Sprinter Van with Toyota 3RZ: The "Sprint-Yota"!

Shadman

Member
Looking for advice on the subject of a 170 high roof long wheelbase 2007 Mercedes Sprinter fused with a Toyota transplanted 2.7 22RE four cylinder. 150 HP and 170 foot pounds of torque.Forget all the nonsense of stability control, ABS, ECU communication, and other issues that keep "real" shops from doing the conversion. This conversion would be bare bones, to revive dead sprinters, and may not be emissions compliant in many states.

I picture separate engine harness and van harness, connected only at the battery, the a/c compressor wire, and starter relay. Retain full Toyota emissions, ECU, and OBD port. Monitor engine function through my handy and trustworthy OBDII Bluetooth and smartphone app. Use the Mercedes as is with possibly a feed to speedometer. I towed it, ignition on, driveshaft removed, and everything needed functioned without the engine running.

I poked around and I see the connections I'd need to bridge, probably not a complete list:

Radiator to motor
Exhaust Yota cat to sprinter tailpipe
Yota driveshaft to sprinter driveshaft
Intake manifold vacuum to sprinter brake booster and HVAC air handler
Heater core hoses to sprinter heater core hoses.
Fuel feed and fuel return lines to tank.
Power steering feed and return.
Air conditioner high and low pressure to air handler
Air conditioner compressor switch (could even do this manually if needed from an A/C toggle switch if MB is too finicky)
Starter wire to solenoid from ignition switch
Transmission shift linkage

Conceptually this makes sense. My RE22 T100 gets 22 MPG at 75 MPH loaded with 3 motorcycles sticking up into the dirty airflow and adding up to about 5,000 pounds. Funny, cause with a tow strap and my high top sprinter, driveshaft removed, the T100 was still able to tow the van at 75MPH at about 16 MPG, LOL. Final drive ratios, taking into account tires sizes, are about the same on the T100 and the sprinter. So the 22RE would turn similar revs in the sprinter as in the T100. Speedo might even be in the ballpark. And lastly the Sprinter has two huge steel frame rails, easily welded upon, and not unlike the T100.

So can anyone provide guidance on reasons why I might be foolish to proceed? I think there is an absolutely huge market for this conversion. EPA compliant (in theory), fuel efficient, readily source-able, and half million mile reliability. $20 oil changes. $80 transmission service. And broken motor fedex high tops in my neighborhood are selling for $1500 and clean running donor Toyotas from the 80's around $2500. I know this for sure. I acquired 3 in the last month. All running, but with vaying degrees of engine death. $1100 for a shorty van, $1200 for a fedex high top 2003, and $1500 for a high top 2007 with a hydraulic liftgate.\

I guess the first real question...do they both turn the driveshaft the same direction? LOL

Peter in Phoenix
 

Haf-E

Expedition Leader
Its an interesting for idea - I thought about doing it with the Cummins Repower diesel kit though.

Wouldn't it only be compliant unless the engine was of the same year or newer than the vehicle though?

I don't think the Cummins would be compliant either - although there ate plenty of areas it wouldn't be an issue.

I think you should make one up!
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
The last year the 22R-E was used in the U.S. was 1995, so if you want to be technically legal most states AFAIK only allow model or newer engines to be swapped in. Besides that, why? There are several better, newer engines. Don't get me wrong, the 22R-E was a bulletproof engine and simple, but it's at it's basic a forklift and tractor motor. It wouldn't do 75MPH with 3 bikes in a T100, that's for sure.

But since you refer to a 2.7L I believe you already know this. The 22R-E is a 2.4L displacement, but he 3RZ-FE that came in T100, Tacomas and 4Runner is a 2.7L motor. I bet that's what you mean. This is the engine that guys swap in for the 22R-E. I'd think it would be a fine motor.
 

eporter

Adventurer
I'd look at what is/isn't possible in California for reasons why this isn't working/being done more.

Here in Oregon 1975 is our cutoff for emissions (cat converter date). I could see a future trend where people take a pre-1975 frame and build on that. Like 1975 truck frame with a modern body and powerplant.
 

brian94ht

Chateau spotter
Some thoughts on this as I think Sprinter shells ARE going to need inexpensive re-motor options.
The MB motors are to expensive to purchase/rebuild, and the service tech doing the work falls into the same expensive category.
I would suggest a 2gr-fe, http://mywikimotors.com/toyota-2gr/
3L v6 DOHC
In that link it lists 14 USDM cars it came in since 2005 (hello, Camry), front, 4, or rear wheel drive configurations. Doubt if any of theses transmissions have the torque capacity to push loaded Sprinters around.

I think to get around emissions issues you research selling as a Kit car, or in this case "Kit van"
Engine and chassis are sold separately and assembled at the shop next door.
Although I'm not sure about using a used chassis, etc.
There are a few shops that have put this motor in various cars and they would be a good place to start to have a prototype built and test.
Of course an LS crate motor is a likely option as well, and lots of fabricators with experience putting these in everything.
It's just a matter of time before people start doing this.
 
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luthj

Engineer In Residence
Sprinters with ESP use the abs/esp module for front rear brake bias countil. Without it rear lockup with light loads, or poor braking performace would result. Of course the airbags and seat belt tension systems may require the factory ECM... The same goes for the asr traction control.
The ncv3 vans use a variable displacement AC compressor, no switches, just sensors and fully electronic control to prevent freeze up.

Ncv3 have a interlock on the steering controlled by the immobilizer. The starter motor is not controlled by the ignition switch, but is driven by the ecm on a start request. Etc....
 

lazybummm

New member
hmmm, the 22re moved the 80's 4runner I once had very slowly (it did a little better in my friend's celica), I think it'll be pretty hard on the little workhorse in a 170 body...especially loaded. Unless you find a rare 22rte (turbo version), that might be interesting. The 3RZ-FE is an interesting motor, toyota made a supercharger for it at one point.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
Why would you want to install 25 year old technology in a 15 year olf van?

That's backing way up from the original slow stinky Mercedes diesel that came in the van.

Put a 4.8 or 5.3 Chevrolet LS engine in it. SIMPLE, cheap to purchase, huge aftermarket support for the conversion and economical to operate.

By far the BEST option for re-powering damn near any vehicle in the world today!
 
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Shadman

Member
The last year the 22R-E was used in the U.S. was 1995, so if you want to be technically legal most states AFAIK only allow model or newer engines to be swapped in. Besides that, why? There are several better, newer engines. Don't get me wrong, the 22R-E was a bulletproof engine and simple, but it's at it's basic a forklift and tractor motor. It wouldn't do 75MPH with 3 bikes in a T100, that's for sure.

But since you refer to a 2.7L I believe you already know this. The 22R-E is a 2.4L displacement, but he 3RZ-FE that came in T100, Tacomas and 4Runner is a 2.7L motor. I bet that's what you mean. This is the engine that guys swap in for the 22R-E. I'd think it would be a fine motor.
Excellent answer Dave, Thank you!!! I hadn't looked under the hood of the T100 enough to compare it to my 1987 previously sold 22R, but visually it looked the same. And yes, in my T100 I see 85 regularly with 3 dirt bikes. Learning as I go.
 

Shadman

Member
I would suggest a 2gr-fe, http://mywikimotors.com/toyota-2gr/
3L v6 DOHC
Thanks for the info. I'm not so sure about V6 for space, exhaust, and ease of installation. In a wierd way I'm not trying to recreate the wheel, like building a Sienna minivan under a sprinter. I'm looking at a bit more out of the box options, but I will keep this motor in mind as I go forward.

Of course an LS crate motor is a likely option as well, and lots of fabricators with experience putting these in everything
As far as LS, everyone is doing LS. So maybe I should. It was my first go to idea, and I had a good friend with an LS RX8 that was a heck of a car. Pricing is reasonable too. This is tied with a 4 cyl toyota on my candiate list.

It's just a matter of time before people start doing this.
I want to be on the first wave of this. Many issues I'll tackle will be the same regardless of motor choice. And many of the aftermarket support for swaps like the LS will be beneficial to any swap.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
The LS swap is good. The 3RZ is a good motor, too. Personally, going this much trouble, it would have to be a Cummins 2.8L diesel if it was me. :)
 

Shadman

Member
hmmm, the 22re moved the 80's 4runner I once had very slowly (it did a little better in my friend's celica), I think it'll be pretty hard on the little workhorse in a 170 body...especially loaded. Unless you find a rare 22rte (turbo version), that might be interesting. The 3RZ-FE is an interesting motor, toyota made a supercharger for it at one point.
Finding out now that the 3RZ-FE is the motor I have. Thanks for the input, you lazybum.
 

Shadman

Member
The LS swap is good. The 3RZ is a good motor, too. Personally, going this much trouble, it would have to be a Cummins 2.8L diesel if it was me. :)
I have a complete 4bt with auto trans available too, but the pedestrian nature of the 4 cyl appeals to me, as does proving to my friends who are saying I'm crazy that this can be done.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
The best hobby is the one that makes you happy. If you want to do what they say can't be done, go for it, Bandit.
 

Shadman

Member
Why would you want to install 25 year old technology in a 15 year old van?
Sometimes the older technology is easier to work with. In the case of the 4 cylinder Toyota, it came from an era when things were still very easy to work on, but perform adequately. As much as most people think a v8 with massive power is necessary, I regularly tow 2 to 3,000 pounds on my trailer behind my T100. And while slow and deliberate, it solves the problem.

Put a 4.8 or 5.3 Chevrolet LS engine in it. SIMPLE, cheap to purchase, huge aftermarket support for the conversion and economical to operate. By far the BEST option for re-powering damn near any vehicle in the world today!
That is my other option. But turns me into a "me too" LS engine swap guy. But every response like yours swings me further away from my original plan and further towards an LS 4.8. And if by some odd chance I could create a semblance of a business around LS swaps they little 4.8 can take 800 HP in turbo boost in pretty much stock form. I'm sure there are quite a few leadfoots around who would pony up for a 6 second 0-60 sprinter van. I used to think Hennessey was a nut, but looking at his arsenal of bulletproof SUV builds there is definitely a market.

With 2008 and later Sprinters racking up $10,000 emissions equipment repairs on a very regular basis, and fleet operators budgeting $0.10 a mile for emissions upkeep, wouldn't a $10,000 LS kit solve a lot of headaches? Especially for 3rd world applications.
 
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