Toyota RZ Tuning

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

In this article we consider RZ tuning and provide tips on the greatest modifications for your car. Toyota RZ really good project engines and with the right sports enhancements like ECU maps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will greatly improve your driving enjoyment.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

1RZ

  • 1RZ-E 101–108 hp 118–123 lbft

2RZ

  • 2RZ-E 118 hp
  • 2RZ-FE 142 hp

3RZ

  • 3RZ-FE  150 hp

Tuning the Toyota RZ and best RZ performance parts.

Best RZ tuning mods

The best RZ upgrades on an engine are sensibly the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular RZ upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

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

Fast road cams usually boost the bhp and torque over the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little bottom end bhp but the top end will be lifted.

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

In a road car you need to optimize your engines power to your driving style.

I'd be surprised if you have found a RZ Motorsport and race camshaft 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 RZ engines respond better to extreme camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

The engine timing and injectors and fuel pump also have an effect on the power gains you'll hit.

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.

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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: Remaps/piggy back ECU, Panel air filters, drilled & smoothed airbox, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Fast road camshaft, Intake manifolds.

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

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

The RZ engines make great tuning projects and we're pleased to see that there are increasing numbers of modifications and performance parts out there.

remap will help unlock the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your RZ.

(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 differs on the parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

It is the aim to any engine tuning project to pull more air into the RZ engine

Intake manifold carry the air from the intake filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders.

Shape and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a large effect on to fuel engine efficiency on the RZ.

On popular production engines intake manifold are in dire need of aftermarket tuning parts, although a few car makers provide reasonably good intake manifold.

Increasing the RZ valve size, doing a bit of RZ port enlargement and head flowing will also improve power, and importantly will give you an improved 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 RZ

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

When the engine has a turbocharger upgrades are more reliable and most turbo engines will have strengthened components.

However most engines have weakspots

Discover these limitations and fit stronger pistons, crank and engine components to handle the power.

We see many mechanics spending a lots of money on turbo upgrades on the RZ only to experience the RZ literally blow up on it's first outing after it's finished.

Larger capacity turbo chargers tend to suffer a bottom end lag, and little turbo chargers spool up more quickly but don't have the peak rpm bhp gains.

In the last 10 years the selection of turbo chargers is always evolving and we are seeing variable vane turbo chargers, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust gases into 2 channels and direct these at differently angled vanes in the turbocharger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there is a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on the RZ when loads more air is being pulled into the engine.

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

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

Fuelling

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should uprate the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a bhp increase.We strongly recommend you to over specify your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% when buying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and provides you some 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.

Exhaust

You only need to uprate your exhaust if your exhaust is actually causing a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you should find that 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.

Do not go with the largest exhaust you can buy you'll slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Common exhaust restrictions are in the catalyst and filters installed, so adding a faster flowing sports alternative is the answer. This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal. The alternative decat should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars..

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the RZ

The RZ 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 RZ, 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 RZ engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our RZ 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 modifications 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 RZ tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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