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Mazda 323



  • If the transmission has been well maintained, then 238K miles is an excellent service record in between overhauls. If not, it is not uncommon for failure to occur in less than 100k. Secret to making an automatic last is, change the fluid or keep it well cooled with an excellent heavy duty external oil cooler. Change the filters and locate an inline filter sold by Transtar for transmissions. This same filter can be used in power steering systems to reduce wear in power steering systems. This info is trucking and fleet industry secrets. That inline filter must be changed every 10K miles but it will cut your service requirements combined with that cooler to almost nil!

    Wiper, seems to be a failure in the electrical parking system usually located in with the wiper motor. Rather than replace it, I would time my turning it off to just before the swipe is returning to the low end. By the time your reflexes it it it should be low enough to view the windshield well enough. LKQ junk yards on the net. Many dealers should be able to get it for you or parts houses. Check with O'Reilly's who has many lifetime warranties on parts they sell. Keep a folder and copies of those receipts. Many of my 100K-200K cars have more warranty than a new car at O'Reilly's! People like me are killing the lifetime warranty idea.

    If you put a new overhauled tranny in, best to go with a lifetime warranty deal. It hurts, but is cheaper than car notes in the long run. Next car you should plan on at least a four speed automatic or a 5 speed tranny to get better gas mileage. Remember that cooler and add on filter will extend you tranny's life making it cheaper for you in the log run. Cheap to run is what I like.Let me pull manual for 89 here to see if any more on 2-3 upshift problem. Will add more later if it has anything.
  • Okay, check to see if that tranny has a modulator valve. If so, inspect it and pipping for leakage. Repalce parts as needed. The older units also have some kind of kickdown soleniod. Inspect that and wiring as well if you have them. The next thing list is the control valve assemblly internal, I would leave that up to a transmission shop. Good luck with it.
  • Hi all - I have a 91 323 with 188K, pic below.

    The right turn signal is acting weird - sometimes it works fine, and sometimes it clicks twice as fast as usual with no blinking from the lights. The bulbs seem fine, and the problem comes and goes. Anyone else have this issue? Thanks in advance.

  • I had the same problem with my car when I first got it and it was the box under the dash that controls the turn signals. When it started to click and flash quickly it is wearing out. I got one from a wrecker and I don't think I paid more than maybe $40.00 for it. I can't remember the price but the new one has worked great for the time I have owned the car.
  • Hey all, just wanted to let you know that I had to have my alternator replaced today as it was charging to much and just about wrecked my electrical system. It blew out my low beams on my headlights. If your charge light comes on get the car checked out right away. I was really lucky the mechanic said, I don't know how lucky almost $500.00 bucks is but it is now fixed.
  • Hey does anyone know how the rear washer works?? Mine has never worked the wiper is fine it just won' squirt water out on to the back window. Kind of irritating when you have a really dirty window. :confuse:
  • My manual 89 323 is losing power as soon as you get into 3rd gear feels to be bogging down and wanting to stall. Have checked the trans oil and the distributor. What else could be causing this?
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    Fuel filter maybe.

    It'd be best if you gave more detail as to exactly what is happening.
  • You gave no mileage info, so I will assume regular pm is needed. These engines must have a full tune up every 30K miles. Change plugs, fuel filter, cap, rotor and air filter as directed by any good service manual I have mention before.

    Would not hurt to do a fuel pressure check to make sure it is running like it should.
  • thacherthacher Posts: 9
    1987; 323 -- How much torque on the locknut that holds the rear drum in place?
    Thank you,
  • You lucked out, I have a factory manual that covers the 87! Which should also be the almost same for 86-89! Our unit is an '89. Rear drum spindle preload tightrning torque is listed at 18.1-21.7 ft. lbs. Bear in mind that is for new bearings. I would tend to go a bit lower if you did a repack at 50K. You could also resort to the old preload method used by many old timer mechanics like myself. I repack mine at 50K after new, then run to almost failure because they are pretty much trash around a 100K any way! By the way, get new nuts for safety sake. No fun driving on three wheels if one comes off. Save your old nuts, because you never know when they will quit selling parts to us! Those nuts where pretty common still last time I looked. Dorman makes them. There is a left hand and a right hand nut! So pay attention.
  • thacherthacher Posts: 9
    Thank you for your reply. I'm not even re packing the bearings. I wanted to look at the condition of the rear brakes. So for now I only need to put the drums back on. Looking at the spindle nuts, they look like they have been reused a few times. For sure I will try and locate new ones. So do you think a preload of about 19ft. lbs. would be about just right for my situation?
  • Resetting wheel bearings without repacking can be bad news if you over tighten! Reason is there is little grease left at times. What I do here is the following. 1) install hub assembly, with spindle nut. 2) tighten down to just snug. 3) remove any center piece decoration on wheel assembly. 4) install wheel assembly with just two lug nuts tight enough to wheel on assembly. 5) go back to spindle nut, snug it up just enough so that there is no play in wheel assembly when you grab top and bottom of tire and tire to shake it back and forth. Back off nut until you have play in wheel assembly and recheck again to see that for sure. Tighten back just enough to take that play out and verify it again. Stake the nut or cotter pin it when you get there. This technique is not for zero tolerance bearing setups! Usually found on front wheel drive bearing systems and "non-serviceable" bearing assemblies. I have found a way to get grease in those expensive things!

    On the Mazda, those wheel nuts were also available and I have been getting mine from the dealer for about $5 each. They are about $3 at the parts store if you can get them. Not worth the $4 searching for them at times I feel.
  • needwheels2needwheels2 Posts: 31
    Hiya girlcarbuilder - I'm back! Guess what, after leaving my poor old 323 to rust in the parking lot for the past half year, a new neighbor came by the other day and offered to work on it after asking the landlord who owned it.They have car experience, tools and a dad who apparently was a former mechanic or something like that. So I'm fixing their computer in trade which is all I can afford...

    Today they started on it, checked my fuel pump replacement which they said I did a good job. They they went through the distributor and timing, which there was a great deal of confusion over the wiring as there seems to be two different configurations but in the end I think they figured it out and it has spark. They also agree that it still has compression. So spark and fuel are tested good.

    But here's the interesting part. They took off the cover to the timing belt and they insist the belt seems brand spanking new. (I only put on like 5k miles after the last owner). So they are going to check later this week if it's the tensioner?

    Anyway it seems like it's in capable hands now so it might come back from the dead and wanted to let you know. They want me to buy the book for it so I might have to cough up the local price instead of getting it off ebay cheaper so they can keep the momentum they have now.
  • Sorry, I was too busy to return to the forum. I just bought a Kia Rio Cinco wagon and sold the '92 323 for $600! So no parts available! Sold it to a girl whose brother is a mechanic and he was satisfied after demanding oil and water when he checked the engine out. Glad it's gone to someone who has the skills to keep it running--it was a great little car.
  • I am a big fan when it comes to swapping out services. Sounds like it is coming together. Everyone, guard your old cars, gas going up and so is the value of those that run cheap! I am quicker to park one for a few months then repair rather than sell and buy!

    I have noticed the parts supply has improved even for my 22 year old Toyota. Though our Mazda is currently down waiting on the steering rack to come back for repairs from A! Cardone. It failed after 50K of service. I bet they will be suprised to see how clean it still is! Love those warranty parts on an old car!
  • ahab_2001ahab_2001 Posts: 4
    Hi -- I'm new to this forum, which I'm glad I found. This is probably going to seem like a rather ridiculous question, but here goes. I own a 1991 Mazda 323, which still runs quite well after 120,000 miles. I'm going to be taking on more maintenance myself after a number of years of just letting my shop handle things. (Long story.)

    My question is, where is the air filter? I have the Chilton's manual for this car, and the setup in my engine compartment (at least where the air filter is concerned) looks nothing like what's in the manual, which shows a box with a clip-on housing that holds the flat air filter. Instead, what I'm seeing is in the two pics linked below:

    Is the air filter element actually *beneath* the airflow meter -- that is, do I need to physically remove the AFM to get to the filter? That seems hard to believe for something as routine as changing the air filter. Anyway, any information that anyone on this forum might have would be much appreciated.


  • needwheels2needwheels2 Posts: 31
    Bad news, they came over today to tell me that they figured it out (and it's nothing like we thought). Apparently the crankshaft has separated or something like that. They say the parts are like $275 to fix it, so no way I'm doing that. Oh well.
  • needwheels2needwheels2 Posts: 31
    Here's another update - I walked over to talk to them some more today to get details and they really insist that they want to fix it. Here's the story, you tell me how accurate it sounds and how plausible the cost is to fix it:

    Apparently the "cotter pin" (?) on the crankshaft has never been right and has slowly shaved down until the point where the crankshaft has just been spinning which is why it lost power and then won't start. Since the previous owner was some kind of mechanic this new guy believes they rigged the pin to hold in place long enough to sell the car (welded?)

    He doesn't want to just replace the cotter pin though - he says the crankshaft is damaged now to the point where it won't hold the pin right so even if he managed to make it hold (via a weld?) that not old would it fail again, it could fail in a bad way where the engine would seize.

    What he wants to do is go to the junkyard and get a replacement "short block" (isn't that the whole engine???) for like $70 and then I think he said it would need replacement gaskets? (I think, may have that wrong) for $100 or so tops. He says he could just replace the crankshaft but those parts would actually be more than replacing the block which can be more easily found.

    I pointed out that the amount of labor he needs to do on this would be insane and something a non-mechanic would never pay for because it would be worth more than the car but he says it's worth the computer I had promised in trade and still wants to fix it regardless.

    I think this guy is being way too optimistic and I bet there are going to be other things along the way. He offered to buy the car instead at my asking price of $200 and insists it's worth saving.

    So what do you think I should do? I have a bad feeling about replacing the entire block (engine) and then other things always go wrong after that.

    ps. he says there was absolutely nothing wrong with the timing belt and the water pump seems like it's in good shape - those other mechanics would have just taken my money!
  • I smell fish. First, there are no cotter pins on the crankshaft! There is a woodruff key in the front that holds pulley and gear from spinning. Very rarely do they ever cause trouble. If ever! At the worst the gear might be worn, but that is even very rare.

    He wants to buy the car for $200.....he knows it is cheap on gas. You need to try to find a way to look at some parts and see what they look like new. Search the net and see what a woodruff key, crankshaft timing gear for a belt and the nose of the crankshaft looks like.

    Never a good idea to swap parts from one engine to another without doing the proper machine work needed. Oh, machine shops that do enigine work do have to rebuild crankshafts at times by adding metal by welding it on and re machine the whole thing again.
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