1UZFE: Everything You Want to Know | Specs and More

The 1UZFE is the first in the Toyota UZ family. Toyota designed this new 4.0L V8 to replace the outdated Toyota 5V. The 1UZFE was a highly advanced V8 engine, that now has a cult following. Just the LS family, the UZ family has been heavily modified and is known very well among the tuner community.

1UZ-FE: Engine Basics

If you didn’t already know, the 1UZFE was a pretty advanced engine when it came out. Very few V8’s at the time were DOHC, with 32 valves. The 1UZFE is arguably the first ever reliable DOHC V8, which is completely believable since most DOHC V8’s before it was in exotic cars.

The cylinder block of the 1UZFE is aluminum and is a 90* V8. The cylinder heads are also made of aluminum. Like I mentioned before, it is a dual overhead camshaft engine, with 32 valves (4 valves per cylinder). Unfortunately, the 1UZFE doesn’t have hydraulic lifters, so it needs periodic valve adjustments.

RELATED: Toyota 2UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

1UZFE4

Later versions of the 1UZFE received Toyota’s VVT-i system, which improved horsepower and fuel economy. Let’s take a look at some of the basic specifications below.

  • Production: 1989-2002
  • Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Valve train: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Stroke: 82.5mm
  • Bore: 87.5mm
  • Compression Ratio: 10:1 – 10.5:1 (VVT-i)
  • Displacement: 3969cc
  • Redline: 6,200 – 6,500 rpm (VVT-i)
  • Weight: 364 lbs

Cars That Came With The 1UZ

The 1UZFE came in a variety of Toyota cars, ranging from sports cars to luxury cars. Toyota equipped the 1UZ in the Lexus GS400, LS400, and SC400. The 1UZFE was also equipped in the Toyota Aristo, Celsior, Crown, and Soarer. I owned an SC400 for a while and loved how to engine felt in that car.

RELATED: Toyota 3UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

1UZFE3

  • Lexus GS400
  • Lexus LS400
  • Lexus SC400
  • Toyota Aristo
  • Toyota Celsior
  • Toyota Crown
  • Toyota Soarer

1UZ-FE: Performance Data

Like I mentioned before, the 1UZFE has come in a couple different forms over the years. Engine changes such as VVT-i increased the horsepower.

  • 256 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
  • 260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

Toyota added higher compression ratio pistons

  • 261 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
  • 269 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

Toyota developed their VVT-i to work on the 1UZFE

  • 290 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
  • 300 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm

Toyota added a few revisions

  • 300 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
  • 310 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

As you might be able to tell from these numbers, the VVT-i system worked wonders of the 1UZFE. The VVT-i system added 40 horsepower, and 40 lb-ft of torque. Most notably, the VVT-i system brought the peak torque down 400 rpm, making the car much more fun to drive around the street.

1UZ-FE: Tuning Potential

If you’re a car guy or car gal, then this is the part you’ve been waiting for. How can this engine be tuned to make more horsepower than factory? Well, naturally aspirated builds can reach as high as 400 horsepower, but costs a fortune, and is hard to build.

RELATED: Nissan VH45DE: Everything You Need to Know

1UZFE1

The Terminator Cobra supercharger or Eaton M90 is a common addition the 1UZFE. With additional changes such as fuel injectors and an exhaust, the 1UZFE can make 350+ horsepower @ 6 psi. Building the bottom end with lower compression ratio pistons, the 1UZFE can make 400+ horsepower @ 10 psi.

1UZFE2

Turbo kits are available for most cars that came equipped with the 1UZFE, but they need a built bottom end to survive. Much like other great Toyota engines (1JZ, 2JZ, etc.), the stock 1UZFE block is good for over 1,000 horsepower.

1UZ-FE vs VH45DE

The 1UZ is undoubtedly the best in the UZ family, but how does it stack up against the competition? Nissan’s VH45DE is the only real competitor to the 1UZ-FE. Both are dual overhead cam, both have a displacement of less than 4.6L, and both came from Japan. Both were designed for luxury cars.

The VH45DE made a pretty impressive 278 horsepower and 294 lb-ft of torque. This was pretty impressive at the time but not as impressive as the power level of the 1UZ-FE. Like I mentioned above, the 1UZ made 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque at its best. That’s 22 horsepower and 16 lb-ft more than the VH45DE, while also being .5L smaller in displacement.

RELATED: Ford Modular vs Chevy LS: Which One is Actually Better?

They’re both fairly expensive to swap, and pretty expensive to make high horsepower. However, the 1UZ’s higher horsepower out of the factory really makes it more impressive in my opinion. Let me know in the comments below if you think the VH45DE is better than the 1UZ-FE.

Summary

The 1UZFE was a technological breakthrough for the automotive industry. DOHC V8’s weren’t all that new, but they had never been reliable. Toyota knocked it out of the park with the 1UZFE. Not only is it powerful, but it’s also reliable, and can take a bunch of tuning abuse. Let me know what you think of the 1UZ in the comments below!

About Bryce Cleveland 267 Articles
Bryce founded Dust Runners Automotive Journal in 2014 as a way to write about the cars he found interesting. When he's not writing for Dust Runners he's writing for Power Automedia as a freelancer. He currently drives a 2015 Fiesta ST and absolutely loves it.

34 Comments

  1. The 1UZFE was revolutionary for it’s time; except it wasn’t, actually par the course for a DOHC V8 of the time, give or take. It also makes great hp -actually not really – again, fairly middle of the road for the time as well give or take 20hp. Well, It’s a great tuner’s engine! Oh hell naw; you’re lucky to pick up a 20-30% increase after ALOT of money and custom parts in N/A form. And it’s merely adequate in boosted form; again, with lotsa money and a fully built bottom end.

    In short, a 1UZFE IS a great motor, if you just leave it as Toyota intended and do basic maintenance while driving it till the car falls apart around it. Other than that, engine swapping and building one for power is little more than an exercise in trying too hard to be different.

    • I disagree with JZEllis. I’ve serviced, driven, and owned a lot of V-8 vehicles and the 1UZ is the smoothest, most powerful, more reliable, and best sounding by far.

        • Obviously not. I’ve driven a lot of V8s, Old (I’m talking 60s era) to new. Lexus, Infinity, The Olds Aurora engine, Northstar, Mercedes, BMW, Jaugar, and daily drive a LS2. And frankly, the 1UZFE is merely “adequate” from a performance standpoint. And in the real world, not all that reliable – next to US V8s – although to be fair, it’s more due to cost of maintenance and parts than anything else. And that starter in the Valley?!? What the hell Toyota?!? Although, GM did that dumb sh#t with the North star and Aurora V8 too.

          • “And in the real world, not all that reliable – next to US V8s” Nonsense. You are just picking words out of thin air. Show me one American V-8 that has a reputation for 350,000 + miles before the need for a rebuild. GM had its cracking cylinder heads and rocker arms that would get punched through with a pushrod, and plastic camshaft gears shredding, Ford had its oil burners, I’ll take my three Lexus 1UZFE engines with a combined 540,000 miles between them, never have they stranded me ever. Never have I had to do anything but maintenance on them. And they were smoother and more precise than any American or German V-8 for that matter.

  2. i couldn’t agree less with the above poster, hp is subjective and the gains will be not only from the engine itself but supporting modifications.

    and par for the course?, what a joke? most 90’s v8 (actually late eighties) were crap. the epa wasn’t really the epa and enforcing car quality was less than important as it is today. so most v8’s domestic etc were still produced as legacy garbage, sorry man domestic v8’s were a crapshoot of will it blow up for no reason flinging a push-rod out of its ass. or just run like unpredictable low powered lucky if it isn’t carbureted garbage.

    but not the 1uzfe. its the basis for almost every new toyota model after its introduction into the lexus moniker.

    bucket shims instead of rocker arms, high revs on a stock bottom end running up to 9k STOCK SAFELY?? i would love to see a domestic v8 or even a euro v8 from the late 80’s even come close stock to not throwing a rod trying to hit those levels. the redline on a vette v8 from that time was only at 5700… the 1uzfe’s standard redline is 6200rpm but with the redline changed it can run way past that (9000rpm!!!)…..and SAFELY as stated before. SOME RUN THEM TO 12000 RPMS WITH ROD BOLT CHANGES……LOL

    amazingly if you aren’t retarded than you can make roughly 400hp on it with a basic supercharger and injector upgrades….. and up to 700 on the stock motor with more boost after headstuds and headgasket have been redone.

    if you pushed a domestic or european stock bottom ended v8 from the late 80’s to 2/3rd of the second 1uzfe hp total i specified (500hp) it would fall apart.

    so it sounds like maybe you should keep that opinion at a hobby level, in a parking garage surrounded by other clueless fools.

    • Your reply doesn’t debunk anything I said. And who mentioned “domestic” V8s?!? (I assume you’re talking American) The 1UZFE IS a great motor, but it’s neither revolutionary, nor, all that remarkable compared to other 32 valve V8s of the time; EXCEPT it just so happened to be engineered and by Toyota. Toyota does not make sh#t.

      Now does that mean everyone should run out and buy a 1UZFE to tune? Sure, if you have money to burn, because for the money, it’s not worth it. Unless you have access to all custom parts and a good aftermarket computer you will not be seeing any of the performance gains you are talking about. It is what it is. A really well designed, efficient high quality 32 valve V8, for smoothly and adequately hustling a 4000+lbs luxury sedan down the road.

      If you want to spend 3,4,5 times what a GM LSX, or Ford Modular, or even a Honda 4 cylinder guy spends to get the same or less performance, then knock yerself out. But be real, you’re just being different. Not like there’s anything wrong with that.

      • you truly are one of those set in your ways, and on “what i heard”. Funny, just had this debate the other day at the shop, and have the facts readily available to back them up.

        1st off, it was engineered by yamaha FOR toyota, like every other toyota engine out there. 2nd, it was actually strictly engineered as a race engine, in which the ls400 was designed to house it to meet FIA homologation to allow it to be entered into a race series.

        6 bolt mains> 4 bolt mains
        DOHC > pushrods/lifters
        460lbs > 580lbs

        lets talk about price point here, because you seem to think youre going to sink all this money into a 1uz vs an LSx”

        please find me a GM lsx designated entire vehicle from the wreckers, that you can purchase the whole vehicle in order to have everything possibly needed for your swap for under $500. you wont. whoever 98-00 ls400s (vvti 300hp/300tq variant) are a dime a dozen on craigslist and other places for $400-$500 needing trans, or wrecked.

        lets talk numbers:

        lets all agree, the 4.8 is probably going to be the cheapest lsx family youll find next to the 5.3 which i will also include.

        ok, now both of those iron block engines tip the scales at 580 lbs.
        the 4.8 comes in with 260hp
        the 5.3 comes in at 285hp and can see 315hp in the l33 series.

        4.8 is a great boost engine, but there goes that spill you were giving about spending money…..

        end of the day: the 1uz makes cents and sense.

        the vvti 1uzfe has 300hp
        is all aluminum
        weighs 460lbs
        can be had for under $500
        6 bolt mains
        DOHC

        youre argument is invalid when you go to bat with facts.

        the 1uz is also used on commercial fishing trollers and is widely recognized as a reliable marine engine with long intervals between maintenance. wheres chevy in that race? other than a v hull with a 454 weekend warrior….

        • living in the Philippines and I would absolutely love to get my hands on a 1UZ FE Eng. trans full package to swap in something for that price of $500 .. which back State side a Chevy sbc 350 cost $700 for a good eng. and High performance set up to make a 383 cost me 1500 + for my IROC-Z and as well for my 81 Vette because the stock 350s sucked on hp but with the 1.5k investment I got 750 rwh with holley carb .. So it is time for a change … Sign me up where can I buy a 1UZ-FE eng. & trans for $500 usd ..

        • You forgot to mention that none of those donors, or any vehicle that came with a UZ from the factory, came with a manual transmission. There are adapter plate kits out there for several hundred dollars fortunately. I picked up a complete/wrecked 2006 GTO(400hp stock, aluminum block+heads), and had EVERTHING including the t56 6 speed. Parted the rest out and am currently under $800 for the drivetrain and some random bits I may use later. If you wanna go cheap on a turbo LS build, go look at sloppymechanics.com. The guy is running sub-10 second quarters on iron block, Chinese turbo, junkyard builds.

      • to add:

        yes, GM and Delphi have created one helluva engine management/electronics system. yes the lsx is one of the most electronically tunable vehicles out there. yes, it truly shines in that aspect. however, down under theyve learn how to run a 1uz off of lsx electronics, (the 1uz us terribly under tuned oem) and are seeing 400+hp on a completely stock 1uz, running on lsx electronics.

  3. I own ls400 and it’s a 1992. Great motor when taken care of and you can add a supercharger the motor can take up to 15psi. Boost. Without changing the internal. 89-94. The internals were made from steel. After 94 the changed the material of the internals to a lighter less durable alloy…….I love my LS. 145000. Still great compression. The alternator and starter are a pain to replace. Anyways much love for the 1uzfe.

  4. I love my 1uzfe that I’m running 12 psi for a year n haven’t had a problem.lol that damn thing is strong y’all whom don’t have a clue will be supervised.u need to partake on the wonderment of what it is to feel the power n torque of a turbo 1uz feel/t as I call it.

  5. I dont think you can call it the firsg reliable V8 DOHC engine mercede’s M119 5.0 in the SL500 day viewed in 1990 as well. The produced a healthy 326HP and 354LBFT of torque it was also an animal. Very reliable as well some mercedes enthusiats say its the best V8 mercedes ever built. However Lexus will always have the reliablilty edge i guess. Great Article!

  6. Hi guys
    I have my Lexus LS400 , it’s cooling fan pulley has got 2 hydraulic pipes for inlet and outlet but those 2 pipes have been disconnected from their destinations means that no flow of hydraulic that results in jamming of the pulley, i just need to know where should those pipes be attached/ connected so that fan pulley can be supplied with hydraulic???
    Help please

    • I had the same issue. Solved by using electric cooling fan and bypassing the seized pulley with a shorter serpentine belt

  7. please supply price, availability of supercharger complete kit for lexus 1uxfe. we are in George South africa

  8. Hello I`m Dave I want to transplant a Surplus 89-96 1UZ-FE into my 91 Mitsubishi Galant converting it to a rear wheel drive, Where & How can I find to Import and how mch it cost / plus shipping to the Philippines Please Reply

  9. Nice numbers. Have a aussie adapter plate gona stick a uzfe in a subaru 5speed rear wheel drive gona be a fun build cant wait to suck the headlights out of some booger eater in some expensive shit box the bank owns love my sleepers. See how long it takes the cops to take this one of the road

  10. Does anyone know if a kit is available in Queensland Australia to fit a 1UZ FE into my 2001 Toyota dual cab Hilux In place of a 2.7 Litre petrol engine

  11. Purchased a 1998 Lexus LS400 with 240k miles for $600.00 cash at auction. Smoked like a chimney all 9 miles to the house even though it had exceptional power and speed. It ran 3/4 high temp though, but very smooth, and no check engine light ever came on.Thought it was the power steering fluid in the intake problem and maybe a thermostat. Bought a new 170* thermostat & power steering pump, and left PS Vacuum Valve hole plugged. Well, it still smoked with no check engine light. So, I did a head gasket test. And it passed, but when I examined the spark plugs, on cylinder #7 it was soaked with antifreeze. Started the LS400 back up and could not believe that an engine with a head gasket problem could ever run smooth. Yeah… I did the water glass sitting on top of the engine, too. Just remarkable! My hand shock the glass of water more than the car did. Just amazing!. So I decided to fix the head-gasket and keep the car. There is no way in hell at this point that I would even consider getting rid of this vehicle. The only problem is paying the high dollar amount for the specific repair manual, which I will do. This machine is just amazing.

  12. Not quite the first reliable DOHC 32V V8. The Germans did it first. And the bmw M62/S62 are pretty reliable. Besides that, the lack of hydraulic lifters kills it. I’d rather have a big displacement GM V8 with pushrods that adjusts itself. And that’s coming from a BMW owner who’s used to ohc.

  13. I would absolutely love to get my hands on a 1UZ FE Eng. trans full package to swap in something for that price of $500 .. which back State side a Chevy sbc 350 cost $700 for a good eng. and High performance set up to make a 383 cost me 1500 + for my IROC-Z and as well for my 81 Vette because the stock 350s sucked on hp but with the 1.5k investment I got 750 rwh with holley carb .. So it is time for a change … Sign me up where can I buy a 1UZ-FE eng. & trans for $500 usd ..

    • @Dave in the PI,

      Have you sourced the 1UZFE for shipment to the PI yet? I am currently collecting info for doing the same and will make contact with local authorities next week to make sure I have all paper trials understood. My Opel with GM 54 degree V6 is a money pit I intend to remedy with a 1ZYFE and auto trans swap. I owned 3 LS400 in California and my 1996 was at 287K miles when I left it with family to retire. I am retired from California, living in Tagaytay and would love to compare notes if you are interested.

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