Toyota 1JZ-GTE vs 1JZ-GE: Which One is Better?

The Toyota 1JZ-GE and 1JZ-GTE engines, on paper, are almost identical to one another. But they differ in several aspects; they do bear the same name – the other suffixed with’ T’ for a turbocharged indication; the technologies integrated on both engines are paralleled and catered to suit the demands of the machines they represent. While both engines offer outstanding features, power outputs, and torque, there will still be comparison – or to say friendly debates among enthusiasts, to hold their ground which will have the better resume over the other. And this is an eternal cycle most of the time.

But today, we will try to break the ice between these two engines. They do not have bad blood with each other, just a friendly competition for us to look closer at the abilities they can do from the start up until its eventual retirement.

Join me as we discuss Toyota’s two iconic engines: 1JZ-GE and 1JZ-GTE, as we assess everything about them and what keeps them over the edge of each other, who got the better fuel efficiency, power, torque, better at hills or flats, reliability, and many more.

Let’s get right to it!

What are Toyota JZ Engines?

We can’t start talking about these two engines if we don’t have history lessons first – well, I think it’s fine for a brief recall of this family.

Toyota made the JZ family, and it is a series of straight-six engines. It served as a replacement for the same straight-six family, M series. The JZ engine has 2.5 and 3.0 Liter versions. And the first JZ engine produced is the 1JZ-GE in 1990, and, sooner, in 1991, the 2JZ.

Let us proceed with the individual rundown of both the 1JZ-GE and 1JZ-GTE engines.

The 1JZ-GE Engine:

  • Production Run: 1990 – 2007
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Block Material: Cast-iron
  • Configuration: Inline-six
  • Bore: 86 mm
  • Stroke: 71.5 mm
  • Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 2.5 L (2492 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 10.1 for the initial release and 10.5 for the later models
  • Weight: 456 lbs.
  • Maximum HP: 198 HP at 6,000 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 185 lb-ft at 4,000 RPM

The Toyota 1JZ-GE engine is a naturally-aspirated, 2.5 L, straight-six gasoline engine produced from 1990 to 2007. The machine is the first generation of the JZ engine and the first 1JZ-GE Engine produced. The Engine ran from 1990 until 1996 and had a mechanical distributor ignition system and a lower compression ratio of 10.0; the first generation release is called the 1JZ-GE.

On the other page, the 1JZ-GE VVT-i is the second-generation Engine that is the expanded version of the initial release. Toyota applied some changes that include the DIS-3 ignition system with three ignition coils, integration, a higher compression rating of 10.5, and a variable valve timing VVT-i system on the intake cams.

1JZ-GE Engine is designed for rear-wheel drive and longitudinal installations, like all JZ engines. The 1JZ-GE cylinder block is made from cast iron and has a monoblock specially cast structure that utilizes seven-bearing system support. The cylinder bore is 86 mm, and the piston stroke is 71.5 mm. The crankshaft has twelve balance weights and seven main journals; both the pins and journals are sintered and induction-hardened. The special casted Aluminum pistons are fitted with a single oil ring and two compression rings.

The 1JZ-GE cylinder head has an excellent cooling efficiency with its lightweight but robust Aluminum material, with four valves per cylinder bank for a valve total of 24. It has double overhead camshafts made of specially cast steel and driven by the toothed timing belt. Solid shim-less buckets are used instead of hydraulic lifters, and Toyota also installed a revised dual-stage intake manifold in this Engine.

The output for the early non-turbo, non-VVT-i (1990 -1995 )1JZ-GE Engine is 168 HP at 6,000 RPM and 173 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 RPM. In 1995, VVT-i was added to the Engine for an increased output of 198 HP at 6,000 RPM and 185 lb-ft at 4,000 RPM. It has a redline of 7,500 RPM for the non-VVT-i and 7,000 for the VVT-i equipped.

Some of the applications of the 1JZ-GE Engine includes:

  • Toyota Mark II
  • Toyota Soarer
  • Toyota Chaser
  • Toyota Cresta
  • Toyota Progres
  • Toyota Crown
  • Toyota Crown Estate
  • Toyota Mark II Bilt
  • Toyota Verossa
  • Toyota Supra

The 1JZ-GTE Engine:

  • Production Run: 1991 – 2007
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Block Material: Cast-Iron
  • Configuration: Straight-Six
  • Bore: 86 mm
  • Stroke: 71.5 mm
  • Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 2.5 L (2492 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 8.5 and 9.0
  • Weight: 450 lbs.
  • Maximum HP: 276 HP at 6,200 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 280 lb-ft at 2,400 RPM

The Toyota 1JZ-GTE is the sporty and high-performance version of the 1JZ-GE Engine. Though resembling the 1JZ badge, it is much related to its predecessor, the 7M GTE, than the 1JZ-GE. It has a monoblock cast-iron cylinder block with a specially cast structure that utilizes a seven-bearing support system. It has the same bore and piston stroke with the 1JZ-GE at 86 mm and 71 mm, respectively. The crankshaft has twelve balance weights and seven main journals which both of the pins and journals are induction-hardened.

The pistons are improved to withstand higher power output as well as to absorb different stressors during cycles. It is made of unique Aluminum casting, and each piston is fitted with a single oil ring and two compression rings.

The early generation of the 1JZ-GTE Engine is absent of the VVT-i system. Toyota lowered the compression rating to 8.5, and the second generation of engines is integrated with BEAMS technology, which has a higher compression ratio of 9.0, still lower than the 1JZ-GE. The first generation 1JZ-GTE has a rated output of 276 HP at 6,200 RPM and 268 lb-ft of torque available at 4,800 RPM.

The initial release of the 1JZ-GTE Engine utilizes the advantages of parallel-twin CT12A turbos, which are either blown through a front-mount air-to-air intercooler or on the side mount. This Engine is a fair balance of the assertive smoothness attribute of a straight-six-cylinder with the high-revving capacity and swift power delivery of the ceramic turbochargers. However, due to their physical limitations, ceramic turbine wheels are brittle and more susceptible to delamination than their steel counterparts.

In the event of high impeller RPM speeds and local temperature conditions, this effect intensifies, usually due to higher boost pressures. Also, following the initial release of 1JZ are first-generation 1JZ engines that experience more turbo failure due to a defective one-way valve on the heads, specifically on the inlet camshaft cover, causing the blow-by gases to be diverted into the intake manifold. In addition, small to medium amounts of oil vapor go into the turbo that causes premature wear on the exhaust side seals

This might be a mere design flaw, so it needs to be solved and be closed. So the succeeding generations or the second generation engines have this problem contained, and gladly, Toyota fixed it. In the 200s, There was a recall campaign to repair the first generation engines in Japan. Fixing is simple and only involves PCV valve replacement, which is available on Toyota.

The last and third generation of the 1JZ-GTE engines applied Toyota’s BEAMS architecture (Breakthrough Engine with Advanced Mechanism) introduced in late 1996. Though it retained the 2.5 Liter displacement, it has better engine components, including the newly-developed continuous variable valve timing mechanism VVT-i. A revamped head, better cooling, and ventilation of the cylinders through modified water jackets and newly-formed shims to reduce cam friction and coated with titanium nitride.

Toyota also changed the turbo setup in later releases from the twin parallel turbo switching to the single turbo CT15B. The single turbo bolted in the third generation 1JZ-GTE has smaller exhaust ports in the heads. These are more efficient because this allows the outbound gases from the exhaust to gain more speed as they head to the exit, which in turn spools the turbo faster even at a lower RPM range.

The power rating of the 1JZ-GTE still stands at 276 HP but has higher torque at 280 lb-ft. It also has a higher compression rating of 9.0 due to adopting the new VVT-i upgrade and improved cylinder block cooling. These revisions result in a better engine efficiency that reduces the fuel consumption to almost ten percent. The turbo replacement to the single from the twin also contributes to the fifty percent torque increase employed in this Engine, even for low RPM speeds.

Engine Potential

The aftermarket support for both engines is exemplary. The naturally-aspirated 1JZ-GE and the turbocharged 1JZ-GTE are nothing short of any aftermarket parts available. They are excellent tuning platforms and can raise their power outputs depending on the build you want them to be.

You can tune or upgrade your 1JZ-GE, but it is highly encouraged to opt for the turbocharged version if you want to take it to the next level, especially the power output. 1JZ-GE, when tuned, can give you 250 HP at maximum, which is lower than the stock power output of the 1JZ-GTE. However, 1JZ-GTE is much more powerful than the naturally-aspirated one, and that is due to the stock turbochargers that it has. As we mentioned earlier, it has modified pistons, hardened cams, and a higher output, which means a more solid body to cope with the demands of the cycle, which the 1JZ-GE still needs to buy to achieve. However, you can bolt in and install turbochargers in the 1JZ-GE; you still need to change the internals.

Problems Surrounding the Engines:

Both the 1JZ-GE and 1JZ-GTE engine shares the same sentiments in terms of engine issues and problems. They are pretty old now, so the main troubles can be associated with their old age and their inability to sustain higher power outputs like they used to. Loose internal components, oil leaks, and decreased functionality can also be linked to age.

To add to that, they sometimes show issues like misfiring, difficulty to start, rough idling, and knocking sounds in the Engine, which are solvable and preventable if you periodically assess your Engine.

Summary

And that leads us to the question again, which one is better?

Preferring to the power output and torque production at the maximum, we have to hand it to the 1JZ-GTE. That is fair because of its higher power output and torque, which is good if you will bring your Engine for a track session. Not saying that 1JZ-GE is inferior but if you opt for a commuter engine, go for 1JZ-GE; if you want a sleeper and weekend track adventures, you can decide to grab the 1JZ-GTE with a much more aggressive profile.

Both the 1JZ-GE and 1JZ-GTE are excellent powerplants and highly reliable. You have nothing to worry about their abilities, design, and overall durability because they are made to last for a long time.

Aftermarket support is equally balanced as well the problems posed to the Engine. So the main difference for both of them is just the power output and internal compositions. Added features like the BEAMS architecture, enhanced VVT-i and turbocharging.

The 1JZ-GE carries almost the basic features of a JZ engine, while the 1JZ-GTE is more of 1JZ-GE in steroids – a higher output, more assertive, more robust, and more aggressive.

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