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Discussion Starter #1
Potential re-post.

I'm learning about the powerplant of the Elige. I haven't seen a thread that covers basic information about the motor for n00bs, so I thought I'd share some of what I found here. I'd love others to post other links to this end.

 

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2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
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814 Posts
A better oil pan was one of the first aftermarket parts out for the 2zz, and there have been several excellent aftermarket options offered, including a couple that are 'bespoke' for the 2zz Lotus which allow slightly easier access to some parts with the lotus style engine mounting. Poor oil control in cornering was well documented, and I would not track an Elige without some kind of gated pan installed.
 

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Premium Member
2005 Elise LSS Saffron Yellow
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814 Posts
One thing that I, coming from several decades of Toyota background often miss when reading discussion of the 2ZZ-GE engine is an understanding of its position among other Toyota and Yamaha designs.

As with the SHO Taurus V6 back in the '90s, or indeed the various Cosworth heads for the Ford Essex engine in the '50s and '60s, most of the engineering is just as OEM as it says on the label. The ZZ engine is very definitely a Toyota design. It's clearly a descendant of the last A, S, and JZ engines - the cooling system layout (including oil intercooler on EU/AUS models) is identical to 3S-GE and 5S-FE engines, the VVTi cam drive is just like the JZ engine uses (except with a chain instead of a belt), and even in small details, it's very definitely a Toyota engine. Yamaha obviously did the high RPM port rework for the head, and as VVTLi doesn't seem to appear on any other engine, we can assume that they might have cooked up the variable lift part as well.

That said, the only other major differentiator between the 1ZZ (which is obviously all Toyota) and the 2ZZ is the use of an MMC cylinder block in place of cast iron liners to save another 13kg of engine weight over the 1ZZ.

Both the 1ZZ-FE and 2ZZ-GE review SAE tech papers can be found on the web if you look a little. The 2ZZ paper mostly talks about the engineering differences from the 1ZZ engine. The oil pan is specifically mentioned, "The oil pan itself is without a baffle. This quickens the return of oil into the oil pan, increasing performance. Air suction was minimized by optimally positioning the suction pipe inlet. The 2ZZ-GE can withstand 1.0G without sucking air." So the answer to 'why did they DO that?' is: they removed the windage baffle in the 1ZZ (and A, and S) engine pan for the HP boost from reduced windage losses in the confined space they had available - probably a reasonable choice for the FWD Celica, Matrix, and Corolla platforms it was going into. If you have room for a bigger gated pan (as we do on the Lotus), you can have your cake and eat it too. Full disclosure: I was very pleased to discover that the second owner of my Elise had put a gPan on it - one less thing to do.

The 1ZZ paper spends lots of ink talking about combustion and torque optimization, and does directly compare performance with the predecessor (presumably 7A-FE) engine. It also spends some effort talking about packaging and weight savings and performance improvements (both specific and absolute) over the (cast iron) A engine it replaced.

TLDR: the 2ZZ-GE is just as much a Toyota engine as anything else that ever came in a Corolla. Yamaha contributed some head design cleverness for maximum output and possibly the dual-lift valve actuation technology, but didn't design most of the engine, which is a logical extension of other Toyota designs of the '80s and '90s.

I am, incidentally, half-heartedly looking for a donor manual trans 2ZZ-GE powered Matrix, Vibe, or Corolla to do a drivetrain transplant into my '92 Celica convertible. While the additional 45 HP (!) would be very welcome, the big win would be in losing 200 lbs (!!) of drivetrain weight in the front of the car, and getting a smaller drivetrain package (easier to work on) than the 2.2L 5S-FE it has now. That should give you some idea just how much better the 2ZZ-GE is as a performance engine than its predecessors. The transplant looks really easy because things like the engine mounts and shift linkage are in the same places and attach the same way - it's an evolutionary change, so lots of stuff still fits between generations.
 
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