What’s the Best Type of Engine Swap for a Classic Toyota AE86 for Drifting?

For all the auto enthusiasts out there, let’s talk about the best type of engine swap for a classic Toyota AE86 for drifting. This iconic car has been a favorite amongst drifting experts for decades. It’s balance, lightweight, and rear-wheel-drive format make it a prime choice for those who love to power slide around corners. However, with age, its stock engine might not pack the punch it once did. The question then arises – which engine should you use as a replacement?

Exploring the Jan Engine

An engine that has been repeatedly postby many AE86 enthusiasts is the famous Jan engine. Renowned for its power and reliability, it’s a prime candidate for your next engine swap.

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The Jan engine, with its robust build and incredible performance, is an excellent choice for anyone looking to upgrade their classic AE86. The power produced by this engine allows for more torque, which is essential for aggressive drifting. It’s been praised in club meetings and online forums alike for its reliability and power.

Compared to the stock engine that comes with the AE86, the Jan engine has a substantially higher power output. This means you can expect more speed and better performance from your car once you’ve completed the swap. Moreover, the Jan engine is built for longevity, ensuring that your oldeskewltoy will continue to perform at its best for years to come.

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The Appeal of the Zenki Engine

The Zenki engine is another excellent choice for an AE86 engine swap. It’s a popular choice among the drifting community, with many posts praising its performance and reliability.

The Zenki engine is well-liked among the AE86 club for its higher power output and torque compared to the stock engine. Its design promotes superior power and speed, allowing for better drifts and higher speeds. Furthermore, it’s known for its durability, which is a must-have feature if you plan to regularly engage in drifting.

The Zenki engine’s gear ratios are also a great advantage for drifters, as they allow for quicker acceleration and more power at lower speeds. These features make the Zenki engine an appealing choice for any AE86 owner looking to upgrade their engine for better drifting performance.

Examining the Rib Engine

The Rib engine is another option that’s often quoted as an exceptional replacement for the stock AE86 engine. It’s known for its remarkable power output and durability, making it an excellent choice for those who want to take their drifting to the next level.

The Rib engine, praised by many AE86 experts, provides a significant power boost compared to the stock engine. This power upgrade translates into improved speed and better drifting performance. Additionally, the Rib engine is known for its durability, ensuring that your car will continue to perform at its best even after long drifting sessions.

The Rib engine’s gear ratios are particularly well-suited for drifting, allowing for more efficient power delivery during power slides and drifts. If you’re an AE86 owner seeking to enhance your car’s drifting capabilities, the Rib engine is undoubtedly an option worth considering.

Locating Your Preferred Engine

Once you’ve decided on the type of engine you want to use for your AE86, the next step is to find a reliable location to source it from. This might seem like a daunting task, but rest assured, with some effort and guidance, you can find the perfect engine for your drifting needs.

Many car experts suggest posting your requirements on car forums or joining car clubs. This allows you to tap into the collective knowledge of fellow car enthusiasts who might have useful information about where to source the best engines. They could also provide tips and tricks on how to perform the actual engine swap.

Final Thoughts

Before you decide on the type of engine to swap into your classic Toyota AE86 for drifting, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and preferences. Each engine has its strengths and weaknesses, and your choice should be based on which engine’s features align best with your requirements.

For instance, if your primary focus is on power and speed, the Jan or Zenki engine might be your best bet. On the other hand, if durability and longevity are your main concerns, you might want to consider the Rib engine.

Remember, the most important aspect is that your chosen engine enhances your car’s performance and brings you joy every time you hit the drifting course.

The Pros and Cons of the Jan, Zenki, and Rib Engines

While all three engines – Jan, Zenki, and Rib – have commendable features, they also come with their own unique advantages and drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of these engines for daily driving and drifting power.

The Jan engine, as stated above, is incredibly robust and offers increased power compared to the stock AE86 engine. However, these engines aren’t always the easiest to source, which can present a challenge. While the Jan engine’s power is impressive, some enthusiasts might find it too much for daily driving.

The Zenki engine excels with its superior power and speed, making it very appealing for drifters. However, some drivers find that the Zenki engine’s power delivery is a bit too aggressive for casual, daily driving. It’s worth noting that Zenki engines are a bit more common, so finding one for sale might be a bit easier.

Finally, the Rib engine is known for its longevity and durability, which is perfect for those who plan on drifting regularly. However, like the Jan engine, Rib engines might be more challenging to source. Their power is substantial as well – but some find it excessive for daily use.

In summary, while all three engines are undoubtedly superior to the stock AE86 engine, their power might prove to be a bit too much for those looking to use their AE86 for daily driving. It’s important to remember that the best engine for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

The Importance of Proper Installation and Maintenance

Regardless of which engine you choose, it’s vital to ensure that the engine swap is done correctly. It’s not just about bolting the new engine in place; it’s about ensuring that everything is connected correctly, that the cooling and fuel systems are properly configured, and that the engine is correctly tuned.

Proper maintenance is equally important. This includes regular oil changes, checking and adjusting the timing if necessary, and ensuring the engine’s cooling system is functioning well. Regular attention to these details will greatly increase the lifespan of your engine and ensure it continues to deliver top-notch performance.


Deciding on the best engine to put in your classic Toyota AE86 for drifting can be a daunting task. However, as this post has outlined, there are several fantastic options available, each with its own unique advantages and drawbacks. As with all car modifications, the best choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Remember that an engine swap is not just about getting more power. It’s about improving your enjoyment and overall experience of your car. So think carefully, do your research, and make the decision that best enhances your driving and drifting pleasure. And always remember – no matter which engine you choose, proper installation and maintenance are key to keeping your AE86 running smoothly and efficiently.

So, whether you’re an enthusiast posting on car forums, an expert posting your findings, or a weekend warrior just looking to have some fun, the Jan, Zenki, or Rib engine could be the perfect upgrade for your classic Toyota AE86. Happy drifting!

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