Toyota 2ZZ Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning and performance parts on the Toyota 2ZZ engine!"

The Toyota 2ZZ are good project engines and with a few sensible motorsport tuning mods like remaps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will certainly improve your driving enjoyment.

Let us look at 2ZZ tuning and show the optimum modifications.

History of the Engine

The dual camshaft profile provides economy at low RPM and lots of power at the higher end (6200rpm+), much like the Honda VTEC system.


  • Toyota Celica SS-II (Japan, 190 PS 187 hp
  • Toyota Celica GT-S (USA, 180 hp 134 kW
  • Toyota Celica 190/T-Sport UK, 189 hp
  • Toyota Celica SX (Australia, 189 hp  133 lbf⋅ft
  • Toyota Celica ZR (Australia, 189 hp 133 lbf⋅ft
  • Toyota Corolla Sportivo Australia, 189 hp
  • Toyota Corolla TS (Europe, 189 hp
  • Toyota Corolla Compressor (Europe, supercharged, 222 hp
  • Toyota Corolla XRS (USA, 164 / 170 hp)
  • Toyota Corolla Fielder Z Aero Tourer Japan, 187 hp
  • Toyota Corolla Runx Z Aero Tourer Japan, 187 hp
  • Toyota Corolla RunX RSi South Africa, 189 hp 133 lbf⋅ft
  • Toyota Matrix XRS USA, 164–180 hp
  • Pontiac Vibe GT (USA, 164–180 hp
  • Toyota Voltz Z Japan, 180 hp
  • WiLL VS 1.8
  • Lotus Elise North America/UK, 190 hp
  • Lotus Exige (US/UK, 190 hp & 243 hp supercharged
  • Lotus Exige CUP 260 US/UK, supercharged, 256 hp
  • Lotus 2-Eleven US/UK, supercharged, 252 hp

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

Best 2ZZ tuning mods

Just because particular tuning mods are appear in lots of 2ZZ projects it doesn't mean it is good, we shall best tuning mods that will give your 2ZZ the best value for money to power increase.

Significant gains on the 2ZZ can be made from cam upgrades. Altering the cam profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the engines power and power output.

Fast road camshafts tend to bump the performance throughout the rev band, you could sacrifice a little low down bhp but your high end rpm power will improve.

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

On a daily driver should ideally to match your torque band to your cars usage.

I'd be gobsmaked if you find a 2ZZ Race cam is a pleasure to live with when driving around busy urban areas.

Some 2ZZ engines respond better to less aggressive cam durations than others.

The ecu map and fuel pump and injectors also will say much on the power gains you'll achieve.

Altering valve durations 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.

Stage 1 mods: Fast road camshaft, Intake headers, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Panel air filters, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Sports exhaust manifold.

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

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

The 2ZZ power trains respond well to mods and we're finding that there are increasing numbers of upgrades and performance parts around.

ECU flashing will help to establish the full potential of all the upgrades you've fitted to your 2ZZ.

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the outcome usually differs on the upgrades you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Pulling more air and fuel into each cylinder is the main goal to any car tuning task.

Intake flow the air during the suck phase from the air cleaner and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Design and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a big difference to to fuel engine efficiency on the 2ZZ.

Many mass produced engine intake headers are needing motorsport parts, although some OEM provide well optimised intake headers.

Increasing the 2ZZ valve size, getting port matching and head flowing will also raise bhp and torque, this will raise potential for raising the bhp and torque increase on other mods.

Turbo upgrades

NASP 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 2ZZ

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

When your car is fitted with a turbo parts are going to make more power and you'll see that turbo charged engines already contain more solid components.

There are practical limits for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only just able to handle stock power

See where you'll find these restrictions and upgrade to better quality crank and pistons to cope with the power.

It's not unheard of drivers spending a fortune on turbocharger upgrades on the 2ZZ only to experience the whole thing explode on it's first outing after it's completed.

Large upgraded turbo chargers tend to suffer no power at low rpm, and low capacity turbo chargers spool up quickly but don't have the peak rpm engines power gains.

Thankfully the range of turbochargers is always developing and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

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

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

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

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


When you improve the bhp you will need to pay attention to to the fuel delivery.

More bhp needs more fuel. We would recommend you to over specify your injector capacity.

As a rule of thumb add 20% when specifying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and provides a little 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 NASP 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


You should look to uprate your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you should find that 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.

Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow through the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Common exhaust restrictions are in the catalyst installed, so adding a faster flowing sports alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the 2ZZ

The 2ZZ engines are generally reliable and solid as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

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

Early engines had problems with the lift bolts, which reduced performance as the higher lift cam profile could not kick in. By 2002 this issue was resolved.

For more information on Tuning your 2ZZ engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our 2ZZ 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 them on each model of car. Comments are used to improve the accuracy of these 2ZZ articles which are continually updated.

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