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Old 01-10-2021, 12:43 PM #1
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06+ 4.0 engine direct swap for 03 to 05?

I have an 04 v6 that loses about 1 to 2 ounces of coolant every 1000 miles. No visible external leaks and 201k on the odometer. I suspect head gasket or cracked head. I have no other symptoms and just top up every once in a while. I bought it this way sadly but it hasn't seemed to get worse luckily.

I have the ability to do head gaskets or an engine swap and I am leaning towards swapping a low mileage 06+ engine in. That will get me the new gasket design. Is the motor a direct swap? Thanks for any info. Please don't turn this into a "you should do this or that instead" thread. Really just looking for info on compatibility. Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:51 PM #2
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I have an 04 v6 that loses about 1 to 2 ounces of coolant every 1000 miles. No visible external leaks and 201k on the odometer. I suspect head gasket or cracked head. I have no other symptoms and just top up every once in a while. I bought it this way sadly but it hasn't seemed to get worse luckily.

I have the ability to do head gaskets or an engine swap and I am leaning towards swapping a low mileage 06+ engine in. That will get me the new gasket design. Is the motor a direct swap? Thanks for any info. Please don't turn this into a "you should do this or that instead" thread. Really just looking for info on compatibility. Thanks!
I'm not sure about compatibility, but I would start my research by comparing part numbers for various components, such as engine ECM, wiring harnesses/schematics, etc., if I'm not mistaken the early 4th gens use a different Bus/Can protocol so I'm guessing the ECM would have to be swapped, and the wiring harnesses are most likely different so either they would have to be swapped or adapters made.

That being said the savage yard type websites should give the choice of compatible engine year models, which should be much easier to find the answer to your question.
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Old 01-10-2021, 02:20 PM #3
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I'm not sure about compatibility, but I would start my research by comparing part numbers for various components, such as engine ECM, wiring harnesses/schematics, etc., if I'm not mistaken the early 4th gens use a different Bus/Can protocol so I'm guessing the ECM would have to be swapped, and the wiring harnesses are most likely different so either they would have to be swapped or adapters made.

That being said the savage yard type websites should give the choice of compatible engine year models, which should be much easier to find the answer to your question.
Thanks for the info. I'll call BOW in NH as they are who I normally use for used motors and transmissions. Sometimes they don't want to do any cross reference for you though. We had a same year/model where the flex plate was different... It didn't get noticed or swapped before install (shame on me) and it didn't fit so it got done twice. Trying to avoid that kind of thing for sure.
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Old 01-10-2021, 03:38 PM #4
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Something about the cam or crankshaft position sensors is different on the early 4th gens. Like AuSeeker said, I think it has to do with the different ECM stuff and how everything communicates. I'm not completely sure, but maybe those keywords can get you headed towards a solution.

I feel you on the coolant slowly leaking somewhere probably internal. It's been a tad more than a year and like 8k miles and I'm down about 3" in the reservoir from when I last filled it. No pink crusties anywhere to be seen externally. Early v6 gang lol
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Old 01-10-2021, 03:48 PM #5
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Haha for real. I basically don't even care about the coolant loss unless it gets worse. I'm a tech by trade and it bugs me but not enough to freak out over it. I'm in Maine so the rusted exhaust manifold stud/nuts are enough to dissuade me from diving right in. But should the day come I want to be prepared. Knowing myself I will get the urge one day on a whim and start tearing into it.
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:04 PM #6
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Haha for real. I basically don't even care about the coolant loss unless it gets worse. I'm a tech by trade and it bugs me but not enough to freak out over it. I'm in Maine so the rusted exhaust manifold stud/nuts are enough to dissuade me from diving right in. But should the day come I want to be prepared. Knowing myself I will get the urge one day on a whim and start tearing into it.
Yeah, right now it's minimal enough that I'm not too worried about it. It always a tad unsettling that something's wrong, but I'm just gonna suck every last bit of life out of it lol. Mine came from PA and was sold in VA and I didn't know much of anything about cars when I bought it, so I also have those rusty exhaust bolts and a little bit of crusty everything that scares off me from anything engine related right now.

Hopefully nothing gets worse and you can keep on chooching!
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:19 PM #7
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Have you tried to source a used engine? Everywhere I have looked (looking at swapping myself instead of replacing HG) wants $2000+ for a 1GR-FE. Which seems like a high price for such an ubiquitous engine.

Idk maybe Im just used to my days dealing with 90s Hondas... you could have a Prelude H22 long block for $1500


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Old 01-10-2021, 08:07 PM #8
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I haven't called yet, but I wouldn't care about 2k that much TBH if it has 100k on it or less. I'd be tempted to do the headgaskets with it on the engine stand before installing it. Potentially timing chain too.

But again, being a New England vehicle I try to keep myself under control with spending. At some point im better off using the money for a down payment on a 5th gen. I just really prefer the 4th gen body style.

Ahhh decisions are fun.
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:35 PM #9
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Sorry I was a bit mistaken... Car-part.com search has low mileage ones listed for $3k+


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Old 01-11-2021, 11:19 AM #10
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Ya, I believe 03-04 had something different with the motors. If I look at car-parts, an 04 4Runner gives a limited selection of motors, but if I look under 05, I have a lot more options.

Im currrently having someone do a swap right now and I just picked up a 2011 Tacoma motor for my 05 4Runner. The prices for any 1GRFE are crazy on that site though. I had someone local offer the motor from a Tacoma w/ 125k for $1200 so I jumped on that.
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Old 01-11-2021, 11:27 AM #11
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surprised this thread hasn't been mentioned;

The Engine Is A Goner, Warped Head And Long Block!! - Page 4 - Toyota 4Runner Forum - Largest 4Runner Forum

Goes into detail on what happened when he tried to install an engine that wasn't his exact year/spec/etc.
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:09 PM #12
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Thanks Cookie.

I was cautiously optimistic.

Back to the drawing board it seems.
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Old 01-11-2021, 03:40 PM #13
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Ya, I believe 03-04 had something different with the motors. If I look at car-parts, an 04 4Runner gives a limited selection of motors, but if I look under 05, I have a lot more options.

Im currrently having someone do a swap right now and I just picked up a 2011 Tacoma motor for my 05 4Runner. The prices for any 1GRFE are crazy on that site though. I had someone local offer the motor from a Tacoma w/ 125k for $1200 so I jumped on that.

Dang where you at? Id jump on a $1200 motor in a sec


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Old 01-11-2021, 04:45 PM #14
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Dang where you at? Id jump on a $1200 motor in a sec


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Im in Utah. Prices for anything toyota is so expensive right now, so I lucked out. At first I was going to buy another 4Runner, but couldnt believe what people were asking.
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Old 02-15-2024, 11:49 AM #15
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Has anyone got this engine swap working?

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