Dead Mazda 2.2L Diesel: Don’t let this happen to you!

Dead Mazda 2.2L Diesel: Don’t let this happen to you!

Dead Mazda


I have a dead Mazda 2.2 diesel, caused by drive chain slack. After battling to get the car started, I give in and call breakdown cover. However, the news was worse than expected.

Mazda History

I bought the car in January 2017, it was running fine and passed the MOT in May. When I took it for a service, the mechanic told me there was a rattling noise and it was an £800 job to resolve. It was my own fault I didn’t pay attention to what he said. In my mind, if it had been rattling for a while and I hadn’t noticed, it would probably last a little longer.

However, this particular issue was a bigger problem then I realised. It is a common issue in particular with the Mazda 2.2L diesel engines, the Drive chain (yes chain, not belt) seems to start stretching over time. This can happen as early as 30k miles on the clock. This car had 80K, so was definitely in the bracket for needing the chain changed, or the tensions tightened.

Either way, I parked up the car, it didn’t start the next morning, no signs of anything wrong. I called my mechanic out as I thought it could be a battery issue. He couldn’t pick up anything in the diagnostics and so referred me to an electric specialist in case it was the immobiliser. When the electrical specialist couldn’t detect any faults, after further investigation there didn’t appear to be any compression in the engine.

I was shocked when they informed me that the car could be a write-off. I had the car towed to the garage where a compression test confirmed the situation.


How to avoid

This happens on most Mazda 2.2L Diesel engines (pre-2013) after 30K Miles. Mazda garages will usually tighten it for you each service. If the warning light comes up, they will charge £800+ to replace it.

If it is a dead Mazda and won’t start like mine, check the value of your car before you have the work started. I phoned around several garages at its a 10 hour job. This involves taking the side of the engine off to inspect any potential damage.

Here is a link to the Mazda forum where other people have suffered the same issue: Mazda Forum

Mazda Experience

Has this happened to you? Have you got a Mazda 2.2L Diesel?

Please share with us your experience with the car in the comments below.


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Shane Horsfall Posted on4:55 pm - 10 July 2019

Mazda diesel engines are dogs just waiting to bite huge chunks out of your wallet, major design issues really, and mazda dont want to know when it all goes bang!! My 2014 mazda 6 2.2d 175ps is pretty much worthless with only 30k on the clock, this despite a full mazda service history and additional oil and filter changes every 4k miles.. problems occur with leaking injector seals letting blow by gasses contaminate your oil, this tars the entire lube system up, which usually kills your turbo, just before killing the rest of the lump! EGR valves get coked up too, as does the sump oil strainer, causing low oil pressure issues which this engine simply does not forgive! Mazda are fully aware of the problems this engine causes, but rather than accept the problems and deal with them they prefer instead to blame the driver, stating that its the users “driving style” at fault etc blah blah, guess its more lucrative to screw owners for £6-9k for a new engine than accept liability eh !? ” Zoom Zoom” my butt, should be” Zoom Zoom Clatter Clunk Bang” !! Never, Ever, even consider buying one of their diesels, its a disaster and you,ll get nothing out of Mazda but a big bill……

mark fryer Posted on8:01 pm - 18 November 2019

we have now repaired this

    Marlon King Posted on12:49 pm - 19 November 2019

    That is great news 🙂
    Was that recently? What was the issue in the end? as expected?

      mark fryer Posted on7:03 pm - 19 November 2019

      Hi.No we repaired the car within 2 months of buying the car.The timing chain had stretched so much that the chain had jumped and broken the valve rockers.£1400 in parts plus our own labour to fix it.I liked the car so much that I have kept it for myself and are still using it every day.It has been very good.Must be a couple of years now?.

        Marlon King Posted on10:27 pm - 19 November 2019

        Wow, as expected then. Gutted it happened.. but glad you were able to fix it and it has gone to a good home.

        Yeah, that must have been about 2 years ago now. I’m considering buying a petrol version of the same Mazda 6, hopefully they won’t be able to have the same issue.

mark fryer Posted on3:36 pm - 22 November 2019

Hi.Yes the petrol engine is ok in the Mazda 6.Better for short runs.

wayne elliott Posted on10:37 am - 5 October 2020

I read somewhere in this article about tightening the timing chain from time to time, that is a nonsense and cannot be done. The timing chain size cannot be reduced when stretched, in operation it runs along a system of nylon guides and passes over a hydraulic operated tensioner set up, which keeps a predetermined tension on the chain, the tensioner has an amount of redundancy built in to allow for more tensioning travel to compensate for a the unavoidable stretching of the timing chain until it reaches its limits, then the chain runs slack and can if not dealt with cause the timing of the camshaft and crankshaft to change by jumping the sprocket teeth, the engine by design is a interference engine meaning it self destructs if the camshaft and crankshaft run in an out of timing phase, This is not just common to Mazda but a vast number of manufacturers such as BMW Nissan Honda Mercedes Land ROVER Jaguar Mitsubishi and so forth. The usual time for the chain to jump is on switch off of the engine, as often as the engine is coming to rest (very low rpm) the cylinder compression competes with inertia and momentarily causes a slight backward rotation of the engine which happens to cause slack in the chain at the furthest point away from the tensioner to then jump teeth on the timing . Keeping a watchful eye on matters and listening for changes in engine noise and engine performance are all indicators of fir warning of impending doom. As a rule of thumb 80k is where chains should be considered for replacement under preventative maintenance. Change the kit , guides seals chain, sprockets etc, use a known reliable make like FAI comes with 3 year unlimited mileage warranty, the only one to my knowledge around £200 with vat and around 5 to 6 hours labour depending on how the injectors come out, so a fair price is around the £500 mark for the full job, budget around £130 a year in chain reserves and you got it covered. I am a mechanical engineer, I have a Mazda 2.2 six with a 160 k engine still purring along at 52 to the gallon and ultra reliable with reasonable care being shown.

    Marlon King Posted on10:32 pm - 19 November 2020

    Thanks Wayne for all the detail, you have pretty much described how my Mazda died, parked it on the drive fine the night before, in the morning, non-starter.. And I can’t remember exact mileage but would have been around 80kish I believe. Hopefully, this will help anyone reading to ensure they get this replaced or addressed before getting to this mileage.

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