Mazda MZR RF Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Mazda MZR RF engine!"

The Mazda MZR RF are fantastic to work on and with carefully picked motorsport parts like ECU maps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will dramatically maximise your driving pleasure.

Let us review and look at MZR RF tuning and show the premier modifications for your car.

History of the MZR RF Engine

This diesel engine from Mazda offers loads of torque, good reliability and had a few revisions over the years, mainly to comply with emissions standards.

  • 1987–1992 Mazda Capella/626
  • 61PS (45kW; 60hp) @4000 rpm, 12.3 kg⋅m (121Nm; 89 lbft) @2750 rpm (DIN, naturally aspirated EU version)
  • 1983–1990 Mazda E-series
  • 1999-2005 Mazda Premacy
  • 1999 Mazda Demio
  • 1984–1986 Ford Tempo/Mercury Topaz
  • 1984–1987 Ford Escort/Mercury Lynx (North America)
  • 1988–1991 Kia Concord
  • 1998–2003 Kia Sportage, Turbo-intercooler diesel variant released for Asia
  • 1994–1998 Suzuki Vitara
  • 1998–2003 Suzuki Grand Vitara

RF 1998

52kW (71PS; 70hp) @4500 rpm

RF-CX Comprex (ABB Comprex pressure wave supercharger)

  • 56kW (76PS; 75hp) @4,000 rpm, 172Nm (127 lbft) @2000 rpm (JDM 1987)
  • 60kW (82PS; 80hp) @4,000 rpm, 181Nm (133 lbft) @2000 rpm (JIS Netto, JDM Comprex 1991)
  • Used in JDM Capellas (1987–1991), introduced in June 1992 European Mazda 626

RF-T DI 1998 2.0 DiTD

  • 66kW (90PS; 89hp) @4000 rpm with maximum torque 220Nm (162 lbft) @1800 rpm
  • 74kW (101PS; 99hp) @4000 rpm with maximum torque 220Nm (162 lbft) @1800–2200 rpm
  • 81kW (110PS; 109hp) @4000 rpm with maximum torque 230Nm (170 lbft) @2000–2600 rpm

Engines can be found in:

  • Mazda 323 5D hatchback and 4D sedan since August 1998 (66kW (90PS; 89hp) version)
  • Mazda 323 5D hatchback and 4D sedan since May 2001 (74kW (101PS; 99hp) version)
  • Mazda 626 Capella since June 1998 (74kW (101PS; 99hp) version)
  • Mazda 626 Capella since October 2000 (81kW (110PS; 109hp) version)
  • Mazda Premacy as DE 2.0L (DIREC-D) Euro III

RF 2002 (2.0 MZR-CD)

Common rail injection system was fitted.

  • 89 kW (121 PS; 119 hp) or 100 kW (136 PS; 134 hp)310Nm (229 lbft) @2000 rpm),
  • 1st generation Mazda 6 Atenza (both versions) since June 2002
  • 2nd generation Mazda MPV (only High Power version) since June 2002

RF 2005 (2.0 MZR-CD)

  • 89 kW (121 PS; 119 hp) @3500 rpm 320Nm (236 lbft) @2000 rpm
  • 105 kW (143 PS; 141 hp) @3500 rpm 360Nm (266 lbft) @2000 rpm

The RF2005 appeared in

  • Mazda 6 Atenza July 2005
  • Mazda 5 Premacy 2006
  • Mazda 3 Axela since March 2007

RF 2007 (2.0 MZR-CD)

  • 103kW (140PS; 138hp) @3500 rpm and 330Nm (243 lbft) @2000 rpm)

R2 2008 (2.2 MZR-CD)

These boasted a VNT turbo, Chain driven DOHC, DPF and EGR and Adblue was also included on some applications

  • 136 kW (185 PS; 182 hp) @3500 rpm and 400Nm (295 lb⋅ft) of torque from 1800 to 3000 rpm, 2nd generation Mazda 6: 5.6 L/100 km (50 mpg‑imp; 42 mpg ‑US)/5.7 L/100 km
  • MZR-CD 2.2 Mid Power: produces 120 kW (163 PS; 161 hp) @3500 rpm and 360Nm (266 lbft) of torque from 1800 to 3000 rpm,
  • MZR-CD 2.2 Low Power: produces 92 kW (125 PS; 123 hp) @3500 rpm and 310Nm (229 lbft) of torque from 1800 to 2600 rpm, 2nd generation Mazda 6: 5.5 L/100 km
  • MZR-CD 2.2 Standard Power in 2nd generation Mazda 3 Axela 110 kW (150 PS; 148 hp) @3500 rpm and 360Nm (266 lbft) of torque from 1800 to 2600 rpm
  • MZR-CD 2.2  facelift Mazda CX-7 127 kW (173 PS; 170 hp) @3500 rpm and 400Nm (295 lbft) of torque @a low 2000 rpm

Tuning the Mazda MZR RF and best MZR RF performance parts.

Best MZR RF parts

The best MZR RF parts on an engine are as we have found the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular MZR RF parts, they need to be cost effective.

The cam profile plays a big part in the engines power output so cam upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake and exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen cam profile, so large bhp gains are on offer for cam upgrades.

Fast road camshafts commonly raise the bhp and torque through the rev range, you could drop a little low down torque but the higher rpm power will improve.

Competition camshafts, raise the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

For a car used daily you should ideally to match your torque band to your preferences.

I'd be gobsmacked if you find a MZR RF Motorsport camshaft is a pleasure to live with when on the daily commute.Because your low end power will be very lumpy. Competition cams are designed for maximum power at the top end of the RPM range, a place that most daily commutes will not permit!

Each engine responds better to extreme cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The map and fuel pump and injectors also will make differences on the torque gains you'll make.

Longer valve durations can alter the torque band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  6. Typical stage 1 mods often include:
    drilled & smoothed airbox, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Panel air filters, Fast road camshaft, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Intake manifolds.

    Typical stage 2 mods often include:
    Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, fuel pump upgrades, Ported and polished head, high flow fuel injectors, induction kit, Fast road cam.

    Typical stage 3 mods often include:
    Competition cam, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Twin charging conversions, Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression.

    Carefully think through your options and then acquire your tuning mods and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

    A remap will help fully realize the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your MZR R.

    It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but power output usually rely on the modifications you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

    Getting air and fuel into your MZR RF is the aim to any car tuning project.

    Air Intake manifolds take the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

    Design and flow characteristics of the Intake manifold can make a big effect on to fuel engine efficiency on the MZR R.

    Commonly we find the manifolds are in dire need of performance upgrades, although a few makers provide reasonably well designed headers.

    Increasing the MZR RF valve size, carrying out port matching and head flowing will also boost bhp, the fantastic side effect is it will permit an improved bhp increase on other parts.

    MZR RF Turbo upgrades

    NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your MZR R

    The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes significant power gains.

    If an engine has a turbocharger upgrades are giving better power gains and turbo engines are built with harder and stronger components.

    There are common areas of failure for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some just sufficiently able to handle stock powerIt is important to find these restrictions and install higher quality components to handle the power.

    We see many car owners spending a fortune on turbo charger upgrades on the MZR RF only to watch the MZR RF throw a rod when it's finished.

    Big turbo chargers commonly suffer a bottom end lag, and small turbo chargers spool up really quickly but won't have the high rpm bhp gains.

    In the last 10 years the selection of turbo units is always moving on and we now see variable vane turbo units, permitting the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

    Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into two channels and push these at differently designed vanes in the turbo charger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

    You'll commonly see there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the MZR RF when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

    We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting bhp and torque at a much lower level.

    Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although harder to install. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.


    You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so need to look at the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a bhp and torque increase. It makes sense to over specify your injector capacity.

    The accepted safe increase is to add 20% capacity when buying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and allows a bit of spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

    We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

    MZR RF Performance Exhausts

    You only need to uprate your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

    On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust flow rate is fine even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

    Sports exhausts increase the flow of air through the engine.

    But if the exhaust is too big, ie: it's over 2 inches bore, you will lose much of the flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

    Usual exhaust restrictions come around the catalyst installed, so adding a better flowing race aftermarket one such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

    Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the MZR R

    The MZR RF engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

    Regular oil changes are vital on the MZR R, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

    If you want to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your MZR RF engine please join us in our car forums where you can discussMZR RF tuning options in more detail with our MZR RF owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Mazda tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be.

    Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

    We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these MZR RF tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

    Please Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...

    PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

    If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

    Feedback - What do You Think?

    Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

    Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

    Your Constructive comments on this article, I really want to improve this article with your help and suggestions.

    Please watch this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).

BMW 335i - 2021 COTY

We gave the BMW 335i our coveted car of the year award, read more about this awesome car and see why 335i Tuning Guide

Tips for N54 Tuning

Tips for N55 Tuning

Popular articles

Diesel tuning
ECU Remaps
double clutching
Induction Kits
Customize a car
Performance Chips
Insuring Modified Cars
Track day insurance
Diesel Remaps
MPG calculator
Clean your DPF
Forza 5 tuning guide

Miller Vs Otto Vs Atkinson Cycle

Miller vs Otto vs Atkinson Cycle

Stage 1 Tune

Stage 1 tuning

Under Car Neons

How to fit under car neon light kits. Fitting neon tube glow light

Flip Paint

Getting a flip paint effect

1jz Vs 2jz

1jz VS 2jz

Lpg Conversions

Benefits of conversion to LPG fuel in Cars

MPG Calculator

MPG calculator UK miles per Gallon – calculate MPG