R154 vs W58 Transmission – What Are The Differences (Explained)

Comparing transmissions is always a catalyst for intense discussions. Whether that discussion transposes into an actual fight is always a possibility as petrol heads can get pretty entrenched in an argument. Luckily, this comparison is a little different. Today we are going to be discussing the R154 vs W58 transmission.

But, in a twist of formatting, we are actually trying to determine in which ways they are different rather than battle adamantly over one being better than the other. Don’t worry, we will cover which is “best” later on. Here is everything you need to know about the R154 vs W58 transmissions including their differences, weaknesses and strengths, relative value for money, and more. Let’s get into it right here and now.

A Summary Of The R154 Transmission

The R154 is a five-speed transmission that focuses on infrequently needing to shift at high speeds to maximize performance output. The R154 is designed to handle insane amounts of torque and produce an incredible amount of horsepower (250 BHP).

It featured on the Mk3 Supra Turbo as well as the Toyota Crown, Toyota Chaser, and Toyota Cresta. And many others. It is a sealed shifter with tripod linkage and was manufactured for the United States Domestic Market USDM from 1987 until 2004. Though that doesn’t mean it struggles to hold up today.

A Summary Of The W58 Transmission

The W58 transmission is a six-speed transmission that allows for faster gear changes at high-speed. The W58 transmission was first designed in 1958 so naturally is starting to show its age a bit. However, the W58 is rated for an exceptional amount of torque and is capable of producing 325 brake horsepower. 335 ft-lb of torque from a 70-year-old design is pretty gosh darn good going. Right?

While it is true that the W58 was designed in 1958 it didn’t actually see mainstream use until 1982 until 2005 so there were naturally a ton of iterations that lead to the W58 being suitable for modern-day cars. You will also find that the W58 and R154 were used in similar, even the same, cars though they are not interchangeable. At least not right off the bat.

R154 vs W58 – What Are The Differences?

The R154 vs W58 are very similar transmissions in a lot of ways. Toyota designed them to do similar things, they may not be completely interchangeable, but they are incredibly compatible in almost every regard. However, there are some key differences. Firstly, of course, the W58 produced more horsepower while the R154 produced more torque.

The W58 was a six-speed tranny while the R154 was only a 5-speed. They both have different gear ratios and perform very differently at high speeds. The R154 reduces your need to shift at all with longer “distances” between shift points whereas the W58 shifts faster and more often. And is designed to do so without affecting your speed all that much.

R154 vs W58 – Which Deals With Torque Better?

Both of these transmissions are excellent and produce tremendous amounts of torque. Just to clarify, they are both excellent at producing torque. But, how do they deal with said torque? That is a much better question and one that is very infrequently asked. The R154 produces more torque and is therefore quite adept at dealing with it.

Comparatively, the W58 produces a lot of torque and almost seems to surprise itself that it can produce so much. The W58 wears down and starts to become less reliable at higher levels of torque which is quite surprising, to be honest, but true nevertheless.

R154 vs W58 – Which Is Better Value For Money?

Since there are decades of different versions for each transmission the answer to this question, as so often is the case, comes down to the kind of life the transmission has had beforehand. In a realistic and practical comparison, the answer to which is better value for money is most often to be the transmission with the least number of miles.

This is only sensible and applies to most aspects of the secondhand car market, however, if we are to compare the two transmissions in a hypothetical where both are brand new and of the same year the answer is probably the R154. It tends to hold up a little better in the most extreme circumstances and while it produces a lot fewer horses it gives the sense that it is doing more with the ones it has got.

R154 vs W58 – Which Is Better Overall?

I know this article wasn’t really about which is best but it’s always fun to weigh the two sides up and see which comes out on top. As is so often the case which is better seems to be which better suits your needs. If you are someone who prefers more horsepower and pretty much everything else can be sacrificed in that pursuit, then the W58 is better.

You have 70-odd extra horses at your disposal and the difference is likely noticeable. On the other hand, if torque is power and you like power the R154 is going to be the likely winner. It is powerful and punchy and has stood the test of time extremely well.

Is Swapping an R154 vs W58 Worth It?

These transmissions are not interchangeable which means if you want to swap them out the converters that feed into the engine will need to be changed as well as the internal components like the flywheel. You could in theory swap one for the other alongside all of the components needed to make that possible. But that would be horribly expensive and the gain would feel pretty minuscule for the amount of effort that went into it.


There are some clear differences between these two transmissions. The physical differences such as a differing number of gears are naturally incredibly obvious at a glance and the differences in their performance specs also tend to separate the two rather clearly.

However, they do remain incredibly similar with very similar use cases and strengths. It just so happens they tend to do the same thing well in slightly different ways. Thanks for reading and as always goodbye for now. Cheers!

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