Toyota’s 2JZ-GTE Engine
The legendary Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine is well-known to car enthusiasts all over the world. When Toyota first introduced the 2JZ in 1991, it was a unique engine. The factory-installed engine is a 3.0L DOHC twin turbo inline-6 rated at 320 horsepower. To begin with, these were impressive results for the 1990s.
This engine has a lot of tuner potential, which is why it’s considered one of the best tuners ever. Even for its stock output, the engine was absurdly overengineered and overbuilt. The 2JZ engine is well-known for this.
One of the world’s most powerful and robust factory engines. To be sure, the Toyota 2JZ is a unique engine for many reasons. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about the 2JZ, from its specs to its tuning potential to its overall dependability.
2JZ Engine Specs
|Displacement||2997 cc (3.0L)|
|Compression||8.5 : 1|
|Bore x Stroke||86mm x 86mm|
|Block Material||Cast Iron|
|Valves||DOHC, 24 valves|
|Block Design||Cast Iron|
|Pistons||Cast, Oil Cooled|
These were some impressive specifications for 1991. The 2JZ’s 3.0-liter inline-6 uses twin turbochargers to produce 320 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, respectively. Those figures appear to be on the low side when compared to the capabilities of modern high-performance engines.
However, in the 1990s, those numbers were difficult to match. Larger, more expensive engines couldn’t compete with that one’s output.
Other Toyota 2JZ specifications show this engine was built to handle a lot of power and boost. It’s all about power with this engine. The 2JZ-GTE is best known for its use in the Toyota Supra, but it has been used in other vehicles as well.
Toyota 2JZ-GTE Strength
An 8.5:1 compression ratio makes it easier for the 2JZ-GTE to handle high boost. The torque-to-top-end power ratio is excellent thanks to the square cylinder’s design. Iron blocks in the 2JZ have a closed deck, which makes them incredibly strong. Casting is superior to forging in terms of strength and durability. They had oil spray nozzles for cooling the pistons as well. The list is completed with a massive forged crankshaft and connecting rods.
To sum it up, the Toyota 2JZ is a well-engineered machine that will last for many years to come. You want to see specs like this on a high-performance engine, right?
This subject will be revisited several times during the course of the article. On paper, the specifications look great. However, this is something we already know without the aid of blueprints or other types of documentation.
The 2JZ-real-world GTE’s accomplishments are what set it apart from the pack. Through the course of the article, we’ll keep returning to the 2JZ’s advantages. For the time being, we just wanted to emphasize how powerful the engine is from top to bottom.
VVT-i Added In 1997
The Toyota 2JZ engine was not updated for the North American market. Toyota, on the other hand, began assembling new JDM 2JZ-GTE engines with VVT-i in September 1997. In today’s engines, variable valve timing is a standard feature that aids in fuel efficiency and increases the power band.
As a result, some people find the JDM VVT-i engine appealing because of the increased power in the midrange it provides. However, they are becoming increasingly difficult to locate, and locating replacement parts is becoming more difficult as well.
The VVT-i engine’s benefits and drawbacks could be the subject of a separate post. Because of the cams and VVT-i, these engines are nearly identical. However, if you’re interested in purchasing a 2JZ engine, this is an important factor to keep in mind.
Toyota 2JZ Engine Tuning Potential
The 2JZ’s real appeal has always been in the realm of performance modification and customization. Toyota 2JZ-GTE tuning and construction involves numerous steps. This is yet another subject worthy of its own post.
When we have more time, we’ll write more about this and include a link to it here. As a starting point, let’s look at the tuning and aftermarket potential. The possibilities are nearly endless, with powertrains ranging from 400 to more than 1500 whp.
For 350-400whp, stock turbos and basic bolt-ons are sufficient. For those who prefer a more “modest” approach, aim for 600-800whp with a stock, unopened engine. Dedicated 2JZ engine fans can get their 2JZ up to 1000-1500whp. The fact that it’s a vintage tuners engine gives it a lot of advantages over a new one. All of the kinks and issues with 2JZ have been worked out.
A wealth of information can be found in countless places. Lots of options are available in the aftermarket. As a result, the 2JZ is a truly exceptional engine in terms of tuning and output.
Anyway, this will be divided into sections based on the amount of power that each one aims to achieve. A few of the mods needed to achieve various power goals will be discussed, but it is not an exhaustive list. This is a subject we’ll get into more in the future.
On stock turbos, the Toyota 2JZ can easily produce 300-400whp. However, one’s age plays a significant role in this situation. There is a good chance that most of the original turbos on the 2JZ-GTE engines are nearing the end of their useful lives.
If you want to keep things simple, look for OE or OE-like solutions or hope the original turbos last. The rest of the power goal mods are pretty simple:
- Tune/boost controller
- Bolt-ons (DP’s/exhaust, intake, FMIC)
- Methanol Injection or E85 (optional)
Additional power can be unlocked by playing a song well. That alone will increase the power of the 2JZ engine’s peak output by about 30 whp. The 2JZ-GTE can be boosted to 350-400whp using aftermarket downpipes, exhaust, intake, and an FMIC. Methanol injection, E85, or race gas are all options for getting a little more power. E85 will necessitate fuel system upgrades, which will necessitate fine-tuning.
Upgrades such as a tune and basic bolt-ons are referred to as BPUs in the 2JZ lingo. For those in the rest of the tuning community, this is referred to as a full bolt-on (FBO).
Toyota 2JZ 400-600whp Goals
This is where the list of available mods begins to grow. Even so, the list is still quite short when compared to the actual amount of power we’re discussing. The 2JZ block and rotating assembly have a safe power output of 600whp.
Even so, as power increases, it becomes even more critical to have a well-tuned setup with the appropriate supporting mods and fueling. Toyota 2JZ Supra mods for 400-600whp include the following:
- Basic Performance Upgrades (BPU)
- Methanol, E85, or race gas (optional)
- Upgraded turbo(s)
- Fueling mods (fuel pump & injectors)
The above-mentioned fundamental performance improvements remain the starting point. It will be much easier to achieve these power targets if you use high-quality fuel. In this power range, the 2JZ turbos have a plethora of options.
Upgraded hybrid turbos are an option, or you can go with a single turbo instead. Hybrid twin turbochargers with two 2JZ-GTE engines will help maintain a little extra low-end torque. A single small turbo, on the other hand, will do the job with very little turbo lag.
The stock fuel system begins to struggle with power outputs of 400+ whp. A Walbro 255 fuel pump would be a wise investment. Injectors with displacements of at least 560cc will also be required. Fortunately, these modifications also permit the use of E85, an excellent fuel for the 2JZ that helps it generate power quickly.
*Please note that this also applies to the following sections. The focus of this article is solely on the 2JZ engine. Non-engine modifications, on the other hand, become increasingly important as performance goals rise. Think about things like suspension, braking system components, transmission components, and axles, etc.
2JZ 600-800whp Build
Alright. We’ve now entered into territory where things are getting quite pricey. With 700-800whp, the internals of the 2JZ are still quite safe. But it’s nearing the end of its useful life span now.
As a result, some may feel more secure choosing internal upgrades that don’t put their faith in the OE motor. Whatever the case may be, the following modifications and upgrades have been made to the Toyota 2JZ engine to increase its power from 600 to 800 horsepower:
- Methanol or E85 (highly recommended)
- Upgraded turbo(s)
- Fueling mods
- Valve springs
- Other head work
Mods from the previous section are a must, if not all of them. For this reason, E85 and methanol injection become more critical and advantageous. Engine knocks can lead to 2JZ-GTE engine failure, so this modification will help keep that from happening. If you want more power, you’ll have to go with a single turbo 2JZ rather than twin turbos.
Fueling mods are also necessary, but the time has come for models with higher flow rates. At this power level, valve float becomes an issue, so adding some stronger valve springs is a good idea. Cams can also be beneficial. Consider changing the design of your head to accommodate higher RPMs and higher peak power.
Toyota 2JZ 800+whp
For a long time, we could dissect every few hundred horsepower. This is where a $30,000 to $50,000+ build begins, so let’s focus on the fundamentals of making 800+whp.
On stock internals, some 2JZ engines are capable of making over 800whp, but durability suffers as a result. Long-term, investing in a custom-built engine to produce 800+ horsepower is a wise decision. Listed below are a few potential mods to take into account:
- Extensive tuning
- Large single turbo
- Top-end fueling mods
- Built engine
- Head work
This is by no means a comprehensive list. When it comes to 2JZ basic performance upgrades, you’ll want the best of the best. It’s critical to have a large intercooler and high-flowing exhaust systems. 800whp requires a moderate single turbo, while 1000-1500whp demands a massive turbocharger and more power-enhancing parts. At this level of output, quality fueling mods and E85 are recommended.
Built engines are recommended for cars with more than 800 hp and are practically required for those with more than 1,000 hp. The exact costs and construction differ greatly based on the objectives, but it is possible to spend upwards of $10,000. The 2JZ will be able to rev higher with some help from some top-end work on the heads.
2JZ-GTE Tuning Summary
Of course, when most of us think of the Toyota Supra and 2JZ engine, we immediately picture the insane 1500whp versions. However, the 2JZ-GTE can be built to produce anywhere from 300 watts to over 1500 watts using a variety of different techniques.
Even the Toyota 2JZ, despite its greatness, has its limits. For the rotating assembly, anything over 800whp starts to push the limits, and costs can quickly add up.
Again, we’ll discuss all of the available upgrades and modifications in a separate article. Even though we only touched the surface of the subject, the discussion was rather drawn out. In this case, the older, well-proven 2JZ engine comes in handy, as there is a ton of information and aftermarket support for it available.
Toyota 2JZ Engine Problems & Reliability
This is yet another subject that will be discussed in greater detail in a subsequent post. However, if you’re writing a comprehensive guide, you should at least mention this briefly.
Even in stock form, the 2JZ’s performance was exceptional for the time period. When it comes to aftermarket value, it goes from unique to outlandish in a matter of seconds. Surely there’s a catch somewhere?
Not in the slightest. To put it another way, the 2JZ-GTE engine becomes even more unique. To be honest, there aren’t any major issues with the Toyota 2JZ.
Age, on the other hand, maybe beneficial in this situation. By now, any 2JZ reliability issues have been solved by the aftermarket. Despite this, the 2JZ-GTE is a dependable engine, even at higher output levels.
The 2JZ engine has a few niggling issues.
- Timing belt tensioner bracket
- Oil pump seal
- Stock turbos
- Crank pulley
2JZ-GTE Timing Belt Tensioner Issues
The timing belt tensioner bracket issue is a relatively minor one, as is the case with the majority of them. With more power and boost, 2JZ timing belt tensioner issues become more common. In the event that you’re already working on upgrades, it’s a good idea to check out the billet aftermarket options.
Toyota 2JZ Oil Pump Seal
When oil pump seals leak, it’s almost certainly due to wear and tear from regular use. Seals and gaskets degrade with time and need to be replaced. The 2JZ-GTE is prone to this problem as the engines get older. Other components such as the main seals, valve cover gasket, and so on, should be thoroughly inspected as well.
It’s just a fact of life when you own an older vehicle. Naturally, this isn’t a big deal to anyone planning to modify or upgrade their 2JZ or Supra anyhow. All of these items are low-cost, but they do require some assembly. It’s good stuff to address while you’re in there doing other things.
Stock Turbo Failures
This is yet another issue associated with growing older. Years of turbo tuning and abuse can also cause turbo failures. Despite this, there have been reports of issues with the factory sequential turbo setup.
Again, this isn’t a big deal because so many people are upgrading to 2JZ engines in the first place. One of the best ways to increase your car’s output is with a turbocharger upgrade.
2JZ Crank Pulley Problems
Keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things, crank pulleys are a non-issue. The aluminum crank pulley isn’t up to the task of withstanding wear and tear as well as high RPMs. Crank pulleys break down over time. Upgrade the crank pulley while you’re in there; there are plenty of aftermarket options.
Toyota 2JZ Engine Summary
With the legendary Toyota Supra and its 2JZ-GTE engine, there’s a lot to cover. We could have easily written tens of thousands more words about it because it’s such an interesting vehicle to consider and write about. Instead, in the near future, we’ll provide in-depth guides on specific topics.
The bottom end of the Toyota 2JZ engines is among the strongest ever. When it came to stock returns, it was already exceptional. Even so, the 2JZ’s strong forged internals, solid cast iron deck block, and other features set it apart.
It was ridiculously over-engineered, which made it a breeze to fine-tune and modify. Even with two times the stock power, the 2JZ is still a dependable engine.
To sum it up, the Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine is among the best ever built for performance applications. Could you make the case that the 2JZ is a bit overrated? Sure. However, the engine’s accomplishments are difficult to dispute. After all, 30 years later, it’s still a relevant engine that can compete with the best.
What’s your take on the 2JZ Toyota engine, and why? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!