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Mazda 6, 1st Generation – 2.3L Starter Replacement How To

Applies To:

2004 – 2008 Mazda 6 2.3L

Vehicle In This Guide:

2006 Mazda 6 / 2.3L engine / 5 speed manual / 96,000 miles


Don’t you just hate it when you get inside your car, turn the key to start it but instead of the engine turning over all you get in return is silence? Been there before. Had to replace the starter, twice. This guide will show you exactly how to do that to your Mazda 6. As far as starter replacements go, this one is fairly easy. The starter is in an easy to reach spot, once you remove the air box. Read on to see all the details.

Removing The Starter

1. The first thing I recommend doing is removing the air-box. It’s technically not required but I find that with it out of the way, you have a lot more room to work with. Besides, removing the air-box literally take 5 minutes tops. There is a lot going on in the photo below but its all fairly easy to remove.

a – This is the MAF sensor. Press the center tab and pull the connector out.
b – Disconnect the variable air duct (VAD) control solenoid (green connector).
c – Disconnect the small vacuum hose from the air-box.
d – Disconnect the crankcase vent tube at the valve cover that goes from the valve cover to the accordion. You can do so from either side.
e – Loosen the clamp on the accordion tube.
f – Disconnect the negative battery cable (10mm bolt). mazda 6 airbox removal

Underneath the accordion tube, there are two clips that secure a couple of hoses. Pull the hoses out of those clips. Be careful not to use to much force because one of the hoses is plastic and you can break it if you pull too hard. mazda 6 accordion tube

Here is a shot of the battery disconnected. There is a nice place to tuck away the wire. *Remember* you will loose all of your radio settings once you disconnect the battery.< mazda 6 battery disconnect

Once you have everything disconnected, lift up the air-box. Its actually clipped in place so use some force to pull it out.

2. The starter will be taken out from the bottom of the car so you will need to remove the plastic under-body cover, if you have one.

3. If you look down to where the air-box used to be you can see part of the starter. The next step is to remove the two 13mm bolts that secure the starter. Here is a shot of the first one. mazda 6 starter bolt

The other bolt is actually not a bolt. Instead, there are three pieces – a stud, a nut, and a metal bracket in between. Here is a shot of it. First, remove the nut. Then grab the metal bracket and lift it up enough so that you can get at the stud underneath. All of these are 13mm. mazda 6 starter stud

4. Since the starter is coming out from the bottom we need to create some more room. First thing to do it is unclip the coolant hose which is in the way. This will allow you to move the hose around with your hand. mazda 6 coolant bracket

5. Second thing to do is to remove the bracket that the clip attaches to. The bracket is secured with a 14mm bolt. With the bracket out of the way you now have plenty of space to take out the starter.

A note for those that have 2002 – 2005 model Mazda 6. The engines on those model years have the oil dipstick tube on the outside of the engine. You may have to remove the tube in order to have enough room. The shot below does not have the tube because the car is a 2006 model and has the dipstick going through the inside of the engine. mazda 6 coolant hose bracket

6. There are two wires that attach to the starter – the small wire, called a switch wire, and the large main wire. Lets start with the small switch wire. Lift up the small plastic tab and pull the wire out. mazda 6 starter switch wire

Before you can remove the large main starter wire you have to lift up two black plastic caps. Here is a better shot of the caps. As you can see, you have to depress the little tabs again and then lift up on the caps. mazda 6 starter

Once you lift up the caps you can see the 13mm nut underneath. Go ahead and remove the nut. mazda 6 main starter wire

And then lift up the wire. mazda 6 starter removal

7. You can now take the start out of the bottom. You will have to keep the hose and wires out of the way as you maneuver it out. mazda 6 starter replacement

The installation is self explanatory – just follow the steps backwards. A note about the battery – since it was disconnected for some time the ecu will have to relearn the throttle position. What this means is that when you first go for a drive after the starter replacement the engine rpms will fluctuate as the ecu relearns. This only lasts for a couple miles.That’s it for the guide and if you want to see the steps for yourself then watch the video below.

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  • I am trying to replace my starter on my mazda 5 van. The instructions starter go back flush with bell housing. I can’t get it flush. in your picture there is a gap between back of starter and bell housing. Can you help me?

    • I don’t think it’s supposed to be flush. Replacement starters come with black gasket material that covers the gap between starter and bell housing.

    • HappyWrenching is correct, the bendix end of the starter has a foam gasket, if its missing there is a noticeable gap between the bell housing and motor in that area.
      Also The guide says to remove under tray and remove starter from underneath the car.
      This job can be done working under the hood.
      Remove air box assembly by pulling it up which releases the box from its 3 seating grommets.
      Once this is removed, you have enough access to remove the starter unit but getting the larger cable off its terminal, and back on again is challenging but easier with a 12 mm deep socket & very long wobble socket extension bar. 3/8 drive stuff works good here.
      That bracket mentioned which holds a coolant pipe and cable harness is a pain in the ..

  • This is the best guide I’ve seen and I’ve been on so many sites for so many cars. I week be saving the site and hoping that everytime I need it, is a thorough and helpful as this solution. Thanks SO MUCH! Will be promoting you also to all my crappy-car owning friends. You are welcome.

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