Toyota released their 2UR-GSE 5.0L V8 for the 2008 Lexus IS F. It’s still around today in the Lexus RC F, LC 500, and IS 500-F-Sport models. The naturally aspirated 5.0 V8 delivers 416-475 horsepower. Solid numbers for a NA engine of the mid-2000’s era. 2UR engines also offer good reliability making it an excellent balance overall. In this guide, we discuss Toyota 2UR-GSE engine specs, problems, reliability, performance, and more.
What Cars Use the Toyota 5.0 V8?
The 2UR-GSE engine is in the following Lexus models:
- 2008-2014 Lexus IS-F
- 2015-present Lexus RC F
- 2015-2020 Lexus GS F
- 2017-present Lexus LC 500
- 2022-present Lexus IS 500 F-Sport
Another variant of the 5.0L V8 exists – the 2UR-FSE. This engine is a de-tuned version of the 2UR-GSE, but uses Lexus Hybrid Drive. It’s not our primary focus for this article. Though, some of the info we discuss applies. 2UR-FSE engines are in the following models:
- 2007-2017 Lexus LS 600h
- 2018-present Toyota Century
Toyota 2UR-GSE Engine Specs
Below is a quick list of specs for the 2UR 5.0 V8:
|Fuel Injection||Direct & Port|
|Valvetrain||DOHC, 32 valve|
|Compression Ratio||11.8 : 1 or 12.3 : 1|
|Bore x Stroke||94mm x 89.5mm|
|Torque (lb-ft)||371-399 TQ|
|Redline||6,800 – 7,300 RPM|
The first few specs speak for themselves. Toyota 2UR-GSE engines are 5.0L naturally aspirated V8’s. They combine port and direct injection (DI) for a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency. It also helps prevent against carbon build-up which is a common problem on many DI only engines.
Dual overhead camshafts is standard for any performance engine. Original 2UR engines in the Lexus IS-F use an 11.8:1 compression ratio. Toyota increased this to 12.3:1 in the RC-F and GS-F to allow for more power. A larger bore helps fit in higher flowing valves to keep the power strong on the top-end of the power band.
All of these specs add up to 416 horsepower in Lexus IS-F models. Newer RC-F and GS-F models have a few different output levels with the highest at 475hp and 395lb-ft. Depending on models the redline varies from 6,800 to 7,300 RPM’s. Tuning the older IS-F models to a higher than 6,800 stock rev limit is common.
Lexus 2UR Performance
We’ll end the performance discussion on a higher note. However, we must first vent a few frustrations about the 5.0 V8. It’s a little underwhelming. BMW made 414hp with their S65 4.0L V8 in the same era. This same engine revs to an intoxicating 8,400 RPM’s. We will admit the M3 lacks torque – something the 2UR-GSE does better. Anyways, even Ford is cranking 480 horsepower out of their 5.0 Coyote engine.
How about Ford’s 5.2 Voodoo in the GT350? Modern 3.0L turbo engines making over 500 horsepower? Point is – when it comes to performance engines alone the Toyota 2UR leaves a lot to be desired. There are dozens of engines that do it better at the same price point or even cheaper.
That said, the NA V8 is a dying breed. Most mid-range performance cars are moving to turbos. There are still a number of NA V8’s around, but the Lexus models may offer close to the best balance of performance, reliability, and luxury. As a full package with the car the Toyota 2UR-GSE is a great engine. We simply don’t love it when looking at engine specs and performance alone.
2UR-GSE 5.0 V8 Upgrades & Potential
One flaw with the Lexus 5.0L V8 engines is the lack of aftermarket support. It took a long time for development of tunes, supercharger kits, etc. On Lexus IS-F models basic bolt-ons with nitrous is common for those looking to mod. It wasn’t until around 2015 that tunes were even available. A tune, intake, exhaust, and headers on the IS-F offer about 25-40whp gains. Not bad for a NA engine.
Throw a supercharger in the mix and IS-F and RC-F models are capable of 550-600+whp. RR Racing offers some popular kits. However, with a price starting around $10,000 it’s not cheap to make this kind of power. If you’re looking to add boost there are better platforms out there.
Nonetheless, even with NA the 2UR-GSE is capable of solid performance. Big numbers are going to require a large shot of nitrous. The results of an IS-F with a few bolt-ons and nitrous speak for themselves, though. An 11.1 second 1/4 mile at 132mph is nothing to be ashamed of. The below was done with no tune, a few bolt-ons, and 200 shot of nitrous.
Toyota 2UR-GSE Engine Problems
A few of the most common issues with the Toyota 2UR-GSE engine include:
- Valley Plate
- Oil Leaks
We’ll examine these Lexus 5.0 V8 problems in greater depth below. It’s imperative to add some notes before moving along, though. We’re classifying these as the most common issues for good reason. It doesn’t mean they’re common in the true sense of the word common. Instead, when issues do occur these are a few of the most frequent areas they happen.
That said, reliability is where the 2UR-GSE really shines. It’s uncommon to have so little to discuss with engine problems and reliability on a high performance engine. Hence the reason we’ll talk about miscellaneous issues. Anyways, we will come back to the Toyota 2UR-GSE reliability topic at the end of this article. For now, it’s time to jump in and discuss a few of the most common 2UR engine problems.
1) Lexus ISF Valley Plate Gasket Problems
First up are coolant leaks from the 2UR-GSE valley plate. This problem appears most common on Lexus IS-F and LS models. We haven’t really heard of issues on the newer RC-F and GS-F models. However, it’s hard to say indefinitely whether the issue was corrected or if it just isn’t as common since they’re newer.
Anyways, the valley plate gasket is known to begin leaking coolant. It lies towards the top of the engine so coolant can end up all over the place, such as in the intake manifold and head. There’s some speculation the Lexus pink “super long-life coolant” is to blame for the issues. Therefore, some elect to switch to the Red Lexus coolant.
Look for these issues to pop up north of 8 years old and 80,000 miles. Problems can and do occur sooner in some situations. However, gaskets typically go bad with age and mileage so it’s most likely on older 2UR-GSE engines. Also, confirm it’s not the water pump leaking since that’s another issue that happens on the 5.0L V8.
2UR-GSE Valley Plate Symptoms
Symptoms of a valley plate coolant leak on the Toyota 5.0 V8 engine include:
- Visible leak
- Coolant in head or manifold
- Loss of coolant
It’s not always easy to detect a valley plate gasket leak on the Lexus 2UR-GSE engines. Leaks can be contained within the head and manifold without any visible coolant leaks. An occasional inspection of these areas isn’t a bad idea. Otherwise, if you’re topping up on coolant more often than normal then the valley plate is a likely culprit.
Lexus IS-F Valley Plate Gasket Replacement
Replacing the valley plate gasket can be an expensive repair due to labor. Many Lexus dealerships will charge $1,500+ for this job as the book hours are somewhere around 12-14 hours. Fortunately, the gasket is a cheap part so the DIY crowd can knock out 2UR-GSE valley plates pretty cheap. If you need a repair shop we’d recommend tracking down a quality indy shop.
2) 2UR-GSE 5.0 V8 Oil Leaks
Oil leaks really aren’t a common problem on the Toyota 2UR-GSE, but there isn’t much else to discuss. All engines are prone to oil leaks and the 5.0L V8 is no different. It’s similar to the above valley plate leak in many ways. Gaskets, seals, and o-rings simply take a lot of wear and tear over the years.
Eventually, these parts become brittle, begin cracking, and then oil leaks develop. We suspect oil leaks will become more and more common as early IS-F models continue aging. The valve cover gaskets, oil pan gasket, and main seals are a few common areas for oil leaks.
Most oil leaks occur north of 120,000 miles, and many 2UR-GSE engines make it well beyond with no oil leaks. Anyways, as more and more 5.0L V8 engines surpass 10 years and 120,000 miles oil leaks will likely show up more often. This is stuff that happens to almost any engine as they age.
Lexus 5.0L V8 Oil Leak Symptoms
The symptoms of oil leaks are usually pretty simple. Look for the following symptoms that may indicate the Toyota 2UR-GSE is leaking oil:
- Visible leak
- Burning oil smells
- Smoke from engine bay
- Low oil
Visible spots of oil on the ground are a give-away that oil is probably leaking somewhere. However, not all oil leaks result in oil making it to the ground. Valve cover gaskets lie at the top of the engine. It’s not uncommon for these leaks to drip onto the block, headers, etc. This results in oil burning off and may produce burning oil smells or light smoke.
Lastly, you might notice low engine oil but it’s an unlikely symptom. Chances are you’ll notice the other symptoms first. Additionally, the 2UR-GSE will burn some oil naturally so low oil mat be natural consumption.
3) Toyota 2UR-GSE Miscellaneous Issues
Well, the above just about sums up the most “common” problems on the Toyota 2UR-GSE engine. It’s rare to have so few issues to discuss when it comes to performance engines. However, there is a bit more to discuss about the 2UR powered IS-F, GS-F, and RC-F models. First, let’s discuss some general engine stuff.
This article is by no means an exhaustive list of everything that can go wrong with the Lexus 5.0L V8. Random failures and problems do happen. There’s just nothing else that appears frequently enough to warrant discussing it individually. Point being – the 2UR-GSE is a reliable engine but it’s not exempt from other problems.
Otherwise, we’re talking about performance Lexus models. Brakes are a lot more expensive than your average car. The engine uses over 9 quarts of oil, so oil changes are more expensive. So on so forth. It’s a great engine but performance cars and engines are a bit more demanding on standard maintenance.
2UR-GSE 5.0L Reliability
Is the Toyota 2UR-GSE engine reliable? Yes, we believe it earns above average remarks for reliability. That’s even more true considering the 5.0L V8 is a stout performance engine. Engines that push the boundaries of performance generally use more tech. Owners are also more likely to push the engines harder. As such, it’s usually not hard to find a decent chunk of common issues.
We brought up the legendary BMW S65 engine earlier. An engine that’s also prone to rod bearing failures. Same with the BMW S85 engine. We could go on and on with plenty of other engines. Point is – reliability is where the Toyota 2UR-GSE sets itself apart from most other performance engines.
Of course, maintenance is key to ensuring a long, reliable life from the Lexus 5.0L V8 engine. Do all of the basics as with any engine. Use quality oils, change all fluids on time, etc. With proper maintenance the Toyota 2UR-GSE can provide an amazing balance of performance, reliability, and longevity.
Toyota 2UR-GSE Engine Summary
In 2008, Toyota released their 2UR-GSE 5.0L V8 engine in Lexus IS-F models. The engine then made its way into numerous other models including the GS-F and RC-F. Power comes in at an impressive 416-475 horsepower and 371-399 lb-ft of torque. Solid performance for an NA engine of the era.
However, the 2UR engine does lack the all-out performance of many modern performance engines. Chances are it delivers more than enough power and performance for most. There are better engines and platforms out there for maximum performance and aftermarket potential, though.
Where the Toyota 2UR-GSE really shines is reliability. A few common issues include the valley plate gasket, water pump, and oil leaks. The valley plate gasket is really the only design flaw, but it seems to mostly affect early engines in the Lexus IS-F. Regardless, the 2UR-GSE 5.0L V8 offers a compelling balance of performance, reliability, and longevity. It’s also in Lexus models that add in the extra Luxury, which only sweetens the deal.
What’s your experience with the 2UR-GSE engine? Are you considering one?
Leave a comment and let us know!