Mazda MX-6 Forum banner

Not open for further replies.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

3,055 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been asked to do the FE3 faqs again and sort though the last super post I made, so there will be up to 83% less flulf and 17% more info. Enjoy!:D
This thread composed on info from this thread.FE3 and everything else
It took about an hour and a half to sort out most of the usless info.

I guess that when people do a search for FE3 they come up with alot of useless threads telling people to search and when they do ask they get a lot of harsh answers. (sorry to all that have recieve harsh answers from me)
So to make it a little easier to find FE3 info I have made this thread. Feel free to add on to anything I don't cover.

First question:
What is FE3?
Fe3 is a 2.0l 16v DOHC engine that is found in euro and japanese spec mx6, 626, and capplea cars.
1998cc 121.9 cu in. 2.0 liters
86 mm bore 3.39 cu in
86 mm stroke 3.39 cu in
Aluminum head, cast iron block
Dual overhead camshafts, 16 valves
Here is a pic from FE3Ts site.

THis motor cam in a few different trims.
9.2:1 compression on cat models
10.0:1 compression on non cat models
[email protected] 6000 rpm 10.0:1 models
160ft/[email protected] 4500rpm 10.0:1 models

[email protected] 6000 rpm 9.2:1 models

140ft/[email protected] 4500 rpm 9.2:1 models
(from JayB's website)

Will it fit my car?
As long as you have a 88-92 MX6,626, or Probe.

Is it a direct fit?
Yes, everything bolts right up.

Can I use the DX/lx tranny with FE3?
Yes, just be carefull with your shifting and if your planning on adding boost you may want to go to the GT tranny

Can I use the F2T or F2 ecu with FE3?
Yes, you can as long as you extend the dissy. You can use the F2 or F2T ecu but it will not running the FE3 as it is intended.
A better option would be to use a standalone ecu or FE3 ecu. OR EITHER A NISSAN CA1ET, OR MITSUBISHI 4G63 ECU AS WELL

Can I use the BP ecu from a protege?
Yes you can as long as you have all the wiring and proper conections.

Whats is VICS?

The intake are also a jewel.
its a variable intake with 2 sets of runners.
1 long set for low rpm torque and 1 short set for high rpm power

(picture from FE3Ts site)

Also you can control the vics operation with a stand alone ecu or an rpm activated switch.

What parts do I use for FE3?
You can use 98 KIA sportage parts, like the water pump, timing belt, head gasket, pistons, etc...
Use F2 oil filter, miata spark plugs or just go to the parts store with the ones that came in the car. As miata sparkplug wires.

What is the performance of the FE3?
The FE3 is just a little faster than the F2T. It revs higher in the rev range but doesn't produce as much tq as F2T. You can expect low 15s runs from a well tuned FE3 and posably 14s if you a good driver.
Also It has been noted that FE3 has a top speed of just over 280kmh or 150mph.

Was there ever a turbo FE3?
Yes, it was used in a rally car in the early 1990s. Only 28 were made. They the engine code is FE3T. They are not avaiable. PART NUMBER WAS NOT EVER CALLED FE3T, IT WAS A FE-T DOHC, AND THESE ENGINES WHERE RACED IN THE 80's NOT 90's. NO ONE CAN GET THESE SO DON"T ASK!!!!

Can I turbo FE3?
Yes. Turbo FE3s produce huge amounts for hp. They are capable of over 500hp with a turbo. One guy had his FE3-T runnig 11s 1/4mile times.

Where do I get FE3?
Check with your local Japanese Engine Imports. Also there are avaible in Colorado at a place called All Japanese Engines
Ph: 303-234-9528
They should be able to souce one. But make sure its complete.

Here are some more sites and things to read regrading FE3:

FE3T's website
Turbo Chat FE3 info
Randy's site

wiring diagram
valve keepers

evo vac lines
evos fe3 coming in soon
FE3 vs F2T
FE3 started
kia part numbers

vics controler
FE3 in probe
rev limting problem
FE3 thermostat
Fe3 debate
evos thoughts on fe3
cheap turbo for fe3
misconspections about fe3
SDS install
FE3 Timing
FE3 talk (some info on this link may or may not be correct) FE3 revlimiting problem
Another Evo rant about using FE3 parts on the F2T (its not worth it!) FE3 overbore Q? More on SDS

Q: I'm guessing the manual trans that came with the FE3 in the Japan cars isn't any stronger than the MTX in our cars and also came without a LSD?
Does the FE3 use hydraulic lifters and are they located in the tip of the rocker arms like the F2?
I would really like to see a close up shot of the FE3 with the valve cover off.
A:FE3 uses bucket type HLA's same that are used on all Mazda DOHC engines such as B6 DOHC, BP DOHC, FE DOHC, K8 DOHC, KL DOHC, FSDE DOHC, KF DOHC engines. But the FE3 uses the largest out of all of them, so you can't used the others.

It's no such thing as a stronger Mazda tranny, even if it's from Japan, Africa, Russia, Austrailia, or what ever it is... It's no such thing, the only thing maybe if it's LSD or not.

All Mazda trannies are same strength world-wide (WEAK)

FE3 uses a MAF sensor not the crappy VAF that the F2T uses.

Q: this motor looks almost exactly like my friends protege engine, is it the same?? i think his is like a 95 lx
A: No the BP motor that the protege/ 323 use is not even close to the FE3. Parts will not transfer.

Q: what all needs to be done to fe3 b4 they can get a turbo. is it pretty much the same: pistons, rods, and all the other typical things
A: If under 12 psi nothing really. The rods are fine and the cat model pistons (either 9.4 Mazda or 9.2 Kia) are fine. Only if you get to wild boost numbers do you need to look at pistons.

The only reason I(Randy) got aftermarket rods is because of the shorter length requirement from the stroker crank. The aftermarket Chevy rods that are conservativly rated at 500 hp were nearly identical in size to the factory FE3 pieces. Its all about the tuning.
More FE3 head pics, thanks Dutch626.


3,055 Posts
Discussion Starter #2

Kia manufactuers the FE3 under license from Mazda. They purchased tooling and copies of blue prints. It is the same engine other than some minor changes. Like converting it to RWD.

The most significant change, as related to a swap, is that Kia decided to use the crankshaft from the RF 2.0 diesel (with the 8 bolt flywheel) to save manufacturing and inventory costs as the crank is common to both engines. The Sportage is sold mostly with the diesel engine in other countries.

Q: How do I know its a real FE3?
A: When you are looking at the motor as if it were in the car, on the head right below the valve cover, on the left hand side is stamped FE3N. That is how you know

Q: Hey guys is there anyway to differentiate between the 9:1 and 10:1 versions other then the cat? Cause if the motor is out of the car and already here how would you know?

A: Pistons. Look down the sparkplug hole and if the pistons are slightly domed with a round dome then they are 10:1. If the pistons are slightly dished they are the lower CR items.
Q: is it easier to get an FE3 into a GT or LX/DX. What year is best, if any. What kind of wiring/harness setups have to be rigged if using a f2t ecu?
A: the GT/GL/DX are the same engine bays, the differences are boxes and driveshafts........... but LX/DX will handle Fe DOHC.

Year does not matter.

Harness wise, its easer to start with GT, you already have electronic Dizzy(that would need to be moddified), and knock sensor plug and better injector conectors.

obviously its better to have a Fe DOHC ECU and Harness, but its a pain(BIG PAIN, trust me i know, im going through this) to join Front harness, AC harness of F2 to Fe DOHC main harness..... but at the end you get better system. The abosulte best way to install the FE3 the right way is to use a standalone computer. Using the F2 or F2T ecus will net a poor running car and you may blow the motor.

3,055 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Q: i want to know if the fe3 in the kia sportage can dolt on to my 2.2 and if so is there internal mods have to be done.
A: Yes it will bolt to the transmission and you can transfer motor mounts but there is more you will have to do to convert it to FWD such as intake mandifold, exhaust manifold, coolant plumbing, sensor transfer, etc.

It is possible to use the Sportage engine but easier to get the genuine Mazda since it is already made up for FWD.

Q: Hey. the ford probe has a DOHC 2.0 in the eairly 90's is that the same thing? Or is it different?
A: Different. That is the 93-03 FS engine and not related. See chart at bottom of

Q: I understand an apexi air/fuel super controller can't be used on a regular VAF get b/c the signal (in volts) is reversed from standard cars. Since the FE3 uses a MAF, can the air/fuel controller be used?
A: FE3 powered cars use a 5volt maf system. You can use the apexi air/fuel super controller. VAFs on the F2/F2T uses 3-8volt systems which you can not use apexi air/fuel super controller.
IF you use a standalone you dont even have to worry about this, as everything is user adjustable.The Apexi system works but only to a point. Using that type of "intercepter/piggyback" to adjust the fuel still has to work within the boundries of the stock ECU. Most people want to go go beyond those limits.

Q: it is if you are going to go for the high WHP and going to turbo, can you use the 10.0:1, or do you go with the 148whp 9.2:1?
A: There are a number of options when turboing the FE3. Jay ran for awhile using the 10:1 comp pistions. He made great power but.. had to run super high octane gas to avoid damaging the engine.
Switching to 9:2:1 pistons lets you run just premium. Running a turbo and a stock FE3 ecu you would have to have an ecu chip to run larger injectors. and good luck finding a chip for an fe3 ecu without having it custom made. with some tuning and an fmu you can supply enough fuel, but then the ignition timing should be retarded under boost. The best way to go is stand alone. period.

Q: Here is the Problem? We know that the protege bp ecu will run the fe3. However the problem comes in with boosting the fe3. One needs another 1300.00 to buy the sds or whatever. Could the ecu from a GT-R or GT-x be used as it is a turbo motor? Here is a link to the gt-r. It is the first one I found on a search. If it is a bp engine like the protege or is this the same engine? If so this would be an great way to turbo the fe3 without needing to spend 1300.00 on an ecu unless however they cost 1300.00. Has anyone ever done this?
A: It also come down to this as well. The BP turbo engine would control the FE3 engine, but the FE3 turbo engine flows alot more than a BP turbo. The fuel maps in the BP turbo ECU won't match the FE3 fuel curve. So you will still be limited to at least 8 psi, and the BP ECU is non reprogrammable.

Also, to find that ECU and wiring...good luck!!! Everyone is looking for those ECU and wiring from a GT-R and GTX that have a Protege that swapped a 1.8 BPT GT-R engine.

$1300.00 is not expensive. To even get a GT-R ECU and wiring will cost you over $600.00, because everyone are looking for them. They only bulit 500 a year. Look at Supra guys, they buy a HKS VPC that is a piggy-back computer for $1400.00, A standalone does alot more, it can work on any engine. So let's say you sell your car, and buy another car, you can use that standalone on the new car you bought.

With a FE3 engine.... which I have the most experience in the US on these engines, if you turbocharge.... DON'T TAKE SHORT CUTS, you will blow that motor, FE3 engines have a weird fuel curve. In certain RPM ranges it wants fuel, and others it don't. The FE3 turbo, and BP turbo engine has totally different fuel curves. And that's from experience from working with both engines.

So do what you want, I'm just telling you with experience with both engines.... do it right.... Even GT-R guys are limited with the stock ECU, and everyone in the world of racing KNOWS THAT MAZDA CAN'T BUILD ECU's!!!!.

It's your choice.

Q: you posted that kia revised the blocks to cure a cracking problem? what problem was that about?
A: The water jacket on the Kia version would regularly crack on the exterior of the block causing over heating and seeping of coolant. The block was revised in 98 to add more meat in that area. It has no performance impact.

Q: i am still waiting for my copper head gasket ( i will be able to sell them after i get the stamp done)

A: I didn't go with a copper head gasket as I have never had luck with them. I used a leading custom gasket maker to get my 89mm bore. I won't use their name because although they made a fine gasket it took over two months and many pestering phone calls to get it when it was promised in two weeks.

Q: I've never really known the advantage of the copper gasket to the regular version. Could it be used with the F2 by chance

A: Note, a FE3 head gasket will not fit a F2 as the oil drain holes are different. See prior reply above with comparison pic.

Q: so randy youre saying that only the kia version had the cracking issue before they corrected it. ok you have gotten me scared, now theonly thing i am still unsure about is the crank, that 4 conterweight design looks week, i still havent oppened my other motor, its a different version, it has an oil cooler, my first one didnt.
A: (Randy)I'm not aware of the Mazda produced blocks having that issue.

Q: Can this engine be kept emission legal?
A: Yes this motor can pass emissions. You just need the proper tuning to make it pass. Also I have gone though the process of having my motor certified for my car with no problem. Remneck just passed emissions a few weeks ago.

3,055 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
All the FE and F2 rods share the same 2.005" journal diamter, 1.055" big end width and 22mm wrist pin. The differences are in the length and duty.

The FE3 has a 150mm rod, the FE has a 152mm rod and the F2 has a 158.5mm rod. The FE3 rod has the most duty.

The cast iron 2.0 FE cranks are marked FE50. Sportage too.
The cast iron 2.2 cranks (all are cast iron) are marked F201.
The Forged 2.0 cranks I don't know as I sold my only one to JayB
The beefy FE3 rods are marked with FED on the cap.
Q: Does anyone have input on the actual numbers on the underside of the pistons, The FE3O or FEO3 (cant remember exactly) are the numbers that are Stamped on the underneath of my Factory Turbo "FE T" (2.0 Single cam) . Now what i am wondering is will these fit the Fe dohc and would i only have to swap, Crank and/or rods and/or pistons.

A: Although the SOHC 2.0 FE pistons will physically fit the bore (same 86 mm diameter and same 22mm wrist pin) they will not lower your compression the way you want.

The SOHC head is a closed chamber design and the DOHC head is an open chamber design. If you use very dished SOHC pistons with a head that has lots of chamber cc your CR will be around 6:1. That combined with the wrong valve reliefs makes using them not worthwhile or practical.

Comparison pictures are on my FE3 web page.

If you want to lower your compression of a FE3 then use the Sportage pistons or custom.

Knowing that the new Mazda 6 2.3 liter and the 2003 Ford Ranger are nearly identical engines (sans balance shafts and tuning parts) and that the Mazda 6 engine is loosly based on the FE3 dimensions (ala Chevy LT1 vs LS1), I ordered a 2003 Ranger head gasket to compare it to the FE3.
The bore spacing is identical and most of the oil and coolant passages are identical or very close. All but two of the headbolt are the same and the others are very close too. Three of the six oil drain holes don't match up at all so some blocking would be needed. The Ford gasket is thin two piece steel of .016" and supports a 89mm bore.

What does this mean? Mostly nothing other than if you wanted to get a custom gasket for the FE3 you could just reference the tooling from the 2003 Ranger and if someday the head or block of either promises more hp or reliability then they might be swapped without too much fabrication.
Problem four: Cam followers Cosworth engines use service-free hydraulic cam followers, and as the cam profiles are not very radical, and the standard engine is designed to rev to 6500 or thereabouts these are satisfactory. However when more extreme cam profiles and higher RPM bands are used, these tend to pump-up resulting in valve/piston contact. Every Cosworth engine I have seen has had 'kiss-marks' on the pistons due to over-revving. Valve piston contact is a definite no-no especially at the sort of RPM (8500+) I envisaged using.

extract from a web site

i just pulled the head off my fe3 after 20000kms of full throttle driving bouncing on the rev limiting problem i was surprised that the engine was in excellant condition.

and also i found no valve kiss marks on the pistons as stated in the article above.
Q: Where did you get solid lifters? Are they from another car or custom????
A: The FE3 uses a 33mm bucket. I simply went down to a local head rebuilder and asked if they have any in 33mm size. They handed me 16 shim over bucket style with 30 shims for $40. The shims are 29.5mm in diameter. I don't know what engine they came from but suspect they came from a Mercedes or a old Susuki motorcycle as they had both had 29.5mm shims according to the searching I have done.
Q: what are those?? i need 5 HLA's and if i can use 5 of those CDI MB-ones (which i thought wouldnt fit) i might use them.
but i really shouldnt know how to fix the height problem.
A: If you simply need to raise the height of the lifter then you can use valve stem cap shims between the valve stem and the lifter base. I have used them for eons in order to use the thinnest over-bucket shim to lessen the weight of the valvetrain.

As dipicted and described on my street engine page about 2/3 the way down.


3,055 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks FE3T:
Just read trougth your FE DOCH tread and have a small amount of additional info.

The forged rods i have are market FN7

My 10:1 Pistons are market FE5A

Some pics:
10:1 pistons

9,2:1 pistons



I will also mention that the F8 DOCH`s head are identical too the FE DOCH head, therefore the FE3N cast mark are NOT a shure method too identify a FE DOCH engine.

FE3N cast mark AND the plug cover on the valve cover together should indicate the real thing ;) since eigther the F8 DOCH,BP DOCH or the B6 DOCH have this plug cover

Also I would like to thank all of the people that I directly quoted and expecaly Dutch626 for the pictures. Hope this all helps.

1,994 Posts
By far the sipmlest way to separate Fe from F8:

Fe Gold top
F8 silver/alluminum top

For Conversions, Fe/F8 share the same MAF as B2600. the code is "F8B3"

3,055 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Upgraded valve springs and keepers:

One of the issues, that these motors are dropping exhaust valves at high rpms. Some people in South Africa that race these motors have encountered this problem.

Here is the reason why:

The exhaust valves in the FE3 rotates while the engine is running. Mazda did this to prevent burning the exhaust valves. So they allowed the exhaust valves to rotate on the valve keepers. This is a good idea, but can be a bad thing.

The reason it can be a bad thing, because this causes alot of stress on the tip of the valve stem, where the valve keepers holds the valve to the retainer.

For example... If you take a FE3 exhaust valve, and the keepers and the retainer in your hand. And place the retainer and the keepers on the top of the valve, and pull the retainer with one hand, and pull the bottom of the valve with your other hand. You can rotate the valve, no matter how much pressure, or how much you pull. The keepers have a special groove on it, that does not allow the keepers to lock the exhaust valves in place, it allows it to rotate.

Now the FE3 intake valves have keepers that holds the valve in place, and it does not rotate at all. These valves don't drop, because it's no pressure on the tip of the valve.

So to fix the problem, you will need to place the intake valve keepers onto the exhaust valves, and throw away the exhaust valve keepers. You can get these intake valve keepers at a local KIA dealer.
When upgrading to the KIA keepers on the exhaust side you need to order 16 keepers or all that you will get is 8 halves.

Also VR6 spring from VW work on the FE3 as upgraded valave springs.
The part number for the 1998 VR6 springs is: 021-109-623-P
The springs are for a 1998 Volkswagon GTI VR6.
You order 16 outer valve springs for VR6.

(Thanks FallGuy, Richey89Turbo and 89tpgt for the info)


3,055 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Fe3 Arp Headstud Part Numbers
The last part of the first part number is either 1LUB or ILUB. All I know is these work excellent so far, the fit was perfect.




I also have some NGK Racing spark plug numbers for you guys it is
R5671A-8 or stock number 4554 they are a racing plug and #8 heat range.

(Thanks 89tpgt from probetalk)
FE-DOHC FE3 engine rebuild questions (probetalk)
Lots of good info at this link.

FE-DOHC in a 2nd gen Probe GT ? (a project on probetalk by FRCFD6)

FE-DOHC FE3 rebuild for turbo. What do I need? Questions answered on rebuilding FE-DOHC for turbo.
time to get the turbo project started. Turbo buyers guide.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Not open for further replies.