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Importing Toyota Soarer (1JZ-GTE)

Old 07-11-18, 10:27 PM
  #46  
KahnBB6
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Originally Posted by dclevs View Post
It ridiculous how restrictive California is compared to every other state, and it's a bit sad honestly because that really only allows for expensive methods of getting an import compliant over there.
Overall it is sad, yes. I'll say this objectively as to the intent: I do understand and support the reasons for the need to make sure the majority of cars over there are running as clean as their original OEM designs intended them to. If you look back at footage, photos and air quality data from the 1970's and 1980's in southern California alone and compare it to today the regulations have made a big difference. Also, the air really doesn't MOVE over there which is why it's such a big problem. So whatever is in the air just hangs as more of the same emissions keep getting added.

Where I take issue is with the visual inspection only being excepted by CARB E.O. approved aftermarket parts being more important than measured tail pipe numbers (thanks to Edelbrock lobbying CARB in the mid-1980's) or how it's not legal to update the emission system on your really old 70's/80's engine in such a way that it actually pollutes LESS than when totally stock.

And then there is the death of the 30-year rolling exemption many years ago. Some people drive really old cars on a regular basis but it is not a large portion of the population for a myriad of reasons. There was a bill aimed at raising the exempted model year threshold from 1975 and older to 1980 and older but even that reasonable arrangement was flatly shot down.

It is what it is. I just focus on finding the best way I can to enjoy the vehicle I like and jump through the hoops required. As demanding as the rules are when it comes to some engine swaps I feel it's worth it when you can still enjoy the car you like in the end

Originally Posted by dclevs View Post
But I have a lot of respect and admiration for your 2jzgte build Kahn, going over your build you have put so much into making it as reliable and properly built as possible. It's on another level compared to the typical engine swap write ups I've read through, trust me. so kudos on your attention to detail for every bit and piece! Im really looking forward to seeing it up and running!
Thank you for saying that, dclevs. To me it's a build limited in scope and reward compared to many other more impressive ones that have been done over the years but the number of steps involved have kept me busy, haha.

I've learned many things about building an engine for the first time while going through this long saga and I was inspired by the builds and DIY threads of many other members before beginning mine. And there has been a lot of help and advice given to me along the way. A lot of what I've documented in my thread has been me wanting to be sure I've done something right because I've never done it before, lol! Another intention has been to do my best to show as I go how to do a USDM 2JZGTE swap for the purposes of getting one legally registered in CA and what specifics are required. Neither CA or Toyota make it easy.

I'd certainly have liked to have made it come together much faster but I should have it up and running very soon

Originally Posted by dclevs View Post
As for the Soarer, I have run into another snag. I performed a coolant flush today as the coolant was looking old and I had noticed an issue with the temperature gauge bumping up a bit when I really put my foot down a few times on the highway.
You may want to check the health of your OEM fuel tank fuel level sending unit. Will have to check the EPC diagrams for the SC300 and Soarer to determine if it's the same part or not. I'd suggest checking your dash gauge also but yours is all digital so no need

Last edited by KahnBB6; 07-11-18 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 07-16-18, 11:57 PM
  #47  
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Nice Soarer man! i have a black hardtop 1991 Soarer. 1jzgte with R154 trans LSD too.
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Old 07-17-18, 04:26 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by KahnBB6 View Post
dclevs, I hope I'm not too late to inform your radiator decision. You can use the OEM SC300 lower radiator hose if any replacement is needed (the lower hose should be exactly the same for both the SC300 and Soarer) and an MKIV Supra TT upper radiator hose which is P/N 16571-46150 (or you can use the slightly improved version for 1998 Supra TT's: 16571-46230).

The later 1997 or 1998 spec SC300 radiator has only a single row core while the earlier 1992-96 (or up to 97?) radiators have two rows. You want the earlier spec version for the better cooling.

ARC in Japan does or once did make a drop-in aftermarket aluminum radiator for the Soarers but it doesn't make financial sense to import one of those from an overseas distributor. Maybe if some company sells them in the USA which is doubtful.

Over the long term for improved cooling if you do any heavy modifications you can do an MKIV-spec Mishimoto or Koyo aluminum radiator swap. The fan shroud you'd want to re-use from your Soarer and I am not sure if all the mounting points for that shroud are the exactly same (they might or might not be). A Koyo or Mishimoto radiaor used on an SC/Soarer with an automatic transmission will require the addition of an external A/T trans cooler.

I did a past writeup on how to make an MKIV style radiator work in an SC (applicable to a Soarer):
https://www.clublexus.com/forums/per...0-5-speed.html

So long as you are stock an OEM early SC300 Denso radiator should do OK to cool your 1JZGTE while using the stock mechanical fan and retaining the auxiliary electric fan that kicks in when temperatures are high and whenever the A/C compressor is turned on.



SC_coupe, when you installed the SC300 stock radiator into your Soarer did you notice any significant differences between it and your old Soarer OEM radiator? Thickness and/or number of rows were basically the same?
Thanks Kahn for the info there, I went with the Denso unit and dropped it in a few nights back and it's been working great for me, pushed it on the highway and haven't seen it heat up past it's normal operating temperature so that's a good sign. Like someone said in another post I found, the old radiator emptied with as much fluid as I could still weighed about 5 times as much as the new one (it was time for it to go). I did a follow up flush and cleaned it out, and it's been happy since then. Currently working on sanding down the entire car and priming it to get ready for paint. it's a slow process as I'd like to do it right and leave as little imperfections as possible, but I'm sure somehow somewhere the paint will come out funky and it's gonna bug the heck outa me XD
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Old 07-17-18, 04:29 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by kartel876 View Post
Nice Soarer man! i have a black hardtop 1991 Soarer. 1jzgte with R154 trans LSD too.
Thanks Kartel, I've been enjoying it. I'd like a manual with the LSD but the automatic has been a nice ride so far, for awhile it's just going to get me from point A to point B in style lol. Every here and there I do some work on it, but after a few years if I fall in love I may begin to modify it. The st205 still beckons to me in a few years lol.
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Old 07-19-18, 06:19 PM
  #50  
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SC_coupe, when you installed the SC300 stock radiator into your Soarer did you notice any significant differences between it and your old Soarer OEM radiator? Thickness and/or number of rows were basically the same?
I had the swap done at a shop along with a bunch of other stuff, but my mechanic said it was direct swap and near identical. I have not noticed the car running any hotter, but also installed the GP Sports 1JZ cooling fan at the same time.

went with the Denso unit and dropped it in a few nights back and it's been working great for me, pushed it on the highway and haven't seen it heat up past it's normal operating temperature so that's a good sign.
Glad to hear you got it sorted
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Old 08-05-18, 09:47 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by KahnBB6 View Post
Congratulations!!! I'll bet it was a nerve-wracking process but for only four hours at the DMV and police stations for all the verification and only $5300 or so out the door total to date you've done very, very well! I have friends who have gone through crazy runarounds and massively higher costs with their imported vehicles to get them legal. Granted... these guys are in California where the problem of grey market emission compliance is at play.

(...and FYI to anyone reading there IS technically a legal way in CA to deal with emissions compliance if you have an R32 Skyline, Z30 Soarer, etc. and it is not a loophole... but the cost for officially approved modifications to make most grey market original engines CA emission compliant starts at costs in the many thousands once official CARB lab testing is factored in... and so it is quite financially prohibitive for *most* to pursue. Unless the groundwork for emission compliance modifications and the work itself for a particular engine has been done already it is an expensive and time consuming process that only one or two places are authorized to do. G&K Auto is one such place but prepare to open your blank checkbook and get ready to wait with the other clients. But... Sean Morris who is now years divorced from his earlier involvement with the unfortunately poor and unscrupulous management of Motorex has talked about getting RB26DETT's in stock tune into emissions compliance in CA. He's suggested the same could be done technically for a Soarer's 1JZ-GTE engine if someone wanted to be the first guinea pig to get the groundwork laid out and see if a positive result could be reached. Again... the cost and wait time for this would not be for the the faint of heart and a USDM 2JZGTE legal stock engine swap would still be cheaper, probably).
Congratulations on the recent purchase! Your Soarer looks great! I'm glad to hear that the entire importation process was not as difficult as most make it out to be. Lately I've been in the market for an SC300 but most of them seem to be banged up and drifted out then put up for sale at a ridiculous price. I used to own an SC close to 10 years ago. Over the years I've gone through 3 GSs. Two of them which I've swapped out to a 2JZGTE. Nothing beats the style and reliability of an SC/Soarer. Which is why I am now in the market to purchase. After reading your story, I've been very inclined to have a Soarer imported through Pacific Coast Imports. Your total cost to import is very reasonable. My only concern is experiencing difficulties with registering or importing one in to California. My thoughts are that if I am going to go through with this, I am going to do it legit. I'm very curious to read about other peoples experiences with importing and registering in California.
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Old 08-07-18, 10:07 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by VIP161 View Post
Congratulations on the recent purchase! Your Soarer looks great! I'm glad to hear that the entire importation process was not as difficult as most make it out to be. Lately I've been in the market for an SC300 but most of them seem to be banged up and drifted out then put up for sale at a ridiculous price. I used to own an SC close to 10 years ago. Over the years I've gone through 3 GSs. Two of them which I've swapped out to a 2JZGTE. Nothing beats the style and reliability of an SC/Soarer. Which is why I am now in the market to purchase. After reading your story, I've been very inclined to have a Soarer imported through Pacific Coast Imports. Your total cost to import is very reasonable. My only concern is experiencing difficulties with registering or importing one in to California. My thoughts are that if I am going to go through with this, I am going to do it legit. I'm very curious to read about other peoples experiences with importing and registering in California.
I don't want to get too into this and divert from dclevs' own build in his thread but the difficulties you will have registering a Soarer in California is first with the DMV recognizing the VIN correctly... although that's minor because there are policy rules that dictate how "grey import" car registration is handled... and second and most importantly smog for the engine. The DMV will want a regular smog printout (which they will have in their computers as well) showing that the car passed... or they will want a similar piece of information from a BAR Referee at one of the designated field offices.

You can't just get it smogged because the Z30 Soarer itself with the JDM VIN will not come up in the ARB vehicle database to begin with. The smog test computer and dyno literally cannot even be taken through the process of going through every required emission test while in the official operation mode. In "manual" test mode a smog tech can do any test they want to with their equipment and write down the live test numbers on a notepad but it won't count for anything official.

This is what I was referring to in that long footnote that you quoted. It is a very recent development that it may be possible to have some very involved work and emissions equipment added to the Soarer's 1JZ-GTE engine by an officially approved shop like G&K Auto... but they have a long waiting list and this is not a cheap service to have done. Their regular clientele are extremely well heeled customers looking to make very high dollar and rare supercars and other rare, low volume and extreme prestige and collector vehicles emissions compliant.

And if it is indeed possible as Sean Morris claims it is I would want to go through him since he's familiar with this process. But he does everything by the book from the vehicle importation to, if it applies to a particular customer's case, whatever is involved with emissions compliance. To date I only know of him having talked about this regarding Nissan RB engines and specifically the RB26DETT but on his website (or blog?) some time back he did seem to suggest that it might be theoretically possible to apply to other popular JDM engines as well. Anyone reading can't take this thread post as confirmation-- it would have to be brought up to him by someone and determined as a real option or not.

I would NOT call this an open and shut option until someone consults him officially to hear what he has to say as to confirming that this will truly apply beyond making RB26DETTs emissions compliant-- and whether or not this process has always been a smooth one for any prospective California R32 GT-R owners willing to pay extra for it. I still want to see an example of an R32 GT-R that has gone through this lengthy and expensive process and which has received an official stamp of approval by the CA BAR and CA ARB. If Mr. Morris has stated this I will listen closely given his extensive experience in these matters. But I do not think this will ever be a cost effective option no matter what. It is going to be a "how important is it to you to have your grey import vehicle with an engine that was never designed for U.S. emissions be modified extensively to actually comply with U.S. emissions for its original year of manufacture?"

I only brought this up in my original post to make people aware since Z30 1JZ-GTE Soarers are now eligible for importation in the USA and understandably many are interested. I want to stress that in order to confirm what is truly possible one way or the other about getting a Z30 legally registered in CA, I would get in contact with Sean Morris' company and speak to him. G&K Auto is pretty much the only officially sanctioned company in CA that does these kinds of required modifications... and for all I know he may actually work with them... but any way I've looked at it the added cost of this will not exactly be cheap. Better to hear the brass tax from the horse's mouth.

Edit: Also to further clarify, G&K Auto is NOT Sean Morris' company. G&K is a separate specialty company from his specializing in emissions equipment modifications to grey import vehicles but with which I believe Mr. Morris has worked in the past and/or currently.

It is not a 100% confirmed option for a 1JZ at any cost until it is proven to be so by talking to the people who actually do it professionally and are licensed/approved by the CA BAR/ARB to do so.

And with that... my apologies for getting into this so much in your thread dclevs I'm looking forward to seeing the next developments with your Soarer!

Last edited by KahnBB6; 09-03-18 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 08-09-18, 06:39 AM
  #53  
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wow had no clue it was 5k to import a soarer, thanks for the information

you should bring the soarer out this weekend there is a meet in gwinnett if youre interested. Also there is quite a bit of local sc guys if you ever need a hand
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Old 08-31-18, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by dclevs View Post
Hey I am importing a soarer and currently awaiting shipment, but I figured I'd tried to get into the forum life for information and questions. For reference this is my first import, and so far it's been going smooth, but does anyone know if there is any forum members who have or are importing soarers or any other Japanese import? If anyone is actually interested I can post pics and the process I'm going through to get it here. The difficult part coming up shall be the registering though. I currently live in Marietta, Georgia and look forward to spending a weekend ( or a few) trying to get it registered and setup once it reaches the shore.
If anyone has any input I would greatly appreciate it!
I'm interested in pics, about to start looking into my own import.

You say the difficult part is registering, however I'm seeing everything about the US import regulations as the more intimidating part. How did that go for you, and what shipping company did you use? I was nearly set on https://www.wcshipping.com/asia because they guided me pretty well through the process I'm not used to, and also gave a generous quote, but I am open to other suggestions, especially when I hear that you had such an easy time.
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Old 09-03-18, 10:50 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by chnk View Post
wow had no clue it was 5k to import a soarer, thanks for the information

you should bring the soarer out this weekend there is a meet in gwinnett if youre interested. Also there is quite a bit of local sc guys if you ever need a hand
crap, I've been away for a bit too long XD
I have been extremely busy lately with life as well as the soarer, and about to make a post with tons of pics of my progress so far! and I've been searching for some kind of car club around Atlanta or Marietta, as I need other like minded folks to get out and talk about cars and mods.
But I'll post a new thread covering the work done thus far over the last 2 months and why I've been away for so long!
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Old 09-03-18, 10:59 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by fabianbra View Post
I'm interested in pics, about to start looking into my own import.

You say the difficult part is registering, however I'm seeing everything about the US import regulations as the more intimidating part. How did that go for you, and what shipping company did you use? I was nearly set on https://www.wcshipping.com/asia because they guided me pretty well through the process I'm not used to, and also gave a generous quote, but I am open to other suggestions, especially when I hear that you had such an easy time.
That's awesome to see you are looking to import, and trust me, the biggest thing with the importing process is that it takes time, and you just have to keep up on each individual step of the process as you move through importing. I went through Pacific Coast Auto, the guy's name is Derek, and they will help with every single step including working with their contact broker in the US that can do all the paperwork filing for customs. all fees together will come out around 2500-2800 US $ but that includes shipping, the purchase and transportation of vehicle in Japan, the paperwork for exporting from Japan, paperwork for importing through customs, and there are a few smaller fees like the dock fees and shipping company unloading fee that amounts to less than $100, at least for me, because nothing went wrong in the process. The biggest thing is to DOCUMENT, EVERYTHING. if you get a receipt, print it out, put it in a folder. You will build a portfolio for your vehicle, and need all the files and receipts to get it registered. If you have more questions on the process I'd be happy to help, because I'm sure it can go differently for many people, as importing is still a bit of a fuzzy thing in the United States. Especially California, as Kahn has elaborated on the restrictions there.
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Old 09-03-18, 12:45 PM
  #57  
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Here's a link to my latest post in regards to the paint job done recently!
https://www.clublexus.com/forums/bui...l#post10296012
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Old 09-03-18, 07:12 PM
  #58  
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^^ I'm going to wholeheartedly second all you've posted above earlier today about documenting EVERYTHING when importing a car. I have not done it myself at this time but I have seen the process unfold firsthand while a good friend brought in a grey market vehicle to be registered (in CA no less) and the big file folder(s) to document every aspect of the vehicle and all legal papers and receipts along the way is very key. This is very, very important documentation that needs to stay with the vehicle from that point on and is just as valuable as a normal vehicle title for a USA-spec vehicle.
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