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Mazda 626



  • The local dealer here used to send these things out for rebuilding; turnaround was pretty quick and the price, even including R&R, was on the good side of $300 for a pair. For this you get essentially brand-new boots on freshly-packed CV joints, which should have a service life fairly close to that of new ones.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Dropped off last night. I'll call to see what the verdict is. They're just opening now.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    OK, $299 to clean up the axle, replace the boot, and repack the grease. He said the axle was fine, no need to change it. These are dealer prices and seem reasonable.

    But we also had that CEL and they want $366 to change the O2 sensor? $212 for parts? A Bosch sensor for the Miata was about $30, and I had seen one for the 626, a different brand, for about $70. Does that seem a little ridiculous to anyone else besides me?

    The tech says there are two sensors in the 626, and this one is "heated", whatever that means.

    By the time they add labor for diagnostics and all the other stuff, the bill hit $730. Ouch, ouch.

    We've only had one other out-of-warranty repair, for about $500, so $1200 seems reasonable for service in 6 years and 70k miles. But I'm not going back to the dealer for service any more, the parts prices are borderline ridiculous.

  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Some dealers just like to scare business away.

    A remanufactured Mazda axle retails for about $120 so I would hope that the dealer could have put one in for less than $300.

    As for the O2 sensors, suggested retail on them is $180.

    Greedy dealers.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm sure they are marking up prices above full retail, which is indeed greedy and will lose them business (including mine).

    I checked Trussville Mazda on-line, but where did you find that price? I'm picking it up tonight and would like to ask them to match the MSRP. A markup is ridiculous IMO.


  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    My 1999 Mazda 626 (4cyl)has about 53k flawless miles on it. No mention in owners manual about transmission service. I've received conflicting info. from 2 different dealers. 800# for Mazda service said only change fluid if it becomes discolored. I believe in preventative maintenance. I'd drop the pan and change the filter but one Mazda service manager told me NOT to do that if car is shifting good. Said it could cause problems with the 4cyl transmission. What's a guy to do?
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    That's out of the Motor's Estimating Guide. Just call around, some dealers mark-up beyond MSRP, some go below.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    After I complained about the high prices yesterday, today he called and told me the job was about $30 less than he had estimated.

    So my whining paid off, a little bit.

    The service was pricey but I still think that $1200 total in out-of-pocket repair bills is pretty good for 6 years and 70k miles.

    It does tend to justify an extended warranty, though.

    Have the ATF flushed at the 60k service. I've heard prices of around $100 or less, while a tranny costs 20 times that amount to fix.

  • It's mounted vertically and will fall on its side, and you still won't be able to get to the filter. (No, I don't know why Ford built it this way.) As Juice says, get it flushed at 60k, maybe earlier if the appearance of the fluid warrants. Last time I had this done, a dealer charged me $110; you can probably find it cheaper.
  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    I flushed our Oldsmobile Silhouette mini-van with
    70k miles on it. It shifted fine until I had it flushed. Now it shifts hard. Every mechanic (other than those with the flushing machines) I've talked to since has told me to never flush - just drop the pan. Any of the transmission shops around here seem to back that up. Evidently, a lot of their business is a result of these flushing machines. One said it can fowl the valve bodies.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    I only drive 5 speeds, and the two gear oil changes I've done have only made shifting easier. In both cases I went to synthetic, so on cold mornings the difference is noticeable.

  • On the other hand, you could make a pretty good case that a transmission that fails after a flush is merely succumbing to the inevitable a few days earlier.

    The CD4E, however, offers no options; the pan literally cannot be dropped. It doesn't work. There is no way to change this fluid other than to flush it. And the filter is completely inaccessible without major disassembly.
  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    I read some of your other posts. How is a muck like me supposed to know burnt fluid from good fluid? It all smells a little burnt to me - even the stuff in my wifes van thats only got a couple of hundred miles on it. My local Mazda dealer doesn't have a flush machine - no wonder they discouraged me from any preventative maintenance on my 626. Could a good Ford/ Mercury dealer take care of this since some of their vehicles share the same tranny? I hate to mess with it while it runs so good - but I do have 53K highway miles on it. Couldn't hurt to have it changed. I also have a 100k Mazda warranty on it but don't want them to renig if I take it somewhere and have it flushed and they say "thats not in the manual!"
  • While you should always check the level when the transmission is hot, I've found it more useful to check the smell when it's cold - easier to spot traces of oxidation, at least with my none-too-wonderful nose. Your mileage may vary. :)

    Ford's own advice for the CD4E, swiped from a Contour manual, is as follows:

    "Under normal vehicle operating conditions, transmission service (transmission model CD4E) is not required unless 5,000 mile fluid inspections reveal either contamination or discoloration of fluid, or transmission exhibits functional concerns."

    They're not too worried about it, in other words, but you ought to be eyeballing the ol' Dexron on a regular basis, before you start getting "functional concerns". If it doesn't look like it's the color of Luden's Wild Cherry, you're due for a change. And if you show up at a Lincoln/Mercury dealer, they may be so surprised that you know it's the same tranny bolted into the Mystique that they'll forget to overcharge you. (Well, maybe not, but it's worth a try.)
  • I'll be in the market for a mid size sedan. As it will be primarily a commuter (probably 90% of its miles) and I have kids who always need something, I was looking to keep it around $16,000. I know this limits my choices, but I had to draw a line somewhere. Anyway, a local dealer is advertising a 2002 626 LX with the power goodies, automatic and sunroof for about $15,700. I was wondering if there were any thoughts on buying one as I have not heard many great things about this 4 cylinder engine (performance wise, not reliability wise) and I know this is the last year for the 626. Thanks for the feedback.
  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    I don't think you can go wrong with 626. I have a 99 with the 4cyl. I have 53k trouble free miles on it. I just wanted something different from a Taurus, Accord, or Camry. I think the 626 is much better looking and probably every bit as reliable. My only complaint is gas mileage. When my dad's Oldsmobile with a 3.8 litre v-6 gets 31 mpg and I'm getting only 25 to 26 on the highway - what does that tell you? That really irks me. I'm not crazy about having to change the timing belt at 60k either. That will probably be a costly item (labor wise). Good luck with your decision
  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    I don't think you can go wrong with 626. I have a 99 with the 4cyl. I have 53k trouble free miles on it. I just wanted something different from a Taurus, Accord, or Camry. I think the 626 is much better looking and probably every bit as reliable. My only complaint is gas mileage. When my dad's Oldsmobile with a 3.8 litre v-6 gets 31 mpg and I'm getting only 25 to 26 on the highway - what does that tell you? That really irks me. I'm not crazy about having to change the timing belt at 60k either. That will probably be a costly item (labor wise). I cruise all day long at 75 to 80 mph and the car does fine. Its never used any fluids. I change the oil at 3750 miles. Changed the plugs myself at 30k (Easy to do). Acceleration is like a rocket but who cares. Its a good highway cruiser. Good luck.
  • I think you're getting a good deal. Take the car for a test drive and see how it performs in heavy traffic and on the highway. Pay particular attention to the transmission performance within town; are the shifts relatively smooth or rough? Also, you need to be aware of your driving style; if you've got no patience for the initial/seeming slowness of the 4cyl, I'd suggest you go for the v6. If the performance is adequate for your needs, then I'd say go for it. Otherwise, you should be able to get an lxv6 auto, without some of the 'goodies' you referenced in your message, for around the same price.

    As a person with a 'lead foot', I decided not to buy a 97 626 4cyl I leased for three years (even though it was an excellent car that never let me down). Instead, I bought a 00lxv6 which looks great, is fun to drive and smooth on the highway, and has also been very reliable.

    Good luck.
  • Patience is a virtue. :)

    Actually, in the 13 months I've had the '00 LX, the only times I've felt the need for more ponies have involved really short onramps and really bad blind spots. During my 4500-mile trip this summer, I cruised mostly at 70 to 75 mph and managed a tick over 29 mpg, despite the fact that this was July and the A/C was therefore cranked up to Glacier. Getting past members of the Anti-Destination League is a simple matter of stomping the loud pedal far enough for the CD4E to realize you want second, not third. (Hit it hard enough and you can actually do fourth-to-first, which will scare the hell out of any passengers you may have, especially if they happen to notice the 6000 or so revs on the tach. Reason enough, in my estimation.)

    125 hp is really not enough for a car this size, but unless you are personally affronted by being second off the line when the light turns green, it's bearable, especially if you don't flinch at 4000-rpm shift points.
  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    How do you manage that 29 MPG? I've never gotten better than 26. Tires are always at 32 psi - even though the door sticker calls for the rears to be at 26 (never understood that either). I've got "60" size tires with the aluminum wheels. I've always wondered if my tire size had anything to do with my lousy mileage. I'm not a lead foot and the many highway trips I take with cruise set on 74 mph would negate that anyway. Have you perhaps done any special tuning?
  • I have no idea. I have done no particular tuning, and I'm running the stock 205/60R15 tires. I run 34 psi front, 30 psi rear; the reason Mazda specifies a higher pressure in front is most likely because the front tires are supporting more weight than the rears.

    The worst segment of the trip was around 27 (fighting the freeways around Austin in 105-degree heat); the best was nearly 33, over the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I didn't believe it myself. In town, I get right around the predicted 22; I managed under 20 once, but that was in the dead of winter and there was an awful lot of idling in place, which of course scores 0 mpg.

    Maybe it's just a sample variation. I can't think of any reason why I should be doing so well and you shouldn't.
  • skibry1skibry1 Posts: 174
    The 20+ months we've had our Freeport with a
    clutch the MPG has been upper 20s or lower 30s!
    I've not done any preformance upgrades either.
    All mods were for comfort. I will admit the higher
    MPG was on long hauls,entire tank burned @ 70mph.
    Our 130 ponies matched to a left-leg-flexor has
    plenty of umph for me! I don't see myself as
    one with patience....Zoom/Zoom
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 19,814
    Do you have the 4 cylinder or the 6? I got 26 from my LX-V6 automatic on the highway. I don't think 29 out of the 4 banger should be too much to ask. As a matter of fact, for the performance loss, I would expect even more than that.

    '14 Jetta TDI wagon; '98 Volvo S70 base; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 41-car history and counting!

  • skibry1skibry1 Posts: 174
    The 4cyl wit a clutch keeps me happy+smilin'.
    Zoom/Zoom on the mind!!!
  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    I've got a 99 4 cyl 626. I haven't ever gotten over 26.something mpg. Very dissappointing. Oh well - everything else has been fine.
  • vonn1vonn1 Posts: 26
    I posted a while back about my 96 626 4cyl auto with 67000 miles hesitating around 2100 and 3500 rpm. Both a local garage and the dealer could not find any problems with the car. The garage (who I trust) thought it might be the Mass Airflow Meter, but they did not want to just replace it without knowing for sure as it is a very expensive part. Some of the faithful posters on this site thought I might me seeing signs of the dreaded 4cyl auto failure. I had the tranny flushed a week ago for $79 bucks at Rapid Oil Change and the problem still exists. I don't think it's the tranny as the problem only exists at the two rpm points. The car shifts fine and no other tranny problem signs are noted. I had tranny issues with a 89 Accord and this is very dissimilar. I am wondering if anyone has any other ideas? I do a lot of work on my cars and I expect them to run without a hitch. I am living with this issue as I don't feel like dropping $600 bucks on a Mass Airflow Meter if I don't really need one. I welcome any advice offered. Thanks.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 19,814
    can you be more descriptive of the problem? Hesitating meaning that, as you accelerate, it seems to pause at those rpms? Or if you try to get the transmission to downshift when at those rpms and it hesitates? Or ... well, I don't know. Give us a little more to go on.

    '14 Jetta TDI wagon; '98 Volvo S70 base; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 41-car history and counting!

  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    Have you thought about new plug wires. I had a Celica that once had those similar symptons and all it needed was the new wires. Should be relatively inexpensive to see.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Our V6 was hesitating and a throttle body service fixed it. We also changed the spark plug wires and the plugs. Engine runs better than ever now.

  • vonn1vonn1 Posts: 26
    Ok, here is more detail. By Hesitation, I mean that at 2100 and 3500 rpms the rev's quit climbing momentarily. It has nothing to do with when the car shifts. It almost feels as if it is losing spark or gas for a moment or two. I have given the car a tune up including: plugs, wires, air and fuel filters, distributor cap and rotor. I have even tried adding a fuel injector cleaning treatment to my fuel, but I really did not expect this to resolve the issue as it happens at the same rpms all the time. It seems to me it must be some sort of control module in order to be so specific in when it happens. The annoying thing is that no diagnostic computer can come up with bad codes. Most people may not mind this issue as it does not cause much of a problem with how the car drives. However, it bothers me, because it should not be happening. Juice, did your hesitation issue happen at the same rpms all the time? If so what repair was made to your throttle body?
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