Toyota 4A Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Toyota 4A engine!"

The Toyota 4A provide a fun base for your project and with carefully picked performance enhancements like remapping, turbo kits and camshafts you will positively maximise your driving opportunities.

In this article we provide a guide to 4A tuning and report on the best modifications for your car.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

North American market engines:

4A-L, 4A-LC & 4A-C

  • 4A-LC 1.6 L I4, 8valve SOHC, 52 kW (70 hp; 71 PS) @4800 rpm
  • 4A-C 1.6 L I4, 8valve SOHC, 55 kW (74 hp; 75 PS) @5200 rpm

European (and other) market engines: (excepting some EU areas)

  • 4A-L 1.6 L, I4, 8valve SOHC, 58 kW (78 hp; 79 PS) @5600 rpm (123Nm 90 lbft) @4000 rpm (Indonesia)
  • 4A-L 1.6 L, I4, 8valve SOHC, 62 kW (83 hp; 84 PS) @5600 rpm (130Nm 96 lbft) @3600 rpm (compression @9.3:1) (Europe)
  • 4A-LC 1.6 L, I4, 8valve SOHC, 57 kW (77 hp; 78 PS) @5600 rpm

This version of the 4A was fitted to...

  • AT151 Carina II 1983–1987 (Europe only)
  • AT160 Celica 1985–1989 (excluding Japan)
  • AE71 Corolla 1982–1984 (North America, Australia & South Africa only)
  • AE82/86 Corolla 1983–1987 (excluding Japan)
  • AT151 Corona 1983–1987 (excluding Japan)
  • A60 Daihatsu Charmant 1984-1987 (excluding Japan)


  • 78 hp @5600 rpm (118Nm 87 lbft) @4000 rpm
  • 100 hp @5600 rpm (127Nm 94 lbft) @4000 rpm JDM
  • AT151 Carina 1984–1988 (JDM)
  • AE82 Corolla 1983–1987 (JDM)
  • AE82 Sprinter 1983–1987 (JDM)


  • 95 hp @6,000 rpm (127Nm 94 lbft) @3,600 rpm
  • AT171 Carina II 1987–1992 (Europe only)
  • AE92/95 Corolla 1987–1992 (excluding JDM)
  • AE95 Corolla 1988–1989 (JDM)
  • AE101 Corolla 1992–1998 (Asia, Africa & Latin-America)
  • AE111 Corolla 1997–2001 (Asia, Africa & Latin-America)
  • AT171/177 Corona 1987–1992 (excluding JDM)


North American market engines:

  • 113 hp @5,800 rpm, (107lbft) @4,800 rpm
    European market engines:
  • 104 hp @6,000 rpm, (105lbft) @3,200 rpm

Asian market engines:

  • 114 hp; 116 PS) @6,000 rpm
    South African market engines:
  • 78 hp; @6,000 rpm and torque (103lbft @4,400 rpm

This version of the 4A found it's way into many popular cars and export models

  • AT220 Avensis 1997–2000 (excluding JDM
  • AT171/175 Carina 1988–1992 (JDM)
  • AT190 Carina 1984–1996 (JDM only)
  • AT171 Carina II 1987–1992 (Europe only)
  • AT190 Carina E 1992–1997 (Europe only)
  • AT180 Celica 1989–1993 (excluding JDM)
  • AE92/95 Corolla 1988–1997
  • AE101/104/109 Corolla 1991–2002
  • AE111/114 Corolla 1995–2002
  • AE101 Corolla Ceres 1992–1998 (JDM)
  • AT175 Corona 1988–1992 (JDM)
  • AT190 & AT210 Corona 1992–2001
  • AE95 Sprinter 1989–1991 (JDM)
  • AE101/104/109 Sprinter 1992–2002 (JDM
  • AE111/114 Sprinter 1995–1998 (JDM)
  • AE95 Sprinter Carib 1988–1990 (JDM)
  • AE111/114 Sprinter Carib 1996–2001 (JDM)
  • AE101 Sprinter Marino 1992–1998 (JDM)
  • AE92/AE111 Corolla/Conquest 1993–2002 (South Africa)


  • 110hp @6,000 rpm  (142Nm 105 lbft) @4,800 rpm
  • AT171 Carina 1990–1992 (JDM only)

4A-GE 16v

  • 115–128 hp; 117–130 PS @6,600 rpm 109 lbft @5,800 rpm
  • AA63 Carina 1983.06–1985 (JDM only)
  • AT160 Carina 1985–1988 (JDM only)
  • AT171 Carina 1988–1992 (JDM only)
  • AA63 Celica 1983–1985
  • AT160 Celica 1985–1989
  • AE82 Corolla saloon, FX 1984.10–1987
  • AE86 Corolla Levin 1983.05–1987
  • AE92 Corolla 1987–1993
  • AT141 Corona 1983.10–1985 (JDM only)
  • AT160 Corona 1985–1988 (JDM only)
  • AW11 MR2 1984.06–1989
  • AE82 Sprinter 1984.10–1987 (JDM only)
  • AE86 Sprinter Trueno 1983.05–1987 (JDM only)
  • AE92 Sprinter 1987–1992 (JDM only)
  • AE82/AE92 Corolla GLi Twincam/Conquest RSi 1986–1993 (South Africa)
  • Chevrolet Nova (based on Corolla AE82)
  • Geo Prizm GSi (based on Toyota AE92 chassis) 1990–1992

4A-GE 20v 4th generation

  • AE101 Corolla Levin coupe 1991–2000 (JDM only)
  • AE101 Sprinter Trueno coupe 1991–2000 (JDM only)
  • AE101 Corolla Ceres hardtop 1992–1998 (JDM only)
  • AE101 Sprinter Marino hardtop 1992–1998 (JDM only)
  • AT210 Carina 1996–2001 (JDM only)
  • AE101 Corolla 1991–2002 (JDM only)
  • AE101 Sprinter 1991–2000 (JDM only)


  • 143 bhp @6400 rpm 140 lbft @4400 163-180 hp 155 lbft
  • AE92 Corolla 1987–1991 (JDM only)
  • AE101 Corolla 1991–1995 (JDM only)
  • AW11 MR2 1986–1989 (Japan, 1988-1989 North America)
  • AE92 Sprinter 1987–1991 (JDM only)
  • AE101 Sprinter 1991–1995 (JDM only)

Tuning the Toyota 4A and best 4A performance parts.

Best 4A modifications

When talking about the best best for your 4A engine, we are going to concentrate on the modifications that give the best value for money.

Altering your 4A camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine power band. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the power band accordingly.

Fast road cams commonly increase the performance across the rev band, you may sacrifice a little low end torque but your top end will improve.

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

A Motorsport cam will just annoy you whilst on the daily commute, because the lumpy idle will make the car prone 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.

You should ideally optimize your engines power to your preferences so for a car driven daily stick with a shorter duration 4A cam

Each engine responds better to more or less aggressive camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

The ecu map and fuelling also will say much on the bhp gains you'll get.

Longer valve durations can alter the bhp 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 keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best Engine Mods for your car

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

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

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

Carefully think through your options and then acquire your parts and set yourself a power target to save yourself from expensive mistakes.

remap will help unlock the full potential of all the modifications you've fitted to your 4A.

(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 depend much on the modifications you've done and the condition of your engine.

Shoving more fuel and air into your 4A is the main goal to any engine performance tuning task.

Intake Manifolds carry or channel the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Shape and flow characteristics of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable effect on to fuel delivery on the 4A.

Many mass produced engine plenum chambers are begging for an upgrade, although some car makers provide reasonably good plenum chambers.

Big valve conversions on the 4A, carrying out 4A port enlargement and head flowing will also raise bhp and torque, and significantly will permit a better bhp and torque increase on other tuning mods.

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 4A engine block.

It is not unusual that there's a limitation in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the 4A when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

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

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


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

More bhp needs more fuel. We strongly recommend you to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add another 20% when fitting an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and gives a little 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 NA (naturally aspirated) engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp


You should look to replace your exhaust if your current exhaust is creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll see the exhaust flow rate is ok 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 can help equal out the flow of gases through the engine.

But if the exhaust is too large, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a great deal of the flow rate and end up lacking power and torque.

Usual exhaust restrictions come around the catalysts installed, so adding a faster flowing race alternative such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the 4A

The 4A 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.

Regular oil changes are vital on the 4A, 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 4A engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our 4A 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 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 4A tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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One Response to “4A Tuning”

  1. Mr zhou says:

    -upgrading your throttle body to individual throttle boddies (stage 2+)
    -high flow petrol pump with a regulator(stage 3)
    -double injectors per cylinder(stage 3)

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