Engine Toyota 3S-FE

The 2.0-liter 16-valve Toyota 3S-FE engine was assembled by the company from 1986 to 2003 and installed on a huge number of models, such as the Celica, Camry, Carina and Caldina. This power unit is rightfully considered one of the most reliable engines of its time.

This EFI multiport fuel injection unit made its debut in 1986 on the Camry V20. The design is classic: a 4-cylinder cast-iron block, a 16-valve aluminum cylinder head, a timing belt drive, due to the lack of hydraulic compensators, the valve needs to be adjusted here.

Over the entire period of its release, this extremely popular engine has been seriously updated more than once and there are modifications of 1986, 1991 and 1996 with a decent list of differences from each other. The ignition system, camshafts, connecting rod and piston group, timing and intake manifold have undergone modernization.

The S family includes engines: 4S‑Fi, 4S‑FE, 3S‑FC, 3S‑FE, 3S‑FSE, 3S‑GE, 3S‑GTE, 5S‑FE.

The engine was installed on:

  • Toyota Avensis 1 (T220) in 1997 – 2003;
  • Toyota Caldina 1 (T190) in 1992 – 2002; Caldina 2 (T210) in 1997 – 2002;
  • Toyota Camry 2 (V20) in 1986 – 1992; Camry V30 in 1990 – 1994; Camry V40 in 1994 – 1998;
  • Toyota Carina 5 (T170) in 1987 – 1992; Carina 6 (T190) in 1992 – 1998;
  • Toyota Celica 4 (T160) in 1986 – 1989; Celica 5 (T180) in 1989 – 1993; Celica 6 (T200) in 1993 – 1999;
  • Toyota Corona 9 (T170) in 1987 – 1992; Corona 10 (T190) in 1992 – 1998;
  • Toyota Picnic 1 (XM10) in 1995 – 2001;
  • Toyota RAV4 1 (XA10) in 1994 – 2003;
  • Toyota Vista 5 (V50) in 1998 – 2003.


Production years 1986-2003
Displacement, cc 1998
Fuel system injector
Power output, hp 115 – 140
Torque output, Nm 165 – 185
Cylinder block cast iron R4
Block head aluminum 16v
Cylinder bore, mm 86
Piston stroke, mm 86
Compression ratio 9.8
Hydraulic lifters no
Timing drive belt
Recommended engine oil 5W-30, 5W-40
Engine oil capacity, liter 3.9
Fuel type petrol
Euro standards EURO 2
Fuel consumption, L/100 km (for Toyota Caldina 2000)
— city
— highway
— combined
Engine lifespan, km ~500 000
Weight, kg 145

Disadvantages of the Toyota 3S-FE engine

  1. Injection pump failure. The problem is accompanied by the penetration of fuel into the crankcase and high wear of the ShPG. Symptoms: an increase in oil that smells of gasoline, twitching while driving, the engine periodically stalls, uneven stroke, swimming speed. It is required to replace the injection pump.
  2. Stuck EGR valve. The reason is coking due to poor fuel. As a result, the number of revolutions floats, the engine malfunctions and the car does not run. Requires valve cleaning.
  3. Speed ​​drop, unit shutdown. It is necessary to clean the throttle valve module as well as the intake manifold. A similar symptomatology is a breakdown of the fuel pump and air filter.
  4. Excessive fuel consumption. It is necessary to adjust the ignition system, clean the injectors, the idle speed control valve and the BDZ.
  5. Vibrations. The reason is the wear of the engine mountings or the failure of one of the cylinders.
  6. Overheating. Replace the radiator cap.

In general, the unit is not bad, it shows stability and agility. With good care, it serves more than 300 thousand km. However, the resource of the 3S-FE engines, which entered production in August 1996, is worse. These engines received lightweight pistons and connecting rods, and the crankshaft remained the same, the 1988 model.

High fuel consumption

High fuel consumption on the 3S-FE engine can most often be associated with a malfunction of the lambda probe. Less often – with a malfunction of the intake air sensor, it is located in the air filter housing. Or the MAP sensor could be the culprit, ie. absolute pressure sensor.

Throttle and idle valve

The throttle valve of the 3S-FE engine has a cable drive and, on later versions, a throttle position sensor. The electronic idle speed controller is used to idle the engine. Recall that thanks to him, when the mechanical damper is completely closed, the air necessary for the engine to idle, bypasses the damper through the idle speed controller channel.

Idle problems on a 3S-FE engine are usually fixed by cleaning the regulator.

The throttle valve on this engine is contaminated with oil vapor and soot. Oil vapors in the intake appear due to their not very effective screening out by the crankcase ventilation system. And the source of soot is the EGR system. After cleaning the throttle body, engine responses are noticeably better.

Dual ignition coils

Since August 1996, the ignition system has been upgraded on the 3S-FE engine. Instead of a distributor, two dual ignition coils were installed, that is, each coil serves two candles. Thus, each candle gives a spark twice within 4 working cycles. Consequently, the load on the candles and high-voltage wires is higher.

In practice, this turned out to be true: compared to the distributor system, coil ignition on the 3S-FE engine required twice as much attention. That is, if previously high-voltage wires served for more than 10 years, then paired with this coil, their resource was reduced to 5-6 years. And the coils themselves turned out to be not so durable compared to the mechanical ignition distributor.

EGR system

The EGR system has been used on the 3S-FE engine since the beginning. The system operates in three modes, focusing on temperature and engine load. There is no exhaust gas recirculation until operating temperature is reached, and also at full throttle (maximum load). At low loads (i.e. leisurely driving), gas recirculation is small. The maximum intake of exhaust gases occurs at an average load and a constant speed (for example, when driving on a highway).

An electro-vacuum valve is used for flexible recirculation control. It controls the EGR valve not directly, but through a vacuum modulator – it is essentially a housing with a membrane. Vacuum opens the EGR valve and pressure closes it. Those. By default, the EGR valve is closed.

Most often in this system on the 3S-FE engine, the electrovacuum valve fails. Because of this, the engine starts to work hard, i.e. detonate at medium loads in the range from 1500 to 2500 rpm. Those. Exhaust gases are not supplied to the intake, due to which the combustion temperature of the air-fuel mixture is greatly increased.

The electrovacuum valve (it is located at the bottom of the intake manifold) can be checked for electrical resistance: the values ​​​​should be from 33 to 39 ohms.

To check, you need to “purge” the modulator. On an idle engine and up to 2500 rpm, it is blown through “through”, i.e. air will exit through ports P and R. Above 2500 rpm, air must not flow through the modulator.

The EGR valve is checked with the engine running. To do this, disconnect the tube on the valve, connect a hand vacuum pump instead and create a vacuum. If, as the vacuum at the Q input increases, the engine starts to run unstable and even stalls, then all components are working properly.

There is also a filter in the vacuum modulator housing, through which tiny portions of exhaust gases pass through and are “cleaned”, entering it through the tube at the moment the EGR valve is closed. This filter needs to be cleaned every couple of years, just compressed air is good for cleaning.


Clogged fuel injectors cause the 3S-FE engine to start erratically when cold or hot. Replacing them solves the starting problems.

Crankcase ventilation

The crankcase ventilation system of the 3S-FE engine is not too diligent in weeding out oil vapors from gases. Therefore, oil vapors settle in the intake manifold and on the throttle valve. To trap oil vapors, some owners install an external oil separator, or even 2 oil separators.

The regular oil separator in the form of a labyrinth is located in the valve cover. Crankcase gases from it are sent to the intake through two channels – before and after the throttle. With abundant deposits in the labyrinth, oil sifting practically stops, so the engine has an oil appetite: i.e. he “uses” the oil vapor that enters the intake manifold. It is also not superfluous to check the check valve in the tube supplying gases behind the throttle. Perhaps it needs to be cleaned, or better, replaced.

8 thoughts on “Engine Toyota 3S-FE”


    I had toyota Rav 4 3s fe engine. if you park the car and engaged P(park position) the vehicle can move, incomplete park. what is the problem?

  2. Lameck chihande

    I have a Toyota ipsam 3s fe engine petrol, year 2000. My question is, what types of engine oil can I use and what types of transmission fluid can I use

  3. i have 3s fe engine on Nadia its not starting with key but if you choke with petrol from the front it starts until the petrol is finished . So basically there is no signal to the injectors to supply fuel . What should i fix .

  4. ezeilo peter

    I have old 3s engine using distributor in rav4 but i want to convert it to iginition in noah 3s-fe, what will i change from my old one. Please need your help, thanks

  5. Alick Siwale

    My 3s engine runs nicely but some times it hesitates to pick up.What could be the cause.

    1. I had a hesitation at the push of the throttle and also between 3500 and 4000 RPM. Finally it was solved with a changed fuelpump and fuel filter after we tried various sensors like throttle position and lambda.
      Good luck

  6. Asani naph

    I have a toyota Noah old shape S3 engine. Spark only apperes once and gone.. But if you wait 3 to 5mins and start again it appears once and gone… We checked crank gear if tooth is missing but no tooth was missing.. We swupped crank sensors with same engine and no change and now am stuck.. I hv left with one option, to trace wiring from the Crankshaft sensor to computer box…. Please l need your help what could be the problem

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