When it comes to JDM legends, you really cannot miss the Supra RZ, which housed the legendary, massive, powerhouse engine in the 2JZ-GTE engine. 90s enthusiasts lived when automakers were throwing some nasty power output such as this with mounting to 320 HP straight from the factory. Even pro motorsports teams still find this kind of engine; what’s a better compliment than that, right.
Well, let us take a closer view of the 2JZ-GTE engine and its engine design, applications, key features, tuning potential, reliability, and many more.
What are 2JZ-GTE engines?
Toyota 2JZ-GTE is a naturally-aspirated, twin-turbocharged, air-intercooler installed, straight-six gasoline engine made by Toyota. It was produced from 1991 to 2002 in Japan, which first appeared in Toyota Aristo V and eventually as a flagship performance engine for the legendary Toyota Supra RZ.
It features a cast-iron cylinder block, an Aluminum cylinder head with two belt-driven overhead camshafts, and acts on four valves per cylinder. It is equipped with VVT-i (variable Valve Timing with intelligence) since 1997, an individual intake manifold that retained Toyota’s ACIS variable length system, multiport sequential fuel injection system, and twin-turbochargers with an intercooler to top it off.
The 2JZ-GTE engine is a JZ engine family member that replaced the M-series inline-six engines. It has two-liter versions, 2.5 L and 3.0 L
Engine Specifications and Design:
- Production Run: 1991 – 2002
- Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
- Cylinder Block Material: Cast-Iron
- Configuration: Inline-six
- Bore: 86 mm
- Stroke: 86 mm
- Valvetrain: DOHC with four valves per cylinder
- Displacement: 3.0 L (2997 cc)
- Compression Ratio: 8.5
- Weight: 507 lbs.
- Max HP: 320 HP at 5,600 RPM
- Max Torque: 333 lb-ft at 4,000 RPM
To start, the 2JZ-GTE engine has two generations which were divided through its production year. The first generation of the 2JZ-GTE engine used sequential twin CT20 turbochargers, 440 cc/min fuel injectors, and air to air side-mounted intercooler. This first-generation engine produced 276 HP at 5,600 RPM and 320 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 RPM.
The second generation does not have much difference from the early generation release as it only integrated the VVT-i system in 1997 on the intake camshaft as well as an increased torque to 333 lb-ft, and the power output remains the same. The integration of the VVT-i in the 2JZ-GTE in 1997 phased out the original first-generation engines but raised its power capacity and torque.
The engine design or the mechanical basis of the 2JZ-GTE engine comes from its primary counterpart, the 2JZ-GE engine. Their engine block, connecting rods, crankshaft, but the notable differences in the 2JZ-GTE have a lower compression ratio due to the recessed piston tops. It also has a different cylinder head with reshaped intake and exhaust ports, new valves, and camshafts; Toyota added oil spray nozzles to keep the temperature of the pistons regulated.
The Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine block is made from cast iron that utilizes the seven-bearing support system with a skeleton structure that includes blowby gas passages and two central oil holes. The block has a 86 mm bore and 86 mm stroke. The external walls of the engine are made with curves to reduce the noise and enhance the engine’s rigidity. Furthermore, the air-conditioning compressor, the alternator, and other ancillary components are directly attached to the cylinder block.
The crankshaft has twelve counterweights and seven journals which both the journals and pins are induction-hardened. The 2JZ-GTE pistons are made of a special aluminum cast with slotless type oil return holes on the oil ring grooves to regulate the operating temperature in the top ring groove. The pistons are then fitted to a single oil ring and two compression rings. The 2JZ-GTE, as we mentioned earlier, has a lower compression ratio, in deference to the 2JZ-GE, mainly due to its recessed piston tops. The top compression ring surface is chromium plated, while the piston skirt areas are resin coated to reduce friction.
The cylinder head is made from lightweight Aluminum material mounted on a single-layered metal gasket and uses plastic region tightening bolts. The 2JZ-GTE has dual overhead camshafts made from specially cast-steel and heat-treated bearing caps; camshafts are driven via a timing belt. The belt-driven camshafts have an automatic tensioner comprised of a spring and an oil damper to maintain their tension.
It has four heat-resistant steel valves per cylinder with a 45-degree valve angle and is equipped with seven journals, of which six of those are located in between the two camshafts.
In addition to that, both the 2JZ-GTE and 2JZ-GE engines have a pent roof type combustion chamber with spark plugs situated near the chamber center to maximize the air-fuel mix combustion as well as to improve the anti-knocking performance.
Toyota paired up and joined with Hitachi for the addition of the twin turbochargers. In sequential configuration has raised its output from 227 HP to 276 HP, adhering to the then-mutual gentlemen agreement, which is exclusive between Japanese automakers selling to the Japanese domestic market or JDM. So since the obliteration of the agreement, the engine power in the European and North American markets was rated at 320 HP at 5,6000 RPM.
Other export versions outside of that have higher output using new stainless steel turbochargers (ceramics for the Japanese models), larger fuel injectors at 500 cc/min (400 cc/min for Japanese), and revamped camshafts. The export-spec CT12B turbocharger has more durable turbine housings and allows exhaust-side propeller shaft interchangeability, which is mechanically similar to the Japanese domestic CT20 turbines.
The Toyota JZ family is not equipped with hydraulic lifters, so special valve shims are used to adjust the valve clearance.
Applications of the 2JZ-GTE Engine:
- Toyota Aristo 3.0V (Japan only)
- Toyota Aristo V300 (Japan only)
- Toyota Supra RZ/Turbo
Engine Tuning, Upgrades, and Modifications
2JZ engines made a name for themselves due to their excellent tuning and aftermarket potential. Holding the horses at 320 HP straight from the factory is literally power in your hands. That is why many tuning enthusiasts and Toyota connoisseur extends their pockets to reach the maximum potential of this engine. It has excellent internals and remarkable engine power with the proper process.
The first thing you have to do to unlock its potential is by tuning. That can give you an easy 350 to 400 HP and bolt-in some performance exhaust, downpipes, and cold air intake. If you want to go further than 400 HP territory, you can buy upgraded hybrid turbos, 560 or higher fuel injectors, and Walbro 255 pump. This is the maximum build that the stocks can withstand and beyond imagination for other engines to do this.
You can also push it higher than that but, to put it simply, you need a stockpile of cash for this to work, and time too. Even though 800 HP is relatively safe for the engine, the issue and concern grow for its reliability. As it became more subjected to a higher power, it produces higher temperature, so changing or upgrading the internals is necessary.
Problems Surrounding the 2JZ-GTE Engine:
Every engine is unique even though its previous generation release inspires them or has the same mechanical basis; it remains as impressive as it is. With that, we wanted to squeeze every ounce of its lifespan to get the most out of it. The good thing with the 2JZ-GTE engine is that there are no significant flaws in the engine design to hamper its longevity. And most of these issues are already covered by aftermarket solutions. However, it is still better to have a piece of prior knowledge regarding the problems that might arise with your engine so that you will have a precautionary heads-up in case you bought or owned a 2JZ-GTE machine.
First is the oil pump seal. Older engines such as the 2JZ-GTE are more prone to this issue. Primarily because age plays a critical role in the internal component condition of the engine, as they get older, main seals, valve cover gaskets, and other components wear down and should be replaced. This is a common issue on the 2JZ-GTE engine, especially as it piles up the years.
Another thing to watch out for in your engine is a faulty stock turbo. I think you guessed it already because this issue is caused by age also. Turbos fail due to the years of usage and sometimes abuse due to tuning. Nevertheless, the stock sequential turbos are also known to have their fair share of problems too. But again, turbos are not that affected the engine’s performance as it is replaceable, and many people choose to upgrade it.
And lastly, crank pulley problems. The 2JZ-GTE crank pulley is made from Aluminum, and this material does not mix well with the high RPM range and age. It is a minor issue and can be resolved by buying aftermarket parts, and there are lots of aftermarket options available, so this can be your chance to upgrade the pulley.
Toyota Supra and 2JZ-GTE engine is a match made in heaven. It is equally challenging and exciting to have an engine that continues to turn heads even decades old. It came straight from the factory to kick you in the back kind of speed and is a special possession as an enthusiast, with its highly reliable engine internals that can withstand 700 HP, extremely high tuning potential, and vast aftermarket support. It accomplished more than what is expected and remains relevant up to this day. Though it has some minor issues still this engine is solid and genuinely delivers.
I hope that this simple guide and discussion helped you to understand the 2JZ-GTE engine’s power, tuning potential, modifications, aftermarket support, community appreciation, and overall engine design.