2L-TE vs 1KZ-TE

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

Apr 3, 2019
Denver, CO
I am in the beginning stages of researching the import of a short or mid wheelbase Land Cruiser II aka 70 Series Prado from Italy in a year or two. In my time frame and price range, I'll be looking at model years 90 through 96, which will span the above engine options. (And the 90 series, but that's a topic for another day)

Obviously the 1KZ has more power, and I believe it is still manufactured thus making parts availability better, but I'm wondering what other pros and cons there are between the two motors.

So I'm asking the brain trust here:
  • Is one more durable than the other?
  • Although lower in power output, does the 2L have better fuel economy?
  • Are there special considerations for using US diesel fuel in either engine?
  • Are there any common tweaks that can be done to either motor to improve power?
  • Is it feasible to add an intercooler to the 1KZ?
  • Should I just not worry about which motor and focus more on overall vehicle condition?
Thanks in advance guys!
So Ill start by telling you that I am no expert on Diesel engines BUT I have owned both personally so ill give you my two cents....
I used to have an LJ71 two door cruiser 5 speed manual with the 2LT-E
I currently own a KZJ78 four door cruiser 5 speed manual with the 1KZ-TE

1KZ-TE :
-Comparable on gas milage(obviously depending on how heavy your foot is)
-Less likely to have head cracks
-More power(actually feels like a vehicle should weight to power wise)
-Lots of room to add a FMIC or water to air intercooler(Some models like the surf/hilux have top mounts and could possibly be used with a body lift)
-Tons of available parts in the US (I've ordered most replacement parts from the states regardless of the fact that I live in Japan rn)

-Similar gas milage.
-Seems underpowered, heavy vehicles + smaller engine = high loads and more problems)
-Head cracks are going to happen (I never experienced this but there are tons of cases of this with the 2LT-E)
-Lots of room in the engine bay, and the top mounted turbo is convenient for intercooler mods
-EGR system is bulky and poorly designed (both engines have this)

Both of the cruisers I owned had low miles and never gave me issues. I'm a big believer in preventative maintenance so I always flushed my coolant systems and made sure I had new oil/filters. The best thing you can do with either of these engines to avoid head cracks is to make sure you're not over stressing them. Installing a bung on the down pipe and monitoring EGT's is a great way to do that.

hope this helps, GL!
The 1KZTE/1KZT units hold their value better too. The 2LT has a bit of a poor reputation. If I had the choice I'd go KZJ7x over LJ7x any day.

Both can be modified to make a lot more power. Intercooling really helps them. That also allows higher boost and fueling (= more power). I feel also that the 2LTE/2LT is way underpowered for the vehicles out of the box. It is fine once tuned up to about 18psi though.
My 2 cents
I own the 1kzte goes good great towing and I thrash it hard

Father in law had a hilux 2lt auto and honestly towed a boat fine (6m alloy )
Slow but durable serviced every 5000KS and fully stock standard , he did 250,000 trouble free KS but rust was the killer on this vehicle from the boat ramps
I should mention that I live in Colorado, so a lot of my driving will be in and over the mountains. Sounds like I should start with the 1kz and go from there.

This price is at a premium, but this one checks all the boxes of what I'll be looking for:

The 2LT variants were a desperate attempt by Toyota to keep up with Mitsubishi and Nissan offerings at the time, not that their turbo diesels were remarkably better.
The 2L without the turbo was fine for farmers in their hiluxes for mending fences and feeding cattle, but it just wasnt suitable for hwys with a turbo added.
But taken care of and driven wisely it could chalk up long, reliable miles

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom