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165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

MY.IS forum has been greatly helpful building our race cars, so I would like to share our project. :)
We are located in Korea, and my friend and I have been building two IS200 race cars since Nov. of 2011.

Since Lexus IS200 were one of very few FR import car that were imported officially thru Lexus Korea since late 90s, it was one of cheapest FR cars you can buy in Korea market.
(For those who wonder, RHD JDM Altezza was NOT officially imported.)
As you know IS200 is pretty sad car with 155hp I-6 & 4-speed auto. :(

So we planned to swap the 3S-GE engine with 6-sp. :cool:
Due to displacement regulation of the league we are attending, we didn't bother with 2JZ.
2JZ would also increase the running cost this car in our country much higher due to its displacement.

Overall, we are building amateur club race car that won't break the bank.
Also car has to be driven on the street time to time.
(mostly on the way to the track)

Here are specs of the car we planned.
We are aiming total of US$35k for each to buy/build the complete race car.
(The budget is extremely subjective since we are located in Korea)

-. 3S-GE w/6-sp swap.
-. 6-point welded roll-cage.
-. Stripped Interior.
-. The car has to be "street-able" since we have to drive the car to track. Has to retain AC/Audio.
-. FIA approved front seats.
-. FIA approved 6-point harness
-. Wheel/Suspension work to be run competitive time in our class.
-. Reliable/low-cost running race car for at least next 5 years. (Maybe I will buy used FT86 later. ;) )
-. Tires : Radials (no slicks). Our class has spec tires, so we have to run Hankook R-S3 or TD.

I will be posting/updating the thread periodically as we proceed. :)

1. Buying IS200 from used car market.
It only costed us about US$5,000 to pick up MY01 IS200 with 100k miles on it.
It's extremely low price considering high price import car market that Korea has. (for example, brand new GS350 goes about $65k+)
Both cars(Grey-mine, White-friend's) were extremely clean condition.
Front end had some minor accident.(no frame damage) which is expect-able for 10+ year old car.
White one had been riced out by previous owner with LED tails and replica wheels. lol

2. Take it to track.
I know it's lame to take IS200 to track, but I had a chance to take it to track the day I bought the car. lol
I was also very fortunate to run the car in F1 track in Korea.
I didn't have a chance to take good pictures of the IS200 running at track.
This is only one picture I got right before I get into track.

Although the IS200 was light and nimble around the corners, it was seriously lacking power esp with 4-speed auto.
Also the steering pump was over-heat very quickly. 1-2 laps were enough to make PS whine.

3. Planning...
As I expected, engine swap with some diet on weight will make this car very competent in our class.(2.0L NA, 1150kg, No-VTEC)

I have started to order goodies such as engine, suspension, etc from US, Japan, Italy, HK, Taiwan, UK. :)
While parts are being delivered, I have planned to start taking interior apart for roll-cage work.

The 1st race is being held on March 11th.
So the car needs to run by end of Feb.

Here are last pictures of the car in "stock form" lol


165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
4. Tint Removal.

Both cars already had tint on window.
We heated the glass with heat gun for easy removal.
It's critical to do right temperature, or you will melt the film.

Have to very careful on rear back window, because you can easily damage the heat wires while removing 10 years old film with adhesives.

Nice and clean, tint-film free glass!


165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Part 5 : Removing interior

Now time for removing interiors of both cars.
We are going to put some interior back(Dash and etc) after welding the roll cage in, so we need it keep the parts well.

Obviously, it seems like white car's driver was female.(many long hairs!! eww)
The grey car driver had kids. (small toys, stickers. lol)

Dis-assemble time!! ;)

Since we moved the sunroof, we needed temporarily solution until we get it sealed. :cool:

Now it's time for grey car.
We only had time/space to work 1-2 hours per day, so we had to work few days to dis-assemble interior + moving parts to storage.

Yup it's Toyota, you only need 10mm/12mm to loosen most parts! :)
We only used very basic tools to remove the interior.

We put little more effort on making temporarily sunroof cover. lol

Dash is off!!

We kept track of the weight of each parts.(kinda gave up mid-way. lol)
IS200/300 does have much sound deadening due to it's "luxury" position of the brand.
It was not hard task to saving much weight from simply removing interior.
I would guess at least 200lb+ saving for what we have done so far.
But there are still tons of parts we can remove.

We used the traditional "dry-ice" method to remove the floor sound deadening material. :)

Hey, we gotta feel the weight savings of these 155hp IS right?
Took out for a drive and WHOAA!! what a difference!!
Can't wait until we put 3S-GE in!


165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Part 6 : ROLL-CAGE!!!

Yup, now it's time for the roll-cage.
Since we are NOT professional welder/bender....I got help from my friends.
We moved our cars to my friend's race shop for roll cage.

Since these cars will be running spec radial tires(Hankook R-S3) + running time trial, we only needs minimal roll-cage to pass the regulation.
BUT we do take seriously on minimalism, meaning even if it is minimal 6-point, it has to be welded correctly.
So there won't be crazy roll-cage which adds much weight. :)

Time to work!!

Used the paper to make the roll-cage support base mount template.
It's critical to make base mount rigid to dissipate the stress of the rollcage thru the chassis.
Not only the rollcage protects the driver,but it also adds much rigidity to chassis.

Now time for white car. :)

Since all the base mounts are done, now time for some piping!
We wanted to put the A-pillar piping more towards to front, but we wanted to keep the wiring harness + steering column in stock position(without modifying it).
We had to make compromise to current position.

Main piping are finished! :)
Now I started to see some "race-ness" of the car.

Some pictures from outside.
It's nice to see some roll cages thru the window. :)

Now we moved back to the shop for engine swap + etc.

We also added extra two bars(rear strut bar & harness bar)

After we paint the roll cage and interior, we will do engine swap.
For those who have not seen 2.0L I-6 engine look like...
Here is the 155hp hopeless 1GE-FE engine!

The engine room will look like this soon...(my friend's JDM Altezza) :cool:

Begging for new engine. ;) I will update more this week!
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165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
interesting things i noticed, you have usdm bumpers with jdm fender and headlights, interesting combo. so these are official exported models to korea?

Yup, these are officially imported by Lexus Korea. :)
It does have weird configurations. Going to put JDM bumpers later on.

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Part 7 : Interior painting!

Because new roof from Lexus Korea was EXTREMELY expansive($1,000+), we had to seal off the roof cutout.

Pictures of the roof before painting.

Results came out very GOOD!! Don't have good pictures at this moment.

Roll cages/roof were painted by bodyshop.
Here are few pictures. ;)

Time to trim the dash and fit into the car. :)
Requires patient to make it fit like glove.

Whoa!! dash does make huge difference.
Now it feels like "a car" now. :bigSmile:

Now we cleaned the floor and paint it to the body color.
White car was harder to make it clean because the paint was very light. :pissed:

Here is the grey car after painting the floor.
The grey car(mine) came out much cleaner. :)

Also cleaned and re-sealed with under-coating where burn marks from the roll-cage welding.

It's snowing outside when we leave the shop.
It was loooong day. Now time for dropping stock engine. :cool:


165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Part 8 : Removing stock engine(1G-FE)!!

3S-GE is already at the port, going thru the customs.
Now, it's time to remove stock engine and auto transmission. :)

Disconnect batt.

Remove ECU harness

Remove all the under panels.

Drain all the lubricants & coolants.

Remove stock exhaust.

Remove A/T propeller shaft

Stock TB.

Notice the brake ducting on the front under cover! :)

Engine coming off along with subframe.

Bye-bye 1G-FE!!!

Empty engine bay! :thumbup: Easy part is done. Now time to put 3S-GE!


165 Posts

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Part 9 : Putting 3S-GE !!!

Now it's time to put 3S-GE engine in. :)
The propeller shaft is different, so make sure you get the right shaft for the 6MT.
One on the top is one for the 6MT, which is longer than 4AT version.

While we are installing Hardrace new bushings on all the lower arm, we also reinforced the rear lower arm.
Below is pre-weld picture.

Stock bushing...

Hardrace(stiffened rubber) bushing installed! :)

Bye-bye 1G-FE & 4AT

Hello 3S-GE & 6MT!!!!

I Also got the all the used Altezza suspension/subframe.
Altezza DID had thicker sway bars compared to IS200s.
Also there are extra differential mounting point on the rear subframe.

Installed Hardrace reinforced engine mount.

Engine has been placed on the subframe.

While we are at it, we also drilled few holes on the thermostat. :)

Now time to install the clutch pedal!!
Requires cutting/drilling/welding and etc.

New Exedy clutch has been installed before putting tranny on the engine.

Had to pull the shifter and rotate because it was leaning towards RHD side.

Modified stock Altezza LSD to create some initial torque.
Left one is from IS200(4 bolts end caps), right one is from Altezza(6 bolts end caps)

The exhaust manifold interferes with steering gearbox input shaft, so we had to fabricate the custom exhaust manifold(2-1 section, no pictures yet)
Relocate the coolant line, power steering line, fuel line, clutch line and etc, then here is...Whoohoo!!!

Now time to work on re-wiring chassis harness to accept 3S-GE ECU.

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Looks really good! I don't know if it's just me but some of the pictures aren't working. Can't wait to see it finished!
If you refresh, it should show up all the pictures.
The media server is also located in Korea, which causes some delay. :)

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Part 10 : Firing up the 3S-GE!

Hello guys.
It has been awhile since the last update.

The re-wiring the chassis harness to accept 3S-GE was PITA!!
The problem was I was not be able to get the chassis wiring of SXE10(JDM Altezza).
The SXE10 service manual is only avail in Japanese and it IS very hard to get.

After spending DAYS and DAYS with 3S-GE Engine wiring diagram and 1F-GE Engine & Chassis wiring diagram, I finally figured out everything. :)
We did had issue with engine stalling, TRC and etc but very glad that everything worked out after many trial.

Altezza ECU does NOT support OBD, but it DOES uses VSC which IS200/300 only sports traditional traction control(TRC).
So we had to disable ETCS(Toyota's electrical throttle body), and use direct cable link to control throttle body.

Used stock Honda S2000 resonator to use on the rear muffler. Now welding time for the exhaust!

We put Personal shift knob and boots. :)

Installed power steering cooler. :)

We used Recaro Pole Position for front seats, Willans 6-pt harness, Challenge FULL-Aluminium coilovers with Hyperco springs(800lb/550lb)

Also had to cut the transmission tunnel little wider since 6-SP manual transmission didn't fit the opening.

Seats and harness are installed :)

Now waiting for the wheels. :)

Enkei RPF1 17x9 ET35, have arrived!

The white car will be running first race day with stock engine(1G-FE, 155hp) with 4-sp auto since we spent too much time with the grey car.
ECU problems and power steering pressure issue took too long to fix.
Since the driver of the white is the beginner, we thought it would not be a bad idea to run the track with under powered engine for his first race day.

But we still installed the suspension and wheels.
Excuse the front fender since it will be re-done by bodyshop once it is all done.

RPF1 17x9 ET35 with 255/40/17 all around!!
Using Hankook RS-3 tires due to race regulation.

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Part 10 continues...

Quickly we also re-made the GT wing lower bracket.

We also installed S2000 fuel pump since stock one can not support extra 60hp.

Now time to fit some nice Personal steering wheel with WorksBell GTCs on white car!! :)

Also swapped out the old riced out LED taillight with stock ones on white car.

I will post up the detail shots of the complete car soon! :)

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Glad you finally got those ugly wheels off. Can't wait to see the cars finished!
lol, I will post up the complete car next week. :)

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #34 ·
jesus that was awesome. Love this thread. RPF1's look sick!

I'm not sure if its been mentioned but are you going to turbo the 3S GE?

Nope, 3S-GE will remain N/A. :approve:

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Part 11 : Completion of 3S-GE equipped IS200!! (for now)

Here are pictures of the grey car after quick wash.
The car needs few details sort out.
Still having power steering issue, where the 3S-GE's power steering pumps out too much pressure that IS200 steering gear box can't take. :(
Anyways power steering does very little on the track, so we will just stick with no power until we find some solution.

The white car will be running the track with stock engine + auto tranny for just race day since the driver is still novice.
After the first race, we will do another conversion on white IS200 too. (I will keep posting on this car too)

Anyways were are some photos now. Enjoy!

We detailed the car little. :)

Here are some detail shots!! :thumbup:

I will post up some more of details shots, and also continue the story on how we did on the track and etc. :)

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #37 ·

165 Posts
Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Very nice.

I would have proposed an SXE10 body harness swap and run the digital Altezza cluster then gotten a standalone lap timer instead of running the integrated digital dash you put in.

Yup that would be another way to do it. :)

But I also like to watch oil pressure/oil temp with the Laptor R1.
It also records all the driving lines and etc for data logging to improve the driving skill.
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