Originally Posted by Sporty Modder
When I first bought the car I was expecting 3.90 gearing or so. The gearing imo is perfect, engine has alot of torque but not alot of horsepower. 2.4l truck engines are that way
If/when I loose this engine I may go to a 4age 16v motor
4a motor is a bit old though, and iron block :/
If I wanted a 1.5L-1.6L engine available in America right now, I'd grab a 1NZ and do a little building (costs money of course but I think it's worth it to have a unique, peppy engine), stronger rods, high comp pistons, cams, valve springs. In theory that should be good for 160hp or more NA depending on how aggressive the cams are, but it needs a new ECU most likely to get best results.
With 3.9 gearing you'd still be in pretty good shape. 4.3 rear end + 0.815 "cruise" gear +tiny tire diameter= disaster. I think the AP2 S2k's F22C with the 1.2something primary reduction and 4.1 F/D is the only 4 banger that's even less efficient on the highway (S2000s should have more drag than the Toyota stable with their short tail and convertible top). The 2ZZ + C60s are probably a little better because they have shortened stroke and MMC liner = less friction at the high revs.