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Discussion Starter #1
I decided to make a new consolidated version of this thread. I am formally requesting that we make this a sticky, and only post actual reviews in here. Even if it doesn't get a sticky, hopefully people who could benefit from this will find it via the search function. This thread is only for reviews of naturally aspirated 2zz swaps.

If you are posting a 2zz road test, please describe your set up, and give your estimated, or if possible dyno backed HP.
 

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Edited Entry 1 (posted previously in 2010):

My car is a 2000 w/ 113k on the body, 39k on my 2zz swap, stock 5 speed, PFC, intake, HF Cat, exhaust, unfortunately it has a customized, stock (pre-cat gutted) header. I have my rev limiter set at 8500 RPM, and currently have lift set to engage at 5500 RPM (although I think I am going to try 5700 after advice on another post). I now have new tires all around. I am running stock 04 wheels all around with brand new Bridgestone Potenza RE040's. My suspension is all stock. I still don't have a "proper" tune, but I am starting to wonder if this one will work, if not long term, at least for a while.

This car is amazing so far! I can't wait to get it on one of my curvy road mini road trips (Southern Ohio, which will hopefully come Monday), then on to the Dragon in June or July or maybe both. I am fairly young at 27, but I have been around the car business a lot, and have owned 30 (mostly sports) cars including 2 Vipers (00 coupe, 04 Roadster), 2 Boxsters (05 non S, 08 LE S), 4 Corvettes (C6 conv, C6 coupe, C5 conv, C5 coupe), 03 Mustang Cobra Convertible, 05 350z Roadster, 2002 stock 1zz Spyder, 91 MR2 Turbo, 93 NA MR2, numerous miles on S2000's as dealer demos, etc. So I feel that I have a pretty good knowledge base to put together a 2zz "road test".

First gear acceleration is very smooth throughout, but does seem to have 3 distinct levels. There is the getting going stage (Idle to around 4000 RPM) where the gearing and light weight make the car feel quick and sporty, but nothing like what is coming (here the car feels quite similar to a 1zz Spyder with a few bolt ons). Then from about 4000-6500 RPM the car seems to hit a new level feeling fast (this is where the acceleration feels comparable to a 350z, which I owned right before this car). Then this car becomes undeniably very fast from 6500-8500 RPM (here it actually feels a bit faster than my 2008 Boxster S that I had to give up in September 09). With my stock 5 speed and stock 04 sized rear tires I have to shift into 2nd at about 44 MPH (although I probably end up shifting a little short of 44 MPH, maybe 42 or 43).

This is where I begin to lament not paying a premium for a car with the 6 speed swap. With my 4.312:1 rear axle ratio, and 1.904:1 2nd gear ratio (down from 4.529:1 and 2.05:1 on the 6 speed) my car slows noticeably for a few moments in 2nd gear as I drop to 5000 RPM at the shift. While 5000 RPM felt like 350z territory in 1st gear it feels a few paces slower than the z until around 6000 RPM. From 6000 RPM on to the limiter it feels on par with the aforementioned Boxster S.

Overall I would guess that my car is very similar to a stock Honda S2000 when it comes to acceleration statistics (0-60, quarter mile, etc.). I feel this is due to my 2nd gear ratio, in 1st gear this car feels a decent amount faster than an S2000 to me. Overall it's 1st gear acceleration feels very similar to my 2008 Boxster S. Once I shift into 2nd though, I am sure the Boxster S would slowly walk away.

Third through fifth gears all feel great, and have very good spacing. I don't track my car so I never hit lift in these gears, but they always feel right in normal driving. That is with one huge exception, this car needs a tall, cruising 6th gear. This is where you would expect me to once again wish I had the Celica 6 speed, but I am not going to. The Celica 6 speed would only reduce my 70 MPH cruising RPM by 232 RPM, which would be nice I guess, but hardly a huge difference. This car needs a 6th gear with a ratio of around 0.6:1. Or I would be fine if the current fifth gear ratio of 0.815:1 were replaced with a 0.6:1 ratio. That would create a huge gap between 4th and 5th gear, but that would be fine with me as I would just use gears 1-4 for normal driving, and then use 5th for highway cruising. This type of change would drop 70 MPH cruising RPM on my car from 3501 RPM to 2876 RPM, which is huge, and would not only increase fuel economy, while reducing wear and tear on the engine, but it would also much more importantly make highway cruising much more enjoyable by reducing engine noise greatly.

As far as driving dynamics outside of acceleration go I will report that I have yet to notice the extra weight of the engine change the way the car handles. As far as handling limits go this car seems to be just like a stock 1zz. I do however feel that the extra power will make those capabilities much more apparent, but I will post about that in Part 2 after I take a curvy roads mini road trip.

Fuel Economy has been impressive thus far. On the way home from getting the car (150 miles mostly highway) I got 38 MPG!! The tank I am working on currently has been mostly short drives near my house, idling, testing out the lift, with a few 15 mile commutes mixed in. It appears that I am pacing for around 25 or so MPG on this very aggressively driven tank, which I also consider very strong. I would predict that my fuel economy will end up being right around 30 MPG in mixed driving with a split of around 24-26 in city and 36-40 on the highway.

Stay tuned for part 2 which will focus on how the extra power changes the car's driving enjoyment on curvy roads along with anything else that I can think to add after more driving. Thanks for reading, and I hope this will be helpful to all especially those who are considering the swap, or like I was (and did), considering buying a car that already has the 2zz swap finished.
 

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Edited Entry 2 (previously posted in 2010):

I got to take my curvy roads mini road trip yesterday, and it was a blast. The extra power made the whole trip a lot more fun. The Spyder has always been fun in the curvy sections, but now with this car I can enjoy the straight sections also. Many times I would slow down enough to shift into 1st and floor it. I would then shift into 2nd at a little over 8000 RPM, and take it up into lift before coasting for a while. I think that I have found the sweet spot on my car for engaging lift (5700 RPM) as the transition is smooth. The sound is intoxicating once it transitions into lift.

As promised here is my take on how much this swap has improved the driving experience on curvy roads. After my trip I decided that the results are mixed. On very tight curves with few straights the benefits are there, but somewhat limited. The main advantage here is being able to hold 2nd gear for almost every curve. Also some time is spent over 6000 RPM where the acceleration advantages over a 1zz really come alive. However this is where I lamented not having the Celica 6 speed in my car. With the Celica 6 speed I still could have stayed in 2nd for nearly everything, but it just would have felt like I had a lot more power than a 1zz even outside of lift (due to gearing) and I could have spent even more time in lift.

On roads with some straights mixed in and higher speed curves the 2zz really began to shine. On these roads I began to forget that I should miss the 6 speed. I was able to have a blast on the straights, and usually spend the whole curve in lift when the curves appeared. I really think Toyota should have had 2 Spyder models, the Spyder they did make (GT), and the 2zz w/ 6 speed (GTS) as an upper level model for a premium of around $5,000 (tossing in a few additional standard features such as leather and 1" upsized wheels w/grippier tires at that price).

Even without the 6 speed the car was a blast. Also I got an average of 35 MPG while spending a decent amount of that time doing very aggressive driving. My car isn't perfect, but for the money I have invested in it I can't think of anything that can come close.
 

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Edited Entry 3 (previously posted in 2010):

OK I am about a month in on 2zz Spyder ownership and I am still loving it. I now have installed a proper header in the form of a CHE 2zz swap header. My car definitely seems to be breathing better at higher RPM (as 6500 plus is just crazy good now), but it hasn't improved the rest of the RPM range as much as I had hoped. I am really trying to get this car up to Michigan to get it tuned properly hoping that will unlock some performance that I am currently missing (notably below 6500 RPM).

I have a Corky's Breastplate on the way, and am very hopeful that it lives up to its great reputation. One of the most annoying parts of the Spyder is the way it loses composure over bumps. I am very hopeful that this mod will greatly improve that and make the car feel a lot more solid.

I am beginning to loosen my stance on the 6 speed manual issue. I believe everything positive that I posted about it is true, but my stock 5 speed shifts incredibly smoothly, and is a delight to use, while I remember my Celica GTS having one of the most annoying shifters out of any of my cars. Also in the end even though I bought this car with the swap completed I am sure settling for the 5 speed saved me a noticeable amount of money.

My fuel economy averages seem to be hovering around 28-30 on a normal tank, with evidence of 35-38 on highway driving (for example I got 34.7 on a tank that was 90% highway cruising on a trip, 5% driving through small towns normally, and about 5% really getting on it taking some of my relatives for rides/drives). All of my relatives gave the car rave reviews by the way.
 

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Edited Entry 4 (previously posted in 2010):

Well my road trip is now completed and I really came away impressed with my 2zz Spyder. The trip ended up being about 1500 miles including the Dragon, the whole Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Skyline Drive.

I got my breastplate installed and was very happy with the results. My Spyder inspires a lot more confidence than before as it doesn't become unsettled over any fairly noticeable road imperfection like it did before. I felt like the car also cornered better even on smooth pavement. If you haven't gotten a breastplate yet, stop reading this and get one, then come back and finish reading.

Overall the Spyder was just a great car for a road trip all about driving. It has the ability to go from 0-60 somewhere in the low to mid 5's, has few peers in cornering ability, and gets fuel economy that some economy cars would be jealous of (overall on the trip I averaged about 35 mpg, and that included some very aggressive driving, and about half with the AC on due to weather).
 

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Entry 5 (new):

After I wrote those chapters I ended up acquiring a 2nd 2zz swapped Spyder which did have the 6 speed swapped in also. I tried to get that car to run right, but was unable to, and then I sold it to my cousin who thought he could get it running right with help from my uncle, but he has also failed. I am now getting it back from him and may need to just upgrade to a PFC (it is currently set up with an 00 GTS ecu, and has never been able to get a reading from the o2 sensors). At any rate the car has never run consistently well enough to do a true review on the car, but there have been enough moments that I can add some first hand review on the benefits of the 6 speed manual.

First off, my fears of shift quality were not at all realized. The 6 speed in this particular Spyder shifts every bit as well as the 5 speed did in my previous one. As expected the RPM drop for cruising wasn't as big as I would have liked, but it did help make cruising just a bit more relaxed with a drop of almost 250 RPM for freeway cruising. I hope to compare the two transmission options more once I get this car running right, but in my time previously I can say that the 6 speed seemed to be worth the price of admission. It basically makes it feel like you have 5% more HP in first gear, 13% more HP in 2nd gear, and 12% more HP in 3rd. Those gains are huge, and it also allows you to stay in lift much more, especially in tight 2nd gear corners.

I will try to add another chapter once I get this car running right, either with the stock ECU, or with a PFC installed.
 
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