Toyota 2.7 Engine Problems & How to Solve Them Easily in 2024

Toyota 2.7 Engine Problems + solving tips

Being a Toyota owner, I’ve grown fond of the 2.7 engine and its capabilities. It’s true, it has its quirks and challenges. But isn’t that what makes our journey with our vehicles so personal and rewarding?

The 2.7 is more than just a piece of machinery; it’s the heart of many Toyota vehicles, pumping power and efficiency into every ride. In this article, I’ll share my insights on this popular engine, shedding light on its features, common issues, and solutions. Join me as we explore the world of the Toyota 2.7 engine together!

How much horsepower does it have?

Boasting a commendable horsepower of 161 and delivers a torque of 181 pounds-ft. What truly impressed me was its EcoBoost technology, which has seen several upgrades, particularly in the dual-injection system. This has led to a significant boost in both power and efficiency.

And if you’re wondering about its towing capacity, this unit can confidently tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Plus, its fuel efficiency is noteworthy, and with its 6-speed automatic transmission that’s electronically controlled, the power delivery to the rear wheels is seamless. Whether you’re navigating off-road trails or slick city streets, the automatic limited-slip ensures optimal traction control.

Key FeaturesFeatures of Toyota 2.7 Engine

Features Toyota 2.7 Engine
Engine Type Gasoline
Engine Size 2.7 liters
Horsepower 159 hp @ 5200 rpm
Torque 180 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm
Cylinder Configuration In-line 4-cylinder
Valvetrain DOHC 16-valve with VVT-i
Fuel System EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection)
Compression Ratio 10.2:1
Max Towing Capacity 3,500 lbs

1. Balance Shafts and Block

Meticulously designed with a deep-skirt cylinder block crafted from cast iron. With a bore and stroke both measuring 95.0 mm, it boasts a capacity of 2694 cc.

One of its standout features is the balance shaft that counter-rotates within the crankcase. This ingenious design is meant to counteract the inertia secondary forces typically present in in-line 4-cylinder engines.

As both pistons achieve their maximum speed slightly above the stroke center, there’s a need to balance the inertial forces. The balance shaft, rotating at a speed faster than the crankshaft, ensures this equilibrium.

2. Camshafts and Cylinder Head

Equipped with dual overhead camshafts and a cylinder head made of a durable aluminum alloy. A 9.525 mm roller chain, lubricated by an oil jet, drives these hollow camshafts.

This chain’s tension is expertly maintained through oil pressure and a spring mechanism, which also serves to minimize noise from the timing chain.

3. Connecting Rods, Crankshaft, and Pistons

The engine’s crankshaft is fully balanced, featuring journal fillets and roll-finished pins. A rubber torsional damper in the crankshaft pulley significantly reduces NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness), enhancing the driving experience.

The engine also incorporates high-strength connecting rods with specialized tightening bolts for optimal clamping force.

Notably, the pistons, crafted from aluminum alloy, are cooled continuously by oil jets located at the cylinder bores’ base.

These pistons are designed with resin-coated skirts for reduced friction and increased wear resistance.

The piston rings are treated with various coatings for added durability and resistance to wear.

4. Valves

Each cylinder in the 2.7 engine houses 4 valves – 2 for exhaust and 2 for intake, set at a precise 22.85-degree valve angle. These valves operate efficiently with roller rocker arms, which contain needle bearings to minimize friction.

Each rocker arm’s fulcrum features a lash hydraulic adjuster, ensuring consistent zero valve clearance. This intricate system ensures smooth valve operation, whether they’re opening or closing.

5. Throttle and Intake

The engine showcases an intake manifold constructed from plastic, a design choice aimed at minimizing heat transfer and overall mass. Toyota’s ETCS-I (Electronic Throttle Control System-intelligent) is employed to determine the optimal throttle valve angle, contrasting with traditional systems that rely on the accelerator pedal.

This engine also features a linkless-type throttle, integrating a control motor and a position sensor for precise throttle adjustments.

6. Ignition and Injection

And finally considering ignition and fuel injection, the engine features a long-nozzle multiport sequential system. This system, utilizing precise fuel injectors, is designed to minimize emissions and prevent wall wetting, ensuring efficient combustion and optimal performance.

Its combustion chambers are pentroof-type with slanted squish so that too much coolness is not lost.

Common Problems & Solutions

Toyota 2.7 Engine Problems

1. Cracked exhaust manifold problem

One of the prevalent issues with the 2.7 is the cracking of its exhaust manifold, especially after surpassing the 100k miles mark.

While many might attribute such cracks to overheating, the root cause here seems to be a design flaw.


  • OEM Replacement: A straightforward solution is to replace the faulty manifold with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part. This typically costs around $100.
  • LCE Header: For those seeking a more robust solution, opting for an LCE header might be a wise choice, albeit at a higher price point of approximately $400 or more.
  • Maintenance Tip: To ensure the longevity and smooth operation of your engine, consider flushing the transmission fluid once you hit the 120k miles mark.

2. Not fitting applications problem

Some users have pointed out that the 2.7 might not be the best fit for certain applications, particularly pickup trucks and SUVs.

When overloaded, the engine may exhibit increased noise levels and consume more fuel. However, its reliability remains commendable.

Engine tuning

To enhance performance, consider adopting measures similar to those used for the older 3RZ model. This includes:

  • Performance Enhancements: Installing headers, an aftermarket exhaust system, and a cold air intake can marginally boost performance.
  • Supercharger or Turbo Kit: For a more significant impact, consider investing in a supercharger or turbo kit. While this will notably amplify the sound, the performance enhancement is undeniable. Kits like the Garrett T3/T4 type can add a whopping 250 horsepower to the 2.7’s stock internals.


3. Lack of power

While the 2.7 is competent, it might fall short when it comes to heavy towing or loading, especially in vehicles like the Toyota 4Runner.


If you require a vehicle for heavy towing, consider upgrading to a model with a 3.4L engine.

4. Rattling or knocking noise

Toyota has acknowledged that a rattling or knocking noise in some of their 2.7’s can be attributed to issues with the VVT Camshaft Timing Gear Assembly.


  • Upgraded Part Replacement: Addressing this issue is as simple as replacing the faulty component with an upgraded part.
  • Warranty Coverage: If your vehicle is still under warranty, the cost of this repair will likely be covered. Otherwise, expect to spend between $380 to $595 for the repair.

5. Pinkish-white residue Problem

Some users have reported observing a pinkish-white residue near thewater pump area. This residue, often accompanied by a decrease in coolant levels, is a telltale sign of a leaking water pump.

If you also detect a grinding noise emanating from the vicinity of the water pump, it’s a strong indication that the pump is malfunctioning.

For reference, the water pump is situated on the passenger side within the engine compartment.


The definitive remedy for this issue is to replace the malfunctioning water pump. For a 4-cylinder engine, the replacement cost typically ranges from $330 to $590.

However, if you’re dealing with a V6, the expenses might escalate to $1,000 or even more.

Pinkish-white residue Problem - Toyota 2.7

6. Squeaking leaf springs problem

A common concern among some Toyota owners is the squeaking noise from the rear leaf springs, particularly noticeable when driving over bumps.

This squeaking often arises when the leaf springs rub against each other due to worn-out or missing spacers.


Toyota has addressed this concern in its official bulletins, recommending the installation of upgraded silencer pads for the leaf springs to mitigate the noise.

7. Oil leak problem

While the 2.7 represents a significant improvement over its predecessor, the 3RZ-FE, it’s not without its challenges.

One of the notable issues, especially with models produced before 2008, is oil leakage from the front crankshaft oil seal.


Fortunately, Toyota recognized this flaw and took corrective measures in newer models. If you own one of the affected models, the solution lies in revising the front crankshaft oil seal to prevent further leakage.

8. Vibrating when idle

Another concern that has been voiced by several users is the engine’s tendency to vibrate, especially when it’s cold.

This vibration is primarily attributed to the automatic transmission.


A simple replacement of the transmission oil can effectively address this vibration issue. It’s essential to note that while these issues might seem concerning, they don’t compromise the overall reliability and durability of the 2.7.

To ensure optimal performance and longevity, always use the recommended oil and adhere to a regular maintenance schedule. By doing so, you’ll be positioned to harness the full potential and benefits of this engine.

Toyota 2.7 Engine Reliability

Toyota’s engineers, always at the forefront of innovation, recognized the potential in the 3RZ-FE . Instead of completely phasing it out, they decided to build upon its foundation. By integrating modern updates and technological advancements, the 2TR-FE was born.

At its core, the 2.7 retains the 3RZ’s cylinder block but pairs it with a state-of-the-art cylinder head. This new cylinder head is equipped with the VVTi (Variable Valve Timing) system, specifically on the intake side, optimizing performance and efficiency. One of the standout features of this engine is its hydraulic lifters, eliminating the need for regular valve adjustments, a boon for maintenance.

Further enhancements include a revamped timing chain, an electronic throttle body, and a lightweight plastic intake manifold. These upgrades not only modernized the engine but also contributed to a boost of 10 HP and a noticeable uptick in torque.

Reliability has always been a hallmark of Toyota, and the 2.7 is no exception. One of the significant improvements over its predecessor is its fuel efficiency. The earlier 3RZ had faced some criticism regarding fuel consumption, prompting Toyota to address this in the 2TR-FE.

The introduction of the Dual-VVTi system was the difference maker. This system, combined with an increased compression ratio of 10.2, redesigned intake ports, and enhanced connecting rod bearings, ensured that the engine delivered power without compromising on fuel economy.

Learn how to change the battery in a Toyota key fob here!


Does it have a timing chain or a timing belt?

Both the 1GR-FE and 2TR-FE are equipped with a timing chain. This is particularly evident in the Toyota Tacoma models from 2005 to 2015. Unlike timing belts, timing chains are designed for longevity and typically don’t require frequent replacements.

What is the oil capacity for the 2.7 engine?

For the 2TR-FE, specifically in the 2005 to 2015 models, the oil capacity is listed at 5.8 liters or 6.1 qt. (including when changing the oil filter). For Toyota Tacomas equipped with the 1GR-FE, excluding the PreRunner, the oil capacity stands at 4.5 liters or 4.8 qt. (also inclusive of an oil filter change). However, for the PreRunner and 4-wheel drive models, the capacity is slightly higher at 5.2 liters or 5.5 qt. It’s crucial to note that these are general guidelines, and for precise information tailored to your specific vehicle, consulting the owner’s manual or Toyota’s official website is recommended.

Is the Toyota 2.7 a V6?

No, it is not a V6. It is a 4-stroke straight-four natural gasoline aspirated engine. Initially, designed with front-wheel drive vehicles in mind. However, as its versatility and efficiency became evident, it was adapted for rear-wheel drive vehicles as well.

How can I check the level of the engine oil?

First warm up the engine by running it for a few minutes. Locate the oil cap on your engine and remove the dipstick. Have a clean rag or paper towel ready to wipe off any oil residue from the dipstick. Then reinsert the dipstick fully and pull it out again. If the oil level is satisfactory, wipe off the dipstick using the rag and replace it securely.

Final Thoughts

The Toyota 2.7 , also known as the 2TR-FE, is a testament to Toyota’s commitment to engineering excellence and continuous improvement. While it has its roots in the earlier 3RZ-FE, the advancements and modifications made to the 2.7 have ensured it stands out in terms of performance, reliability, and efficiency.

Like any mechanical component, it has its set of challenges, but with proper maintenance and understanding, these can be easily addressed. We have provided you with a comprehensive overview of the engine, its features, common issues, and their solutions. Whether you’re a current owner of a vehicle with this engine or considering a purchase, being informed is key.

Remember, regular check-ups and adhering to recommended maintenance schedules will ensure that you harness the full potential of the Toyota 2.7 engine for years to come.

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