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Mazda 323



  • Just picked up a 86 mazda 323 for free. they could not get to start.pulled engine relay from under dash and it runs? question is i might be going crazy need to smog it here in calif. But i do not see a smog pump on this thong any where.there is a big opening on the side by the alt, I think i might go there but can not find one on line. dang thing runs really good for sitting allmost a year.once smoged and a little soap and water it will be a good car.

    please help.. thank you . :confuse:
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Send that car my way, been thinking about fixing another up for the fleet here.....Sorry to disappoint you, but the 323 does not have a smog pump on it. That is the same story for many smaller engines. Smaller engines do not produce enough emissions to require one since they are less than half the size of a large 8 cylinders.

    Relay? Main relay is located behind the over flow container on drivers side fender for the cooling system. I have a dealer service manual for 88. Not sure what you bypassed. Give me a better description of location to determine what it is. What other parts is it near, like above heater core, steering column or whatever. Or you can get a hold of a professional Mitchel manual for professional grade, complete wiring diagrams. Be careful not to defeat such systems, I have seen many attempted during the years for someone to get into more trouble and have to junk it out because the new problem became too much for them to resolve.

    News for everyone else, our 88 has reached 275K. Just pulled the round of new struts, brakes and front/rear wheel bearings again. Short of overhauling the engine, it should be good for 400K miles! Little car has guts if well maintained! Sure beats new car notes. And oh, the after market a/c is still working. Have website to buy one if you need one.
  • my son's 92 323 runs great and with 143 K I hope we have many more miles to get out of it. The problem is finding replacement parts. We are in need of the driver side windshield molding (runs along side of windshield between driver door and ws). Also need a gas tank sending unit. Have not been able to come up with these on-line or in junk yards here in NY. If anyone knows of a yard or person with a scrap 92 in it please let me know. For now he just keeps track of mileage and fills every 300 miles and has no molding.
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    What is that website GCB for the after market AC. I have an '88 with 40K original miles on it. The AC compressor is still good but leaks freon over time I guess around some O-rings. It needs another CV Joint and transmission mount too.
  • Thank you for the info. That relay was in the fuse box topright side
    dc 12v 20 a fuse cover says ig relay. once i pulled it out the beast started right up. dang thing runs good. but between the smog pump and haveing to put a new alt, and temp sensor in it for the fans.I mean it was free will it be worth it to put that much money into it. It has 120 thousand miles on it.extiror is good
    the in side looks ugly but it does run pretty dang good.sorry to ramble i thought it should have a smog pump on the side by the alt, but there is not any thing that looks like it would hook up to it.some crazy kid had it and then let sit for 2 years.
  • Hi there, I was just wondering if anybody knows if there was a problem with Automatic Transmissions on 1990-91 Mazda 323's.
    Our son's 1990 mazda 323 has 120,000 Km on it and the Transmission went on it.
    So we were wondering if this was a persistent problem with this year.
    Would it be better to rebuild the Tranny on this car or just get a used one from the auto wrecker.
    Any input would be appreciated.
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    Finding a good used transmission for this year and model car may be like finding a needle in a haystack. If you do find one, you won't really know the condition of it to start with. If the original transmission wasn't serviced properly and coupled with most likely hard driving habits, automatic transmissions of any make will go out at 120,000 km. I would say shop around for the best place and price for rebuilding the transmission. It may cost double of what finding a used transmission and installing it would but then again, you run the risk of a used one going out and you'd be left with having to find another used one and paying again, the cost of installing it. Of course, if the wrecking yard will install it for you and be able to calibrate it correctly linkage-wise, and they knew and verified it is a solid used transmission, then I'd consider that route. Good luck.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Given what new cars cost now a days. A rebuilt tranny would be worth considering if the other maintenance on the car has been kept up. Many of these transmissions were 3 speeds. A 4 speed unit would be more desirable if gas goes back up. The only way to tell is whether or not yours has an overdrive on it.

    A four speed tranny will also increase the life of the engine because on the road, the engine does not turn over as much as a 3 speed unit does. Typical of what I have seen in junk yards for a 3 speed ayto has been 95K -150K. The same for a 4 speed standard. Many of these same auto's were poorly kept up. Not uncommon to see a 5 speed standard pull well over 200K miles. We did recently run into an auto unit in the yard with 268K miles on it. It all comes down to how well you have kept the maintenance up. Also. If you do rebuild it, I can not over recommend an additional oil cooler to be installed. It increases the life of the tranny that much more. As for troubles, I have heard little during the years, but we run more standard units than auto's. Ours is well past 275K and we recently pulled maintenance that will soon push it well past 350K. Sure beats new car notes. You may have difficulty finding someone willing to work on it. Stay with lifetime warranty shops for a good job.

    Son needs to understand that these units do not take kindly to being abused as well.
  • My motor gave out at 3k miles.. (wow) and i swapped out the motor and everything else from the old motor to the new one. the new motor has anywere from 40-50k miles. I get electricity everywere on the car/motor, but the ignition distributor is not creating a spark.. Im guessing faulty ign. distr... If anyone ones of anything on this please help me out!! Thanx :sick:
  • smatts40smatts40 Posts: 2
    I just sold my 323 to the third owner. I bought it in 1999 for $ 1000 from the origanial owner. The car runs great and passed emmisions when I sold it.
    I never once took it to a shop, did all the repairs and maintence myself. Let me know if you have any ?'s with your 323. Would be glad to help.
  • as i mentioned earlier my motor was at 300k miles and worked just fine till it died.. i changed it and with the newer motor i am not getting a sprak from the distributor.. i read that it is a common problem with these cars.. wuts wrong with my distributor, or if its dead as well and need to replace it..
  • clipse1130clipse1130 Posts: 7
    your car could be off by a couple or teeth.. check you ignition distributor timing.. if it off timing since your already there re-check the water seal and itself for any cracks or so..
  • clipse1130clipse1130 Posts: 7
    do u want to install a rpm gauge.. thats wut i did and its just fine.. umm more or less get use to how your motor sounds and feels like at speeds to get an idea to shift.. (i can send you pics on the rpm installation and ideas where to put it..) lol
  • clipse1130clipse1130 Posts: 7
    if its the gtx model(awd :) ) then you can go with a rotary motor or the awd turbo dohc motor.. If its the sohc motor you have the 1.6L engine or you can swap it out to put in the dohc fwd motor..
  • ped2ped2 Posts: 1
    does anyone know were the pollen filters are on the Mazda 323 because i havn't a clue.
  • mitchicoimitchicoi Posts: 4
    Im just new here.Got 94' 323..Exterior is very good and well maintained but aleady have made some renovations over the enigine,i have my clutch change(together w/ all the necessary parts)Now its running good.I only got some problems though,,Whenever i start the car its shaky..Ive tried having the Rpm adjusted but it stil does.And also whenever i tried to step on the clutch it the car shakes,so i have to add some gas,,i dont know what could be the problem.same thing happens everytime i switch on my lights.Car get shaky.It is maybe on the electrical wirings or something?Can you please help me figure out this one :confuse:
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    Bad coil maybe? Obviously you're not getting a strong enough spark at one of the plugs for some reason. Maybe a bad injector?

    Might check your transmission mount too. The one on my '88 went bad and it shakes like crazy at idle.
  • mitchicoimitchicoi Posts: 4
    hello there,
    Im having problems with my gauges light at the moment,they are so dark seems it has no light bulb at all!already have changed the bulb but theres no is about the wirings or maybe i just have to tear the gauges part out into pieces to clean it :P
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    What does it do when you turn the knob to change the lightness/darkness intensity of the dash lights?
  • mitchicoimitchicoi Posts: 4
    nothing happens!adjusted it to the brightest level.still the same
  • mitchicoimitchicoi Posts: 4
    My temperature is somewhat sometimes go up half and a bit more then after a while goes down again....ive already changed my aux fan,made it bigger,my temp sensor,thermostat gone already,nothings wrong with radiator either....ive also noticed that this happens when the weather is this normal or should i look into more serious problems???does it have any connection with my compressor?please help me figure out this puzzle :cry:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,754
    Are you saying the temp gauge is fluctuating up and down? Does this describe the behavior?... the gauge will look like it's reading normal operating temp and then suddenly drop down, then come back up to looking normal, and it never goes up above the normal operating temp?

    I had something similar happen on a vehicle about 6 months ago. Nothing was wrong with thermostats, radiator, etc. So it HAD to be a problem with the gauge itself or the connections leading to the gauge. Turned out there was a cracked electrical connector on the back of the gauge that would make or break the connection depending how the car was moving. When the car was cold, it would seem to operate just fine with the needle slowly moving up as the car warmed up. Once the engine reached operating temp, the bouncing needle would start to show up. The needle would never indicate a higher than normal operating temp, so I was pretty sure it wasn't a cooling system problem. My guess is that the wires leading to the gauge would become a bit more flexible once the engine compartment heated up and the movement of the car (especially when accelerating or decelerating) would basically wiggle the wires and make or break the connection, causing the needle to suddenly drop and then just as suddenly come back up to show a correct reading.

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  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    Obviously, there's no current getting to the bulb. Time to bring out the multi-meter.
  • 91323vic91323vic Posts: 18
    o kay my suggestion is to dismantle the intended guage at the dash, as a static dianosis. run the vehicle until flutuation in the guage appears obviously it wont be items mentioned that you pointed out. so it would be three of the following 1connectors on your harness 2 possibly wiring harness 3 the guages contact itself on the dash card . my remedy acquire a guage from wreckers do a meter test on it if you wish the best way is to run a test try a battery hotwire with a five amp breaker on the guage secondly run a light meter on active guage harness if the light flutuates in the same mannnerit`s along your harness wriggle them . if your also refering to the motor smells hot with the guage sensation this could very well be your cut in switch which operates in four cyclinders under a temperature rating the temperate makes it to its kickin point an operates the thermal fans to adjust the motor working temperature i have a very quick solution permently hotwire a ten amp breaker wire from your thermal fans to ignition main this operates fan as soon as key is turned
  • glowplugzglowplugz Posts: 5
    Both door locks on my trusty hatchback are failing. The driver's side one works but not well, and the passenger side lock is frozen. Apparently what happens is that the little internal sliding "cover" inside the lock comes loose & falls down into the mechanism, jamming the lock.

    I wonder if it's possible to disassemble the lock mechanism and remove the cover piece. Has anyone done this? I don't think I want junkyard locks - even if they happened to have the keys, I don't think used locks would last very long. I'm willing to buy new ones but can't find a "keyed alike" pair anywhere (I don't want a different key for each door).
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    There are new door locks possibly still available at O'Reilly auto parts. While you are replacing them, spray the entire latch, linkage assembly with lubricant spray to keep it all working well. They come in pairs. I recall them being under the HELP line. If you get dumb looks from the counter help, you may have to ask to see the catalog if they have one. A lot of parts houses say stuff is not available, but it is as a special order. Another source may be a phone call to

    We are going to have to install a new third set soon into ours at 300K. They are getting sloppy. Also an 89 323.

    Generally these lock assemblies are not rebuildable.
  • glowplugzglowplugz Posts: 5
    Thanks! ...I'll check into those sources :)
  • listerinelisterine Posts: 17
    Could sure use some help from someone more knowledgeable than I: Car in question is a 1989 Mercury Tracer, but these have a Mazda 323 engine. It overheated, and I'm pretty sure the head gasket blew. (Milkshake oil, water drip from exhaust, etc.) I decided to try liquid glass on the head gasket - specifically, "Bar's Leaks Head Gasket Repair" - but I'm still having problems.

    I should mention the steps I've taken so far (some of which were just for maintenance):
    - Replaced the thermostat.
    - Back-flushed the cooling system.
    - Flushed the heater core separately.
    - Replaced the radiator cap.
    - (And as I said, added liquid glass.)

    What's different now:
    The good:
    - It starts and runs better.
    - There's no more sign of coolant in the oil, nor oil in the coolant.
    The bad:
    - Smoke is still sputtering out of the front of the engine in some spots, which I take to be unsealed cracks at the head gasket.
    - The heater isn't producing hot air.
    - The coolant overflow reservoir still bubbles (presumably from exhaust gas.)

    I'm wondering now if the water pump is bad, and that maybe the liquid glass can't fully circulate to where it can seal the cracks. The radiator hoses stiffen up when the engine is running, which I would have thought meant that there's pressure and that the coolant is being pumped through the system. Except that the top radiator hose gets warm/hot while the bottom hose never really does… I'd rather not replace anything else without knowing that I've nailed down the cause though. Any suggestions?

    Thanks much in advance.
  • kujhackujhac Posts: 14
    You're simply going to have to get the head gasket replaced and the head checked for warping. Hopefully the head isn't cracked but most likely it is.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 218
    Hmmm, you have listed some still not good symptoms. Yes, bubbles in coolant is an indication of exhaust leak into coolant. This is just the beginning of headaches.

    So education time first.

    As an engine ages, the round cylinder wears into an egg shape. One side from the power stroke, the other from compression stroke. When you over heat the block, that shape also distorts. I suspect over time, you will find oil usage/leakage to be up especially over time. Now add the uncertain possibility of something else cracking down the road, which does happen in such cases. You have an engine with an uncertain potential of total failure down the road.

    When it comes to rebuilding such an engine, the head is usually scrapped because there is only the dye method of finding cracks which is so limited in confirming results. The block can be magnafluxed to look for such small cracks, but at 20 years of age, it would be scrapped also, because of cost of labor. That brings down to a total engine replacement.

    So, in order to really determine what you have would be a total hit and miss mission with the prospects of total failure down the road.

    Now to add to the problems besides parts availability. The engine design itself is such that, ignore one problem you get a snowball effect of damage. For example, ignore the timing belt and it snapped, there went the entire engine with the pistons hitting the valves bending them. It took very little to force this engine very quickly to the scrap pile.

    Now for the positive. If you have a 5 speed standard or 4 speed, this car could still be worth rebuilding. An auto, I would not waste my time. Ours is a 89 323, coming up on 300K miles. The first engine crank broke at 138K which we decided to scrap it for a new crate engine. Still a top performer in the stable after that decision right down to the new a/c put in a few years back. It comes with the cost of sticking to a good pm schedule and a careful eye on it that became knowlegable of it over 10 years.

    Best to you, whatever your decision. You may wish to review past posts on this engine before doing anything. Better to be informed before spending your money. One trouble spot in its history has been breaking crankshafts, the other has been the distributor. Use the search engine in this forum to gain more info on it. Search distributor then crankshaft.

    On the other hand, should you decide to replace this car, take a few walks in the junk yard and look at cars that are not wrecked. Note the age and mileage it comes in at. Now a days, if it does not make at least 200K on the odometer, it is a piece of junk before it gets in the yard. One such brand that makes 20 years and 200K plus very consistly is Toyota. I have an 86 Tercel in service still. Most of them have been junked.
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