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Mazda 626

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  • are as reliable as any out there. Way better than GM, equal to Japanese makes.

    Its the Ford trannies that can sometimes go early.

    I currently own a Duratec 3.4 v8 and its stellar. I have also owned a Ford mod v8 4.6 and the original SHO engines. All these motors were bulletproof.
  • It's an auto trans. I did a fluid change when I first got the car but I did notice that the fluid was almost brown when I changed it. I didn't request for a flushing of the system, just a simple change. Is the flushing considered additional labor? I'll try it per your suggestion. However, shifting seems normal though the car shudders initially, and only when the weather is cold. The car runs smooth after 10-15 minutes of driving. I hope its not the tranny!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A flush isn't expensive. I've heard quotes around $100. They hook up a machine that forces new fluid in, and sucks the old fluid out. This purges all the old, contaminated fluid. If it was brown that's what I would go with.

    My guess is the tranny shifts smoothly once it warms up and the fluid thins out. So you may want to consider synthetic, which flows better. My guess is new fluid will make enough of an improvement over the brown stuff.

    Robert: so you must have had the original V6 SHO, and the newer V8 SHO. Though in fairness, Yamaha had a lot of input, right?

    -juice
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    If you are thinking about a new model, I would consider these factors. I own a 1991 with a 2.2 liter engine stick, my son owns a 1997 with the 2.0 and an automatic transmission. My wife insisted that I buy his older car when he bought the newer one. Frankly, it has been one of the best decisions we made. We both love our Mazdas. Here is my take.

    Engine. The existing 2.0 engine is torquey and in lower gears accelerates very well. At cruising speed, passing can be a little slow and acceleration is OK. (auto transmission) My 2.2 Mazda engine is quite frankly a dream. It is a perfect weight to horsepower match. I get 30-34 MPG on the highway, and get furious if the city mileage drops below 23. This only happens when I have to put in Oxygenated Fuel. Both Ford and Mazda build excellent engines. My Mazda mechanic who is a specialist (20 years with a Mazda dealership) only buys the 4 cyl engines for his personal use. Much more reliable.

    Transmission. While the automatic transmission has been continually improved over the years, this is frankly the car's weak spot. Many earlier models have had to replace transmissions. On my son's car, at 65,000, the first gear converter may be starting to weaken. Completely changing the transmission out and adding Lubegard for automatic transmissions fortunately eliminated the problem for now. If you get an automatic transmission, at least drain and replace the fluids every 15,000 miles. I would also recommend adding Lubegard. The manual transmissions are a bit notchy, but extremely reliable. My mechanic adds Lubegard to these also. The manual increases power, is very fun to drive. My Mechanic purchases manuals over automatics also.

    Safety. The 626 has generally done well on safety tests. The newer model should be just as good or better.

    Styling: The 2001 is at the end of it's life. But it is very stylish for a Japenese car. The pictures I've seen of the 2003 model are great.
  • the original SHO motor was Ford from the heads down. i.e. the block, pan, crank, etc....all Ford. Yamaha messaged the heads, valvetrain and intake, etc.

    The v8 SHO motor is an 8 cylinder version of the Contour's 2.5 litre v6 Duratec. Again, Yamaha participated in the cyl. head and intake but the basic engine is mostly a stock Ford Duratec with 2 extra cylinders.

    So I don't think anyone need fear a v6 engine that is developed by Ford. I'm sure Ford could easily improve on its 4 cylinder motors though.

    My brother in law will soon be approaching 110k miles on his 97 v8 SHO. Not one iota of engine or transmission difficulty.

    It realy makes sense to have Ford and Mazda co-develop motors. Each has good to offer. And it adds checks and balances in the system. And it should reduce cost and improve qual-i-tay.

    So 626 fans, no need to fear, I'm sure the new 626 when it comes out will have good solid motors.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I used to own a '81 Mustang Ghia with a straight six. Guess they've come a long way.

    Still, owners in the Escape Problems forum complain about failures, maybe it's electrical gremlins.

    -juice
  • I just read through about 300 posts in the Tribute board. Problems? Sure. Different from most models out there? No. My experience with Mazda's is that the 626 is the most troublesome model in the line-up, including the Tribute. Working at several Mazda dealerships, seeing a relatively young 626 on a tow truck is quite common. I sold a 2001 626 ES4 that came back on a tow truck two weeks later with a snapped axle shaft. It only had 420 miles on it.

    The two Ford Duratec engines used by Mazda (2.5L and 3.0L) have both proven to be very strong and reliable engines. It would cost entirely too much money for Mazda to develop its own engine for use only in Mazda vehicles that can compete against the Camry and Accord 3.0L engines. The 2.5L, although a wonderful engine, is getting too old and inefficient compared to the competition's new engines. The Duratec engine series is an excellent family of engines and Mazda should, and will, take full advantage of them to save money (of which Mazda has very little) and to keep up with the rapidly advancing competition.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I was looking at the Edmunds info and it states that the 626 ES-V6 requires an automatic to order the ABS. How long has this been in effect? I think this really sucks as a lot of people actually buy the 626 for the fact you can get a V6 with a manual. Anyone else disappointed?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    There are about 100 times as many 626s on the road vs. Tributes. So of course there will be more of them breaking down.

    Also, the most common complaint is the Ford tranny.

    Nevertheless, my problem isn't that Ford is necessarily unreliable, it's that Mazda loses its identity if they let all their models become Ford clones. So you're buying a Ford with a longer warranty, but that's all.

    Now, parts sharing can be done successfully. Look at the Golf and the Audi TT - big differentiation. So hopefully Mazda will take a page from that book.

    -juice
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    The real problem with the 4cyl auto was that they used common parts but different shift logic. Ford never had much of a prob in their vehicles as it was major slush box. Mazda tried to keep its identity, but the CD4E couldn't handle it. Good thing it's gone for good come '03 and Jatco returns.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds good. I'm just glad I have a V6/5 speed!

    -juice
  • I can assure you that Mazda will keep its identity while platform sharing. Take a look at the Ford Escort ('91-'00) and Mazda Protege ('90-'98). They both sat on the Protege platform and shared their top-of-the-line engines (Mazda 1.8L DOHC BP-series, also used in the Miata). There was absolutely no identity crisis there. Another example is to take a look at the Kia Sephia. To this day, it still sits on the 1990 Protege platform and uses a derivative of the Mazda 1.8L BP-series engine. Again, absolutely no identity crisis.

    The Escape and Tribute are pretty close. However, other than the drivetrain, the platform, body, and suspension were designed by Mazda. It was Ford's choice not to differentiate the Escape FROM the Tribute. The body cladding is different, as well as other styling differences (badging, grill, accents, wheels). The suspension, although basically the same, is tuned differently. Even the transmissions are tuned differently. The steering in the Tribute uses a quicker ratio. A simple test drive won't show their differences, but when really pushed hard, the Tribute handles and accelerates better. The interiors are basically the same, but the Tribute uses higher grade plastics and better seats. One would never guess that the Escape/Tribute sit on the 626 platform.

    Other examples of currently succesful or planned, identity-keeping platform sharing are:
    - Lincoln LS/Jaguar S-Type/Ford Thunderbird/2003 Ford Mustang (DEW-98 platform)
    - Mazda 626/Mazda MPV (626 platform)
    - Ford Mondeo/Jaguar X-Type (Mondeo platform)
    - Mazda 626 replacement/Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable/Volvo midsize (new Mazda platform)
    - Mazda RX-8/2004 Mazda Miata/future Jaguar roadster (RX-8 platform)
    - 2004 Mazda Protege/2004 Ford Focus (new Ford/Mazda platform)

    I have a lot of faith that each one of the vehicles mentioned above will have, or already have, their own identities.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Interesting example you mention, because I drove a '91 Escort GT with a Mazda engine for 107k miles.

    The powertrain held up well and was fun to drive, but the car had lots of annoying problems. The fuel gauge was always wrong, pieces of insulation fell off from the doors and peeled off around the windshield. The motorized mice belts didn't work on the passenger side, intermittently not opening when they should. It has more squeeks than a mouse trap and rattled more than a snake. It had loose carpeting, and just generally poor fit and finish.

    So maybe that's not a great example. I felt like it was a wannabe-Mazda.

    I have only seen Escape up close, and the interiors looks cheap to me. Vinyl on the seats, exposed stitching, and the column shifter don't appeal to me one bit. The Tribute looks better, at least from the outside. I do like the idea of 200hp combined with its light weight.

    The LS and S-Type are nice cars but there are some quality issues there. We'll see how the others fare, but I'm skeptical.

    -juice
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    "One would never guess that the Escape/Tribute sit on the 626 platform."

    The Escape/Tribute rides on an all new platform, no parts shared with the 626. this is according to numerous reports when the pair were introduced.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I heard the new platform was loosely based on the 626, also. Anyone have hard data?

    -juice
  • isit1isit1 Posts: 4
    Does anyone have a suggestion for a fair price to pay for a new 2001 626LX 6 cyl with auto, Bose and Luxury Package (seems to be a freebie)?
    Input would be appreciated.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Edmunds TMV.
  • Carsdirect.com show price of $18,192. You can usually show this to any dealership and they will sell you the car at that price. Remember the 1.9%APR for three years and 4.9%APr for up to 5 years.
  • arklowarklow Posts: 1
    The transmission won't go in reverse or neutral. Mechanic says need another transmission. Only have 72,000 miles on it. Looked at a Mazda board and this seems to be a common problem. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get this fixed cheaper than the $1800-2000 quote?
    Someone said that Mazda would pay for the tranny and I just need to cover labor..
    Help..otherwise I love the car. We had the catalytic converters fail and melt and the Mazda people covered it as it is a California car. Had trouble with local Washington dealer till Calif called and said to fix it.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    My mazda specialist does this with a tranny repair:

    1. uses factory remanufactures transmissions.

    2. Installs a GOOD after marked transmission cooler.

    3. Uses Lubegard or Wearguard to lower the transmission operating temperature

    4. changes fluid and adds the additives above every 15,000 miles.

    When I checked on a friends car a few months ago, the bid you were given was inline. Unfair, but correct.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Add me to the list of tranny problems. This on our 1995 V6 5 speed.

    Our tranny service light went on for about a second, then stayed off. I checked the level, and it was low, so I added about 1/2 quart.

    Well, we took a road trip and the light came back on another time, for about 3 seconds this time.

    I'm going to do a full change this time, instead of just adding oil. 75w90, and I'll probably go with Mobil 1, which has worked well in my Miata.

    So, questions, anyone know the capacity so I know how much to buy? The Miata took 2 quarts.

    The clutch grabs nicely, so it's not slipping. I'm surprised but the problem seems to be in the tranny itself. Any suggestions or thoughts?

    -juice
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    It's not the infamous automatic.

    Everyone I know of with a Mazda manual has not had serious problems as long as they change and maintain fluids. My mechanic recommends every 30,000 with synthetic. He does lots of automatic transmission replacements, but hardly ever does manuals.

    The only problem you see is a light. In my experience if manuals have serious problems, you know it right away.

    I think replacing the fluids should be sufficient. Try Lubegard. It reduces acids and operating temperature.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I hope you're right. The light went away, and didn't come on when my wife drove it yesterday.

    She'd forgotten that I'd asked her to park it. I'm off tomorrow so the gear oil will be drained and refilled. We'll see. Fingers crossed that it's no big deal.

    -juice
  • skibry1skibry1 Posts: 174
    Onr of the reason I picked the Doubleought Freeport,juice,was to keep the wife in her car...
    ..she don't like my left-leg-flexor ! Bryan
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    OK, gear oil has been drained and refilled with Mobil 1 75w90 GL5 synthetic. Took about 3 quarts, and the light has stayed off. Fingers crossed.

    -juice
  • picenopiceno Posts: 55
    Mazda...what are you waiting for? Everyone is
    quickly and soundly leaving you in a cloud of
    dust! The 626 is an old, tired horse and needs to
    be re-designed as quickly as possible!!! Compared
    to the new designs of Altima, Camry, Passat, even
    the Protege.....the 626 is a JOKE.
    Mazda Wake up!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So, tell us how you really feel? ;-)

    It's on the way. I'm sure the design is ready, they're just fine tuning it. Sketches look very nice, too. Anyone know which car show it'll debut in?

    The current 626 costs much less than any of the others you mentioned, except the Protoge. An Altima 3.5SE with leather and a moonroof cost a whopping $31,300 at a Nissan dealer on Rt. 450 in MD.

    -juice
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    around July/August '02. In the looks department, it's nice but not thrilling. As far as drivetrain and suspension it should be a real winner.
  • picenopiceno Posts: 55
    Do you know where I can see a picture of the Mazda 626 re-design?
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