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Mazda 626

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Comments

  • skibry1skibry1 Posts: 174
    I was reading , in Europe the ratio of M/A
    is 7 to 1.Here it's the opposite!?! Why is
    it our cousins on the other side of the
    Atlantic prefer a clutch? I throughly enjoy
    our left leg flexor,and love to choose the
    rpms.I too am grounded by the Protenzas.
    Here in the Midwest I should be looking for
    better "snowshoes".Any suggestions?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you paid $4/gallon of gas, you'd only buy manuals too! They also put a priority on sporty driving, not comfort, especially since distances tend to be shorter.

    The RE92's are your typical OE compromise. They're quiet and decent in the dry, but that's about it. If you break out a tape measure, and check the width of the tread, it's puny, not even close to 205mm (which is the section width), since the tire bulges out.

    -juice
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    This is not the first time I've heard 87's and 89's run fine on the 2.5LV6, despite what the owner's manual suggests .... I guess it's fine, as long as you pay attention to it, and switches back to 91+ if you hear knocking .... as expensive as gas is these days, I may give 89 fuel a try as well ...

    M/A ratio - yes I think the outrageous price of fuel in Europe is a big reason why. Friend of mine who's from Europe drove his first car with over 1.5L engine only after he's come over to Canada. To extract any kind of power from a small displacement engine, you really need to control your rev. Then again, our gas price here is slowly creeping up to the european prices .... OUCH!

    Well, at least you don't get those big honking SUV"s with V6 or V8 engines over there .....

    #17
  • jgard1jgard1 Posts: 19
    Unlikely you will hear knocking as the V6 has a knock sensor connected to the ECM which will in turn retard the timing if detonation is being detected. I'm not sure if you will detect a change in performance though. Call me crazy, but my ES has been fed 91 octane from day one.

    I too chose the the car in part b/c of the 5 speed. I needed room for family, but didn't want to sacrifice the fun to drive factor: which disappears entirely for me in any car with a slushbox. Fortunately, I don't encounter much stop and go traffic, I don't own a cell phone, and I stop the car if I wan't to eat! My wife was a little uncertain about my choice (My last car was a Chrysler with a MT.. 'nuff said.), but once she tried out the light clutch and smooth stick she was sold.

    skibry: Its a little odd talking snow tires in July but FYI I bought a full set of Nokian Hakkapeliita 1's. I have been VERY impressed with these tires. Traction in snow and slush is excellent. Most of the research I did indicated they will outlast the big name (Blizzak, Arctic Alpine) by a considerable amount. Price was comparable though. I got them mounted on a set of steel wheels to preserve my alloys from the horrendous amounts of salt they throw around here in the winter.
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    5sp - I have a cellphone but a hand-free kit fixes the problem, and I do get in stop and go rush hr traffic for total of ~ 30-45 min everyday, but then driving a manual in traffic isn't really a hassle to me. It's a second nature, and you don't think about it. Only when I'm in N-1st traffic for over an hr that I start to wish it's a slushbox .... but that wish goes away when I get to do more 'spirited driving' over the wkends or wknights = ) I'd say the only time when I really wish I had a slushbox is when I try to eat on the go .... but that is a very unpleasant experience anyways. Of all the 626's I've seen on the road (and to be honest, there are VERY few of them in Toronto .... ) most of them are actually 4cyc's .... but of the ~25% that are V6's, almost all of them I've seen are manuals. In fact, there are 3 98+ 626's in our parking lot here, and all 3 are V6-5sp's. I guess that shows Mazda sells the car in the niche market of V6+5sp sedan.

    Snowtires - thanks for your input. I have a set of Nokia snow tires at home that i got for free, and I think they are Hakkapeliita (what a name)... so good to know they are good in snow. I had a set of Pirelli P190 before and they're very good in snow and slush as well ... but the tire wore out quickly and after 3 winters I found myself desparate for another set.

    #17
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We also use 87 octane, no knocking. The manual actually "recommends" premium, but specifies a requirement of at least 87 octane.

    I also got the hands-free kit to be able to continue driving a manual.

    -juice
  • MY WIFE HAS 97 626LX 4CLS WE HAVE TAKEN IT TO THE DEALER THREE TIME CONCERNING THE SAME PROBLEM DEALING WITH THE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION.
    WHEN WE DRIVE IT FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME AT SPEEDS BETWEEN 65-80 THE OVERDRIVE LIGHT STARTS FLASHING AND THE TRANSMISSION STARTS TO SHIFT VERY ROUGHLY. AND THEN THE TACH. AND ODEM. STARTS TO GO CRAZY. BUT AFTER WE STOP DRIVING AND LET THE CAR SIT FOR A WHILE AND STARTS DRIVING FINE.
    HAS ANYONE ELSE EXPERIENCE THIS PROBLEM AND WHAT DID YOU DO TO CORRECT IT?
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    Vehicle speed sensor, maybe? (And the transmission, deprived of information, drops into its failsafe/limp-home mode.)
  • After reading about all the happy Mazda 626 drivers I feel like my vehicle is an outcast...
    Maybe Mazda 1994 is particularly bad model...
    My engine overheated and needed expensive repairs about a year ago at 44K and now at 51K the "cold-hot" gauge started behaving weird again. When going uphill 65-70 mph in hot weather it moves towards the middle and then OVER which really scares me and I turn AC off in panic, and the gauge comes back but then moves again.
    DO you guys out there feel like driving 70 mph and having an AC for a long time is out of question (somehow overloads the electric system or whatever)? I will take the car to the mechanic of course one of these days...
  • kennethc1kennethc1 Posts: 2
    We bought a 97' Mazda 626 DX brand new. At 3000 miles it had to have a new transmission. At 57000 miles it broke down with us in no where Alabama. The problem with that is we live in GA and were heading to MS on a anniversity trip (the 1st in 8yrs) My husband lost all power and the car jerked something bad until we came to a stop with smoke pouring out of the hood. Thank god for a nice passer by that stopped to help. We were able to get the car started and drive it one mile to a exit. We found a hole in the wall garage. From there we were taken to a Ford dealer to rent a car. This car had to be back by Monday and this was on Friday, we were to be home on Sunday. We ended up renting a total of 3 cars for a total of $800, the tow from AL was $550. We found out that it was the transmission. Well, you guessed it no warrenity. Mazda after a lot of $#@%% picked up the part of the cost of the transmission and we paid for labor and part of the transmission this was $1582. Our car now had 76600 and guess what just got its 4th transmission or 3rd replacement, however you want to look at it. This one only lasted for 19000 miles and 9 months. Thank goodness this time it was covered under the 1yr manf. warr., oh we had to pay for the speedometer gear that went bad so this trip cost me a $65 tow and $240 gear. I have tried to get in touch with someone higher up at Mazda to tell my story to because I feel I should have been reimbursed for everything it cost me the 2nd time around with the transmission $3000. But what I get is NO CUSTOMER SERVICE when I speak to the dealership or call the 1-800 number. I want to send a letter but I want a name to attach to it. I know by reading all of the stories that there are others like me. But does anyone have a name or number so I can speak or write to them. As of July 8th 2000 we are now a proud owner of a 2000 Camry LE. We had to get rid of the car, it has caused us fincial hardship and stress. We never knew what was going to go next and how much was it going to cost. Thanks to MAZDA/FORD we are maxed on the credit card.
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    ..... but if you've done your homework, there's a long history of problems with automatics on the 626 4 cyc models. Almost all 626 4 cyc owners I know have had their transmission rebuilt for once, if not more. So you're not the only unlucky one ... if that makes you feel better.


    #17
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, but the exact same thing happened to this guy twice! :o)

    -juice

    PS You can scribble double-posts, just click on the number of your post, then click scribble
  • kennethc1kennethc1 Posts: 2
    See my story #246. The exact same thing happen to us when the 2nd and 3rd transmission went out. Mazda is very much aware of this problem. I don't know how many miles you have on yours so I hope it is still under warranty for you. Your dealership should be able to tell you for sure.
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    It sure sounds like you had a lemon .... and I'm sorry to hear about Mazda's post-sale service. I guess that is the last Mazda you'll buy eh? = ) Camry's are nice and extremely reliable vehicles, I'm sure you'll have a much better experience.

    In all fairness there are folks who're on their 3rd A/T tranny in the last 5 yrs .... I can't believe Mazda hasn't got around to fix the AT problem yet and it's 6 yrs and counting. It sounds to me more like a VW story .... = )

    I have a 5sp, and (knock on the wood) from all I've heard the V6 5sp MT is a lot more reliable than the 4cyc AT. Then again, reliability is a lot like a draw from the straw.....


    #17
  • barich1barich1 Posts: 143
    In theory, they fixed the AT for 1998 and made modifications throughout 1994-1997. It still isn't up to the level of Mazda's other AT that they use in the V6. But it is more reliable and I would recommend it only in the '98 and later models. Note, however, that I4/AT is apathetically slow.

    I know some of you won't buy a Mazda again, but please let me attempt to change your mind. Mazda makes some of the most fun to drive, reliable cars on the road -- it's just that the 626 4 cyl. AT isn't one of them. The I4/manual and the V6 models, as well as the Protegé, Millenia, Miata, and possibly the MPV are reliable and great fun. Try one of those sometime. Also stay away from the B Series trucks, they are nothing more than Ford Ranger copies. Think "Ford Ranger" and you'll know the reliability of them.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's a shame to stop buying Mazdas because you detest a Ford tranny.

    Kind of silly, actually.

    -juice
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    I agree most Mazda's are Fun To Drive, however almost all Mazda's are under-advertised and under-marketted, thus resulting in low sale and poor reputation. The 626 is a perfect example to show this - it has been regarded as one of the sportier mid-sized sedan by all reviews, offers good value, pretty good reliability (except for the 4 cyc AT, which uses a Ford part) and its V6 offers more power than competitors' 4cyc models at ~ the same price, and the best part being you can get it with a 5sp MT. As R&T calls it, the 626 is one of the best kept secret in the mid-sized market. (though R&T intends to keep it that way, leaving 626 yet again out of all comparisons) The Miata is a FTD RWD roadster that offers the true roadster feel, though a little overpriced. The Protege has been selected as the most FTD compact sedan by C&D and finished in top 3 in comparisons by several other major car mags. The MPV .... well who cares about sportiness when you're buying a family van? = )

    Most Mazda's are pretty reliable too, though they may not compare to Honda and Toyota. Here in Canada, Mazda actually offers a more superior warranty than H & T (3 yrs / 80,000km vs 3yrs/50,000 from both manufacturers. Better, Mazda Canada offers a 10 yrs warranty on drivetrain + engine after the 3 yrs b-to-b warranty's expired. I only found out all these AFTER I've purchased the car, another example of how Mazda under-advertises.)

    All in all, I think most Mazda offer sportiness and reliability for very competitive price. (Honda too, except their cars aren't as competitively priced) Every car manufacturer would have lemons every once in a while, but Mazda is still way better than domestics and german cars in that regard.

    #17

    PS- btw B-series trucks are nothing more than re-badged Rangers. The Mazda truck department has been 'absorbed' by its big cousin several years ago.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Protoge also got a great review from Consumer Reports. I'd say it's got the best press among compacts right now.

    The warranty Mazda offers here is also better than Honda or Toyota.

    Finally, I don't think the Miata is overpriced, given the competition. And it just beat the new MR2 Spyder in a comparo.

    -juice
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    I think Miata is overpriced for what it is, unless you compare it to the MR Spyder. All Toyota's are overpriced, and the MR Spyder makes no exception.

    The Miata has a MSRP of Cdn$26.9k MSRP, and that price does not include the hard top or other added features. The Honda Prelude, for comparison, is priced at Cdn$27.8k MSRP only. For sports car buyers the Prelude is only $1k more but offer more respectable acceleration, (1.8L engine producing 140hp on the Miata is very mediocre, and producing a 0-60 acceleration in the low 8sec range only. The Prelude is a solid 7.0 sec car), a lot more features like heated seats, heated mirrors, sunroof, CD, keyless entry with alarm .... all of which aren't stnd on the Miata. The Prelude is easily the best handling FWD car ever built, and for a non-professional driver it handles better than the Miata. For what it is, the Prelude offers a lot more performance for the $$. Likewise for the Integra GS-R (though new model is long overdue).

    However, if you HAVE to buy a RWD convertible then Miata has the lowest price tag out there. I still remember when I was still in school Miata's started from Cdn$19k MSRP, which was a very resonable price though most things were options. Its price slowly creeped up as it sales did, and when I could finally afford a new car it was Cdn$24kMSRP, and doesn't even include A/C or hardtop. I eventually bought a del sol VTEC (cos I really wanted a convertible) which costed less and was much quicker in a straight line.

    #17
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's just it, though. RWD is expensive, as are convertibles.

    Preludes aren't selling well, and Honda may drop or merge that line with the Integra. The Del Sol was already cancelled, yet Mazda continues selling the Miata.

    In reality the S2000 is more of a competitor to the Miata, though at a higher level in both price and performance.

    -juice
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    Well, not until Mazda puts a more serious engine in the Miata. A 0-60 of 8.0sec, a qtrmile of over 16 sec just doesn't cut it for a true 'sports car'.

    The S2000 is really in the league of the big boys (M roadster, Boxster, SLK, TT ... ) in terms of performance. As a matter of fact C&D even ranked it above all those, while costing almost US$10k less.

    The Miata and MR Spyder are really in a class of their own as being fun to drive 'affordable' roadsters. The level of engineering sophistication shown in the S2000 is simply unmatched by Miata or MR spyder, which in essense are RWD cousins to the respective compact platforms (Protege and Celica).

    RWD isn't necessarily expensive. When Nissan still had the 240SX its price was very comparable to its FWD competitors (Prelude, MX-6, Probe GT, Celica .... ). Likewise, Miata was very affordable when it first emerged. At least it was thousands less than the prelude SR-V, which is how it should be priced IMO.

    Then again, I guess what is really driving up the price of these RWD convertibles is really low demand for sports cars these days, with the big hype shifting over to big SUV's ....

    #17
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    "We got no speed, and we don't care!"

    130 hp is really not enough for the four-cylinder 626, and I don't care if it does weigh a couple hundred pounds less than the competition. (Then again, adding lightness adds flingability, nu?)

    I've been on this topic and related ones for some time now, and undoubtedly it's occurred to someone to ask, "Doesn't this doofus ever have any problems with his 626?" The answer, I regret to inform you, is Yes. Even as I type, my poor little green bucket o'bolts is being fitted with a new, or at least recycled, ECU; its decision-making capability was becoming increasingly erratic, and the components for which codes were set tested fine on the diagnostic bench. I can't help but wonder how many putative transmission failures are actually the ECU gone nuts. On the other hand, a brand-new ECU costs about as much as a transmission rebuild. I tip my hat to the service crew at the local Mazda store, and I hope they've called this one correctly, or I'm going to be in great pain.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I beg to differ. Sports cars don't necessarily have to be fast; that's what muscle cars do. The Miata is about hugging curves and having pure, unbridled driving fun. Look at the vehicles that traditionally occupied this niche, and they weren't 1/4 mile freaks.

    When it first emerged with a base price of $13,800 (I remember well), they were selling closer to $20k with options and dealer markups. Now I've seen them for as little as $17k with incentives and discounts. These are the good old days.

    Sadly, I agree with you on the demand side. The Tribute will probably outsell the Miata.

    -juice
  • mitch23mitch23 Posts: 3
    I bought my 626 new in 1999 after I got a great deal on a 98 model close out. Overall, I have happy with the car, with one notable exception...the paint job is falling apart! Let me preface this by saying that I wash my car religiously at least once a week at my neighborhood brushless car wash and have it wazed professionally every six months. On the downside, I live in Wisconsin where we have some exceptionally wicked winters etc..

    I noticed one day that three long/thin streaks of paint on the hood appeared to have melted away as if with acid. I took it into the dealer and they said it was probably bird poop or sap and not covered by warranty. I didn't buy it becuase although I park my car outdoors, I make it a point not to park under a tree. Plus, any paint job worth a damn should be able to handle bird crap for a week without melting!

    Later this year I noticed what appeared to be watermarks on the passenger doors. Except they didn't come out after repeated rubbing. It almost looks like the paint is bubbling up.

    The last straw was last week when I noticed more that the trunk's paint had several spots where the paint had turned palish white.

    What should I do? Is it normal for such a new car to have it's paint job falling apart at the seams?
  • barich1barich1 Posts: 143
    I have two '98 626s that I wash once a month if I am lucky. I have absolutely no problems with the paint on either. I also had no problems on my '97 Millenia and '89 626. You seem to have a rare defective paint job. I would complain very loudly until they fix it. What color do you have? Mine are Mojave Beige and Laser Red.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like a lemon to me. Push for a new paint job. Our '95 model is fine.

    -juice
  • jgard1jgard1 Posts: 19
    Sounds as if there is a problem with the clear coat. I'd be pressing for a new paint job.

    The timberline finish on my 97 ES still looks fantastic, except for the few locations which have been inflicted with 'parking lot rash' :(
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    "I beg to differ. Sports cars don't necessarily
    have to be fast; that's what muscle cars do. The
    Miata is about hugging curves and having pure,
    unbridled driving fun. Look at the vehicles that
    traditionally occupied this niche, and they weren't1/4 mile freaks."

    True, I agree sports cars aren't just about going fast. Sometimes it's more fun to FEEL fast than just going fast. The LS400 is not a slow car but its acceleration is so isolated from the driver it's no fun to drive, and you might as well hire a driver to do it (and quite a lot of LS400 owners actually do). However, IMO sports cars have got to be reasonably fast, or else it loses its purpose. When Miata first came out, a 9.0 sec 0-60 time was pretty respectable, a 8.5 sec was considered FAST (the pocket rockets back then such as Civic Si HB, Escort GT, GTI ... were all in the ballpark). However, after all these years, the bar's been raised. Escort GT's been canned but the Civic Si(R) can do 0-60 in 7.4 sec, Integra VTEC in low 7 sec, GTI VR6 under 7 sec... But Miata is still a consistent 8-8.5sec car.

    And there's nothing wrong with not being a powerful car. I agree Miata's all about hugging curves and handling, in which it does very well. However, you consider a Prelue which costs $1k more and can go fast and handle, and then there's the Miata which can only handle .... that's why I said it's overpriced for what it is .....

    Then again, like you said, the Tribute will outsell the Miata and MR Spyder combined ....

    my2cents,
    #17
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In that context, then, your comments make sense.

    Back to the 626...

    -juice
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    I did some research before purchasing my 00 626 LX-V6 MT. Most of the 94+ 626's problems are related to its 4 cyc AT transmission which is a Ford part really. Other than that, there were some minor hiccups (such as faulty O2 sensor, causing the engine light to come on but otherwise the car runs fine) when the model got revised in 98, but otherwise the car's pretty reliable. 626 is a proven platform with long history, and the revisions on 98 made it a bigger, quieter and more solid car than previous model.

    #17
  • barich1barich1 Posts: 143
    A word of warning: the '98 is missing a lot of features that the '88-'92 models had. Mazda was apparently trying to keep the prices low and removed:

    Variable intermittent wipers
    Seat height adjustments
    Map lights (The only light in the entire car is the single overhead light)
    The brakes squeak

    They fixed the brakes for '99 and added some of the aforementioned missing features. In '00 they added everything back and gave it a nice-looking freshening up too. If you miss any of those features (And you will, you don't realize how useful they are until they're gone) you may want to spring for a used '99 or a new '00. I personally haven't had any of the O2 sensor problems (BTW, I have TWO '98 626s that I bought at the same time.) In fact, the only problems on both of them so far are the squeaky brakes that the dealer can't fix on either one.
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    Apparently Mazda made 70 changes on the 99 model to get the 00 model. Mechanically the 00 has an improved steering, improved suspension, better handling from improved suspension and 16" rims (instead of 15" ... on V6 models anyways), and I think revised gear ratio for quicker acceleration. (1-2-3-4 are fine, but I'd rather have a real overdrive gear for 5th, esp the V6 is adequately torquey. I run ~ 4000rpm at 135km/hr (65mph?))

    Some of the nice interior features on the 00 include heated side mirrors (REALLY useful in the Canadian winter), windshield integrated antenna, height adjustable seats (I guess a lot of ppl complained about the low bathtub seating position on the 98), stnd CD player, keyless remote entry (but no alarm!!) .... I kindda like the black steering wheel and black shift knob on the 98 and 99's ... in the 00's the interior is just an endless sea of grey.

    And yeah, they still keep that swinging air vent mechanism =)


    #17

    (barich1 - you bought TWO 626's at the same time?! You must be a real 626 fan!! = )
  • barich1barich1 Posts: 143
    I had an '89 with 214,000 miles. It sort of spoke for itself.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    barich1: ask the dealer to "scuff" the pads and turn the rotors. My guess is your pads are probably glazed.

    -juice
  • barich1barich1 Posts: 143
    Well, one of them just had the pads replaced and the rotors machined as well (they were warped). It still squeaks. The other one only has 15,000 miles so far, and it's done it almost since it was new. I am satisfied with my dealer, though, they do a great job on everything else. I don't know what is wrong.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wonder if the new ones have broken in? The wife's '95 model is on the 2nd set of pads up front (both Mazda pads), but we've never had that squeeking problem.

    -juice
  • jgard1jgard1 Posts: 19
    Mazda must have only done some minor tweaking to the gearing. My 97 ES turns 3800 revs at 120 kph in fifth. I also have mixed feelings about the height of the "overdrive". On long x-country hauls a true overdrive would be nice, but having the ability to cruise in town in 5th and pass anything on the highway w/o having to downshift is also nice. (which must be handy for you #17 where in the GTA everyone is passing you if you are not doing a buck twenty!)

    The earlier versions (i.e. mine) also have the nice black leather shifter and steering wheel combo.

    p.s. 135 kph = 84 mph
  • mcdcmcdc Posts: 6
    Anyone with a Automatic 4cyl, I highly recommend a transmission oil cooler, and fluid changes at 30K or 1 year, and use Mobil 1 synthetic.

    The 93-97 Probe SE with the automatic, is the same engine/trans. People with those have had the same problems with the transmission. Some have had rebuilds, some haven't but it seems like the majority put the coolers on, and the trans. lasts longer and dont break.

    Yes they already have a cooler, but it is built into the radiator, and not as effective. I installed one on my girl friends '96 626, and the shifts seem smoother, but after driving a while I feel the new cooler(I have it using both)and it is very hot. This is a $30 part and takes about 1 hour to do, watch the hose sizes though, and you want the fluid to go through the old cooler 1st come out to the top of the new one, and drain back into the trans from the bottom. Also get a Chiltons before doing this, so you know which line is in and which is out.

    Finally, I heard the reason the trans. fails is the heat, these transmissions heat up, and as the fluid gets old/dirty it can't handle the heat as well, thus warping the brass components on the inside. So my advice - Trans. oil cooler and regular main. with mobil 1.
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    "On long x-country haulsa true overdrive would be nice, but having the ability to cruise in town in 5th and pass anything on the highway w/o having to downshift is also nice. (which must be handy for you #17 where in the GTA everyone is passing you if you are not doing abuck twenty!) "

    True .... well you pretty much have to be 130 to avoid being tailgated on the fast lane on 404 .... = )

    But then, the 4th gear and 5th gear are so close I can hardly tell the difference. I keep thinking I'm in the 4th gear when accelerating at 100km/hr from 5th gear, because it is so powerful for a 5th gear. Meanwhile there are times when I'm cruising at 80-90 in the city on 5th and think I'm on 4th ....

    I guess I wouldn't mind a short 5th gear as much if gas is not as expensive =(


    #17
  • hebenstrhebenstr Posts: 11
    My local dealer (just north of Houston, TX) will sell me this model for $4k off MSRP (about $1.7k UNDER dealer invoice). Does this sound like a good deal? Also, does anyone have thoughts on the 1AB Safety package option (ABS, side air bags, traction control)?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    There are probably regional incentives in your area, and the 2001s are right around the corner. Still, it sounds like a great deal.

    ABS is a must, IMHO. If not now, try reselling a car without it. Same with the newer, less forcefull air bags.

    The 626 is FWD with an open diffy, so traction control is a huge plus. It does more than just control wheel spin - it makes sure that both wheels are getting power.

    Ours does not have it, and the wife has twice driven the car off the edge of the driveway, high-centered with one wheel off the ground, and she was stuck. Kind of pitiful, I know. The wheel in the air leaks all the power and you simply can't move. Same could happen on ice or snow, too.

    Get it, everything on there is useful.

    -juice
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    Traction control definitely helps, but I don't think it's such a big plus. As far as I know, the traction control on the 626 (and most cars these days anyways) uses the ABS to control slipping. Basically if the logic detects wheel slipping when the accelerator is depressed, it'd apply ABS to re-gain traction .... it's most useful in launching (it *MAY* even be a feature that is only effective during launching, like VW's ASR) the car in slippery surface like snow or rain. But any experienced driver should know better than to slam on the gas when launching from slushy / wet surface. IMO, though it helps, it's not a big deal and learning how to drive in bad weather is more effective ...


    #17
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How you feel about traction control may depend on where you live. In snow, our 626's V6 power, V-rated tires and the open diffy means a lot of slipping, even if you are careful.

    There isn't an expert driver in the world that can overcome a frictionless surface, and all it takes is a single tire on ice for that to happen.

    If you think about it, it makes more of a difference than ABS. Brakes work on all four wheels already, ABS just prevents slipping. But there is still stopping power being sent to all four wheels.

    An open diffy puts power to two wheels only if both have traction. On ice, it's 1 wheel slipping, 1 wheel with no power (because of the open diffy), zero traction. Traction control means 2 wheels get power and neither will slip.

    Too bad Mazda doesn't offer a limited slip differential. It's the mechanical alternative.

    OK, if you live in SoCal where there never seems to be bad weather, it may be overkill.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Heck, your profile says your shopping for an A4 Quattro - now I'm confused!

    The A4's Quattro uses a Torsen center diffy, and both front and rear axles limit slip (i.e. they are not open). That's the ideal - if any single wheel (out of four, not two) on the A4 gets any traction whatsoever, you can pull forward.

    -juice
  • hebenstrhebenstr Posts: 11
    I just found out, that in order to get the light color I want (Sand Mica), I'll have to live without the ABS/Traction control package. But, living in SE Texas, it's probably not that big of a deal. Thanks for the feedback!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep.

    Unless you're going to South Padre Island, on the sand ;)

    -juice
  • hebenstrhebenstr Posts: 11
    Since I just spent over $20K on a 626 ES V6, is it worth a few more $'s for some "front-end" protection? Any opinions out there?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think bras are largely cosmetic. Whatever protection you get is offset by the paint fading at different rates.

    If you like the way they look, though, it's a small investment.

    -juice
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    Being a Canadian who live in Toronto, you'd think I know a thing or 2 about driving in snow = )

    Anyways, first of all, V-rated tires should not be used in winter. Good all season or winter tires are way better choices for snow / slush, and will prove to have more effects than TC w/ V rated tires ...

    True that no driver can launch a car in a completely frictionless surface, but neither can TC do anything in a frictionless surface. : )

    To get to the root of the problem - why do tires slip? IN physics termsthere are two kinds of frictional forces - kinetic friction, and there's static friction. Kinetic friction is the frictional force between 2 surfaces when the surfaces are moving relative to each other, which is the case when the tires are skidding. Static friction, OTOH, is the frictional force between 2 surfaces when the surfaces are not moving relatively, which is when the tires are not slipping (contacting tire is static relative to the road. Thus the tire is pushing the car forward. The moving part relative to the road surface is the car, not the tire surface). Static friction is much greater than kinetic friction, thus the car can launch much faster when the tires are not slipping.

    What causes tires to slip, is when the friction required exceed the maximum static friction threshold that can be supplied by the 2 surfaces. Obviously that depends on the 2 surfaces - tire surface (i.e. gripper tire have higher threshold and are tougher to slip), and the road surface (slippery surface such as ice or rain, which has a low frictional coefficient). When you slam on the gas on a slippery surface / when the tires are not grippy, you are exerting a force on the tire that exceeds the maximum static friction threshold that can be supplied by the contact surfaces, turning the frictional force to be kinetic friction, and causing the tires to slip.

    At this moment, if your car has TC system, it'd electronically apply ABS to 'pump' the brake, thus retarding the power to the road, lowering the required frictional force, and trying to re-establish the static friction. Some systems will also retard the gas, thus lowering the force you can exert on the tires, until the tires do not slip anymore.

    Without TC system, if you keep your foot on the pedal, you'll launch under kinetic friction, which is lower and will cause your tires to slip, and car to accelerate slower. Worse, if one driving tire slips while the other doesn't, or doesn't slip with the same amplitude, your car will move toward one direction, could utlimately cause you to go off the road ...

    Can that be avoided without TC system? Yes. As you can see, slipping is caused when maximum static friction threshold is exceeded. If you do not exceed that, then your tires will not slip. There are 2 ways to accomplish that- 1/ be easy on the gas! And in the case you sense slipping, stop applying the gas for a sec for the tires to re-acquire static friction, then slowly apply the gas again. 2/ Increase that maximum static friction threshold - since you can't do anything to the road (that's government's job, by spraying sand and salt over road surface), get better tires!

    So all in all, traction control helps, but by the same token that knowing how to brake safely on slippery surface is more effective than an ABS system, the same applies to sensible winter driving and traction control. Obviously, if you can have both then that'd be ideal. But if I am to choose either one, I'd rather sit in the car with a sensible winter driver w/o TC.

    #17
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    You my find the best ABS traction control system is one which has a switch to shut it off.When starting off on slippery surfaces(under both wheels)ABS TC can make it impossible.On detecting slip the ABS brakes the slipping wheel and in doing so sends the power to the opposite drive wheel (not talking 4wd here).With ABS this can be abrupt, there by spinning the other wheel,evan with a power manage system you go no where ,the car just ratchets both wheels In sand it is worse it will spin one then the other until the car is sitting on the housing.In these situations it is better to shut the tc off , use as little power as necessary and start out in 2nd gear if available.Once running (on icey or snow covered surfaces) I have found TC to be very effective in controling wheelslip and a valuable option.
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