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Old June 12th, 2004, 02:36 AM   #1
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Regular vs. Premium in the 3MZ-FE

After searching a few of the Lexus/Toyota forums looking for information on my family's new RX330, I came across an interesting thread on www.siennaclub.org. In this thread, a Sienna owner shares his findings after datalogging the 3MZ-FE's timing advance with both regular and premium fuel. The results are quite interesting and not what I expected. I was uneasy about running 87 in our RX330, but after reading this I'm no longer worried about it

Check it out:

http://www.siennaclub.org/forum/inde...topic=4017&hl=


Surprisingly, there isn't much difference in timing advance between 87 and 91. During steady-state cruising at 35 and 70mph, the timing advance with each grade is almost identical. Only in the 0-70mph WOT run did the premium gas show more timing advance, but only at certain points and the difference was slight.

I honestly expected there to be a greater difference between the two octane levels considering the engine's relatively high 10.8: 1 Compression Ratio. You'd think that an engine with a CR like that would have to pull a lot of timing to prevent pinging on low-octane gas. Engine technology sure has come a long way in the last decade or so. My 1991 Acura Legend had a much lower CR (9.3: 1, I think) and I would hear a lot of pinging on anything but 93 octane fuel.
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Old June 12th, 2004, 07:36 AM   #2
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Neat!

If that's the only difference I'd just run 87 also. Our Highlander with the 10.5:1 1MZ-FE runs as much as 28* of timing at WOT and high RPM, so maybe the 3MZ-FE is a little more conservatively tuned. Combustion chamber design and shape along with fuel maps also can have a big play, though. If the A/F is set extremely rich at WOT then that helps to keep chamber temps lower since the excess fuel is helping to cool things and that would let you run more timing.

I don't have the difference between 87 and 93 in our Highlander, but there's definitely a very noticeable difference on the butt-dyno. Easily 10 hp/tq, and it's noticeably more lively and responsive so we run nothing but 93 in it, even with high fuel prices. I think when the 1MZ was all Toyota had they were struggling to keep up and maybe pushing their engines more. With the 3MZ, now maybe they can ease off a little and tune them more conservatively. Or leave room for a future higher performance version.

Still, in the heat of the summer on a long trip pulling a heavy load of kids and cargo, I'd put nothing but premium in it. Heat soak + heavy load can mean detonation city on higher tuned import engines, and in a minivan you need ever pound-feet of torque you can get. I'm also wondering if the test was on back-to-back tanks of fuel or not, and how much mileage between tests. The service manual for the 7th gen AV6 says it takes 300 miles or something like that to re-advance the timing after getting knock on lower octane fuel. Hmmmmmmmm....
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Old June 12th, 2004, 03:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by SteVTEC on June 12th, 2004 at 09:36 AM

Neat!

If that's the only difference I'd just run 87 also. Our Highlander with the 10.5:1 1MZ-FE runs as much as 28* of timing at WOT and high RPM, so maybe the 3MZ-FE is a little more conservatively tuned. Combustion chamber design and shape along with fuel maps also can have a big play, though. If the A/F is set extremely rich at WOT then that helps to keep chamber temps lower since the excess fuel is helping to cool things and that would let you run more timing.
Yea, the 3MZ-FE must be tuned a little more conservatively if it runs less timing advance than the 1MZ-FE despite a higher compression ratio. Plus, 225-230HP is a fairly low output for a high-feature 3.3L DOHC V6, especially considering that it's only 5-10HP stronger than the most potent 1MZ-FE. Maybe the 3MZ-FE does go rich at WOT to protect itself on low-octane gas? That would probably have something to do with the modest HP gains over its predecessor.


Quote:
I don't have the difference between 87 and 93 in our Highlander, but there's definitely a very noticeable difference on the butt-dyno. Easily 10 hp/tq, and it's noticeably more lively and responsive so we run nothing but 93 in it, even with high fuel prices. I think when the 1MZ was all Toyota had they were struggling to keep up and maybe pushing their engines more. With the 3MZ, now maybe they can ease off a little and tune them more conservatively. Or leave room for a future higher performance version.
It makes you wonder if that version of the 1MZ-FE was rated using 91+ octane. 220HP is a lot of power for an engine primarily designed for good low-end and mid-range torque. The VQ30DE-K in the '00-'01 Maxima only makes 2 more peak HP on premium but unlike the 1MZ, it's tuned for mid-range torque and high-end horsepower. I'm thinking that the 220HP version of the 1MZ-FE in the Highlander/RX300 was rated on premium while the 210HP version in the Camry/Avalon/ES300/Sienna was rated on regular and can benefit from the extra 10HP when fed premium. Perhaps the 3MZ-FE is the same way? 225HP on regular in the Solara/Camry SE and 230HP on premium in the RX330/Sienna/Highlander.


Quote:
Still, in the heat of the summer on a long trip pulling a heavy load of kids and cargo, I'd put nothing but premium in it. Heat soak + heavy load can mean detonation city on higher tuned import engines, and in a minivan you need ever pound-feet of torque you can get.
True, maybe I should stick to at least 89 octane in the RX just to be safe, even though we don't do much hauling or climbing steep grades, it is warm here and our driving is primarily stop-and-go with the A/C on.

Quote:
I'm also wondering if the test was on back-to-back tanks of fuel or not, and how much mileage between tests. The service manual for the 7th gen AV6 says it takes 300 miles or something like that to re-advance the timing after getting knock on lower octane fuel. Hmmmmmmmm....
Hmm, I didn't even consider that Maybe the difference would've been greater if the car had been allowed more time to adjust the timing? Hopefully, I'll have my own OBD-II scanner in a few months. That way I can do a more thorough comparision between the two grades of fuel and maybe include mid-grade as well
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Old June 12th, 2004, 05:21 PM   #4
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The 220HP 1MZ in our Highlander and the RX has dual throttle bodies vs the 210HP singles. I think that's where the difference comes from since the dual TB's would allow better breathing at the top-end and hold the torque curve a little flatter ( = more peak horsepower). Whether they're rated at that on regular or premium, I have no clue. All I know is that it feels a little dull and sleepy on 87, but suddenly wakes up on 93. Surprisingly peppy for a 3900lb SUV with only a 3.0. Peppy enough to scare Accord owners.

I think the 3.3L is tuned for low/mid-range a little more. Peak rated torque in the 3.0 VVT-i was 4400 rpm vs 3600rpm in the 3.3L. So as it goes, if the induction and camming are set for better low-end torque production, top-end will suffer. I'm not surprised that the 3.3 is making less peak horsepower per liter than the 3.0. And in the cars it's going into, optimization for low/mid-range at the expense of top-end is entirely appropriate. Highlander, RX330, Sienna, Camry SE, etc. Those are not cars you're going to be constantly flogging to 4000+ rpm, so power optimization up there is wasted potential, imho.

I'd love to see a cam spec comparison between the two, along with a comparison of the intake manifolds.
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Old June 12th, 2004, 10:51 PM   #5
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I forgot all about the dual throttle bodies on the 220HP 1MZ-FE You're right, there's the extra 10HP right there. The 3MZ-FE only has one which I guess is better for low-end torque. Our RX feels pretty strong off the line but I think it has more to do with the extremely short gearing of the 5AT than the engine's torque output. It has a 4.24:1 first gear ratio The overall ratio for 1st gear is 14.76:1 (4.24 x 3.48 Final Drive). A ratio like that could make just about anything feel quick, so it's hard to compare the sheer power of the engine with the J30A1 that I'm accustomed to. But because of that gearing, the RX would have no problem putting some distance on my Accord in any race, from any speed. Not bad for a 3860lb. FWD SUV The new Camry SE V6 must feel really strong, since it's 400+ lbs. lighter.


Quote:
Originally posted by SteVTEC on June 12th, 2004 at 07:21 PM


I'd love to see a cam spec comparison between the two, along with a comparison of the intake manifolds.
So would I It would be interesting to compare them to the Honda J-series V6's and the Nissan VQ family as well.
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Old June 14th, 2004, 05:42 PM   #6
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I've seen a Solara in action, at 30mph, it just flys away (2nd gear is good for about 56mph) you can about imagine how great its 30-50mph passing performance is
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Old June 14th, 2004, 10:53 PM   #7
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According to CarTest 2k, the Solara can accelerate from 30 to 50mph in a mere 2.56 seconds The heavier RX330 still manages an impressive 2.86 second 30-50 time. The best the 6th gen AV6 (stock) can do is 3.83 seconds in 2nd gear and 3.28 seconds in first and second gear
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Old June 14th, 2004, 11:08 PM   #8
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I'll tell you this much. AFter running a week on 87, I had pronouced hesitation and the engine ran out of steam beyond 70 mph.

After running a week on 92 octane, the hesitation was gone and it had no problems hitting 75, 80, 85, etc...

I don't think they ran a wide enough range on their test and if you look at the thread, I posted that comment there as well.

More food for thought. Steve, wanna swing by and we'll test it out using ur diagnostic tools?

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Old June 14th, 2004, 11:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by SteVTEC
The 220HP 1MZ in our Highlander and the RX has dual throttle bodies vs the 210HP singles. I think that's where the difference comes from since the dual TB's would allow better breathing at the top-end and hold the torque curve a little flatter ( = more peak horsepower). Whether they're rated at that on regular or premium, I have no clue. All I know is that it feels a little dull and sleepy on 87, but suddenly wakes up on 93. Surprisingly peppy for a 3900lb SUV with only a 3.0. Peppy enough to scare Accord owners.

Imagine the look on ppl's faces when i take off in my Sienna
Only when wife and kid are not in the car of course!

hahahahhaha

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Old June 15th, 2004, 02:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dizzy on June 15th, 2004 at 01:08 AM

I'll tell you this much. AFter running a week on 87, I had pronouced hesitation and the engine ran out of steam beyond 70 mph.

After running a week on 92 octane, the hesitation was gone and it had no problems hitting 75, 80, 85, etc...

I don't think they ran a wide enough range on their test and if you look at the thread, I posted that comment there as well.

More food for thought. Steve, wanna swing by and we'll test it out using ur diagnostic tools?

Dizzy
The differences you experienced, between the two different fuels, is what I expected. The results of EWT's testing kind of threw me off a bit because he had evidence that there wasn't much of a difference at all. So, I was kind of leaning towards his results rather than believing someone's butt-dyno analysis I think that a more thorough test would show a much greater difference between regular and premium gas in the 3MZ-FE
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Old June 15th, 2004, 02:55 PM   #11
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My butt dyno never lies!

LOL.

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Old June 15th, 2004, 03:24 PM   #12
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It's a butt dyno people can trust
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Old June 15th, 2004, 04:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dizzy
I'll tell you this much. AFter running a week on 87, I had pronouced hesitation and the engine ran out of steam beyond 70 mph.

After running a week on 92 octane, the hesitation was gone and it had no problems hitting 75, 80, 85, etc...

I don't think they ran a wide enough range on their test and if you look at the thread, I posted that comment there as well.
If you can correlate a lag/hesitation with a drop in timing, then it's probably fuel octane related. On hard acceleration (open-loop - anything above about 30-40% throttle) you should get a steadily increasing timing curve that starts out low and goes high. If it drops, then you could be getting knock retard from too low of an octane. It could also be ETC related though. But why would it act up on 87 octane and not premium? Again points to fuel. If you have a lag and hesitation ONLY on 87 octane fuel, then that definitely sounds like knock retard with timing getting pulled. And when the knock subsides the computer could reset the timing to where it should be which would cause a surge feeling. When the knock sensor was flaking out on my Maxima and timing was erratic, I had all of those symptoms. A lag followed by a surge.

A duff coil that was going bad and triggering a misfire code wasn't helping either, though.

Quote:
Originally posted by Dizzy
More food for thought. Steve, wanna swing by and we'll test it out using ur diagnostic tools?

Dizzy
Now that sk0ol is done I'm actually free on weekends so yeah, I can stop by. My OBD scanner can track up to 5 parameters simultaneously. So we can set it to monitor throttle position, RPM, speed, timing advance, and knock retard (if it has it, not all computers do). Since you've been running premium we can see if you're getting more timing than the other guy is. You'd have to go back to 87 to get the lag/surge to come back to look at that, though.

Just lemme know if/when you wanna meet up. It runs off of my old Handspring Visor PDA and I let it sit around too long so the batteries died on it. Just gotta resync it to load the stuff back in.
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