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maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) SuperDork
10/13/20 7:58 a.m.


This is my last-chance Challenge build for 2020 - a 2006 Toyota Avalon XL that was rolled over. The roof is caved in, the windshield is shattered, the front bodywork is crumpled or missing, and the interior is covered in mildew. The A/C must have leaked out after the impact. Many of the electronics are fried from exposure to weather. But it runs and drives! I bought it for $700 from forum member SVreX. For sale thread here: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/parts-sale/who-needs-a-2gr-fe/176652/page1/ 

These are known for their engine - the 2GR-FE V6 which is basically Toyota's VQ35 except better. Conservatively rated at only 268hp, they are proven to dyno at 275+ whp, stock, in swapped cars. They were put in everything for 10+ years including Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Lexus models, Sienna, etc. This engine also powers the Lotus Exige S V6 and the Lotus Evora. It will eventually power my own Lotus project... But for now, I'm going to have some fun with it at the 2020 GRM $2000 Challenge. 

No CEL! No overheating! Fans don't seem to kick on though.

Toyota blue screen of death. Can't get radio to turn on or the climate interface to display. But the climate controls do function, albeit blindly.

This is probably why the A/C does not blow ice cold. Condenser took a good hit during the rollover. 

Feature unlocked: every interior storage compartment is now an in-car aquarium! You can't buy this kind of luxury.

In one weekend only, I am turning this wreck into a topless speedster-style racecar.

The plan:

  • Cut off the roof
  • Remove interior and all other unnecessary weight
  • Gut doors, possibly just weld the skins to the body
  • Install racing seat
  • Fabricate roll bar
  • Install harness and seat back brace
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Wind deflector
  • Lower? Cut springs?
  • All the camber
  • Nitrous maybe?
  • Racing livery
  • Some kind of front bodywork and headlight
  • Change oil I guess
  • Wheels and tires TBD

And I will need plenty of help! If you are in the Atlanta area this weekend, you are welcome to stop by and lend a hand. I will be working basically non-stop from Friday to Sunday (10/16-10/18). Food and bevs will be provided. Just bring your own mask/face shield. You'll need it for the sparks at the very least! PM me for address if you're interested. 

gumby (Forum Supporter)
gumby (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
10/13/20 8:09 a.m.

Wish I was closer to help you start another epic build!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
10/13/20 8:22 a.m.
maschinenbau (I live here) said:

  • Lower? Cut springs?

I would be willing to bet, this being an Avalon, that it has enough bumpstop to just take the springs out entirely.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/13/20 8:55 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:
maschinenbau (I live here) said:

  • Lower? Cut springs?

I would be willing to bet, this being an Avalon, that it has enough bumpstop to just take the springs out entirely.

Wouldnt even be the first toyota sedan challenger to run on washers instead of springs. 

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
10/13/20 9:10 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:
maschinenbau (I live here) said:

  • Lower? Cut springs?

I would be willing to bet, this being an Avalon, that it has enough bumpstop to just take the springs out entirely.

especially after you gut all the weight out of it

TVR Scott (Forum Supporter)
TVR Scott (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/13/20 9:25 a.m.

Oh man, that interior is so nasty.  I say remove it with a blow-torch.

Have at it!

For the Lotus, do you have plans for a manual swap?  If so, what's the usual route there?

PS: Does the roll-off dumpster for all the crap you'll be throwing away count in the challenge budget?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
10/13/20 9:47 a.m.

If you get all that done and are feeling ambitious about bodywork, a Cadillac Le Monstre tribute would be an instant concours success:

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) SuperDork
10/13/20 10:01 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Oh my, how have I gone my whole life not knowing about this...that's a perfect theme! 

E_NinjA New Reader
10/13/20 10:03 a.m.

I'm in SoCal, but i definitely wish I was on the other coast to help with the gutting of this thing.

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
10/13/20 10:07 a.m.

Yeah, a parking lot build, just a different parking lot! 

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/13/20 10:23 a.m.

My stepson has that exact Avalon, same color and everything (except it is not wrecked, has an actual interior that would not make you sick). Watching this one, can't wait to see what this ends up looking like for the Challenge! I do agree the 2GR-FE is a nice engine so if you can reduce the weight, that thing should fly. But the marshmallow suspension will be an issue with the weight pulled out, so will be interested in your solution to solve that.

TurnerX19 SuperDork
10/13/20 10:31 a.m.

In reply to dherr (Forum Supporter) :

Removing weight will improve the suspension, and cut springs are stiffer, so all is in the correct direction. Sorry I'm Nonack's neighbor, so to far away to help.

Justjim75 Dork
10/13/20 10:48 a.m.

I'm in Montgomery, ill check to see what my family needs me for that I don't know about yet

slowbird SuperDork
10/13/20 11:08 a.m.

I wish I could come help, but instead, I've contributed my AWFUL photoshop skills to this inspirational concept art. Featuring a completely realistic windscreen, blacked-out (removed) interior, angry toothy scowl face painted on the front, a splitter made of leftover roof metal, and a roll bar painted beige to match the exterior.


maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) SuperDork
10/13/20 11:24 a.m.

In reply to slowbird :

I love this community

Daylan C (Forum Supporter)
Daylan C (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/13/20 11:37 a.m.

In reply to slowbird :

Should be enough roof skin left for a spoiler on the rear too. 

mtnbiker4evr13 New Reader
10/13/20 11:55 a.m.

That thing will scoot. We had a 2GR in a 2010 Rav, 100% loved the motor. Saw the for sale ad on this and had to fight the urge to bring home another project or try to swap the motor into a Willys CJ2A. This is going to be awesome!

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) SuperDork
10/13/20 12:11 p.m.

Definitely scoots. Already laid some front wheel peels through my hood last night. 

I'm going to change the oil tonight because there's a bit of sludge right under the oil fill cap, plus who knows how long it sat. Forums say a little sludge under the cap is normal though. I doubt I have a Stampie Z situation here.

slowbird SuperDork
10/13/20 12:11 p.m.

In reply to Daylan C (Forum Supporter) :

Good point.

I've also added some "cool" wheels - namely the cheapest 17x8 wheels on Tire Rack that will fit an Avalon. Feel free to substitute some hideous but cheap craigslist wheels. laugh

rustomatic Reader
10/13/20 12:13 p.m.

Sounds like a good way to burn some pandemic frustration.  Count me in if you need more hands.  PM sent.

cghstang_chris Dork
10/13/20 12:15 p.m.

If you're doing any kind of windscreen, please do a mad-max boat windshield!

eastsideTim PowerDork
10/13/20 1:13 p.m.

In reply to cghstang_chris :

I love that movie!  How in the world have I seen it so many times and not realized that was a boat windscreen?

Wish Atlanta was close enough for me to pop in and help for a day, but that’s a bit farther than Indiana.  Can’t wait to see it at the challenge!

nocones UltraDork
10/13/20 1:29 p.m.

My wife said I need a vacation.   .  This is tempting to drive down and lend help.  Do you have place for Tent?

BlueInGreen - Jon (Forum Supporter)
BlueInGreen - Jon (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/13/20 2:46 p.m.

Oh this will be fun to watch.

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) SuperDork
10/13/20 6:52 p.m.

In reply to rustomatic :

I didn't get a PM yet. They normally go to my email.

nocones, My yard is not ideal for camping but we can working something out. I have a lot of spare room in my house. 


Amazon 2-day is apparently fabricated BS so I didn't get to the oil tonight. Instead I tried out some wheels. I'm deciding between two sets:

15x8 Jeeps with 225/45R15 Rivals, the ones currently on Datsaniti. They don't clear the front calipers, just like on Datsaniti so a 1" spacer would be needed. I don't feel like either buying new spacers or borrowing them from the Datsun, so let's move on.

17x7 Infiniti wheels from Datsun's donor car, a G35. Riken Raptor 300TW summer tires 225/45R17. These fit much better, but the Avalon wheels use mag-style lugnuts so I'll need a whole set of conical nuts. The 17's with Rikens are NOTICEABLY heavier than the Toyota 16's with crap tires of roughly the same diameter. Not sure if wheel differences, or tire, or both. This is probably what I'll go with for the Chalenge and for dolly towing. 

They don't look terrible either.

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