Author Topic: Living with Mazda3 Diesels - Introduction  (Read 3631 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline The Bun-yip

  • Sports Class
  • ****
  • Posts: 414
  • Gender: Male
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Colour: Aurora Blue (34J) Metallic
  • Engine: 1.6L
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Model: Mazda 3
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Trim: TS
  • Year: 2006
Living with Mazda3 Diesels - Introduction
« on: March 13, 2013, 09:40:24 AM »
This post the first of a series  have been put together to provide some guidance for new owners of first and second generation Mazda 3 Diesels. They will attempt to offer some clues on how to get the best out of living with the vagaries of the Diesel engines used in our cars. Many Mazda 3 diesel owners are first time diesel drivers or have migrated from another manufacturer's diesel products and arrive with a few questions.

My personal experience as a new diesel owner derives from the a Facelifted 2006 1.6 TS model. So I have had to dig into this and other forums to try to get a feel for the experience of owning the 2.0 and 2.2 diesel models.

At the time of writing this in March 2013 Mazda UK are offering two different versions of the Mazda 3 with 1.6 diesels and one with the 2.2 diesel. With diesel engined car sales enjoying considerable popularity more and more diesel drivers are joining the forum although we are still a bit of a minority. As the second generation diesels are improvements on those used in the first generation Mazda 3 we are yet to see if all of the vagaries that beset the first generation have been eliminated completely from the newer models.

Any of the diesel Mazda 3 models are capable of delivering years of enjoyable Zoom Zoom motoring. However, as with any car, a small percentage can throw up unwanted expense. It is usually possible to avoid or minimise that expense if you benefit from the experience of others. With these posts I hope to collect and share the lessons that others have taught me.

1 Aim of these posts Quite simply it is to explore the information that has come to light when Forum members such as ourselves have shared experiences so that we can all learn from them. I will also add information gleaned from far too much time surfing other forums and the wider net.

1.1 Problem Prevention
By being aware of the vagaries of these engines we should be able to take a few simple steps that will prevent some very expensive failures from occurring and explore getting the best out of the Mazda promise of Zoom Zoom motoring.

1.2 Additional Maintenance tasks The Mazda maintenance schedule caters well for those preventive tasks that Mazda believes are needed to maintain the Diesel engines adequately. Unfortunately real world experience suggests that they, in common with many other manufacturers, have not identified some tasks that would benefit aspects of the newer technology incorporated in our engines.

1.3 Enjoy the advantages of Diesel Wonderful smooth wheel turning torque throughout the engine revolution range delivering great environmentally responsible fuel economy is just the start. Reliability as well as retained residual value should be achievable too. Unfortunately these advantages can slip away if we are not proactive enough

1.4 Engines in the main This note will concentrate on the engines themselves and, with a couple  of exceptions, ignore the rest of the automotive technology that we share with our petrol powered friends.

2 Background Because I continue to read that some people assume that our diesels are all just re-badged Ford products I will briefly explore the background in order to prevent any misunderstanding.

2.1 Mazda Diesel History From the early 1970s Mazda have been producing diesels. According to my reading of Wikipedia, Mazda seem to have started with some UK designs from Perkins diesels before developing their own diesel engine families. See:

In fact contrary to the popular misconception that Mazda gets its diesel from Ford the following statement suggests that it is Ford who have modeled their diesels on Mazda. "The Ford Motor Company owns rights to build and use the MZR generation of engines under their Duratec brand name for global service in its vehicles since 2003." taken from

2.2 Mazda 3 Diesels In common with many manufacturers Mazda offers a range of engine sizes to satisfy the requirements of as wide a spread of customers as possible. It is undoubtedly a factor in Mazda's worldwide success with the first two generations of the Mazda 3.

2.2.1 Mazda's 1.6 PSA/Ford Diesel engine MZ-CD The need to develop small clean diesels led to a PSA/Ford joint venture in 1998. By 2012 some 20 million engines have been manufactured from those designs. Our 1.6 diesel is one of them. I am not aware of any statement from Mazda as to why they choose to source an engine from outside their own manufacturing capacity. As the 1.6 diesel is only sold in Europe by Mazda it may be reasonable to suspect that Euro 3 and 4 compliance was easier with this engine. The fact that Mazda continues to offer two 1.6 diesel models of the Mazda 3 in the UK alongside the the 2.2 diesel model clearly shows that Mazda have been in no hurry to walk away from the PSA/Ford offering. Perhaps that will change with the arrival of Mazda's new Skyactive family in the third generation Mazda 3 although motoring journalists seem to think the 1.6 Diesel will be retained in the Skyactive - Third Generation Mazda 3 expected in the summer of this year.

2.2.2 The 2.0. Mazda Diesel MZR-CD Introduced in early 2007 to provide even more Zoom Zoom than the 1.6. Unfortunately early versions of the 2.0 diesel used first in the Mazda 6 did not enjoy a great reputation for reliability. However by the time the Mazda 3 2.0 diesel was launched most of the problems seem to have been sorted.

2.2.3 The 2.2. Mazda Diesel MZR-CD
Introduced in 2008 this engine provides the Zoom Zoom for the higher specified Mazda 3 models. It has been suggested elsewhere that the redesigned engine was introduced to overcome the weaknesses of the 2.0 design. It seems to have won quite a few fans.

2.3 Driving Patterns In common with just about all car manufacturers modern clean diesels have offered dramatic improvements and become quite popular. It has to be said that the Forum which attracts those who take a real interest in their car did not see huge numbers of Diesel Drivers signing up in the early years although that is changing. The limitations imposed by the range of driving patterns that have emerged now demonstrate that currently diesels are not yet a perfect fit for all potential customers.

2.3.1 Short Urban Problems can be experienced in those cars where the pattern of use involves mainly short trips.  In these cases where the engine and exhaust temperature rarely reaches the higher levels for a sustained period the operation of the exhaust's Diesel Particulate Filter self cleaning function (called regeneration) can be problematic. This applies to any diesel vehicle, regardless of manufacturer, fitted with one of the many competing Diesel Particulate Filter technologies.

2.3.2 Open Road
Where driving patterns do include periods of use involving sustained higher operating exhaust temperatures automatic regeneration can work well. In such cases the manufacturers aim of drivers being unaware of the operation of the technology is achieved.

3 Mazda Customer Care
Apparently Mazda have decided that it is not in their corporate interests for drivers to understand any of the ""Hidden" operation of modern Diesel technology. Requests for information that would enable better owner operation of DPF technology in particular are met with total refusals. That includes Mazda UK, Mazda Europe and Head office in Japan. An Australian Forum poster describes Mazda's unhelpful attitude as "Tell 'em nothing, charge 'em double". A frustrating experience that I understand from my attempts to correspond with the company. Other manufacturers provide more detailed information when requested even if it does not guarantee a solution to owner problems. See:
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 03:39:47 PM by The Bun-yip »

Offline Willpower

  • Administrator
  • Super Ultimate Class
  • *
  • Posts: 6581
  • Gender: Male
  • East Anglia Mountain Rescue Team
  • Body: Saloon
  • Colour: Winning Blue (27B) Metallic
  • Engine: 2.0L
  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Model: Mazda 3
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Trim: Sport
  • Year: 2004
Re: Living with Mazda3 Diesels - Introduction
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 12:57:10 AM »
Look at life through the windscreen, not the rearview mirror.
2004 Winning Blue 2Ltr Sport Saloon.  Laser Blue Main beams.

Mazda 3 Forums UK

Re: Living with Mazda3 Diesels - Introduction
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 12:57:10 AM »