Buying A 2RZ 3RZ motor and pre-install prep

As it turns out, I ended up buying more than one.

I largely tried 4 sources when looking for a motor:

  • State wide junkyards via searching  I had a hard time finding a complete motor that wasn’t a billion dollars or had under 100k miles
  • I registered at  For those of you that don’t know, this is one of the largest “salvage” auction dealers nationwide.  However, thanks to the deep pockets of the automotive dealer industry, most of the auction is off limits to the public.  Sure, you can still find a dealer who will proxy bid for you, but expect that to add $500.  Cool thing?   In 2014, co-part added a pretty good search engine.  I was able to search for 1999-2004 Tacoma trucks, 2.4 or 2.7 and specify how far.  I made several attempts to buy complete pickups, but the co-part bidding system isn’t very transparent.  I found a 2000 Tacoma, 2.7L (3RZ), automatic (yuck), 90k, and that was totaled, but still started and ran, but my bids didn’t meet reserve or were “cancelled” at the end of the auction.  After 3 auctions, I gave up.
  • Local craigslist.  No luck except for some high-mileage examples.. Think more than 200k.
  • Ebay.  Look ebay is ebay… There are a number of sellers offering “JDM” motors in the $1500 to $2500 range (shipped).  I investigated the backgrounds of most JDM motor resellers and couldn’t find one that would firmly stand behind their motors.  That being said, ebay is buyers paradise, so as long as you buy via ebay, you’ve got a reasonable amount of protection.

As it turns out, I bought two motors on ebay:

  • I found a still-in-truck 2001 Tacoma 2.7L, manual truck offered by a seller in Oregon.  That motor still started up and was in the truck and running.  Low 71k miles.  As it turns out, it was being offered by Cliff at Toyota Only Swaps.  This is a shop with a great reputation.  The mileage was low.  The price was high, but it was a manual (I wouldn’t have to chase flywheel and associated assembly).  I agreed to around $2700, which is a *lot* of money for a used motor – but I was willing to pay a premium for something known and complete…   A few days after paying, Cliff contacted me and they had found a crack in the block where the transmission mounts up:



Cliff, continuing the reputation of his shop fully refunded my money…


  • I later found a motor on ebay that was advertised as “2000 Toyota Tacoma used engine with Transmission”.  It was a manual.  Buy-it-now of $750, with an advertised shipping price of $250.  Ad indicated 90K.  It has obviously been left out for a while, but appeared to be mostly intact.  I called the seller – and his “English” was a bit difficult, but he assured me that it ran great.   After buying, they wanted a little more money to ship it, so I split the additional cost ($53) I knew I was taking a risk here, but I funded the purchase with a credit card (90 days of chargeback) on top of Ebay’s policy that massively favors buyers.  Worst case, I’m out what it costs to ship it back.  Total investment: $1053
    • This motor turned out to be a 2RZ.  Not the 3RZ I was after, but close enough.
    • The W59 and bell housing should reduce the price.. I can sell these.
    • I got it in, had some minor damage to the fan blades and power steering pump.  I can live with that.
    • No starter, so I can’t “test” it.  I ordered a re-man starter and the bolts to attach it…
    • I did a cold leak-down and it was bad.  Like 70%.  I also read that a cold leak-down is worthless.

Here’s what it looked like:

2014-9-pallet_motor3 2014-9-pallet_motor


A little tear down and clean up:

2rz_lift1 2rz_lift2 2rz_lift3 2rz_lift4 2rz_lift12rz_lift3


After that, I removed the wiring harness (trying to label stuff), I’ll reuse many of the connectors:



And I started checking the valves.  The exhaust valves were tight….



As 2RZ and 3RZ valves have bucket shims, you’ve got to take the cams out (unless you have a special tool).  As I hadn’t done this before, I found a decent write up over on YotaTech.  However, the listed clearances in MM are off by an order of magnitude.  Correct specs are listed above.

Where do you buy the shims?

Here are my notes on removing the cams, if you go about it that way:



Here is the FSM on installing the camshafts.

And another FSM section can be found here.



Well, shit.  The exhaust valves are tight.  That means I need a special tool to adjust them or I can remove the cams.  Since I’m already in there, I think I should buy some boost insurance in the form of ARP studs and a MLS head gasket.  This means I need to pull the head… And I don’t know how to do that on a 2RZ.

Here are my calculations of replacing the exhaust valve shims.. A spreadsheet is a good way to do it to double check your calculations and shims that you need to buy.  Shims are available in .05mm differences.  I bought mine from LCEngineering.  They’re about $8/each.


Valve Shim calculations.. A little math required.



So, I found that 4 things were important when removing the cams:

  1. Find TDC
  2. Make sure the cam marker is straight up.  For me, I was able to rotate enough times that I got the “bright links” to line up with the marker on the cam at TDC.
  3. Cam timing marks face each other, lower at TDC, cam marker straight up.
  4. Insert a bolt into the “service hole” on the exhaust cam.

Service bolt with “reminder” duct tape


Cam marker, straight up. I managed to get the to “bright” links


Top Dead Center


Notice the dots where the cam gears touch? That’s the alignment.


My motor shows good cross hatching, but the intake and pistons show a lot of carbon…   I’m going to run it anyway,  but here’s how it looked:

cyl_crosshatch1 comb_chamber2 intake_sludge2 carbon_cylinders


So next, I start the clean up process..  I found 3 tools really useful:

  • Oven EZ-Off (yellow can) – this stuff removes organics (like oil) like crazy.  Spray on. Brush around.  Wash off.  It will etch aluminum, so don’t leave it on.
  • Roloc 2″ x 5/8″ Tapered Medium Grade Bristle Disc – I use this to remove head gasket material without damaging the finish.


When using the Roloc on the deck surface, I put shaving cream into the ports of the deck.  This catches a lot of the debris that would otherwise fall to the pan or other passages.  When done, I simply take a shop vac and vacuum it out:


Roloc 2″ x 5/8″ Tapered Medium Grade Bristle Disc


Shaving cream to help keep the block clean. Vacuum clean-up.


Finished cleaning the intake.  Putting together the drivers side.  I pulled most of the wiring for the cam sensor out of the harness, even though I may not use it:


Lower intake, clean

Measuring the valves:





Here’s the cleaned up block after a little POR-15 paint, degreasing, and clean-up:

painted_block2 painted_block


Adding ARP studs and an MLS Cometic head gasket:


adding_arps2 mls


Adding the TreadStone performance turbo manifold and putting on the 38mm wastegate:



I chose 440 cc/min injectors from a Supra 7mgte, very common, inexpensive.  They drop right in.  Even use the same connectors as the 2000 Tacoma.  Note, they are low impedance.



Mocking up the turbo.  The turbo here is a 60 trim T3, with a .48 exhaust housing.  It’s probably good for about 250 hp at 14psi, which is a bit small for this application, so I changed it out later..




I decided to run dual oil filters, as I already had the setup on my 22RE.  By dual, I mean one for the engine and one for the turbo.  I suspect that tapping off of the oil filter mount on the 2rz, that the oil is likely unfiltered.  I used a remote oil kit, feed it with a 4AN line, and then run a 4AN line up to the turbo.  I don’t use the in-line turbo oil filters as they have very little capacity and can starve a turbo.   The remote filter mount is welded to one of the rear engine/transmission mounts:


Running 2 oil filters


Turbo oil feed:

Which adapters do you use?  The threads on the two available ports are M16x.15.  Easy to adapt to AN style or NPT (if you want to run an oil pressure gauge) – for NPT fittings adapters use Equus pn EQU-9848, which gets you several for the price of one..


M16x1.5 for oil feeds


Here’s the feed to the rear oil filter that filters oil for the turbo.  Lines are 4AN.


Oil Feed to turbo oil filter


Full oil feed plumbing with downpipe. Note that the hoses have a heat-protective covering on them.  Also note the upgrade to a GT28RS “Disco Potato” turbo.


So the above design turned out o




Basically I used the factory 22RE wiring harness, and took all of the sensors and connectors from the Tacoma, soldering them on to the end.  At the ECU end of the factory wiring, I use megasquirt.  The wiring is non-trival and will be dependent upon your ignition setup (36-2 crank trigger, cam trigger), your spark setup (wasted spark, 2 “logic level” factory 2rz coils), and your fuel setup (sequential injection).

Basically: Megasquirt -> Factory 22RE harness @ ECU connector -> 22RE engine harness -> 2rz tacoma sensors / ignition / injection

I used the following products:

Here’s how it looks installed, no connectors yet… I label everything.

2rz_passenger_side_wiring 2rz_passenger_side_wiring2 wiring_labels standalonewiring2 standalone_wiring


Oil and fuel pressure gauge… I have an on-pillar pressure gauge.  Rather than have 2 gauges for oil and fuel pressure, I use one and have a micro toggle to switch between readings.  These are the senders:


Gauge set – EGT, boost, Fuel and Oil Pressure


oil pressure sender


fuel pressure sender



New rear main seal 12/2014:


replacing the rear main seal, just in case..


I used a 3rz flywheel and clutch on a 2rz:



Initial motor test fit on 12/2014, the down pipe will have to be adjusted:

1988_4runner_2rz_pre-fit 1988_4runner_test fit


The treadstone manifold has an external 38mm wastegate.  I had a TIAL, getting it all welded up is a bit tricky:

Fabricating a downpipe and dealing with the external wastegate:

wrapped_downpipe IMG_20141201_212841 downpipe_fab


Painted and wrapped downpipe V1. Paint both the pipe and the wrap to keep out moisture.


Not gonna work

So I ended up re-fabricating the down pipe.  Not only was it hitting above, but it was too close to the firewall.  Note I did this via buying various pre-fab’d bends, with a chop saw and a 4.5″ cutting disk on a grinder.



New downpipe



Much Better clearance


Keep the down pipe close to the motor..


Downpipe “sweep” – this went in OK (after some man-handling) – the big orb is a flex tube, and you’ll want it to get the thing to fit into the truck with the motor/transmission installed.




Choosing a Turbo:


Note, I tend to under-size my turbos as I’m interested in instant boost under most driving conditions.  This means that I often buy myself area under the HP curve at lower RPMs and give up higher peak HP numbers in the higher RPM range.  I study turbo maps carefully and use them.   I love a laggy turbo that comes on like a freight train at high rpm…if I’m driving a Supra…… Otherwise, give me boost now, please…


Turbo options, inexpensive:

  • Holset  he351cw   ($350 @ ebay0
  • T3 / T04B 63 trim (200-400 HP) $460 @ BlaastPerformance
  • T3 60 trim (100-280HP) $399 @ BlaastPerformance
  • For cheap ball bearing Skyline RB25DETs had appropriately sized turbos, at under 12psi of boost.  Nissan on the compressor and 45V X on the hot side Two flavors
    • RB25 Series1 – these have steel compressors and are good for more boost – identified by steel compressors with twin blades
    • RB25 Series2 and Neo – Nylon compressors, no more than 12 psi – identified by dark compressors and single blades

RB25 Series1 – these have steel compressors and are good for more boost


RB25 Series2 and Neo – Nylon compressors, no more than 12 psi

Turbo options, expensive:

I appreciate fast spooling turbos on a 4runner.  It’s not a Supra.  I want boost when I want it, starting low RPM, and available now.   As such, I tend to focus on the “usable” RPM range and size my turbos so that they are efficient in that range, even at the cost of top end power.  You also need to make sure that the turbo you buy is efficient in that you plan on operating it.  FYI: Pressure Ratio of 2 = 14.7 psi = 2 bar.

In journal bearing turbos, what I’d recommend for a ~300hp application:

  • Garrett T3 60-trim with a .63 AR exhast
  • Garrett T3/T4 50-trim (or smaller) with a .63 AR exhaust

I went all out.. I bought the GT28RS “Disco Potato” – it’s a modern turbo, capable of about 350 hp, but it has a great map at 14.7 PSI.  ATP turbo has it in a variety of styles with T25 and T3 flanges in various exhaust configurations and ARs.   I bought a .63 AR, T3, V-band flanged GT28RS.  It was about $1200 after various fittings…


GT28RS compressor map, 350hp capable at 14psi

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