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Mazda 626 Troubles

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  • Hello all.

    I was having a serious start-up noise problem stemming from the lack of oil at the top of the engine. It was exacerbated on cold mornings. This rattle would go away after 5 minutes or so.

    The car had been making these noises for the past 30,000 miles. But since the owner's manual mentions that start-up noises are to be expected from time to time, I blew it off.

    I became more concerned, though, as the sounds became increasingly louder and taking longer to subside. So, I perused this thread hoping to find out what was going on and found that many of you had experienced the same problem. The HLAs were not "pumped up" because of using generic oil filters sans flow back valves.

    To get to the heart of the matter, I bought some OEM oil filters and changed the oil (my first use of synthetic, BTW). When I started it up this morning (about 25 degrees F), there was little rattling. There was still some sound, but it was muted compared to previous start-ups.

    This leads me to a question. If one does nothing to correct the HLA noise, will it cause long term problems? As I mentioned, I ignorantly let it continue for 30,000 miles (55,000 mile total on my '95) and all seems well: no power loss, good fuel economy, etc.

    What do you think?
  • It's unlikely you've done substantial damage; if you had, the switch to the OEM filter and synthetic oil wouldn't have made very much difference in the noise level. If you stay with this regimen, you shouldn't have major problems with the valvetrain for quite a long time.

    And there are a couple of noises that masquerade convincingly as HLA noise: the most notorious is a ticking from the friction gear spring on the exhaust cam. This isn't a cause for concern either. (If the sound is much more noticeable near cylinder #1, and it disappears abruptly above 2000 rpm or so, suspect the friction gear; it is possible to have both noises at once.)
  • I have a '94 Mazda 626 LX, which is not running smoothly since the weather gets cold. For example, when I stop the car at the traffic light, there is some wierd loud noise coming from the engine (or the air hose). There is no noise when I am driving or the shift is put to Park.
    The big problem started from yesterday. When I started the car last night, and turned on the highlight, the battery light flashed once. Then later, when I arrived at home, and shift the gear from drive to park, the idle began to drop and rise, and the car shaked with it. Today, this parking problem happened twice. Then, in my third trip, the car is hard to start. When I just turn on the engine, the idle begin to rise. But then the battery light lights up and the oil light follows also, and then the idle drops down to zero and the engine is dead. I have to start it two or three times to make the engine finally stay alive. I will go to a mechanics on Monday. Before I do that, I am hoping some of you might give me some idea of what could be the problem. I Thanks in advance!
    By the way, the MPG of my car is extremely low, only 14-15 lately. But I always heated the car 4-5 minutes before I went on driving since the weather is cold.
  • It's not easy to pinpoint these things, especially if no codes are being set - you didn't mention the MIL coming on - so I'm guessing that there are two factors in play here:

    • The battery is weak, because of the cold, perhaps because the alternator is under spec, or maybe it's just old;
    • The engine computer, possibly affected by irregularities in its power supply, is having trouble compensating for an idle-speed variation.
    You mentioned a noise possibly coming from an air hose, which suggests a vacuum leak somewhere - which would certainly mess up the idle. Also, the tubing to and from the air filter can crack, which can cause irregular inputs to the mass airflow meter. I'd check out all the rubber and plastic parts before I started spending money on electric gizmos. And it's conceivable that at least some of this is battery-related; if the battery is questionable, the computer may behave in a manner contrary to its programming. (I had a '93 with a couple of minor weirdnesses which cleared up when a new battery was bolted in.)
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    Did you try to pull any codes from the computer? That would be the thing to start from.

    Is that 4 or 6 cyl. LX ?
  • Thank you for your help! I admire your expertie, windowphobe. It's indeed related to the battery.
    I went to do an engine diagnotic service at a mechanics (FireStone) yesterday, since I need the car in a hurry, and hope they can help me find other problems. The following is what they did:
    1. Install a new battery;
    2. Replaced the battery terminals
    3. Fan Belt adjustment
    4. Clean the intake
    5. clean the MAF sensor.
    It cost me $450.
    Now, the car starts as before. But some old problem persists: the car always vibrates heavily if the speed is low, e.g. when I stopped at a traffic light. This problem seems getting worse after this repairment. And, if I drive the car for a while, say 1 hour, then if I stop at the traffic light, I can observe the temperature begin to rise way above normal. Is it true that the fan will stop working at zero speed?
    Because of this problem, I run the yellow traffic light every time.
    By the way, my car is 4cyl. LX, and has 75000 miles on it by now.
    Last time, I asked about my car shaking at high speed. Windowphobe suggested me check the tire and do rotation. Indeed, after I changed two front tires, the problem is gone. Thanks!
  • The 626 has two fans, driven by electric power; engine speed, or lack of same, doesn't have much effect. Usually only one fan runs, and then only once the engine is up to operating temperature; the second one comes in when things get hot (or when there's additional engine load, like when the a/c is turned on). Fan-relay failures are not unheard of in these cars.

    Is your idle speed (per the tach) fairly close to 700 rpm, or is it all over the place?
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    I just bought a 94 626 LX/V6 (5sp) last month. It has 99K miles. It runs excellent but I'm not sure if the timing belt has been replaced yet. Do you suggest that I change it anyway? And if I don't, what are the consequences if it goes? Also, when I press the power moonroof switch, it sometimes opens and other times it doesn't. Could this be a problem with a worn-out switch that needs to be replaced or could it be the power moonroof motor? By the way, there is no abnormal clicking sound when I press the moonroof switch.
  • Assuming one believes Mazda's manual over the contrary stuff on the Web, the V6 is an interference-type engine, which means that if the belt goes, the valvetrain (and the odd piston or two) is likely to go with it. The replacement regimen is 60k miles, except in California, where the laws of physics are superseded by acts of the Assembly and you're supposed to replace the belt at 105k. You're probably not in immediate danger, but I wouldn't put it off much longer.

    My '93 had some weird interaction between the two moonroof switches. If Slide wouldn't work, I'd hit Tilt, which would; then I'd close Tilt, and this time Slide would work. (If I wanted Tilt and it didn't work - well, you get the idea.) This is the only 626 I've driven that had the moonroof - my current one doesn't - so I don't know if this is typical behavior or just an electrical glitch.
  • I am trying to decide if I should buy a 1998 Millineum with 16,000 miles, a V.6... or if I should get a NEW 2000 demo, 626, V.4 with 5000 miles. Both vehicles are loaded and have the 36,000 or 3 year warranty. I want the car that will last the LONGEST... am trading in a car with 245,000 miles. The V.4 seems to have enough power for me, but I want the car that will make the most miles. Please help!
    Thanks, Neworleans
  • On the other hand, the Millenia is likely to cost more to maintain over the years, especially if it's the S version with the Miller-cycle engine, which is a bear to work on.

    Then again, it's hard to imagine someone considering a Millenia S thinking that the 626 LX has enough power. :)
  • Hello everyone

    I hope that everybody is doing well, even though their cars may not be doing so well. There are quite a few smart people out there who know their Mazda's. I like my Mazda but sometime's it get's frustrating, but they need some TLC just like alot of cars. My Mazda is 1993 626ES V6 with 173000 kms, and lately the hold light is flashing. I have a appointment at my Mazda dealer to see what the problem is and with the knowledge I've gained here hopefully we will be able to solve the problem. My Mazda dealer was telling me that when they pull the codes that it just gives them the general idea of what may be wrong then they have to try and pinpoint it.He says with the code number that it could mean 15-20 possible problems that they have to try to nail down. Is he just feeding me a line bull or is this true because he said it could be a few minutes to figure out or 45 minutes to figure out why the hold light is flashing. My car is having one more problem. At startup it cranks over for quite a few seconds before it starts, not all the time but about half the time.Any advice any of you could give me would be greatly appreciated,thanks alot and have a great day.
  • Another problem is that the idle speed of my car is really low. As I can read from the tach, it's about 340rpm. I asked two mechanics sometimes ago. Both of them said the idle speed is controlled by the computer, and couldn't (or shouldn't) be adjusted. Recently, I read some maintainess manual which says I can adjust the idle speed by turning some screw on the throttle body. Can someone tell me if it's ok for a novice like me to try it by myself? What equipment I should use?
    Windowphobe, I'd love to hear some advice from you. Thanks in advance!
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Here are typical Mazda trouble code retrieval procedures and the meaning of some of the codes. Note that I've cut it off at Code #10. There are 77 Mazda pre-OBDII trouble codes. Each refers to a specific circuit or sensor, but DOES NOT specify the exact fault. Could be a sensor or solenoid, the signal wire to it, the return line from it, etc, etc. After determining the area of concern the tech still has to troubleshoot it to locate the exact cause. Think of it as being given the street name but not the house number.

    Mazda Code Retrieval
    Accessing Trouble Codes

    Carbureted Models
    System malfunctions detected and stored in the emission control unit can be displayed using the self-diagnosis checker tool No. 40-H018-9A1. Any current or memorized malfunctions are indicated by a displayed code number and a corresponding buzzer. A monitor lamp on the checker indicates oxygen sensor operation. A normal air/fuel ratio is indicated by a continuous flashing of the lamp. The lamp will not light continuously if the air/fuel is lean and will not light at all if the mixture is rich. Refer to the manufacturers instructions for operating procedures of the self-checker tool.

    Fuel Injected Models

    A system selector tool No. 49-B019-9AO or equivalent on OBD systems and tool No. 49-T088-OAO or equivalent on OBD II systems, can be used to diagnose the main input or output devices. Systems are displayed as code numbers appearing on the system checker. Refer to the manufacturers instructions for operating procedures.

    1 Ignition Coil - Trailing Side (1989-1991).
    1 Crank Angle Sensor (1984-1988).
    2 Crank Angle Sensor - No Signal.
    2 Air Flow Meter (1984-1988).
    3 Crank Angle Sensor - G Signal.
    3 Water Thermo Sensor (1984-1988).
    4 Intake Air Thermo Sensor.
    5 Knock Sensor.
    5 Oxygen Sensor (1984-1988).
    6 Speedometer Sensor.
    6 Throttle Sensor (1984-1988).
    7 Boost Sensor (With Turbocharger, 1984-1988).
    7 Pressure Sensor (Without Turbocharger, 1984-1988).
    8 Air Flow Meter.
    9 Water Thermo Sensor.
    9 Atmospheric Pressure Sensor (1984-1988).
    10 Intake Air Thermo Sensor.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,525
    Gee, makes you wish for a carter carburator, ignition points and a timing light again, doesn't it?

    MODERATOR

  • There are, in fact, seven items which are monitored by that frightful little critter: the throttle-position sensor, the vehicle speed sensor, the pulse generator, and four different transmission solenoids. (Other malfunctions are reported on the MIL/CEL.) Since each of these can goof up in two or three ways, though, "15 to 20" is pretty close to the mark.

    If the transmission is shifting more or less normally, I'd suspect the TPS first - which might also have something to do with your cranking issue.
  • Not me. I fought with those turkeys all the way into the 90s and I don't ever want to see them again. :)
  • There is an air adjustment screw on the throttle body. (This adjusts air volume only; mixture is set by the ECU and is not adjustable by mere mortals.) It doesn't really require additional tools, though to be sure it's accurate, you should attach an external tach rather than rely on the one in the dash. And you really shouldn't mess with this, either, unless you're absolutely certain the timing is correct. If you're idling badly, the first order of business should be to have the idle air control valve (a smallish, hyperexpensive part) cleaned or, heaven forbid, replaced.
  • Thaks for your opinion on my problems. I just changed my spark plugs and noticed quite a bit of oil in the spark plug wells.Is this due to the valve cover gaskets and is it a big concern if they are starting to leak quite a bit.
  • Hello all, well I just got back from my mazda dealer and we pulled the codes to see why the hold light was flashing and the mil light was also on.These are the results
    Code #'s 15 left bank O2 sensor
    17 left bank O2 sensor no change
    23 right bank O2 sensor
    24 right bank O2 sensor no change
    3 G signal
    4 NEI signal
    He said codes 3 and 4 were related to the distributor and that it needed to be replaced and that I needed two O2 sensors to be replaced. This is on a 1993 626 ES, he said the hold light is probably flashing because the transmission gets some information from the distributor hence the problem because of a faulty distributor. Any insight any of you could give would be greatly appreciated. I live in Canada and he said a new distributor would run me 558.20 and the oxygen sensor 176.15 do these prices sound normal. Thanks and have a great day.
  • Leaky valve-cover gaskets don't generally lead to greater problems, but the unwanted oil bath is not at all kind to the spark-plug wires, and given the cost of those wires, it might even be cost-effective to have those gaskets replaced.

    The G signal does interact with the pulse generator, so that seems plausible enough about the Hold light. (I thought NE1 was code 2, but I could be wrong.)

    Actually, given the exchange rate, that sounds fairly cheap for a distributor. Nothing makes oxygen sensors sound cheap, alas. :)
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    The "check engine" light has just lit up in my 94 626 and the mechanic did a diagnostic test and said that it was a "crankshaft positioner sensor" problem. What exactly does that mean and what could possibly be the worst case scenario regarding this problem? The non-dealer mechanic didn't really seem too sure how to explain it to me. I think it's because he didn't really know either is my guess.
  • This little gizmo reads the crankshaft rotation and sends its results to the engine computer, which uses the data to help determine engine timing. Basically, it sits outside the crankshaft pulley and watches it turn; there's about a 1.5-mm air gap between the sensor and the pulley. Since this isn't the only sensor in play, the engine might still be running fairly well, but you still probably ought to replace the thing. It's doubtful that anything else will happen as a result of this failure.
  • And, in the message currently numbered as 351, I was - NE1 is definitely code 4. Next time I'll read the table. :)
  • fromatozfromatoz Posts: 15
    Maybe not the right place to post my question, but I know you guys must know the answer.

    I often drive my car to beach with my girlfriend and she always likes to sit in the car and listen to the music - oh, it's Sarah Mclachlan's Angel and she repeats it again and again for hours. It's romantic, but sometime I have to worry about the durability of the battery. If it goes dead, we will be left there in late night without any help in close reach. Does someone here know normally how many hours a full-charged battery can run with only the CD player and speakers on?
  • izippyizippy Posts: 7
    Thank's for your advice, it's greatly appreciated.
  • sharon27sharon27 Posts: 3
    I just picked up my new (2000) 626V6 yesterday (yippee!). I like it as much as I did before paying for it, but on my way home on the highway the steering seemed to be acting weird. On a straight road there's about an inch of play in the wheel that I don't remember from my test drive. Is this simply a less tight steering system than I'm used to from my Jetta or is it a problem? If it's a problem, does anyone know if it's a common one?

    Thanks for any help or general advice for a new owner (other than to tell me I made a mistake, which it would do me no good to hear at this point).
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,199
    An inch of play doesn't sound right at all. My '99 certainly doesn't have it. After 33,000 miles, my steering is still as tight as day 1. If nobody else here has a different experience with their steering, I would have the dealer check it out.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • haroldhx1haroldhx1 Posts: 14
    The problem came this morning. When I tried to lock the doors, I found the power door lock didn't work, and the car alarm couldn't turn on. Then, I found that the door-open warning light stays on even all the doors are closed tightly, and the radio and clock have no power to them. I am sure they worked fine yesterday. Previously, if I walked out the car without turn off the head light, there were some beeping sound to alert me. Now, there was no sound anymore. One funny thing is, if I turn on the head light, all the locked doors will pop released except for the driver-side one. I feel frustrated by this seven years' old car. Everything seems to go wrong during the last few days. Any help, please?
  • fritz1224fritz1224 Posts: 398
    You have been a great help to a lot of people on this board. I don't own a 626 but so what. You still have my respect. Hope you can put up with the uninformed and less than stupid questions.
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