A few potential faults on the Mazda Drifter 2.5

Are you the owner of a Mazda Drifter 2.5? Do you suspect that your Mazda is not performing the way it is supposed to perform? The following information was obtained from owners such as yourself who had bad experiences with their vehicles, and we at SAC think that it is nothing but fair to share these issues with you. By doing so, we want you to be informed about your vehicle. Being informed empowers you to early identify any problem rearing its head, thereby enabling you to swiftly cut its head before it grows into a bigger issue.

SAC by no means intend to denigrate the Mazda Drifter 2.5 or portray it with a negative image. We are of the opinion that this vehicle is as trustworthy as any other vehicle in its class. Nonetheless, from the mouths and fingertips of 2.5 owners, a few issues regarding this vehicle (some serious, others less serious) came to our attention. Let us share these with you.


Noisy engine

This should not be an issue with the 2.5, seeing that the 2.5 is considered by many to be one of the quietest diesel engines of its era. If your Drifter is noisy, don’t run to the nearest workshop and have your pump and injectors replaced, no, rather consider having your vehicle’s oil checked and changed. It does happen (and SAC refrains from this) that workshops keep one drum of oil which they use on every vehicle during service intervals. This is WRONG – any technician/mechanic with enough savvy will know better. The 2.5 doesn’t like thin oil, so if the oil placed in your vehicle was 5W30 or 0W30 or something similar, get rid of it. You need to use something thicker, like 10W40.

If you substituted the oil with a thicker one, and your vehicle is still noisy, then let one of our qualified technicians give your vehicle a thorough check-up to determine what may be wrong. There were cases where people who experienced a ticking sound in the engine, had their injectors replaced, which solved the problem, and if this is the remedy to your noisy engine, have SAC handle this for you.

Another cause may be the copper “top Hats” that are installed before you put in the injectors. They sometimes pull out when injectors are removed. One of their functions (being made of copper) is to act as a sound buffer; they assist in deadening injector noise. Have a reputable technician inspect the injector and the copper “top hat” situation.


Misfire and Smoke out the back

Have your vehicle’s glow plugs checked. Some owners had this done after experiencing some shaking (miss firing) and smoke coming out the rear end, and the issue were solved.


Starting issue!

Do you experience an issue starting your vehicle? This may be due to a few reasons. Some owners pointed out the fact the glow plug light fails to come on from time to time. This is a problem because the glow plugs need to work on this generation engines where you have pre-combustion chambers. Have the glow plugs checked.

There is also the possibility of a fuel supply problem? Your vehicle may suffer from what is known as fuel starvation, and only a decent inspection will determine whether this is the cause or not.

The starting issue may also be caused by a faulty fuse, relay or the wire going to and from that to the pump itself. There may even be a problem with the regulator.

Lastly, the newer models have an anti-theft immobilizer at the back of the pump, and when this is faulty, you will also have a starting issue.

Bring your vehicle to SAC if you experience a faulty start issue with your vehicle. We can remedy the problem.


Gearbox trouble?

Do you experience trouble with your 4th and/or 5th gears? Does your box whine while in these gears, and what may be the reason for this? Some owners mentioned that their gearboxes started making a loud whining noise while in 4th or 5th. There is no issue of gears popping out or anything of that kind. This also happened only at certain speeds/loads.

It has been argued that it is a cardinal sin to (a) travel in 5th gear below 80 km/h and (b) to tow anything in 5th gear. Some argue that 5th should only be used in highway cruising, not below 100 km/h, and without something hooked to the back.

These are only preventative suggestions, the matter at hand is a whining 4th and/or 5th. Should one, if this is the case, have the specific gear set replaced or should the entire gearbox be replaced? It should be mentioned that the bearing cage on the 5th gear, for example, was originally made out of plastic. They tended to crack dropping all the needle rollers, but replacement bearings have a steel cage and so are much stronger. The substantial financial difference between having the gear/s changed, rather than the entire gearbox, needs to be taken into consideration when weighing up the two options.

An option that may also be considered worthy is to do an oil change and fill the box with easy-shift oil or a 75W-90. This may add valuable kilometres to your gearbox life.


Glow plugs keep going faulty!

There are owners who had to replace the glow plugs as frequent as every three months. This is not only a costly exercise, but more so entirely unnatural. Glow plugs are not supposed to go that fast. There is a possible reason for this happening. When your vehicle’s engine starts, the glow plugs can stay on for more than ten minutes, depending on how cold the engine is. The engine control unit is responsible for controlling the time period that the glow plugs stay on after starting. If this unit is faulty, they will stay on permanently and this may cause the plugs to burn out.


All of the abovementioned issues is NOT Mazda specific; you may be a Drifter 2.5 owner without ever having experienced any of the abovementioned issues. In the event of you actually suspecting that any of these issues may be prevalent, then visit a friendly SAC workshop and have the issue investigated.


Within the above article, potential problems, causes and fixes have been identified as founded on the experience of vehicle owners and repairers, online sources such as discussion blogs, technical service bulletins and SAC experience. This information is provided solely for reference purposes. SAC strictly instruct readers that only properly qualified individuals should carry out repairs and/or modifications on your vehicles. It should also be made clear that the number of times an item is identified within this discussion should by no way be seen as an indicator of a model’s reliability or the frequency with which they may occur. Two of the exact same vehicles, owned by tow entirely different owners, driven in entirely different ways and on different terrains, and looked after in their own unique ways, will each behave differently. As mentioned, this information is provided solely for reference purposes but we hope – in the process of doing so – to empower you with relevant information which may enable you to make informative decisions whenever you experience any of the mentioned setbacks.