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  1. #1
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    Car dudes...V-4 engines?

    I had a buddy in high school that drove the Mazda version of the Ford Ranger. He needed a jump one time, so we gave him one, and I swear up and down that the engine he had was a 2.5l V4. There were 2 spark plugs on each side, and a 2-cylinder exhaust manifold on each side of the block as well. I would've thought I was going nuts if I didn't see it with my own two eyes. And, for the record, I've worked on quite a few I4 engines for friends and family, so I'm very clear on what those look like. My buddy's truck looked just like a V6 or V8, but with only 2 cylinders on each side.

    My uncle (who's an automotive engineer, so I'm tempted to believe him) also says his sister drove a Mazda sedan in the 1980's that also had a V-4...and he's a Mazda nut, so he'd definitely know the difference between a rotary and a V-4 engine.

    Now, a quick search on Google this afternoon shows that, not only were V-4's quite rare and obscure, but never actually offered by Mazda. According to Wikipedia, the Mazda B-series pickup was offered in an I-4 design, but none of the engines (per a Google image search) match the 2x2 cylinder layout of my buddy's old truck. The good ol' Wankel is a possibility for my aunt's car, but the only pictures I can find of a non-sporty Mazda with a rotary engine looks like there's only 2 exhaust outlets...not 4.

    Am I totally nuts here? Or, was there some weird aftermarket in the 1980's and 1990's that utilized V-4 engines in Mazda vehicles?
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  2. #2
    .je
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    Ive heard only of a Ford Taunus from the 1960s that had a V4, but no other cars. There are lots of motorcycles that have them.

    Do you have Wikipedia on your computer? You can look here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V4_engine
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Taunus_V4_engine
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Essex_V4_engine
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_B-Series
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_R...Mazda_B-Series

    Tell us what year you're talking about, or what year that truck was.

    Last edited by .je; 04-09-2017 at 05:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by .je View Post
    Ive heard only of a Ford Taunus from the 1960s that had a V4, but no other cars. There are lots of motorcycles that have them.

    Do you have Wikipedia on your computer? You can look here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V4_engine
    Yeah, my buddy's truck looked just like a fuel-injected version of the Ford Taunus at the top of the page. It had 2.5l and a Mazda logo stamped on the black shroud over the fuel injectors and throttle body (in place of the air cleaner on the Wiki page). Problem is, per the Wikipedia article, that was only offered in Europe in the 1960's.
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  4. #4
    tka
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    V-4 automotive engines are pretty rare. I remember a friend is high school had one in his Saab Sonett. It's the only time I remember seeing one. Did someone drop a Saab Sonett engine in the Mazda?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tka View Post
    V-4 automotive engines are pretty rare. I remember a friend is high school had one in his Saab Sonett. It's the only time I remember seeing one. Did someone drop a Saab Sonett engine in the Mazda?
    I suppose it's possible for my aunt's car...who knows what kind of wacky engine swaps they did in the 70's? As I mentioned, my one uncle grew up to be an automotive engineer, and the rest of the boys were (still are) into hot-rodding. But, that doesn't quite explain the V-4 in the pickup with fuel injection.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by .je View Post
    Ive heard only of a Ford Taunus from the 1960s that had a V4, but no other cars. There are lots of motorcycles that have them.

    Do you have Wikipedia on your computer? You can look here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V4_engine
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Taunus_V4_engine
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Essex_V4_engine
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_B-Series
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_R...Mazda_B-Series

    Tell us what year you're talking about, or what year that truck was.

    Oh, I missed all the edits you made.

    The pickup would've been a 98 to 01...looked just like this image, only it was white and had a white grille as well. No idea on the car...all that I've ever heard is that my aunt owned it in the 80's and that it was a V-4.
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  7. #7
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    you would never mistake a wankel for anything but a wankel... trust me.

  8. #8
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    I worked on English Ford V4 engines back in the mid to late 1960s. I can't remember what model of Ford they were in. Did Ford ever have an engine agreement with Mazda? Maybe.

    And you'd never confuse a Wankel with a V4. I had a Mazda RX2 rotary in '74. Sure they had 4 spark plugs (for two rotors) but they looked nothing like any traditional V engine.
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  9. #9
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    It would have to be a swap - like a Taunus or Essex, but neither of those were that big. Plus, it would seem like a lot of trouble to import a 60s-70s carbureted engine, add fuel injection, and install it in a much newer vehicle.

    Lancia made a V4 into the 1970s, and I think some Soviet company made cars with one

    Other than that, it would have to be a motorcycle engine.

    Or you didn't see what you thought you saw.

    Or maybe you saw this in line 2.5L diesel



    or this 2.5L inline 4 gas engine

    Last edited by Andy69; 04-10-2017 at 07:25 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Some Fords and Mazda's had dual spark plugs/coils so the 4 cylinders required 8 spark plugs. Probably what you saw, I had two Rangers so equipped back in the day.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    Some Fords and Mazda's had dual spark plugs/coils so the 4 cylinders required 8 spark plugs. Probably what you saw, I had two Rangers so equipped back in the day.
    Would that have looked like a V-4 from above? Based on your description, I'm picturing an I4 with spark plugs on both sides of the block, but the front and back pairs are under the same coil...given 2 pairs of 2 on each side, it could look like a V4, if my imagination is working properly today.
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  12. #12
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    In 1994 the Mazda B-series was a badge engineered Ford Ranger with a 3l V6

    Mazda 626 sedan from 93-97 came with a 2.5l V6

    90's were a long time ago now, maybe your mixing your decades ;)

    .

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    Would that have looked like a V-4 from above? Based on your description, I'm picturing an I4 with spark plugs on both sides of the block, but the front and back pairs are under the same coil...given 2 pairs of 2 on each side, it could look like a V4, if my imagination is working properly today.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    Would that have looked like a V-4 from above? Based on your description, I'm picturing an I4 with spark plugs on both sides of the block, but the front and back pairs are under the same coil...given 2 pairs of 2 on each side, it could look like a V4, if my imagination is working properly today.

    With only a quick glance probably. I can't find a good image of the 2.3l engine I was thinking of. I do remember putting 8 Splitfire plugs in it and k & N filtercharger for no gain but that's another story.
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  15. #15
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    What you saw was an Essex V-6; a close relative to the Essex V-4 in European Fords and SAABs. In order to use as many similar components, 2 cylinders on each bank were siamesed, as were 2 exhaust outlets. People unfamiliar with this unusual layout often think they are seeing a V-4. No Ford V-4 was ever sold in North America after the old SAAB 96's were discontinued, I believe around 1972. The basic architecture of the old 2.8l Essex V-6 was continued into the 1990's domestically.
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  16. #16
    .je
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    Are you sure that's not the Cologne v6?

    It's the one in my picture. It was also used in Ford Rangers in 2.8l (with the same manifolds as the V4) and 2.9L (with 3 exhaust ports), according to Wikipedia.

    This story doesn't fit like it's all from the same puzzle box. Maybe it was a long time ago from a person who wasn't that familiar with these things.
    Last edited by .je; 04-10-2017 at 01:50 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by spdntrxi View Post
    you would never mistake a wankel for anything but a wankel... trust me.
    I've always thought of you as something of a wankel, spd.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    What you saw was an Essex V-6; a close relative to the Essex V-4 in European Fords and SAABs. In order to use as many similar components, 2 cylinders on each bank were siamesed, as were 2 exhaust outlets. People unfamiliar with this unusual layout often think they are seeing a V-4. No Ford V-4 was ever sold in North America after the old SAAB 96's were discontinued, I believe around 1972. The basic architecture of the old 2.8l Essex V-6 was continued into the 1990's domestically.
    Quote Originally Posted by .je View Post
    Are you sure that's not the Cologne v6?

    It's the one in my picture. It was also used in Ford Rangers in 2.8l (with the same manifolds as the V4) and 2.9L (with 3 exhaust ports), according to Wikipedia.

    This story doesn't fit like it's all from the same puzzle box. Maybe it was a long time ago from a person who wasn't that familiar with these things.
    I think that solves the issue of my buddy's pickup. He totaled the thing, getting T-boned at an intersection within a year of owning it, and he never really cared about the truck in the least bit...He was happy to get a new vehicle. The whole thing sprang back into my mind yesterday when I was reading about some other Mazda-related miscellany on Wikipedia. I subsequently spent WAY too much time looking into V-4's.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    I think that solves the issue of my buddy's pickup. He totaled the thing, getting T-boned at an intersection within a year of owning it, and he never really cared about the truck in the least bit...He was happy to get a new vehicle. The whole thing sprang back into my mind yesterday when I was reading about some other Mazda-related miscellany on Wikipedia. I subsequently spent WAY too much time looking into V-4's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemShock View Post
    I've always thought of you as something of a wankel, spd.
    Well I still have my 1994 RX-7 TT.. so i guess you would be correct

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    With only a quick glance probably. I can't find a good image of the 2.3l engine I was thinking of. I do remember putting 8 Splitfire plugs in it and k & N filtercharger for no gain but that's another story.
    2.3 and 2.5 Mazda pickups B2300 and B2500 both had the 8 plugs Ranger head design. The plugs on he drivers side under the plenum are a little bit of a pain.

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    I had a 1980(?) B2000 longbed, which if fuzzy memory serves (THAT WAS IN THE LAST CENTURY FOR GOD'S SAKE) Ford rebranded, not the other way around. 2L inline 4 in it.

  23. #23
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    I bought a SAAB 96 in 1968 with a V-4. Great car.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by .je View Post
    Are you sure that's not the Cologne v6?

    It's the one in my picture. It was also used in Ford Rangers in 2.8l (with the same manifolds as the V4) and 2.9L (with 3 exhaust ports), according to Wikipedia.

    This story doesn't fit like it's all from the same puzzle box. Maybe it was a long time ago from a person who wasn't that familiar with these things.
    If I remember correctly, both the v-6 and v-4's made in both Essex and Cologne were essentially the same blocks, as well as the one made later in the US.
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