New Toyota Tundra 4.6L Engine

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A few weeks ago, we acquired some photos and video of the 2010 Toyota Tundra work truck package that was shown at the San Diego auto show. At the time, it appeared that the 2010 Tundra would be more of the same. Rumors of a new Tundra 4.6L V8 surfaced a few months ago, but we determined that the 2011 Tundra would get the new engine (along with some other improvements) and our sources seemed to agree.

Evidently, Toyota has decided to step-up their time frame – the new 2010 Tundra will feature the new 4.6L V8. Based on the larger 5.7L, the new 4.6L is a short-stroke version of the big motor that generates 381hp. The new 4.6L will replace the nearly 10 year old 4.7L.

Here are the benefits of the new 4.6L Tundra motor:

  • Smaller size = better fuel economy than the 4.7L. Early estimates are 15 city and 20 highway.
  • Same architecture as the more powerful 5.7 = more power than the 4.7L. The new 4.6 has 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque, about 40 more hp and 15 lb-ft of torque than the 4.7.
  • The biggest benefit of all – the new 4.6 is paired with a 6-speed transmission!

The big addition here – the one that should get everyone excited – is that the new 4.6L comes with a 6-speed transmission. It won’t be the fastest truck on the road, but it will give the popular GM 5.3L a lot of competition in terms of performance while matching fuel economy (despite the smaller size).

Toyota is hoping that the Tundra captures the “best in class” fuel economy rating, but we’re thinking that’s optimistic (especially with Ford’s EcoBoost motor on the way). Still, every little bit helps, and Toyota can now claim the Tundra has 300+ hp and still gets 20mpg.

This is an important enhancement in the world of SUVs, as the Sequoia will benefit greatly from a more powerful and more fuel-efficient small V8. Same goes for the Land Cruiser.

Just as importantly, cost-cutting Toyota has figured out a way to use the same basic engine design to make two different V8’s, and they’ve also figured out a way to use a transmission for the 4.6 that’s very similar to the transmission in the 5.7 (gear ratios are different). These two changes will probably result in a manufacturing cost savings (and might explain the stepped-up time line).

Don’t be surprised if the 4.0L V6 Tundra engine dissapears in 2011 – the fuel economy ratings of the new 4.6L should be similar to the 4.0L V6, negating any benefit to offering the smaller engine on the Tundra. Eliminating the 4.0L V6 from the line-up reduces complexity and increases economies of scale for the 4.6 and 5.7 (and the transmissions). Of course, it also means that the 2011 Tundra might not be available with a manual transmission, but that seems to be an inevitable change for all vehicles. The F150, for example, is not available with a manual transmission (and hasn’t been for quite some time now).

Don’t be surprised if Toyota finds a way to get better than 20mpg highway too – this announcement timing smacks of a little one-upsmanship play. Toyota announces “preliminary” figures at 20mpg, then rolls out a “SFE” like package that gets 22mpg on the highway (which is feasible if Toyota uses a really low rear-end gear ratio like Ford did for their SFE truck). That would be a coup for sure.

Filed Under: Tundra News


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  1. Beezwax says:

    i think its a SMART choice… I just hope they keep the 5.7L also…. or improve upon it

  2. TXTee says:

    Nice improvement! Dealers really pushed the 5.7s and I thought I was getting something special/unique. But I don’t think I’ve seen a 4.7 on the road in a long time. Maybe now more will start to sell.

  3. Steven Hitchcock says:

    If they do take away the 4.0 V6 for the Tundra, might as well do the same with the 4.0 Tacoma’s. It would give the Tacoma more towing power and speed, while keeping in range with the 4.0’s MPG. I love my 5.7 Tundra, but I’d trade it in a split second for a 4.6L Pre-runner DC.

  4. Jeremy the Exhaust Crazed says:

    And the foward march to global DOMINATION CONTINUES!!!!!

    I think it is a great addition to the line. The 4.7 was the weak (relative) link in the offerings.

  5. Beezwax – Good point. The 5.7L isn’t going anywhere, but Toyota could improve gas mileage for the 5.7L quite a bit going from a 4.30 rear (current) to something taller shorter like a 3.73 or 3.55.
    TXTee – When you compared the old 4.7 to the 5.7, the only reason to go with the 4.7 was to save some cash (and because it’s a rock-solid motor). Gas mileage was the same. Now the new 4.6 gives people lots of reasons to go “small.”
    Steven – Word. I hear that.
    Jeremy – Yes sir – you are the official TundraHQ comedy consultant.

  6. Will2500 says:

    So a 4.6l will be offered with 310hp and 327ftlbs torque that gets 20 mpg in 2010. 5.4l has 320hp and 390ftlbs torque and gets 20mpg highway. Buts its available now. Doesnt that (4.6L in 2010 with 20MPG) seem like they are lowering the bar? Diesel, put a diesel in it! Small V-6 thats all. 20+ MPG, RASIE THE BAR.

  7. MK says:

    I too would agree with Jason that the 5.7L with the 4.3 axle ratio is too much grunt off the line and really not needed. However, a 3.73 would be adequate and wouldn’t want to go any lower. The reason is I had a 5.3L Chevy in 2006 with a 4.10 gear ratio and was actually getting just as good if not better gas mileage than the 3.73 ratio. Every dealer told me to stay away from the 4.10 vs. 3.73 for lack of gas mileage. In 2005, I had a 5.3L Chevy with the 3.42 ratio and it sucked gas and was too underpowered to even climb hills without flooring the engine – way underpowered and sucked more gas. In everyday driving up and down country hillsides 62 mph or slower and not going on the interstate at 75 mph all the time, hands down – the 4.10 gear ratio will get better gas mileage than the 3.42 due to the engine with a 3.42 constantly flooring the engine and fighting to maintain speed which you all know sucks more gas stepping on the pedal just like from a stop sign. That said, if the new 4.6L is not a 3.90 and for sure above a 3.73 ratio, I would not get it because I would not be happy with the engine constantly hunting for the right gear and fighting the engine to maintain a constant speed. Only if I drive 75 mph on the interstate 90% of the time is a 3.42 ratio fine. Trust me, I’ve driven enough different axle ratios to learn not to trust dealerships on what the manufacturer tells them and to actually drive the vehicles for many 1,000 of miles to learn what is best!

  8. MK – It’s interesting to see what Toyota does in 2011 to boost the fuel economy rating of the Tundra. I’m certain that axle ratios will be involved.

  9. MK says:

    Let’s just hope though that toyota does real world testing in normal driving conditions on the road up and down hills instead of just sitting in an enclosed building on level ground with no wind, no hills, etc. to actually get the best ratio in real driving environments. Of course, common sense tells us that a 3.42 axle ratio in an enclosed environment with no external factors will get better gas mileage than a 4.30, etc.. Toyota may not want to spend the money to try different gear ratios in actual road testing grounds, but they should if they have common sense. Hopefully for 2010-2011 they make the tailgate metal thicker/stronger, rust issues on rims/lug nuts/paint disappear, a rear locking differential like GM’s, and an auto 4wd button like GM’s which automatically kicks in and out of 4wd as needed while traveling down the road. My wife hates driving (hard to turn wheel) the tundra all the time in 4wd in snowy conditions when the roads are mixture of clear and snowy spots. An auto 4wd button like GM’s would solve this steering issue. If GM and Toyota could mix parts, then I would have the ultimate truck. However, the only way I’d probably go back to the Silverado is if I have more issues with my Tundra or the new model coming out may have issues and ONLY if GM makes a 1500HD looking truck with softer 1/2 ton suspension in a 5.3L V8 vs. a 6.0L gas guzzling engine. I really would like Toyota to revamp the crew cab tundra for new model year and not offer that much rear seat leg room (just 1 inch more than the double cab) and extend the bed from 5’5″ to 6 1/2 feet like the double cab. But, that is a different topic to discuss which Toyota and GM should listen to and make millions in sales building the ultimate designed truck in the world that would fit almost all users needs except the 3/4-1 ton users.

  10. MK – It’s interesting to hear how different truck owners view certain features and options. Take the 6.5 foot bed on a crew cab – that’s a great feature for some people, but a lot of the “family” buyers won’t be able to fit a truck that long into their garage. That’s why Ford, Dodge, GM, and Toyota all offer 5.5 foot beds on the crews. The automatic 4wd is a good feature to some, but there are a lot of old-school truck owners who are irritated about the fact that they can’t manually engage the transfer case or the hubs. The rear locking differential is a benefit in a lot of situations, but Toyota’s system allows for more efficient and effective traction control. I’m with you on the tailgate and chrome, and I agree that Toyota needs to test extensively. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what they do, why else would they be number 1? Thanks for commenting.

  11. GeoTundra says:

    Wow,I wanna see that engine.It looks like an excellent addition to Toyota’s line up…I at first thought they would use the same 4.6L that the Lexus LS(380hp!!) has.But that in a car.And I agree with Steven Hitchcock,a 4.6 in the tacoma will be SICK!It would be the most powerful mid-size truck.The dakota has 302hp,but it’s junk…lol…

  12. kevin says:

    Has any towed with the 4.6l tundra.I have a 27 ft camper that weighs 5100# empty and I tow a sail boat that weighs 6500#. Does it handlelike the dealer says it will?

  13. Mickey says:

    Kevin according to my 07 book a 4.7 can tow 8,000lbs. That’s total amount of weight in trailer and your load in the truck. The sailboat if empty is also good.

  14. Kevin – If you’re looking at the old 4.7, you’re in good shape. If you’re looking at the new 4.6, you’re in great shape…just keep in mind that wind resistance is the issue on a 27′ camper as well as a 6500lbs sailboat. The truck will pull just fine, but when you hit 65mph you might be dragging. The 5.7 is strong, but sometimes those really big, bulky loads are best pulled by a big diesel (despite their relatively low weight).

  15. Anonymous says:


  16. This issue has come up on both the 2010 4.6 and the 2010 5.7. As near as I know, it’s a sensor problem…but no one has managed to explain it for sure.

  17. Kristy says:

    Also just bought a 4.6L Tundra and have the same issue. Check engine light came on after about 300 miles. Took it back to dealer and they said that solenoids for valve actuators had to be replaced. They only replaced 2 of the 4( which I found out later) and called to say truck was ready. I picked it up, had it for 3 hours and the light came back on. The truck has been in the shop this time for almost 2 weeks. They are saying now that it is a sensor problem(maybe). I was told that they will be replacing the other 2 solenoids but those are on backorder and that they will be replacing the oil and filter. Traded in a 2006 Tacoma for this and now I wish I hadn’t. The additional power and size is great but I just don’t want to have endless problems with this new motor. I was actually told by the dealer that it is the same motor that is in the Lexus. Is he full of it?

  18. Kirsty – See the last comment Jeremy left here – – definitely seems like there’s an electronic “ghost” Toyota is hunting. As I said before, this is a sensor problem that Toyota is still trying to lock-down…it might even be a software problem. As these vehicles get more complicated, finding the problems becomes harder.

  19. kman says:

    I too am looking at the 4.6 to tow about 6500pounds. Has anyone actually used the 4.6 to tow a big load yet? I live in the mountains of BC and we have big long hills. I am thinking of the 5.7 but I will use the truck as a daily driver as well and getting a bit better gas mileage is important over the trucks life. If someone out there is towing 6500-7000 pounds with the 4.6 and is having no problems please let me know.

  20. RDEllis says:

    I have a 4.6l and have been to and from the dealer about a “performance issue.” From a stop when you hit the gas the truck may go or it may go “blahhhhhhhhhhhh” and go really really slow, taking 2 to 3 seconds to excellerate. Not a fun prospect as it happens randomly and you just don’t know when it will happen. Had a factory rep perform a ride-a-long with a computer hooked up to see what was going on and he collected a lot of data. The engineers are looking at it and soon they will let me know what can be done to fix it. I’m still waiting and it’s been 2 weeks since the ride-a-long. My check engine light has never come on, but my low fuel light came on one time with a half a tank of gas???
    Really scarey when trying to get across 3 lanes of traffic, you just don’t know if it will want to get up and boogie or crawl across the street at 3 to 10 miles per hours, while you wait for the power to arrive.
    As a note this all stared after they removed my gas pedal and reshaped it and did what ever the recall stuff was. Dealer said this sometimes caused some unknown problems with the pedal so they later replaced the pedal, with no change. The scary part is the randomness of when and how this occurs. Anyone have any guesses as to what is wrong, it all started at around 3000 miles.

  21. Jason says:

    RDEllis – Sounds strange – never heard of anything like it.

  22. Robbie says:

    I really wish I hadn’t either. I’m getting tired of waiting for something to happen 2 weeks of waiting after meeting with factory rep and still nothing.

  23. Robbie says:

    Sorry A.K.A. RDEllis

  24. Jason says:

    Robbie – Toyota and “fast” seem like opposing concepts. I’ve *NEVER* seen them move quickly on anything. They believe in doing things 100% right, which means that they won’t solve your problem until they’re 100% on the cause. Patience is required.

    Having said that, how many times have you brought your vehicle in for this problem? You may qualify for lemon law in your state and get a new vehicle replacement.

    Also, dumb question time: any chance this is the traction control system protecting you from wheel spin?

  25. Robbie says:

    I wish it were a traction control system issue. That would make for an easy fix.
    When it did it thismorning it felt like it downshifted twice before the power kicked in as I pulled into traffic on a busy two lane road. Oddly enough the problem goes away for about 2 to 3 days following a road trip of 2 to 3 hours or more then comes back with a vengeance unexpectedly. If I pushed the issue I probably would qualify for the lemon law but that would not necessarily help solve the problem and I’m just as likely to have the same problem with a different vehicle.
    The dealership I go to (Desert Toyota of Tucson) has the best service department I’ve every been to and the staff has called me numerous times to keep me informed of the progress and the factory rep offered me a rental car if I didn’t feel safe driving the truck due to the intermittent nature of the problem and the need to make sure you give yourself extra time before pulling into traffic as you may have to wait a second or two to go faster than 3 to 10 mph.
    To me it really feels like the engine and transmission aren’t talking to eachother or are having a communications break down

  26. Jason says:

    Robbie – That’s good news – a good service department is essential. Glad to hear that part is going well.

    I would encourage you to investigate the lemon law option – even if you decide not to exercise it, it’s a very good idea to know what your options are.

  27. Tim says:

    We bought the 4.0 and we love it!! We tow a 2100lbs popup trailer with it,and it seems that ir is not back there.. We just could’nt afford the 4.6.. We can tow up to 5000lbs but they say to use only 80% of that because of all the other weight you may add.. We traded in a 2008 Ford escape 3.0 v6 and we are happy now!!

  28. Jason says:

    Tim – Good to hear. Just goes to show that there’s an engine for every purpose.

  29. Tim says:

    Yeah, we are getting around 18-19 miles per gallon.. the escape was around 23.. The trade off of less fuel miles is ok because of the quality and comfort of the Tundra.. V6 is good for us because we have noticed that the camper trailers are getting lighter every year.. We are looking at a 26ft one that weighs around 3800 lbs so we are happy.. The escape tranny was a mess and was getting worse.. I wanted to buy a vehicle that was dependable.. My 2 brothers own tundras and they have never had them in the shop.. One is a 2003 and 2004 v8.. My tundra has only 30hp less than thers.. We paid $22100.00 for ours.. Dbl cab.. Super white..I AM IN LOVE!!!!

  30. Jason says:

    Tim – Awesome. Trailers are getting lighter, aren’t they? Seems like the trailer manufacturers are starting to recognize buyers are more concerned about over-loading their trucks than ever before.

  31. Robbie says:

    YEA!!! The dealer finally fixed it. It hasn’t run like this since they performed the recall and the pedal fix. All the dealer had to finally do was reflash the computers on the truck with new software. The data showed that for some reason the knock sensor was causing an overactive reaction to the timing and retarding it too much and leaving the vechile with zero power. Then it would suddenly kick in with power and go. Well since the update it runs awesome. Lots of power my milage is up to 20 mpg and I had 15 mpg with a 6000lb trailer in tow at 75mph. Ran through hill country no problem, and lots of power.
    It took a while for the Toyota rep to get the update but post fix it was well worth the wait, and the truck runs awesome.

  32. Robbie says:

    I forgot to mention that I now know what you meant about the flashing traction control light. I’d never been able to make it flash before they fixed the computer. The power is awesome now and I enjoy the it drives. I’m still getting used to the ability to make it off the line from a stop and very leary about making sure I have a huge delay for fear of the lag coming back but it really does perform excellent now and no lag in power or hesitation.

  33. Jason says:

    Robbie – Cool – it’s like a whole new truck! 🙂

  34. LUCAS says:

    OK, I changed my 2007 TRD 5.7 for a 2011 ..4.0 v6 which come with 270 hp..I see comments like ..dont be suprised if the tundra v6 desapears in 2011..and question, the 2011 v6 calls for premium gas, is it really neccesary to use premium? what will happen if I use regular, and why some people say the v6 uses the same amount of gas than the v8 if the EPA read 14/18 for v8 and 16/20 for v6?

  35. Jason (Admin) says:

    Lucas – It’s definitely necessary to use premium in the new 2011 4.0L V6. Toyota opted to include the upgraded 4.0 V6 on the Tundra, and this new engine is pretty sophisticated. If you want to get the full power, you’ll need to use premium octane.

    As for why the EPA ratings say the V6 gets better gas mileage yet most people say that the V8 and V6 are equal…the EPA fuel economy tests aren’t reflective of the real world. EPA tests might be better now than they have been in the past (they’ve definitely become more accurate), and the V6 might be 1-2 mpg more efficient. Still, most truck and full-size SUV owners find the fuel economy difference between V6’s and V8’s is negligible.

    How does the V6 drive compared to your old 5.7?

  36. knappy says:

    ive had my 2011 4.6 for 4 months now and love it, plenty of power and not a issuee yet, really wish i could get a chip for it to turn off this damn traction control, my first auto tranny and do not like it telling me when i want the wheels spinning or not

  37. LUCAS says:

    Thanks for your expert advice, I like the new 2011 tundra v6 it has enough power for everyday driving and still has plenty of interior space, feel disapointed to know that does not give a much better miles per gallon than the v8 but every little it helps…I love the truck, it gives a smooth ride and easy to drive…I read an article that the tundra v6 was ranked one of the most reliable trucks, is it true? I have plans to keep it untill the new body style comes out…when will that be? THANKS

  38. Jason (Admin) says:

    knappy – Glad to hear you like the 4.6. We just published an article about shutting off VSC/Traction Control here:

    LUCAS – You bet. I think you can definitely squeeze more out of a V6 than a V8 on the highway…it’s the city driving, towing, and hauling that get you.

    The new Tundra is due out in 2014 – see this link for details:

  39. jim says:

    “Toyota tundra with 4.7 a 2005 first year vvt, 260000 on truck ,head gasket was blown in one side replaced ,and water pump,belt all new ,ran 20000 km ,shut it off and it skipped timing and broke off two valves I have had three toyota in the past and no luck …”

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