The Toyota 2TR-FE Engine Manual. Though it receives little attention, Toyota’s 2TR-FE engine is the epitome of reliability. The engine was first introduced by Toyota in 2004, and it is still in use today. The 2.7 liter 2TR-FE has primarily been used in the European and Japanese markets, but it has also found its way into the 4Runner and Tacoma in the United States. It’s a naturally aspirated inline-four engine with around 160 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Toyota designed it for durability and dependability, and it delivers on both counts.
Everything you need to know about Toyota’s 2TR-FE engine is covered in this article. We’ll start with the engine’s history, then go over its technical specifications and car applications before diving into the engine’s basic design. Finally, we’ll look into its dependability and modding potential.
History of the Toyota 2TR-FE Engine
Toyota first introduced the 2TR-FE in the 2004 model year. It was introduced as a replacement for the 3RZ-FE engine, which was also a 2.7 liter inline-four engine. Toyota has primarily used the 2TR-FE in SUVs and trucks like the Hilux, 4Runner, Innova, and Land Cruiser Prado. Furthermore, it was used in the fifth generation of the Toyota Coaster minibus.
The Toyota TR engine family has two other members, both of which are smaller than the 2TR. They are known as the 1TR-FE and 1TR-FPE. Both engines are 2.0 liter inline fours, with the FPE producing slightly less horsepower and being used for commercial applications.
Toyota only used the 2TR-FE in the Toyota 4Runner from 2004 to 2010 and the Toyota Tacoma from 2004 to present in the United States. Most models have 149-160 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque out of the factory. Toyota updated the engine in 2015, a decade after it first went into production. This included the addition of Dual-Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (D-VVT-i) to the single-VVT-i.
The Tacoma is currently the only vehicle in the United States that uses the 2.7L engine.
Technical Engine Information for the Toyota 2TR-FE
Toyota 2.7 L Automobile Applications
- Toyota 4Runner/Hilux Surf 2004-2010
- Toyota Fortuner from 2004 to the present
- Toyota HiAce from 2004 to the present
- 2005-Present Toyota Hilux
- 2004-Present Toyota Innova
- Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 2004-Present
- 2004-Present Toyota Tacoma
- Coaster Toyota
Basics of Toyota 2TR-FE Engine Design
The Toyota 2TR-FE has a 2.7 liter inline-four (or straight-four) engine. The engine code for the 2TR-FE is as follows: 2 denotes the second generation; TR denotes the Toyota TR engine family; F denotes Economy narrow-angle DOHC; and E denotes Electronic Fuel Injection.
It has a naturally aspirated aluminum cylinder head and a cast iron cylinder block. The bore and stroke dimensions are 95 mm x 95 mm, resulting in a perfectly square engine. The cylinders have a deep skirt design and a resin coating for wear resistance, and the engine is based on the 3RZ. On the first 2TR-FE, the compression ratio was 9.6:1.
The engine has aluminum alloy pistons and non-forged connecting rods on the inside. For longevity, the pistons have oil cooling jets. The crankshaft is perfectly balanced, and the crankshaft pulley incorporates a torsional rubber damper to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). In addition, the engine has twin counter-rotating balance shafts in the crankcase.
The valvetrain has four valves per cylinder for a total of 16 valves, two intake and two exhaust. It has twin cams and a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) configuration. The camshafts are moved by roller chains that are lubricated with oil jets. Rocker arms operate the valves, which have hydraulic lash adjusters. On the intake valves, the camshafts use Toyota’s proprietary Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i).
Toyota 2.7 L Fueling and Intake
The 2TR-FE has a throttle-by-wire system. Throttle control is transmitted electronically rather than mechanically in drive-by-wire systems. While DBW setups used to be problematic, they are now considered standard, though some users have complained about lag. Toyota’s proprietary Electronic Throttle Control System – intelligent – is used in the DBW system (ECS-i).
Toyota’s Direct Ignition System (DIS) is also used in the 2TR-FE, which is distributorless and has separate ignition coils for each spark plug. The firing sequence is 1-3-4-2. All 2TR-FE engines come standard with multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection. To reduce emissions, the fuel injectors have long nozzles. To reduce evap. emissions, the fuel system is returnless, and there is also an additional air injection system for improved emissions.
Toyota created the intake manifold out of composite plastic, which is both inexpensive and lightweight.
Toyota 2.7L 2015 Updates
Gave the 2TR-FE some much-needed updates in 2015, just over a decade into production. The compression ratio was increased to 10.2:1 and a new tumble port was added to improve air swirl inside the combustion chamber. This increased flow and power while decreasing fuel consumption.
The cylinder walls were also treated to reduce friction, and the connecting rods were coated with teflon. The valvetrain was also strengthened and modified, and noise insulators were installed in both the intake and exhaust manifolds.
The introduction of Dual-VVT-i, however, was by far the most significant change. The 2TR initially only had VVT-i on the intake valves. With Dual-VVT-i, the exhaust valves now use VVT as well. Dual-VV- improves fuel economy while increasing peak engine performance and creating a smoother power band.
Reliability of the Toyota 2TR-FE
We don’t exaggerate when we say the Toyota 2TR-FE engine is dependable. While the performance figures are unlikely to attract much attention, that is not why Toyota designed the engine. They designed it to be ultra-reliable and withstand long distances, and they certainly succeeded in that regard.
These engines routinely reach over 250,000 miles without issue, and one driver even got more than 880,000 miles out of his original engine before it needed to be replaced.
The Most Common Toyota 2TR-FE Issues
There are a few minor flaws with the 2TR-FE, but they aren’t widespread. Oil consumption, oil leaking, and leaking coolant lines are the most common issues with the Toyota 2TR-FE engine.
Some vehicles’ 2.7L Toyota engines can develop oil consumption problems after only 150,000 miles. In some cases, using low-quality oils can lead to excessive oil consumption. However, for the majority of people, the issue boils down to piston rings. Like most pistons, the 2TR pistons have two compression rings and one oil control ring. They are distinct in that the top compression ring is coated with Toyota’s Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coating for wear resistance.
The oil consumption issue on the 2TR occurs when the oil control ring becomes worn. If this occurs, it fails to prevent oil from entering the combustion chamber. A small amount of seepage is normal on any engine, and it is referred to as “blow by.” However, if the problem becomes severe enough, excessive blow by can impair performance and cause internal damage.
The oil ring on the 2TR has been known to wear out after 150,000 miles on a few engines, necessitating replacement. If you notice significant amounts of oil loss, you’ll know you have a problem, which is why it’s critical to keep up with maintenance and regularly check your oil level between changes. Replacement pistons aren’t cheap, and neither is the labor to replace them, so it’s a reasonably priced fix.
Toyota 2.7L Engine Oil Leaks
Then there are oil leaks. Unfortunately, oil leaks from the crankshaft seal plagued the 2TR-FE in its early years (2005-2007). The crankshaft seal is in charge of keeping the crankshaft and timing cover together. The problem was severe enough that a Technical Service Bulletin, or TSB, was issued to address it.
Toyota corrected the problem by releasing a revised oil seal for the engine’s 2008+ models. The fix is simple, but it requires the use of their special installation tool. For detailed instructions on how to resolve the issue, see the linked TSB above.
Coolant Leaks in a Toyota 2TR-FE
The final issue with the 2TR-FE is related to the engine’s early years and has to do with the no.1 water bypass tube. The pipe was made of plastic and was notorious for leaking. It connects between the thermostat and the engine’s rear, where it divides into the cabin heater core or near the throttle body.
To replace the pipe, you will almost always need to remove the intake manifold. This guide from Tacoma World (post #2) should help you figure out what’s wrong. If you are unsure about doing the replacement yourself, take the car to a qualified mechanic.
Those are the only common issues with the 2TR-FE. It is widely regarded as bulletproof and one of the toughest and most durable engines available. It is not without flaws, but they are minor and not very common. The 2TR is an extremely reliable engine in our opinion.
Toyota Tacoma 2.7L Upgrades and Performance
If there is one area where the 2.7L 2TR-FE falls short, it is in performance. Depending on the application, the engine produces 150-160 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. While these aren’t terrible numbers, Toyota decided to put them in SUVs and trucks instead of small coupes.
It’s not the engine’s fault, it’s Toyota’s poor engineering. With the trucks and SUVs it powers weighing over 4,000 pounds, the 2.7L inline-four can struggle to pull all of the weight. While it is rated for 3,500 lbs of towing, that is really pushing the engine’s capabilities.
Fortunately, there are solutions to the engine’s severe lack of power: engine mods. You can add anywhere from a dozen to a few hundred horsepower and torque depending on how much performance you want to gain.
Toyota Tacoma 2.7L Modifications
This article will focus on the Tacoma because it is the only vehicle with a 2TR-FE engine available in the United States. However, these modifications are applicable to all vehicles equipped with the 2.7L Toyota engine.
If you want to add 10-50 horsepower, you should start with the intake and exhaust. On the 2TR Toyota, there are numerous options for upgraded intakes, which will increase horsepower by allowing more air into the engine. For the Toyota Tacoma 2.7L, we recommend the aFe Magnum Intake with a dry filter.
On the 2TR 2.7L, exhaust headers replace the exhaust manifold. The stock manifold is made of cast iron and can be brittle and restrictive at times. Aftermarket headers are typically made of stainless steel and are larger in diameter than stock headers. We recommend the Tacoma LCE street headers for Tacoma 2.7L headers. They are by far the most popular and effective.
With just headers and an intake, you can get 25-30 wheel horsepower, and even more with custom tuning.
Superchargers and turbochargers for Toyota Tacoma 2.7L
The best method for adding serious power to your 2.7L Tacoma is forced induction. This is a significant step up, but aside from an intake and header, there aren’t many cost-effective ways to increase horsepower while remaining naturally aspirated.
There are several supercharger kits available, but we recommend the Underdog Racing Development (URD) MK3 Supercharger Kit for the 2005-2015 Tacoma. A centrifugal Rotrex C30-94 Supercharger with an 85mm pulley is used in the kit. It has a large front-mounted intercooler that works with off-road winch bumpers. The kit adds more than 130 rear wheel horsepower, bringing the total to around 250 rear wheel horsepower.
If you prefer a turbocharger, there are custom 2TR-FE turbo manifolds and downpipe setups available that will allow you to install one. There are numerous options for turbocharging the engine, but most people use T3/T4 housing. LC Engineering has several options for the Tacoma. You can potentially make more horsepower with a turbocharger rather than a supercharger, but you’ll have to source the entire kit – including supporting mods such as injectors – on your own.
Conclusion of the Toyota 2TR-FE Engine Guide
While it does not receive much attention, we believe the 2TR-FE 2.7L inline-four is a very solid motor. It is extremely dependable and consistent, with one driver logging nearly 1 million miles on his original 2.7L. With the exception of a few early issues with oil leaks, coolant leaks, and piston ring wear, the 2TR is a highly dependable and predictable engine capable of lasting well over 200,000 miles.
If there is one complaint about the engine, it is in terms of performance. The engine produces only about 160 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, making it somewhat sluggish when carrying its 4,000-pound payload. Fortunately, the engine can be easily upgraded to add anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred horsepower.