1GR-FE Engine Problems – Specs, Problems, And Reliability!

1GR-FE Engine Problems – Specs, Problems, And Reliability!

December 25, 2022 0 By CarGuy

Are you planning to purchase a Toyota with the 1GR-FE Engine and you are looking to learn more about the 1GR-FE Engine problems? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be quite a lot to cover on this topic.

Doing your own research before you decide to spend a ton of money on a vehicle is the way to go. People often do not pay attention to the powertrain included in the vehicle and the common problems that the engines and transmissions have.

And trust me, there is a lot to be learned from each different model. Every engine has problems. Some engines have more, while some of them have less. It is up to you to choose the engine with the least problems possible in order to avoid ending up in a money pit full of problems. A problematic engine could drain your wallet rather quickly. So, choosing the right one should be your top priority. And this is why we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to learn what is the 1GR-FE Engine and then we will learn the applications in which this engine was included. Then we will cover the 1GR-FE Engine specs and 1GR-FE Engine problems. Lastly, we will discuss the overall reliability of this engine and determine if whether this engine is a good purchase or not. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

What Is The 1GR-FE Engine?

Now before we dive into more complex topics like the 1GR-FE Engine problems. Let’s first introduce ourselves to the topic and learn more about the GR family of engines produced by Toyota. These engines share a lot between them because they are understandably from the same family.

The GR engine is a family of gasoline engines that are produced by Toyota since 2002. These engines implement a V6 layout with an open deck design.

The engine block as well as the engine heads are made of aluminum. This type of configuration makes the GR engine to be very lightweight and also very compact.

Since it is a V6, this engine can be fitted in a lot of applications. But more on the applications, we are going to cover in the following chapter.

What is important to note is that the GR engines implement a double overhead camshaft design (DOHC) as well as 4 valves per cylinder.

The earlier engines implemented a single variable valve timing (VVT-i), while the latter updated engines implemented a dual variable valve timing setup which improved the overall fuel economy and also increased the power output.

When it comes to comparable engines, this GR engine series is very comparable with the Nissan VQ series of engines. And the 1GR-FE Engine is rather similar to the Nissan VQ35DE. But what about the 1GR-FE Engine problems? More on the problems, we are going to elaborate in a bit.

1GR-FE Engine Applications

Now that we covered the basics when it comes to the GR engines, let’s take a look at which applications the 1GR-FE engine was included before we start discussing the 1GR-FE engine problems.

What is worth noting is that this engine found its way into a lot of Toyota, as well as some Lexus models, and the models are the following:

  • Toyota 4Runner 2002 – Present
  • Toyota Land Cruiser 2007 – Present
  • Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 2009 – Present
  • Toyota Tacoma 2004 – Present
  • Toyota Tundra 2005 – 2014
  • Toyota Hilux 2005 – Present
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser 2009 – Present
  • Toyota Fortuner 2005 – Present
  • Lexus GX 400 2012 – Present

As you can see, this engine came in a lot of Toyota, as well as one Lexus model. What is worth noting is that the engines starting from 2009 to 2012 were updated with double variable valve timing. So, if you want dual VVT-i, make sure that the engine is newer. But what about the 1GR-FE engine problems? More on that we will cover in a bit. Let’s first learn the specs.

1GR-FE Engine Specs

Now let’s take a look at the 1GR-FE engine specs before we cover the 1GR-FE engine problems. What is worth noting is that this engine is produced from 2002 up to the present day and is probably one of the longest production engines up to date.

Nevertheless, this engine implements a V6 layout. This means that it has six cylinders at an angle of 60 degrees. The engine has a displacement of 4.0L or 241.4 cubic inches if you prefer the old-school measurements.

The engine block and the cylinder heads are made out of aluminum. Making this engine really lightweight and good for a lot of different applications that we listed previously.

What is important to note is that this engine block has a bore of 3.7 inches and a stroke of 3.74 inches. So, as you can see, the bore and the stroke are pretty much even. Allowing this engine to run really smoothly and deliver excellent performance.

When it comes to cylinder head design, this engine implements a double overhead camshaft layout (DOHC). This means that there are two camshafts per bank.

Also, the engine has 4 valves per cylinder, 2 intake valves, and two exhaust valves. What is interesting to note is that the engine comes with single variable valve timing and also with double variable valve timing.

The compression ratio of the single VVT-i is 10.0:1, while the compression ratio of the dual VVT-i is 10.4:1. This higher compression allowed the engine to create more power, and also be more efficient.

The Horsepower numbers vary between 236hp and 285hp. And the torque varies from 266lb-ft and 285lb-ft of torque. The engines with single VVT-i produce less horsepower than the ones with double VVT-i. Still, the tuning of the engine depends on the application.

1GR-FE Engine Weight

When it comes to the engine weight, it is worth noting that this engine weighs about 366 lbs or 166 kg if you prefer metric units.

But what about the 1GR-FE engine problems? More on that, we will cover in a bit after we learn about the oil capacity.

1GR-FE Oil Capacity

In terms of oil capacity, it is worth noting that this engine takes up to 5.5 quarts of 5w30 oil. Or possibly if you are running a higher mileage engine, you can use a 5w40. A little thicker oil will not hurt anyone. This will make sure that the engine does not drink a lot of oil.

The oil flush interval is somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 miles. Depending on the type of oil that you are using. Using high-mileage engine oil will make sure that you don’t have very frequent oil changes. But what about the 1GR-FE engine problems? More on that, we are going to cover it in a bit.

1GR-FE Engine Diagram

Now before we cover the 1GR-FE engine problems, let’s discuss more about the diagram of the engine.

In the video that someone posted on youtube, you can see a lot about the servicing of this engine, there are a lot of detailed descriptions of how a rebuild is done to it.

1GR-FE Engine Problems

Now let’s take a look at the 1GR-FE engine problems and understand a little bit on what are the common issues that trouble this engine.

What is worth saying is that this engine has proven itself a lot and these are the problems that are a somewhat more common occurrence. So, let’s cover them quickly before we give the 1GR-FE engine a reliability score.

1. Ignition Coil Problem

The first in our list of 1GR-FE engine problems is the problem with the ignition coils. The ignition coils on this engine are rather prone to failure.

This is most common with engines that are equipped with a single VVT-i. Even though this engine can be easily pushed well over 200,000 miles, the ignition coils are rather prone to failure.

And they can also affect the spark plug’s life in the process. Whenever you have problems with the ignition coils on your 1GR-FE engine, there could be a number of symptoms present.

The biggest system is probably the misfires and check engine light. Codes like P0300 or P0303 can be present, depending on which of the cylinders is misfiring.

So, what you will have to do in this case is to replace the coil that is affected. Or the better way is to replace all of them. Replacing all coils and spark plugs might be rather expensive. But it will fix your problem permanently. So, you will not experience 1GR-FE engine problems anymore. Now let’s move on to the next problem.

2. Head Gasket Problems

The next in our list of 1GR-FE engine problems is the problem with the head gasket failures. So, what is a head gasket?

Well, a head gasket is a metal gasket that is designed to create a good seal between the engine head and the engine block.

Considering that the 1GR-FE engine is a V6 we can conclude that this engine has two cylinder heads and two head gaskets.

So, what happens is that on some of these engines when they reach well above 150,000 miles, the head gaskets can fail and cause a number of problems. The most notable problem is the coolant in the cylinders, as well as the engine head damage from the big heat. Engine heads can warp and then they will require some machining work to be done.

When this problem happens and the head gasket fails, you will notice coolant loss, milky oil, as well as white smoke. The symptoms really depend on where the gasket has failed. It could leak coolant in the cylinders and burn the coolant. Or it could leak coolant in the oil compartment and dilute the oil and produce a milky sludge in the process. Now let’s continue with the next 1GR-FE engine problems.

3. Water Pump Failures

The third in our list of 1GR-FE engine problems is the problem with the water pump. Water pumps on these engines tend to fail more often than usual.

And this could be one of the causes of the blown head gasket problem that we covered previously. So, why is this the case?

Well, the water pump circulates the coolant inside and outside of the engine. Once the water pump stops working well, the coolant will start to run hot.

And this hot coolant will warp the heads of the engine and cause the coolant to leak out and the cylinder head gasket to stop doing its job well.

The engine will overheat and you will have a lot of problems. What is worse is that when this water pump fails, it is difficult to diagnose the problem.

Sometimes this water pump creates noise when fails, or produces leaks. But it is rather difficult for the untrained eye to diagnose the problem.

So, if your engine runs hot and overheats. The best would be to visit a shop as soon as possible. Because the more you drive with an overheating engine, the worse it will get and the engine heads can warp. Now let’s continue with the next 1GR-FE engine problems.

4. Oil Consumption At High Miles

The next in our list of 1GR-FE engine problems is the problem with oil consumption. This engine when reaches high mileage starts to drink more oil than usual.

As some owners reported, they have put in 5.5 quarts of oil and they only got 4.5 quarts of oil out of the engine.

This is understandable since every engine drinks oil when it reaches higher miles. The solution for this problem is to use a thicker oil like 5w40 or eventually do the oil changes more regularly. So, if you did the engine oil change at 10,000 miles, reduce this interval to 5,000 miles as one owner reported and you will be good.

Also, if you are looking for a used model with high miles, be really aware of this problem. Since engines with excessive oil consumption can be a big problem.

1GR-FE Engine Reliability

So, we have covered the 1GR-FE engine problems. We learned more about the four most common issues that this engine has. Now let’s give it a reliability score.

In terms of reliability, we can give this engine 4.5/5 stars. Mainly because of these issues that we listed.

If you are looking for an engine of this type, go for the double VVT-i type. Since these engines are more reliable, more efficient, and have higher horsepower numbers. Now let’s conclude this article.


In this article, we covered quite a bit when it comes to the 1GR-FE engine problems. First, we learned about this engine and its main concepts. Then we covered the specs of the engine and learned in which applications the engine was included.

After that, we focused primarily on the 1GR-FE engine problems. We covered the four most common issues that this engine has and finally, we gave this engine a reliability score.

Overall, this engine is a really good purchase and you will not regret buying one. Just make sure that the engine is relatively low miles if you want to get the most out of it. Because if the engine is worn, problems are imminent.


Which Car Uses 1GR Engine?

This engine is used in a number of Toyota models and one Lexus model. The most common applications for this engine are the Toyota 4Runner, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Land Cruiser, and Toyota Hilux. But this engine can also be found in some JDM models like the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, and Toyota Fortuner. As well as in one Lexus model. Namely, the Lexus GX 400.

How Much HP Does A 1GR-FE Engine Have?

This engine develops anywhere between 236 – 285 hp and 266 – 285 lb-ft of torque. The power numbers really depend on the applications. In some of the models, this engine is tuned to create more power, while in some is a bit de-tuned for fuel efficiency.

How Many MPG Does A 1GR-FE Engine Get?

The exact number of MPG that this model gets really depends on the application. The engine comes in a variety of applications and each one of them performs differently. But generally, it gets about 20 mpg combined on average.

Is The 1GR-FE A Good Engine?

Yes, the 1GR-FE is a really good engine that does not have a lot of problems. In fact, there are no serious problems with this engine except for oil consumption which can start to develop at higher miles. But overall, you will have at least 300,000 miles without the engine requiring a rebuild or replacement.

What Is The Difference Between Toyota 1GR-FE and 2GR-FE?

The main difference between the two is the displacement. The 1GR-FE is 4.0L in displacement while the 2GR-FE is 3.5L in displacement. The 2GR-FE is also an engine that suits better front-wheel-drive applications.

Which Toyota V6 Engine Is Most Reliable?

From their newer engines, the GR engine is pretty decent when it comes to reliability. Especially the 1GR-FE which can be regarded as one of the best V6 engines that Toyota produced. And what is good is that you can still find this engine in a modern 2023 4Runner. Also, other engines from this GR family are pretty decent and can push more than 300,000 miles with no major problems.