It’s safe to say that the Toyota 2JZ is one of the most well-known engines ever, especially when it comes to JDM engines. We’ve compared the 2JZ to other engines in the past, such as the RB26 and Barra, but we’ve always referenced the 2JZ-GTE in those videos.
Today we’re going to do something different and compare the naturally aspirated 2JZ-GE and the turbocharged 2JZ-GTE.
The 2JZ, as you probably know, is the second engine in Toyota’s JZ engine family. It was developed during the era when Toyota over-engineered everything they built.
It’s a 3 liter, inline-6 engine with a bore of 86mm and a stroke of 86mm, making it a square engine. It featured a very strong cast-iron block, very strong internals, and some of them feature Toyota’s VVT-i variable valve timing system.
The 2JZ was produced from 1991 to 2007 and when Toyota was still producing the 2JZ, you could find it in a bunch of different applications. These applications range from the Supra, GS300, IS300, SC300, Chaser, Crown, and more. The 2JZ-GTE was only found Supra or Aristo.
Starting with the absolute basic differences, we have the fact that one of these engines is turbocharged and one is naturally aspirated. More specifically, the 2JZ-GTE uses a sequential twin-turbo system with an air to air intercooler. If you didn’t already know, this is why the “T” is in “2JZ-GTE”.
Cylinder Head Differences
Comparing the differences from top to bottom, we’ll start with the cylinder head, where the majority of differences between these two engines are found. Both these engines use a cast aluminum cylinder head with electronic fuel injection. The later years of either model feature Toyota’s VVT-i system to increase power and efficiency.
One of the goals it appears Toyota had with the GTE head was increase intake flow and increase cooling. This is evident in the fact that the GTE has more and deeper water passages. With better cooling, the chance of knock is greatly reduced and power is increased. The GTE also has noticeably larger intake ports but it does have smaller exhaust ports.
The intake and exhaust manifolds are not interchangeable between these two engines. This is important to note because when it comes to aftermarket intake or exhaust manifolds, you have significantly more options with a GTE engine compared to a GE engine.
Realistically both heads are pretty good and offer a great amount of flow, but the GTE head is better with more intake flow, better cooling, and much better aftermarket support.
Other notable differences between the heads include the GE’s much thinner head gasket, the GTE’s larger combustion chamber, slightly different valve cover bolt pattern, and the GTE having more water jackets on the exhaust side.
The Yamaha Lie
Another interesting thing to note is that a lot of people claim that Yamaha designed or developed the head on the 2JZ, but there is zero evidence that Yamaha had anything to do with the 2JZ-GE or GTE.
Yamaha did help Toyota with the 1JZ and various other performance engines, but there is nothing directly tying Yamaha to the 2JZ other than the fact that it shares a very similar design to the 1JZ head which Yamaha was involved with.
There was never any press reports or anything involving Yamaha and the 2JZ. It’s very possible that Yamaha did help Toyota with the 2JZ, but there is no evidence to directly prove that.
Cylinder Block Differences
Moving from the heads down to the block, the differences are almost nonexistent. The biggest difference between the GE and the GTE block is that the GTE block has piston oil squirters, which help keep the pistons cool by spraying oil on the bottom of the piston dome. As far as strength, the GE and GTE block are equally as strong.
A few other small differences between the blocks include the lack of a turbo oil drain on the GE block, but it’s pretty easy to drill and tap it in the same spot as the GTE’s turbo oil drain. Another weird little difference is the oil filter adapter housing, which is water-cooled on the GTE but not on the GE.
Engine Internal Differences
Looking at the bottom end, we can see that the non VVTi GE and GTE have the same thick and strong connecting rods. Unfortunately, Toyota used much thinner and lighter connecting rods on the VVTi GE, but they continued to use the stronger connecting rods on the VVTi GTE.
The move to thinner rods on the VVTi GE was likely to increase engine efficiency since the GE wasn’t used in hardcore performance applications.
The pistons between the GE and the GTE are also different, with the GE using a much higher compression ratio. This helps the GE be more efficient and make as much power as possible.
Unfortunately, high compression ratio and forced induction don’t work together perfectly, so if you want to make big power on a GE, the pistons are the first thing you need to swap out.
Which One is Better?
For the most part, those are all the significant differences between the 2JZ-GE and the 2JZ-GTE. There are other small differences such as the GTE having a slightly better oil pump and the early GE engines using rotary-style ignition instead of coil-on-plug ignition, but those are relatively minor differences.
There’s pretty much no reason to choose a GE over a GTE other than cost. A GE engine is going to much cheaper to buy secondhand compared to a GTE. A turbo swapped GE has a lot of potential with the right modifications and if you’re trying to save money a turbo GE is the way to go.