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Mazda 626 Troubles



  • Given the pain and sorrow that can descend upon a person when the timing belt goes south, it is incumbent upon manufacturers to design these things with a whole lot of reserve capacity; it would never do to have the average belt fail at, say, 60,003 miles.

    The fly in this particular ointment is that on most cars, checking the belt to any degree beyond "Yep, there's a belt there" requires just about as much labor as changing the belt in the first place.

    And anyway, $265 for peace of mind is, to my way of thinking, a heck of a bargain.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    I forgot to mention that my mechanic suggested that I needed to replace the PCV valve because it was "preventing the oil to rise high enough in the crankcase." I think he said something to this effect.

    My question is, what exactly did he mean and what does the PCV valve do? And what happens if one doesn't replace the PCV valve when it needs to be done? What damage will it cause, if any?
  • xialoxialo Posts: 1
    To Haroldhx1,

    I just replaced the MAF sensor in my '95 LX (4-cyl). The part cost me $99(at Auto zone) and took about 20 minutes to replace. Your Haynes manual will give you a fairly simple procedure to test and replace this part. If you don't want to mess around with the diagnostic test they outline, just check the MAF's connector for corrosion or other junk that may impede a good connection. If there is no evidence of a poor connection, the part is probably broken. The sensor is located in the air intake system just after the air filter and looks something like a section of flared aluminum pipe with a black chip on the top. Easy fix.
    The other device that my be causing your engine light to come on is a faulty O2 sensor. That's also easy to replace. You will need to get a slotted ratchet socket to take the old one out and put in the new one. I got that sensor for $63(at Auto zone) and the slotted socket cost me $20. The O2 sensor is located aft of the exhaust manifold in the lower section of the engine. Use some liquid wrench and make sure the exhaust pipes are hot when you try to take it out. If it's cold, the threading may jam and you could twist the sensor off.
  • Positive Crankcase Ventilation. This is a neat little piece of old-tech that snaps into the valve-cover gasket and sucks up any unburned gasoline that gets past the piston rings. There's a vacuum hose attached, and when the engine is running, the fumes are drawn back into the engine and given another chance to burn. The PCV valve also provides, as a fringe benefit, some protection against backfires.

    As for the oil level, well, if the crankcase is full of vapor, there's that much less room for actual oil; keeping that stuff out of there also protects the oil from contamination, which is good for the oil and good for the engine.

    This part is about as DIY-able as they come, and costs fairly little, so there's no reason not to do it.
  • These tend to go down the tubes somewhere between 60k and 90k. Fortunately, they're not too difficult a fix (see xialo's) description above; unfortunately, on the V6 cars, you have to mess with two of them.
  • haroldhx1haroldhx1 Posts: 14
    Thanks WindowPhobe and Xiaolo! I just bought one MAF sensor, and haven't put it on yet. The one I bought cost me $150. I checked AutoZone as Xialo mentioned, it's only $93 there. Anyway, if the new MAF sensor doesn't solve the CEL problem, I will buy an O2 sensor from autozone and replace it. I already saved a lot of money by not letting the dealer to replace the MAF sensor (it's totally $360 for them to replace it.) The only problem is, I don't have the tools to reset the code.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    I bought my 94 626/V6 with 99k miles on January 30, 2001 and within a two month span, I've already invested over $2650 in repairs in hopes to try and make the car last another 100k miles. So here's where the $2650 went (parts & labor):

    1. New tires, struts, an alignment, rear calipers,
    rear brake pads, and machined rotors
    = $1300

    2. New serpentine belts = $150

    3. New .02 sensors = $190

    4. Major tune-up = $400

    5. New CV joints = $330

    6. New timing belt, water pump, and PCV valve
    = $280

    I know that $2650 is a lot of money to invest in a car that only cost me $5775 but I really love my 626 and I want to keep it for a good long time. I just hope that I won't have to spend anymore money on any other major repairs for quite sometime. Wish me luck and happy motoring. Thanks windowphobe6 for all your help and expertise.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    Ooops! I forgot to add another $640 (parts and labor) for engine diagnosis, new thermostat, new distributor, new fuel filter, and radiator flush. I was going through my receipts and accidentally missed adding it to my post #407.

    This brings the grand total to $3290 instead of $2650. Wow! I can't believe I've invested more than over half of the $5775 that it cost me to buy the car in the first place.

    Does anyone think that it was crazy of me to invest $3290 on my 94 626? It's amazing what one will do when they love their car...
  • Hi all, Never owned a Mazda, but looking at one.
    It's a 97 626 V4 LX with 75000 miles on it. Everything looks fine except two problems I feel I need to ask gurus here. (1) sitting on the seat, there is a fairly evident vibration going on. Is this normal for 626? The engine sounds fine when I opened the hood. (2) Lack of power when test driving. There are three adults inside while testing.

  • tdreotdreo Posts: 17

    I just got a new 626 (4 cylinder) and have a few questions about it.

    1) Is this a "zero interference" engine? If the timing belt breaks will the engine be damaged? I know that I don't need to worry about it for a long time but I am just curious.

    2) This is my fourth Mazda, second 626, and I notice on this car I sometimes get a "oil" smell inside the car while driving. It seems to come in through the heating / cooling system. Am I crazy or has anyone else noticed this?


  • haroldhx1haroldhx1 Posts: 14
    I put on the new MAF sensor yesterday. During the first trip, the CEL didn't come on. This morning, it's raining and cold, the CEL came on and off again (three times)!! The dealer told me it's the MAF that needed to be replaced. Now I have no mechanics I can trust, which is a bigger problem than the problem of my car! The CEL really makes me crazy. It seems that I have no choice but replace the O2 sensor also.
    There is another problem after the replacement (which also occurs occasionally before). Now, when I shift from drive to park, the Idle speed will drop largely which almost makes the engine to stall. It doesn't happen at stop light, but only happens with the shift. I don't know whether it's because the computer is relearning after the battery was disconnected when I replaced the MAF sensor.
  • haroldhx1haroldhx1 Posts: 14
    My mazda is 94'LX with 75000 mile. It also vibrates especially at zero speed. I have paid attention to this problem for some times. I don't think it's normal. There is definitely some problem with the car. I know all old cars vibrate. But yours is only 4 years old. If you are lucky, it might simply be a bad Engine mount. Other causes can be mis-alignment, low idle speed, old spark plug, some valves went bad, emission pipes leaking, or, one or more cylinder not firing. There are other reasons I couldn't remember now. Anyway, my suggestion to you is do not buy it. I hate my Mazda 626. My friend has a Honda Civic of same age (94) with 110000 miles (35000 miles higher than mine), and it runs much greater.
  • Thank you for your advise. I knew I needed the opinion of someone who owns a 626. It is much less likely that I will buy this car. I thoroughly enjoy reading this board.
  • The '97 had only 114 hp to begin with, and loading it to three-quarters of its payload won't make it any speedier. If you're going to haul around this many people on a regular basis, looking elsewhere might be advisable.

    On the other hand, that much load should take some of the buzz out of it, so if it's really got the shakes, that's another good reason to pass it up.
  • This is something that the engine must do, but it shouldn't take more than a few stop-start cycles.

    You sure you don't have an air leak around that new MAF? Nothing screws up idle quite as efficiently as air leaks.
  • Believe it or not, whether the 2.0 engine is an interference fit or not is open to question. Most of the sites that copied the Gates Rubber Company booklet assert that it is. On the other hand, this engine first appeared in '93, and I had one of them, and the owner's manual spelled out in large print what would happen if the timing belt broke - if you owned the 2.5 V6. Not a word about the four-cylinder. And one of my correspondents, who does engine swaps with intent to race, has stated that except for the 2.2 that was in the '88-'92 626, no Mazda four has an interference fit.

    I suppose I could go slash my belt and see what happens, but that might be a bit extreme. :)

    What you're probably smelling is overfill spilling onto something warm. If it doesn't go away in a thousand miles or so, complain.

    Does the "fragrance" go away if you set the airflow to Recirculate?
  • If you love your car, no expenditure is too great; if you hate your car, no expenditure is what you're hoping to get by with. :)

    For those keeping score, here's the maintenance so far (five months) for my 2000 LX: oil/filter change, $19; replace wiper blade bent by visiting thug, $17; total, $36.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    IMHO, the perfect looking 626 would be that with the front-end of the 98 model and the rear-end of the 97 model. Overall, I think that the 93-97 626 body style is the best one of all of them, but the front-end of the 98-01 has a bold and aggressive expression, unlike the 93-97, which looks kind of bland. However, the 98-01 rear-end is boooooring!
  • indydaveindydave Posts: 3
    Like I mentioned earlier car has 31k miles needed new transmission. After speaking to the General Manager I got a loaner car. Got it back the other day and drives much better. Mazda took care of me after letting them know what I expected. Unfortunately dealerships tend to walk over you until you put your foot down. Stand up for what you deserve.
  • z88z88 Posts: 5
    Hi, all

    Last weekend I changed my spark plugs (96' 626 ES-V6), and noticed the first one from the left in the front (when standing in front of the car) was covered by engine oil! What is wrong? Love this baby so much, and can't wait to find out the cause. Any ideas, please tell. Thanks >>>>>>>
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