Engine Toyota 4A-GE

The 1.6-liter Toyota 4A-GE gasoline engine was produced by the company from 1983 to 2002 and was installed on many popular concern models, such as Carina, Celica and Corolla Levin. This power unit has several modifications, which are conditionally divided into 5 generations.

The A family also includes engines: 8A‑FE, 5A‑FE, 5A‑FHE, 4A‑FE, 4A‑FHE, 4A‑GE, 4A‑GZE, 7A‑FE.

In 1983, a new engine with a sporty character debuted on the fifth generation Corolla, the aluminum 16-valve block head of which was developed by Yamaha engineers. In all other respects, it was a completely classic 4-cylinder unit with a cast-iron block, a timing belt drive and no hydraulic lifters. So the valves need to be adjusted.

There are two versions of the engine with 16 and 20 valve cylinder heads, but most of them are divided into 5 generations:

  • The first generation, either Blue Top or Early Bigport, features a silver valve cover that has Twin Cam 16 VALVE written in both blue and black letters at the same time. Such a unit was put on models for the Japanese and American markets from 1983 to 1987. The motor was equipped with a T-VIS adjustable air intake system and developed from 110 to 130 hp.
  • The second generation or Red & Black Top or Late Bigport was produced from 1987 to 1992 and was externally distinguished by the fact that the inscriptions on the lid were applied in red and black letters. Despite the fact that the power did not increase, work was carried out to strengthen the structure: the cylinder block received additional stiffeners, the connecting rod bearings became wider.
  • The third generation or Red Top or Smallport was produced for a short time, only from 1989 to 1991. It was possible to distinguish it by the inscription Twin cam 16 valve made only in red letters. This engine received reduced intake channels and therefore got rid of the T-VIS system, the connecting rod and piston group also changed due to an increase in the compression ratio from 9.4 to 10.3, and oil nozzles for cooling the pistons also appeared. Power increased to 140 hp.
  • The fourth generation or Silver Top received a new 20-valve cylinder head and was distinguished by a gray cover with the TWIN CAM 20 inscription, made in silver paint. Such a power unit was produced from 1991 to 1995 and was installed only on Japanese models. In addition to the 20-valve cylinder head, the engine received a complex intake system with four throttles and a VVT phase regulator on the intake shaft. Thus, the engine power was raised to 160 hp.
  • The fifth generation or Black Top can be identified by the black plastic valve cover. Such engines were produced from 1995 to 2002 and are found only on Japanese models. Thanks to a slight increase in the diameter of the throttles, camshaft cams and the compression ratio from 10.5 to 11.0, 165 hp was squeezed out of the unit and this is the maximum for the line.

The engine was installed on:

  • Toyota Carina 3 (A60) in 1983 – 1985; Carina 4 (T150) in 1984 – 1988; Carina 5 (T170) in 1987 – 1992; Carina 7 (T210) in 1996 – 2001;
  • Toyota Celica 3 (A60) in 1983 – 1985; Celica 4 (T160) in 1985 – 1989;
  • Toyota Corolla 5 (E80) in 1983 – 1987; Corolla 6 (E90) in 1987 – 1992; Corolla 7 (E100) in 1991 -1998; Corolla 8 (E110) in 1995 – 2002;
  • Toyota Corona 7 (T140) in 1983 – 1985; Corona T160 in 1985 – 1988;
  • Toyota MR2 1 (W10) in 1984 – 1989;
  • Toyota Sprinter 5 (E80) in 1983 – 1987; Sprinter 6 (E90) in 1987 – 1992; Sprinter 7 (E100) in 1992 – 1995; Sprinter E110 in 1995 – 2000.


Production years 1983-2002
Displacement, cc 1587
Fuel system injector
Power output, hp 110 – 140 (16 valve versions)
160 – 165 (20 valve versions)
Torque output, Nm 130 – 150 (16 valve versions)
160 – 165 (20 valve versions)
Cylinder block cast iron R4
Block head aluminum 16v
aluminum 20v
Cylinder bore, mm 81
Piston stroke, mm 77
Compression ratio 9.4 – 10.3 (16 valve versions)
10.5 – 11.0 (20 valve versions)
Hydraulic lifters no
Timing drive belt
Turbocharging no
Recommended engine oil 5W-30, 5W-40
Engine oil capacity, liter 3.2
Fuel type petrol
Euro standards EURO 2
Fuel consumption, L/100 km (for Toyota Corolla Levin 1998)
— city
— highway
— combined
Engine lifespan, km ~300 000
Weight, kg 135

Disadvantages of the 4A-GE engine

  • Toyota A-series engines are reliable and do not have any design flaws, however, for a run of over 100,000 km, there is a knock of piston pins from working out. Before you decide to repair, check the valve clearances, they often knock.
  • Sensors are considered the weak point of the engine and electrical problems occur regularly. The reason for a sudden increase in fuel consumption is usually a burnt-out lambda probe, if the temperature sensor breaks down, the car stalls all the time or does not start at all, and the engine speed floats due to failures of the absolute pressure sensor and throttle position.
  • After 200,000 km, piston rings or valve stem seals often wear out and oil consumption appears, which over time can rise to 1 liter per 1000 km.
  • This engine constantly worries about trifles and it’s not about reliability, but about its old age. From bad fuel, nozzles or a throttle quickly become clogged and the engine starts to triple. The crankshaft oil seal often sweats with oil, and the outdated ignition system also fails.

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