Cressida Engine Swap in the Bush

It’s been a long time coming, But very close friends of mine gave me a call and asked if i’d like to come down to their place in country Victoria for a few days, chill out and help swap a good 5M motor from a donor MX62 Cressida sedan into their killer red DX Wagon. As if I could say no to seeing my friends, swinging spanners and having a super easy few days out in the wilderness, It was just what the doctor ordered!


I took my wagon for it’s last good trip before the lift kit and the big wheels came off ( I don’t think you knew? ).  The Digital Dash is preventing my cruise control from functioning due to an issue with the speed sensor output, I’ve put up with worse on a trip!



On the first night we gave it a good old crack, getting the sedan into the garage and pulling it down and removing the drive line, wiring and ECU. We discovered early on that the exhaust stud over cylinder 6 had been stripped and removed, replaced with a far smaller stud that was the wrong size, thread and pitch and had been gasket goo’d into place! Shit!!!


Whilst the motor was on the ground we replaced most of the consumables and stumbled across another issue. When the spark plugs came out, number 6 was stupidly tight – oh noes! It came out and bought out loads of thread and debris with it – someone had crossed it and just bitten down and let her have it – smashing it into place. Why the hell do people do stuff like this! ahh!

In the end the fix was simple, but something that we hadn’t done before – This was the same with the exhaust manifold stud. Luckily, the spark plug thread was still reasonable enough to be cleaned up with a tap in the same size as the plug. The exhaust stud on the other hand was absolutely stuffed.  It ended up going from an M10 to an M12 with a high tensile bolt rather than a stud – You can’t readily source studs in an M12!

After all of this there was still the issue of the exhaust manifold. The cast bastard had cracked, as many do! The manifold on the car had been repaired previously and was no good to go again. Through sheer luck there was a donor MX73 sitting at a local yard that provided us with a cracked, but repairable manifold. This was taken to a fabrication shop and repaired in a couple of hours – You can’t argue with that!

It got pretty nerve racking torquing up the repaired manifold with the freshly tapped thread, but all went in perfectly and after a day of running around it was time to slot the motor into the wagon.

I filmed a time lapse of the actual bolt in:


Bolting all the bits and pieces into the car was most of Friday night and into Saturday morning. By lunch time we were good to fire her up and make sure she was happy.

We couldn’t get the circuit open relay to fire and that was giving us the shits. After a quick read of a diagnostic supplement, we discovered that you have to short out a pin on the AFM to prime the system before she will fire up. With all this covered the motor started and ran as it should but then, less than a minute in died – It was clearly a fuel issue. The donor car gave us it’s pump as it was suspected after 5 years dry that the old pump was baked, But to no avail. It was clear that there was pressure, but given the time it sat looked to be a blocked line – We later discovered this was actually a low fuel issue in general and the car now runs and drives fine.

Saturday night was spent on the beers around the fire – Truly unbeatable.


Sunday was home time, very very slowly and painfully – Geez I felt crook! We drank a lot of beer!


On the way home I managed to snap a speedo cable. This is nearing double figures.. What a bastard! I also dropped into Melbourne to check out some new shoes for the car. I found these things on Gumtree and knew I had to have them!


More about these soon!

Once home, I battled the hangover and washed the steed – It’s been such a busy time! Stay tuned there is lots going on in my shed!!


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