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Mazda MPV Transmission Problems



  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Anyone have any insight to this issue

    How often do you check your trans. fluid? Have you had it flushed yet?

    My 2004LX with 70k miles had trans fluid looking dirty at around 23k miles. Had it flushed then, and again around 50k miles. If not flushed may have been a contributing factor in current problem.
  • Had a 2002 LX that experienced much of the tranny issues documented in this thread. Had it reflashed back when it was new. Kept up with maintenance. It still experienced hard shifts periodically, but it kept going until...

    We were on a trip in the NC mountains in April and I had the cruise control set while on the highway. When we hit the first grade that required a downshift from OD the tach took off toward redline! We were able to complete the trip, but any time that downshift occurred it was nothing but slippage.

    Had it checked by our local mechanic. No codes plus that slippage = shot trans. Estimate for installing rebuilt was ~ $3,500 (more than the vehicle is worth).

    Another MPV bites the dust...
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Wow, you've been a member for 9 years and this is your first post?

    The rebuild price is a lot better than some others I've seen. What other repairs/issues have you had? If you can get a good warranty for the trans repair, may be worth taking a second look.

    Also, I don't care to use the cruise control much, the thing has a heavy lead foot and will accelerate too hard. Probably not a good idea to use in the mountains.
  • javemsjavems Posts: 1
    My Mazda 2003 van's transmission began slipping from 2nd to 3rd and then would catch with a thud. The transmission people said a rebuild would be $2400 to $2800. By chance I filled up with a tank of gas without ethanol. It quit. I filled up with with my regular gas with ethanol, it started again. I have been ethanol free, and problem free, for a couple of months now.
    I'm not a car guy nor do I have issues with ethanol. It may be a coincidence.
    For what it's worth.
  • sramamur1sramamur1 Posts: 21

    We have noticed engine vibration when our 2003 MPV (158k kms or ~ 100k miles) is idling at traffic lights or at the parking lot. Vibration would get stronger with longer idling time and the whole van will be shaking.

    Took it to the local Canadian Tire store (we are from London, Ontario, Canada) and the techs could not read any codes from the van's computer. Either the van's computer is not working properly or the sensors are not sending out any fault codes.

    They replaced the spark plugs and did the engine flush, but the vibration is still there and the tech can feel it while driving. Now they think that the pulley (where timing belt is) is cracked and is going to replace the pulley and the sensor behind the pulley. They are not sure whether this will solve the problem.

    Because they cannot read the codes, they are guessing and changing parts they think causing the vibration problem. I did the engine tune up only last month and hence not sure what is the real cause of the vibration issue.

    Could this be related to the transmission slowly fading away?

    Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much,

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    a typical suspect for this symptom (engine running rough) is one of the coils (one on each spark plug) and/or the PCV hose. Both will cause a rough idle, sometimes less noticeable than other times too. And most often it won't trigger a CEL, seems it has to be pretty major to do so, or after impacting one of the O2 sensors.

    Check your plugs, wires, and coils, and the PCV hose. While you're at it, check the MAF and IAC and inspect the air box tubing. Typically the rear bank of coils are more prone to act up, but all are fair game.

  • sramamur1sramamur1 Posts: 21
    Thanks so much Brian. I need to replace the cracked pulley first and, if the problem still persists, I will ask the mechanic to check the the PCV hose and the coils. We have recently replaced the spark plugs and my mechanic tells me that IAC may not be the issue. MAF also needs to be looked into.

    Thanks again, Sridhar.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    I'd say the idle air control valve. It's an easy do it yourself... sits right on top ($50).

    I probaby wouldn't be taking my MPV into a tire store for repairs. Doesn't sound like they know what they are doing.
  • sectionviiisectionviii Posts: 4
    edited June 2010
    I have a 2002 Mazda MPV (bought used about 18 months ago) and I just got the dreaded hard shifts that feels like someone rear ended me (unfortunately, I have been rear-ended a couple times in my driving career).

    It's back in the same shop that my wife had taken the van to replace the battery. I would have replaced the battery myself but I had to work and she needed the car before I got back from work. It seems strange to me that a battery replacement would be the cause of this transmission problem. Even if the computer needs to reset and adjust, it shouldn't be THAT hard of a shift. The hard shifts happen between 1st and 2nd (hardest shift), 2nd and 3rd, and 3rd and 4th (this one feels like a hard down shift followed immediately by a moderately hard up shift). I didn't check 4th to 5th as the first several were enough for me to take it immediately back to the shop.

    My wife originally wanted to keep it at the shop since the transmission acted up the moment she went to drive it out of the shop parking lot but the technician said it was okay and that it would go back to normal after a short bit. Well, it didn't go back to normal in the 2 miles I drove it from my house, the gas station, and then back to the shop.

    Is this the end of the transmission? Or did I not "wait" long enough for the "computer to reset/adjust"?

    EDIT: The O/D Off light flashes continuously even after I try to turn it off. According to the manual, it's an electrical/transmission problem of some sort. The shop hasn't called back to tell me what codes turned up if any.
  • 05cosmicmpv05cosmicmpv Posts: 2
    edited June 2010
    Appears that the throttle position sensor will totally make an impact here. This was replaced, I had the transmission flushed (not just drained but flushed), and new fluid placed back in. MiniVan is running and shifting just fine at this time.

    It is recommended to have the system flushed every 35k miles. As I have been told by the dealer and small repair shops, that it is better to do the maintenance or have it done for for 100-200 bucks than the $4000k for repairs. As most new transmissions will last so long as it is not clogged with material (metal, gunk from wear parts.)

    I'm thankful I didn't have a big repair job here. Good luck guys. MPV is happy again :)
  • According to the local shop, it's not a transmission problem (no codes). They gave the car back and said it's probably a computer problem and that will require a visit to the Mazda dealership.

    I disconnected the battery and will wait for about 30 minutes and reconnect to see if that helps. Otherwise, I guess a trip to the dealership will be next.
  • valuedcheesevaluedcheese Posts: 1
    edited September 2010
    Hey I am Having the same Exact Idling Problem with my mazda Mpv 2003 and cannot figure out what is wrong with it. when im at a Red light the van starts "Dancing" ( My kids call it that lol) well more like bouncing when I have the breaks totally on. It gets worse the longer I wait at the red light its really embarrassing I feel like im in Herby reloaded that movie. I was just wondering what you figured out it was cause you stop posting about it. I am really desperate for an answer cause I feel its gonna Dance its self apart. And also i was wondering if you started having brake problems almost like the ABS power breaks were not powered, I have to literally put about 300 Lbs of pressure on to stop but its not always like that it comes and goes. Thanks in advance for any tips you can give me.
  • 2002 MPV original owner. I've had all the usual MPV problems. After all these years and problems I still like this van. It still has that certain style and plenty of ZOOM ZOOM. Here is my ownership experience. 2002 LX, rear air, roof rack, 6 disc cd, motorized driver seat, sage green exterior, tan interior, 16" alloy wheels, tinted glass, 4 speed auto w/overdrive. 3 year, 50,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. (no additional powertrain warranty as most of todays vehicles have). 10 miles on odometer. $21,900.00 out the door (literally because it was the showroom floor model). It was Oct. 31st, 2002. Purchased from Marlin Mazda (now Lehman Mazda) in Miami, Florida.

    On Feb.9th, 2005 at 29,866 miles the check engine light illuminated and the engine would not idle properly (loud hissing noise). The transmission had already begun having the dreaded "shift shock". Took vehicle to dealer for the following recalls and warranty repairs: Fog light recall repair. PVC hose replacement. Radiator fan control module replacement. They stated that shift shock was related to PVC hose replacement. They paid for the rental car. Picked up the van on Feb. 10th. Washed , vacuumed and repaired under warranty. Cost $0.

    On Dec.15th, 2006 at 53,678 miles the check engine light illuminated and the engine would not idle (loud hissing noise). Since the van was not under warranty the dealer wanted $497.00 for the replacement of the PVC hose. I declined, bought the hose from them (no aftermarket available) for $86.00 and changed the hose myself. Took me about 1/2 hour. Transmission still had shift shock but was able to minimize by awareness during shifts. I wanted to change the transmission oil. The owners manual doesn't recommend it.

    On Nov. 12th, 2007 at 64,012 miles the check engine light illuminated and the engine wouldn't idle properly. It would skip or miss especially upon acceleration. I took the van to Advance Auto Parts and pulled the codes. It was the #3 ignition coil. Whats a diy'er to do? The provided me with the most valuable information. I actually found a step by step bolt by bolt procedure with photos to replace the coil. Coil cost was $52.00 from advance. I replaced the spark plugs while the intake manifold was off. Plugs were $16.00.

    On June 9th, 2009 at 85,099 miles I had to replace the PVC hose again. I learned from the website that a new and improved PVC hose had been manufactured. I realized that the one replaced under warranty and the previous one the Mazda dealer had sold me were the original old style and that is why I'm having to replace it again. As per the website, instead of buying another hose from Mazda, some people buy the replacement from Ford since the MPV engine is made by Ford and utilized in some of their models. Its also less expensive from Ford. The website also has a step by step procedure for making your own for $5.00 out of automotive hose and a copper plumbing elbow. I chose that replacement and haven't had a problem since. I also had to replace the automotive fan control module again due to it malfunctioning. Again when the dealer replaced the original under warranty they replaced it with the old defective model. I made sure I purchased the new upgraded model from the dealer. shows photos of both (old and new) with stock numbers.

    On Sept. 7th, 2010 at 97174 miles the transmission gave out. I lost the 4th, 5th, and reverse gears. I was able to get around at 25 mph in gears 1-3. Up until now shift shock had always been present. I didn't get the recommended reflash because according to what I've read on various MPV blogs and forums most people that had it done still had shift shock. I concluded it wasn't worth it. I had never changed the transmission oil because it isn't recommended by Mazda. Why? I've pondered that for a long time. This repair in out of my league. I got quotes from $1200.00 to $3500.00 for rebuild or remanufactured (there is a difference). I contemplated a used transmission from the junk yard. Then the dreaded thought of sending my beloved MPV to the scrap heap. This year MPV qualified under the Cash For Clunker program. I should have done it then. I decided on a $2000.00 local rebuild buy a reputable well established transmission shop that was well acquainted with this type transmission and its flaws. I learned it is a JATCO (Japanese automatic transmission company) JF506E transmission. Used in certain Jaguar, VW, Mazda, Ford, Landrover models and other manufacturers. Excessive valve body wear and cracked and/or broken reverse piston seem to be the major and very common problems. Jaguar actually had a recall on the transmission. According to the transmission shop, all the new rebuild kits come with upgraded parts. all part flaws have been addressed. My MPV is on the road again.

    I use Mobile One Synthetic Oil every 10,000 miles with a Fram Supergard filter.
    I changed the engine air filter and cabin filter at 30-60-90 miles. No other repairs or maintenance cost except 2 sets of front only brake pads and all tires. I know belts and hoses will be soon, as well as valve tappet adjustments and brake fluid / engine coolant replacement. Please feel free to respond to my post with your thoughts, comments and/or questions. Oh, by the way, did I mention I really like this van. I think I'll keep her around for a while.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Thaks for the indepth report. It is always helpful when other members share their experiences.

    I've had the trans. fluid flushed 2 times on my 2004 LX. It started to appear discolored at around 25k miles, brownish pink. I believe the dealership put lubegard red in as an additive, which helped with keeping trans fluid cooler, as the subsequent flush the color was a lot better. Looking to do another flush or drain and fill here in the next 6 months. Never had a problem with shift shock (knock on wood) which affected the 2002-2003 models.

    $497 for the PCV hose install sounds crazy. They must have been charging you to take off the upper intake to put it in?

    Sounds like you saved a ton of money by doing it yourself. I also had the #1, #2, and #3 coil replaced a few months ago, along with pcv hose (slightly collapsed) and
    the plugs. The MPVclub write up was very good, but I decided to let the dealership do it. Luckily it turned out well, as the PCM needed replacement and it was done for free under the emissions warranty. Probably would have cost me around $1,000.

    I've also had the IAC valve replaced and the fan control module. Did those myself. ;)
  • i don't know if your fixed the problem or not.... i had the same problem with my car. in back of the engine there's a little pipe that needs to be replaced. it cost me like $90 to replace at a shop because i couldn't find the pipe. if you can it will cost you much less then it did for me..
  • Only scanned this thread quickly but I have a 2004 with almost 100k. I was having the stuttering under light/moderate acceleration issue a year or two back. Dealership thought it was transmission and to replace fluid. I doubted that, but did it anyway. No fix. The problem turned out to be the very, very common coils. I replaced them myself--there were no codes but the coils on these die all the time and cause symptoms like a stuttering engine or one seemingly starved of air or fuel. That did solve it. I've also done the PCV hose and $500 is outrageous. Get yourself a $30-40 clamp tool and follow the instructions on sites like and it's not a terribly difficult thing for a DIYer.

    I have had mild shift shock for thousands and thousands of miles. My van was made just after the last TSB for shift shock, so it already had the software update. In my case it is worse when cold and happens most often from 1st to 2nd. Hasn't really gotten worse but it can't be a good thing.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Why $500 for the PCV hose?
  • i had that problem it turned out to be a vacum leak at the egr valve that caused the cpu to do funny things part was 100$and another100$ in labor because they had to remove the intake to reach the line(it is in back of the motor) runs fine now. i did find that if you use both feet to stop so you can keep the idle speed up that the brakes dont cut out and the car doesnt dance
  • My 2002 MPV ES with automatic transmission failed at 95000 miles. Dealer gave me two options, $2300 for another used one or $5500 for a rebuilt one from Mazda Canada. The van isn't worth $5500. It is a shame because I liked the vehicle.

    Once I started using Google to do some research and realized that this was a common problem, I contacted Mazda and was told "there is no known problem leading to premature failure". I have no doubt that lies like this are simply standard procedure to not admit any liability as part of their loss control strategy (or corporate greed department). I am curious to know what "premature" means to Mazda. However, it is misguided and does cost them customers, and this will be my 2nd and last Mazda vehicle. Cars are far too expensive to be disposable -- I have had lots of cars with over 220,000 miles on them without major failures.

    I saw a lot of references to potential class action law suits and the use of lemon laws but suspect that it is all stacked in favor of large companies and lawyers, so that is little comfort to consumers.

    Since I have a web site that does a lot of scam busting and consumer advocacy, I am writing up a web page on Mazda transmission problems as a) a warning to consumers and b) information on this particular transmission to help with getting it repaired properly or making an informed decision to dump the thing. If anyone wants to help with links to repair information, JATCO service manuals, ignorant letters from Mazda or anything else, please post comments at . Thanks and good luck with your transmission.

    I decided to go for the used transmission and the 1st one the Mazda dealer installed was also a failure, and the 2nd one was also a failure, and now 10 days later the dealer is calling it a nightmare and still trying to make it work ...
  • When I start my van theres a load winening noise that seems to come from tranny. over the last 6 month and about 1500mi. the tranny was like locked and wouldnt move in reverse twice then went away. 2 other times it felt like it was slipping but then ran great. does this sound like its the tranny?
  • I also had a very loud whining noise when I started the car, the day before I took it in for repair. The noise lasted a few minutes and then went away, but things were not well. It was slipping, there wasn't much power making it through to the wheels and it reved up between gear changes. You definitely have a transmission that is failing, especially if reverse failed twice.
  • etchyyetchyy Posts: 2
    Thanks to you all that replied. on the 2001 mpv tranny there is what looks like a water pump bolted on where the noise was comming from and sounded just like a water pump going out. can that be bought and replaced whith out the whole tranny
  • Transmission on our 2002 MVP failed yesterday. Mechanic says it's toast. From reading this and other forums, I think we, too, experienced "shift shock" but didn't know any better to look further into it. When the transmission went, all of a sudden at 70 mph the RPM revved up really high and then the car just stopped moving.

    After reading all that's here, I'm feeling really afraid to put in a "new" (used) transmission, whether from a junk yard or remanufactured. It seems too many folks here did the same and experienced the same problem with their "new" transmissions all over again.

    Unfortunately, this is our only car and we are broke. So it would seem that it'd be a better bet for us to try and replace the transmission, since the van has otherwise been great. If not, we're stuck buying some crappy beater car of way less quality. But then again, like I said, after what I read here and on other blogs/forums, I'm not so sure.

    Any advice/help appreciated, as we are in a very serious financial bind and we need a working car. Thanks!
  • skoorbmaxskoorbmax Posts: 10
    I'd say get a junk yard tranny or rebuild (get quotes from places on these) and go for it. You're right, buying a beater you have nothing and it could happen again. If you get a used tranny you may still get a 12 month warranty on it. And yes, it could happen again, but you could get more years out of it. It's the best thing financially to do, simply repair it.
  • :lemon: I am a diagnostic mechanic so obviously I do all my own repairs. My MPV was 3 years old when I got it. I have owned dozens of vehicles including a Lada, Renault LeCar, Austin American, K-car, Omni, etc.... but this MPV thing has been hands down the worst vehicle I have ever owned. I have over 7 years experience as a warranty manager and I went face to face with Mazda for over a year to get them to honor their corrosion warranty for two front doors and a hood that rusted through before it was 4 years old. When they finally gave in they acted like it was out of the kindness of their heart "B.S." Corrosion warranty is a law not a gift. About 6 months ago it started doing the Stop light Hokey Poky so bad people were starring, I'm sure they thought I was reenacting the driving scene from "Evening at the Roxbury". I was getting a Cylinder 4 misfire code so I installed a new coil, then all new plugs, then repaired a vacuum leak - no better. I have tested fuel pressure, compression and spray patterns for all the injectors all good! I removed upstream O2 sensors to see if converters were plugged - they were not. All the components checked out. I suspect that it is the wire harness or PCM. I found a fellow near my home that offered me his 2003 for $100 for parts but it hasn't run in over a year, he bought his new, said it was in the shop every week when new and he gave up on it a couple years after warranty was off. With just 102,000 miles on mine I am sending it to the crusher. The junk yard will give me $100 for it if I drive it there, he said it is worth nothing because no one around here is fixing them, local junk yards have munched over half a dozen of them this spring. I said I would give it to him for nothing if he let me push the "Crush" button, were still working on that. I am quite confident that I could find the problem If I wanted to spend my summer looking for it but I hate the thing so bad that I can't even stand to look at it any more. It is a rusted out piece of ^&%$^ with a cracked windshield - oh ya there are several around here on which the windshield cracked from the bottom up for no apparent reason, the guy that offered me his for $100 said he replaced his but it cracked again 3 weeks later! Then there was the cooling fan module, there was a recall for it but local dealer said my serial # wasn't under it so I had to pay $150 for the module!! I did Ford warranty for several years and I was able to get recalled items covered for vehicles that had same failure but build dates were out of recall range. This was a bad product from a cheep Wiesel of a company that has no interest in customer satisfaction. I would love to see someone use the transmission out of mine... I think it is still good. I would be happy to let it go for $200 maybe less if I got the chance to Kick the %$^* out of it before it goes. I am keeping the tires though. :sick:
  • WOW!! $300 for the back 3 plugs! I can take my intake manifold off in my sleep! What a bunch of crooks. The intake gasket is totally reusable, I would do all 6 for $100 plus parts, all 6 should be no more than 3 hours lbr at the dealer. The grunting or creaking in the front end could also be the lower ball joint - they tend to seize, bad news is that you have to get the lower control arm as a unit... about $500 in Canada at the dealer for the part alone. I have been able to source aftermarket from same supplier that sells to Mazda for less than half, be careful though, there are cheep units that will literally pop apart.
  • brown26brown26 Posts: 2
    I had the same problem with coils, but when i first complained about the van jumping they told me to drive it until the engine light came on , when I took it back for service I was told the cat converter was bad now I am very upset I have had to pay over $4,000 in repairs and now I have been told to get rid of the van I feel this is too soon to scrap a 2003 I paid $33,000
  • If an MPV bucks at idle, it is very likely due to a major vacuum leak in the PCV hose that attaches the back of the intake manifold under the cowl. The hose makes a right angle bend (down toward the ground) immediately after exiting the intake manifold. The hose is a common point of value in all 2000-2006 Mazdas but the OE hose in 2002-2003 MPVs was particularly prone to early failure. Mazda issued a recall for these model years and replaced the part with a second generation design that typically lasts only two or three years before it fails in exactly the same place. The current part, which is a third generation design is more robust but it costs about $80 from a Mazda dealer.

    MPV coils do often fail but the bucking at idle symptom screams "PCV hose leak". Do a google search for PCV hose vacuum leak

    to find lots of threads on this topic.

    If you have prior experience working on MPVs to fix this problem, the hose is easy to replace. But it is difficult the first time because your have to do everything by feel. You cannot see the hose clamp or the right angle bend unless you remove the intake manifold. At, you will also find instructions on how to make a robust homebrew replace hose for $10-20.
  • I had some big problems early on in the first 2 years. 2002 MPV ES. first off there was a cracked manifold which needed to be replaced. 2 years later in 2004, the transmission went. My guess is I had less than 25k miles on it. It was replaced under warranty. For the most part have not had any other problems until recently, started hearing almost a metallic clinging for a couple months, now I am getting the bucking, in what feels like a transmission problem. Hopefully its the coil thing I have been reading about, but am bringing it to my mechanic because I don't trust the dealer. Van now has 108k miles.
  • kidsmom4kidsmom4 Posts: 1
    So I just got the 2000 MPV from a private party and he told me that it was in great condition and everything was new in it. Since I got it, it has bucked and had a whining sound. Since then it will not accelerate in D you have to start in 1st then shift into 2nd as the rpms rev up. Since then it jumps worse and slam's into gear. After u get to 40my MPH u can shift it in D. I'm guessing its the transmission. Fluid is good and hoses r fine so has anyone else had this problem? HELP
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