1991-1998 Toyota Tercel and Paseo

The smallest of the Toyota line at the time, the Tercel was equipped with a 1.5 liter engine and 4 or 5 speed manual or 3 speed auto. It was available as a two door or four door. (Pictured) In '93 optional antilock brakes and airbags were added. In '95 the bodystyle was slightly changed, and the engine had another cam added. The new DOHC 1.5 made 93 hp. In '98, the four door was dropped, shortly followed by the rest of the Tercel line as the new Echo came onto the scene.

The Paseo was introduced in 1992 as the replacement to the Corolla GTS. It is based on the same platform as the Tercel but has the DOHC engine weighing in at 100 hp. Available with a 5 speed manual or 4 speed auto, the Paseo also got a firmer suspension than it's family oriented brother. In '96, stricter emissions dropped the power down to 93 hp and the body got a minor redesign. In '97 a convertible was added, and the model was dropped before the end of the year.

Performance Possibilities

The 3EE (SOHC) and 5EFE (DOHC) are not big performers. However, more power can be found with the usual upgrades. The best method for getting more power out of the stock engine is to take the parts from the performance oriented JDM Toyota Starlet GT.

Engine Swap Options

The 4EFTE from the JDM Starlet GT is a 1.3 DOHC Turbocharged engine, making about 135hp and 115 ft/lbs of torque. The transmission has shorter gearing and could also come equipped with a limited slip differential. When dropped into the lightweight Tercel or Paseo, you can see 15 second 1/4 miles and faster with little modification. This engine can usually be found for $1500-$2500 and it bolts right in. The wiring is all custom. See this swap being done on a '91 Tercel

Worthy of note, 5EFE internals will fit into the 4EFTE, alternately, the 4EFTE head will fit onto the 5EFE block. This means that you could build a 1.5 liter turbo engine. While this is more costly and time consuming, it is a good option for more power.

The 5EFHE is basically the JDM version of the 5EFE, and has 110 hp thanks to a higher compression ratio. It also has stonger internals. While this could be a swap option for the Tercel and Paseo, most people will get the 4EFTE since a similar amount of work is involved. On the other hand, this engine has been turbocharged without changing the internals with good results, however, it should have a custom manifold since the one from the 4EFTE, while it will fit, may not allow enough flow. The other good news is that the engine can often be had for less than $1000.

Another, but more difficult possibility is the 4AGE line. This has been done a number of times, but it does require custom mounts and axles, along with the usual wiring difficulties. The 4AGE can be bolted to your stock transmission, but this is not ideal because of the long gear ratios. This option is for people who really like the 4AGE line and want to make use of the 20v or supercharged engines. Phoenix Tuning can swap any of these engines into your Tercel or Paseo. If you are interested please email us: contact@phoenixtuning.com

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