The History of the 22R & 22RE Toyota Motor

by Rob Wagner

Toyota Motor Corporation produced the 2.4-liter 22R four-cylinder engine from 1981 to 1995, and introduced its fuel-injected 22RE version in 1982. The turbocharged 22RTE had a brief 1985-to-1988 production run. The engine underwent a significant redesign in 1985 to solve timing chain problems. As a result, many 22RE parts are not compatible with pre-1985 22R and 22RE engines. There were few differences between post-1984 22R and 22RE engines other than the 22RE having fuel injection.


The 22R was the successor to the 2.2-liter 20R engine. The 20R, 22R and 22RE enjoyed immense popularly with Toyota owners in North America for their workhorse dependability and reasonable power packed in tight four-cylinder blocks. Through 1985, the 20R and 22R powered the Celicas, which was one of Toyota's premier sellers in the late 1970s to mid-1980s. The engines featured hemispherical, swirl-inducing combustion chambers not unlike the Hemi engine design by Chrysler. They had efficient cross-flow heads and long 3.5-inch strokes to provide high torque ratings of up to 187 foot-pounds. The 22R had round exhaust ports and the 22RE had keyhole-shaped exhaust ports. The 22RTE, which powered some pickups and 4Runners, derived from the 22RE, but with a different head and block, dished pistons and combustion chambers shaped differently. The 22RTE also featured different oil passages.


In addition to the Celica, the 22R powered the 1981 Toyota Corona, 1981 to 1988 Hilux pickup, 1981 to 1985 pickup and the 1984 4Runner. The 22RE powered the 1985 to 1995 Hilux, the 1985 to 1995 standard pickup and the 1985 to 1995 4Runner.


The Toyota Celica GTS entered the 1985 Macao Grand Prix with a modified 22RE engine, although the racing team intended to use a Japanese domestic 140-horsepower, high-compression 18RG engine. However, the Celica entered in the race had a U.S. vehicle identification number, or VIN, so race regulations only allowed a U.S. engine. The team dropped the 22RE in the Celica, qualified for the race, and then finished third place behind two six-cylinder BMWs. It was the highest finish for any 22RE-powered Toyota.


The carbureted 22R, from 1981 to 1990, developed 72 horsepower and 174 foot-pounds of torque. The 1990 to 1995 22R generated 81 horsepower and 187 foot-pounds of torque. The 22RE in 1983 produced 78 horsepower and a 185-foot-pound torque rating, and then saw output climb in 1985 to 84 horsepower and 192 foot-pounds of torque. Toyota motorhomes had different horsepower ratings. The turbocharged 22RTE generated 101 horsepower and a whopping 234 foot-pounds of torque. Both the 22R and 22RE had a 9-to-1 compression ratio. Carburetors varied through the production run. The 22R initially featured a stock single-barrel 326 cfm carb. However, owners could also fit their 22Rs with a single-barrel 325 cfm Weber, dual Webbers with 390 or 405 cfm, or the dual Mikuni 40 PHH or 44 PHH with 724 cfm and 844 cfm respectively.

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