TOYOTA JZ SERIES
While we’re all cheering for 1,000 hp on stock-bottom LS engines, the Toyota Supra’s
2JZ has been churning fourdigit numbers on the street even before Brian owed Dom a 10-second car. With factory turbocharging and seven main bearings, it didn’t take long for the Supra to gain a notorious reputation in Japan for measuring horsepower by the Richter scale. In later years, the U.S. import invasion reignited interest in Toyota’s tower of power, as it offered a big improvement in displacement and strength over the venerable four-banger found standard in most Japanese sports coupes. We met Jay Meagher during Drag Week™ 2016, when he placed third in Super Street Small-Block Power-Adder with a stout
8.277 at 163.272 mph. He runs Real Street Performance out of Sanford, Florida, specializing in Supras while keeping his doors open to most any late-model speed.
Jay is not shy about his views of Toyota’s 3.0L straight-six: “I think the 2JZ is the Japanese small-block Chevy. They’re an incredibly viable option and incredibly affordable to hot rod.” The engine was prolific in Toyota and Lexus applications, though we only saw its purest turbo versions in the Supra. Out the gate, Jay recommends buying a USDM or JDM 2JZ-GTE with factory turbocharging if you can. You can find the naturally aspirated 2JZ in 1990s to early-2000s Lexus GS300s, IS300s, and SC300s. Without cracking them open, they can handle 500–600 hp with a turbo, but by the time you’ve gone through one to prep one for the venerable 1,000hp mark, you would have saved money starting with a turbocharged variant that carries most of the hardware already.
The internet is full of rumors about which source of one is best, but regardless of domestic market (U.S. or Japan) or inclusion of variable-valve timing (VVT), Jay mentions they’re all equally capable with the same supporting mods. In fact, the VVT reduces turbo lag significantly, if you need low-end response (road racing or drifting, for example).
We’ll get to how easy it is to build power next, but first the oiling system has to addressed. Simply put, Toyota never intended it to rev as high as what racers needed.
“If you’re going much more than 8,300 to 8,500 rpm, and you don’t have money for a dry-sump, then you should use an aluminum rod,” he says, in addition to an upgraded oil pump. Aluminum rods simply stress the rotating assembly less, saving the bearings as the 2JZ reaches for five-digit rpm numbers. Camshafts and springs are highly recommended, but take note to order a factory set of 3S-GTE valve shims and buckets. The 2JZ uses shim-overbucket adjustment for valve clearance, meaning that at high lift the camshaft can actually spit a shim out. The 3S-GTE’s arrangement places the shim under the bucket, eliminating this.
“If you want to make 700 hp, it just takes the right turbocharger, octane, and tuning on the stock ECU,” Jay says. “A dry-sump and a proper ECU, like a Motec, is money well spent. The smallest turbo I’d use is something like a 66mm turbine—like a Precision 67/66 and add valvesprings, and you’ve got something that makes good power from 4,500 to 8,500.” For serious horsepower, billet longblocks are out there, but there’s nothing water-jacketed for the street just yet, but there are stock 2JZ blocks in the 6s that prove the point.