Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Mazda MPV: Problems & Solutions



  • Like dottyb, I was fully aware of the hard shifting, but got an 04 MVP anyway. It only took me a day to fully experience with what people have been talking about the tranny problem, and even worse. As dan2004 posted a few days back, I had an around 50 miles highway driving followed by a long local driving with a lot of stop-and-gos. The hard shifting surfaced as soon as I got out of highway and hit the local. And it was consistantly slamming between 2nd and 3rd shifts, if I let it went continuously. I suspect every MPV under the conditions as dan2004 described earlier will get the hard shift. It is not as I was thinking just found in low percentage of cars. The reason many people don't have the problem, maybe just because they don't happen to have those driving situations. It is such a shame, the 04 MPV looks so cool. Hope they can come up with a fix soon.
  • It IS chronic and frequent. It does it ALL the time. We've learned how to drive it to avoid making it happen, but we can get it to do it all the time if we want to. The vehicle just has to be warmed up for 10 minutes before it starts.

    We've already consulted 2 atty's and they both said we definitely have a good case. The 3 repair attempt rule doesn't even come into play because Mazda already admits they can't fix it. We've got that in writing directly from Mazda and through our Mazda dealership.
  • tccmn1tccmn1 Posts: 278
    I thought I read on someone's post that the beloved Mazda Profs are coming thru with a fix in January-February? Supposedly, my name is on the dreaded list at my dealer to be informed when the great swammie (sp?) comes down with the message! I'm so use to problems with trannys from the Dodge and Chrysler mini's that this isn't so bad. They WILL fix it eventually, and all it SHOULD cost is time with a loaner.
    My DC was in the shop for a week when it went out and Chrys. was nice to give me another mini to I guess the word is patience..grrrrr.
  • And they were informed by Mazda that there wasn't one yet. I think someone posted that they had an announcement for Canada that there's a fix, but I don't think we've heard of one in the states. If there's one in Canada, you'd think we'd have one at the same time! But who knows. We are having a meeting with our local Mazda rep on Monday the 29th, and I think he's going to do a van swap for us. If the new one doesn't have the problem, we do a vin# swap with the loan company, if it does, then we have to go from there.
  • I posted a few messages about having the harsh tranny problem with my 2003 MPV. I'm now at 1500 miles, and I think the MPV has gotten used to me and my wife's driving style. We haven't had any clunks in about 800 miles.

    My approach at this point is that if I go to my next oil change without any more clunks, I'll consider this a "learning" mechanism of the onboard computer and that it's adjusted to our particular driving style.
  • May be the cold weather keep it from surfacing. I live in Boston and didn't feel the hard-shift for a couple of weeks, then it happened again yesterday. It's like a little bump from the car behind. It happened twice within a short time in same trip.
  • Wretched Ford Contour engine! Read this if you have one.

    I hope I am one of a few unlucky ones. I have one of the first 2000 MPVs, bought it in September, 1999. It is a 20th anniversary Mazda Miata blue ES.

    The check engine light has always gone on and off a lot. I had it checked out several times but gave up when they never found anything. It would usually go on when I drive uphill on the highway and go off a few hours later. I also noticed that my mileage seemed to be lower than some of the other 2000 MPV drivers. I usually got between 210 and 218 per tank. I think most other people did better than that.

    Anyway last week the check engine light starts flashing. I call the dealer and have the car towed in. I was guessing the exhaust system was shot. Not! They tell me to have some hoses replaced and replace the spark plug wires along with the spark plugs. They pull the plug on cylinder number 4 and it is fouled. The Mazda tech rep happens to be there so he tells them he has seem 3 MPVs with the problem in New England. It is always just cylinder #4 next to the radiator. They run the compression test and yeah, I need a valve job.

    I have 67,000 miles on the car so the dealer is less than helpful and wants $2500 to do the valve job which will take 2.5 weeks because it is the week before Christmas.

    I start looking around quick for another car since I think it is futile to sink more money into the MPV. It is too bad. I really enjoyed driving the car. It was a little more expensive to maintain then I would have liked but it was a great car to drive.

    I really didn't notice any problems with the way the engine was running. What I did notice was that my mileage per tank was about 10 gals less than what I had been getting before. There was a gas price war going on in my town so I thought it was just the cheap gas.

    Looking back, I had to replace the alternator at around 55,000 and two of the stupid alloy wheels. One wheel over the last two winters. Ouch. I live in New England (pot hole heaven) so I suppose that is the breaks. I had the CD player, radio tuner replaced under warranty. There were little annoyances that got fixed under warranty but I still really liked the car. Too bad. I will miss it.

    I will be driving a burnt orange 2003 Honda Element next week. I do dog agility shows and pretty much managed to trash the van carpeting so the spartan Element interior was appealing. I am getting a 4 wheel drive EX for $16,000 with the trade in of the non-repaired van. Had to cut back on the car budget since we had be hoping to get a year or two more on the MPV. Wish me luck.
  • OK I am very curious about the correlation between temperature and the slamming issue. The hard shift occurs only when the van is operating at its maximum operating temperature. So I went to Sears and bought an infrared laser pointer thermometer, which measures spot surface temperatures. I tested the unit against my home wall thermometer, and it came within 1 degree. The spec claim +/-2.5% error. I expected to find unusually high tranny temperatures when at the point of hard shifting.

    I looked at several spots on the transmission housing as my aim point, and found a spot near the dip stick tube. Here is the result:

    On startup and initial warmup, the tranny runs at about 150F. Fully warmed and in traffic about 160-180F. On the highway after a high speed run 175F. After 1 hour of brutal stop & go and a steep uphill drive 195F. These are actually pretty normal readings, assuming that the housing temp is not much cooler than the tranny internals. I also tested the intake & ouput side of the tranny oil cooler and found that the intake (hot) runs about 160F, and the output runs at 150F. I am somewhat surprised by the small differential, but that could be due to the fact that the test was conducted while the car was stopped, and no airflow was going through the cooler.

    Now for the interesting part: I sampled the temperature after several hard shift instances, and found that there is no direct correlation between temperature and the hard shift! One instance of hard shift occured at 175F just as I was getting on a highway, others while in the stop & go traffic 180-190F, and some between 160-175F.

    None of these temperatures, if they accurately reflect the internal ATF temperature, indicates that the tranny is running particularly, or exceptionally, hot.

    Here is some information about ATF temperature conditions I found on the web:

    "Automatic transmission fluid will provide 100,000 miles of service before oxidation occurs under normal operating temperatures of about 170°F. Above normal operating temperatures, the oxidation rate doubles (useful life of fluid is cut in half) with each 20° increase in temperature.

    The approximate life expectancy at various temperatures is as follows:

    175°F 100,000 miles
    195°F 50,000 miles
    212°F 25,000 miles
    235°F 12,000 miles
    255°F 6,250 miles
    275°F 3,000 miles
    295°F 1,500 miles
    315°F 750 miles
    335°F 325 miles
    355°F 160 miles
    375°F 80 miles
    390°F 40 miles
    415°F Less than 30 minutes "

    So what could be the issue? I noticed that most of the time I have a hard shift, its after the engine has run, been turned off a while, and is restarted. I checked the tranny temp after it was turned off for about 20 minutes and the temp came down to 150F, about a 20-30F differential from when it was turned off.

    The transmission temperature is an important datum used by the TCM to determine shifting points etc. I learned from research on the web that some transmissions don't actually have a temperature sensor but derive (simulate) transmission temperature from other engine parameters such as engine temp, air flow, rpm, and even battery temp.

    So could it be that our MPV derives transmission temp data? Could it be that the algorithms used are wrong, particularly when calculating data at warm start-up? Could it be that this is why Mazda insists that its a software issue?
  • tomj5tomj5 Posts: 209
    Wow, I am impressed! Good job.. Now the next step is to get a flush. Contamnation must be elimnated as a possibility. Then that will leave 2 possiblilites:
    1. Electronics
    2. Software.
    Merry Christmas
  • I don't really think contamination is the problem causing hard shift, because they occur so predictably and consistently. And, you can learn to avoid the hard shift as notasoccermom described earlier. Most likely it is the control software problems. And, I have a feeling that the 04 are having even worse record than 03, since I don't recall anybody report a trouble-free 04 MPV. I talked to my dealer's service department. They knew what I was talking about but claimed it is "normal." Though the service manager did say that he would need to have a test drive to say anything for sure. So, I will bring it in after Christmas. As I don't expect the problem can be fixed, I do want my case to be acknowledged and documented.
  • as spamming. Truth is - those with the 2-3 tranny shift problem are technically cross-posting all over the place.

    Anyways, I'm at 1200 miles on my '03 MPV and I have had no hard-shift problems at all. We haven't been that cold here yet (maybe the lowest low was 20-25 degrees), but as I said, no hard shift problems at all. Also, I asked my dealership about it and they didn't seem to know anything about a hard shift problem (not that this is a be-all/end-all way to figure anything out).
  • Talked with a Mazda parts guy today and found out that this unit uses a strainer rather than a filter and that it is cleaned rather than replaced. Also there is no pan gasket. Sealer is used.
  • havent seen any mpv's that needed valve jobs, but have seen a few tributes that needed valve and in 2 cases, head replacement. the bad spark plug/wire issue on the mpv has been more so on cyl#3 in my experience.
  • For those of you with 2002 & 2003 MPV's with the hard shift problem, is it the same as the 2004's (between 2nd-3rd gear upshift)? My dealership told me that he heard of the 02's & 03's having shifting problems, but they were different from my 04's problem. Also, isn't the TCM & trans the exact same in all 3 model years? If that's the case, why all of a sudden the big problem in the 04's? Did they do a software change? If they did and it was causing problems, why don't they just replace it with an '03 TCM? Also, is there anybody here with an '04 that has put significant mileage on it that hasn't had the hard shift? Our's did it 9 times yesterday while x-mas shopping. Fun stuff. Just brainstorming here.
  • tranny shifting issues. I own an '02 and kept good track of posts. Take a look 18 months ago, you won't find any such issues.

    The major deal back then was a shift lever indicator, the driver was not sure whether the lever was actually in drive or not.

  • notasoccermom, my impression of the hard shifts from 03 are the same as found in your and my 04s. But, maybe Mazda did try something (software?) to address the problem and have made it even worse. While people were saying the hard shift is not easy to reproduce consistently for 03, my 04 started doing 2nd-3rd hard shifts from day 1 and does it all the time under "right" conditions. From dan2004 and notasoccermom's postings, I know exactly when the hard shift will or won't happen. Nobody has yet to claim the first trouble free 04 MPV. To answer notasoccermom's question, why not go back to the 03 settings, well, the number of 04 being sold should be still limited. Mazda would not have responded so quick. Now, you are going to ask me, how come Mazda did not realize the problem gotten worse before releasing the 04. It just reminds me the Microsoft Windows.
  • Are you finding that the shifting is becomeing better, worse, or remaining the same over time?
  • Mine has been the same since day 1. It's very consistent, I can always recreate the conditions and cause it to happen. Van is warmed up in normal operating temperature, hold the gas pedal down steadily at a moderate acceleration through 1st into 2nd, then it slips and slams into 3rd every time. If I want to avoid it, I release the accelerator well before it's going to shift to 3rd, then re-depress it. Or, if I accelerate VERY slowly it will shift smooth as butter. Sheesh, why on earth would they continue to manufacture these knowing there's such a major problem!?

    We are meeting with our local Mazda service rep on Monday and he said "I think I have an acceptable solution to offer you" although he won't give us details yet. My concern is that he's going to switch vans for us, and that's why I was asking if there are any good ones out there. It'll do us no good to give us another one that will do the same thing. Unless he's offering us another one as a loaner until they fix the problem on ours, so that we don't have to continue putting wear and tear on the transmission. I think that would be acceptable. I'll keep everybody posted!
  • & Seasons greetings
  • brajabraja Posts: 25
    I have a 2000 MPV LX. Been noticing recently
    that the front disks get too hot even after
    very short drives, say, 2-3 miles, with
    not much of brake application (not stop and go).
    They are too hot to touch. Is it possible
    that the brakes are always being applied
    by the ABS (although lightly)?

    I recently had
    the axle and control arm replaced on the
    front passenger side, and at that time,
    the mechanic did not properly put back the
    ABS sensor (I was told). The ABS light
    came on recently, along with loss of
    braking action. I got that fixed, and I
    was told that the heating problem could
    be related to this. But the heating still

    WOuld appreciate your thoughts on this.
  • Some more money down the drain. Hard shift continues despite flush & change to Mobil 1. I'll give Mazda a little while longer to come up with a fix and then its off to see the Attorney General.

    I'm completely pissed off at the moment.
  • tccmn1tccmn1 Posts: 278
    I took my 03 MPV in to dealer today to simply have the drivers seatbelt retractor replaced. Some may recall that my seatbelt would not retract in "cold" weather.

    After waiting in the guest room for a half hour, the service writer came out and said that "We've started the day out with a BANG". Chuckling and not really knowing what he meant, he details for me that my SIDE AIRBAG went off while the joker tech was trying to replace the retractor!!! Ok, so my van will be in the shop until eod Monday and they gave me an IMPALA to use for the weekend with an empty tank to boot!
    I think I'm doomed too! Poor tech probably has the $400 replacement taken out of his check!

    Oh yeah, they confirmed that the fix is coming for the tranny in January and 'I'm on the list!
  • tomj5tomj5 Posts: 209
    Weird, I wondered about that issue with the "seat" airbags as the seat gets slammed around as respect to the dash bags.... I didn't get them... So becareful when you set down in the seat.. That is terrible that the poor Mech has to pay for it. Very interesting. Keep us informed...
  • tba04tba04 Posts: 1
    I have an 04 mpv with 300 miles no shift problems with tranny ,sept. build date.
  • Don't be so quick to swap for an 03 TCM, my ES has the same 2-3 shift problem too. Have 500 miles on it and have experienced rough shift 3 or 4 times. The first time was the worst, felt like someone rearended me in traffic. Smooth as butter as long as engine isn't warmed up. What input to the TCM does engine temp have? Could an increase or decrease voltage or resistance from that sensor spell relief?
  • Well, it isn't what we had hoped for, but better than nothing I guess. Our rep said they know what the problem is with the hard shift, they are working on the problem, and hope to have a fix soon. But of course he could not give a timeframe. They would not swap vehicles or buy back our minivan, but he said we of course could pursue the lemon law avenue and would probably have a good case. He offered what was in his power to do, which was to give us a 7-year 100K bumper-to-bumper warranty on the van with no deductible for free to show that they stand behind their cars and are confident they can fix it. He put us first on the list in the area to get the fix, and he will call us the second it is released. He doesn't see it taking more than 6 months worst case, but of course he can't promise anything. We probably will take the warranty and give it a few months. We don't keep our cars for that long anyways, and if the transmission falls out they'll have to fix it. In the meantime we are babying the van and not letting it do the hard shift. We are so disappointed with this whole thing, but still glad we didn't get the Kia!! I do wish we got the Nissan Quest instead though, but my husband hated the dashboard design.
  • owr084owr084 Posts: 46
    Make sure the warranty is transferable, otherwise it is worthless to the people you sell the van to...
  • Thanks for your update. Did he tell you how to obtain that 7-year/100K-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty? Just want to know the procedure if I want to do same.
  • Does this mean Mazda is extending its warranty on all its MPV's or just yours? I'm calling my dealer tomorrow. So far he's feined ignorance of any shifting problems but it looks like Mazda Corp has backed themselves into a corner. I wish they would tell us what they think the problem is so we could stop scratching our heads. Best of luck to all MPV owners! DH
  • Basically you have to b***** and moan and raise a big stink, and threaten to sue them for a new van under the lemon law! Really--I'm serious!! We demanded an appointment with our regional Mazda service rep when the dealership told us they couldn't fix the problem. We met with him and told him we either wanted a new van without the problem or for Mazda to buy it back. He said that Mazda will not do either of those things willingly, we'd have to sue. But then he told us what they could do until we got the van fixed, and that was to offer the warranty. It's basically to shut us up and avoid a law suit until they can get the fix in place. He didn't give us any timeframe at all for the fix. We are going to be bugging the crap out of him for the next few months for updates. If a fix isn't at least on the horizon in the next few months, we WILL pursue the lemon law. It is definitely in our rights to do so.

    To get the warranty we are meeting with him next week for some paperwork to fill out. I think they will probably just use their contract paperwork for when you purchase a warranty, but it will be at $0 cost.

    Oh, and I believe the warranty is transferrable if we would have PURCHASED it, but since Mazda is giving it to us it may not be, don't know for sure. But, we really don't give two hoots if it's transferrable or not, because all we care about is that this van holds up while we own it. We aren't paying for the warranty, it's just our assurance that if the trans falls out of the car several years from now because of this defect, Mazda will have to replace it. The rest of the bumper-to-bumper coverage on the warranty is just icing on the cake!!
This discussion has been closed.