Toyota 22-RE Engine: Specs, Performance & Reliability

Toyota’s 22-R and 22-RE 4-bangers are old and aging motors compared to the K24s of today. As part of the R-series family, the 2.4L fuel-injected motors are as strong as they are reliable.

They’re not the most powerful motors right out of the box, but that’s something you can fix with a few mods. For engines that are from the mid-80s, the aftermarket support is pretty decent.

The durability of stock 22-RE and 22R engines is commendable, to say the least. Examples of these engines lasting over 400,000 miles with nothing but routine maintenance aren’t uncommon.

Join us as we take a closer look at the performance, specs, and reliability of Toyota’s 22-RE and 22R engines in this article.

Toyota 22-RE & 22R Engine Specs

Toyota Hilux 22-RE engine
  • Engine code: 22-RE, 22R
  • Production: 1982-1995
  • Layout: Inline-4 SOHC 8V (2 valves per cylinder)
  • Displacement: 2.4L (2,366 cc)
  • Fuel system: Electronic Fuel Injection, Carburetor (22R)
  • Cylinder bore: 92 mm (3.62″)
  • Piston stroke: 89 mm (3.5″)
  • Compression ratio: 9.4:1
  • Power: 105 to 113 hp (22-RE), 97 hp to 109 hp (22R)
  • Torque: 136 lb-ft to 140 lb-ft (22-RE), 128 lb-ft to 138 lb-ft (22R)
  • Firing order: 1-3-4-2

Being one of the last members of Toyota’s R family, the 22R and 22-RE became popular engine choices for the JDM marque, finding their way into a variety of tuner cars and trucks.

The 2.4L inline-4 engines started their life in 1982 and were in production until 1995 before being phased out. All 22Rs and REs from 1985 and up are very similar.

While earlier 22R engines were carburetted, the 22-RE came with fuel injection — a standout feature of the naturally aspirated SOHC motor.

Compared to the 22R, the 22-RE made use of different timing belts, cylinder heads, and piston rings. So effectively, even though these engines are quite similar, they don’t share many parts.

You get 2,366 cc to play with, and 2 valves per cylinder with a 92 mm bore and 89 mm stroke.

The compression ratio stands at 9.4:1 for EFi, with earlier 22-RE variants putting out 105 hp and 136 lb-ft of torque. Later models, introduced in 1985, were rated at 113 hp and 140 lb-ft.

Interestingly, post-1985 22-RE engines were heavily revised to a point where many parts were no longer interchangeable between pre-1985 22-REs and 22Rs.

Lifted Toyota Hilux

The overhaul involved a revised cylinder head, block, and pistons. Associated parts like the timing chain and water/oil pumps were also reworked in 22-REs produced after 1985.

The engine, like most JDM makes of its time, features an aluminum cylinder head, while the block itself is made of cast iron.

But unlike some of the more popular JDM engines of the time, the 22-RE lacked a sporty edge, evident from its rather underwhelming power figures. In its defense, the engine was never designed to set lap times.

Although the engine lacked power, the 22-RE was well-known for its durability, fuel efficiency, and decent low-to-mid-range torque. Cars featuring Toyota’s 22-RE engine include:

  • 1984-1995 Toyota Hilux
  • 1983-1985 Toyota Celica
  • 1983-1987 Toyota Corona RT142
  • 1984-1995 Toyota Pickup
  • 1985-1995 Toyota 4Runner
  • 1989-1997 Volkswagen Taro

How Long Do Toyota’s R Engines Last?

The cast-iron block gave the 22-RE bulletproof reliability. Of course, it wasn’t just the engine block that helped. Everything from the soft piston rings to its overhead valvetrain design played a significant role in the engine’s durability.

It’s not uncommon to see 22-REs lasting over 400,000 miles. Accounts of the engine crossing 500,000 miles are available across multiple forums and internet discussions.

Plus, the engine is designed to be relaxed and under-stressed. Low output paired with over-engineered internals is usually considered an excellent combination for a reliable engine, and the 22-RE is a prime example of that.

22-RE timing chain

While you may question its lack of power, the engine more than makes up for it with its longevity and reliability.

But unfortunately, nothing’s perfect. 22-RE owners, especially post-1985 versions, have reported issues of a chattering sound emanating from the front of the engine.

The timing chain is stretched to a point where the tensioner cannot take up any more slack, causing it to rub against the chain guide and create noise.

The issue can snowball into more expensive repairs like damaged pistons, bent valves, and failed cooling systems if left unattended.

Can the 22-RE Handle a Turbo?

Yes, it can. Toyota even developed a factory turbocharged version of the 22-RE, dubbed the 22-RTE.

It churns out 135 hp and 173 lb-ft of torque. Not the most exciting power figures in today’s motoring scene, but a sizable amount for a runabout in the late 80s.

So turbocharging is possible. However, the stock engine runs at a relatively high compression ratio, which is not advised for a forced induction setup.

Turbocharged 22-RE engine

Ideally, you’d want to keep the boost pressure and compression low, as the stock ignition system is a bit sloppy and is not designed to retard timing to better optimize the additional air and fuel supply.

Anything below 8.5:1 and 7 PSI of boost is advised for pump gas.

Alternatively, you can upgrade the fuel injection system by installing bigger injectors. Pair that with forged internals, and you may reliably run a higher boost, unlocking more power.

Simple mods like an aftermarket exhaust manifold or headers, short ram or cold air intake, upgraded ignition system, and 22-RE performance cams should easily unlock around 120 whp.

Managing 300 hp from the 22-RE engine is possible by installing a forced-induction setup. But bear in mind that the engine is not exactly a rev-happy unit, owing to its large displacement and long block.

Concluding Summary

22-RE air intake

As you can tell, the 22-RE is an engine built to last. Sure, it may not be the most powerful or the most sophisticated engine out there, but it can outlive itself while handling quite a bit of abuse.

A textbook example of reliability, the 22-RE, in addition to being durable, is also an excellent platform for mods. It’s one of the most reliable Toyota engines ever made.

The engine’s not too complicated, yet it features robust internals, a cast-iron block, and 2.4 liters of displacement. Although it’s an outdated piece of hardware, it’s by no means fragile.

Install some tastefully selected upgrades and it will be almost as good, if not better, than most 3-cylinder hoovers you find in modern runabouts.

How many miles do you have on your 22-RE motor? Let us know by leaving a comment below! If you find this post helpful, consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook, Reddit, and your favorite car forums. We appreciate your support!

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