For most engines, rebuilding can be a straightforward process of googling a few articles online, picking parts from a catalogue or even a kit and then the fun starts a few weeks later and you can build your engine.

For the 1GZ-FE, it’s a different beast:

Documentation is rare to nonexistent

If it exists, it’s in Japanese or roughly translated with little explanation

Buying parts might have months in lead time as you wait for them to ship from Japan, and  current supply chain conditions aren’t helping.

This article, or series of articles, is my attempt at documenting what was involved in the process and where we sourced our parts.

Part of it is so that crazy people like you have a guide that I didn’t have the luxury of, but a lot of it is so when I come back in a year or so after blowing the engine spectacularly I can figure out how to do it again.



1. Workshop Manual

The first thing I bought was a workshop manual for the engine. For most engines this is a simple task, not the case here.

These are rare enough as is, and by the time you read this they might be harder to find than a 2000GT. I was searching online for whether a workshop manual existed and found a few photos on Imgur of what could be one. It had a few diagrams in it that I guessed might help with engine assembly so I decided to buy one.

I translated the text to grab the characters I needed and googled them. After a few hours of searching I found a few on a website called Buyee and bid on it. For $100 I obtained something that saved me thousands.

Unfortunately, this manual is in Japanese. Thankfully there are pictures to help me find what I need and I can translate the text to English as needed. Since these are so rare, I plan to scan the entire thing to preserve it for future builders, and may even translate it with one of my Japanese friends as I go.

I’ll attach it somewhere on this site when I do.

1GZ-FE Workshop Manual Cover


Why it’s helpful:

A workshop manual tells you how to assemble and disassemble things. Most processes are self explanatory, but things like reassembling the cams and timing chains as well as setting the timing is not.

It also contains other things like bearing clearances and torque specs.




Measurement tools

In order to get parts you need to make certain measurements and having the right tool set helps. This will be detailed in a separate post that will be linked.



Generic Tools

This engine is wonderfully designed. with various forms of 10mm and 14mm sockets you can take apart almost anything in the engine. There are a few specific tools like huge allen head sockets that are required here and there, and I’ll keep a running list as I find new tools.



Engine Internals

Crankshafts and Camshaft Bearings

Camshaft and Crank Bearings

Pistons, Connecting Rods, and Conrod Bearings



Water Pump

Oil Pump


Bolts & Studs

Choosing tools to Build an engine

What started off as a cheap engine is quickly rising up to become what could be an expensive one,

As a result, cheaping out on things is not an option in some cases. while researching how to build an engine I’m finding many processes that need to be done that I didn’t expect and require special tools. To an expert these might be obvious things: like setting the ring gap, but to the inexperienced builder these seem like things you’d expect to be done when you purchase them.


Some of these tasks seem like they could be entirely skipped and there are many items that could be purchased cheaper. However, when it comes to the most complex, dynamic, and expensive part of the car: the engine, I refuse to destroy it simply because I was too lazy to check a tolerance or too cheap to buy the right tool.


In this post I’ll document the tools I purchased and update it with links to how I’m using each of them as I go along. Let’s get started:


Ring Compressor:

A ring compressor is a simple device made to compress the rings on a piston so that it can be installed in a block.

There are two options:

  • A universal winding type
  • A billet size-specific type


The universal type works by placing a coiled piece of metal around the ring/piston and winding it to tighten it, and works for almost any bore size.

The billet type works for a single bore size


At first glance the universal type seems like the obvious choice. However, you’re more likely to damage a ring.

Since the 1GZFE has 12 cylinders, there’s a high probability a ring is damaged and the engine gets ruined. As a result, the billet one was an easy choice.

I chose a Wiseco 81mm tapered piston ring compressor sleeve RCS08100 for $55 on eBay.