Mazda B2000 Engine
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The Mazda B2000 was brought to the US market 1985 through 1987. It was an updated model with a total redesign from the 1984 and earlier version of the B2000. The 1985 model had a new production FE 2.0-liter engine that was not as dependable as the earlier MA 2.0-liter motor Mazda was using. The MA engine used a timing chain for the overhead cam and the new FE version used a timing belt. The FE engine was prone to have cylinder head issues.
Mazda B2000 trucks were very popular back in the day and out sold the Chevy S-10 and Ford Ranger in the compact truck competition. The Chevy S-10 was offered with both 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder engines which gave it different price points for the consumer and allowed them to choose economy versus power. The Ford Ranger did the same with a 2.3 liter 4-cylinder engine and a 3.0 liter 6-cylinder motor.
Most people did not know that Mazda was supplying its manual shift transmissions for the Ford Ranger. Mazda and Ford began to partner up on some components in a cost saving move. The Mazda built 5 speed transmissions used fluid instead of lube which is thicker, this caused premature failure in many of the Mazda transmissions because of poor maintenance. The fluid level would get low causing damage to the bearings and gears. Mazda avoided a recall but the issue made for good business for both automobile salvage yards and transmission rebuilders.
It is interesting that the Mazda B2000 was only available in a 2-wheel drive version, a 4-wheel drive was not offered until 1988 when the B2600i truck was brought to market. It seems the B2000 engine was not powerful enough to offer the right performance for the vehicle when it would need to be driven off road in 4-wheel drive.