If you’re an avid Toyota enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of engines such as the 22 R-E, 2UZ-FE, and the 1GR-FE. These engines are what really solidified Toyota’s reputation of building reliable, yet functional, trucks and SUVs. However, in 2006 Toyota introduced their biggest engine yet: the 3UR-FE 5.7L V8.
The Toyota 5.7 V8 is one of the best engines that can be found in a full-size pickup truck or SUV. Toyota has used it for the last 14 years for good reason: It offers both reliability and great performance figures. This engine’s only real drawback is its lack of fuel efficiency.
In this article, we’re going to dive into the specifications, featured vehicles, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as how it matches up to other popular engines such as Chevrolet’s ever so popular Vortec along with the all-new 3.5L Twin Turbo V6 found in the all-new 2022 Tundra.
Toyota 3UR-FE 5.7L V8 Specifications
As stated earlier, the 3UR-FE 5.7L V8 was introduced in 2006 but started being put into vehicles starting in 2007. Built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Alabama, this engine was made of solid aluminum and was the biggest in the UR Family.
The naturally aspirated V8 put out 381 HP and 401 lb. ft. of torque. However, if those numbers weren’t enough for you, an optional TRD Supercharger was made available to the general public from the factory.
This turned the already beast of an engine into a full-blown monster, generating 504 HP and 550 lb. ft. of torque. The TRD Supercharger kit didn’t void the warranty either, despite the increased power.
Another nice feature of the 3UR-FE is its Dual VVT-i system, or Variable Valve Timing – intelligent system. This system directly manages the timing on both the intake and camshafts. With this feature, power is significantly increased and is delivered almost instantly once the accelerator is pushed.
What Toyota models had the 5.7 V8?
Unfortunately, such a big and powerful engine could only be offered on Toyota’s larger trucks and SUVs. You can find this engine in a Tundra, Sequoia, 200 Series Land Cruiser, and Lexus LX 570 as long as they were manufactured from 2007 onward. Here’s a table showing the years and models of vehicles that were equipped with the 3UR-FE V8:
|Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series||2008-2021|
|Lexus LX 570||2008-2021|
Toyota 5.7 V8 Strengths
In terms of reliability, this engine is just about as good as it is going to get. There’s a reason the 2nd Gen Tundras are so popular, especially the earlier models, and it all revolves around this engine.
Performance wise, given the size of the vehicles the engine is in, it picks up quickly with a 0-60 mph time right around 4.5-5 seconds. The 3UR-FE is also 4×4 capable and can pull up to 10,000 pounds. In regard to maintenance, just change your fluids out regularly and you’ll be good to go forever.
Fun fact: this engine in a 2007 Tundra made it to 1 million miles with extremely minimal maintenance, and Toyota also held an event in which a 2007 Tundra was hooked to a full-size, actual space-craft and was able to pull it no problem.
Toyota 5.7 V8 Weaknesses
With every strength, there is a weakness. Fortunately, this engine has some that are few and far between; the main issue being leaky cam towers.
Leaky cam towers
When Toyota was making these engines, they sealed the space between the towers and valve covers with an adhesive that will occasionally wear away over time, therefore developing oil leaks and will drip onto the exhaust manifolds causing a fire hazard.
This will pop up around 50k-100k miles and will be evident if you notice oil spots on the ground, a burning oil smell when driving, and/or smoke coming from the engine bay.
Secondary air injection pump failure
Toyota 5.7L V8s are equipped with secondary air injection pumps to help with emissions. Their job is to turn on during a cold startup to pump air into the catalytic converters in order to warm them up quicker. The quicker they warm up, the less emissions they create.
When this system fails, the valve gets stuck open or closed and causes the computer to throw trouble codes that cause the truck to go into limp mode.
Some owners believe this problem is more common in trucks that live in humid climates. In vehicles like the Tundra and Sequoia, the pumps are the lowest components in the system – so condensation and moisture pool there.
Taking your truck to the dealership will likely cost thousands of dollars. The parts aren’t very expensive, but the labor to access them is. Toyota offered to fix these issues via extended warranty for some models. Some owners have contacted Toyota head office looking for compensation for the repair with mixed results.
Luckily, there is another option for repair. You can disable and block off the system with a bypass kit from Hewitt Technologies. This route is much cheaper than having Toyota fix it and is likely the most effective fix as well. Many owners claim their injection pumps failed again after having Toyota replace them the first time.
This issue tends to be more common in earlier model Tundras and Sequoias. 2014 and up models featured updated pumps and software that helped the moisture issue.
This article was originally posted on Canadiangearhead.com. If you’re reading this anywhere else, it was stolen and reused without consent.
Water pump failure
Another thing to look out for is the water pump going out around 100k miles. This will happen if the internal bearing fails and coolant begins to leak from the weep hole.
You might think that coolant leaking from the weep hole is a bad thing, but the Toyota engineers did this on purpose so that the pump wouldn’t fully fail. You’ll know your water pump is going bad if you notice coolant spots on the ground, engine overheating, and/or engine codes being thrown.
Now, these are the most common issues that are found with these engines. This doesn’t mean that every engine has the same issue. As I said, these are few and far between. However, if you do find your 3UR-FE having these types of issues, the fixes for them are relatively simple and can be done in a weekend.
The real kicker for “weaknesses” can be found when looking at gas mileage numbers. With a bone stock Tundra, you can expect to be getting between 13 and 17 mpg. Similar numbers apply to other vehicle models as well. On the upside, you get an engine that is built to last literally a million miles, but the trade-off is poor gas mileage.
How Does the 3UR-FE Compare to Other Popular Engines?
We know the Toyota 5.7 is a great engine, but how does it stack up against other V8s?
Toyota 5.7L V8 vs 4.7L V8
Let’s talk about other popular Toyota engines first. The 2UZ-FE is a 4.7L V8 that was THE V8 before the 3UR-FE came into existence. The 4.7L was put in trucks such as the 1st generation Tundra and Sequoia, but also found its way into the 4th generation 4Runner and Land Cruiser.
This engine is arguably one of Toyota’s best, but why not add an extra liter and a few more horses? While the 2UZ-FE was a staple for doing “truck things” for a while, the 3UR-FE is the obvious option to take if you’re going to be pulling heavy equipment around frequently and need the extra horsepower and torque.
The 5.7 actually requires less maintenance because of its timing chain. The 4.7 needs to have its timing belt replaced every 100k miles or so. The 4.7 has a slight edge in terms of reliability but the huge improvement in power makes it a worthy trade-off.
Toyota 5.7L V8 vs. 2022 Tundra Twin Turbo V6
Ah, yes. Here’s what we’ve been waiting to discuss: the 2022 Tundra’s powertrain. These beasts of a truck are powered by a “dinky” 3.5L Twin Turbo V6 that puts out 389hp and 479 lb. ft. of torque. Now how Toyota managed to make an engine that is significantly smaller than its predecessor, yet throw on another 8 horsepower and 78 lb. ft. of torque is beyond me.
This is an extremely impressive feat but leads me to believe there will be a LOT of issues with the turbos especially when pulling something close to the rated payload. An engine of that size just isn’t supposed to be pushing that much power.
Toyota hasn’t failed in making reliable vehicles so I guess we just have to see how this one plays out. Hopefully, the issues with Ford’s EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 aren’t a sign of things to come.
Toyota 5.7 V8 vs Chevrolet 5.7 V8
Looking outside of Toyota, Chevrolet’s 5.7L Vortec puts out 225 HP and 330 lb. ft. of torque; significantly less than the 3UR-FE. The engine is well built, but still has its issues as many Chevrolet’s tend to have. Overall, this would not be a good option when considering buying a new truck.
Toyota 5.7 V8 vs Ram 5.7 HEMI
On the contrary, Ram’s 5.7L HEMI is a very powerful and capable engine. The 2021 Ram 1500 puts out 395 HP and 410 lb. ft. of torque which is very comparable to the 3UR-FE. One area this engine wins in is fuel economy. The HEMI gets on average 25 mpg on the interstate which is much better than the 3UR-FE.
These engines are also capable of reaching 250k-300k miles just as long as they are properly taken care of. Overall, a very solid choice.
All in all, you cannot go wrong with Toyota’s 3UR-FE. This engine will take you anywhere and everywhere, all while requiring minimal maintenance.
My dad is actually the one and only owner of a 2008 4×4 Tundra with the 5.7L V8 and I asked to get a statement from him about the truck. As far as maintenance went, he said,
“I just basically changed the oil with conventional oil every 5,000 miles, but recently changed to synthetic because you can’t really buy conventional oil anymore… I changed the spark plugs once at 175,000 miles, but really haven’t done any other maintenance on the engine itself.”
As far as what he’s done with the truck that really tested the engine, he told me, “ I used it to tow a 5,000 pound boat up and down the east coast, and used it to tow a heavier trailer with a generator that was 8-9000 pounds total.” He finished off by telling me, “I’ve been able to get 368,000 miles out of it. No oil leaks whatsoever, and it still runs like new.”
Take this information however you want, but if I were in need of a reliable vehicle, needed a lot of power, and extremely little maintenance, I’d be running to the classifieds to find a Toyota with the 5.7L V8 3UR-FE.
Kenny started off his mechanic experience with his 2007 4WD 4Runner. He has now become the “car guy” amongst his friends. Whenever his buddies need help with something, they call him. Whether it be for his tools, knowledge, or guidance, he’s typically able to help in some way, shape, or form. Read more about Kenny: