Toyota 2ZR Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Toyota 2ZR engine!"

The Toyota 2ZR are good project engines and with the ultimate sports upgrades like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will certainly enhance your driving enjoyment.

This pages aim is consider 2ZR tuning and summarise the optimum modifications for your car.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

2ZR-FE

DOHC, 16-valve  Dual VVT-i.(128–138 hp) at 6000 rpm and 173 Nm (127.5 lbft)

  • Toyota Allion (ZRT260/265) 2007-2009
  • Toyota Premio (ZRT260/265) 2007-2009
  • Toyota Corolla (ZRE142/152)
  • Toyota Corolla (ZRE172) (132 hp (98 kW) for all markets except 138 hp (103 kW) Corolla Altis for Asia-Pacific market)
  • Toyota Corolla Axio/Fielder (NZE141) (Japan only)
  • Toyota Corolla Axio/Fielder (NZE161) (Japan only)
  • Toyota Corolla Hatchback (ZRE182/ZRE182R)
  • Toyota Auris (ZRE152/154)
  • Toyota Yaris (ZSP90) (Europe only)
  • Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe (ZRE142) (North America only)
  • Toyota Yaris GRMN with supercharger (205 hp (153 kW))
  • Scion xD (ZSP110)
  • Lotus Elise

2ZR-FAE

DOHC, 16-valve  Valvematic (139–148 bhp) and 171–175 Nm (126–129 lbf⋅ft) of torque

  • Toyota Auris (ZRE152) (Europe and Japan only)
  • Toyota Avensis (ZRT271)
  • Toyota Corolla LE Eco only (2014-2019); L, LE, and XLE trims (2019-current)
  • Toyota Corolla Rumion (ZRE152/154) (Japan only)
  • Toyota iSt (ZSP110) (Japan only)
  • Toyota Wish (ZGE20/25)
  • Toyota Verso (ZGR21)
  • Toyota Allion (ZRT260/265) 2010-current
  • Toyota Premio (ZRT260/265) 2010-current
  • Scion iM[6] 2016
  • Toyota Corolla iM 2017-2018

2ZR-FBE

Flex fuel DOHC, 16-valve  141 hp (105 kW) at 6000 rpm and 131 lbft (178 Nm) of torque at 4000 rpm

  • Toyota Corolla Altis (E140) 2012-2013 (Thailand only)
  • Toyota Corolla (ZRE170) (Brazil and Southeast Asia only)
  • Toyota C-HR (NGX10R) (Indonesia, Malaysia & Thailand only)
  • Toyota Corolla Altis (E210) 2019-current (Southeast Asia only)

2ZR-FXE

Atkinson cycle 98 hp and 142 Nm (105 lbft) of torque, paired with hybrid electric motor/generators 134hp & 153 lbft

  • 2016-present Toyota Prius
  • 2016 Toyota C-HR hybrid
  • 2012 Toyota Prius v
  • 2011 Lexus CT200h
  • 2010 Toyota Auris/Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid
  • 2010-2015 Toyota Prius
  • 2017 Toyota C-HR Hybrid (NGX10R)
  • 2014 Toyota Voxy Hybrid (ZWR80)
  • 2018 Toyota Corolla/Auris/Levin Hybrid

Tuning the Toyota 2ZR and best 2ZR performance parts.

Best 2ZR tuning parts

When talking about the best best for your 2ZR engine, we are going to concentrate on the mods that give the best value for money.

Significant gains on the 2ZR can be made from camshaft upgrades. Altering the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the torque and power output.

Fast road camshafts commonly bump the performance over the rev range, you may lose a little low end torque but your top end will improve.

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

On a daily driver must carefully try to optimize your torque band to your driving style.

I would be surprised if you find a 2ZR Motorsport cam is a pleasure to live with when driving around busy urban areas. This is because a competition cam causes a very lumpy idle, and makes the car more prone to stall or jerk along in stop start traffic, sadly though many ignore this and end up ruining a perfectly good car and having to revert back to a fast road, or OEM cam profile.

Some 2ZR engines respond better to less aggressive camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the power gains you'll make.

A longer valve duration can alter the power 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.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Mapping - 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, drilled & smoothed airbox, Intake manifolds, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Panel air filters.

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

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

Review your options and then source your parts and set yourself a power target to save yourself from expensive mistakes.

ECU flashing should help to unlock the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your 2ZR.

(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 your results usually rely on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Pulling more fuel and air into each cylinder is the aim to any engine tuning job.

Intake transmit the air from the filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The bore size, shape and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a big effect on to fuel delivery on the 2ZR.

Many mass produced engine manifolds are crying out for an upgrade, although some manufacturers provide well optimised headers.

Fitting big valve kits, getting 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also increase power, this will permit raising the power increase on other modifications.

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 2ZR

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.

There are common areas of failure for every engine, with some being extremely strong and some only just able to handle stock power

It is important to find these limitations and install better quality components to cope with the power.

It's not unheard of tuners spending a lot of money on turbocharger upgrades on the 2ZR only to have the motor catastrophically fail when it's completed.

Large turbo chargers commonly suffer low end lag, and smaller turbo chargers spool up much more quickly but do not have the high rpm engines power gains.

Thanks to progress the selection of turbo chargers is always increasing and we commonly find variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and flow these at differently angled vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the 2ZR when a lot more air is being fed into the engine.

Going up you'll find 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 like they did on the Lotus version of the ZR, or adding a turbo will make large bhp gains, although more complex to get working. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

When you increase the bhp you will need to increase to the fuel delivery.

More bhp needs more fuel. It is important to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and gives 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

4 Cylinder NA (naturally aspirated) engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp

4 Cylinder supercharged engines

  • 58 PSI 312cc/min 200hp

Exhaust

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

On most factory exhausts you'll find 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.

Sports exhausts balance the flow of gases through the engine.

But if your exhaust pipe is too large, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of the exhaust flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Typically exhaust restrictions come around the emissions filters installed, so adding a freer flowing performance catalyst removes the restriction. We note that performance cats perform similarly to decats and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decats or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars.

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the 2ZR

The 2ZR 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.

The timing chain tensioner can rattle and knock which is a sign it needs replacing.

High oil consumption is an issue on higher mileage engines, always use the correct grade of oil or you will be asking for trouble.

Water pump leaks although uncommon do happen and high engine temps are generally down to a faulty or worn water pump, these typically last around 4 years and should be replaced.

The throttle body will get dirty and throttle position sensors are known to fail, these typically manifest themselves as a rough idle.

Regular oil changes are vital on the 2ZR, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your 2ZR engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our 2ZR 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 upgrades 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 2ZR tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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2 Responses to “2ZR Tuning”

  1. Paul Fugère says:

    Really well written, that helps understand if it’s worth or not spending money on a 2ZR

  2. Shane Johnson says:

    Great job on The information you published, I recently upgraded air intake on my 09 pontiac vibe cause the old one was falling apart and which it gets its air from sucking it in a bucket behind driverside headlight which i thought was silly. So after the upgrade its stalling out cause air to fuel ratio has doubled. Only if I’d read your articles before the mod.

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