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Mazda 626 Troubles



  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Mazda eliminated the hydrualic valve lifters to solve the ticking noise problems (instead of redesigning the hydrualic valve lifters). Worse yet, they use shims instead of screw type adjusters, which adds to the complexity of the procedure. Forward to the past indeed!

    The following quote from the Haynes manual # 61042 may be of interest to you:

    Valve clearance check and adjustment (1998 models) every 60000 miles or 48 months:

    "With the camshafts installed it is not possible to adjust the valves without a unique special tool set that, at the time this manual was written, is available only from the manufacturer. Aftermarket valve adjustment tools we tried in our shop did not work because of the tight clearances around the lifters on these engines. However, since the recommended replacement interval for the timing belt is the same as for valve adjustment, the do-it-yourselver can carry out routine valve adjustment without special tools by removing the camshafts while the timing belt is off."

    I have a V6 engine and do you know what this means:

    1. There are four camshafts on top of this engine.

    2. To access the rear head (transversely mounted engine) camshafts, one must remove the rear valve cover, which is not possible without first removing the entire intake manifold and all kinds of sensors and the throttle body.

    3. To remove the timing belt, one must place a jack under the oil pan (with a piece of plywood to protect the pan) to support the engine while removing the front engine mount so that one can slip the timing belt off and on.

    4. To adjust the valve clearance you need to buy an assortment of shims from the dealer.

    5. Removing and reinstalling four cams involves loosening and tightening dozens of bearing caps and then carefully torquing them to precise torque in a methodical sequence.

    6. Once you remove the intake manifold and valve covers, you will need three gaskets to replace.

    7. If you take the cams out, you might as well replace the cam sprocket seals. Also replacing the front crankshaft seal is a good idea at this time.

    8. Because water pump replacement necessitates removal of the timing belt, I would be tempted to replace the water pump as well as a precaution

    9. Replacing the timing belt tensioner would not be a bad idea either at this time.

    10. And since all the drive belts have been removed to access the timing belt, it is a good idea to replace all drive belts at this time too.

    Doing all this must be pure joy. No wonder the local Mazda dealer wants $ 525 for a timing belt change and valve clearance adjustment (this does not include belt tensioner or water pump replacement, or accessory drive belt replacement) And they have the special tools which eliminates the need for camshaft removal. If they had to do that, and replace the water pump, belt tensioner, and all drive belts, the service would probably cost $ 1000. I wonder how much the special valve adjusting tools cost.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,341
    Can someone tell me how to adjust the headlamp on the 626 (1996)? I see the plastic wheel, but it appears to be only for the left and right adjustment. How do I adjust up and down? My new shiney headlamp (courtesy of Mr. Deer) is out of whack!
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Your headlight was designed by the same people who designed your automatic transmission.
  • slickdogslickdog Posts: 225
    Thought I'd share my latest warranty repair experience.

    My '00 has been making a hollow knocking sound in the rear end for the last 2-3 months on bumpy roads, so I had the dealer take a look yesterday. They replaced the bushings on the sway bar links (no cost). Don't know if it's just wear and tear (hope not, because it's only 3 yrs. old), or if something caused damage. Unfortunately, the mechanic that did the work was not available to discuss it when I picked up the car.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,341
    thanks P100. I ended up taking it back to the body shop that did the repairs. The owner's manual was of no help, and only states to take it back to a dealer to do the adjustment. It only took the shop 5 minutes to do, so it can't be that difficult; its just not apparent to me.
  • stevep12stevep12 Posts: 6
    Recently the heat shield for the catalytic converter fell (read: rusted!) off my 1995 626. Is there any real reason I should have this replaced?
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    The purpose of the shield is exactly what its name implies - to shield the car floorboards and carpeting (and wiring under the carpeting, if any) from intense heat produced by the catalytic converter. Replacing this shield should not be a major expenditure and I believe you should do it for your own safety.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,341
    I agree. There are over a half dozen heat shields on a car. That is the only one you really should replace.
  • stevep12stevep12 Posts: 6
    Maybe I should have been a little more clear. The shield that fell off is the part that faces the ground, not the floorboards.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    The purpose of this shield is to prevent accidental fires in case you drive off the road and park on grass. Catalytic converters get so hot that they have been known to start accidental fires when in contact with dry vegetation. This is why they added the shield on the outer side of the converter as well.
  • Just about every time I try to turn on the car it seems it doesn't want to turn over. Have to give it the key at least twice for a few seconds at a time. If I turn it off and on again right after, it turns on fine, what gives? I just bought a new battery, had the starter and alternator checked out, plugs were change 6 months 6000 miles ago. Can anyone help! Please e-mail me at with any suggestions.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Spark plugs and alternator have nothing to do with your car inconsistent cranking when turning the ignition key to start position. The only exception would be if the alternator failed to fully charge the battery and low battery was causing intermittent starting difficulties. But you had your battery replaced and the problem is still there.

    Possible causes:

    1. Defective ignition switch itself - making contact intermittently in the START position

    2. Battery cables corroded or loose. Check not only the cables at the battery, but also the positive (red) cable connection on the starter itself. If that connection is loose or corroded, you may have a problem. Also, check the negative battery cable connection to the engine block or the chassis, whichever is the case. The battery terminals must be crimped properly onto the cable and the connections must be clean and tight. On some vehicles (e.g. Mercedes Benz 300 SD) the negative battery cable is grounded to the inner left fender. There is a grounding strap beween the car body and starter itself. If that ground strap was loose or broken , chances are the car would not start. Your car probably does not have this arrangement, but we aware that proper terminal connections are extremely important.

    3. Starter motor. You mentioned that you had your starter checked. did they check the starter solenoid for proper operation? Defective starter solenoid can function intermittently and pull in only occasionally. the solenoid pulls and kicks out the starter gear which engages the flywheel. When that happens, the starter motor is also actuated. A had defective solenoids on starter motors before, and the symptoms were sometimes just like you described. Another possibility is the defective starter gear drive linkga. If it binds, the starter would spin free without engaging the flywheel. You would know this becuase the sound of the starter would be different. it is not likely that you have this problem.
  • texan5texan5 Posts: 23
    I would guess the fuel system is the culprit. Perhapse the fuel drainback valve (located on or near the pump) leaks and the pressure does not stay in the system when the ignition is off for some time. So it takes a while for a pump to build it up. Of course if you restart, the pressure is still in the system so it starts right up....
  • I disconnected the battery to clean and secure all connections, ( did this because of previous problem, starting problems)all look okay but got a new problem when I got everything back together. As I'm driving, the car is losing power... the only way to describe it is that it feels like I'm "down shifting" and letting go of the gas at the same time. I almost have to floor it to get it back up to speed, when it does, it keeps jerking, like someone driving stick for the first time and trying to drive in first .... What's happening?

    This has happened in the past a couple of times when I disconnected the battery, but never lasted more than a few minutes ... this has been going on all day.

  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    It is possible that you may need new battery cables. You say you disconnected cables and reattached them. It is possible that the corrosion has built up under the terminals where you cannot see it. If this is the case, you could have made the problems worse by disconnecting and reconnecting the cables.

    Also, check all ground locations inside the engine compartment. These are the points where engine wiring harness negative wires are attached to the car chassis. To get a list and location of these grounds you really need a Mazda shop manual. But if you look carefully, you will see some wiring terminations attached to the car cahssis under the hood. Make sure that such grounds are clean and tight.
  • white626white626 Posts: 5
    I had almost the same problem last week with my 98 626LX. I had never had any problem starting the car. The car was losing power when I tried to accelerate, almost all of the dash lights were going on, with most turning off after I pressed the brakes. By maintaing a sedate and abnormal (for me) 55mph, I almost made it to the mechanic. The car died at a light 3 blocks away. When the tow-truck driver disconnected the positive side battery cable, the connector disintegrated. The next day I was informed that they needed to order a wiring harness to fix it. It was also going to take a week to get the part from the East Coast, which meant a rental car for a week. The installed parts were going to cost $440! We ended up repairing it at home with some wiring from the auto parts store for $70. The wiring and tie-wraps don't look like original equipment, but it's not like I am going to be trading it in. I am just grateful I don't have a Geo(or some small GM thing). A friend has to have the wiring harness replaced and it is going to run $1,000.
       Now if I only had a solution to the steering wheel noise....
  • nmithaninmithani Posts: 1

    I'm having a few problems with my car(40,000 miles) and would appreciate any help.
    (1)Jerking: Not sure if the problem is technically classified as jerking but here is what happens. Try to accelearate the car gently(from about 10-15mph to 15-20mph) in slow traffic or in a parking lot and the car kind of jumps. Happens only in a small speed range(10-25mph) and for very gentle accelaration. Normal acceleration works fine. Am I doing something wrong or is this a known problem? This issue is an irritant if nothing else, now I'm just used to not accelerating in a certain way at certain speeds in order to avoid the jumping.
    (2)Hesitation: At times if I really push the gas hard(I'm at about 30 and push the pedal all the way) it appears that the car almost pauses(as if its flabbergasted) for about a second before taking off. I don't usually do this too often but is this the expected behavior for the 626.
    (3)Dosen't start: This has happened about 7 times in about 40,000 miles, again, an irritant. The engine just refuses to start. Usually if I change the gears and restart, works fine. Only once did I have to jump several hoops to start the car(shifted the gears several times, removed the keys, applied the key about 4 times before the car started)

  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    Recommend try the following:

    Inspect all plug wire boots for any signs of carbon. Need to pull these off the plugs gently by the boots. These V6 engines are supposedly susceptible to "carbon tracking". There were several posts on this topic. If you see any carbon deposits, the best remedy is to replace the plugs and plug wires.

    Buy several bottles of Techron fuel system cleaner (Wallmart sells it) and pour into your fuel tank (one per tankful of fuel following the instructions on the bottle). If this does not help I would consider having the injectors and the throttle body professionally cleaned by the Mazda dealer (about $ 100).

    Car refusing to start: Does this mean it will not crank? If so, you have an electrical problem somewhere, possibly corroded battery cable connection at the starter, or perhaps alarm system interlock intermittent problem.

    The problems you described are not normal for a V6 Mazda. I have a 99 V6 and do not have any of these problems. I had some minor hesitation at higher speeds, but this was cured by replacing the plugs and wires at 60K miles and using Techron in my gas tank.

    Final recommendations:

    You could repost your problem on the following site:
    There is a Mazda mechanic who responds to a lot of inquiries on this site and from what I have seen he is quite knowledgeable.

    What kind of fuel are you using in your vehicle? I have found out that this engine does not perform the same with all fuel brands. Recommend use only brand name fuel such as Chevron or Mobil. Stay away from nondescript gas stations. I have had good experience with Chevron midgrade octane gas in my car.
  • chazzbchazzb Posts: 1
    If anybody has been told their rear calipers are frozen, you probably got taken as there is a cap and beneath it an adjustment screw (hex head). the cap is in the middle and rear of the caliper. This was my first experience with a caliper of this type, so benefit from my experience. My car is a 98 626 LX-6.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    That's the adjustment gear for the parking brake adjustment bolt.
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