Toyota 9NR-FTS: Everything You Need To Know

If you’ve been following the NR series, you’ll know that there were no turbocharged engines until the debut of the 8NR-FTS, which opened up new possibilities for this series. However, from its inception, the engine has elicited a variety of reactions regarding its qualities and antics.

As part of the Toyota inventions, the engine somehow proved itself to be a reliable engine. That is why the number of engines shipped across the world is enormous. With that, Toyota sent a Chinese-rated engine to reach there. 

These engines are not inferior, though but have the same specifications. Toyota did this, presumable, due to the cost of shipping engines there. So, it does not have to do with the materials but mainly for cost-effectivity. 

The Toyota NR engines, which have four valves per cylinder, also employ 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, which allows it to function in both the Otto and modified-Atkinson cycles to increase thermal efficiency. 

What are Toyota 9NR-FTS Engines? 

The Toyota 9NR-FTS engine is a standout among the Toyota NR series. Perhaps not because of its late manufacture, but because it is the family’s sole factory-fresh turbocharged engine. Although the other NR engines may be bolted or equipped with turbos, it does not come stock. It can also run in the Atkinson/Miller cycle.

The 9NR-FTS engine is primarily made for Chinese-bound shipments and the analog version of the 8NR-FTS engine. As mentioned above, the engines are not less than any of the engines outside that but for cost-cutting, maybe. 

Furthermore, the 9NR-FTS engine has a lower thermal efficiency when compared to other NR engines, which have a thermal efficiency of 36 or higher. However, this does not imply that the 8NR-FTS is worse in this area. To be fair, the 8NR-FTS uses less gasoline while producing more power. 

The maximum power output of the turbocharged 9NR-FTS engine is much more than that of the 1.5L variation of the same family, as seen by the figures and records. Putting greater focus on the fact that the 8NR-FTS uses less power for higher output. 

It also reaches peak power earlier, in terms of RPM, than other NR engines.

The figures presented and shown by the 9NR-FTS engine are sufficient to satisfy and quiet the engine’s detractors. However, several roadside experts have expressed their dissatisfaction, maybe due to a lack of understanding of this engine. However, because of its reduced displacement, it is a tiny engine with huge power. 

Other engines with the same capacity perform worse. As a result, it is a win-win situation. 

Furthermore, this engine shares the same features as previous NR engines, with certain adjustments and advancements to suit the demands and solve some difficulties prior to the most recent version.

Engine Specifications and Design:

  • Production Run: 2014 – Present
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
  • Configuration: Inline 4
  • Bore: 71.5 mm
  • Stroke: 74.5 mm
  • Valvetrain: DOHC four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 1.2 L (1197 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 10.5
  • Weight: 190 lbs.
  • Maximum HP: 114 HP at 5,200 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 136 lb-ft at 1,500 RPM


This engine’s powerplant is unlike any other in its series. It sports a reinforced cylinder block and Toyota’s variable valve timing technology VVT-iW. Not only that, but the engine can run in the Miller and Atkinson cycle. 

The engine features eight counterweights and a supply pump operated by the intake shaft’s extra cam. In addition, the engine features a vacuum pump that is powered by the exhaust camshaft and is utilized for brake booster operation and turbocharger management. 

The cylinder head is composed of aluminum, and the exhaust manifold is incorporated into it. Toyota also used sodium-cooled valves for this purpose.

Crankcase Ventilation System

The word “boost” refers to an increase in the amount of crankcase bypass gases and the inability to utilize them using the usual intake vacuum method. As a result, the ejector is housed within the headcover, ensuring that in boost mode, hydrocarbon-rich gases do not escape into the atmosphere but rather return to the intake and burn in the cylinder. 

The crankcase now features an additional separator chamber. 

In boost mode, crankcase gases are released to the intake through the ejector. The ejector works on the Venturi principle, drawing crankcase gases into a stream of moving compressed air. Crankcase gases are pulled via a normal PCV valve when there is an insufficient boost.

Miller and Atkinson Cycle: 

In the Miller cycle with decreased compression, the inlet valve closes much later than in the Otto cycle, causing some of the charge to be returned to the intake port and the real compression process to begin in the second half of the stroke. 

As a result, the effective compression ratio is smaller than the geometric compression ratio, which, in turn, is equal to the expansion ratio of the gases at the work stroke. Reducing pumping losses and compression loss increases the thermal efficiency of the engine by around 5-7 percent, as well as the equivalent fuel economy.

By the mid-2010s, new engines with a broad range of variable valve timing (VVT-iW) that can run on both the Otto and Miller cycles were released. When the geometric compression ratio is 12.5-12.7, the range of intake valve closure is 30-110° ABDC in atmospheric versions, and 10-100° and 10.0 in turbo variants.


The VVT-i or Variable Valve Timing – Intelligent technology allows the valve timing to be altered smoothly in response to engine operating conditions. This is performed by rotating the exhaust camshaft 50-55° relative to the drive sprocket, also known as the crankshaft rotation angle.

Cooling Mechanism

Two thermostats are installed in the engine. The first is the traditional thermostat in the water intake, which has an opening temperature of 176-183°F regulating the coolant flow through the radiator. And another thermostat on the cylinder block has an opening temperature of 169-176°F, regulating the coolant flow through the block, allowing for rapid warming.

The built-in cylinder head exhaust manifold cools the exhaust gases before they enter the turbocharger.

Fuel Management

The Toyota 9NR-FTS engines adapted the same system as the 8NR-FTs. These guys are equipped with a fuel injection system. A sort of direct management in the combustion chamber that is coordinated with piston position. 

The gasoline from the tank pump is delivered to a high-pressure pump, which then pushes it under pressure into the fuel rail and, lastly, into the cylinders through injectors. The injection can be repeated numerous times during the cycle. 

At the intake, there is a single-plunger with a control valve, a relief valve, a check valve, and a pulsation damper. Mounted on the valve cover and driven by the camshaft’s four-lobed cam. 

Depending on the driving circumstances, the fuel pressure is adjusted between 348 psi and 2900 psi. Further, the fuel rail is made from forged iron; it has a fuel pressure sensor for feedback.

The slotted nozzle injector injects fuel into the cylinder as a precisely shaped spray, drawing in a substantial quantity of air and increasing mass admission. Sealing Teflon rings minimize vibration even further. 

Applications of Toyota 9NR-FTS engine:

  • Toyota Corolla/Levin E180, China only
  • Toyota Corolla/Levin E210, China only

Problems Surrounding Toyota 9NR-FTS Engines

These are just a few instances of what may go wrong with a four-cylinder engine, especially one that is turbocharged and capable of operating on numerous cycles. 

There aren’t necessarily more obstacles than normal, but they’re worth mentioning because many individuals aren’t aware of these possible risks yet or assume their vehicle is in good working shape. 

The Toyota 9NR-FTS engine has become a distinct engine in its own right due to its unorthodox and irregular approach as an engine. However, like any other piece of equipment, it has flaws that must be handled and discovered in order to avoid difficulties in the future. Let’s have a look at some of the most common issues with the Toyota 9NR-FTS engine. 

Because the majority of the faults are shared by all NR engines, some of the issues below can be seen in other NR engines. The following are a few examples:

1. Excessive Soot Deposits

Since the 9NR-FTS engine calls the same 8NR-FTS version. The issues might also be inherited by this engine. Well, there are instances, and it is also declared as a problem with some engines. It has been discovered that some Toyota 8NR-FTS and other NR engines – including 9NR-FTS, take longer than the normal time required for ignition but also due to residue buildup within specific components such as pistons.

Excess soot deposits in the combustion chamber, valves, and valve seats can cause compression to be reduced, as this was the case across all NR engines, as we mentioned earlier. This causes the engine to take longer to start, resulting in the display of DTC P1604. 

The problem is recognized by TSB EG-00037T-TME as an excessive deposit of this type, which may cause a reduction or loss of power. 

2. Excessive Oil Consumption

The most well-known and common problem with NR engines, not only in the 1NR-FE, is high oil consumption, which generally presents itself at less than 60,000 miles. 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 at the same time prevents a low-cost engine renewal. 

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

3. Clattering noise from the Timing Chain area

Another issue that you might need to magnify is the foreign noise in the timing chain are. Well, you may have heard the grinding or clanking sound of your timing chain, which can be an indicator that it needs to be replaced. This is detailed in TSB EG-00039T – Toyota’s technical service bulletin for this issue. 

There are two options available; either do nothing or just replace one part by installing a new tensioner arm on top of their already installed engine block without changing any other parts. 

4. Rattling or Knocking Noise During Operation

During engine operation, large deposits in the combustion chamber cause a rattling or banging noise. This problem is acknowledged and explained in TSB EG-0094T-0714, which describes some production adjustments introduced at the beginning of 2014 to fix it for good.

The engine’s performance can be dramatically improved with this part’s new, more customized variant. You’ll also want to get your hands on ECU firmware that has been reprogrammed for increased gas mileage and power output.


The Toyota 9NR-FTS engine would be a different breed of a machine if you lined it up alongside its brothers in the family. Sure, this little guy isn’t much bigger than them, but his power still makes him one impressive pup.

With such mid outputs as well, he won’t let any other car in this capacity at your street beat him in different situations. Even though some might say they could because of the size difference between cars and engines.

Having its own turbocharger and pushing the numbers a little bit south of the 150s. It’s safe to say, and also fair, to call this engine the best option on the NR family. However, it does have the issues of the NR engines, but those are easily fixed. 

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