3rz low end power problems, feeling like a sad mower engine, struggling under load - Toyota Tacoma Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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3rz low end power problems, feeling like a sad mower engine, struggling under load

I've got a 2003 3rz thats been put into a 1985 toyota hilux, I have a problem where when accelerating with low rpm the car starts to chug, struggle and hesitate, when the rpm gets to about 4grand or more (bit of a guess as I dont have a tachometer) the power kicks in and it feels like a toyota motor again. Initially thought this was a fuel pressure issue so I changed the fuel filter and fuel pressure regulator but still have the same issue. Its progressively getting worse and when the engine is warm after some 4wding it has barely any power to climb up even the smallest of hills has been starting to stall lately. Also where I would be able to read any codes from the ecu, I've searched the thing over and havent found an obd port, there's a diagnostics port in the engine bay right next to the intake manifold but I'm not sure what scanner will read off that.
Anyway I would appreciate any help at all thanks, Sam, from down in Australia.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 07:01 PM
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Re: 3rz low end power problems, feeling like a sad mower engine, struggling under loa

(1) Welcome to CT!

(2) What ECM are you running with the 3RZ? Did you transplant a 2003 ECM along with the 2003 engine?

(3) Has this been happening ever since the engine transplant, or ....?

(4) What vehicle / model did the 3RZ come from?

(5) Are you still using any 1985 sensors with this 2003 engine and whatever ECM you're using?

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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(1) Thank you!

(2) the ecu/ecm is the same one from the 2003 car, I didnt do the swap myself and the wiring is a mess of spaghetti but it seems to work.

(3) No, just over the past few months the power loss has come up, the engine transplant was done in 2014, ive had the car for well over a year now but this problem has slowly become worse.

(4) From what I know the engine came from a 2wd 2003 hilux.

(5) Most if not all of the sensors on the car now are from the 2003 donor car, I think some of the sensors have been wired to the old dash so the fuel and temp gauges work but other than that they all seem new. I will add though that when i was looking for where the O2 sensor was on the exhaust i found that there was a blocking plate where it should have been, it does have an aftermarket stainless steel exhaust but when i first got the car it drove quite nice with smooth power.

Cheers for the reply, Thanks Sam.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 06:06 AM
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Re: 3rz low end power problems, feeling like a sad mower engine, struggling under loa

Thanks for the background info ...

There are big problems affecting my ability to say much about the situation ...

The US Domestic Market (USDM) Tacoma was a totally new vehicle from the ground up, introduced in 1995.5. It was a completely different species from the earlier Toyota pickups (aka "Pre-Tacos"), which were more similar to the Hilux models marketed elsewhere in the world.

It wouldn't be until the introduction of the completely new 2005+ model Tacomas that Toyota once again displayed some common features between the USDM Tacoma and other markets' Hilux models.

Here's my point ... USDM 1995.5 - 2004 Tacos were a totally different species from both the PreTacos that *might* share some features with a 1985 Hilux as well as any / all Hilux models sold elsewhere in the world in 2003. I have no idea whether anything I could offer based on USDM Tacos has any relevance to a non-US Hilux with the same engine.

Additionally, there's the fact your '85 with a 3RZ is a completely custom rig. This means there's who-knows-how-much DIY "frankensteining" that's been done to it. There's no guarantee that a frankensteined vehicle is built / wired / works like either or all the OEM vehicles from which its components were merged.

Having said that ...

IMHO your #1 priority is to check the engine codes. This means you need to figure out what you can connect and which OBD format is used.

If the connector in the engine bay was a legacy item from the '85, it's probably an OBDI (OBD-1) format.

If it was transplanted with the engine and ECM it's probably an OBDII (OBD-2) format. My *guess* is that this is the situation with yours.

On USDM Tacomas there were 2 OBDII connectors - one in the engine bay and the main one underneath the dash left of centerline (around the area of the driver's right knee). These two connectors used different plugs, but both allowed you to check codes.

I have no idea whether non-US Hilux models had the OBDII connector in the cab / under the dash, so I have no idea whether you're stuck with the engine bay connector alone.

It will probably be a hassle to figure this out and finally get to read some codes, but it's the fastest way to make the most progress on diagnosing the problem(s).

The fact that your rear O2 sensor on the exhaust is blocked off / missing suggests the ECM was basing its fuel / ignition manipulations on the front (engine bay) O2 or AFR sensor alone. If it had been a USDM Tacoma, it would also indicate some mod was done to fool the ECM into ignoring the absence of a rear O2 sensor input.

This strikes me as setting up a single-point failure possibility (only one O2 or A/FR input) that might explain your problem - i.e., your front sensor is bad or dead. Whatever front sensor is being used, this is one of the things I'd suspect and check first.

This is only a guess, and because of all the differences I have no idea whether it's even a reasonable guess.

Years ago there was an Australian Toyota forum site that had tons of info on engine swaps and other customizations done in your neck of the woods. If that site still exists, I'd recommend you visit it. Unfortunately, I don't remember its name, and all my records were lost in a residence fire some years ago.

That's about all I can offer. Sorry about that, but we're really talking different versions of different species here.

The only thing I'm certain about is that you need to figure out how to read the codes. You'll be shooting in the dark, and probably wasting time, until you can do that.

Good luck with it ...

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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Cheers for the advice mate.
Yeah I'd say there'd be quite a few differences between USA and AUS versions.

Ive definitely gotta figure out reading codes on this thing, the only port ive seen that could be used to read code from is the diagnostic port in the engine bay but it doesnt look anything like an obd port to me (maybe im severely wrong).
Anyway i read online somewhere about checking engine codes manually using this port and watching the check engine light but nothing comes up when i try that.

Ive seen an adapter that goes to obdII that looks like it could fit this port, might grab that off ebay and see how we go.

This thing has been "Frankensteined" for sure but it works (for the mostpart), i do appreciate the help though.

I'll have a look at the front o2 sensor and see if thats the problem.

Cheers again for your help, im gonna have a snoop around on some aus forums and hope someone's come up with a solution to a similar problem.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 04:59 PM
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Re: 3rz low end power problems, feeling like a sad mower engine, struggling under loa

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Originally Posted by Pota View Post
Cheers for the advice mate.
Yeah I'd say there'd be quite a few differences between USA and AUS versions.

Ive definitely gotta figure out reading codes on this thing, the only port ive seen that could be used to read code from is the diagnostic port in the engine bay but it doesnt look anything like an obd port to me (maybe im severely wrong).
Anyway i read online somewhere about checking engine codes manually using this port and watching the check engine light but nothing comes up when i try that.

Ive seen an adapter that goes to obdII that looks like it could fit this port, might grab that off ebay and see how we go.

This thing has been "Frankensteined" for sure but it works (for the mostpart), i do appreciate the help though.

I'll have a look at the front o2 sensor and see if thats the problem.

Cheers again for your help, im gonna have a snoop around on some aus forums and hope someone's come up with a solution to a similar problem.
Oh wow, it looks like whomever did the swap, they kept the original OBD-I port! I haven't seen one of those since I sold my Pickup (pre-Tacoma). You are right, a reader will most definitely not hook up to it! I remember pulling codes on the old Toyota and you have to put a wire jumper or paper clip between like E2 and ground or something like that... look it up though don't guess since if you jump the wrong terminals you'll blow a fuse.

Once you insert the jumper, go inside and turn the key to "ON" but don't start the car. The Check Engine Light will flash slow then pause, slow, then pause, several times. Count the flashes in between the pauses and you'll end up with a number like "313" or something like that and that's your diagnostic code. That's if the OBD-I system even still works. Not very many Tacoma guys will know how to use it since they are all OBD-2, which is a digital system.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 02:49 AM
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Hi I hope I can explain this enough for you to follow. This is from a 2000 3rzfe manual, 1 check battery voltage is above 11 volts. 2 check throttle is fully closed, transmission is in neutral, and all accessories are off and the engine is at normal operating temp.
3 turn on ignition to on but do not start.
4 use a jumper wire to bridge terminals TE1 to E1 on early models and TC to E1 on later models.
5 Read diagnostic codes by chech engine light on dash.
Not sure if photo is any use but once you get codes list them and I will check against my manual.
Ps I am down in NSW.👍
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 10:10 PM
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Re: 3rz low end power problems, feeling like a sad mower engine, struggling under loa

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Originally Posted by Pota View Post
Cheers for the advice mate.
Yeah I'd say there'd be quite a few differences between USA and AUS versions.

Ive definitely gotta figure out reading codes on this thing, the only port ive seen that could be used to read code from is the diagnostic port in the engine bay but it doesnt look anything like an obd port to me (maybe im severely wrong).
Anyway i read online somewhere about checking engine codes manually using this port and watching the check engine light but nothing comes up when i try that.

Ive seen an adapter that goes to obdII that looks like it could fit this port, might grab that off ebay and see how we go.

This thing has been "Frankensteined" for sure but it works (for the mostpart), i do appreciate the help though.

I'll have a look at the front o2 sensor and see if thats the problem.

Cheers again for your help, im gonna have a snoop around on some aus forums and hope someone's come up with a solution to a similar problem.

Not sure when Australia switched to OBDII .. so that may very well be the OBDI diagnostic port. for that motor. If so, jumpering terminals TE1 and E1 should give you a flash code. If they did not connect a "check engine" light in your cluster, you can connect a test light to the battery positive terminal and probe the"W" terminal on the ECU and read the blinks of the test light.
The "W' terminal of the ECU is what should have been wired to the "check engine" light on the original vehicle the drivetrain came from, Good luck with your project
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-01-2019, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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After being away for a week im ready to work on this thing again, thanks for all the advice guys.
So I used a jumper wire to connect both the E1 and TE1 conections (I also tried E1 and Tc) both had the same result and nothing came up on the dash.
Problem has become worse as it struggles to start when hot sometimes and accelerating is excruciatingly slow with my foot planed through the floor.
Reguarding using a test light to read the code seeing as the check engine light most likely isnt connected, which terminal is the W terminal on the ecu?
I've attached photos of the ecu but nothing on it labels the terminals, also there are a couple plugs that are just floating around the ecu idk what they do, they've been unplugged since ive had thr car and theres no other ports for them to plug into.
Anyway, I'm pretty frustrated with this thing to say the least but hopefully ill figure out something soon, thanks for the advice, cheers Sam.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-01-2019, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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So I found a pinout diagram online for a 3rz ecu that said the W terminal was the 5th pin on the E5 connector, once I connected everything the test light just stayed on, it didnt flash or anything just stayed on so im not sure what thst means but thats the result i got out of it so far.
Any help would be great as im clueless at this point, thanks Sam.
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