Toyota 1ZZ Tuning

"All you need to know about performance tuning the Toyota 1ZZ engine!"

The Toyota 1ZZ are fantastic to work on and with carefully chosen parts like a remap, turbo kits and camshafts you will certainly maximise your driving enjoyment.

The 1ZZ engine is a four-cylinder gasoline engine produced by Toyota. It belongs to the Toyota ZZ engine family, which is a series of engines known for their efficiency and reliability. The 1ZZ engine was introduced in the late 1990s and was used in various Toyota models until the early 2010s.

Specs of the 1ZZ Engine

Displacement and Configuration: The 1ZZ engine has a displacement of 1.8 liters (1794 cc) and features a DOHC (Dual Overhead Camshaft) configuration with four cylinders in-line.

VVT-i Technology: Many versions of the 1ZZ engine were equipped with Toyota's VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence) technology. This system adjusts the timing of the intake and exhaust valves to optimize performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions.

Applications: The 1ZZ engine was used in various Toyota models, including the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Celica, and Toyota Matrix, as well as some other models in different markets. It was often found in economy and compact cars.

Power Output: The power output of the 1ZZ engine varied depending on the specific model and application. It typically produced around 120 to 140 horsepower and had a relatively smooth power delivery suitable for everyday driving.

Reliability: The 1ZZ engine is generally known for its durability and reliability. Many owners have reported high mileage without major issues, contributing to Toyota's reputation for building long-lasting engines.

The 1ZZ engine has been a popular choice for enthusiasts looking to modify and tune their vehicles for increased performance.

Aftermarket parts and tuning options are available to enhance power output and overall driving experience so let's take a look at the upgrade options for this great engine.

History & Power of the Engine


1.8 L Multi Point fuel injection
120 bhp -130 bhp 122 lbf⋅ft  - 26 lbf⋅ft

After '99 VVT-i was added.

  • Toyota Corolla CE/LE/S/VE, Fielder, Runx (Japan), Altis (Asia)
  • Toyota Corolla Verso
  • Toyota Allion
  • Toyota Premio
  • Toyota Vista and Vista Ardeo
  • WiLL VS
  • Toyota Caldina
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Chevrolet Prizm
  • Pontiac Vibe
  • Toyota Celica GT
  • Toyota Matrix
  • Toyota Avensis
  • Toyota Opa
  • Toyota Isis
  • Toyota Wish
  • Lotus Elise


Thanks to larger intake Valves, MPFi & VVT-i power was 140 bhp @6,400 rpm and 127 lbft @4,400 rpm

  • Toyota Celica GT
  • Toyota MR2 Spyder
  • Toyota Wish 1.8
  • WiLL VS 1.8


  • Toyota Corolla (Brazil only)

Tuning the Toyota 1ZZ and best 1ZZ performance parts.

Best 1ZZ parts

Just because particular modifications are appear in lots of 1ZZ projects it doesn't mean it is good, we shall optimum modifications that will give your 1ZZ the best power gain for you spend.

Altering your 1ZZ camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the bhp accordingly.

Fast road cams usually increase the power through the rpm band, you could sacrifice a little low end torque but top end will be lifted.

Motorsport and race cams, increase the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Race cam will just annoy you whilst in heavy traffic.

You should ideally match your engines power to your preferences so for a daily driver stick with a mild fast road 1ZZ cam

Some 1ZZ engines respond better to mild camshaft durations than others.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also have an effect on the bhp gains you'll get.

A longer valve duration can alter the bhp band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

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Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust header/manifold, drilled & smoothed airbox, Intake manifolds.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Fast road cam, high flow fuel injectors, Ported and polished head, induction kit, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, fuel pump upgrades.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Twin charging conversions, Competition cam, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression.

Plan your options and then buy your mods and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

Mapping will help release the full potential of all the modifications you've fitted to your 1ZZ.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but figures achieved usually vary depending on the modifications you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Forcing more air and fuel into the 1ZZ engine is the main goal to any engine upgrade project.

Intake manifold take the air from the intake filter and allow it to be fed into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Shape and flow rate of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable change to fuel mixing and power on the 1ZZ.

Many mass produced engine plenum chambers are in dire need of a performance upgrade, although some OEM provide fairly well optimized plenum chambers.

Big valve conversions on the 1ZZ, doing a bit of 1ZZ port enlargement and head flowing will also raise performance, & more importantly will make space for a better performance increase on other mods.

Turbo upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your 1ZZ

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes superb power gains.

When your car has a turbocharger parts are more reliable and you'll see that turbo charged engines are built using uprated components.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being over specified and some only able to handle stock power

Research these limits and upgrade to better pistons and crank to cope with the power.

We see many people spending a lots of money on turbocharger upgrades on the 1ZZ only to experience the engine literally blow up on it's first outing after it's first rolling road session.

Bigger turbo units tend to experience no power at low rpm, and small turbo units spool up quickly but don't have the top end engines power gains.

In the last 10 years the market of turbos is always moving on and we now see variable vane turbos, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and direct these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there's a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the 1ZZ when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped bhp and torque at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large torque gains, although harder to install. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.


When you raise the performance you will need to pay attention to the fuelling.

More performance needs more fuel. Don't forget to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and affords you some spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58psi of fuel pressure at idle.

4 Cylinder turbocharged engines

  • 58 PSI 340cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 511cc/min 300hp

4 Cylinder NA (naturally aspirated) engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp

4 Cylinder supercharged engines

  • 58 PSI 312cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 468cc/min 300hp


Only look to increase your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the flow rate is still good even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Please dont run with the largest exhaust you can source this will reduce the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Usual exhaust restrictions come around the emissions filters installed, so adding a higher flowing high performance aftermarket one will improve air flow, and rather than doing an illegal decat, will keep the car road legal.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the 1ZZ

The 1ZZ engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

Regular oil changes are vital on the 1ZZ, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

The ECU circuit board is prone to crack, causing non starts,stalling or auto transmission shift problems.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your 1ZZ engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our 1ZZ owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which modifications work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these 1ZZ tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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