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Mazda MPV: Problems & Solutions

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  • tomj5tomj5 Posts: 209
    Yeah you are right. I checked my MPV with 4 seasons pack(big battery) and that is a crappy ground cable. It is way too small. The kids have bigger cables on their motorcycles... The cable runs from the battery to a car body (body ground) (not engine block) right below the battery. Where moisture and battery acid can get to the ground point. Another small cable runs from that point to an engine ground... That is the dumbest grounding system I have ever seen...
    The battery ground should run to the engine block close to the starter and another cable should run to the tranny frame and a third cable to the car body..
    My MPV runs good because of the dry desert where I live. Plus the big battery doesn't fume as much as a smaller one..... biomed_eng has hit on a very good possible solution..........
  • dan2004dan2004 Posts: 86
    Perhaps to use cables with alligator clips (in addition to stock setup) to test various grounding alternatives to see if they make a difference?
  • I tried to delete my "Post 3352" because I am in violation of forum rules by linking to other forums. It didn't delete for some reason.

    Back on subject...marketers call it HyperGrounding but in all reality it is merely fixing the poor grounding that Mazda provides.

    As any electrical engineer knows, "good" grounds are EXTREMELY important for low noise logic performance (i.e. computer controlled shifting), high current actuation (i.e. transmission solenoids), and reliability and consistency in design and performance.

    Ask your dealer if they have pursued this avenue.
  • 1. You can try the "before and after" method. My suggestion:
    a. hearty connection from the transmission to the chassis (at least 6 ga).
    b. hearty connection from the battery to the chassis (at least 4 ga).
    c. from the transmission ecu (location??) to the chassis (at least 10 ga).

    2. If you are an EE or tech and have an o-scpoe or digital voltage recorder, drive around and monitor the voltage between the above three suggestions one at a time and see which fluctuates or if there is any correlation between shiting moments and ground potential shifts or spikes/drops. Troubleshoot from your observations.

    Collect many happy smiles :) from MPV owners when you find the offending ground point or points.
  • Bought a 2003 MPV ES new in August. Took me a couple of weeks to realize the drivers side seat (leather) is highly uncomfortable. Feels like a couple of rocks under the right side of the seat bottom. If I sit a certain way it's not too bad. On a long trip I think I'd have to be hospitalized (ha). Has anyone else had this trouble? What are my chances getting this fixed under warranty. Due to go in any day now for 3k mi. check up.
  • My DW and I purchased our 03 LX in August. Since then, I have noticed hard shifting from 2nd to 3rd gears, but only when the traction control is engaged. This past weekend, our family went on a road trip and I experimented with the traction control feature--results: whenever the traction control was turned off, no hard shifting. I wonder if the software for the TC is causing some problems for the automatic transmission?

    YMMV,

    Michael
  • dan2004dan2004 Posts: 86
    Perhaps the best place to start is to check that all existing ground straps and connections are tight.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,004
    A bit more info is in the Grounding Kit discussion.

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    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    Personally, I could live with the hard shifting. It's not that big of an annoyance. The ONLY thing that worries me about it is what it's going to do to the tranny in the long run. I don't want to drive the van without the dealer being able to fix the problem, only to have the tranny scatter all over the road the day after my warranty expires. That's my only issue with the hard shifting tranny.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    bottgers: I would take it in to the dealer to look at and get the stiuation documented. So if something were to happen to your tranny, at least it is on record.
  • I recently checked out the JATCO (Japanese Automatic Transmission Company)web site. Bottom of the home page had a small website email connection (really tiny). I'm composing a pointy email that would discuss the loss of honor these folks are being slammed with because Mazda is skirting the issue of the MPV tranny and making them look really bad. There may be more than one way to "skin a nippon". Any thoughts:
  • 2004 MPV purchased 12-23-03. First and most offensive hard shift at 154 miles. Several others since then happening between 2-3 shift and 2-3k rpm. At almost 500 miles dropped car for 2nd dealer evaluation today. En route to dealer no hard shifts. Noted that the temp was between 12-17 degrees F. Previous hard shifting happened when outdoor temps were warmer. Other members have similar observations?
  • If you read back on this thread a ways, you'll see that we all noticed the hard shift happens when the engine is at full operating temp. With the colder weather the engine probably takes much longer to get warm and may never reach a high enough temp to set off the hard shift problem. Although we experienced a couple of hard shifts with driving it right out of our garage a few weeks ago. So who knows, it's defective, we've stopped trying to analyze it.

    I would highly encourage everyone with this problem to at the very least demand an extended warranty on the power train at no cost and no deductible. We screamed and yelled enough and we got a bumper-to-bumper warranty on the car for 7 years/100K miles for free. Start with your dealership's GM and they will probably refer you to a regional Mazda rep who can make it happen. You still have the option to pursue the lemon law in the future even if you take the warranty.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    did you try to corroborate the observation made by another owner recently that turning off the Traction Control made the shift problem go away?

    your van is the one where you can reliably get the thing to hard-shift right?

    it would seem it would be good for someone else to attempt to either add or remove support for that observation.
  • Sure, I'll give it a try. My husband is handing the van over to me this weekend to be the primary driver of it from now on because it's making him a nervous wreck. He's not coordinated enough to avoid the hard shift, but I can get around it. I know, it's weird, the woman driver is more skilled than the man driver in our relationship! Must be all the mechanical engineers in my family. So I'll give it a try this weekend when I'm out and about.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    So much for giving the wife the safe car. I wish I could get away with that in my house.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    too nervous to drive the thing...or maybe he's peeved (sorry) it's getting hammered on...

    was he the one who drove the purchase? i wouldn't be nervous if we had purchased one (and we had driven three), but it would erk me to no end each time i got behind the wheel...and THAT would make the rest of the people in the car nervous for sure.

    well...with all those MEs in your family - hope you design a good experiment.

    but seriously - if you notice the effect, you're going to have to bracket the observation (that the Trac off mitigates), by a few runs with the Trac on to make sure the mitigation isn't a function of the vehicle warming up.

    then as a control, get your husband to drive it in both configurations. ;)

    good luck.
  • bigdadibigdadi Posts: 72
    I have the MPV without the traction control, still having the hard-shift.

    The hard-shift happens when you hold on the pedal after moderate acceleration. If you keeps on pedal down or release the pedal a little before the 2-3 shift, you can get around it.
  • It's probably more irksome for him than makes him nervous. Every stinkin' time it does it he lets out a "sheesh" or a "grrrr", and then we get irritated. I finally told him if it bothers him so much I'll drive it and he said ok. He can't seem to figure out the right time to let up on the gas pedal to prevent the hard shift either. I can do it pretty well so I'm taking the car.
  • I have had my MPV in the shop since 11/18/03 and have been living with a service rental (compact, not a van). The shift in my van is so hard it lost traction once in the rain (I won't let my wife drive it, and certainly not with the kids in it). Don't know how it would do in snow because it's been in the shop since before we had snow up here. MN Lemon Law has three criteria for a getting your money back and mine has met all three. Coincidently enough, after I sent a certified letter to Mazada involking the Lemon Law, THEY NOW HAVE A FIX!!!! Magically, just after my letter, LUCKY ME!!! Actually it's better than that, Mazda at one point told me (months ago) they had a fix but the EPA had to approve it first. I opened a case (324123438) with the EPA who said they knew nothing about it. I don't want a fixed van, or a replacement van, or anything more to do with Mazda other than giving me my money back. They're liars and it's just a matter of time before someone gets in an accident as a result of this ongoing problem. Good luck to all of you.....get a lawyer, I am.
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