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Toyota Blade Master manual gearbox swap

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  • #31
    Hi Cubic, are you still on this forum?


    • #32
      Originally posted by Soovy View Post
      Hi Cubic, are you still on this forum?
      Yes, still checking in occasionally, but it's a little quiet here and I've only been working slowly on the car. Plus I've been updating my Facebook more regularly than this as I think it has more interest.

      The big update lately has been a revision to the wiring to move the Canny7 inside the cabin, addition of cruise control, new head unit, and last week I procured a standard intake and a Modellista exhaust.

      The reasons for the wiring update was that I was concerned the Canny7 may have a shorter life going through the heat cycles of the engine bay, and may possibly get splashed with water at some point. Main challenge here was getting the extra wires through the firewall and then getting all the connections done in situ under the bonnet. It was a lot easier the first time when the engine was out! With the extra wires going through the firewall I decided it would be good to use a couple of multi pin waterproof connectors, to ensure things could only be connected the right way, while also allowing the engine to be pulled out in future, so a 6 pin and a 4 pin connector were used.
      The cruise control addition is possibly still a work in progress. The switch stalk from the donor Corolla fitted straight in, but the wire from the spiral wire to the ecu was missing. Once that was installed I had cruise control working, but no indication on the dash. I suspect this is a software version on the dash issue, as when I connect to the dash with Techstream it doesn't have the option to test the cruise light, which my other Blade does have. I might get around to talking to the Toyota dealer to see if they can upgrade the software, but I'm not optimistic! At least cruise control does actually work.

      The other challenge that I have been thinking about is the clutch switch, to cut off cruise control if I press the clutch. Normally this would provide a ground directly to a dedicated pin on the ECU when the clutch is released, enabling cruise. Since the 2GR never came in manual from Toyota, I don't believe there is a dedicated pin for this, or at least I'm not aware of one. My plan is to wire the clutch switch so then when I press the clutch it does the same is pulling 'Cancel' on the control stalk, only problem is I need a normally closed switch, rather than the normally open one I have. I have seen a video of the switch pulled apart, and it seems fairly simple. Maybe I can convert it from NO to NC somehow??? If not then I will just have to swap the switch for a brake light switch from some old car.

      Coming back to my previous post, the eBay intake didn't work out, eventually the car threw a check light for running too rich and reduced power. Apparently most people's custom intakes on 2GRs are very short and cause them to run lean, so the theory is I had too much straight length before the flow meter on mine. I could play around with lengths and do hours and hours of experiments, but it's easier just to get a stock intake and run that. Plus I kind of like the quieter intake when I'm just cruising around!

      The Modellista exhaust is really just a bolt on rear muffler replacement. I spotted it on a car at a wrecker's yard online, so dropped in to see them and scooped it up cheap! I'm bringing the car back from storage tomorrow so I can put it on and see what the sound is like. Maybe I'll make a video of before and after the change...


      • #33
        The new exhaust is a bit of a disappointment!


        • #34
          Originally posted by cubic_nz View Post
          The new exhaust is a bit of a disappointment!
          Thanks for the update cubic, truly admirable work, keep the progress coming here.

          Where are you with this project? Are you daily driving it? If so how is it?

          Regarding the exhaust, the 2GR-FE motor isn't a musical V6 in the vein of VW's R32 (almost too smooth) powerplant and extracting more noise is a little like trying to turn up the volume of your vacuum cleaner, even Lotus couldn't make it sound good in early iterations of the Evora and Exige but....

          It is a very a strong performer with great torque spread between 1500 and 5000rpm, it just loses smoothness nearer the redline. I've listened to full quad piped systems and they're all a little disappointing so I'm not surprised at your findings.

          I find the stealth nature of no visible exhaust preferable and I'll tint the rear lights red for the full 'boggo Corolla' look.

          Elephant in the room time, that auto box:

          In terms of modern day DSG, PDK or, call it what you will, any twin clutch gearbox, it's an antique, it won't change up when you pull a paddle under full throttle but WILL change down when you don't want it to. If I want to surf the torque in 4th out of slower corners I can try but if I press the throttle just a bit too far it drops 2 gears, smacks you in the back and fires you up the road, similarly under full throttle it'll drop from 6th to 2nd at up to 88kph and then 3rd gear runs out at only 115 yet 4th would run to well over 200kph if it wasn't for the limiter.

          I find it takes learning, mash it at 50kph in 2nd and BAM, you're gone, same in 3rd gear at 90, no kickdown just big strong relentless pull.
          You can 'pedal dance' to switch off the traction control, deal with relatively low level torque steer and have fun.

          Well done so far, I'll continue to watch your thread with interest


          • #35
            Thanks Soovy. I have another Blade Master which has a C-One rear muffler and I'm very happy with the sound that makes, and I was hoping this muffler would achieve the same. My disappointment is with the volume, rather than the sound quality. I will try and get a recording of the other car, but it's stored in Tauranga at the moment and I'm not sure when I'll next be over there.

            The manual car is daily driveable, but with 4 cars and a requirement to often drive a work car during the week I don't drive it all that often.

            It's very easy to drive and feels very much like it was factory built. Lately I've been thinking that the flywheel is indeed too heavy, and that trimming some of the thickness on the outer rim that supports the ring gear would be the way to go. The engineer made that part about 5mm thick, which seems excessive when it's only holding the ring gear. Still, given the work involved in pulling it out I will mull it over a bit more.

            To me the car doesn't feel all that quick, but that may be due to me already being used to the Blade Master, plus I find the Blades are deceptively quick. You don't realise how fast you're going until you look at the speedo. I was driving my MX-5 today and gave it some beans in 3rd, thought I would be up to a pretty good speed, then I looked down and it was only 80! The Blade would have been north of 120 if I'd done the same.

            Which part of NZ are you in? Would you be interested in doing a conversion to your car?


            • #36
              Hi Cubic, not sure I'd go for the manual conversion, the car's more of a wafter than all out hot hatch, saying that it'd be nice choose and hold the exact selected gear, something the auto box isn't capable of.

              Regarding speed I wonder if it uses a 'learning' ecu? Sometimes it feels softer in throttle response than at other times. Overriding it by manually selecting sport makes it significantly sharper and 50-150 is very quick.
              A YouTube clip shows 0 - 100mph in 13 seconds, not exactly shabby.

              Agreed about MX5's, I've had 4 of them and they always felt like they travelling faster than the speedo suggested, it's what makes them so much fun.

              A couple of Blade Master queries:
              The interior light is massive, like 2 feet long, but it's so dim, is that just mine or are they all like that?

              Is there a way to switch the dashboard display from kms per litre to litres per 100km, or even mpg?

              I'm inland Caterbury, foothills of the Alps, where are you?

              Also, why do I have to upload at least one photo on here every time I press 'post reply'?


              • #37
                Hi Soovy, yes, it is a learning ECU, in terms of timing and fuel trims at least. Probably more as well, but I'd have to defer to someone with more intimate knowledge like Marc Labranche on that.

                The Sport mode isn't just transmission shift points, it does change the throttle response as well. This is discussed in some documentation I've read on the transmission. For this reason I've retained the Sport mode functionality in the manual swap car. It would be interesting to dyno the car with Sport on and off to see if there is any power difference, but I doubt there would be a difference at full throttle.

                Sounds like you have the high spec G trim. My G spec car also has the long LED light thing running from the front lights to the centre light. It's not very bright, I think it's just for ambient lighting. The front and centre LEDs should give a normal level of lighting when you open and close the door, though. The base spec Blades have a regular interior light same as any other Corolla or basic Toyota.

                There's no way to change the display from km/l, sorry.

                I'm in Hamilton, but did most of the work on the car in Tauranga in my mum's spare garage.

                The photo upload thing is a requirement for your first 10 posts. I don't know why, this forum has a few quirks as it's somewhat abandoned, so is a bit glitchy.


                • #38
                  I posted up a longer version of my exhaust comparison video, now including the video of my other Blade with a C-One exhaust on it. I love the C-One exhaust!


                  • #39
                    Sounds good! Real good. If you got a resonator ant the muffler you could try to remove the resonator. I have no clue on the Blade masters. Just general advice. Glad to see your on the road.
                    Permanent rev limiter = the crank popping out to say ELLO!!!!


                    • #40
                      Yeah, removing the last resonator is something I've thought about doing. I'm reluctant to cut up the factory pipes, but maybe I'm being too precious! Still, so many jobs to do and so little time, I'll get to it eventually. Current priority is to get the interior thoroughly cleaned, still has the coffee stains from the previous owner in the seats that I've been meaning to get rid of for the past 18 months!

                      One thing I have noticed is the effect of the gear ratios that were designed for the diesel engine. They are quite long, which makes the car seem less quick than it really is. I have an NC MX-5 as well, and I'm fairly sure that 6th gear in that is a lower ratio than 4th in the Blade. The Mazda engine seems surprisingly torquey when I drive it, but of course that's because it's in a much lower gear ratio than the Blade!