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Toyota 3S-GE Engine


Introduced in 1984, 3S-GE was the 2 liter naturally aspirated performance engine generally mounted in Toyota’s mid-range sports cars until its production ended in 2002. Just like the other performance engines of the same era, 3S-GE utilized a cast iron block with an aluminum alloy head, which was considered to be the optimum combination for designing a lightweight and strong engine.


3SGE had a displacement of 1998cc. Bore and stroke were both 86mm, which is also known as a square design. Cast iron block employed an open deck design, meaning that the cylinder block was cast with a water jacket around the cylinders, where coolant fluid was circulated to cool down the pistons. Cylinders were housing aluminum alloy pistons that were capable of withstanding high temperatures. Low friction aluminum alloy bearings were supporting the crank shaft. Crank shaft was balanced by eight counter weights and oil holes were placed in the middle of the crankshaft to provide oil to the connecting rods, bearing, pistons and other moving components.


Aluminum alloy head was designed with pent roof combustion chambers and the spark plugs were located in the middle of combustion chambers for increased efficiency. Cross flow intake and exhaust layout and Dual Overhead Cams with 16 valves were the other key elements ofthe engine. 3S-GE received major and minor revisions throughout its life span. Although there is no such official classification from Toyota, enthusiasts generally consider that a total of 5 generations of 3S-GE were produced.


First Generation


The production of 3S-GE started in May 1984. First generation was available with two different setups. The first one was equipped with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, which recirculated a portion of the exhaust gas into the combustion chambers for reduced exhaust emissions.  This version was available in US and it was equipped with a less aggressive ECU compared to JDM version which was also lacking EGR.



Besides the EGR and ECU differences all first generation engines were the same. Both versions had a compression ratio of 9.2:1. Intake manifold was featuring Toyota variable induction system (T-VIS). TVIS was operated by ECU and utilized a set of butterflies that manipulated one of the intake valves per cylinder. In order to improve mid-range torque, TVIS blocked the flow of air through the manipulated valve until the engine reaches 4500RPM. An Air Flow Meter (AFM) was used to measure the air drawn into the engine and coil and distributor ignition system was used. JDM version of First Generation 3S-GE was delivering 160hp where US version was rated at 135hp.


Second Generation


Production of second generation 3S-GE started in 1989. The major change was with the intake manifold. The sizes of the ports were slightly reduced and TVIS system was replaced by Acoustically Controlled Intake System (ACIS). ACIS consisted of a 3 piece intake manifold. The first piece was housing the intake runners, then there was a plenum which opened and closed with butterfly valves, and then more runners were leading to another plenum. The middle plenum was opened at a certain rev point, to increase the intake volume. Another change with the intake system was replacement of AFM system with a Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor.  The other differences from first generation were higher compression ratio, 10.1:1 versus 9.2:1, and a reworked exhaust manifold to improve gas flow.


Toyota 3SGE


Third Generation


Released in 1994, third generation 3S-GE was almost the same with second generation; however the compression was raised to 10.3:1 and the RED line was now at 7000RPM. JDM version of third generation 3SGE was rated at 180hp since it was not equipped with EGR. Other markets only received 3SGE with EGR and the output for those engines was 170hp.


Fourth Generation


Released in 1997, fourth generation 3S-GE was the first 3S-GE version to receive Toyota’s Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i) system. With the introduction of VVT-i, Toyota added the “BEAMS” badge to 3S-GE engine, BEAMS was standing for “Breakthrough Engine with Advanced Mechanism System”.


The changes on fourth generation were not limited with VVT-i. Engine block had improved reinforcement around the corners and the compression ratio was increased to 11.0:1. Fourth generation was available in two different versions; first one was used in JDM Toyota MR2, Toyoa Celica ST202 SS-II and SS-III, and in Toyota Caldina. This version was also called “Red Top” because of red valve cover and it was delivering 200hp at 7000RPM (190hp for engines fitted with an automatic transmission.)



The second version of fourth generation 3S-GE was the so called "Grey Top" engine.  Even though the valve cover on this engine was black, it was referred to as "Grey Top" due to the grey intake plenum. This engine was available in Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Caldina GT models in Japan, Power output was 175hp at 6,600 rpm in the RAV4 and 180hp in the Caldina GT.


Fifth Genertion


1998 saw the release of second BEAMS engine, also known as fifth generation 3SGE. This engine is also generally called “Black Top” among Toyota enthusiast because of its black valve cover. Fifth generation was developed to be solely used in Toyota’s luxury sports sedan Altezza RS200. Toyota engineers spent some serious amount of time to match 3S-GE properties with distinguished characteristics Altezza brand.


Opposed to fourth generation 3S-GE, which had VVT-i only on the intake cam, fifth generation 3S-GE was equipped with Dual VVT-i, meaning VVT-i was found on both intake and exhaust cams. Dual VVT-I was not the only difference between fourth and fifth generation. Compression ratio was increased to 11.5:1. Cams with wilder profiles were now running titanium valves (titanium valves were only found on cars with manual transmission). Exhaust system was replaced by a low restriction variant, injector size was increased, and for better throttle response an electronic throttle control was adopted.  Fifth generation was making 210hp at 7600RPM (for manual only, engines fitted with an automatic transmission were delivering 200hp) and 216Nm at 6400RPM. Production of 3S-GE ended in 2000 along with Altezza RS200.




Displacement (cc)


Power Output (hp)

135 - 210

Compression Ratio

9.2:1 - 11.5:1

Bore (mm)


Stroke (mm)


Years Produced

1984 - 2000



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