S13s and S14s, also did a corvette LS1 into some other nissan, hah, so yea, he can handle an engine swap, and frankly he would be excited to do so, its just a matter of finding a good engine to buy, be it a 7m or 2jz..

i was on pricing out parts and found i can order all the parts for a significant savings vs. my shop, something like $200-$300 difference, obviously shop has to make money too but damn..
good thing is, my mechanic will install MY parts if i buy em elsewhere

ALSO, i just looked on craiglist in my area and came up with this: i was a bit surprised!!
I am in Nebraska, so the supra scene is weak, nothing like it is in Florida or Cali.. so motors (7m or 2jz) might be hard for me to find locally..

· Banned
4,653 Posts

· Premium Member
6,458 Posts
OP, Sorry I havent replied to your PM yet. Work was a bit crazy this week.

I disagree with just about everything already posted in this thread. Dont go 2J as it is way over your budget and knowing you are new to the game, it will take some experience and money/connections to make this work the way it should and you want.

Do NOT rebuild your 7M-GE unless you never want to go Turbo. Waste of money when you can get a perfectly good 7M-GTE. Here is what I would do (and I have done twice already). Find a decent dealer of Crate Motors. Get a 7M-GTE and then take it to a local Japenese repair shop. Have them go through and replace all the gaskerts, seals and replace. MHG and ARP studs are a must. Have them also deck the head. That should expire most of your $$$ and still have a bit left to have them drop it in for you. Regardless if its a GE or GTE, it will be about the same price in the end. You may save a bit on the GE upfront on the motor as it is in much less demand. There are still plenty of good crate motors out there but THEY ALL NEED TO BE GONE THROUGH. No crate motor should ever just be bought and placed in a car without tearing it down.

That is my 2 cents. PM me if you would like to chat more any maybe we can even meet up sometime soon and I would be more than happy to help.


Good Luck.

· Registered
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
ah snap, i know i dont really know wht im shopping for, other than the engine, but look what i found here:

a low mile 2jz to swap in my 89? i know Degree is doing this motor swap right now in a build thread..
^^sorry to misrepresent you Degree.

If you plan on going the same route that I am, you can't use a vvt-i engine.
^^thank you for the clarification about the vvti, I actually read that somewhere in your thread i was referring to, but i failed to realize the 2003 is300 would definitely be the vvti engine.
SO, that 2jzge i found wasn't such a find after all..

Trey, thanks for showing up here in my thread and sharing your opinion. I have always been more inclined to work with the 7m because its O.E. for the U.S. market, but im not real interested in the GTE because my impression is it will be constant $$ drain if its not properly tuned.

i would feel much better about all this if i could have a proper conversation with you, PM coming to you..

· Driving: 1991 Supra Turbo
993 Posts
MY supra is an 89 targa top! ALSO my mechanic is a sharp and capable fellow! he has swapped in some SR engines into S13s and S14s, also did a corvette LS1 into some other nissan, hah, so yea, he can handle an engine swap, and frankly he would be excited to do so, its just a matter of finding a good engine to buy, be it a 7m or 2jz.
I'm glad your mechanic knows what he's doing. '89 is a tricky year. They switched over to the JZ compatible sub frame in the middle of the year. If you have access to the car, look at the motor mounts. I have an '89 Supra, but it was made in December of '88, so it's a Pre-89 Sub Frame.

I have a picture of my motor mounts:

If they're square like the mounts on the far right here then this could complicate your swap.

Here are the newer mounts:

If they look like this, then you won't have any problems, and you can actually re-use your own mounts.

· Registered
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
the more research i do, and the more opinions i receive, the more i have been considering just keeping my 7mge..

This is what i am thinking, what am i forgetting??

i want to leave the engine in the car while service is being done to keep costs down, ..i will have my mechanic remove the head and sent to machine shop to be shaved (and what else should/can machine shop do for me? cleaning?) ..then i will buy the appropriate MHG with correct thickness to accommodate for the head being shaved, ..have my mechanic prepare surface with copper spray, install gasket and put the head back on with ARP bolts torqued to 75-80 ft lbs.

..i will have new parts installed at this time as well, including:
~timing belt kit ~new hoses ~new belt, a/c belt, wp/alt belt
~water pump ~new plugs ~new wires ~new radiator

what other parts should/could be replaced at this time?
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