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2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

Phase 1, break it down homeboy!

Super Street Staff
Jan 3, 2013
Writer: Nate Hassler
Sstp 1212 01 o_scion FR S_garage FR S Photo 1/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

In case you’ve been living underneath a rock for the last year, Scion’s got a hot new car on the market called the FR-S. This front-engine, rear-drive coupe is exactly the breath of fresh air the tuning community needed so desperately, so as soon as they hit North American shores, we knew what needed to be done. We introduced Garage FR-S in our last issue, but in case you missed that, the cliff notes are simple. The editorial staff here at Super Street has joined forces with our sister publications, Modified and Import Tuner to create a place where all things relating to this fantastic new vehicle can be found. Everything from tech to image galleries, even videos and interviews with drivers and builders from across the globe can be found at

Sstp 1212 02 o_scion FR S_jon sibal Photo 2/34   |   Original Rendering by Jon Sibal

For the first portion of our build, we at Super Street were in charge of a laundry list of modifications, all of which are fairly simple and straight forward to perform. Our duties included new wheels and tires, bucket seats and low sitting seat rails, as well as JDM headlights, clear side markers, fender badges and a nifty little “shark fin” roof antenna. Here’s how it all came together.

Shark Fin Antenna

The shark fin antenna is a pretty straightforward thing to install. Start by removing the stock antenna mast, you can do this by hand. Next, clean the area and place the white alignment clip along the stock antenna base. Attach the metal wire lead from the shark fin antenna to the factory base (where the original mast used to reside) with the provided screw. Now simply place the shark fin cover carefully over the stock base and secure with the tape strips for a mad tight JDM roof line. Bazinga!

Sstp 1212 03 o_scion FR S_alignment clip Photo 3/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

JDM Badges

Sstp 1212 08 o_scion FR S_red JDM fender badge Photo 7/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

The red JDM “86” fender badges are super easy to install as well. Simply use a non-marring plastic trim panel removal tool (or any sort of pick like tool that won’t scratch your paint) and pop the factory badges off. Clean the surface, and apply the new badge with the sticky side of the tape touching the paint surface (for the best results).

Sstp 1212 07 o_scion FR S_fender badge Photo 8/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

JDM Side Markers

The JDM clear side markers are a very easy upgrade; you don’t even need to remove the bumper for this mod. Begin by removing the retaining clips along the backside of the marker using a small screwdriver. Unplug the connector, and pull out the black plastic piece (you’ll retain use of this on the JDM marker.) This is literally a plug-and-play affair, go ahead and attach the black piece to the new side marker and plug it in, then return it to its home in the bumper and you’re done.

Sstp 1212 09 o_scion FR S_side marker Photo 9/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

Sam got so into the side marker installation that he ripped his pants. Then he spent the rest of the afternoon tweeting about how low quality True Religion denim is under stressful conditions. We’re happy to report we survived unscathed, and even share a few post-installation high fives. Go us!

Sstp 1212 13 o_scion FR S_sam du Photo 13/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

TRD Shift Knob

Sstp 1212 15 o_scion FR S_TRD shift knob Photo 14/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

To install the shift knob in our FR-S, we started by stretching our hands thoroughly for 5 to 10 minutes, to ensure we wouldn’t suffer from any cramps while unscrewing the factory knob and putting the TRD knob in its place.

Sstp 1212 14 o_scion FR S_shift knob Photo 15/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

Recaro Seats

Sstp 1212 17 o_scion FR S_E10 star head bolts Photo 16/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

For seating, we turned to Recaro USA and Nagisa Auto. Recaro Profi SPG bucket seats are ideal for this car, we originally attempted to fit a set of the Profi SPG XL seats, but they proved to be too wide for the FR-S’ floor design, and also too tall for the cabin. No matter though, as the fattest member of the editorial team I can personally vouch for the fact that the normal SPG seats are just fine, as long as you don’t shove too many donuts in your face before driving around. The height issue was helped largely due to the construction of the Nagisa Auto super-low rails, which allow you to mount the seat pretty much on the floor if you so desire. Installing seats is a pretty uncomplex sort of project, but make sure you disconnect your battery before starting. Factory FR-S seats are equipped with a side airbag and there’s a chance they could deploy if you don’t disconnect power from them before unplugging the harness (located underneath the seat), so we recommend this as an offroad-only modification. That might sound like no big deal, but an airbag straght to the face can be lethal, so don't be an idiot. It's also worth noticing that the FR-S seats are held in place by a less common bolt type, 6-point E10 "star" head bolts to be exact. When installing seats, it's usually easiest to attach the rail to the bucket seat outside the car and then put the whole thing in as one piece. Make sure to transfer the seatbelt buckles as well.

Sstp 1212 16 o_scion FR S_nagisa auto super low rails Photo 17/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

JDM Headlights

In order to do a headlight swap, you must remove the front bumper. Refer to a factory service manual for detailed instructions on how to do this, or figure it out on your own like we did. Even though Sam decided to flex for this picture, take my word for it—removing a bumper is not that hard!

Sstp 1212 20 o_scion FR S_front bumper Photo 21/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

Okay folks, this is where it's gonna start getting techy. To make the JDM headlights work properly, you will need to re-pin the factory USDM headlight plugs wince they are a different shape than the plug on the JDM headlights. This is actually very easy, but it can be nerve racking if you've never done something likethis before.

1. Here we have pictured the JDM plug, the wires are used as follows.

Sstp 1212 21 o_scion FR S_JDM headlight plug Photo 22/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

Small gauge wires: LED (white is power, black is ground)
Pink/red and black medium gauge wires: HID (Pink/red is power, black is ground)
Yellow and blue: these wires are not used; just leave them in the JDM clip so they don't dangle around in your engine bay

2. To de-pin a plug, what you do is use a small screwdriver to remove the inner plug connector piece (in this case, white plastic) to reveal the individual pins.

Sstp 1212 22 o_scion FR S_depinning Photo 23/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

3. Now use the same screwdriver or a very fine pick to release each pin. You will be able to carefully push each pin up to release it from the plug and then it should pull easily out of the rear of plug.

Sstp 1212 23 o_scion FR S_depinning Photo 24/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

4. Take your USDM plug from the factory headlights, and make note of the positions of the wires. Take a picture for reference later, that always makes it easy.

Sstp 1212 24 o_scion FR S_USDM plug Photo 25/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

5. The USDM wiring is as follows:
Red and black: low beams (red is power, black is ground)
Green and white: high beam (green is power, white is ground)

Sstp 1212 25 o_scion FR S_USDM wiring Photo 26/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

6. The way this all translates from JDM to USDM is simple. The USDM low beams are the JDM HID, and the USDM high beams are the JDM LED lights. So, place the JDM LED lights into the spots on the USDM plug that are used by the high beam (green and white) wires. Then logically you know that the JDM HID wires will go into the place of the USDM low beams. If you do everything correctly, you will end up with HID lights as your normal lo beam headlights, and the LED lights as your high beams. The LED lights are also going to become daytime running lights (DRL), so when the light position of "off" those will still be on. It's worth noting that the beam pattern from the JDM lights will (obviously) be for a right-hand drive car. But you can adjust it for US left-hand drive like you would do with any normal headlights.

Sstp 1212 26 o_scion FR S_wiring Photo 27/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

DISCLAIMER: Please use a voltmeter to verify your wiring information. Not only will that make your life easier, but also it will ensure that we get plenty of hate mail if we got one of these colors wrong. We are not liable for your wasted time and any possible damages that may occur from improper wiring!

Out with the old, in with the new! USDM (left) versus JDM (right) headlight housings. Notice the dark housing and LED and HID equipped JDM units, pretty sweet huh?

Sstp 1212 27 o_scion FR S_headlights Photo 28/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

The JDM headlights have a self-leveling system, but we did not connect this because it’s too complicated and not needed.

Sstp 1212 28 o_scion FR S_self leveling system Photo 29/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

Here you can see what the DRL of the JDM light looks like.

Sstp 1212 29 o_scion FR S_JDM headlight Photo 30/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

And here we have the JDM (passenger) versus the USDM (driver) comparison. This is in the “high beam” position.

Sstp 1212 30 o_scion FR S_front end Photo 31/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

SSR Wheels/Nitto Tires

Sstp 1212 32 o_scion FR S_SSR wheels install Photo 32/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

For wheels and tires, we decided to go with the ever-classic SSR MS3 mesh wheel in a slightly staggered size. Fronts are 18x8" 37mm while the rears measure 18x9" 37mm. Nitto NT05 tires reside on all 4 corners, sized at 225/40R18 in front and 235/40R18 in back.

Sstp 1212 31 o_scion FR S_SSR wheels Photo 33/34   |   2012 Scion FR-S - Garage FR-S

These wheels fit really nicely into the factory arches, with help from a lower stance courtesy of KW Suspension's Variant 3 coilovers. You can read about the suspension and all the other mods we have done to the car on

Sstp 1212 32 o_ scion FR S_garage FR S Photo 34/34   |   Done and done! I didn't get the memo about making a peace sign, sorry guys.

For more detailed instructions on how to do any of this stuff to your own FR-S, as well as for additional tech stories, photo galleries and videos, head on over to and spend some quality time learning and enjoying all things FR-S!


Nitto Tire
Cypress, CA 90630
SSR Wheels
Torrance, CA 90501
RECARO North America Inc.
Auburn Hills, MI 48320
More Japan
Torrance, CA 90501
Carson Toyota
Carson, CA 90745
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