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Old 07-07-2013, 12:11 AM   #1
Malibu Q
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KLZE V6 in BA 323 Astina automatic

Style, performance and safety have lifted the Mazda Astina above its rivals. It comes as a stylish Hardtop or a very practical Hatchback, with either a 2.0 litre V6 or a 1.8 litre engine. All are electronically fuel injected and come with manual or automatic transmission. The Hardtop is for those who want a 4-door car with exciting contemporary styling. Elegant curves, a slanted nose and stylish rear lights are all part of its distinctive design. The Hatchback also has the style and silhouette of a sporty coupe; a slanted front section with extra compact projector headlights; a unique raised rear edge on the roof; plus there's a stylish spoiler on the V6. But it also has the convenience of a 5-door hatch, so it's ideal for day to day driving.

With Mazda Astina everything from the 5 speaker stereo system to a rear heater/demister are at the push of a dashboard button. The central locking, electrically operated side mirrors and windows are all standard. All seats provide support and comfort, whether for a long journey or just a short trip. Safety has been built into the Astina's design. Drivers and passenger airbags and ABS brakes are standard on the 2.0 litre models. So why not look into the Mazda Astina? Where style isn't at the expense of practicality; and practicality isn't at the expense of style.

I swapped a 2.5 litre KLZE into a 94 Astina hatch V6 automatic about a decade ago and its been good. It has much more power. With the KF the car could not spin the wheels on a standing start. Now it’s easy. The car has much more power everywhere and its the increase in low down torque which has made the most difference. This motor however makes a lot of its power high in the rev range which isn’t so useful with an auto.

In 2003 at about 140K the radiator broke where the top hose attaches and the car was driven until the motor was damaged. I was going to replace the motor originally with another KF. I purchased one and changed the timing belt before discovering that where the RHS CV bolts to the block was different and the engine was unusable. I decided to swap in the curved neck KLZE after being impressed with its condition in the importers warehouse. The engine looked almost brand new on the outside, and was a very light gold inside the cam covers.

The KLZE fit in easily and almost everything just plugged in. KL VRIS, KL distributor, KL throttle body wiring, etc etc... One part that didn’t was the knock sensor. Its down deep in the bottom of the valley. There’s nowhere to plug it into the Astina harness so I just left it installed but unused. I put it together with the KF airflow meter as the KL airflow meter ran a different plug and I believe was of a different type. The stock KF computer was retained. I replaced the pipe from the airflow meter to the throttle body to remove the intake resonance chamber. There is a bit of a mismatch in angles on this pipe which you can see in the pic above.

The strut brace didn't fit back in. This is because the strut top studs are not long enough to space it high enough. There appears to be enough room under the bonnet.

When changing i used all the coolant pipes and thermostat housing from the KF. These were all slightly different on the KL.
The 4-speed automatic was no problem, the flex plates appeared identical, everything just bolted up.

The KF had an exhaust manifold with a catalytic converter inside. The o2 sensor bolts into the manifold pre-cat. The KL manifolds had no cat so I decided to use the KL ones. Because they have no cat they are shorter and the engine pipes need to be extended about 100mm. The KL manifolds also didn’t have an o2 sensor fitting and the The rear KL manifold was not drilled for the EGR valve pipe, although the boss for it was cast in.

For the engine pipes I used some pieces i got off the other kf where the wrecker had torched off the exhaust. They were long enough. O2 sensor fittings were obtained from my local exhaust shop and welded on. I ground the manifold flanges off the original astina engine pipes, destroying the flanges and the welds in the process but retaining the pressed flares on the end of the pipes. The short sections were trimmed until it all fit perfectly in the flares, and it was all welded up.

I had the rear manifold drilled and tapped and fitted the EGR pipe. This pipe loops around and runs across the back of the block to The EGR valve which is bolted to the head or the block in the area of cylinder number five. I remember the KLZE originally had a block off plate where the EGR bolts on.

The KF intake manifold has an EGR pipe cast into the side of number five intake runner which goes to the throttle body and connects to the EGR valve down through the head.

A pipe was fabricated for the KLZE intake manifold to connect this up. The manifold was drilled and aluminium male pipe fittings were welded on. A hard line was fabricated to fit.

I've just got all nostalgic with it as I'm about to sell it so I thought Id post up some info.

Best BA ever. The Castrol Lantis as featured in Gran Turismo

Last edited by Malibu Q; 18-07-2013 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:19 AM   #2
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i just seen your gumtree ad, honestly if you were in Sydney I would have called to check it out - good luck with sale
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Old 15-07-2013, 08:02 PM   #3
Malibu Q
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I've now sold the Astina to a young lady. I'm sad to see it go, it's been a truly memorable car. Everyone who saw it, loved it, there's not many small hatches that capture peoples soul like that.
But this is not be the end of my time on this site. I like to keep an eye on Rupe's stuff, so I often browse here.
I think its going to be far too hard to get that sound of the V6 wail out of my head so I'm starting to think about junking the four banger and dropping the sweet K series into my Mx-5.
If you have any questions about the Astina swap etc. please feel free to post here or pm me
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:14 PM   #4
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Hi Malibu, if you still visit this site just a quick question whether you had any issues registering the mods on the vehicle with Tassy DoT? Cheers
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:49 PM   #5
Malibu Q
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No problems at all. I asked the authorities before I did the swap, and they said okay. No mod plates back then. I had to get the car inspected for change of engine number. On the Tas rego slip, in the notes section, they wrote '2.5V6'.
Note that his car was built without a cat. You'll be lucky to get that passed today.
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