The 3vz-fe is the Best Toyota v6

Mechanical side:

The 3vz-fe itself is *highly* resistant to detonation. Many times more than a 3vz-e, 1mz-fe, or 5vz-fe is. The most resistant to detonation of any of the v6’s. I have personally run 22* of maximum advance over 6000rpm with my SMT-6 with no pinging. On Chevron 87.
Another ported & polished 3vz-fe went to a drag strip to test ignition timing. A base timing of 20* (stock is 10* universal to all v6’s/normal Toyota engines) produced no pinging, but poor performance. On 87 octane.

The 3vz-fe has the strongest stock rods used on any v6. They are massive.
Huge… Iron… Block… We don’t need sleeves, we don’t need block work to lay down 600whp. It’s too similar in construction to a 3000GT’s v6 not to say maybe even 900bhp+.
Other than the cast pistons, the 3vz-fe is stronger part for part than any other v6. It has yet to be seen if the biggest stock 3vz-fe can take down the biggest stock 5vz-fe. Why?

Because Neither Sean, nor I have set out to do it yet.

Like oil? 3vz-fe’s don’t. Yes, even 3psi at a cold idle is in spec… If you’re not on the gas, they don’t have a ton of oil pressure. This is great for turbo life.
FYI Camry 3vz-fe’s have no oil pressure sensor installed while ES 300/Windom’s do.
As long as the red light of death is off – you don’t have an oil problem, no matter HOW bright the yellow low oil level light is! (That’s an inside joke. I killed my OLS when I installed my turbo oil return somehow.)

3vz-fe redlines a 6850rpm, and the fuel cut is at 7100rpm.
Toyota RPM gauges read very, very slow I have logged my engine at 7400rpm on my SMT6… A 5vz-fe would come apart at that rpm without cams, valve springs & other work. Not us. (We have very diminishing power on stock cams after 6000rpm, however it’s best to shift at 6500-6900rpm to stay in powerband)

We don’t waste money on cams… Our engine has the biggest powerband (except maybe a 5vz-fe) under 3000rpm. We have OVER 100whp at 2000rpm. Yes… That’s right… Only a 3vz-fe has the power to spin tires on the Camry platform!

We get HUGE gains from head porting!!!
Seam McElligott got 30-35bhp.
I did my MYSELF and got 25-30.
A Camry owner had his done and got 25, possibly 30.
What do cams do on a 3vz-fe? Turn it into a 1mz-fe! <BLAH!> A cammed 3vz-fe made 220bhp on an MR2 with zero powerband.
We make 220bhp off P&P light N/A tuning, & a y-pipe… And still have the massive low rpm powerband.

The fully built N/A 3vz-e’s made 320bhp.
A fully built N/A 3vz-fe should then make 370bhp. Hey… If two extra valves are good for 50bhps tock, they should be worth it built too!

The downside is that the 3vz-fe has stock cast pistons. Not a problem when you run the correct amount of fuel, however 1mz-fe’s ahve cast pistons WITH a coating. They are minutely stronger (I say minutely because no 3vz-fe has hurt it’s bottom end, stock 1mz-fe’s have melted rings & pistons by running slightly lean at lower power levels than have been achieved by 3vz-fe’s)

Despite what anyone says, the 5vz-fe has one important edge. Displacement… 11.7% displacement advantage will ALWAYS equal an 11.7% power advantage when comparing the same basic setup.
If you have money, this doesn’t matter. A source once had a machinist calculate how far you could possibly stroke a 3vz-fe. 3.7L. The supposed kit that was coming from that was going to cost $4000+, and stroke to 3.5-3.6L.

I’ve worked on them all. Had a hand in one turbo 3vz-e, then turboed another from scratch. Turboed mine a few different odd ways so far. Rebuilt my 3vz-fe more times than you will ever want to know. Worked with 1mz-fe’s & worked on 5vz-fe’s.

3vz-fe JDM’s have no EGR. US’s can be throw away & blocked off. 1mz-fe1’s? Nopers!
3vz-fe’s have EVAP, but don’t care if you throw it away. 1mz-fe’s? Nope!
3vz-fe loose their 5-10bhp from carbon over a few years. 1mz-fe1’s have HORRIBLY over used EGR systems. What a 3vz-fe builds up over a few years, a 1mz-fe1 builds up in 9 months. Guess what, that new 1mz-fe you bought? if the entire intake track hasn’t been cleaned in the last 9-12 months, you can subtract 10bhp.

3vz-fe’s are non-interference. 1mz-fe1’s are also, 1mz-fe2’s are not.
My 2 favorite demonstration pictures of all time.
Don’t think that’s important? I destroyed my first OEM timing belt doing a top speed run when I got to 143mph, but still made it home.

I split my second within min of if running the first time. Shutup. They were installed correctly…

Is a 3vz-fe perfect? No. is it more perfect than everything else? Yes.
It’s the pinnacle of old & new engine design & controls when it comes to tuning.
SMT-6, or SMT-7’s kick other piggybacks’s asses.

Lastly, I like them & own them, so they’re instantly 36.8427545% better than what anyone else owns!

This documentation in no way replaces the Toyota MR2 Repair Manuals. The purpose of this content is only to provide supplementary information to fellow MR2 enthusiasts. Midship Runabout and its contributing authors will not be held responsible for any injury or damages that may occur as the result of practicing any of the methods or procedures described within this website. Article and photo submissions are property of the contributing author.

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3 Responses

  1. Andre.G says:

    No idea how old this article is since there’s no publish date… But I must say a very big “thank you” to whoever wrote this. (:

    I’ve driven close to 20 different cars, 4 of which were V6’s. But I’ve had my ’93 Camry 300SEi (3vz-fe) for about 5 years now and honestly I’ve never loved any car more… Unfortunately, thanks to some money problems she’s been neglected a bit the last year or two, to the point that I’ve been seriously considering selling my silver baby for something newer.

    Well, suffice to say this article has just convinced me otherwise. Think I’ll leave her to stand somewhere safe and sound for a little while so I save up some cash to get everything fixed properly, but I most definitely can’t justify giving up such a beautifully incredible machine just for some quick money… Thanks again for settling the doubts my mind.

  2. Evan E. says:

    I concur. I have had several cars and my 1992 Camry V6 is the smoothest of them all. She has recently been given a “rebirth” due to the fact that when I bought it it had low mileage and was in reasonably good condition. Only 100k in 21 years. I have been completely and totally satisfied. The 3VZ-FE is nearly silken in its feeling. And its so quiet. It puts my Ford 3.0 Vulcans to shame (Which are good reliable engines, but not as refined as this one.) My 20 year old car does not leave me looking for a new car at all. Ill be keeping a savings account for the next car I buy, but this one is sticking around for a while. Good Post.

  3. Josh says:

    And what about Toyota’s 1VZ? Very good engine indeed. Simply sublime in its power band. If you’re into the smaller displacement engines with high revving and you want to make your car sound like a Ferrari then just put some pneumatic valve springs high performance cams and it’ll rev to 10,000+ with a beautiful sound to boot. Love my 1VZ.