Help with mod plan on ST165/Gen 1 3SGTE?

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Help with mod plan on ST165/Gen 1 3SGTE?

Postby AlltracAvenger » Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:00 pm

It's been a loooooong time since I've really been on here, but this used to be my go-to site for all things GT-Four. I sold my old ST165 I had in my avatar almost a decade ago, but a little over a year ago I picked up another.


I found this gem on the F/S section of this site with only 33K original miles(now sitting at 40,500). However while this had barely any use it did have a few issues, most critically a problem with the steering rack mounts. The car is currently down at this time awaiting an engine pull at the shop I usually use to reseal the engine, replace every last 28 year old coolant hose/vacuum line, add a new clutch, upgrade some of the aging stock parts and to reweld the steering rack mount that seems to be somehow broken(someone tried a kludgy fix of adding an additional mount in the middle of the rack; the car drives but the steering is wonky at best). This will be happening late this year or early next year.

I won't bar any holds here. The power bug has bit me and I'm looking at putting a little more punch on this beast after I get everything sorted. Yes, I do know that these cars are impossibly rare and that I probably had a better chance at winning the lottery than I did getting one that was generally unused and unmolested. However, I didn't buy this car to put it up on Barrett-Jackson in twenty years. I bought it because I gave up on my last one and I want to enjoy this one. Also, this car is already modified and is most definitely not a stock museum piece. Here's what I'm working with at this point:

-Full Whiteline 'Works' suspension, including bushings and anti-lift kit. This is one of the major reasons I went for this car, as they discontinued the kit a while ago and this was something I dreamed about having on my old car.
-Tein HA coilovers
-17x8" OZ Ultraleggera wheels, running 215/40/17 rubber
-Aussie 3" DP with Motoria 3" full exhaust; catless(no emissions in my area). I personally think this is super drony and 'ricey' sounding; one of my main goals is to get the characteristic 3SGTE 'growl' back.
-ST205 gearbox installed by the PO when the original died years ago(I'm assuming due to no maintenance and sitting for years at a stretch)
-braided steel brake lines; brake hardware likely original but will be addressed before modding.
-Everything else is bone stock other than an ATS high volume oil pump I had put in when my shop did the timing belt/water pump service right after I bought the car.

The PO had plans on swapping to an ST205 engine. I'd rather not do so as this is the original engine and it's barely used. I would like this one to last a while, but if it goes I will end up getting a 3rd/4th gen engine installed and calling it a day. As before I bought this car to enjoy, not sit as a garage or trailer queen. However, here's my tentative plan. My goals are for a reliable 200+awhp, beyond that is pretty much icing on the cake. I'm not dragging this car, but it'll see some autocross/time attack use as well as plenty mountain pass runs.

-Clutchmasters FX300 clutch, Speed Source extended clutch rod and SS clutch line
-Aluminum ST165 radiator that seemed to outlast the GB that happened years ago(still on Feebay for less than $200)
-ST185RC WTA I/C setup, including Bosch water pump and larger heat exchanger(which may not fit without removing fogs or A/C, neither of which I'm wanting to delete; I've already purchased this). I will be heat shielding the I/C and all that fun stuff as well. An additional question; my car seems to have a stock scoop that sits in the grille next to the driver's side foglight; it's taking up considerable space but I have no idea what it goes to. Some rudimentary transmission cooler, perhaps?
-Rebuild/upgrade spare CT26, still working out specs right now(likely 46/50 trim something at this point; I'd rather have a larger compressor wheel than just a trim, or is that a given with rebuilds these days?). I'm wanting relatively quick spool more than maximum power output. I'm not really interested in an aftermarket turbo at this time primarily due to cost/benefit, power goals, and general custom work; I know I'd have to have custom manifold/DP/lines/wastegate at the least.
-A friend has an adapter harness that they ran a JDM ST185 ECU on their ST165 for a while. I could run a PNP MS3 or Link ECU on this. Would this be feasible for additional reliability?
-Redo the exhaust to get rid of the potato shooter rear tip and ridiculous tone. Going for a more stock looking twin tip muffler and probably a better resonator to quiet things down a little. More restrictive? Yes. However I liked how the stock setup sounded far more than what's on this car.
-Gauges. Definitely gauges. I did get a Lotek pod from the PO. Was planning on boost, oil pressure, and wideband A/F. I did get a junkyard pillar a little while ago so I won't be drilling into my original trim. Is there anything other than the Prosport Evo series that matches the stock interior well?
-Shifter. I checked out a friend's '165 that had a stock ST205 shifter in place. I really liked it so that's what I'm going for. Add some shifter base bushings and cable bushings and that should firm up the vague feeling stocker without being extreme.

So, does this look alright for a basic stage 1/2 setup? Input would definitely be helpful as I'm incredibly rusty; between this and some mild work on my daily driver this is the most I've done to modify anything I've owned since my old ST165(which had as far as I can remember a reclocked MA70 CT26, gutted DP on stock exhaust, and a few other mild tweaks). I've definitely been doing some reading up and brushing up on the stuff I learned over the years, but I want to make sure I'm heading in the right direction?
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'88 ST165 #2914- Sold 12/21/06 :(
'88 ST165 #3784- Bought 05/08/15 :D
'05 Corolla XRS- Daily Driver
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Re: Help with mod plan on ST165/Gen 1 3SGTE?

Postby GT4_DRED » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:10 pm

Car look good; more pics please! If it were my car, I would drop a gen4 in it with WireGap harness and BPU mods. Clean, simple, modern, reliable performance.. Just my $0.02 :smokes:
'00 SC300 - "Big Butt"
'88 ST165 - "Rahtid"
'88 ST165 - "Supah Cyat"
'88 ST165 - "Cornbeef"
'88 ST165 - "Redhead"
'91 MR2-T SMG
'92 MR2-T Nautical Blue
'93 Corrado SLC - "Purple Haze"
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Re: Help with mod plan on ST165/Gen 1 3SGTE?

Postby lumbercis » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:21 am

If you want to keep the original engine I think the old Power Primer for the mr2 is still a pretty reliable guide, although dated in some areas:

Here's a similar article that might be more recent:

For CT-based turbo rebuilds I'd go with ATS as their CT27 has been around for a long time and has plenty of dynos and reviews supporting it.

Good luck!
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