Adapting Avalon speedometer sensor to the 1MZ swap

For our 1MZ swap into our lemons car we wanted to just use the Avalon dashboard since then no engine sensors will need to be swapped. The main issues with this are the fuel gauge sensor and the speedometer (since they are non Avalon parts). The fuel guage so far seems to “work” but we will see what the range is once we fill the tank. The speedo is a problem since the S54 transmission (from a Celica) uses a cable drive speedometer and the ’97 avalon uses an electronic speedo. With a little modification we found the avalon sender could be fit into the S54.

Looking at the two senders it is clear they won’t interchange directly. The Celica cable “sender” is much shorter and uses a slightly helical drive gear. The Avalon sender is extremely long and has straight cut gears. I took both the senders apart and did some modifications to fit the shaft and gear from the Celica sender into the Avalon housing.

First the Avalon aluminum housing was cut down to approximately the length of the Celica housing. Does not need to be accurate so a hacksaw was used.

Then the Celica shaft was cut down. Looking at the two shafts the common reference is the circlip ring that holds the shaft in the housing. The Celica shaft needs to be cut so that the distance from the circlip notch to the end matches the same distance as the Avalon shaft. A fair amount needs to be cut off.

Once it was cut down the end of the shaft needs to be necked down to clear the inside of the housing. I used the lathe to turn the end down but this is just a clearance surface so you could probably just use a bench grinder.

Finally a small notch needs to be cut in the Celica shaft to match the notch in the avalon shaft. This notch is what drives the sender guts. I used a rotary cutoff tool with a 1/16″ thick disc, which incidentally is approx the same width as the notch. It doesn’t have to be perfect but does have to be centered reasonably well. If you aren’t a pro with the cutoff tool you may not feel comfortable with this method!

Once reassembled it mostly drops into the S54. The only slight problem is that the housing needs to be filed slightly to clear a boss on the transmission. No big deal and otherwise it fits right in. This gives you a speedo signal that should plug right into the Avalon cluster. I suspect it will not be calibrated correctly but for our purposes (Lemons) we don’t care. If you do a speedo calibration box could be used or the gauge can probably be adjusted. We will just figure out the scaling factor and do it in our heads.

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