Tuning the Mighty 2JZ GTE engine

"The comprehensive 2JZ GTE Tuning Guide"

So if you are wanting the best mods for your 2JZ and need to create the ultimate tuned 2JZ this is certainly the guide you need.

We look at mods and upgrades for this fantastic engine, popularized in the Supra but used in many other models and project cars due to the power, reliability and tunability it offers.

A stunning inline super smooth high revving, 6 cylinder block which was seriously over engineered, is a favourite of tuners today and finds it's way into many track day projects and conversions. So let's look at mods and upgrades for the 2JZ engine. These are very good blocks and were made famous when fitted to the Supra, but you'll also see them in a Lexus IS300 and many other project cars.

To build the ultimate 2JZ modified engine will depend on which version you have...

2JZ GE is a NA (naturally aspirated) engine, but with higher compression than the GTE so is not suitable for adding a turbo without reducing the compression ratio, a significant job in it's own right.

2JZ-GTE turbocharged version of the 2JZ and was introduced in 91 but wasn't put in a Supra until 1993 and production lasted 5 years.

The manual gearbox is preferred when pushing large power gains as the autoboxes are limited in the amount of torque they can handle.

There are few engines that can cope with 600bhp on stock internals, Toyota did a great job of designing a super strong engine with so much potential for tuning.

How does the 2JZ twin turbo setup operate?

A clever sequential turbo system is used here with the first turbo delivering power at 1650rpm and the second turbo comes on stream by 4000rpm.

Both turbos are the same size, and the benefit of sequential is that you avoid lag and can hit higher power figures than you could with a parallel twin turbo setup thanks to dual compression.

Please watch our video which covers 2JZ Tuning and tuning your supra. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best Engine Mods for your 2JZ

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives this is best carried out after your other mods to fully release the power from your Supra.
  2. Upgrades to the 2JZ turbochargers - 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 the debate is to go large single or a twin turbo setup.
  3. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes after turbo upgrades, 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.
  4. 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 and you will hit a restriction with your mods and upgrades.
  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.

Supra Tuning Stages

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

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

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

You can convert the sequential turbo into a parallel setup by swapping in 2 check valves, and some vacuum hose and wiring the actuators open. Many forums and sites offer detailed instructions for this and you get a smoother power delivery, more power between 1600 and 4000 rpm but it will create some low down lag.

The W58 gearbox is good for around 350bhp, if you go over this then you'll need to look at something like the R154 box which can go happily to around 575bhp.

Weak spots on the 2JZ engines

  • Sequential turbos can fail, usually the second turbo due to shaft twist
  • Crank pulley breaks
  • Oil pump seal blow out
  • Timing belt tensioner brackets are weak

2JZ-GTE amazing can handle around 600bhp of reliable power on stock internals. The stock fuel and turbo can run around 1.2 bar of boost so fit a boost controller and adjust this to suit your car and you'll see around 400bhp which is a pretty low cost high power modification.

A front mounted intercooler is a good idea, the intake air can get really hot, match the intercoolers flow rate with your engines power.

2JZ Camshaft Mods

Altering your 2JZ camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine power band. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the power band accordingly.

Cams with a 263-267 duration work well in this power band and give plenty of top end torque without sacrificing the bottom end of the rev range.

There are quite a few options, and you need to match your cam profile to your plans for your engine, you want the peak power to be there at the point you'll get the most from it.

Vernier pulleys will help fine tune the cam timing and offers a little flexibility when installing cams.

Fast road camshafts commonly boost the torque across the rev range, you could sacrifice a little low end bhp but higher rpm power will be lifted.

Motorsport camshafts, boost the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport camshaft won't do well if on the daily commute.

2JZ 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 2JZ

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

When the engine is turbocharged, tuning mods are relatively easy and turbo charged engines are made using uprated components.

We've seen people spending a lot of money on turbo upgrades on the 2JZ only to see the engine catastrophically fail on it's first outing after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Big Single Turbos or a Twin Turbo on a 2JZ?

Bigger upgraded turbos tend to experience a bottom end lag, and small turbos spool up much more quickly but do not have the peak end bhp gains.

In the last 10 years the market of turbo units is always moving on and we are seeing variable vane turbo units, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into two channels and push these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine and make a great upgrade option on the 2JZ.

There is much disagreement about whether a big turbo conversion or modification on the current dual turbo setup would yield the greatest power improvements.

A huge turbo seems to be the way to go for drag racing, when sheer peak power is vital.

The latency at the low end (Lag) of a big turbo may also actually aid your launch allowing the vehicle to come on boost as soon as it begins moving without loads of wheelspin.

You can also get a large twin turbo setup with a boost controller to smooth out the power delivery and help compensate for lag. Or, for the best of all worlds, mix and match a tiny turbo before feeding in a bigger turbo.

It is not unusual that there's a limit in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the 2JZ when considerably more air is being drawn into the engine.

We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited power at a much lower level.

Aiming for over 450bhp on your 2JZ

Get a hybrid turbo, you'll need around 560cc injectors to cope with the next power hike to 450bhp and an uprated fuel pump. Clutches start to complain at this level so look for a heavy duty clutch.

Cams with a 263-267 duration work well in this power band and give plenty of top end torque without sacrificing the bottom end of the rev range.

ECU remaps, go for an aftermarket ECU or good quality piggy back model. Make sure it still has knock control, we have seen some kits lacking this essential feature.

Taking a 2JZ Beyond 700bhp

Pushing power to 700bhp will need a bigger turbo, the twin setup is best replaced with a modern high flow large turbo, you'll be surprised how much low end torque they give and there is little lag to speak of if they are setup correctly.

The turbo inlet size now will need to be around 65-80mm and the waste gate and intercooler will need to flow more air. Thankfully there are many suitable race spec parts around.

Inside the engine, you'll start to suffer from valve float so counter this with stiffer valve springs.

Fuel injectors will need to be around 1050cc and motorsport cams will complete the package, taking you to around 800bhp.

1000bhp and over on your 2JZ

Large turbos around 83mm inlets are what you need, the whole fuel system, 1300cc injectors pump and pressure regulator will need uprating to race spec.

Forged engine parts and balancing are essential for these power gains, but it still remains an achievable target thanks to the engines design. A large turbo is the key ingredient then you just have to make sure fuel matches and the engine is strong enough to cope.

Timing belts, cooling system and oil pump will need to be changed for race spec versions.

We have seen power figures approaching 2000bhp on the 2JZ blocks, but extensive and very expensive work was carried out.

2JZ Turbo Intercooler Improvements

An intercooler does not boost power; rather, it is one of those improvements that liberates power by relieving a bottleneck.
It will address the engine's ability to suck in as much air as possible while providing as much cooling as possible for as long as possible.

Remember that the compression of the air contributes to a major percentage of the heat rise in the air intake, therefore even supercharged engines will benefit from an intercooler.

Please watch our video to learn about the advantages of installing an upgraded intercooler for your 2JZ. Please subscribe to and support our new channel.

A good intercooler design may generate 5 to 10% more power and can tolerate heat soak for a longer amount of time! Weight is always an issue in high-performance cars, and many aftermarket intercoolers are both lighter and provide far greater performance advantages than their OEM equivalents.

The real power boost from an effective intercooler design over OEM is typically between 5% and 10% with a temperature drop of 35C-40C, and this will obviously depend on the ambient temperature - the greater the difference between intake temperature and ambient temperature, the better the cooling impact.

Top mounted intercooler

Even the most powerful intercoolers will ultimately succumb to heat soak. This is the temperature at which the intercooler starts to warm up, generally after prolonged periods of high-boost running.

As a general rule, a slightly bigger intercooler will provide better cooling, albeit it will usually create higher drag.

This extra drag must be carefully weighed against the additional cooling offered. The higher the cooling effect, the longer the air remains inside the intercooler.

Tuning of the 2JZ Intake and Exhaust.

Now we'll look at the intake and exhaust systems to guarantee adequate engine flow.

Contrary to common opinion, installing an induction kit normally results in a tiny power gain; they only become useful and suggested if the engine's power has been increased to the point where the regular air intake box can no longer handle!

Induction kits may work well on turbo engines and bigger engines (if given with a sufficient cold air feed or air box), but for Supra engines, we'd merely suggest fitting a sports panel air filter, ideally made of cotton.

Sports exhausts will undoubtedly improve air flow through the engine, but avoid exhausts that are too broad or you may end up with a lower flow rate. As a matter of thumb, keep it between 1.5 and 2.5 inches.

The area of restriction in the 2JZ is typically around the catalysts, and we should mention that performance cats operate similarly to decats and have the extra advantage of keeping your car street legal, since decats or catalyst removal are unlawful in most regions for road-going vehicles.

Other tuning mods for the 2JZ engine

Investing in a properly ported and polished head with bigger valves will allow you to maximise your power improvements. In almost all situations of Supra tuning, your clutch will begin to complain and will need to be upgraded - for more details, see our clutch overview. Remapping or piggyback ecu, fast road cam, and air intake and exhaust are the best mods we recommend for your Supra.

Remaps provide substantial power improvements on all turbocharged vehicles. The merits of NA (naturally aspirated) engines are questionable. If you've done a lot of changes, a flashed ecu on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine can help unlock the potential.

Some tuners have also been experimenting with dual charging conversions and producing some extremely high power outputs.

The use of forced induction results in significant power improvements, but it is typically too costly to be cost viable. It is typically simpler to install a supercharger than it is to install a functional turbo. Fueling is tough to map with a turbo since the boost increases significantly with rpm.

It is easier to map a supercharger since the boost is linearly related to engine speed. Alternatively, you might maybe fit

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