Consider the features of the entire ZR series using the example of three engines - conventional, Valvematic version and version for hybrid models. And, as usual, we list all the known common problems, including the still relevant service campaigns.
Bore x Stroke, mm
80.5 x 75.5
124 / 6000
157 / 5200
80.5 x 75.5
132 / 6400
160 / 4400
80.5 x 88.3
125-136 / 6000
163-175 / 4400
80.5 x 88.3
147 / 6400
180 / 4000
80.5 x 88.3
130-144 / 6400
161-176 / 4400
80.5 x 88.3
98 / 5200
142 / 3600
80.5 x 97.6
139-145 / 6500
189 / 4400
80.5 x 97.6
143 / 5600
194 / 3900
80.5 x 97.6
152-158 / 6200
192-196 / 4400
1ZR-FE (1.6 EFI DVVT). Replacement of 3ZZ-FE. Used for: Corolla 140..150..170..180..210, Auris 150, Yaris 90, Vios 90, Corolla 120 CHN, E'Z
1ZR-FAE (1.6 EFI DVVT Valvematic). Replacement of 3ZZ-FE. Used for: Verso 20, Corolla 150..170..180..210, Auris 150..180, Avensis 270
1ZR-FBE (1.6 EFI DVVT). Flex-fuel version (emergency markets). Used for: Corolla 170
2ZR-FE (1.8 EFI DVVT). Replacement of 1ZZ-FE. Used for: Yaris 90, Corolla 140..150..170..180..210, E'Z, Auris 150, Levin 180, Scion xD, Matrix 140, Ist 110, Corolla Axio/Fielder 140, Corolla Rumion, Allion/Premio 260, Lotus Elise, Pontiac Vibe, Junpai D60
2ZR-FAE (1.8 EFI DVVT Valvematic). Replacement of 1ZZ-FE. Used for: Verso 20, Auris 150, Avensis 270, Sienta 170, Corolla 170..210, Wish 20, Scion iM, Corolla Axio/Fielder 140..160, Corolla Rumion, Allion/Premio 260, Isis
2ZR-FBE (1.8 EFI DVVT). Flex-fuel version (emergency markets). Used for: Corolla 140..170, C-HR
2ZR-FXE (1.8 EFI VVT). Hybrid version. Used for: Corolla 210, Auris 150..180, Prius 30..50, Prius Alpha 40, C-HR, Noah/Voxy/Esquire 80, Lexus CT
3ZR-FE (2.0 EFI DVVT). Replacement of 1AZ-FE/FSE. Used for: Avensis 270, RAV4 30..40, Corolla 140..150..170, E'Z, Wish 20, Noah/Voxy 70
3ZR-FAE (2.0 EFI DVVT Valvematic). Replacement of 1AZ-FE/FSE. Used for: Avensis 270, C-HR, RAV4 30..40, Wish 20, Noah/Voxy/Esquire 70..80, Allion/Premio 260, Isis, Harrier 60, Lexus NX
3ZR-FBE (2.0 EFI DVVT). Flex-fuel version (emergency markets). Used for: Corolla 140..170
4ZR-FE (1.6 EFI DVVT). Analogue of 1ZR-FE for China. Used for: Corolla 120, Levin 180, Yaris 90, Vios 90 CHN
5ZR-FXE (1.8 EFI VVT). Analogue of 2ZR-FXE for China. Used for: Prius 30, Lexus CT CHN
6ZR-FE (2.0 EFI DVVT). Analogue of 3ZR-FE for China. Used for: RAV4 40 CHN
6ZR-FAE (2.0 EFI DVVT Valvematic). Analogue of 3ZR-FAE for China. Used for: RAV4 40 CHN
7ZR-FE (1.8 EFI DVVT). Analogue of 2ZR-FE for China. Used for: Levin 180 CHN
8ZR-FXE (1.8 EFI VVT). Analogue of 2ZR-FXE for China. Used for: Corolla 180, Levin 180 CHN
The first ZR engines were introduced in the fall of 2006 for Japanese domestic market models, Valvematic versions are available since the summer of 2007.
3ZR-FAE (2.0 EFI DVVT Valvematic)
The cylinder block - aluminum "open deck" with thin cast iron liners. The liners are fused into block and their special rough outer surface promotes strong connection. The wall thickness between the cylinders 7 mm only, no overhaul with reboring provided by manufacturer.
The axis of the crankshaft has been shifted by 8 mm relative to the cylinder axis lines ("desaxage"), thus reducing the lateral component of the force exerted by the piston to the cylinder wall, reducing wear.
a - bore center, b - crankshaft center, c - offset crankshaft, d - center crankshaft, e - maximum pressure
The crankshaft has 8 balance weights, narrowed journals and individual main bearing caps.
Piston - alloy, compact T-shaped in projection, with cutted skirt. The groove for the upper compression ring is anodized, the edge of the upper compression ring and oil scraper - anti-wear PVD coating. The piston/rod connection - by full-float pin.
1 - piston, 2 - piston ring, 3 - compression ring 1, 4 - compression ring 2, 5 - oil ring. a - taper squish shape, b - anodic oxide coating, c - resin coating, d - PVD coating
The massive alloy crankcase mounted to block also performs the function of the sump upper part. Lower sump - steel stamped.
1 - oil pan 1 (crank case), 2 - oil pump, 3 - oil pan 2. a - oil passage, b - A/C compressor bracket
The camshafts are installed in a separate housing, which mounted on the cylinder head - it simplifies the design and manufacturing technology of cylinder head, however, another joint of parts has appeared requiring sealing.
1 - intake valve, 2 - spark plug hole, 3 - exhaust valve, 4 - camshaft housing, 5 - taper squish. b - intake side, c - exhaust side
There are hydraulic lash adjusters and roller rockers in the valvetrain mechanism.
...But ten years later, the return from this malpractice to normal spin-on filters began.
1 - oil filter, 2 - bracket
Officially prescribed oil viscosity for ZR series:
Once again - if in the North American and Japanese markets for the same engines the most liquid oils (0W-16..0W-20) are called “preferred”, then the reason for this is only the manufacturer’s desire to declare maximum efficiency (or rather, minimum CO2 emissions) for the public, that was zombiefied by speculating on global warming / climate change mythes. Of course, there are no structural limitations for the use of more viscous oils inside the engine.
Cooling system is classic: pump drive by outer side of serpentine belt, "cold" (78-82°C) mechanical thermostat, heated throttle body.
1 - water pump. a - from radiator, b - to radiator, c - to heater core, d - from heater core
Engine is equipped with separate fan motor control unit, which allows to adjust fan speed depending on the coolant temperature, refrigerant pressure, vehicle speed and engine speed.
Intake and exhaust
Intake and exhaust manifolds location - according to modern tradition, front and rear respectively.
Typically, ACIS (Acoustic Control Induction System) is installed in the intake manifold, which changes the effective length of the intake duct to increase power. At low and medium speed and high load ACIS valve is closed and the air flows via long path, in other conditions the valve is opened and air flows via shorter path.
1 - actuator, 2 - VSV, 3 - intake air control valve, 4 - throttle position sensor, 5 - ECM, 6 - crank position sensor, 7 - intake manifold. a - valve closed, b - valve open
Fuel system / Engine control
The classic multi-point fuel injection system looks extremely simple by today's standards.
· Valvematic system has led to a change in the control principle - the mixture dosing by valve lift changing, which is carried out with the throttle fully open.
· Mass air flow sensor (MAF) - "hot wire" type, combined with the intake temperature sensor.
· Throttle valve - fully electronically controlled (ETCS): DC motor, dual-channel non-contact position sensor (Hall effect). ETCS performs some functions of traction control (TRC) and stabilization (VSC).
· Accelerator pedal position sensor - dual-channel non-contact (Hall effect).
· Camshaft position sensor - MRE (magnetoresistive), provide a digital output signal and work properly at low engine speed.
· Knock sensor - wideband piezoelectric, unlike the old type of resonant knock sensors it feels a wider range of vibration frequencies.
· Oxygen sensor upstream catalyst - planar type air fuel ratio sensor (89467-); downstream catalyst - standard cup-type oxygen sensor (89465-).
· Injectors with elongate nozzle are installed in the cylinder head and the fuel is injected as close as possible to the intake valves.
· The fuel pulsation damper is integrated in the fuel rail.
· EVAP absorber is combined with fuel pump module.
· Spark plugs - thin "iridium" type with long threaded portion.
· Charging system - two types of alternators are used - with conventional or segment conductor type alternators with overrunning clutch in the pulley and 90-100 A output. Continuously charging of battery is carried out during deceleration, but in steady-state mode cycles of charging and discharging of the battery are alternates for maximum efficiency. More complex control system required to use the battery temperature sensor and current sensor.
· Starting system basically - 0.8-1.1 kW starter with planetary gear. The implementation of Stop-Start caused the installation of new 1.7 kW starter TS type (tandem solenoid). Independent solenoids for push out pinion gear and for motor allow engaging with the rotating flywheel, for quick restart immediately after engine shutdown.
3ZR-FE (2.0 EFI DVVT)
The best engine of ZR series - completely traditional, devoid of Valvematic excesses and not yet convicted of serious defects.
• The main design differences - in the cylinder head - the traditional valvetrain is installed (DVVT, timing variation range - 43°/40°).
• Known circumstances required to install the oil level sensor..
Officially prescribed oil viscosity for 2ZR-FXE:
• The most fundamental difference - the electric coolant pump, controlled by the engine ECU.
1 - timing chain cover, 2 - engine water pump, 3 - water inlet with thermostat, 4 - stator, 5 - rotor, 6 - shaft
• EGR system equipped with water cooler
• Exhaust heat recovery exchanger can be installed, as well as a radiator shutter.
1 - reserve tank, 2 - engine water pump, 3 - water inlet with thermostat, 4 - throttle body, 5 - flow shutting valve, 6 - EGR valve, 7 - EGR pipe with cooler. a - to radiator, b - from radiator, c - from heater radiator, d - to heater radiator, e - from exhaust heat recirculation system, f - to exhaust heat recirculation system
EHR (Exhaust Heat Recirculation) module is integrated between the catalyst and the front muffler. The valve is driven by a simple thermostat: on a cold engine, exhaust gases are directed through a heat exchanger for faster warm-up; as the antifreeze heats up, the thermostat opens the valve and the gases pass directly.
1 - EHR actuator, 2 - heat exchanger, 3 - EHR control valve
1 - EHR actuator, 2 - EHR control valve
• An optional circuit with a shutter valve should allow to regulate coolant flow between the engine and the heat exchanger, reduce the flow through the engine when the heater is operating until the engine warms up, accelerate heating and maintain a more uniform temperature mode.
a - coolant temperature 5-65°C / b - coolant temperature 65-88°C/ c - coolant temperature above 88°C. 1 - engine water pump, 2 - EGR valve, 3 - throttle body, 4 - EGR cooler, 5 - heater radiator unit, 6 - exhaust heat recirculation device, 7 - flow shutting valve (closed), 8 - engine, 9 - radiator, 10 - thermostat (closed), 11 - flow shutting valve (open), 12 - thermostat (open)
When current is applied, the valve is closed. If the coil is not powered and the pump is running, the valve opens by the coolant flow and remains open until the flow stops.
1 - intake manifold, 2 - vacuum sensor. a - EGR port, b - purge port, c - PCV port, e - EGR distribution path
1 - vacuum sensor, 2 - knock sensor, 3 - throttle body, 4 - engine coolant temperature sensor, 5 - flow shutting valve, 6 - engine coolant temperature sensor 2, 7 - EGR valve, 8 - fuel injector, 9 - camshaft position sensor, 10 - ignition coil, 11 - air fuel ratio sensor, 12 - crankshaft position sensor, 13 - engine water pump, 14 - VVT valve
• Minor defects, especially of the first years of production::
- increased carbon deposits in the combustion chambers
- alternator pulley defects
- leaks and noise of the coolant pump
- VVT sprockets knocking during start-up - incurable defect of most modern Toyota engines, including ZR
• The specific knock sound of the vacuum pump (Valvematic models)
• Start-up problems due to fouling of injectors. Described in TSB EG-0013T-0217, modified injectors (2016 type) are recommended.
• Engine shutdown due to spontaneous disconnection of the Valvematic controller. Described in TSB EG-0075T-0912. Fixed by a modified controller flange.
• Engine malfunctions due to a failure of the Valvematic controller (DTCs P26## and P10##). It was partially described in several TSB in 2010-2019 years. However, in practice, the failures does not fixed. Typically, the problem is solved by installing a second-hand controller, although local craftsmen have already established remanufacturing of broken units.
• Excessive oil consumption 2ZR-FXE. Described in TSB EG-0112T-0914. If the oil burn ratio is above 0.5 l / 1000 km, it is recommended to replace the set of pistons and piston rings with the modified ones. At some countries where the hybrids are popular this problem has become quite resonant.
• EG-00446T-TME "ZR engine: LLC leakage from water pump" (06.10.2020) - a modified pump (16100-09502) is offered, which should solve the eternal leakage problem.
• Coolant leak from EHR module heat exchanger (for 2ZR-FXE engines) with potential for engine overheat. Production changes: the heat exchanger is reinforced for better protection against thermal stress. Prescriptions: replacement of the front exhaust pipe assembly (17410-37B52 ⇒ 17410-37D40). Described in TSB EG-00190T-TME (24.11.2020).
• However, according to the law of conservation, a new small leak appeared (CP-00557T-TME "ZR Engine - Throttle Body - Coolant Leakage", 02.06.2021 - throttle body replacement).
• A more serious defect - TSB EG-00550T-TME "ZR: Engine Stall - Timing Chain Sprocket Teeth Abnormal Wear" (14.05.2021, upd. 14.03.2022). A manufacturing defect of the crankshaft sprocket (low carbon content) leads to abnormal wear and damage - with the traditional destructive consequences. The prescription is to replace the sprocket and all broken parts.
• Upd. Finally, Toyota has begun to recognize problems with the cylinder head gasket - TSB EG-00573T-TME "ZR engine: Cylinder head gasket damages" (22.06.2021, upd. 16.03.2022). So far, the Japanese say about recent hybrids with 2ZR-FXE, but... (all the more, the same gaskets were used for other versions of 2ZR and 3ZR).
Blown of the head gasket, mainly between 1-2 or 3-4 cylinders, and often between cylinder and cooling channels - a defect for the ZR series is not widespread, but common. It is now claimed to be caused by displacement towards the cylinder and cracking of the spacer between metal layers. In defect is found, it is prescribed to install modified gaskets with improved caulking (11115-37061 > 11115-37080, 11115-37070 > 11115-37090)
It is worth to warning the rest of ZR-owners against the ephemeral hopes of achieving post-warranty repairs, but at least now you can purchase a more correct spare part.
As a postscript, a few more minor recognized defects:
·T-SB-0103-12 "2ZR-FXE: MIL "ON" DTC P2111 and P0A0F After Cold Soak" (23.07.2012, intake manifold replacement, reprogram)
·L-SB-0004-13 "2ZR-FXE: MIL DTC P030# after coal soak" (23.01.2013, intake manifold replacement)
·EG-0056T-0711 "2ZR-FXE: Tapping noise after cold engine start" (28.02.2013, intake manifold replacement or injectors replacement)
·T-SB-0011-14 "2ZR-FAE: MIL DTC P2646 / P265B" (14.02.2014, reprogram)
·T-SB-0116-15 "2ZR-FXE: Misfire While Driving With EGR Active" (19.11.2015, intake manifold replacement)
·L-SB-0015-16 "2ZR-FXE: MIL "ON" DTC P0401 and/or Rattle After Cold Soak" (01.04.2016, EGR valve replacement, reprogram)
·EG-0020T-0213 "2ZR-FXE: DTC P0401 and/or vehicle vibration, tapping noise" (11.04.2016, EGR valve replacement, reprogram)
Even in comparison with the previous generation of Toyota engines (ZZ and AZ), not to mention of modern engines from other manufacturers, ZR are deservedly considered reliable and unpretentious motors without any critical problems. At the same time, we can note once again - any technical innovations of Toyota mean nothing but unnecessary worries for the owners: even for ZR series, the majority of known defects are somehow related to the Valvematic.