How To Rebuild 22R

How To Rebuild 22R


Toyota’s 22R engine is a very solid small displacement motor that came in a variety of flavors from 1981 until 1997. Most enthusiasts are most familiar with the 22RET which was turbocharged and a great powerplant for it’s time and age. Reliable and sturdy, you could increase output of this motor from it’s relatively modest 135 hp found stock.

This motor came stock in many US and JDM vehicles, but most 22R fans associate the engine with the 1981-1984 Toyota Celica as well as the Toyota Pickup and 4Runner.

You can find this motor in a variety of motor swapped vehicles, a testament to it’s flexibility and ease of modification. We’re got similar plans with our base 8 valve SOHC 2.4 liter 22R, and today we’re showing you the first steps of how to rebuild 22R engine.

If you are rebuilding a 22RE or any variant thereof, including the RET this rebuild guide will be very similar but of course vary whether or not your motor is EFI or carb. Unfortunately our base 22R is carbureted and will not work with an E head or EFI. We will be swapping a 20R head to increase compression ratio and make best use of our project that will weigh less than 1700 lbs.

Begin the process of learning how to rebuild 22r by removing the valve cover.


There are 12mm round nuts that secure the valve cover in place.


There’s one nut in the rear that you’ll need to remove this bracket to access.


Remove the PCV valve and then you can attempt to salvage the rubber isolator / valve cover bolt combination. If your motor is like ours however, chances are it’s already destroyed.

yep... destroyed
yep… destroyed

Remove to clear the valve cover.


Of course remove the distributor, cap and rotor from the 22R cylinder head.


Now with the valve cover free of any nuts, you should be able to gently pry up and remove. Use a deadblow hammer if you must, but the valve cover should come off relatively easy unless you overheated your 22R.


The next step in our how to rebuild 22R is to remove the 17mm head bolts that run through your 22R valvetrain tray and into the engine block.


Now that you have all 10 cylinder bolts loosened, you can lift up on the rocker arm try to remove the entire 22R assembly.


You should now be faced with your cylinder head and camshaft as shown above. Now you’ve got to remove the front part of the engine, and you can do that now that the valve cover is off.

Begin by removing all the engine mounts and accessories such as the intake manifold and exhaust manifold, if you have not already done so.


Remove all brackets as well as the drive belt flanges that are on either side of the engine.


You should have the left side of your 22R engine completely clear, mostly so that you can access the water pump bolts.


With this air conditioning bracketry removed, you can now remove the 22R water pump by removing the 12mm bolts that secure it. Once you remove the water pump, allow to dry and then clean the surface of the block with a razor blade.


When prepping to install your new water pump, make sure to properly clean your 22R surface and use the right gasket. The part number for this 22R water pump is Toyota 16100-39035. It can also be found under the part numbers of 16100-39315, 16100-39316, 16100-39317 and 16110-39035.

Now lets go ahead and remove the crank pulley, this can be tricky because of the multiple keyways in the crank snout of the 22R. When removing your harmonic balancer, make sure you don’t lose the initial woodruff key. The Toyota part number for this harmonic balancer is 13408-38010 or 13470-35020.


Now remove the 14mm bolts that attach the oil pump assembly through the crankshaft snout. Make sure to take care not to damage or hammer the oil pump assembly.


Remove the oil pump and flip over to inspect the oil pump drive gears. Make sure there’s no shavings or anything odd that might tip you off to some bigger cause of concern for your engine. If you need to know how to test your 22R oil pump, check our How To here.


You can learn how to check your 22R oil pump, or simply replace it with a new unit.


The replacement part for this oil pump is 15100-35010, and you can also find it under the Toyota part numbers 15100-38020 and 15100-38021. Make sure you get the right part, many times this oil pump can come bare, without the right front main seal and without the relief valve internals.


Now with the oil pump removed, you can begin removing the bolts to your front main engine cover.


Take this time now to remove the second keyway, which is responsible for your oil pump drive gear.


Once you’ve gotten all the obvious bolts removed, there’s a few sneaky ones that need to be addressed before the front of the engine can be removed.


This is hideaway 12mm bolt number 1, located near the water neck and right by your oil dipstick. There’s yet another hideaway on the opposite side of the engine, near the brass outlet.


It’s two bolts holding the pipe in place, remove those and your front engine cover is almost ready for removal.

Now remove the 19mm bolt that runs through your camshaft, take care not to lose the distributor gear.


Our early 22R has the nice dual row timing chain, as well as the metal chain guides. We love this setup and prefer it over any single chain-plastic guide-that’s ready to snap on a cold morning-and tumble into your engine assembly any day of the week.

Remove this 19mm bolt and you can now remove the camshaft drive gear as well as the distributor gear.


Now with this cam bolt removed, you can turn your attention to your front engine cover. You must remove this lone guide bolt through the top of the front engine cover in order to remove the cover.

This bolt can be dirty and usually gummed up with oil, coolant and God knows what else.


To get enough clearance, you may have to remove your cam gear.


Slide the timing chain off your 22R engine, and then gently remove your cam gear. You should now have enough clearance to remove the 14mm bolt that runs through the front of the engine cover.


Remove the entire front engine cover, and you should now be able to see your chain tensioner and timing chain as well as the guides.


Now it’s time to remove and throw your stock 22R chain tensioner away.


These 22R chain tensioners can wear over time, leading to more and more deflection of your timing chain. This can cause problems, especially in later 22R’s where Toyota decided to move to a single chain with plastic chain guides.


Remove this tensioner and discard it. Replace with the tensioner with Toyota part number 13540-38010 or 13540-38011. Never re-use your chain tensioner, always replace with a new unit.


If you need a guide on How To Replace your 22R Timing Chain, take a look at our guide here.

Now slide off the crankshaft gear and remove your camshaft from your 22R cylinder head.


Don’t forget about the third and last keyway that drives the crankshaft gear. This timing crank sprocket is a 18 tooth unit, the Toyota part number is 13521-38010. The next thing you’ll have to remove in our How To rebuild 22R engine is the timing chain guides. There’s two guides on either side of the engine that must be removed by taking the 12mm bolts out of them. There’s 2 bolts per guide.

The right timing chain guide is Toyota part number 13562-38010 and the left timing chain guide is part number 13561-38010.

Now that you have the front of your engine taken care of, the next part of our How To Rebuild 22R DIY article is removing your cylinder head. Gently lift your cylinder head up and off the engine block. Use a razor blade to clean the shortblock mating surface to prepare for your new 22R cylinder head gasket


After cleaning the surface of your shortblock, you can flip your 22R engine over and remove the engine oil pan, windage tray and oil pickup. You can begin to removing the pistons one at a time. Begin by removing the rod bolts starting with cylinder 4.


Remove these rod bolts and you can either cut rubber hoses and slide them onto the threads of the rod bolt, or just really be careful when removing your piston.


Remove the 14mm nuts and then take the rod cap off and inspect your Toyota 22R rod bearings for any signs of premature wear or bearing lining failure. We’ve got some ugly scoring and clearly some serious oil starvation or overrev related situations for this kind of bearing wear.


Gently push down on the rod to slide it downward and up through the top of your 22R block. Again if you are new to this process, try cutting some 3/8 coolant hose and sliding it over the rod bolts as to not damage the crankshaft or crankshaft journals.


Repeat this process until you have all four pistons and rod combinations removed. Make sure to align them properly so you know which piston goes into which cylinder. Then start removing the main cap bolts to remove the crankshaft itself.

The rod bearing part number is BK0471 from ACL, and we’ll be reassembling our 22R engine in the next segment of How To Rebuild 22R, so stay tuned!

Have any questions about how How To Rebuild 22R DIY guide? Leave them for us below and let us know!


    • Hi John! Thanks for reading sir!

      We’ve got images ready for the second part of this writeup, but I’ve got a huge backlog of articles to get to before I can finish part II up. Part II of our 22R build is over 1000 words at the moment and it’s not even close to a third done. Try to be patient sir and I’ll get to it! Thank you for commenting!

  1. I keep checking back for part 2 and glad to see the update. Mine is back from the machine shop and on the stand with my new parts layed out. It is also a 20r/22r hybrid. Make it a three parter if you want to move it along. I am just glad to see you didn’t forget about reassembly. Type faster. Thanks

  2. Hey John,
    Super great DIY article! MANY thanks for the time and effort that you put into this. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t put off doing part two! You’ve got me believing that I CAN do this. Such a great help. Just know that there’s a lot of folks appreciating this and looking forward to part two. I assuming it’s going to be some form of reversing the process (with new parts) to put the 22R back together, but I know you have some good info on machine work and perhaps oversize boring and rings to cover. I’m literally waiting with baited breath!
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Curt! Thanks for your support! This engine has been put together but Part 2 has yet to be completed. I should have it ready hopefully sometime soon sir! Thank you for commenting on this 22R rebuild guide