Swapping Ford Fusion/Escape 2.5L into 08 Mazda 3 2.3L - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Swapping Ford Fusion/Escape 2.5L into 08 Mazda 3 2.3L

Unfortunately, my 08 3 with 112K miles has either a cracked head or blown head gasket. I've been doing tons of research, and after weighing my options, I've decided to pursue having my mechanic swap a 2.5L Ford Fusion/Escape engine into my car for the following reasons (in order of importance):

* More reliable
* Confidence that the problem won't come back on my 2.3L
* Cheaper engine cost with far less mileage. Only about $500-800 with shipping for engines with anywhere from 40-70K miles.
* More power

I plan on keeping my 08 3 for the next 5-6 years, and after reading on a lot of forums, I'm not very confident that my current 2.3L will last that long, even if the head is replaced/gasket is fixed. (My local mechanic hasn't pulled my engine apart yet since we may just replace the engine.)

Here are my options:

Replace the cracked head (using a used $200-300 cylinder head) or broken head gasket
* Cheaper ($1300-$1500 with parts and labor)
* No guarantee that the problem won't come back

Buy used 2.3L
* More expensive than all other options (Around $1100 for motor alone with about 100K miles + about $1000 for labor)
* Fear that "new" 2.3L will die

Swap Ford 2.5L in
* Reasons listed above
* $1600-2000

As I see it, I'm willing to pay the extra money to have a more reliable engine in my car since I want to keep it for awhile. However, I do have some questions, especially for people that have swapped the Ford 2.5L into their cars.

* How reliable is the 2.5L?
* Did you have any problems with smog? (I'm in California)
* What years from the Fusion/Escape motors can be swapped in? From the guides I've been reading online, it seems like anywhere from 2009-2012 are okay.
* Is it worth it in my case to swap out the engine?
* My 3 is AT, does the motor I buy have to be AT as well?

If anybody has advice or insight, I'd really appreciate it.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 11:01 PM
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Here`s what I`d do (and just buy a head if that`s an issue as well)

2008 Mazda 3 2.3L L4 Engine Rebuild Kit - EK478A -5

tear it down, have it all machined and put back together with as much new as you can get. The full rebuild kit is $400, of course there will be plenty of labor but If your mechanic is worth a damn it`ll be just like new and you won`t have compatibility issues come to bite you in the ass.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm. Now that I've been reading more, it seems like I'd have to buy an intake adapter and also a throttle body adapter. And then there's also the possibility of compatibility issues.

So basically, the rebuild kit would expand my engine's life. I'm still worried that my 2.3L will die sometime in the future though.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiyama View Post
Hmm. Now that I've been reading more, it seems like I'd have to buy an intake adapter and also a throttle body adapter. And then there's also the possibility of compatibility issues.

So basically, the rebuild kit would expand my engine's life. I'm still worried that my 2.3L will die sometime in the future though.
You would only need one adapter set, not both. All your questions were answered in the message I just sent your way. Alternatively if you decide to keep your 2.3, I also have an almost brand new 2.3 head sitting here. Less than 2000 miles on it.

2.5 swap TB adapters, alu dipstick handles, and more!

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 01:04 AM
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If its in Cali and has to pass smog then I would use the intake adapter and run the 2.3 intake. That place is harsh and if the inspector finds anything visibly wrong then you fail, like the defeated intake runner control and custom vacuum routing required to use the 2.5 intake.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by madmatt2024 View Post
If its in Cali and has to pass smog then I would use the intake adapter and run the 2.3 intake. That place is harsh and if the inspector finds anything visibly wrong then you fail, like the defeated intake runner control and custom vacuum routing required to use the 2.5 intake.
Actually theres a fix for that too. The most ideal setup would be to use the Mazda 2.5, with a Speed3/CX7 throttle body. You then have an electrically compatible throttle body that mates with the 2.5 manifold, which has all the IMRC components still in it. Or if you use the Mazda 2.5 manifold with my adapter and the 2.3 throttle body, just have my adapter painted/powdercoated. It then looks like nothing more than a spacer, and I'd find it hard to believe that they would fail you over a simple spacer. But what do I know, after all, it IS Commiefornia!
But if they would fail it over a throttle body spacer, they'd be just as likely to fail it for the manifold spacer as well.

2.5 swap TB adapters, alu dipstick handles, and more!

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 01:44 AM
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Throttle body spacers are required to be CARB exempt so yes you can fail for having one that isn't. Airaid has a CARB exemption for theirs https://arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermkt/devices/eo/D-609.pdf
The inspector may also notice that the intake manifold is different from other 3's he has seen and the way the vac lines are connected which, as nice as you did it on the adapter, also won't look stock. Safest bet is still the 2.3 manifold because everything will still look as stock as possible the the likelihood of them seeing the adapter plate is slim to none.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 10:51 PM
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OP: if you go the 2.5L route try to find one that is running before it's pulled. Do the following test prior to purchasing it:

1) Cold start (engine sitting overninght) and feel for engine misfire, rough idle/lumpy idle and check tail-pipe for smoke ..especially white smoke = blown head gasket or cracked head. Black smoke = oil rings or valve guides.
2) Compression test dry and wet
3) Inspect spark plugs for fouling
4) Loosen oil drain plug slighly, catch oil in a shallow dish and inspect for metal flakes in oil.
5) Leak down test if you have the means.
6) Power balance test
7) After reaching operating temp remove expansion tank cap, rev engine and look for bubbles: continious medium to large bubbles may indicate a blown head gasket.
8) At operating temp have a helper rev the engine while you check tail pipe for white (coolant) or dark (oil) or blue (rich fuel) smoke. Also look for excessive water coming out of tail pipe = blown head gasket

If, all checks out install (at minimum) a new thermostat and waterpump while engine is out of car.

Last edited by Turd_Ferguson; 09-18-2016 at 11:05 PM.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by VoodooJef View Post
Here`s what I`d do (and just buy a head if that`s an issue as well)

2008 Mazda 3 2.3L L4 Engine Rebuild Kit - EK478A -5

tear it down, have it all machined and put back together with as much new as you can get. The full rebuild kit is $400, of course there will be plenty of labor but If your mechanic is worth a damn it`ll be just like new and you won`t have compatibility issues come to bite you in the ass.
If, the OP's cylinder head is cracked, warped or has bad valves then that's another $150 minimum (clean, resurface, inspect at machine shop). Plus, labor for head install as well as engine rebuild which would end up being over $2000.

Last edited by Turd_Ferguson; 09-18-2016 at 11:04 PM.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 11:05 PM
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No junkyard is going to let you do all of that. Most yards drain all fluids after their evaluation and then either dismantle the car or put it in the yard. At best you will get to hear/see it run for a minute or less. Most offer a warranty on their parts though.
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