mazda k engine

What You Need to Know About the Mazda K Engine

One of Mazda’s unique innovations is the K-series engine which uses a Variable Resonance Induction System (VRIS). This utilises the Helmholtz resonance principle by dynamically switching between 3 chambers on the intake manifold.

The K-series could be found in a number of cars including the Ford Probe GT, Telstar TX5 Ghia and Ghia 4WS, 94-97 626 ES and LX and Millenia L. In Japan it was known as the KL-ZE and produced 199 hp.

Engine Displacement

Displacement, or the amount of air an engine is capable of displacing, is an important part of a car’s performance. It’s the term that most people associate with horsepower and power output.

Whether or not an engine makes more power depends on several factors, including the displacement of its cylinders. This can vary significantly, depending on how much space a piston occupies within the cylinder and what other parts are involved.

Displacement, or the amount of air an engine is capable of displacing, is an important part of a car's performance. It's the term that most people associate with horsepower and power output.
Mazda K Engine

This also depends on the length of a stroke. Shorter stroke engines can rev higher and more quickly, while longer stroke engines create peak torque more slowly.

One of the unique innovations that Mazda introduced to its K-series engines was a technology called Variable Resonance Induction System (VRIS). Based on the Helmholtz resonance principle, the intake manifold is equipped with 3 chambers tuned to a specific resonant frequency. The computer dynamically switches between these chambers to achieve the correct resonant frequency for the engine’s RPM range.

Cylinder Heads

A cylinder head is the part of an engine that houses the cylinders. It is important that it is not cracked or warped in order to prevent the possibility of overheating and damage to the entire engine.

The cylinder head of the Mazda K engine has been designed to meet a variety of different development objectives. This includes fuel consumption and emissions, torque and acceleration characteristics, pleasant engine sound and long life.

These objectives were achieved by developing a high-squish combustion chamber, optimizing control of the engine and making use of various design techniques that can contribute to low engine noise. Efforts were also made to reduce the amount of hydrocarbons emitted by the engine.

Cylinder Block

The cylinder block is the main container for the coolant and oil passages in an engine. It can be made from cast iron or aluminium alloy.

The engine block consists of several parts, including a crankshaft surrounded by bearings and a head that is machined flat and mated to the block. It may have a gasket between the two.

Inside the block are galleries which carry oil to little nozzles that spray the underside of the pistons. This helps keep them cool and prevents them from overheating.

Often, the block has core plugs that are inserted to blank off the ends of these galleries after they have been cast. These plugs corrode over the life of the block and can leak over time.

The K-series V6 engines use a Variable Resonance Induction System (VRIS). It uses valves that vary the volume and length of a resonant chamber in the intake manifold to increase air charge in the cylinders.


The Mazda K engine is the world’s smallest production V6. It’s also one of the most advanced engines in its class, with a variety of innovative design techniques to make it a low-emission and high-fuel-efficient powerplant for family vehicles and compact special-purpose cars.

The 1.8 L was the first engine to use a DOHC four-valve architecture and was paired with the Variable Resonance Induction System (VRIS). This allowed it to produce around 130 horsepower in US trim, but 135 horsepower in Japanese trim, depending on tuning.

The 2.5 L is a little more common, and was found in Ford Probes and MX-6s and produced around 170 horsepower, stock. It was easily swapped into an MX-3 or Miata, with a little development.

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