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Swapping S53 from Gen 1 3SGE for an S54 from Gen 4 3SGE

Discussion in 'Drivetrain' started by elduderino, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. elduderino

    elduderino Well-Known Member

    So I have been reading everything on this forum, google, etc. and I still can't get a straight answer. From what I read all the S54 info is for the 5SFE variant.

    I ended up buying an S54 transmission from someone that purchased an engine/tranny combo for an MR2 and the linkage was not correct for their vehicle. The seller stated that it came from a "red top 3SGE"

    My question is this, will an S54 that was mounted on a Gen 4 3SGE fit a Gen 1 3SGE directly? These are basically the same exact engines no?

    Does it require a different flywheel, starter, etc.?

  2. Redrkt01

    Redrkt01 Well-Known Member

    You can swap the transmission in with no problem at all. You don't need a different flywheel or starter. It will bolt right up. The only thing that's stopping you is that you haven't started the swap yet. Get going already.
  3. elduderino

    elduderino Well-Known Member

    Awesome! Thanks for the good news! Even better is that I only paid $425 for the S54 (65k miles on it) shipped to my door. Can't wait to get it in and have that pesky fifth gear pop out gone. I also got some new brass shift cable bushings. Really looking forward to the swap.
  4. elduderino

    elduderino Well-Known Member

    So it shows up like this...... any salvaging it? The mounts for the shift cables were broken off. I can't believe this is how they packaged it.....so disappointing.

    Attached Files:

  5. Redrkt01

    Redrkt01 Well-Known Member

    Nope nothing you can do. Time for your money back.
  6. Stig

    Stig ST162 Guru Donated!

    If it's from a BEAMS motor it probably has an LSD diff (these were rumored to have it). Does it have a steel outer cover?
    Boxes in this condition are extremely hard to find so I'd try to hang on to this one, ie - you could have the broken tab welded up.(perhaps the supplier would pay for the repair?)
    I also had this issue when I swapped to a S54 and the cable holder still works fine, look at the pics and you will see the broken holder

    The brass bushes are ok, I'm wary they could wear faster than the stock steel if you don't keep them lubed.
  7. elduderino

    elduderino Well-Known Member

    I found another one with a starter, flywheel, etc. for $650 shipped to me.

    This seller is being a dirtbag though, so I think I'd rather just have it picked up by the shipper and returned to him. He told me that I should use duct tape to hold it and that the C mount only controls left and right movement..... I have a feeling this guy may have even shipped it broken to start with, so no telling what he did to it.

    The other one that is $650 is also from a beams red top.

    Thanks for the info.
  8. Stig

    Stig ST162 Guru Donated!

    He is right - it does. Mine was busted worse than yours and stayed put for many years.
    You are also correct, the tab is usually damaged by the box hitting the steering rack on removal
  9. eNtraxGT88

    eNtraxGT88 Well-Known Member Donated!

    One sec. I did this swap and I definitely needed to change starters and flywheel.

    The gen1 3sge S53 starter is under the exhaust manifold.
    The gen3/4 3sge S54 starter is on top of the transmission.

    They DO NOT swap.

    S53 trans to the right (note starter hole covered and the start goes the other way towards engine)
    S54 trans to the left (starter hole for starter to be mounted on transmission.

    S53 flywheel is MUCH smaller than the S54 flywheel: you can also see where the starter goes in this photo.
    S54 flywheel: Look at the flywheel size difference!!

    s53 starter is 9 teeth while s54 starter is 13 teeth:

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  10. Redrkt01

    Redrkt01 Well-Known Member

    Thing is that the FE starter is in its normal position. If I had done the swap back in the day when I had an FE the flywheel/starter problem you highlighted wouldn't have existed for me. I could be wrong in that when most 4th geners go S54 they have to do everything you did. However I don't think I wouldve had those troubles based on my own experiences with my former equipment.....unless there's something I'm overlooking. I couldve kept my flywheel amd starter. My S53 starter wouldve bolted up to the tranny the same way the S54 would have.

    I live with E56 glory now so perhaps my recollection is worse off than I thought.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  11. eNtraxGT88

    eNtraxGT88 Well-Known Member Donated!

    there were two different S53's. there was the one mounted onto the GT/ST models with the 3SFE, where you are right, you don't need to change flywheel/starter. this must have been the S53 you had.

    However, the GTS 3SGE is totally different S53. the starter in any GT-S 3SGE ST162 sits under the exhaust manifold, this generation being the only generation of 3SGE's that had this set up.

    you can bolt on any S5x trans just fine, but it's just a bit different if you're coming from a ST162 GTS
  12. Stig

    Stig ST162 Guru Donated!

    All this is discussed in the thread I highlighted?

    Here is one of the pics showing both the broken tab and the starter placement holes.
    The Gen1 starter fits both boxes as shown here, I have run the starters on both sides depending which flywheel is fitted.
    In my case I opted to fit a gen2 oil cooler which meant swapping both the flywheel and starter to make room under the exhaust



    ps. Knowing what we know now I'd opt for using a (Camry) 5SFE flywheel (lighter), blanking plate and starter (stronger, easier to find, cooler) over trying to continue with the Gen1 GE starter/flywheel which are now near impossible to find.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  13. elduderino

    elduderino Well-Known Member

    After a long battle with the seller, I ended getting a refund for the full amount from Ebay.

    I purchased another transmission. This one came with a flywheel, starter, and only had 45,000 kms on it.

    Seeing as how I just rebuilt my starter and everything is working great in my car now I am going to just use my current starter and flywheel.

    Attached Files:

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