Tuesday 9th of February 2016 04:03:37 AM

You buy the Truth, we pay the Price

The D4 Toyota engine

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Why has it gotten such a bad reputation?

Of course there is now the VVT-i D4, the latest mass extension of the `Direct Injection’ engine technology. VVT-i D4 is an upgrade of Toyota’s award-winning Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) engine. But that is a discussion for another day.

Today, we are prompted to discuss an engine-type that has attracted a little bit of flak on the street; the D4 engine. Is it really as crappy as some car brokers and street vehicle mechanics claim? Absolutely not.

It appears, from our research, that although the D4 engine is about two decades old and has been overtaken by the types we mention above, it is relatively new and uncommon on the Uganda market where Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) rules.


Since the motorcar was invented, the challenge for engineers has been how to make an engine that delivers the highest mileage and speed at lowest fuel consumption. Issues of quality and quantity of emissions have become an issue lately.

The D4 direct injection engine is, in fact, a variant of the ultra-efficient Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine first popularised by Mitsubishi in the mid-1990s. The GDI was itself a variant of the EFI.

In Uganda, the most popularised D4-(GDI) vehicle is the Toyota Premio. I have met owners of this popular car who confess to almost collapsing after their mechanic opened the bonnet and swore they had made the mistake of their life by buying a D4 engine car.

My advice would be to ignore the doomsayers.

In reality, the differences between the EFI and GDI are really technical but they revolve around attempts to bypass the old technology of engines mixing fuel and air and burning it in the cylinder efficiently and with minimal CO2 emissions.

An excerpt from an expert website says: “In GDI engines, petrol is directly injected into the cylinder, eliminating many of the hitherto restrictions on combustion control, such as the impossibility of adding fuel after the induction valves were closed. By achieving precise combustion control that is free of restrictions, the GDI delivers a previously unseen combination of fuel economy and power.

In conventional engines, fuel and air are mixed outside the cylinder. This ensures waste between the mixing point and the cylinder, as well as imperfect injection timing. But in the Toyota D4 engine, petrol is injected directly into the cylinder with precise timing, eliminating waste and inefficiency.”

So why are the D4s so unpopular if they are that superb?

It all starts with maintenance.

I follow a lot of online car forums. In one thread, a driver of a Toyota Premio with a D4 engine complained about the engine going off instead of idling when he did 100kph for some time and then either slowing down or braking. He suspected it had to do with ignition, sensors, or fuel filter. He was frustrated because he had to restart every time.

As anyone who follows these forums knows, not all offers of advice are to be taken seriously. But a comment from someone called Gregory, from somewhere in our lovely land, caught my eye.

He wrote (with some of my edits): “Simple; that is just a semi-clogged fuel system caused by contaminated fuel. The sensor heads are partially covered by dirt, carbon, etc. It can easily be rectified by simply cleaning the fuel system around the engine compartment by qualified personnel.”

Then he offered some tips for all D4 car engine owners:

Maintenance must be observed for day to day running:

Blow air cleaner element to keep enough aeration through

Maintain a standard minimum level of fuel in the tank i.e. not run empty tank all time.

Another useful thread I picked recommended use of iridium plugs that have to be changed in time i.e. at below 60,000kms, and use of synthetic engine oil to be changed after about 10,000kms, and keeping an eye on the timing belt.

“Regular service and quality fuel will make the engine last for long. Attend to it quickly if there are signs of over-heating. It’s a powerful modern engine that is fuel economical. Its problems are with its sensors; Oxygen sensor, fuel pressure sensor, and ignition timing sensor.

Those of course might not be solutions to your D4 engine problem. But at least you now know that the D4- (GDI) engine is not as crappy as some people claim it is.

Comments (40)Add Comment
written by Sam Acellam, April 18, 2013
Very useful information. I was told I bought the worst car and it is the worst engine.
Will take note of the precautions given.
written by Oscar, July 26, 2013
I got one too and all mechanics i went to rubbished it but i have since come to like it because of its energy and power unlike the ordinary premio engines. Will, too, hold the precautions priority
D4 misrepresented
written by D4er, August 27, 2013
I have been driving a D4 engine for 5 months now. The only issue I had was just after I used adulterated petrol from a well known petrol station. Credit to the car, it keep trying to stay on for several days until it finally gave up once I visited that same petrol station again. The fact that it persisted that much makes me conclude that it is far more resilient that it is given credit for. I even drove it once for days with a faulty air-intake pipe... in a D4 engine that should be impossible!
My advice... service regularly and fuel from TOTAL or SHELL only (esp. Vpower if you can afford it)
D4 engine-comments
written by ABN, August 30, 2013
Hi,its interesting to learn how ignorant most of us are on this powerful fuel efficient GDI system in a d4 3s. fact is we realy dont like following service manual instructions-i also got a d4 which had a knocked engine.bought a 3s and droped it in but could not turn.i intend to use this block(3s) with the cylinder head for the d4 so i could use the d4 harness thereby maintaining it as a d4.HOW POSSIBLE IS THIS?
written by Nombo , October 03, 2013
Actually a d4 3s engn is difference from what people think the important thing is just to consider service and suitabe fuel as well as resonable driving
toyota d4 engine
written by clive, October 12, 2013
thanx so much for the insight, i'm from Zimbabwe and considering getting a Toyota Nadia with a d4 engine, was skeptical because of the bad mouthing this engine has been getting but now I'll take my chances. thanx a lot
written by Michael Marselia, October 26, 2013
I'm an owner of a 2000 Corona Premio with a D4 3s engine with 92K km, it is a reliable fuel efficiency engine with power. When i imported this car from Japan to my country Curacao in the end of 2011 it had 62K km on it, but it came with a problem, it was not idling properly and occasionally it shuts down, I toke apart the intake and throttle body and cleaned them out and replaced the spark plugs with iridium and after that the problem was gone. Since then there was nothing else that had to be done to the engine than just changing the oil, oil filter and air filter.
written by MD (Zambia), December 02, 2013
thank u for the insight.i recently bought a toyota nadia with 3s D4 engine from japan and was critisised by almost every one around of my workmates even made an allegation that the D4 engines were oiginally not meant for use in true is that?
Contribution:Just like D4er said about where to refuel,its not really about the name of gas stations,the gasoline that is recommended for a D4 is one which has high octane content e.g:unleaded petrol 91, in Zambia,most if not all gas satations supply this type of gasoine.
generally my experience with D4 is its fuel consuption especially in a high way,over 18km on a litre of amazing!!!!!!!!.PROBLEMS: NOT ANY SO FAR THT I KNOW OF
written by Stalin, December 25, 2013
What is the average fuel consumption of a D4 1800cc engine
written by Abubakar Nsekela, January 21, 2014

I appreciate the comments and insights from users. I am in the middle of negotiations to bu a Toyota Vista with a d4 engine. some of my colleagues seemed to suggest it would be folly for me to buy it BUT with the education/tips i got in here i will go for it as in Tanzania today one can get quality fuel.
written by Den Hamuntanga, February 05, 2014
I would like to know how the VVti D4 engine for the latest premio,how many pumps are there,some one told me that it has two pumps one in the tank and the other one on top of the engine.please let me know how this engine operates before i crucify my self.
written by odirile montsho, April 14, 2014
hi,i'm using an avensis 2006 with a D4 has never given me any problems except after my brother used it beyond its service started to go off on its own especially when operating on hot weather.Though it gave mechanics a headache it turned out that it was nothing big,carbon was causing the venturi to stick and deprive the engine of air.its generally a powerful and fuel efficient engine that needs to be kept clean and its manufacturer's instructions followed to the latter.
written by sanjay, May 05, 2014
ThanX for the information,
It was very helpfull I'm from suriname and our fuel is not so clean as in japan.
I use vpower and I own a vvti D4 mark 2 thank u very much
written by Alvin, June 06, 2014
my engine d4 stops even when fuel is full mostly after a ECONO indicator appears on dash board.
written by Francis Muuoki, June 07, 2014
I have Toyota Allion with D4 VVT I engine .I bought the car from Japan 07 and it runs great.All i can say about thise kind of engines needs service at required time and clean fuel.Powerful and fuel iffeciency.
written by Sammy Moyo, June 09, 2014
D4 is trouble if you do not know how to take care of car engines. I have a car with a 2007 D4 engine and it stalls even at cruising speed. If you diagnose and it says pressure sensor failure sensor do not believe it immediately. Check the cleanliness of the throttle gates (venturi) and clean with a recommended spray. Change air cleaners do not blow old ones..throw them away otherwise it will damage your airflow sensors.... etc.
written by shenique , June 17, 2014
i have a d4 vvti engine in my 07 wish which i operate as a taxi, after i ran a few trips with it, it keeps bucking and then it shuts off. i have to restart it alots of time before it picks up.i just need some advice.
written by Clifford, June 19, 2014
I have got a toyota premio D4 engine 3s, it goes off @ idle speed, I changed the plugs, air filter, fuel filter & the pump in the engine but it still goes off @ idle speed, please any advise?
written by Clifford, June 19, 2014
Sorry not the pump on the engine but the pump in the tank
written by shenique, July 11, 2014
i have vvti d4 engine in my toyota wish, i observed that after driving it for a couple of miles and park it. when i return to it and start it, it only starts and move like a few inches then it starts to idle then the check comes in and then the engine shuts off and wont restart.It also keeps killing my battery in attempting to restart it, i have to leave it for hours before it starts again. i put it on several machines and they shows that nothing is wrong. This happens every day and am also afraid to drive it go anywhere because it keeps leaving me at roadsides for hours. please someone give me some advise.
written by david kucheza, October 07, 2014
My Nadia d4 is said to be mixing petrol and oil, I have been told to look for a head pump but running around the shops it seems they don't stock those parts. I am now so confused.

Can someone please advise me of an alternative.
written by Tan, October 12, 2014
Hi, too all meet engine idling high low or dead when engine hot , that is fuel high pressure pump problem , u have to change that to solve problem .
written by Mohadi, October 21, 2014
i have been using the premio D4 for 10 monhts, the problem with the car is that sometimes it fails to start, i live in a country where only unleaded petrol is sold.Great spead and power bt lotsof problems
written by sean carritt, November 15, 2014
I have just bought a toyota nadia D4. A green enon o light comes on when i slow down then the engine dies out. Esp when i slow down and come to a sto. Help!!
written by mohammed , December 18, 2014
I have a toyota premio 2007 thats giving me hell with headlights. After sometime of driving the lights go off whether I set them on normal or auto. My electrician told me it's a common problem but a few premio owners I've spoken dont seem to understand what I'm talking about. I've tried changing bulbs but to no avail. Any suggestions??
written by anotida chawota, December 20, 2014
I have a D4 VVT-i. I was having problems like poor idling, lack of thrust etc. A diagnostics check showed no errors so the mechanic decided to check the throttle. Sure enough it was clogged with carbon(soot) which was preventing the throttle plate or whatever its called from movig freely. So the dude cleaned the throttle using carb cleaner. That totally solved the poor idling and cut off issue and there was a MASSIVE improvement in performance. Sadly none of the mechanics I've seen have had anything good to say about the D4 engine but I think its a bit unfair. D4 engine is good...but just requires a bit more attention that engines such as the beams 2000 VVT-i. Ofcourse at the back of my mind I'm wondering if indeed these mechanics are right and if I will regret keeping this car
written by Cyri, January 09, 2015
I have a JZX110 D4 engine Mark 2. It wont rev past 2000 rpm and the check engine light illuminates. Attempting to rev the car past 2000 rpm it sounds like its being deprived of gas and sounds like it is missing. I noticed that there is black soot in the tail pipe as well.
What could possibly be the problem. I remember that I serviced the car but did not change thee air filter for nearly 5 Months now and the car was also parked for 4-5 years. When I bought it the gas light was on and the tank way below empty. Any advice? Thanks.
written by taahirpelele, February 04, 2015
i have serios problems whith nadia D4s and car standing for une year bicause not opening injector please send me some information about ,
written by Pikisai Matewe, March 04, 2015
The solution to all the above problems is found in XFT. Xtreme Fuel Treatment. Check the video link . Syntek Global Xtreme Fuel Treatment XFT Product:
written by Daniel Michael, March 19, 2015
Thank you very much for good elaboration concerning D4 engines I have been driving RAV 4 with D4 engine for almost 6 years but the car is real very strong and powerful but the only thing is to replace parts with the genuine one. Last year I replaced plugs which is not genuine the car was real uncomfortable to drive also the engine was shaking like there is no engine mountain but after but after replacing with the genuine one the car was like new brand. D4 engine to me is the best engine ever come across.
written by Richie, April 20, 2015
Have a d4 changes idling everytym i go above 100kmph,shows engine light then goes out after some mnts.whats that?
written by kelvin, May 24, 2015
How to know the fuel pressure for toyota wish 2.0 D4 is ok or not?is normal for D4 fuel pressure is how many?
written by Mysordio, June 25, 2015
hallo mensen ik rij een toyota verossa en er zit een D4 vvt-i machine erin , maar die auto geef me problemen ,bij het rijden gaat het van zelf uit of bij het optrekken trek die auto niet goed op ,wie kan me misschien helpen .
written by Simba, July 01, 2015
Hello guys, you have a very interesting conversation goin on here. The D4 engines you are mentioning are the future, most of the toyotas are now using them. All the Lexus cars are now using the d4 tech because of lower emissions and higher mileage. They are designated with FSE at th end like 3sfse or 1azfse. These engines require premium grade fuel, thats higher octane and high quality oils like 5w30 with some cleaning additives to prevent carbon buildup. So basically you need to follow the maintenance schedules well. Most of the mechanics who rubbish this engine are not moving with time and should probably stick with the Peugeot 404s o 504s. Happy driving....
written by Pete josh, July 31, 2015
Hello, i own a Premio with D4 3S-FSE of -1998, it revs itself uncontrollable upto 2000 rpm and i ave no accellerator control, to stop am forced to switch off engine by ignition key, tried cleaning the throttle control to no avail, someone help, but am happy of power and response of the D4 when ok
written by Shilla Chiumbo, September 22, 2015
Thank you for your all contributions concerning D4 VVT-i engines. Myself I have a problem with my car. It is a RAV4 D4 engine, Its Fuel consumption is very high beyond normal to RAV4s.. The mechanics I visited were looking at the amount of soot given out from the tail pipe. They tried to change the plugs but still the same. Am stranded here what to do. Any advice, please.
The latest mechanic said, that is how D4 engines consume fuel, 7km a litre of petrol.. I don't think if that is true. Advice Please.
written by John, October 08, 2015
i just bought Allion D4 engine.This conversation is interesting and educating.
written by John, October 08, 2015
In Zambia its the same people have opinions about everything imagine.
written by James, October 12, 2015
I bought a Premio 2004 Model with D4 Engine. The car is showing all lights on the dash boardi.e check engine, hand brake, and ABS.
I have replaced plugs, Egine oil with Total Synthetic, ATF and still all lights are on..what do I do?
written by mulima, December 13, 2015
my car switches off on iddling while in motion,also tried to clean the throttle but the problem do not end,d4 engine toyota verossa,it irritates,i regret buying it

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