The History of Toyota’s 4Y Engine

When inventor Sakichi Toyoda successfully pioneered the automatic loom, he laid the foundation for Toyota Industries and our commitment to kaizen, continuous improvement. For nearly a century, the Toyota name has been synonymous with excellence in quality and innovation with the inventor’s spirit at the heart of our business.

It took only eight years after establishing Toyoda Automatic Loom Works Co., Ltd. – known today as Toyota Industries Corporation – before Toyota produced its first engine in 1934: the A-type engine for automobiles.

But I’m sure if you’re reading this blog you know that Toyota makes much more than cars. In 1956, Toyota began producing forklift engines, a new chapter in the story of Toyota Industries. As material handling needs evolved, so did Toyota’s role in the game. Heavy duty applications called for equipment tough and robust enough to take on high capacity needs. And at the core of these powerful workhorses needed to be an engine with the durability and grit to deliver reliable life and power.

In 1986, Toyota introduced a forklift engine that could take on these heavy duty challenges: The 4Y industrial engine. Carefully designed and engineered through the core practices of the Toyota Production System, this engine set a new standard of excellence within the material handling industry. Today, millions of these engines have been produced and can be found in forklifts, compressors, gas heat pumps, and more.

But most important, these engines are at the heart of Toyota’s internal combustion forklifts, making them some of the most dependable pieces of equipment on the market. Don’t believe me? The 4Y Engine has helped Toyota forklifts achieve more than 35,000 life cycle operator hours with ease. Some have even reached over 80,000 hours.

It’s an engine that is built to perform, but also engineered with sustainability in mind. The 4Y engine’s emissions system filters carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and nitrogen oxide gases, allowing it to surpass federal EPA emission standards.

The 4Y engine is a testament to Toyota’s commitment to the pursuit of improvement and of its dedication to creating a more sustainable future.

Want to learn more about the 4Y engine? Check out this video on 4Y’s perks and history or this video about how the 4Y improves Toyota forklift operation.


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