Toyota 1JZ vs 2JZ – Choosing the Best Engine Swap

Among the many engines Toyota has built, two stand out. Both were designed in the early 1990s and would power some of the most recognizable Japanese cars ever made. We are talking about the 1JZ and 2JZ engines. Although the technology behind them is now over 30 years old, they are still some of the most popular engines used in constructions – like this Dodge Charger exchanged by 2JZ, for example. While it’s true that the 1JZ and 2JZ differ in displacement (2.5 liters versus 3.0 liters, respectively), there’s more than displacement that separates these two iconic engines.

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Related: A real hero crammed a Supra’s 2JZ into the Toyota GR86


Toyota 1JZ-GTE History and Specs

1991 Toyota Soarer GT
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The 1JZ engine came out first and was first installed in the Soarer GT (JZZ30), also known as Lexus SC on other continents. However, we will focus on the high-end turbocharged models. The 1JZ GTE is actually quite similar to its predecessor – the 7M GTE, but without all the issues that plagued it. Essentially, it was the 7M done right.

The 1JZ is a 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine with double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and four valves per cylinder. It has an 86 mm (3.39 in) bore and 71.5 mm (2.81 in) stroke, which means it has an oversquare design. This generally makes an engine faster than an undersquare unit. Later models also gained Toyota’s Variable Valve Timing (VVT-i). In its 1JZ GTE form, it contains two parallel turbochargers, fed by a side-mounted or front-mounted air-to-air intercooler. It also has a reduced compression ratio of 8.5:1, as opposed to the 10:1 of the normally aspirated version.

1991 Toyota Soarer 1JZ-GTE
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With a stock increase of 9 psi (0.62 bar), the 1JZ GTE produced a claimed 280 horsepower (206 kW) at 6,200 rpm and 279 lb-ft (378 Nm) at 2,400 rpm. min..

One of the most notable cars powered by the 1JZ GTE is the Toyota Chaser (JZX100), widely considered a four-door sedan sleeper. In stock trim, it is capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in around 5.6 seconds.

Toyota 1JZ GTE Engine Specifications

Engine 2.5-liter inline 6-cylinder
Powerful 280 hp at 6,200 rpm
Couple 279 LB-FT at 2,400 rpm
0 to 62mph 5.6 seconds

Cars powered by the 1JZ GTE are Toyota Chaser/Cressida (JZX81, JZX90, JZX100, JZX110), Toyota Soarer (JZZ30), Toyota Supra Mk III (JZA70, but only in Australia and Japan), Toyota Verossa, Toyota Crown (JZS170), Toyota Mark II.

Related: Watch a 2JZ-traded Nissan 240SX get wrecked by a tuned C5 Corvette

History and specifications of the 2JZ-GTE

1997 Toyota Supra 2JZ
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Contrary to popular belief, the 2JZ is nearly identical to the 1JZ. The main difference is the displacement, which is now 3.0 liters instead of the 2.5 liters of the 1JZ. This is achieved through a longer stroke of 86 mm (3.39 in). The cylinder bore is the same as the 1JZ at 86 mm (3.39 in), meaning the 2JZ has a square design, meaning bore and stroke are equal. This results in a better balance between low-end torque and high-end power.

1997 Toyota Supra MKVI
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This gives a wider torque band, compared to the 1JZ. This is further accentuated by the twin-turbo setup of the 2JZ. While the 1JZ has a parallel twin-turbo setup, the 2JZ features a sequential twin-turbo setup. While the 1JZ has one turbo for three cylinders, in the 2JZ both turbos power the six cylinders. However, the first turbo kicked in at very low revs for that low-end torque, while the second spooled up higher in the rev range, giving more continuous thrust.

In its 2JZ GTE version, the powerful straight-six produces up to 330 horsepower (242 kW) at 5,600 rpm and 324 lb-ft (440 Nm) at 4,800 rpm.. The Toyota Supra Mk IV is the most remarkable car powered by this engine and is capable of reaching 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 4.9 seconds.

Toyota 2JZ GTE Engine Specifications

Engine 3.0-liter inline-six
Powerful 330 hp at 5,600 rpm
Couple 324 LB-FT at 4,800 rpm
0 to 62mph 4.9 seconds

Cars powered by the 2JZ GTE are Toyota Aristo (JZS147, JZS161, Japan only), Toyota Supra JZA80.

Related: This 2JZ-powered BMW M3 E30 will make you angry until you see it go

Which is better – 1JZ or 2JZ?

Toyota Soarer GT 1JZ
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Toyota Soarer GT 1JZ-GTE side view

An important note is that, contrary to popular belief, 1JZ and 2JZ are about equally strong. Also, you might be surprised to know that they react very similarly to upgrades. However, if we have a similarly modified 1JZ and 2JZ producing similar power, the 2JZ will have better response due to its larger displacement.

This will be even more apparent with single turbo conversions, as a single large turbo takes longer to spool up than two smaller turbos. There is a direct correlation between engine displacement, turbo size and drivability. Therefore, at equal power levels and with similar modifications, the 2JZ will be more responsive, as it has more displacement power.

Related: This $100,000 Nissan 300ZX 2JZ Traded Has Fenders For Days

In fact, the stock bottom end of the 1JZ can reliably take around 650-700 horsepower, while the 2JZ can take 800. If we turn that into simple math, we can see that the lower end of the 1JZ is good for around 260 horsepower per liter, while the lower end of the 2JZ is good for around 266 horsepower per liter. Obviously, there are builds out there that push way more horsepower than the numbers here. Nevertheless, their cast iron bottom ends are some of the strongest ever made, even today.

As for applications, the 1JZ’s more cheerful character makes it perfect for drifting builds, as staying at the top end of the rev range is crucial for maintaining a slide, as well as making crisp transitions. The 1JZ’s shorter stroke means it likes to stay high-rpm, but it lacks low-end torque. A shorter stroke also means it takes longer to wind up the turbocharger.

1997 Toyota Supra 2JZ 1
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1997 Toyota Supra 2JZ-GTE side view

The 2JZ, on the other hand, with its longer stroke and sequential twin-turbo setup, has both low-end torque and a wide torque band, almost mimicking that of a normally aspirated big unit. That alone makes it much more compliant for street use. Oddly enough, due to the longer stroke, the 2JZ isn’t as reliable when left at high rpms for an extended period of time.

There are many parts and stores specializing in these engines. The 1JZ is a bit more economical. There is an obvious trend when it comes to building these two engines. Most 1JZ builds are drift cars, while most 2JZ builds are crazy 10 or even 9 second race cars. Both engines have their pros and cons, but if executed well, they can both produce big numbers, while retaining most of their incredible reliability.

Exhaust noises

Since the engines are very similar, they also sound the same. However, the happier character of the 1JZ gives it a sharper sound. On the other hand, the 2JZ’s torquey character and longer stroke, combined with more displacement, give it a deeper, throatier note. Which one sounds better is entirely up to your preference and there are plenty of videos to help you decide.

Related: This 1,250-hp Lexus IS300 has a 2JZ with Honda Internals and AWD

How to choose between the Toyota 1JZ and 2JZ

1997 Toyota Supra MKVI
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As mentioned, both engines are among the most reliable and sophisticated engines ever made. Being six in-line, they are also among the smoothest units on the market. Which one is right for you mainly depends on the application and your budget. The 1JZ likes to turn high and is perfect for drifting. Plus, its stock bottom end can push almost as much power as the much bigger 2JZ. It’s also more affordable.

The 2JZ, on the other hand, is considered by many to be the king of all straight-six engines. It has a much wider torque range and more displacement, making it better on the street and capable of producing a lot more horsepower with the right parts. Sonically, it’s the high note of the 1JZ compared to the deep, throaty sound of the 2JZ. Both units have an immense following and after-sales support, and even to this day are responsible for some of the most epic builds the world has ever seen. If you’re thinking insane power, don’t be so quick to discard the 1JZ in favor of the bigger 2JZ. Just look at Smokey Nagata’s Top Secret V-12 Supra, which has twin 1JZ engines fused up front.

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