Update: I have finally obtained and paid my cash for a halfcut, as you might have read elsewhere on the site I have purchased a Starlet GT Halfcut. Mainly because it was one I could source as finding a Suzuki GTI Halfcut was proving very difficult. GTI weren't too hard but halfcuts quite impossible. I went with Rolin Automotive and unfortunately being in Brisbane meant that I couldn't see the halfcut before I purchased but given the fairly low price of $2,300 including the freight of $450 I am more than impressed. So here goes folks...


Please note while this project will work, there will be a fair degree of trial and error as there is when trying to take parts (the whole engine!) from one car and place them in another. I therefore take this opportunity to tell you that this is a guide only. Obviously the outcome is determined by the persons skill, experience, determination etc. OK lecture over lets proceed...

Oh sorry one more thing I have probably gone into a bit too much detail but having looked at this on the net trying to get tips I have noticed several things:

  1. people bombarding those who have done it with questions, and by the looks of it not getting many aswers!
  2. The need for more detail. It is all very well to say weld this here and move this to there, I don't know about you but this doesn't really help me!

I think too much detail is not enough. If you think I have stated the bleeding obvious skip that section, but do go through this systematically, I can probably save you alot of swearing and probably money in the process...

Selecting which make of Engine and Halfcut

A Charade 1.3lt halfcut

A 4AGE Toyota Engine

A Daihatsu Mira EB20 Engine

Prior to even purchasing the halfcut there is one thing you need to think about and that is the type of engine you want to purchase. Now the thing about this is that initially I wanted to get a GTI engine. Mainly because it had been done before and in Australia. So I knew it could be done. But increasingly it is becoming clear to me that accessing a halfcut of a Suzuki GTI is proving rather difficult.

While there were alot of Suzuki Swifts produced (also known as Barina's). The hybrid GTI is much scarcer. Also production of the GTI stopped in 1997 as far as I can tell which means that even the newest ones are getting quite old which also means that the engine has done a few km's and given their reputation has probably been rung out...

So this lead me to the idea about maybe putting in a different engine from a different japanese car, still using the basic requirements of a 1.3ltr DOHC EFI engine. So I looked up on internet for japanese cars that ran this kind of configuration. Let's just say there is a plethora of such cars (engine designation in brackets). There is one thing a few of the models listed below don't have 16V heads, but some do have 8 valve crossflow heads which while not the same are still pretty good and a damn sight better than the A series 8 valve.

Charade CX
HC-E - 1.3 litre 4-cylinder, SOHC, 16-valve EFI
HC-EJ - 1.3 litre 4-cylinder, SOHC, 16-valve EFI
K3-VET - 1.3 litre 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve EFI turbo
K3-VE2 - 1.3 litre 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve EFI

As you can see above there are fair few Daihatsu 1.3 engines in several configurations. Once again the only real question is digging one up. You can find 1.3 ltr Daihatsu's in Wreckers Yards but the latter two 16 valve EFI variants are strictly Jap Import material from the information I can gather.

Sirion GTVi (K3-EV2) - This is the one I would really like to buy as it has VVT (Variable Valve Timing). I think the variable will be how many are currently on the road (I have seen one!) and the chances that someone will write one off (low).

Suzuki Swift GTI (G13B)

Toyota Echo - This is the same engine as in the Sirion GTVi - VVT and EFI good engine but hard to find and even harder as part of a halfcut package. Plus the Echo engine came in both 1.3 and 1.5 litre configurations.

Toyota Starlet GT (4EFTE (Turbo) still looking for a normally aspirated version). Found a place with 2 Starlet GT Turbo halfcuts so I going to purchase one (only $2000) and go with that the others seem to be few and far between so I have seen this and decided to go this route hope it works

Ford Festiva (CA18DE or CA18DET(turbo) also known as a CG13DE)

Ford KaThe Ka's 1.3 litre cast iron overhead valve engine dates at least back to Ford Escorts of the 1970s and though it has been modernised somewhat with a plastic inlet manifold and electronic multi-point fuel injection, it is still well behind more modern engine designs.

By comparison, Toyota's 1.3 litre DOHC multi-valve engine in the Echo produces 63 kW as against 43 kW for the Ka engine. One saving grace for the Ka engine is that it produces its maximum torque at low engine revolutions.

Nissan Micra (CG13DE) - This is a fairly limited engine. 8 Valves and about 55Kw (80hp) Not bad and has the 5 speed but if you're going to do the engine conversion you might as well go the whole hog.

Step 1. Purchasign the Halfcut

The Starlet GT Turbo Engine

A Charade 1.3lt halfcut

A 4AGE Toyota Engine

A Daihatsu Mira EB20 Engine

Please Note

Here is the half cut sitting in my back yard prior to being painstakingly taken apart. When getting a halfcut there are several things you should consider:

  • If you live outside a capital city the cost of freighting a half a car any serious distance can cost quite a bit
  • If you can go and have a look at the halfcut before purchase it is preferred, at least you know what you are getting
  • If possible get them to start the Engine, this will ensure that the wiring loom and attendant electronics work or at least well enough that the engine will start. This may enable you to check if the engine has had it. In which case refuse to take it.
  • Another point to consider is warranty, while engines without warranties are cheaper, it is a case of you get what you pay for. Some places offer a 3 month warranty on the engine. One place I looked at also offers to hold on the Engine Management System (EMS) until you have the engine in the car, then you request the EMS and they start the 3 month warranty from that point, jolly decent really...

Note: Like any used engine/car you are taking your chances, that is why it is good to try and find a mob that offers a warranty. If you know very little about engines or particularly how to inspect them read this v.informative article (and here) on inspecting imported japanese engines.

Also make sure you have the car to the stage where you are ready to throw the engine in as your warranty could well and truly expire before you even have the engine out of the halfcut! Here are list of places that I found on the internet in searching for my halfcut. Ring around as you can get a good deal, as they say let your fingers do the walking...

    New sites (20/06/04):

  1. Rolin Automotive Imports (Gold Coast, QLD)
  2. Nihon Car Parts (Southport, QLD)
  3. Mod Your Car Carparts (Perth)
  4. Wyong Spares
  5. EKW Dismantlers (Syd, NSW)
  6. Adelaide Jap Dismantlers (Adelaide, SA)
  7. SSS Automotive (Sydney, NSW)
  8. JAP Performance (Sydney, NSW)
  9. Just Jap Auto Parts(Sydney, NSW)
  10. Jap Auto Mart (Dry Creek, SA)
  11. Jap Direct Imports (Bundaberg, QLD)
  12. Northpoint Wreckers (Carrara, QLD)
  13. MTM (Kingston, QLD)
  14. Jap Imports (Cardiff, NSW)
  15. Pulse Autostyling (Braeside, VIC)
  16. Just Japanese Parts Plus (Lansvale, NSW)
  17. Just Jap Auto Parts (Kirrawee, Sydney NSW)
  18. Suziworld - Heidelberg Vic (03) 9459 8988
  19. Lee's Spares
  20. Parts Net Wreckers Listing

Here are the results of enquiries I have made to these establishments. The request were all for half-cuts of a (Initially a Suzuki Swift 16V Twin Cam EFI 1.3 but now a Starlet GT Turbo) as this is the way I intend to go, as you get everything you need, these were the following responses (in blue): Ed's Note: This has slightly changed as I found that getting a GTI engine halfcut can be difficult. But the specs are pretty much the same...

Mod Your Car (www.modyourcar.com.au)

From their Website...

If you are a Starlet fan then you can't go passed this turbo variety of the 4E-FTE engine. Turn your Starlet into a weapon!

This half cut comes with all the necessary components required to perform a complete conversion into your car.

Please send us an enquiry for further information on this half cut.

Only one problem with this mob they are purely Web based and based in Perth. This can be problematic when you are trying to follow this up despite what they say. Still having said this the other place i am going to to get the Engine is located in Brisbane 1600km away from me so this is a moot point...

MTM Corporation (www.mtmcorp.com.au)

hi matt

sorry but we do not have any Suzuki cuts in stock. but we have staff going to japan every two months at the moment. so if you are interested in importing one let me know as many details as possible of the cut you are looking for i.e chassis number or model number also the engine type which will most probley be with the engine number. If you can get me that info I can get you a price from japan effort you start anything. we give a 30 warranty on engines only so when you buy a half cut the engine is the only thing that is covered by warranty.

I am unable to give you a shipping price to ship it to you because the prices change so often it should be around $250-$400 it all depends on the weight & size of the cut. if you are interested let me know and I can get you some more solid prices.

thanks & best regards
Patrick MTM Corp.

Jap Imports (www.japimports.com.au)


almost impossible to get - they didnt sell many in japan and as such are rare. We havent ever done one in 5 years.... sorry! -- Regards
Brad Host
Dealer Principal

Adelaide Jap Dismantlers SA (www.adelaidejap.com.au)

As per website, engine with wiring and computer $1850, front cut package around $2650. Freight $450

Regards Bob
Adelaide Jap Imports
South Australia

JAP Performance Sydney NSW (www.japperformance.com)

Sorry but I don't have any front cuts in stock right now, but when i do get them we sell them for $2500.

SSS Automotive Sydney (www.sssautomotive.com.au)

No reply as yet...

Nihon Car Parts (www.nihoncarparts.com.au)

No reply as yet...

Jap Auto Mart (japautomart.com)

Hi Matt, we don't have anything in stock at the moment, but we can source whatever you need from Japan. If you don't need it till oct. that would give you a chance to get somthing sent out in a container if need be. We can easily freight what you need to Canberra. Depending on the weight & size, it may cost between $150-$300. Are you after a front cut with all the bolt-ons (i.e the fenders, headlights etc.) or just an engine package? Let us know exactly whta you would like, & we'll go from there,
Regards, Jess

Rolin Automotive Imports (www.japparts.com.au)

At present I have nil stock or nothing coming, probably around $3000. All engines are fully tested with 3 months warranty
Many Thanx


Here is some additional information I obtained from their website.

We have engines and half cuts for most performance makes and models. Our low klm engines are fully tested with a 3 month warranty. We stock Daihatsu, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Engines and half cuts. If your particular engine is not listed please feel free to email us with your needs. All half cuts usually come undressed, meaning no panels or lights. This is because these parts are removed for transportation. We can sometimes supply them complete, if this is needed please advise us accordingly.

We hand pick our Jap import parts in Japan so as to ensure a high degree of quality stock. This helps us maintain an upstanding reputation for quality.

*Please note all Half Cuts are sold Undressed, meaning they are complete Half cuts, but in most cases panel, lights, instrument cluster, A/C controls and in some case brakes have been removed. But these cuts are kept intact enough so as they can be run in the cut, therefore giving you all that is needed to do an engine conversion. We can sometimes supply complete cut's, but often these parts mentioned have been removed in Japan.

Cost Comparison Table
Company Cost of Half Cut Cost of Freight Combined Total
Average Cost of HalfCut and Freight Average Total Cost

So there you go you depending on who you talk to between $2100 and $3350 (average $ ) including freight. Now given that these are interstate, you can't have a look at the halfcut before you get it and you don't know if it will run so I guess all my previous advice is crap. But there are a couple in Sydney (which from Canberra ain't that far), unfortunately it looks like none of these have the engine package I want, so it looks like freight might be fairly high. As stated previously mostly of the really low priced option most probably don't come with a warranty.