Toyota 2GR-FE Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Toyota 2GR-FE engine!"

As many of our site visitors have asked about the 2GR-FE and recommendations on how to modify one, so we've created this page to take you through what we feel are the main modifications that make for improvement and tuning success on this great car.

Following the debut of the 1GR-FE model in 2002, Toyota produced this model in 2004. This 2GR engine comes with a characteristic of transverse installation. Compared to its predecessor, it is lighter in terms of its weight.

Toyota, Lexus, and certain Lotus cars use this kind of powertrain in a wide variety of power levels and outputs.

The 2GR-FE, like the 1GR-FE, has an open-deck type cast aluminum alloy cylinder block with spiny-type cast iron cylinder liners (sleeves), as well as a plastic variable shape intake manifold..

In this article, we detail the best approach to 2GR-FE tuning and outline the optimum upgrades. Toyota 2GR-FE makes awesome project engines and with the right motorsport parts like ECU maps, turbo kits, and camshafts you will greatly improve your driving pleasure.

History of the 2GR-FE Engine

  • 2005–2012 Toyota Avalon (GSX30) & 2012–2018 Toyota Avalon (GSX40)
  • 2006–2012 Toyota Aurion (GSV40)
  • 2005–2012 Toyota RAV4/Vanguard (GSA33/38)
  • 2006–2019 Toyota Estima/Previa/Tarago (GSR50/55)
  • 2006–2011 Toyota Camry (GSV40) & 2011–2017 Toyota Camry (GSV50)
  • 2006–2012 Lexus ES 350 (GSV40) & 2012–2018 Lexus ES 350 (GSV50)
  • 2007–2009 Lexus RX 350/Toyota Harrier (GSU30/31/35/36) & 2009–2015 (GGL10/15/16)
  • 2007–2016 Toyota Highlander/Kluger (GSU40/45/50/55)
  • 2007-2012 Toyota Blade Master (GRE156)
  • 2007-2013 Toyota Mark X Zio (GGA10)
  • 2008–2015 Toyota Alphard/Vellfire (GGH20/25) & 2015-2017  (GGH30/35)
  • 2008–2016 Toyota Venza (GGV10/15)
  • 2009-2021 Lotus Evora (280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) & 350 N⋅m (258 lb⋅ft)
  • 2006–2016 Toyota Sienna (GSL20/23/25/30/33/35)
  • 2009–present Bolwell Nagari 300
  • Toyota Corolla (E140/E150) (for Super GT use)

Supercharged 2GR-FE

  • 2007-2009 TRD Aurion (TRD supercharger)
  • 2009–present Bolwell Nagari 300 (Sprintex supercharger)
  • 2011–16 Lotus Evora S (345 hp (350 PS; 257 kW), 295 lb⋅ft (400 N⋅m))
  • 2012-2021 Lotus Exige S/350/360/380/410/430 (345–430 hp (350–436 PS; 257–321 kW), 295–325 lb⋅ft (400–441 N⋅m))
  • 2017–2021 Lotus Evora 400 (400 hp (406 PS; 298 kW), 410 hp (416 PS; 306 kW), 430 hp (436 PS; 321 kW))
  • 2022 Lotus Emira

Tuning the Toyota 2GR-FE and best 2GR-FE performance parts.

Best 2GR-FE upgrades

The best 2GR-FE upgrades on an engine are typically the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular 2GR-FE upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your 2GR-FE. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best Engine Mods for your 2GR-FE

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most power in terms of cost, aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are are often the best upgrade for an engine, but they must be setup by someone who knows what they are 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. Forced induction upgrades - 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 it does provide the largest gains the Supercharger is the route to go on the 2GR-FE.
  5. Internal engine mods - crank, pistons, conrods & compression ratio including balancing and blueprinting

2GR-FE Tuning Stages

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

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

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

2GR-FE Camshaft Upgrades

Performance camshafts helps you to boost upper RPM range power and are better suited on petrol engines, than diesels. Most cars will see top end power hikes through performance camshafts on most engines. So altering your 2GR-FE cam will make a difference to the engine engines power. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the torque accordingly.

Fast road camshafts usually push up the power across the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little low end bhp but top end will improve.

Motorsport camshafts, push up the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

For a road car you need to match your engines power to your cars usage.

I'd never have found a 2GR-FE Motorsport camshaft is a delight when on the daily commute. This is because the lumpy idle will make the car more likely to stall and smooth driving at low rpm becomes impossible. If you are developing a track car this doesn't matter as you are in the high end of your RPM range anyway and that is where you want the power to be.

Some 2GR-FE engines respond differently due to the head and flow characteristics when camshafts are fitted depending on the camshaft being more aggressive camshaft durations and cam profile as unique due to manufacturing tolerances and quality variations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The engine timing and fuel delivery and fuel pump and injectors also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll hit.

Longer valve durations can alter the bhp curve, and on most engines there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations and valve lift.

Carefully think through your options and then buy your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to avoid costly mistakes.

ECU Mapping Improvements for the 2GR-FE

Remaps helps fully realize the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your 2GR-FE.

(Sometimes flashing the ECU 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 installed right.) It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but power output will differs on the upgrades you've done and the condition of your engine.

Air Flow improvements on the 2GR-FE

It is vital to any engine upgrade task to feed air and fuel into each cylinder

The intake plenum flow the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The size of bore and shape and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable difference to to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the 2GR-FE.

Many mass produced engine intake manifold are in desperate need of an upgrade, although some car makers provide reasonably good intake manifold.

Adding a 2GR-FE big valve conversion, doing a bit of 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also increase performance, and as an added benefit will allow you to get an improved performance increase on other upgrades.

2GR-FE 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 2GR-FE

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

TRD superchargers, which Toyota manufactured specifically for this engine, might be an excellent alternative if you can locate one that works. If you can’t locate a nice used TRD supercharger, an ROTREX supercharger kit is also extremely popular and very straightforward to install.

There are common areas of failure for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only able to handle stock power. Research these restrictions and upgrade to better pistons and crank to handle the power.

We are pleased that the range of turbo chargers is always evolving and we commonly find variable vane turbo chargers, permitting the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and feed these at differently designed vanes in the turbo. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the 2GR-FE when loads more air is being sucked into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped performance at a much lower level.

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

2GR-FE Fuelling Upgrades

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should uprate the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a power increase. Boosting the fuel pressure provides a more snappy the acceleration responsiveness.It is important to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and allows some spare capacity should the engine need 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.

2GR-FE Performance Exhausts

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

On most factory exhausts you'll see the exhaust flow rate is fine even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Please don't run with the largest exhaust you can source this will reduce the exhaust flow rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Common exhaust restrictions are in the filters installed, so adding a better flowing high performance aftermarket unit improves flow, and without resorting to doing an illegal catless mod, will keep the car road legal. We note that performance catalysts perform a similar power improvement to cat removal and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decat or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the 2GR-FE

The 2GR-FE engines are pretty solid and give little trouble as long as they are regularly serviced.

Carbon Build up

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 intake cleaning guide To minimize this risk only use quality fuel and don't short journeys.

Frequent oil changes are vital on the 2GR-FE, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

There have been a number of oil leaks reported on earlier engines.

Up to the 2010 version, any 2GR-FE engine had this issue. Choosing a model released after 2010 can help you avoid this issue.

In the end, the VVT-i system's utilisation of rubber hose is to blame. Toyota began using a metal hose in favour of this one in 2010. The new metal hose is a simple fit to any year model of 2GR-FE. The rubber hoses on this engine will eventually degrade, resulting in an oil leak.

Problems with Idler Pulleys

Idler pulley problems have plagued 2GR-FE engines since their introduction in 1989. Because of this, a large majority of motorists will experience this issue. The squeaking and rattling it produces may be very deafening.

The idler pulley should be checked if you notice these issues with this engine. The 2005-2008 engines although stronger and less likely to have idler pulley problems, does still suffer from this issue so you should regularly check these pulleys whenever you service the car or get an opportune moment.

Toyota responded to this problem by releasing a heavy-duty idler pulley in 2009. Replacement is fairly straightforward so if you are getting a cambelt change it makes sense to commit to the heavy duty pully.

Signs that your 2GR-FE has a problem include smoke and low engine oil levels. Also look for a noticeable leak on the hose or surrounding it. This issue may be solved by replacing the rubber hose with a metal one.

Ignition Coils and Spark Plug problems

Most 2GR-FE engines will encounter this at some point. IT starts with a rough idle, stuttering, and lack of power. All of which are symptoms that your 2GR FE has this issue. In the end, the automobile's power and efficiency will be reduced. All in all, driving the automobile will be a nightmare. After 150,000 miles, it's common for these components to need to be replaced in most motors but the 2GR-FE engine will have this problem much earlier than that.

Because it's a V6, the engine has six spark plugs and ignition coils and we strongly recommend you replace these after 100k just to be on the safe side, also replace all the coilpack if one should fail as it will only be a matter of time before the others start to go.

If you want to learn more, or just get feedback on Tuning your 2GR-FE engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss 2GR-FE tuning options in more detail with our 2GR-FE owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Toyota tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be.

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

We love hearing what our members have got up to and which modifications work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these 2GR-FE tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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