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By Barry Brazier
Some years ago, Ray Meek tinkered with several Toyotas and found them to be a stout-hearted breed eager to absorb some go-fast parts. Being a major mover of high-performance parts from Toyota's TRD division, Ray and his fellow parts department employees were just itching to have some fun at Seattle International Raceway (SIR). It took a few years, but plans for a TRD performance store in a separate 5,000-square-foot building next to the car dealership became a reality in '98, as did the four service/installation bays where John Molotte has created previous feature cars ("Suburban Sleeper MR2," March '98) seen in these pages.
Being Ray's personal daily driver, the base-model '98 Camry is equipped with the usual creature comforts that come with the 2.2-liter, four-banger sedan. Their intent with this project was to investigate the performance potential for the 3SFE and 5SFE family of Toyota engines. "The results have been really good," stated Ray, not knowing that at the SIR track this past summer his 14.25-second e.t. at 99.98 mph could have been improved greatly. It was later found that the number-two cylinder had blown off its two top rings due to the 19 psi that was tried just once during the third Import Drags in June.
Wanting to market a basic seven-psi system for the stock 5SFE engine, John selected bolt-on components from several different companies in order to obtain a close-to-300 horsepower system. The idea was to create a kit that would allow the vehicle to gain a few seconds in the quarter-mile, make it reliable and make it a quick install for most Camry owners with a reasonable amount of tuning knowledge and hand tools. It also had to be very driveable. After all, Camry sedans are generally owned by families, not gear-crashers.
The heart of the system is the conversion of what was a Toyomoto kit for the RAV4 engine. As this Camry is the prototype vehicle, John Molotte soon learned that the factory cast-iron exhaust manifold would eventually need to be changed to a custom header system in the final offering since the stock header sits too low and complicates the simple fitment in a crowded engine bay.
As the SFE engine family hasn't changed much since '87, the modifications made should fit most Toyotas using this engine. The one obvious difference was the MAP sensor and airflow meter that was removed. Rather than install a one-way check valve to "fool" the MAP sensor, the TRD crew uses a GReddy boost cut designed for a Supra because it uses the same voltage and plugs into the PIM wire. This proved a much more dependable way to fool the ECU into not seeing boost.
The addition of a Supra non-Turbo fuel pump increased the Camry's fuel pressure by five psi. Extra fuel is provided by a single 300cc Bosch injector which is run by a Haltech controller and positioned directly in front of the stock throttle body.
Since the TD06C delivers a reasonable seven psi of boost, there aren't many changes in the ignition aside from the addition of Vitek plug wires.

One thing Ray and John did learn was that MR2 plugs seemed just right for this application. The gap on the factory plugs was too wide and allowed a lot of spark grounding. The platinum plugs not only cured the hesitation and low energy, but the Vitek plug wires put all the extra energy into the cylinders even under maximum boost. Luckily, the Camry engine has a factory steel head gasket.
Also, due to piston ring damage, John replaced the cylinder head bolts with studs from an MR2 Turbo. It was during this swap he learned that the Celica All-Trac and MR2 Turbo studs have the same thread and pitch as the Camry pieces. Previously, as the Camry's studs stretched under boost, it was the ensuing piston ring and head gasket damage that made the times slower than they should have been. End-of-the-season testing at SIR shows that with the stud swap, custom Spearco intercooler and race gas the Camry will now run 13.70s quite easily on street tires.
The exhaust is a custom three-inch piece made in the shop, but will be tooled for production by Stan's Headers. One of the benefits of custom headers will be how the turbo is placed higher in the engine bay, allowing better clearances for all the custom parts.
Stopping being as important as going, the stock discs are assisted by TRD semi-metallic pads and stainless brake lines. The Camry sports 215/50ZR-17 Goodyear Eagles all around which spin on 17x7-inch Racing Dynamincs wheels. The shocks are from Koni and the springs are Eibach pieces which lower the sedan about 1.5 inches all around.
Wanting to try for a lower e.t., the Burien TRD department has recently installed a TRD Torsen/Gleason limited-slip differential and replaced the stock clutch with an RPS turbo clutch mated to a Toyota disk.
The body kit was developed by Molly Design but we're told they are made in limited volume. Burien Toyota has these reasonably-priced kits available and some Toyota parts departments can order it.
Available in early '99, the turbo system retails at $2,495 (plus tax and shipping for foreign destinations). It comes with most everything you'll need to install it in one day. Even the new oil pan is tapped and equipped with a new drain plug as part of the kit. Burien's TRD department figures it should take about six to eight hours to install and even less if a lift is in your arsenal of tools and friends.
Considering how Toyota keeps the engine families and models similar, this system should also fit non-turbo models similar, this system should also fit non-turbo MR2s, some Celicas, the RAV4 and most 3SFE or 5SFE engines. Considering the popularity of these vehicles and the combination of dependability and performance the Burien TRD kit offers, we expect to see more of these streetable sedans on the highways in the near future.

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Some interesting information... I don't know how much of it is accurate though... I know most of it, but I have actually talked to the people at Burien Toyota when and before I did the turbo stuff on the RAV... they said they hadn't done any on the 3SFE.... I don't know how recent that article is, because from talking to them a few months ago, that article seems old....
I will have to call them next week and find out some more info...
Too bad I didn't know about these things when I was actually living in Seattle, WA in 1998 and 1999... I had an 87 MR2 back then and then bought a Del Sol... so much money went into that Del Sol... I could have bought a Celica or Camry and done that setup...

Thanks for the info...
I will keep you updated if I find anything out, and also on my new setup as I finish it.. :D
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