How to Increase the Horsepower on a Toyota V6 Engine


Toyota has manufactured several different V-6 motors since the 1980s, and most are fuel injected, general purpose motors used for trucks and medium-sized cars. The engines can be fitted with commonly found bolt-on parts that will increase horsepower and economy. An average backyard mechanic can increase the horsepower of the Toyota V-6 in about two hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set
  • Screwdrivers
  • High-performance spark plugs
  • 8 mm ignition wires
  • Synthetic oil
  • Improved air intake

Increasing the horsepower of a Toyota V-6 engine

  • Change the oil with a synthetic brand by turning the oil pan drain plug counter-clockwise, draining the old oil, turning the drain plug clockwise to close it, then filling the engine to the proper level with synthetic oil. The synthetic oil is a superior lubricant, and can reduce friction to increase horsepower by as much as 10 percent. The filter must also be changed, and the engine must not have any prior leaking or oil-related issues.

  • Replace the ignition wires with 8 mm wide wires by pulling the old wire off the plug and distributor cap, then replacing it by pressing the new wire onto the connections. Custom colors are available, and some special types may require assembly. Wider ignition wires transmit more energy to the plugs. The older wires were 6 or 7 mm, depending on year, and may have split or cracked due to age.

  • Replace the spark plugs with high-performance units by turning the plug counterclockwise, then turning the new plug clockwise into the hole. Turn them by hand until they are threaded, to prevent cross-threading the plug hole. Using "hotter" plugs, or plugs with a higher heat range rating, will increase horsepower or economy. Using a multinode plug can also increase performance, but the important factor is the heat range rating. Toyota V-6 motors come stock with a HR of 4, and the rating index goes from 1 to 5.

  • Replace the air intake with a snorkel, or open element, by unbolting the exiting intake air box and hose and bolting on a one-piece air intake that allows for better air flow. Some models with a MAP sensor may need a specialized intake that can accommodate the sensor. The open element filter and hose (or tube) will increase horsepower significantly, and give the V-6 a throatier sound.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cleaning the FI system can also increase performance slightly.
  • Use proper safety equipment and precautions when working on a vehicle.

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