Toyota 1ZZFE Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Toyota 1ZZFE engine!"

The Toyota 1ZZFE offer good returns when tuned and with carefully picked performance tuning mods like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will dramatically enhance your driving fun.

Let us review 1ZZFE tuning and point out the optimum mods that work.

History of the Engine

1998 to 2007 1ZZ FE 1,794 cc engine from Toyota

VVT-i  was added in 2000 which gave more power and a snappier take off.

The engine made around 120-140 hp depending on whether it had the VVTi and the higher compression design.

Best 1ZZFE parts

The top 1ZZFE tuning mods on an engine are in our opinion the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular 1ZZFE tuning mods, they need to be cost effective.

The camshaft profile plays a big part in the engines power output so camshaft upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake & exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen camshaft profile, so large torque gains are on offer for camshaft upgrades.

Fast road camshafts normally push up the bhp through the rev band, you might lose a little bottom end torque but high end rpm power will be higher.

Race camshafts, push up the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

In a road car should ideally to optimize your engines power to your driving style.

I'd never have ever thought a 1ZZFE Motorsport and race cam is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic.

Some 1ZZFE engines respond better to different cam durations than others.

The ecu map and fuelling also will say much on the power gains you'll achieve.

Altering valve durations can alter the power band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Stage 1 mods: Remaps/piggy back ECU, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Panel air filters, Sports exhaust manifold, Intake headers, Fast road camshaft.

Stage 2 mods: Fast road cam, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, induction kit, high flow fuel injectors, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust.

Stage 3 mods: Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Twin charging conversions, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Competition cam, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression.

Plan your options and then buy your tuning mods and set yourself a power target to save yourself from expensive mistakes.

Remaps helps fully realize the full potential of all the modifications you've fitted to your 1ZZFE.

Most use a piggyback or replacement ECU such as Apexi AFC neo Apexi SAFC II Power Enterprise Camcon Megasquirt  MS-I PCB2.2 or PCB3.0

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the outcome may differs on the modifications you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Pulling more fuel and air into the 1ZZFE engine is the whole point to any performance tuning task.

Headers transmit the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Shape and rate of flow of the Air Intake manifolds can make a large change to fuel delivery on the 1ZZFE.

I usually find headers are ripe for aftermarket tuning parts, although some manufacturers provide reasonably well designed headers.

Increasing the 1ZZFE valve size, doing a bit of port matching and head flowing will also boost bhp and torque, & more importantly will raise potential for a greater bhp and torque increase on other upgrades.

Turbo upgrades

NASP engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your 1ZZFE

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes superb power gains.

If your motor is fitted with a turbo tuning parts are relatively easy and you'll see that turbo engines use more solid components.

However engines will have power limits

We recommend you find these limitations and fit better quality components to utilize the power.

We've seen people spending a lot of money on turbo charger upgrades on the 1ZZFE only to have the engine go up in smoke when it's used in anger.

Bigger turbo chargers tend to experience a bottom end lag, and smaller turbo chargers spool up much more quickly but don't have the peak rpm torque gains.

In the last 10 years the range of turbochargers is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust flow into two channels and direct these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on these engines when considerably more air is being sucked into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more complex to setup. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.


Don't omit to ramp up the fuelling when you are increasing the torque - it makes the car more thirsty. We strongly recommend you to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% when fitting an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and affords some spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.


You may need to replace your exhaust if your exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll see the exhaust flow rate is good even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow out of the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Typically exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a faster flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the

The engines, if regularly serviced and maintained, are generally very reliable and have few issues.

Regular oil changes are vital on the , particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

Pre 2005 models had high oil consumption which can be traced to excessive wear in the cast iron engine liners.

The Matrix fitted on the 2005/8 Corolla caused an ECU issue and led to a recall.

Vibrations can damage the integrity of the rear engine mount.

For more information on Tuning your engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We really like hearing from our readers, and hearing about which parts were the most effective for them, it helps us improve our recommendations and articles to reflect current trends in modifications and ensures that our guides and tips are kept up to date.

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