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Mazda 323

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  • i figure the posts before could have answered your question rebuild the dist place in the slot, lineup power stroke in 1st pot to markers put a screwdriver in the first pot for reference sake,the dis cap stay`s off, the coil wire( using insulate long nose pliers) and rotor button should be 3to4mm away from each other, with ign on, then twist the dist in the hole until elec fires this will indicate exactly where your dist is suppose to be and number ones post from there the firing order will be1342 elect junction on top,indicator on collar should be nearly in line with no.1post a pencil away,if you didn`t get a spark between the coil and rotor button,check coil near a earthed part of the body,look for cracks in the rotor see if the transfer carbon post is in the dist cap is there, if any problem take to auto elect,and get it bench tested and take coil too hope that help you 91323 :sick:
  • and that anti clock wise firing order, from the top position,it should literally sit at the very top of the slot and only needs fine tuning, keep starting to check off,advancement with rev rate at 2000, put the plug back in before spark test i forgot to mention that, helps the elect continuity,you`ll never get it, if you dont, it will read dead,no spark :sick: .
  • Okay....lets recheck a few things. First, take your timing light and check each plug wire for a spark. Also check the coil wire. Take your stethoscope and check each fuel injector for a clicking noise. Do these tests while someone is cranking the engine. No spark and no clicking means we have something going wrong from distributor pickup, the black module with wires attached, to and possibly including the ECU. If you get both a spark and clicking noise then those systems are working and we are dealing with timing the ignition system correctly. If you get spark and no clicking or clicking and no spark, let me know asap.

    If you do not have these tools, they are a must to fix this. Harbor Freight again.

    Bear with me, doing the Vulcan mind meld with a 20 year old 323 is a bit rough long distance.....but it will not be the first I fixed that way. Hopefully it will not be the first not fixed.

    How far away are you from Baton Rouge, LA?
  • Okay, I will gather the tools together and recheck those things. In the meantime, I'll just reiterate from my first post that I was getting a weak spark. I didn't use a timing light, just the standard tests of the plugs, wires, etc, against the block. (By the way, the plugs, plug wires, dist cap, and rotor are all brand new.) Never checked the injectors - will give those a listen.

    I live in Minnesota.
  • or you can feed each pot,some fuel like a full choke, thru the spark holes put them back connect spark plug: wires in and crank, admittedly not the done thing, but this is another method to check off air meter and elect continuity,instant result, or not,i was scratching my head first up with the very same problems, just a simple wires, cap, and air meter filter replacement, just note how much you regulate in each pot,10ml-15mm is adequate, to vaporize. :sick: 91323
  • Well, I replaced the distributor yesterday with one from the junkyard (since it had already been ordered), but still no start. If I understand 91323vic's instructions from a previous post, I should try rotating the distributor while someone else turns it over? Or just with the ignition in the ON position? Or should I just verify the timing right now before doing anything else?

    RE 91323vic's post above: Is he saying I should try spraying a little starter fluid in the cylinders and see what happens when it turns over? Maybe someone more knowledgeable than I can fill in the gaps because I'm having a little trouble understanding him.

    @ girlcarlbuilder: Going to try borrowing a timing light from Autozone (and bring my old distributor in for a bench test while I'm there.) Once I have that, and a stethoscope from the surplus store, and a friend to turn it over, I'll try your tests next. 91323vic's tests caught my attention simply because I don't have the tools you mention.

    Thanks for everyone's patience and advice. Obviously, my knowledge of automechanics is limited. I understand basically what timing is and why it's fundamental, but I've never had a timing issue on a vehicle before. It occurred to me in the beginning that the timing could be off here, but so many other posts pointed to the distributor. Frankly, I just didn't know what the proper order of operations was after seeing the weak spark at the plug.
  • okay line up timing marks on motor, under drivers side wheel, so take off wheel,and cover,the screw driver tell firing stroke,because there is exhaust stroke and fire stroke, take cap off grab coil wire with ign on and twist dist this should if in the right place snap elect current for first pot it you have it right,it could be :sick: a petrol problem because you can now see spark drop 10 ml of petrol in each pot this will start it but not run for long it will tell you that your timing is correct check fuses check fuel pump
  • weak spark is fine at least you have it :sick:
  • do not touch coil wire with rotor button or it will weld together keep a pencil thickness away secondly the power stroke is the lowest stroke in the pot the exhaust stroke is the highest that`s why you need the screwdriver to show you this, if your setting to exhaust stroke your petrol its exiting to exhaust i found that when it started a plume for 3mins of the fuel((and don`t crank with ign)) turn with hand while screwdrivers in pot.91323vici am soory i didn`t get with your program sooner i figured you were in good hands, follow these methods i got my up and running :sick:
  • Vic is a bit difficult for me to follow. But I will say this, It takes four things to make an engine run. Take one of them away and it will not start. Airflow, good fuel, good spark and timing. Timing issues come in the form of spark and valve and in fuel injection systems....fuel as well.

    A weak spark in the Mazda 323 engine is going to be a problem in 323's. Oil issues in the distributor can create a weak spark to no spark and at times an erractic spark.

    If you did not verify ignition, spark timing, before taking it down. that is the next thing to do. Do not rely totally on Autozone to give you a go, no go on the distributor. I have seen too many times a part is either good or bad when they declared the opposite.

    In terms of cranking while turning the distributor, I prefer to hold the timing light at the marks on the crankshaft pulley to see which way is the correct way to turn.

    Verify your spark being present and your injectors then proceed to set your timing. Get a book to see where the marks are and how to use a timing light.
  • i want to say it is static timing, no cranking, only ign is on, the timing marks are on the side of the motor if you take the passengers side wheel and cover off,sorry i forgot your driver side are on the other side, over there, i`m in aust,there is two marks on the harmonic balancer,line that up with o,the dist should have the cap off and you should see the rotor button pointing in pot 1 position, not at the most top position but the position that compresses,that`s why i suggested a screwdriver in the pot ,to tell you your stroke, grab the coil wire put it 3-4mms away from the rotor button and twist the body of the dist, if you have set to power stroke on mark, side of engine this should show spark,before youeven start all this, rotation can be seen by cranking and looking at the rotor buttons direction,thats how i found it, :sick:
  • My question is: can the front hubs be removed without also removing the knuckle and pressing out the rotor,bearings, ect..

    I want to fix a broken lug.
  • Is there a way to change the layout to a more conventional format? I mean, the postings are are not in order and I get lost trying to follow a thread.

    Can my settings be changed somehow?
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  • The only way to service those studs is to disassemble everything. Might as well service the bearing assembly with new bearings and seals as well. I suggest you use a valvoline synthetic grease for the wheel bearings. Lifespan of those bearings is between 120K to 150K. At 150K they are usually starting to burn from lack of grease. Pay attention when you dissasseble, there are two spacers that go between the bearings.

    If you have not done this before and never used a press before, find someone who can do it for you. Use that press the wrong way and you are in serious trouble.
  • Looking for help interpreting the circled tests here: troubleshooting chart. E.g. which terminal is positive? With one wire of the multimeter at the positive terminal, where does the other wire attach? (Some of the tests are outlined on this coil tests page but others aren't.)

    Just to verify the basics again after replacing the distributor: I am getting spark at the plug, and using the ol' screwdriver-as-stethoscope trick, I found the injectors are indeed ticking away *. As far as timing goes, after retracing my steps, I should point out the following:

    Mistakes I probably made with re-installing the timing belt, after I replaced the water pump (earlier this summer): timing belt reinstallation.Mistakes I probably made with installing the new distributor: distributor installation.
    * = If the plugs smell of gas, can't it be assumed that (1) the injectors are working, and (2) the timing is off (meaning gas but no ignition?) Anyway, the plugs smell of gas. I found that out when I sprayed starting fluid in the cylinders to see if it would run a bit for me, which it didn't.

    As always, thanks to girlcarbuilder and 91323vic for your patience and help. Stopping and starting this project has contributed to my oversights - some of them critical I know.
  • Okay.....pay attention. You have spark and you have fuel. Time to quite trying to find a problem in the distributor or ignition system. Problem is not in there. That means distributor is working, injectors are working and so is engine computer in that system. Fuel system may have a question mark on it at this point.

    Very good on the alternative fuel source test. Spraying starting fluid and a no start is a dead ringer for a timing problem!

    You have clicking at fuel injectors and gas smell at the plugs...I strongly suspect we are dealing with timing just based on that. Now answer this question for me. Did the car run before you changed the timing belt? If so, I strongly suspect that timing is off at the valves and we still have to question ignition timing as well since its timing is set off of the camshaft. As you are beginning to see. Proper tools are needed to get this right the first time and in a reasonable time. Proper diagnosis leads you to a proper conclusion as to where to look for trouble. Otherwise you wind up chasing your tail looking for ghosts that are not there. Happy Halloween.

    One way we all learn, the hard way. Answer my question so we can get to the next step.
  • Yes, the car ran before I removed the timing belt (which I didn't change - I reinstalled it because it looked excellent.) The car also ran after the timing belt was reinstalled... Which is why I didn't suspect a timing issue at first, after it decided it wasn't going to start anymore.

    It ran but I haven't been driving it, so it wasn't run a lot. I only ran the engine to do other things, like backflush the cooling system.
  • Just to clarify part of what I said above: It ran for a couple of days after I reinstalled the timing belt, then suddenly it wouldn't start anymore.
  • Well I was able to get it to start, by trying something rather fast and simple. When I took the distributor cap off, I noticed the rotor wasn't lined up to any post. Instead of taking the plug out of cylinder #1, testing for arc from the coil to the rotor, etc, I decided to rotate the distributor and try to start it. It took about 1/4-3/8" clockwise turn, which was about how far off it looked when I had the cap off. Now I just did this as a test. It wasn't my intention to vary from the directions I'd been given above, but when I got out there under the hood, I was suddenly curious to see what would happen.

    When I originally took the timing belt off duing the water pump replacement, I made my own marks (based on someone else's advice), was dead careful not to move the pullies, and reinstalled the timing belt based on the marks I'd made. I didn't have a manual at the time so I just did what I was told. Anyway, I guess that method doesn't guarantee you'll have proper timing again, eh.

    Since the new distributor is, for now, in a significantly different position than the old one was (assuming 1/4-3/8" is significant), is that enough by itself to deduce that the camshaft and timing pullies aren't aligned to the timing marks? If I take the timing cover off and everything *is* in alignment, *then* what do I do?
  • Uh, huh. Now you see why I say to buy the repair manual and the timing light!

    As you have learned, reminds me of me at times working on a no budget that not the right tools/info wastes a lot of time. So much for time versus money! Been there, done that.

    Okay, if the timing belt is off, it would be a tooth or so and that is it. That can be a real problem long term. You are either right on it or very close. The timing technique you used on the distributor is called by the old timers "road timing." Not a final solution, but a technique used often to rough in the timing to get a vehicle being put back together started. You still need a timing light to final set the timing.

    So make this simple. Use the book for reference to get the correct marks. Either buy one or check one out of the library. First remove the upper timing cover. Set the top mark in place by doing the following. Make sure the ignition is off. Only turn the crankshaft by hand in the same direction the engine turns to set that top mark. The bottom mark should line up with 0 or TDC whichever is on the bottom cover mark. One the bottom gear on this engine, TDC mark is the same as the marks on the timing cover. That is usually the case. On the top mark, I have used a very small screw driver shaft to line up the tooth or valley that the mark on the gear is on lines up with the mark on the engine. Eyes can easily fool you and you could be off a tooth. Oh, the belt life is 60K miles. Don't push it, because if it breaks on this engine, the pistons will hit the valves. Cheap replacement belts are not worth it. Refer to my other posts about belt changes if you need to change it.

    Any way, after you verify the gear timing marks, then use the timing light to final set the ignition timing. You may need further instruction on how to use that light.
  • Will do. Gettin' the timing light, and will make sure everything is set right.

    I read that this engine is the non-interference type (link: Mazda B series.) Are you sure about the piston-valve crash scenario? I thought that wasn't a concern with these.
  • You are correct. The B6 is listed as non interference.
    That does not mean that belt breaking/slipping will never cause serious damage. Sometimes the heads are milled, and thus the valves and pistons are closer together.

    So... it is always a concern.
  • Wrong!!!! It is most definitely an interference engine. I even know this from personal experience when the crank broke off in front of the engine. The pistons and the valves did dance together and bend the valves before the engine died. This damage usually occurs after the crank rotates more than a quarter turn with the camshaft being stationary. Now, I know this to be for sure on interference for 89 and up engines. I do not know for sure on earlier engines.

    One rule of thumb I exercise because I have gotten incorrect info in the past, if it has a timing belt, treat it as an interference engine! You can never go wrong with this. Not to mention, it gives you practice for when you deal with one!
  • leeyahhleeyahh Posts: 1
    My car is idling bumpy and then when i accelerate it is bumpy. it only happens when the car warms up. I accidently sprayed the engine with water one day when I was filling my water up and it started steaming, could that have been the issue?
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    Take off and dry out the distributor cap.
  • thacherthacher Posts: 11
    Hi,
    1978 Mazda; 323; DX; 1.6L.
    Wanted to get an opinion on the difficulty of replacing the clutch on this vehicle. Have never done it on a front wheel drive vehicle before but a few times on rear wheel driven cars.
    Any suggestions on a quality clutch kit?
    Thank you,
    Henry
  • sanman07sanman07 Posts: 3
    Not sure about the tranny, but my 1994 323 WILL NOT start. Apparently they're known for it. They may work perfect for a long time, then one day you get in and it urns over fine, but will not start. I've changed the fuel pump, coil & coil wire, distributor cap, rotor and cannot get spark. Fuses are all in tact.The cars not worth spending the money on to take to a garage and figure it out, so if you hear of anything with the same issue and a fix, you would be my hero...lol
  • sanman07sanman07 Posts: 3
    Hi there,
    Do you mean replace the whole unit - i mean the part that actually goes into the engine? Sounds like i have the same issue - no spark and I've replaced everything except the distributor
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    With the distributor cap off and turning over the engine, have someone watch and see if the rotor turns. If not, you need a new distributor shaft.
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