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Probly one of the most simple things you can do is add a header to the exhaust system.......It is not gonna give you massive power gains but I did notice a positive difference in throttle response on mine.

i have also heard that cam swaps are a good low dollar mod but I have no first hand experience
 

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I was looking at this awhile ago when I was looking to replace my aging 20R with a 22RE. Beyond swapping the stock cam out for an RV cam there's not a whole lot that can be done that qualifies as 'cheap'.

The conclusion I eventually came to was that $/hp it'd be cheaper to swap in one of the Tacoma engines. I'm not sure if the 2.7 will mate up with your tranny's bellhousing... for monetary reasons I never put alot of effort into finding a donor motor so the project is currently on indefinite hold.

I'm pretty sure some of the guys on Pirate4x4 have done such a swap, so they'd be able to tell you what you need if you're interested in it.
 

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Exhaust, intake, cam, headwork. In that order. Don't expect any significant gains though. You can also try this from pirate4x4:

Horsepower – More Power

Thanks to DRM for saving this, and Tim for giving the advice.

Originally posted by DRM
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"Ok ready, first pull off the efi fuse for a couple of seconds, then reinstall it. Grab some Autolite #65 plugs, and side gap them at .048. Set the valve clearance to .011 cold. Install the factory carbed thermostat {Pappy: it's a 180* vs. 190*). Adjust the AFM 3 teeth rich (under 5000 a.s.l.). Start the motor, let idle till you reach operating temp. Set the timing at 16* "not short circuted," {Pappy: about the same as 8* shorted} then take it for a putt, re check the timing, and enjoy. Leave the airbox alone, for it's not a cause of starvation on a stocker, and don't worry about the muffler for now. If you're going to modify the exhaust, start with a header, and 2.5" headpipe."

A follow-up from later that day:

"... you pull the EFI fuse to start the ECU's regathering of fuel mixture readings, because you are altering them via the AFM. The #65's are a hotter plug, and will in this case create a more efficient burn. You WILL NOT detonate when the timing is set 16* NOT SHORT CIRCUTED, because the end reading when short circuted will be 8* advanced. The afm adjustment enrichens the motor aproximately 3cc. This is necessary due to the timing advance, which requires a proper mixture."

I found the AFM 3 teeth to be too rich for my high desert home (driveway is 5200 ft) and have backed it down to 1 tooth rich.
 
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