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Mazda 323



  • Hey, Ive recently bought a mazda 323 n really want 2 spruce it up a bit!! Does anyone know if its possible to get a spoiler 4 a mazda 323????
  • All fixed~new timing B, W pump replaced ignition swithch, fuel filter, air filter & new rear wheel bearings.
    All parts & labor around $400. Runs & drives like new @ 90,000 being a 20 yr old car.

    The noise was the wheel bearings, I had it in my head it was something else.

    Reason for posting is mainly-listen to those who know more than you, especially if you know nothing, be flexible & have an open mind.
    I could have figured out the problem via simple process which would have come around with more thought.

    I putzed around the shop & watched how easy some of these things would have been to do myself. Although my bottom line was cheap, I found quality parts for REALLY cheap spending time on the web & researching the quality from the crapola. Although nobody to back them, and as girlcarbuilder pointed out, this is a big plus.

    thanx all!
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Sounds good. Now if that was a late model like 2006, you would have parted with closer to a grand, not counting car notes! All at once many readers begin to see why some of us like the older cars! Not to mention I see gas mileage still being about the same after 20 years with the new cars. $400, that is a bit more than 1 month car note on some new cars. I am willing to bet, that the next $400 job that comes up you will do the same thing rather than pay a bunch of car notes!

    Interesting note for you here. Back in 2000, we bought a new crate engine from Mazda for our 89 after the crank broke on the original engine. Complete from oil pan to valve cover, timing belt cover to rear main seal! All we had to do was bolt on manifolds and a bunch of other small stuff. Price was $2K. That was 7 years ago. We having that thought of rebuilding again when the time comes. If it works well now, why part with it? Especially if you have the know how to keep it working well.

    The establish service intervals we have for rear wheel bearings is 50K miles and 150K for the front ones. Set your service record markers for that. I do not recommend reusing the front ones after 150K of service. The rear, re-pack and reinstall for another 50K. Trash after 100K of total service.

    Last note, I learned a lot of my mechanics from reading, talking, success and messing things up! After almost 50 years, you have a lot down pat. Like Banshees coming out of the rear wheel. We thought it was brakes at first, but remember I am here depending on your ears. I feel pretty good I got you in the right area on the car considering how far away I am! I have ever amazed friends diagnosising a valve job by e-mail. No, not genius, just a bunch of carefully asked and hopefully carefully answered questions and guidance. Hashes out a lot of problems, if as you pointed out, someone listens carefully.
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    I was recently given a 1988 Mazda 323 hatchback 1.6 liter FI SOHC engine.
    It's doing strange things I believe tied into the electrical system.

    It has 38K original miles.

    It was making a belt squealing sound that has stopped since driving home 200 miles.
    Not sure what was causing the belt squeal.

    The temperature gauge fluctuates between off the charts HOT back down to cold and vice versa.

    This corresponds with the car shifting back and forth between overdrive and 3rd.
    Within normal ranges or "hot", it will stay in overdrive.

    When it goes back down to "cold" on the temperature gauge, it downshifts back into 3rd gear.

    Also, the front blinkers don't work and neither radiator nor condenser fans kick on.

    I've thoroughly cleaned the battery posts and clamps and cleaned what appears to be one negative ground connected to the transmission dipstick mount.

    There appears to be another ground on a brace on the opposite side of the engine which I have not cleaned yet.

    Anyone have any idea where to look first?
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Hmmm, thinking cap been on this one a bit. So first lets start with the coolant level. I assume that has passed inspection. If not, and you had to add coolant, there is a good chance old rubber parts are failing from age in the water pump seals. Given the age of the car. I would consider pulling the 120K front engine service sometime soon. But let's hold off of that thought for as long as we can and look at less expensive things first. But, if the car is losing coolant and you can not see where, go start the 120K service as described in my earlier posts.

    Look on top of the thermostat housing, the fan thermo electric switch is there that controls the fans. Is it broken or the wire is not connected? I assume that this is an automatic trans? If you unplug this wire, it should turn the cooling fan on. If it comes on, then the rest of the cooling fan system is okay. In order to operate safely, you must verify the engine is cooling properly. There is a possibility as well from long term storage, the fluids have absorbed some water from the air creating extra heat in the transmission. Remote and unlikely. High fluid level on anything including brakes is an excellent indicator of that. Best to change all fluids down later on. The shifting business could well be why the transmission is doing what it does. Question previous owner again on this.

    Check the turn signal bulbs? Think simple here first. It is possible to bring one back from long term storage, but it takes patience. I mean keep a close eye on that coolant, before you start it each time until that pump and timing stuff has been changed out. That water pump seal fails and your out of an engine if you do not catch it quickly.

    You have several problems here, the biggest concern is the age of rubber parts. Second is the cooling problem/transmission problem. If you can, question the original owner to see why it was parked. You want to see if this problem was back then or from storage.

    Bear with me, dealing with some medical stuff. So responses are a bit slow. It is a slow process sometimes putting a long term stored vehicle back on the road.
  • I have an 89 323 LX. As you have probably noticed, the normal behavior is the trans will not shift to 4th until the engine temp gauge rises to a certain level. I have twice had the problem of the auto tran shifting between 3rd and 4th proportionally to the engine temp gauge jumping from hot (trans is in 4th) to cold (downshifts to 3rd), even after driving for sufficient time for engine to be plenty warm. Both times, the solution was to replace the thermostat. This last time, I used Durolast 15869, which is described as "High temp 192 degrees."
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Okay, now I know to look or think more in that area. You are too far away for me to consider the car for purchase.

    The factory manual I have is for an 87. The shift is controlled by a vacuum diaphragm. Checking with the parts house online also shows one for the 4 speed speed. The hose to it must fit snug on the part and the part must not even leak a little bit or you will have a problem. No pinholes allowed. Given the age of the car, I would check there first. Transmission shops have been caught by me in the past skipping such simple things.

    I don't see one mentioned in the book, so I wonder if this unit has a throttle valve cable. They have also been known for this kind of fun on some makes and models. This part is located in the front of the transmission down near the oil pan. It will have a vacuum hose attached to it and it screws into the transmission. When you remove it to replace or test, be ready just in case the fluid starts to come out with a new one or some way to plug the hole. If you go to buy one, make sure you get the one for the 4 speed. Total parts cost should be less than $20.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Another note, I have had problems with the 192 stat in this car here. After a while it tends to blow radiators. Just a note for future reference. This one seems to do better with a 180 in the south especially when the a/c is on.
  • Hello and good day,

    My daughter has a 93 mazda 323 with the 1.6 litre motor and 238,000 kms (150k miles). I did a head gasket on it about a month ago and then two weeks after that the car would not shift from 2nd to third gear. The linkage is moving ok and the accelerator cables appear to be working ok. What would cause this ? Is it something that I can fix or is it a sign that the transmission will have to be replaced.
    She can drive it but it is at about 4000 rpms at 100km/h (60 mph).
    I did notice she has a slight tranny fluid leak but she keeps it topped up (she checks it every time she puts gas in the car). I just drained and refilled the transmission fluid today. I do not believe it will help too much but it can not hurt.
    Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    The car also has a wiper problem. When you turn off the wipers they stay where they are (in whatever position they are in when you turn them off). If you use squirters the wipers also stay in whatever position they are in. Can you tell me where i can find the part that is doing this so i can get one from the wreckers ?

  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    If the transmission has been well maintained, then 238K miles is an excellent service record in between overhauls. If not, it is not uncommon for failure to occur in less than 100k. Secret to making an automatic last is, change the fluid or keep it well cooled with an excellent heavy duty external oil cooler. Change the filters and locate an inline filter sold by Transtar for transmissions. This same filter can be used in power steering systems to reduce wear in power steering systems. This info is trucking and fleet industry secrets. That inline filter must be changed every 10K miles but it will cut your service requirements combined with that cooler to almost nil!

    Wiper, seems to be a failure in the electrical parking system usually located in with the wiper motor. Rather than replace it, I would time my turning it off to just before the swipe is returning to the low end. By the time your reflexes it it it should be low enough to view the windshield well enough. LKQ junk yards on the net. Many dealers should be able to get it for you or parts houses. Check with O'Reilly's who has many lifetime warranties on parts they sell. Keep a folder and copies of those receipts. Many of my 100K-200K cars have more warranty than a new car at O'Reilly's! People like me are killing the lifetime warranty idea.

    If you put a new overhauled tranny in, best to go with a lifetime warranty deal. It hurts, but is cheaper than car notes in the long run. Next car you should plan on at least a four speed automatic or a 5 speed tranny to get better gas mileage. Remember that cooler and add on filter will extend you tranny's life making it cheaper for you in the log run. Cheap to run is what I like.Let me pull manual for 89 here to see if any more on 2-3 upshift problem. Will add more later if it has anything.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Okay, check to see if that tranny has a modulator valve. If so, inspect it and pipping for leakage. Repalce parts as needed. The older units also have some kind of kickdown soleniod. Inspect that and wiring as well if you have them. The next thing list is the control valve assemblly internal, I would leave that up to a transmission shop. Good luck with it.
  • Hi all - I have a 91 323 with 188K, pic below.

    The right turn signal is acting weird - sometimes it works fine, and sometimes it clicks twice as fast as usual with no blinking from the lights. The bulbs seem fine, and the problem comes and goes. Anyone else have this issue? Thanks in advance.

  • I had the same problem with my car when I first got it and it was the box under the dash that controls the turn signals. When it started to click and flash quickly it is wearing out. I got one from a wrecker and I don't think I paid more than maybe $40.00 for it. I can't remember the price but the new one has worked great for the time I have owned the car.
  • Hey all, just wanted to let you know that I had to have my alternator replaced today as it was charging to much and just about wrecked my electrical system. It blew out my low beams on my headlights. If your charge light comes on get the car checked out right away. I was really lucky the mechanic said, I don't know how lucky almost $500.00 bucks is but it is now fixed.
  • Hey does anyone know how the rear washer works?? Mine has never worked the wiper is fine it just won' squirt water out on to the back window. Kind of irritating when you have a really dirty window. :confuse:
  • My manual 89 323 is losing power as soon as you get into 3rd gear feels to be bogging down and wanting to stall. Have checked the trans oil and the distributor. What else could be causing this?
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    Fuel filter maybe.

    It'd be best if you gave more detail as to exactly what is happening.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    You gave no mileage info, so I will assume regular pm is needed. These engines must have a full tune up every 30K miles. Change plugs, fuel filter, cap, rotor and air filter as directed by any good service manual I have mention before.

    Would not hurt to do a fuel pressure check to make sure it is running like it should.
  • thacherthacher Posts: 14
    1987; 323 -- How much torque on the locknut that holds the rear drum in place?
    Thank you,
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    You lucked out, I have a factory manual that covers the 87! Which should also be the almost same for 86-89! Our unit is an '89. Rear drum spindle preload tightrning torque is listed at 18.1-21.7 ft. lbs. Bear in mind that is for new bearings. I would tend to go a bit lower if you did a repack at 50K. You could also resort to the old preload method used by many old timer mechanics like myself. I repack mine at 50K after new, then run to almost failure because they are pretty much trash around a 100K any way! By the way, get new nuts for safety sake. No fun driving on three wheels if one comes off. Save your old nuts, because you never know when they will quit selling parts to us! Those nuts where pretty common still last time I looked. Dorman makes them. There is a left hand and a right hand nut! So pay attention.
  • thacherthacher Posts: 14
    Thank you for your reply. I'm not even re packing the bearings. I wanted to look at the condition of the rear brakes. So for now I only need to put the drums back on. Looking at the spindle nuts, they look like they have been reused a few times. For sure I will try and locate new ones. So do you think a preload of about 19ft. lbs. would be about just right for my situation?
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Resetting wheel bearings without repacking can be bad news if you over tighten! Reason is there is little grease left at times. What I do here is the following. 1) install hub assembly, with spindle nut. 2) tighten down to just snug. 3) remove any center piece decoration on wheel assembly. 4) install wheel assembly with just two lug nuts tight enough to wheel on assembly. 5) go back to spindle nut, snug it up just enough so that there is no play in wheel assembly when you grab top and bottom of tire and tire to shake it back and forth. Back off nut until you have play in wheel assembly and recheck again to see that for sure. Tighten back just enough to take that play out and verify it again. Stake the nut or cotter pin it when you get there. This technique is not for zero tolerance bearing setups! Usually found on front wheel drive bearing systems and "non-serviceable" bearing assemblies. I have found a way to get grease in those expensive things!

    On the Mazda, those wheel nuts were also available and I have been getting mine from the dealer for about $5 each. They are about $3 at the parts store if you can get them. Not worth the $4 searching for them at times I feel.
  • needwheels2needwheels2 Posts: 31
    Hiya girlcarbuilder - I'm back! Guess what, after leaving my poor old 323 to rust in the parking lot for the past half year, a new neighbor came by the other day and offered to work on it after asking the landlord who owned it.They have car experience, tools and a dad who apparently was a former mechanic or something like that. So I'm fixing their computer in trade which is all I can afford...

    Today they started on it, checked my fuel pump replacement which they said I did a good job. They they went through the distributor and timing, which there was a great deal of confusion over the wiring as there seems to be two different configurations but in the end I think they figured it out and it has spark. They also agree that it still has compression. So spark and fuel are tested good.

    But here's the interesting part. They took off the cover to the timing belt and they insist the belt seems brand spanking new. (I only put on like 5k miles after the last owner). So they are going to check later this week if it's the tensioner?

    Anyway it seems like it's in capable hands now so it might come back from the dead and wanted to let you know. They want me to buy the book for it so I might have to cough up the local price instead of getting it off ebay cheaper so they can keep the momentum they have now.
  • Sorry, I was too busy to return to the forum. I just bought a Kia Rio Cinco wagon and sold the '92 323 for $600! So no parts available! Sold it to a girl whose brother is a mechanic and he was satisfied after demanding oil and water when he checked the engine out. Glad it's gone to someone who has the skills to keep it running--it was a great little car.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    I am a big fan when it comes to swapping out services. Sounds like it is coming together. Everyone, guard your old cars, gas going up and so is the value of those that run cheap! I am quicker to park one for a few months then repair rather than sell and buy!

    I have noticed the parts supply has improved even for my 22 year old Toyota. Though our Mazda is currently down waiting on the steering rack to come back for repairs from A! Cardone. It failed after 50K of service. I bet they will be suprised to see how clean it still is! Love those warranty parts on an old car!
  • ahab_2001ahab_2001 Posts: 4
    Hi -- I'm new to this forum, which I'm glad I found. This is probably going to seem like a rather ridiculous question, but here goes. I own a 1991 Mazda 323, which still runs quite well after 120,000 miles. I'm going to be taking on more maintenance myself after a number of years of just letting my shop handle things. (Long story.)

    My question is, where is the air filter? I have the Chilton's manual for this car, and the setup in my engine compartment (at least where the air filter is concerned) looks nothing like what's in the manual, which shows a box with a clip-on housing that holds the flat air filter. Instead, what I'm seeing is in the two pics linked below:

    Is the air filter element actually *beneath* the airflow meter -- that is, do I need to physically remove the AFM to get to the filter? That seems hard to believe for something as routine as changing the air filter. Anyway, any information that anyone on this forum might have would be much appreciated.


  • needwheels2needwheels2 Posts: 31
    Bad news, they came over today to tell me that they figured it out (and it's nothing like we thought). Apparently the crankshaft has separated or something like that. They say the parts are like $275 to fix it, so no way I'm doing that. Oh well.
  • needwheels2needwheels2 Posts: 31
    Here's another update - I walked over to talk to them some more today to get details and they really insist that they want to fix it. Here's the story, you tell me how accurate it sounds and how plausible the cost is to fix it:

    Apparently the "cotter pin" (?) on the crankshaft has never been right and has slowly shaved down until the point where the crankshaft has just been spinning which is why it lost power and then won't start. Since the previous owner was some kind of mechanic this new guy believes they rigged the pin to hold in place long enough to sell the car (welded?)

    He doesn't want to just replace the cotter pin though - he says the crankshaft is damaged now to the point where it won't hold the pin right so even if he managed to make it hold (via a weld?) that not old would it fail again, it could fail in a bad way where the engine would seize.

    What he wants to do is go to the junkyard and get a replacement "short block" (isn't that the whole engine???) for like $70 and then I think he said it would need replacement gaskets? (I think, may have that wrong) for $100 or so tops. He says he could just replace the crankshaft but those parts would actually be more than replacing the block which can be more easily found.

    I pointed out that the amount of labor he needs to do on this would be insane and something a non-mechanic would never pay for because it would be worth more than the car but he says it's worth the computer I had promised in trade and still wants to fix it regardless.

    I think this guy is being way too optimistic and I bet there are going to be other things along the way. He offered to buy the car instead at my asking price of $200 and insists it's worth saving.

    So what do you think I should do? I have a bad feeling about replacing the entire block (engine) and then other things always go wrong after that.

    ps. he says there was absolutely nothing wrong with the timing belt and the water pump seems like it's in good shape - those other mechanics would have just taken my money!
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    I smell fish. First, there are no cotter pins on the crankshaft! There is a woodruff key in the front that holds pulley and gear from spinning. Very rarely do they ever cause trouble. If ever! At the worst the gear might be worn, but that is even very rare.

    He wants to buy the car for $200.....he knows it is cheap on gas. You need to try to find a way to look at some parts and see what they look like new. Search the net and see what a woodruff key, crankshaft timing gear for a belt and the nose of the crankshaft looks like.

    Never a good idea to swap parts from one engine to another without doing the proper machine work needed. Oh, machine shops that do enigine work do have to rebuild crankshafts at times by adding metal by welding it on and re machine the whole thing again.
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