Toyota Tacoma 2.7 Engine Problems And Reliability!

Toyota Tacoma 2.7 Engine Problems And Reliability!

June 8, 2023 0 By CarGuy

Are you planning to purchase a Toyota Tacoma and you are asking yourself what are the common Toyota Tacoma 2.7 engine problems? If that’s quite the case, you are in the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this engine.

Every time you purchase a certain model, doing research beforehand is the right way to go. There are models and each of them has a variety of engines. The same case is for the Toyota Tacoma, you have the 2.7 and the 3.5 V6.

For this article, we are primarily focused on the 2.7L engine and we are going to cover the following things. Namely, the specs, Toyota Tacoma 2.7 engine problems, reliability, and life expectancy. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the topic.

Specs Of The Toyota Tacoma 2.7 Engine (2TR-FE)

Before we dive into the Toyota Tacoma 2.7 engine problems, let’s first cover the specs of this engine in general. We are primarily interested in the 2TR-FE engine, which is the second 2.7 engine.

The 2TR-FE engine was introduced in 2003 and is still widely produced and used in many applications, including the Tacoma.

This is an inline-4 engine that is naturally aspirated and basically old technology for modern standards. But this doesn’t mean that it’s bad, its simplicity makes it a lot better than newer engine designs. It is cheap to purchase and cheap to maintain.

The 2TR-FE engine has the following specs.

  • Configuration: Inline-4
  • Cylinder Bore: 95 mm
  • Cylinder Stroke: 95 mm
  • Displacement: 2.7L
  • Block Material: Cast Iron
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head: DOHC
  • Variable Valve Timing: Yes, Before 2015 single, after 2015 dual VVT-i
  • Firing Order: 1,3,4,2
  • Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
  • Horsepower: 164 hp @ 5,200 rpm
  • Torque: 178 – 181 lb-ft

2TR-FE Engine Applications

This 2.7 engine was not included only in the Toyota Tacoma but also in various other Toyota models throughout the years. We decided to add the list since maybe you need parts or whatnot and it is useful information to have if you are looking for a parts vehicle.

  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Toyota Hilux
  • Toyota Hilux Surf
  • Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
  • Toyota Coaster
  • Toyota Innova
  • Toyota Hiace
  • Toyota Coaster

Toyota Tacoma 2.7 Engine Problems

Now let’s briefly list the common Toyota Tacoma 2.7 engine problems.

  • Front Main Seal Failures
  • High Oil Consumption
  • Head Gasket Failures
  • Noisy Engine
  • Feels Underpowered
  • High Fuel Consumption

We listed the common problems, now let’s move on and cover each one of these problems in detail and learn when and how they appear. We are going to list the main causes of why they appear, as well as how serious these problems are. In addition to this, we are also going to cover the symptoms, so let’s dive into the topic.

1. Front Main Seal Failures

The first and probably the most serious problem with this engine is the front main seal failure that can happen.

The front main seal is a component that prevents oil from leaking from the crankshaft. This main seal is a big rubber O-ring.

What can happen is that sometimes this component can fail and massive leaks can develop. These leaks can be so serious that you can end up losing a ton of oil and sometimes if you are not aware, even completely destroying the engine in the process.

Luckily, it is not that expensive to replace this component. Just be aware of it and make sure that you monitor the oil level and see for possible leaks inside the engine bay around the front main seal.

2. High Oil Consumption

Increased oil consumption was also noted on these engines. Just like every Toyota engine, whenever the engine reaches high miles, it starts to drink more oil than usual.

The more miles you put on the engine, the worse it gets in terms of oil consumption. This is why if you are dealing with a higher mileage engine, it is recommended that you carry a quart of engine oil with you in order to make sure that you top off the oil whenever it is needed.

If the engine oil consumption is too serious and the engine consumes a lot of oil, it is a good idea to get a new short block if the cylinder head is in good condition. Or get a long block if the cylinder head is also bad.

It can be expensive but it is far cheaper compared to rebuilding the same engine. The engine will never be good as it was and you will be much better with a new unit from the factory than to spend a lot of money on this issue. Now let’s continue to the next Toyota Tacoma 2.7 engine problems.

3. Head Gasket Failures

Head gasket failures are also very common on these engines. The head gasket is the component that is placed between the cylinder head and the deck of the block and has the purpose of keeping a tight seal.

And what can happen is that this head gasket can fail and whenever it fails, it will allow coolant to mix with engine oil. Or allow coolant to enter the combustion chamber or leak from the outside of the engine.

Every one of these situations means that you have a blown head gasket and it is important that you react quickly and prevent the engine from further damage. But why does this problem occur in the first place?

This problem occurs because of overheating, the engine is pushed really hard and overheats, thus destroying the head gasket. The head gasket is one of the weak spots of the engine that is one of the first ones to fail whenever there is a problem.

This is happening because people tend to overload the engine. They tow heavy stuff or they carry a lot of payload in the rear. This is why we don’t recommend this engine if you plan to use this truck for heavy-duty use.

The better option is to go for the 3.5L V6, this engine has higher displacement and is a much better performer.

4. Noisy Engine

The engine also feels quite noisy compared to other engines. It is not one of the quietest engines out there that you can buy right now.

This is mainly due to the fact that the engine is a truck engine that has a pretty long stroke. Long-stroke engines tend to be louder in their operation.

But this is quite essential for the engine to have that truck performance. So, this is one of the shortcomings that you need to be aware of.

Inside the cabin, it can get very annoying if you drive a lot throughout the day and use this truck for work purposes.

5. Feels Underpowered

Another thing to note is that this engine might feel a bit underpowered. Still, this is an inline-4 engine, and with an inline-4 engine without a turbo, the performance will suffer.

So, we can say that this truck engine is not one of the best performers out there in terms of towing and hauling stuff.

The maximum towing capacity of this engine is 3,500 lbs. Which for a truck is pretty low. If you also push this truck very hard and push it to the limits, you risk a head gasket failure or a different failure from this heavy load.

So, when it comes to this engine, you should keep things moderate and not push it too much because even though it is a very good engine, it can easily turn out to be very bad.

This is also the case with other Toyota applications where you can find this engine, including the 4Runner, which is another very popular model sold in the US.

6. High Fuel Consumption

High fuel consumption is also common on this engine, especially when you tow and haul stuff with the truck.

This is the case because this small engine, when overloaded, will start to burn a lot of fuel. It can consume so much fuel that will make the 2.7L equal in terms of fuel economy with the 3.5L.

So, you need to put the priorities straight before purchasing this truck and get a truck with a bigger engine if you want to use it for work and towing heavy stuff with it.

Toyota 2.7 Engine Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the 2.7 engine is at least 250,000 miles with no major issues. But this can be increased with good maintenance and regular changes. There are many of these engines that surpassed 300,000 miles with no issues. So, if you want something reliable, this is the engine that you are looking for.


To sum things up really quickly, we can honestly say that the Toyota Tacoma 2.7 is a really good engine. But there are also downsides to this engine.

The engine is very underpowered for this chassis and this can affect the fuel economy and longevity of the engine. The more you push the truck, the more the engine life will suffer. So, you might be better off purchasing the bigger 3.5L if you plan to use the truck for work.


What Are The Common Problems With The Tacoma 2.7 Engine?

This engine does not have serious common problems. But there are a few issues that you have to be aware of. Namely, the front main seal can fail and the engine can also overheat if you push it too hard and blow a head gasket. Other issues with this engine are the poor fuel economy, the noise that it produces, and also feels a bit underpowered.

Is The Toyota Tacoma 2.7 Engine Reliable?

Yes, this engine is very reliable. This engine in fact is one of the rare engines that doesn’t have many serious defects and can be pushed to great lengths. This 2.7 engine should last for at least 250,000 miles.