The fact that Toyota cars have weak brakes is not a secret. The Mark II also is not notable for excessive productivity of braking mechanisms. Disks 275 millimeters for the car with 160-horsepower engine seem weak. Even on a budget Opel Vectra B of the late ’90s with a 2,0 motor the rotors were 286 mm. But there is a nuance: typical Mark II with 2-liter motor weighs 1375 kg “in base”, and Opel – 150 kg more, though it is weaker, only 136 powers. However, it is not recommended to drive too actively on any of these cars in practice. The brakes will be exactly the same on the cars with 1JZ-FSE 2,5, 200 hp engine, and only with supercharged 2,5 1JZ-GTE 280 hp engine the rotors are 296.
Taking into account “dynamical” style of operation, the service life of brakes simply can’t be too long. And they don’t take care of them, good thing the choice of “contract”, and if a human language, the simply used discs and calipers is huge, and their price is very small. It is better not to read for European owners now. On the Mark II you can buy even used brake pads with a real “imperial quality” and no mileage in Russia. And there is a demand. Brake tubes also often change for used, but this perfectionism gradually comes to naught. Still, non-original copper tubes are cheaper and more reliable, and the original last ten years before the first whistles.
Otherwise the brakes are excellent, everything is made sensibly, the calipers are simple, even in the top-end iR-V in front – practical two-piston with a floating bracket. With minimal maintenance, they last forever, but usually they’re not serviced as well as the whole car, since it’s cheaper to replace with freshly brought in used ones than any meaningful work.
In this regard, the car’s brakes and suspension are a good marker of the owner’s approach to maintenance. The typical Far East style – where any head and hand work is dismissed as too strenuous because it’s cheaper to stick something “from an auction” – eventually turns the Mark into a “Frankenstein”. A typical car from 2021 looks like this. The ABS sensors are sharpened from the Corolla, the rims are from the vintage-bodied Crown, but the ball joints are new, as the used ones from the 110s are dismantled by 90s and 100s body owners as an “upgrade.”
From the serious disadvantages can be called kinky ABS with frankly lifeless sensors and weak wiring. For the most part of owners it is unpleasant, but not fatal. Problems start for owners of rare variants, such as Blit all-wheel-drive station wagons. Since Toyota installs the same brake rotors almost everywhere, and hubs and sensors are different everywhere. The price of the new original can surprise even those who are used to not cheap expendables of the European premium: for a sensor they can ask both 150, and 250 euros. It’s good that at least rotten ABS rings are on sale for 270 rubles.
The Mark II has not bad suspension – strong and comfortable. It’s a pity that the front strut and rear stabilizer bar are allowed only to top versions with supercharged engines. With frankly weak engine shield and subframe, combined with not the best geometry of the chassis, these two elements profoundly affect the overall feeling of the car.
Many Marks have heavily rebuilt suspensions for two reasons. Someone wants “more sport” and puts tuning kits, fortunately there are a lot of them new and used. For Marks they make levers, bolts, spacers and other similar elements even at our place, and imported assortment is beyond description. Any element of front or rear suspension is available in tuning version, from spring to ball joint.
The second reason for modifications is more trivial. And it is already mentioned desire to put in the car used cheaper, instead of repair of an old one. So, do not be surprised, if suddenly you see obviously not standard subframe, placed through the lengthened bolts and spacers, with rewelded fixing places. One must run away from such a car, they could do even worse rework there.
Thus there are expendable materials for suspension, and rather inexpensive. The only pity is that everything is horribly rotten, even in regions where cars in general do not decay. It is not the fact, that it is possible to replace back ball joints, they are “floating silent blocks”, quickly and easily. Most likely, it is impossible to do without bolt drill, gas torch, sledge hammer and pneumatic hammer. Bolts are almost always sawed, levers are often in trouble too. That’s why they often change hub instead of replacing silentblock and bearing or just whole suspension on a stretcher along with rear gearbox. Fortunately it is possible to find a set for ridiculous 50-120 euros.
Are you expecting something about the resource? It’s almost impossible to determine. There are no dealer cars, the average mileage is 300+, and everything is repaired with used parts en masse. So, regular complaints about the need to replace the hubs, silent blocks in the rear suspension and ball joints in the front may just be a consequence of delayed repairs, successful quiet suspension even in dead condition and use of outdated bearings in improper storage conditions. The main thing is to make sure there’s no kolhoza when you buy, and it will be inexpensive to restore to stock condition.
It sometimes leaks, sometimes knocks, but with the average price of the lath less than 3 thousand rubles and the “change” pumps, it is not a problem. Unless the rack on the turbo JZX110 with pressure regulator cost some tangible money, but from the Crown JZS171 they are three times cheaper and fully compatible. The serious negatives are mainly due to two things. Over time, the rack starts to bite as the housing wears out. That said, it doesn’t leak or knock. And used ones often leak on the oil seals immediately because they were stored without oil.
The overall life of driveshafts and CV joints is high in any case, and the replacement cost is low. Used ones from Japan are usually very inexpensive, 80 euros for a driveshaft, 40 euros for a driveline are quite typical prices. Of course, “right away and now” will be more expensive, but not so much as to sound the alarm. And everything is repairable on the whole well.
The rear gearbox is strong enough, and oil leak because of worn out seals usually does not lead to failure at once. The price for the parts is not high, many of them have “welding” for winter or for drifting and normal live – for summer touring. But the self-locking ones with Torsen and with regular LSD locking are also appreciated. There is also a choice of tuning ones. The price for such cars can reach one third of running car price. Thus, a hard-welded lock is a choice of typical JDM-nut marvelous driver, moreover in regions with snowy winter. Because with a usual differential the cross-country ability is insignificant, and any automatic lockup is more expensive many times over.
It will hardly be possible to find Mark II on mechanical gearbox by chance. It is banal because manual transmission R154 is a rarity and because of this rarity is very expensive. The price of the original used now more than 1600 euros. The set from the 80th body is cheaper, but also not a penny. W58/W60 boxes are also not cheap, as well as flywheels. It’s common practice to install old Getrag 260/265/ZF320/GS6-45DZ from BMW with re-built bellhousing, because even this hassle is cheaper than finding the original transmission for JZ, and besides European boxes are almost all more durable. The manual transmission was only available on the JZX110-AEMVZ with a 1JZ-GTE prior to 2004. Such a car itself is a rarity indescribable, usually already having little in common with the factory configuration.
The typical Mark II is equipped with the good old 4-speed Aisin AW03-72, aka Aisin A44DL. It really is a legendary box that stands up to everything and little more. If you change the oil at least once every 60-80k, and the engine is turbo-free, the automatic will last 500+k miles. Earlier, the only thing would be crab gearbox lockup will fail, rpm sensor will fail or solenoid will fail. With the average price of a contracted box at 50 euros they do not want to bother with repairs. Although in the last few years the quantity of quality used boxes is decreasing, and people are beginning to repair them little by little.
Rare 1JZ-GTE and tuned cars are equipped with even stronger Aisin A343E transmission, aka AW30-70LE. Why stronger? Because it sustains tuned motors 1JZ-GTE without any problems for several hundred thousand kilometers of run. And with the stock ones it gets the same 500+ mileage. Prices for used options are higher than the AW03-72, but not critical.
The transmission and front gearbox are sturdy and cheap enough that they aren’t mentioned at all. Unless in the context of disconnecting front wheel drive for drifting. The easiest way to do it is to disconnect one of ABS sensors, though the smartest guessed that instead you can cut off power to the AWD unit or signal from ABS to it. It is more reliable, and ABS is not superfluous in winter. And, as with other systems with torque-on-demand, the main problems are related to failures of sensors of the same ABS and wiring.
Under the hood of the Mark II is spacious, and everything is located very sensibly. In terms of serviceability it is a very good car. The quality of workmanship of all elements is excellent, and the service life of any unit is excellent by European standards. As usual, the style of service, about which I have already told. As soon as something breaks, they don’t fix it, but try to replace it with the cheapest one from salvage – the main thing is without any mileage in Russia. As a result, the wiring, brains, sensors, and everything else can be kolhozny.
Special attention should be paid to cooling system in case of inline sixes, since long cylinder heads and blocks are easily “driven” by overheating. As for the rest, it is Toyota, and consequently, the most practical car. Not without nuances, of course. For example, all motors do not like cold start and are very sensitive to errors of lambda, temperature sensors and DAD owing to features of control systems. Typical symptoms of the latter are increased consumption and poor traction. And even in such a state, the motors will keep going till the last one, until the last sensor power driver in the brains burns out and the last DPDZ drive falls off.
Since anything can end up on the Mark II as a result of the swap, I will say right away that we will only consider stock motors. All UZ variants, good old “just” 1G-FE and old JZ are out of consideration. Only 1G-FE BEAMS, 1JZ-FSE, 1JZ-GTE and 1JZ-GE VVT-i – the last was put on all-wheel-drive Blit station wagons.
Toyota had the 1G engine series for a long time, and it was replaced by the JZ series. But the simplest version of the engine, atmospheric with conventional injection and a volume of 2.0 liters was upgraded by installing an electronic throttle, separate ignition coils, a plastic intake manifold with adjustable geometry and a new catalytic converter. At the same time hydro-compensators were removed, and the acronym BEAMS was added to the name, which means neither more nor less “Breakthrough Engine with Advanced Mechanism System”. In general, the unit is “breakthrough and with advanced mechanisms”.
In such kind of a motor remained the base engine with capacity of 160 hp for Mark II and even Lexus IS of the first generation. Basically, it is remembered for bad air filter, valve bends when timing is broken, oil consumption, valve adjustments, and weak oil pump.
As to a resource the engine is neither fish nor meat. On the one hand, its piston group is strong enough, there are examples of engines with very high mileage. But the majority of units in our operation after a hundred thousand have a small oil consumption, about a liter or two from change to change, which to 200-300 thousand mileage turns into a “vomit” of a liter or two per thousand. For the cast-iron in-line six from Toyota the indicators are not very good.
At first the problem is coking oil rings and leaky valve seals, but with time the compression rings get lodged, cylinder liners wear out and pistons. If you can accelerate with something killer like dimethoxid or BG109, you can postpone repairs for quite a long time. But while these engines are not so often disturbed, the price for these engines is not great, it’s easier to change for… of course, “contractual without Russian mileage” (actually, taken off the Mark with mileage of 360 thousand at a salvage yard in Podolsk).
The 1G-FE BEAMS have a few annoying features. The valves need to be adjusted every 20,000 kilometers, and they are adjusted with tappets, which is not cheap, each costing 8 euros. The clearance doesn’t go for everyone, but usually one or two valves have to be re-adjusted. The VVT-i valve is regularly blocked, as a result, either the idle speed soar or drop, or traction can suddenly improve at about 2000 rpm, or drop “at the top”, the brakes can become very tight. The new valve serves for about 100 thousand kilometers, but only a few people buy it, it costs 60 euros. Usually, they take used ones, they serve up to 30-50 thousand, but they are given for next to nothing. Lately, they have learned to clean the valves, opening the flare with replacement of the o-rings. Again, flushing with the ubiquitous dimethoxide helps a little.
The unfortunate ECG system, in addition to being clogged, also tends to freeze in winter with oil escaping outside. Besides, it is implemented very old-fashioned and floods the air filter with oil, which is sometimes very unpleasant. And the filter itself is not very successful, there is a great chance that it will be installed incorrectly, and the engine will be sucking sand. A clogged ECG is leaks, wet spark plug wells, wet timing belt, wet wiring. It’s easy to miss a leak through the oil pressure gauge, it needs regular checks here.
The timing belt runs a steady 100k if you use quality components. But the belt “almost new, no mileage in Russia” for Toyota is a harsh truth of life. People stubbornly put used consumables, even though it’s not the 90s anymore. The old belt tears unpredictably, and the valves on this motor bend, usually 8-10 at a time. The valves themselves are unlucky, can’t be straightened, they crack on the edge if there is sooting. And if it bends at rotational speed, the pallet can fall off and piston will be punctured. And there and it is not far to the “friendship cam”.
Individual coils are pretty tough, but they don’t like overheat, oil and old plugs. You don’t buy them new very often, still 60 euros… And when choosing either a used one for 6 euros or a new non-original one, they usually prefer a used one. The good thing is that replacement plugs are on sale. And yes, the plugs are also for sale used.
A small nuance is connected with the oil pump, it is here with drive from the timing belt, and is arranged well as a whole. But they often try to ignore oil consumption, pouring bad oil and increasing intervals of full change. It results in early wear of the pump working group and reduction valve wedges. And the cheap mineral oil in cold weather presses strongly through weak pump gland directly to the timing belt.
Of course, all troubles do not occur at once, but as a whole the engine is noticeably more troublesome than all other 1G engines and even more modern ones. Thus, it costs not that much, the prices start from 400 euros for a unit with good auction price. And one more unpleasant nuance. The car with this motor in a city mode has fuel consumption of 18+ liters, often reaching 25+ in the winter. Taking into account that dynamics of 160 hp atm on Mark II is rather moderate even taking into account its small mass, there are a lot of dissatisfied. After all, much more torquey and powerful JZ eats the same or even less. Of course, some of this “credit” goes to the worn 4-speed automatic transmission with poorly functioning clutch interlocking, failures of feeding system, unadjusted valves, old filters, but a lot depends on the engine.
The second most popular motor is the 1JZ-FSE. A version of the classic inline “six” with direct injection, as Toyota owners like to call it – “D4”. The engine has turned out interesting. Not least of all due to the fact that the solutions of the usual 1JZ-FE VVT-i were supplemented with a very simple direct injection system. It even kept the vacuum fuel pressure regulator on the fuel injector, and the pump itself was placed like a distributor on vintage engines – towering over the cylinder head cover in the center.
The design is more “old-school” than the BEAMS. The cast aluminum intake with adjustable geometry has a damper actuator that looks like it came off a ZIL-131. One-piece aluminum spark plug sockets. Fully collapsible EGR valve. Electromechanical throttle as condensed as an Ozone carburetor. Wire clamps on intake manifold. Nozzles are located open, like on old diesel engines, and secured the same way. And a timing belt made of HNBR, an oil-free hydrogenated butadiene-nitrile rubber in a sealed casing. The exhaust manifold is steel, with two equal-length branches. All in all, an excellent motor from every angle.
It’s a pity only that the price for a live contract model is little by little close to 1200 euros, and for very sensible copies it has crossed this verge long ago. However, “usual” 1JZ-GE is much more expensive, and there are very few alive. Little by little, motors from cars, rare even in Japan, such as Toyota Progres and other oddities, which are slightly different from the most popular options Mark, Crown, etc. start to “get out”. And due to the already repeatedly mentioned above “peculiarities of maintenance” of cars with JZ, they can not live without contractors.
From the disadvantages of 1JZ-FSE can be noted only the hard sound of work, sensitivity to the octane number of gasoline, coking of the exhaust valves and intake in general every 50-80 thousand kilometers. Well and the service life of the piston group is somewhat less than in the classic JZ, because of the more obvious coking of the upper compression ring and the constant presence of a solid sludge in the combustion chamber.
In general, if you regularly carry out cracking with water and treatment from sludge, then from the troubles are only expensive and very fragile injectors for direct injection, and the need to do maintenance for fuel injection pump once in 100 thousand. Weak pump, wedging VVT-i valve, weak clutch and fittings dropping out of the cylinder head are the same as for 1JZ-GE in VVT-i version. It’s just that even great motors have their flaws and weaknesses.
But this motor has significantly lower fuel consumption (as long as everything is serviceable), and even with the ancient 4-speed in Moscow, it can go down to 13-14 liters and usually does not go above 16. Let me remind you, for a weaker 2.0 motor in Mark II, it is practically minimal.
And, of course, the Mark II has the classic 1JZ-GE and 1JZ-GTE. The former is “without everything” at all, and in fact the last paragraph of the FSE version description describes all the problems. With mileage up to 400-500 it has zero “oil consumption” and has little fear of anything at all except overheating and bad oil.
And the second is the turbo version of this unkillable motor. Powerful and with good potential for tuning, which most owners strongly overestimate. Even “in stock” it is much more sensitive than the atmospheric one to quality of service and loads. But it allows reaching 350-400 hp without special expenses. Further investments will be already essential, but nevertheless it is one of the best variants if the purpose is 500+. But the popularity has a downside.
There has been lack of the live engines for a long time, the price goes off scale even for variants in average condition, and they “put” them with enviable regularity, once again complaining that “the bench was overloaded” or the gasoline was wrong or else trying to justify the fact that the wrong hands, careless assembly and wrong firmware can kill even a very good engine if you modify it to capacities around 500 hp. But I think if you are looking for a brand with this motor, you hope that you will be fine, and you are aware of the prices.
To take or not to take?
“Collaborative” maintenance is the bane of all cars, especially those 10 years and older. For Mark II it is even more so because of partial (but not complete) compatibility with other models of Toyota and the wealth of supply of used parts. As a result it turns out that very good constructive car in most cases will appear unusable for normal operation and without chances to restore it to stock because of the depth of remakes. But if you are lucky enough to find a car which has not been turned into a blanket of scraps collected from dumpsters, take it without doubts. The consumer properties are more than decent, the price for quality service is low, and you can potentially drive it for another decade.