Toyota 3NR-FE/VE: Everything You Need To Know

The first engine in the new series was introduced to European markets and quickly replaced outdated 4ZZ-FE. This replacement process occurred gradually until it replaced 2NZ -FE as well, then another update happened, which is now known for being more powerful than previous generations with improved fuel efficiency.

What are Toyota 3NR-FE/VE Engines? 

Toyota has released an exciting new engine for the 2011 model year. The 1.2 L variant of their NR series was first introduced in July. It is also available to the Thailand market with upgrades – namely Dual VVT-i mechanism, which means better fuel efficiency at an 11.5 compression ratio. 

Toyota Yaris models will also be getting this tech update soon enough. 

The most recent development in the world of fuel efficiency has been for engines to begin using a more efficient type. This was first seen with 2NR and 3NR in 2010-11, which led them out from emergency markets by replacing just 1NZ-FE instead; this time around, some versions work on the Miller cycle.

From 2014 to 2015, an exciting advancement came about when modifications were made so that not only can we use these types during regular driving sessions but even at higher speeds where good mpg would be preferred over low emissions. 

The Toyota 3NR-FE engine is a member of the NR family of engines. And with that, aluminum engine blocks and DOHC cylinder heads are used in the NR series. It also has four valves per cylinder and employs multi-point or direct fuel injection. 

Dual VVT-i is standard on the 1NR, 2NR, 3NR, 4NR, 5NR, 6NR, and 7NR engines, while VVT-iW is standard on the 8NR engine, allowing it to function in the Otto cycle as well as a modified-Atkinson process to increase thermal efficiency.

Engine Specifications and Design:

  • Production Run: 2011 – Present
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
  • Configuration: Inline 4
  • Bore: 72.5 mm
  • Stroke: 72.5 mm
  • Valvetrain: DOHC four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 1.2 L (1197 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 11.5 and 10.5 
  • Weight: 190 lbs.
  • Maximum HP: 91 HP at 6,000 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 80 lb-ft at 4,400 RPM

Engine Design: 

The Toyota 3NR-FE/VE engine boasts some upgrades from its predecessor engine. Though the update is not that much, it is still an excellent improvement to make the engine far better and more efficient. 

As we mentioned, the new engine is more powerful, efficient, and smooth than ever before. With these new updates to the machine, you can now take your car on longer journeys without feeling overwhelmed by its power. 

The intake valve-type roller rocker arm reduces friction when running at high speeds while also having a Dual VVT-i system that adjusts timing for both exhaust and intake camshafts, so it’s smoother throughout all ranges of RPMs.

The cylinder block is designed for compact engines with high compression ratios. The aluminum “open deck” with thin cast-iron liners works as a single vital component, providing strength and power to last until the engine is replaced. 

The crankshaft is 8 millimeters off from where it should be, which reduces the force imposed on cylinder walls and accordingly reduces wear. It has four balancing weights to even out any imbalances in momentum when turning at high speeds, as well as separate main bearing covers.

The crank has been designed to reduce the force on your engine’s cylinder walls, which will lead you towards more extended periods between tune-ups and higher fuel efficiency. The shorter journal bearings are responsible for this reduced pressure while also helping with balancing power by distributing it across multiple weights within each assembly.

The high-rise spacer is like an above-ground pool for your engine. It allows more intensive coolant circulation at the top of a cylinder which enhances heat dissipation and helps to equal out thermal load.

The camshafts are separate from the cylinder head, which is advantageous because it simplifies production. Hydraulic lash adjusters and roller rockers make up valvetrain systems for better performance in Asian markets that use old-style adjustable tappets still found on many vehicles today.

Toyota’s highly-efficient engine design helps it achieve an excellent fuel economy rating. With its complexity reduced by using advanced engineering, Toyota can produce smoother airflow that reduces turbulence for better performance overall.

On top of that, all surfaces were smoothed out to lessen or remove any rough edges that may generate drag on engine running. All sharp curves were also turned into gently sloping ones.

The Toyota 3NR-FE/VE engine is an innovative and efficient design with a unique piston structure to decrease friction. The smaller contact surface allows for greater gas sealing, which reduces pumping losses and NOx emissions compared to the previous model year’s version of this unit – all without sacrificing too much weight or space.

With cool exhaust recirculation, you can feel good about running your car every day; not only does it help save money, but it also cleans up our air quality. Gone are the days where we needlessly contribute to pollution.

To lessen the strain on your engine, pistons are anodized and coated with a PVD anti-wear compound. This makes it more efficient for you, which means you’ll get a greater gas economy with these pistons.

Pistons are coated with a strengthening material called “piston coatings” during the manufacturing process so as not only to protect against corrosion but also extend their life by protecting systematic wear caused primarily due compression rings rubbing against each other or gear teeth scuffing off a piece of metal.

Applications of Toyota 3NR-FE/VE Engine: 

  • Toyota Etios
  • 2013 – 2019 Toyota Yaris, Thailand
  • 2017 – 2019 Toyota Yaris Ativ, Thailand
  • Toyota Calya/Daihatsu Sigra
  • Toyota Agya/Daihatsu Ayla


The 3NR-FKE engine implements Toyota’s variable valve timing system technology VVT-iE and runs on the operation by Miller/ Atkinson Cycle. The power output for the FKE version is 91 HP at 6,000 RPM and 80 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 RPM with an expansion ratio of 13.5. 

This engine can be found on Toyota Yaris and Yaris ATIV for the MY 2019 Thailand Market. 

Problems Surrounding 3NR-FKE Engine: 

The Toyota 3NR-FE/VE engines are some of the most solid and reliable engines on the market, but they’re far from perfect even with that status. The issues across the NR engines are almost the same due to the nature of their build and production. 

Some issues experienced by the 3NR can be experienced in the 2NR too. 

The following problems will be addressed throughout this section to help you avoid them if possible; however, the issues mentioned here are experiences from owners and TSBs published by the automakers themselves, Toyota. 

These issues for the Toyota 3NR-FE/VE engine include: 

1. Excessive Soot Deposits

Excess soot deposits in the combustion chamber, on the valves, and on the valve seats can cause compression to be reduced. This causes the engine to take longer to start, resulting in DTC P1604. TSB EG-00037T-TME recognizes the issue as an excessive deposit of this type that may cause a reduction or loss of power. 

Some autos have been discovered that they take longer than normal due to the increased time necessary for ignition and residue buildup within specific components such as pistons.

2. Rattling or Knocking Noise During Operation

Large deposits in the combustion chamber generate rattling or pounding noises during engine running. This issue is identified and discussed in TSB EG-0094T-0714, explaining the production changes implemented at the beginning of 2014 to permanently resolve it. 

This item’s new, more personalized model can significantly increase engine performance. You should also obtain ECU firmware that has been upgraded for improved gas mileage and power output.

3. Excessive Oil Consumption

Excessive oil consumption, which typically presents at mileages much below 60,000 miles, is the most well-known and frequent issue with the NR engines, not only the 2NR-FE. According to Toyota’s usual explanation, the piston rings are trapped. 

Although cylinder block reboring is not required, the need to replace pistons and connecting rods simultaneously hinder a low-cost engine renewal. 

In TSB EG-0095T-1112, oil usage was noted as a source of concern. Redesigned rings and pistons with connecting rods, as well as valve cover replacement for those with greasy valves or nozzles, were released early in 2017.

4. Clattering noise from the Timing Chain area

You may have heard your timing chain grind or clang, which is an indication that it needs to be changed. This is covered in depth in Toyota’s technical service bulletin EG-00039T. There are two options: do nothing or replace one part by placing a new tensioner arm on top of an already fitted engine block without altering any other parts.


The Toyota 3NR is a fantastic engine that was released in 2011. Its efficiency advancements are suitable for regular driving even at higher speeds, and it also has low emissions. 

The new engine boasts some of its upgrades from its predecessor, the 2ZR-FE/VE engine, which makes it more efficient than before. Though this update may not be too great, it is still an outstanding improvement to make the engine far better and more efficient than ever before.

The issues that have been found have already been addressed by Toyota and solved throughout the years. With the proper maintenance and sticking right to the schedules, the engine can last long. 

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