There are not a lot of big V8 engines that can brag about the fact there’s only 5 common problems we can tell you about, but if anyone can do it, it’s Toyota. Toyota’s 4.6 V8 1UR-FE engine was used in multiple variations from 2006 and all the way up to 2023. That alone speaks volumes about its reliability.
Doing your own research before you decide to buy a used Toyota or a Lexus with a V8 engine is always a good idea. You just don’t want to end up with an unreliable or poorly maintained car that is a pain to deal with on a day-to-day basis. This is why you need to make the right call when it comes to buying a used vehicle.
First, we are going to cover the basic specs of this engine, then we are going to elaborate on the Toyota 1UR-FE engine problems and see what troubles this engine, and lastly we will cover the models that have this engine. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the topic.
Basic Specs Of The Toyota 1UR-FE Engine
The 1UR-FE engine is an engine developed by Toyota in the early 2000s and was released in 2006. It was mainly targeted at the Middle East market.
This engine was designed with the goal to replace the older UZ family of engines that was used from the early 90s.
And the UR family of engines did precisely that, this engine, although not as reliable as the 1UZ used previously, it is still one of the best engines Toyota ever produced.
What is interesting about the 1UR-FE engine is that this engine uses a revised design of the cylinder heads compared to the UZ engine.
This engine comes with a dual overhead camshaft layout, so there are two cams per bank and each of these camshafts have VVT-i also known as variable valve timing.
Except that, there are no significant changes compared to the previous UZ engine besides the revised heads and increase in displacement.
Nevertheless, here are the full specs of this 1UR-FE engine.
- Configuration: V8
- Displacement: 4.6L
- Cylinder Bore: 94 mm
- Stroke: 83 mm
- Block & Head Material: Aluminum
- Head Design: DOHC, 32 valves
- Fuel Injection: Port Injection
- Variable Valve Timing: Yes, Dual VVT-i
- Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
- Horsepower: 304 – 347 hp
- Torque: 324 – 339 lb-ft
Common 1UR-FE Engine Problems
Common problems with the Toyota 1UR-FE 4.6 V8 engine include:
- Oil Consumption
- Water Pump Failures
- Timing Chain Tensioner Failures
- Valve Spring Failures
- Electronic Throttle System Failures
So, we listed the most common problems with this engine, and now let’s move on and dissect each of these problems in detail.
1. Oil Consumption
The biggest problem with this engine is the excessive oil consumption. So, why do these engines consume oil?
Well, this is a common problem with Toyota engines and happens on a lot of their engines from this era or newer.
In many of the cases, the piston ring lands are filled with oil sludge and this sludge is preventing the rings from doing their job.
So, some of the engine oil is allowed to escape and enter the combustion chamber. In many cases, this problem can be moderate. But in some cases, it can get excessive. Especially at high-mileage engines.
That’s why we often advise to avoid high-mileage engines. This way you will be sure that you get an engine that doesn’t consume excessive amounts of oil.
Even if you go to the dealership and report to the technicians that the engine consumes oil. They will not do anything since, for Toyota, a normal consumption is 1 quart per every 1,200 miles (ca. 1,931 km).
And even if the engine consumes more, they will tell you that the engine is high mileage. So, when it comes to these engines, the only way around is to rebuild them or replace them completely.
2. Water Pump Failures
Another problem that this engine is notorious for is the water pump failure. This was also a big headache to its predecessor, the UZ engine.
What happens is that the water pump can often fail and fail very soon. Once it fails, it will start to leak coolant and produce weird noises.
Many people are simply unaware of these issues, and they often overheat their engines. And when this engine overheats, this will result in engine damage.
The cylinder head has to be resurfaced, and also the head gasket has to be replaced. Very expensive job.
And if it overheats too much, it can even warp the block and total out the engine. So, you need to be aware of this issue and make sure that you don’t let your engine overheat.
Monitor the water pump from time to time and also monitor the temperatures. If there are leaks, noises, and the temperatures are rising. Check the water pump because this pump has to go.
The replacement is also not very cheap but it has to be done. The average lifespan of these pumps is about 60,000 miles (ca. 96,561 km), sometimes a lot less, depending on your luck in most cases.
Now let’s move on to the next Toyota 1UR-FE engine problems.
3. Timing Chain Tensioner Failures
Timing chain problems are also common on this engine. So, what is a timing chain, and why is it a problem?
Well, the timing chain is a special chain that is basically driving the engine and keeps the timing of the valves and pistons in check.
This chain in many engines can stretch and fail, but in this case, the chain is really strong on the 1UR engine. The problem is the tensioner.
This engine uses a hydraulic tensioner that over time can start to fail and allow the chain to get loose.
When a chain is loose, there will be increased rattle inside the engine. This rattle can be strong, especially at idle when the engine rotates at low RPM. And when you apply the throttle, the rattle will go away.
But this problem shouldn’t be ignored because this can lead to engine failure. If the chain jumps, the timing will be off and valves and pistons will come together. Resulting in a very expensive repair.
So, make sure that you replace this tensioner before it totals out your engine.
4. Valve Spring Failures
Valve spring issues were noted on the 1UR-FE engine. So, what are valve springs, and why are they so important?
Valve springs are special springs installed on each of the engine valves. They have a simple purpose of returning the valve to its original position.
Toyota has made a mistake with the engine valves installed on this engine. They tend to fail often and whenever they fail they can cause the engine valves not to function properly and in the worst case to even drop a valve.
And you definitely don’t want that to happen to you because this is game over for your engine. In 2010 there was a special recall on this problem where this issue was recalled.
In other words, all of the models affected in the recall had to go back to the dealership to get their valve springs replaced.
5. Electronic Throttle System Failures
Problems with the electronic throttle system on these engines were also reported. Toyota called this system ETCS-i.
This is an intelligent throttle system that does not use a classic drive-by-wire system but it electronically adjusts the position of the throttle.
And this technology since it was pretty new, it is more problematic on these Toyota models. Specifically, the throttle body position sensor monitors the position of the throttle.
Luckily, it is not that expensive to fix this problem, and can be done rather simply.
Which Toyota’s and Lexus Have The 1UR-FE Engine?
- 2009 – 2012 Toyota Sequoia
- 2009 – 2019 Toyota Tundra
- 2012 – 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser (Australia, Middle East, China, and Japan)
- 2005 – 2011 Lexus GS 460 Middle East
- 2006 – 2017 Lexus LS 460 & LS 460 L Middle East
- 2009 – 2023 Lexus GX 460
What Are The Common Toyota 1UR-FE Engine Problems?
Common Toyota 1UR-FE engine problems include issues with oil consumption, valve spring problems (there was a recall on this problem), water pump failures, timing chain tensioner failures, and also problems with the throttle body. Overall, this engine is pretty good and doesn’t have a lot of serious problems.
Is The Toyota 1UR-FE Engine Reliable?
Yes, the 1UR-FE engine is really reliable and will last forever if you maintain it well. Although, oil consumption can get excessive at higher miles, which will require an engine rebuild. So, keep this in mind if you are looking for a car with this engine that has a lot of miles on the odometer.