Toyota 3ZZ/4ZZ Tuning

"All you need to know about performance tuning the Toyota 3ZZ/4ZZ engine!"

The Toyota 3ZZ/4ZZ are popular tuning projects and with a few sensible performance upgrades like a remap, turbo kits and camshafts you will dramatically enhance your driving pleasure.

TorqueCars will review and look at 3ZZ/4ZZ tuning and provide tips on the premier modifications.

History of the Engine


3ZZ-FE 1.6 L (1,598 cc)

  • Toyota Corolla Europe & Middle East, 109 hp
  • Toyota Corolla Altis (Asian, 110 hp
  • Toyota Corolla RunX 160 (South African, 108 hp @ 6000 and 146 Nm @ 4400)
  • Toyota Corolla XLi Brazil, 110 hp
  • Toyota Avensis Europe, 109 hp (


4ZZ-FE is a 1.3 L 1,398 cc

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Auris
  • Toyota RunX 140

Tuning the Toyota 3ZZ/4ZZ and best 3ZZ/4ZZ performance parts.

Best 3ZZ/4ZZ mods

When talking about the best greatest for your 3ZZ/4ZZ engine, we are going to concentrate on the parts that give the best power gain for you money.

Altering your 3ZZ/4ZZ cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the bhp accordingly.

Fast road cams tend to push up the bhp and torque across the rpm band, you could drop a little low down torque but higher rpm power will improve.

Competition cams, push up the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

In a typical daily driver must carefully try to match your bhp range to your typical driving style.

I'd be shocked if you have ever thought a 3ZZ/4ZZ Race camshaft is a pleasure to live with when on the daily commute.

Some 3ZZ/4ZZ engines respond better to more aggressive cam durations so view each engine as unique.

The engine timing and fuelling also will make differences on the torque gains you'll make.

Extending exhaust or intake durations can alter the torque 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: Drilled & smoothed airbox, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Fast road camshaft, Intake headers, Panel air filters, Sports exhaust manifold.

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

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

Review your options and then find your parts and set yourself a power target to avoid costly mistakes.

ECU mapping helps release the full potential of all the tuning mods you've fitted to your 3ZZ/4ZZ.

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the end result often vary depending on the tuning mods you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Pulling air and fuel into the 3ZZ/4ZZ engine is the main goal to any engine upgrade project.

The intake plenum flow the air from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Design and rate of flow of the Intake headers can make a large effect on to fuel atomisation on the 3ZZ/4ZZ.

I usually find intake manifold are in dire need of motorsport parts, although a few manufacturers provide reasonably well designed intake manifold.

Larger 3ZZ/4ZZ valves, carrying out 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also increase bhp and torque, & importantly will allow you to get 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 3ZZ/4ZZ

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.

If your motor is fitted with a turbocharger parts are giving better power gains and we find turbo engines are made using uprated components.

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

We recommend you find these limitations and install better pistons and crank to cope with the power.

It's not unheard of people spending a fortune on turbo charger upgrades on the 3ZZ/4ZZ only to have the engine explode when it's used in anger.

Big turbo units often experience low end lag, and smaller turbo units spool up really quickly but don't have the top end engines power gains.

Thanks to progress the selection of turbo chargers is always moving on and we now see variable vane turbo chargers, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust gases into 2 channels and push these at differently profiled 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/MAF on the 3ZZ/4ZZ when considerably 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 performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large performance gains, although more challenging to install. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.


Don't forget to boost the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. It is important to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add another 20% when specifying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and allows a bit of 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.

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 only need to to improve your exhaust if the existing exhaust is creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll see your flow rate is 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 equal out the flow of air through the engine.

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

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalyst installed, so adding a better flowing performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the 3ZZ/4ZZ

The 3ZZ/4ZZ engines are generally reliable and solid as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Regular oil changes are vital on the 3ZZ/4ZZ, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

For more information on Tuning your 3ZZ/4ZZ engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our 3ZZ/4ZZ 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 tuning parts work best for them on each model of car. Comments are used to improve the accuracy of these 3ZZ/4ZZ articles which are continually updated.

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