1997 Toyota LiteAce Noah 2.0 petrol


A great compromise between a big car and a minibus


The fuel economy has decreased slightly after having the cam-belt replaced. Don't know why.

General Comments:

This is the Liteace Noah Fieldtourer van/people mover sold in Japan and imported as second hand.

I brought the van as a part people mover and part camper as I took out the rear seat and installed a shelf that forms a bed, big enough for my boys to sleep in when camping. It performs both tasks fantastically. Also tows the trailer with quad bike without any problems. The van is tall and narrow but this does not alter it's almost car like driveability and being up high is a plus in traffic. The responsive two litre engine and auto makes driving in traffic stress free and highway driving is without any problems, passing at 100kph being quick and simple.

I had the cam-belt replaced recently and while the power is still there, the fuel economy has dropped from 11.4 km's per litre (27mpg) to 10.6 km's per litre (25mpg). Even this is better than others in it's class so I'm not complaining to much.

All in all, I find it difficult to fault this van and recommend it to anybody who needs to move 6 to 8 people without being to 'agricultural'.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th April, 2008

10th Apr 2008, 02:34

The timing belt has 'teeth' around it, and maybe when the new belt was installed, the teeth weren't lined up correctly with the cogs it runs around. If I were you, I'd get the timing checked out; this could be slightly out if the belt wasn't installed correctly.

26th Apr 2008, 04:58

I had a diagnostic check and it showed OK, with no error codes, although I must admit, there is a faint detonation sound under some load conditions. I'll try a timing light.

4th Aug 2009, 06:06

Just wondering if you imported the car yourself or bought it from a japanese import dealer based in Australia.

16th Jan 2017, 14:07

I have a Toyota LiteAce van. What is the proper size of the tire?

23rd Jan 2017, 09:14

Yes. I would request the manufacturer to continue making the same kind.

1983 Toyota LiteAce KM20 3.8L Holden V6 Manual


A comfy van, and the new V6 gives it lots of go


At 16500km the fuel pump went, stranding me between Sydney and Melbourne, my mate came up from Wagga and we did the change on the side of the road!

The carburettor accelerator pump went at 120000km, and was replaced with a whole new fuel injection manifold from a 4K-E

If you are wondering why everything started to fail prematurely, its because the engine saw itself over 5000rpm most of its life, plus I really thrashed it.

The 4 speed Toyota gearbox started to wear out and eventually failed completely on the motorway at 140000km. Was replaced with a 5 speed Toyota Supra gearbox and custom shift kit to fit a van.

The valve on cylinder 4 got stuck and resulted in a costly fire that destroyed the manifold, injectors, wiring and part of the cylinder head

The engine finally died at 194200km and was removed for a V6 conversion.

General Comments:

After the engine fire, the 1.3 litre engine was replaced with a 3.8 litre V6 Holden engine that was lifted from a write-off VN Commodore. I have had no trouble with the V6 at all. Adapting it to the Toyota Supra 'box was easy, I bought an aftermarket bellhousing to fit.

The diff gears had to be made taller with the extra power also, from 5.125:1 to 3.55:1

I had the engine mounts fabricated by an engineer and the radiator swapped for a Holden V8 radiator on its side to fit and the hose connections and cap relocated, a thermo fan was fitted too.

A big jump of power was made from 70kW to 140kW!

The LiteAce is very quick and handles well, after I put Brembo 4-pot disc brakes all round.

My previous car was a Holden Torana with the Opel 1.9 litre engine and 4 speed crashbox, was pretty slow even on a good day, the Liteace is faster with the 4 cylinder in it than the Torana.

I retrimmed the interior and just made it neat and tidy and gave the exterior a respray in Metallic Cobalt Blue and fitted 15" CSA alloy wheels.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th April, 2005

4th Nov 2007, 08:10

I am very interested in this engine swap, due to having a 1982 Lite-Ace with a tired 4k engine. I have a mechanically excellent 1976 Celica with a Toyota 18RG (2 litre twin cam, 2x twin solex carbs and extractors), but rusty body and was trying to find out about the possibility of putting the 18RG into the Lite-Ace. When I saw the article on V6 engine I thought Wow! I see the brakes have been upgraded - I guess this had to be done to comply with laws? Would you know if my brakes have to be upgraded from the current ventilated discs to allow the 2 litre engine to be legal? My brakes have just been repaired/serviced - new discs and pads front, new drums and shoes at the back. Any info would be appreciated, thanks A.H.

10th Dec 2009, 23:49

3rd Jun 2010, 07:21

Thanks for the feed back on fitting the 18R / 18RG into KM20 - been rather busy, no time to respond.

In the time since my last entry, I have found that the rear brakes are the same as Celica, front brakes on KM20 are ventilated, Celica's are not - I think brakes are essentially better on KM20.

I have picked up a 4 speed gearbox and bell housing from a Hiace with 18R motor - found gearbox to be the same as Liteace but with 18R bell housing - will fit, no problem once hydraulic clutch converted to cable as in Liteace.

18RG has electric fan, so clearance with radiator should work.

Sorting out the mounts shouldn't be too much bother for me, next is to see if 18RG head with side draft carbies and extractors is too wide for engine bay.

Thanks A.H.