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Mazda 626 Troubles

bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
We have several new topics asking about various
Mazda 626 troubles. One was clutch related and we
have a clutch topic, but....

Let's use this topic to discuss all of our Mazda
626 troubles. I have copied a couple of posts here
to get us started.

Your host, Bruce.


  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    (trinacria2) Wed 22 Mar '00 (07:00 AM)

    My 1996 Mazda 626 LX 4 cyl AT has been giving me
    idle problems since once the battery went dead and
    the codes were erased. The idle sounds rough,
    specially during cooler days, and it is very
    sensitive to any electric load; even a turning
    light makes it shift up and down; in general there
    is a significant delay in idle compensation after
    electric load is applied. The local Mazda dealer
    told me that the idle control valve was bad and
    throttle body needed to be cleaned. I replaced the
    valve and cleaned throttle body, but didn't solve
    the problem. Another mechanic found a cracked
    vacuum cap and a tiny leak on the air intake pipe,
    after the computer. He told me that unmetered air
    was causing the idle problems. The leak was sealed
    but the idle is still rough and wavy. Does anyone
    have a clue about it? Why would an electric load
    affect the idle if the problem is really unmetered
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    of 1: (gdecapua) Fri 24 Mar '00 (07:34 AM)

    I have a '91 Mazda 626 with 172K miles. Overall,
    this has been a great car. However, recently I
    have noticed bucking at low speeds after the car
    has warmed up for about 15-20 minutes.

    I had it into the shop and they replaced the air
    intake hose which had a leak. It worked for about
    a week and started doing the same thing again.

    Any ideas on what this could be? I don't want to
    sink alot of money into the car but the bucking is
    beginning to bother me.
  • My '93 is a little bit ragged around idle speed (which is 700 rpm - have it checked with an external tach) when it's cold outside, but it smooths out somewhat after warming up. Pushing the climate-control fan speed to 3 or 4 does cause a temporary blip, but it recovers within a second or so. My best guess for trinacria2's 626 is that there is some minor electrical glitch that's not being compensated for properly - which will be a pain to diagnose.

    Incidentally, my idle got much buzzier this month, to the point that things actually seemed to be shaking. And it turns out that something was shaking; the plastic bracket that mounts the air tube to the metal bar that supports the radiator had broken through. I have no idea what this costs to fix, so in the meantime the bracket is being held together through the miracle of duct tape.
  • killroykillroy Posts: 1
    I had a 90 626LX that I liked a lot but it had a ugly encounter with a SUV. That car was extreemely trouble free (not in the shop once) and fun to drive(or should I say thrash ;-)). It had 120K at that time and I planned to drive it into the ground 200K+. I replaced all the typical parts that wear out my self. An air intake boot every 60K was the only thing I would consider out of the ordinary.

    After the demise of my 90 626 I had to replace it. I looked at the sport sedan field and wanted a VW Passat but it would have been an extra $5-7K equiped the same as the 626. My past experience, test drive, and the reviews were good so I bought a loaded 626ES V6 5 speed but am now having problems with it. The first being hesitation problems. This happenes in the mid range as mentioned in the other posts. You'd swear the thing was turbocharged. It also often hesitates when shifting causing the car to lurch.
    To overcome this I wind her up and shift very quickly. I've tried every type of gas to no effect. I took it in to a Mazda Dealer and went for a drive and the technition experienced the problem but said it was not significant enough to justify trouble shooting it(dull looks and shoulder shrugs)!! So for now I'm like everybody else waiting for solution.

    I am also experiencing intermittent ABS problems. Sometimes the warning lights come on when I start the car and stay on. If I shut the car off and restart it sometimes they go out other times not. Sometimes water from puddles or a carwash will cause the system to fail.

    Other than these minor problems (ha, ha, wink, wink)I like the car. It is more posh than my 90 was but I can see no love affair in our future.
  • number17number17 Posts: 69
    It sounds like it could be an O2 sensor problem ... which is pretty common for 626's ...

    Which yr is yours anyways?

  • teresasteresas Posts: 1
    I have a 93 626 and for the past 4-5 months have been having a problem with rough idling. Initially the dealer cleaned out the throttle body, then on the next trip in it was the idle speed control that was the problem. On the next diagnostic trip, the distributor cap was cracked and the rotors were bad (this was fixed without charge). The idle is still rough (it doesn't dot it every time the engine idles though). Now the dealer says I need a new distributor. I find it very hard to believe that the mechanic at the Mazda dealership cannot locate the source of this problem. I have invested quite a lot into trying to fix this problem, without any results. I am having another mechanic look at my car this week.
    If anyone has any helpful information please reply
  • I just got a 95 626 ES with 55,000 miles on it.

    I was driving about 65 mph for 30 miles and then turned into city, stop-and-go traffic. My car chugged and stalled twice while driving through town. I parked for five minutes and started it up going 50 mph for ten more miles with no problem. Any thoughts on this?

    I've also noticed that when it idles, it stalls if the oil cap is removed. Is this normal? There is evidence of a small oil leak somewhere.

    It's still under warranty, so I'd like to approach the dealer with some knowledge. Thanks.

  • sharmonsharmon Posts: 2
    I just purchased my first Mazda ever and bought a 626 LX V6. I really love the car and the way that it drives. However, within the first 50 miles, I noticed a light knocking noise coming from the engine only when it is in park with the air conditioning off(lowest possible RPM). As soon as it is in gear or the air is on the noise disappears. I returned it back to the dealer where they looked at the car for two days, tried many fixes, but were unable to solve it. They think it is being caused by some break in issue with the timing belt and that it will go away. Their advice, from their top tech was to continue the break in process and they would look at it at 3000 miles. At the time of this analysis, the car had only 600 miles. While driving, the engine runs and sounds great. I just wanted to know if anyone has had to deal directly with Mazda and how user friendly they are in dealing with warranty issues?
  • bkravitzbkravitz Posts: 1
    I've got a 90 Mazda 626 DX with 118K miles on it. Bought it used in 93. Been a great car but it's starting to burn more oil, about a quart every 1500 miles. I currently use 10W30 and live in Texas, which is pretty hot year round. A mechanic suggested I switch to a heavier oil (10W40?) to slow the burning. What do you think?

    Also, on hot days (over 90 degrees), the car is very sluggish. From reading some of the past posts, maybe my O2 sensor(s) are bad. How can I find out if these sensors (how many and where are they located) are bad and are they costly parts to replace (can I do it myself)?

    Thanks for the help. -Bruce
  • rgoldrgold Posts: 2
    (trinacria2)- i am having the same exact problems you are. i've brought it back several times. first they told me this was normal for a 4 cyl, but it didnt do it while it was new, next they found a bad ignition wire, then they played around with the motor mounts. it doesnt do it all the time, so maybe they didnt feel what i'm feeling. i think its definitely one of the sensors, probably the o2 sensor, but its also weird that the slightest elec. surge can throw this car out of whack, it must be a bad design. the car is in its last month of the 3 year warranty, i'm going to try one more time before its over, and if i cant get it fixed, then its time to see a Honda dealer. i'm out of patience.
  • rgold - I already gave up taking my car to Mazda since the warranty has expired and they charge way too much for the quality of work they perform. I have found a mechanic that was trained at a Ford-Mazda dealer and he seems to know a lot about the car. He is still convinced that it is a problem of unmetered air leaking in from the plastic box placed right after the computer. This would explain the fact that the idle is rough during cooler days or when the engine is not hot yet. He tryed to seal the box without replacing it, and it slightly improved for few days, but now it is getting worse. He tracked the air leak by listening to and following a subtle whistle with the engine at idle. It is something you may want to consider and suggest to your mechanic. However, I am not convinced this is the only problem. In fact, it does not seem to explain why the idle is so sensitive to any electric load. Please let me know if this helps or if you solve your problem by replacing the O2 sensor!

  • kris1013kris1013 Posts: 2
    Recently, due to my return to college, I sold my 98 Honda Civic because the payments were high. I bought a 97 626 LX with low miles pretty cheap - THIS IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE I HAVE EVER MADE!!! I have had the car for a week, and I can't even get a MA inspection sticker. The starter and the cadaliddic (?) converter need to be replaced. Because I bought the car in NH, I have no recourse. Is anyone else having such problems? The car has only 27,000 miles on it. I think I have been hosed!
  • kris1013kris1013 Posts: 2
    Me again, this morning my clutch broke. The dealer told me I have a negative attitude - hah!!
  • anu0anu0 Posts: 13
    I've got a 94 626LX 4 cylinder with the Ford automatic transmission. It's only got 89,000 miles on it and already needs to be replaced because it's venting tranny fluid.

    Had an independent tranny shop look at it and they confirmed that the only fix was a rebuild and this problem is pretty common for 93 to 94 Mazda 626. I was told that the 95 models and later had redesigned transmissions to address this premature failures.

    Has anyone had similar problems to mine?
  • I tried many small things before finally finding another '93 626 owner who had the same problem as I did. He replaced his spark plug wires and that fixed the problem. Both of our cars had the same amount of mileage (about 70,000miles, 100,000 km).

    I did the same thing and voila! The rough idling is gone. The cost was about $100 CDN ($60 US) to buy the parts and install myself. Mazda parts were a bit expensive; I picked some up from PartSource.

    Good luck.
  • The Ford CD4E box wasn't used until model year 1994. The first couple of years, there were problems with blowing out the pump gasket, which would explain the Dexron hemorrhage. Ford redesigned the pump plate and gasket in the fall of '96 to take care of that problem - and yes, the new plate will fit the old transmission. There were other problems with the early CD4E, but this is the one that seems most pertinent.

    The Mazda slushbox used in all '93s and the six-cylinder cars afterwards has its own set of quirks.
  • breaksrbreaksr Posts: 9
    Kristin, fear not. Pollution control systems on all cars are warrantied for five years unlimited mileage (Federal law). So if it is the catalytic converter it has to be replaced by the dealer for free. Also I am surprised that vehicle is not under manufacturer warranty for other problems given the warranty is 3 years 36K miles. I have a '96 which is also a piece of junk so I know how you feel.
  • I also had a great experience with an earlier version of the Mazda 626, which prompted me to buy (new) a 93 626 LX 4cyl AT. As much as I like the look and feel of this car, it's pretty much been a dud. Luckily, a lot of the repairs were performed under the extended warranty (although not without a lot of legal wrangling, including a class action lawsuit against the insurer).

    I'm certainly no mechanic, but here's a list of some of the problems I've encountered which I don't consider ordinary maintenance (correct me if I'm wrong): (1) new transmission (to add insult to injury, they installed a defective rebuilt transmission which failed 3 months later); (2) shift lock repair; (3) leaking valve cover gaskets and freeze plugs; (4) replaced air bag module and control unit; (5) replaced stop light checker and relay; (6) air conditioner gasket repair; (7) repairs to the lifters and cruise control; (8) air conditioner compressor repair (after this point the extended warranty expired); (9) something called the "rocker pulley harmonic balancer" (are they yanking my chain?); and (10) replacement of the "air flow monitor".

    And yes, I am getting rid of the car. By the way, I had the same stalling problem as cbharvest -- replacement of the air flow monitor seems to have cured things. Now if we can figure out how to fix the idling problem (the latest development). Has anyone else tried replacing the spark plug wires as suggested by dougmckeen?
  • brendan7brendan7 Posts: 1
    I have a 95 LX 4 cyl and mixed feelings. I like the way the car handles. I have the same problem as some of you with my idling. When I have the car in park, with the headlights, radio, and power windows rolling, I can almost get the damn thing to stall, warm engine or no. Also my headlightes aren't very bright, but I don't know if this is the same problem. I had new wires put on it two years ago, and I noticed the electrical load thing sometime after that (could have been a year) but I don't think I need new wires yet.

    I had my airflow meter replaced after it shorted a little less than two years ago. The dealer said that this was the problem when I took it to them with an engine light symptom.

    Since I have started delivering food for Jason's Deli, I've noticed that the car doesn't like to be run all day without mildly overheating the engine. This could be due to the stop-and-go, high acceleration city driving that is required in the delivery racket, or the fact that my radiator spoiler is in shambles (from hitting a lot of parking blocks).

    Recently, I had three of my motor mounts replaced, which remedied rough idling while in drive. This cost about $750 from a SAAB mechanic.

    At 102k, the engine still purrs nicely, but I am worried about the AT. I don't know what's wrong with it, and I don't know much about trannies, but it doesn't like to downshift without a big fuss. It also clunks in a lot. The 'D' light on my dash never comes on, but it was like that when we bought it used two years ago and I think it is actually just burnt out.

    If anyone can offer any advice to me, I would be greatfull. I like this car even though it is getting old, and I'm wondering wether or not the tranny is altogether spent.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    The 626 is very much like the little girl with the little curl right in the middle of her forehead; when she's good, she's very, very good, but when she's bad, you want to drown her in the dirty old river that runs by the coalyard in old Shantytown. :)

    Of Disenchanted's ten problems, I have had one - there's a bit of weeping from my valve-cover gasket. Unfortunately, these aren't the sturdiest automatics in the world, and I figure I'm probably living on borrowed time in my own '93. Certainly I wouldn't consider any of those items "ordinary maintenance". And warranty companies - but I digress.

    As for Brendan's tranny, well, it's hard to say how long he has before the slushbox turns to slag, but a lot of people have reported CD4E transmission failures way before 102,000 miles. Were it my car, I'd spend the $100 for a flush - there's no bottom pan, so dropping the pan isn't an option, really - and see what happens.
  • kappskapps Posts: 2
    There are 3 mazda 626's in my family, and we have had little trouble ('94 DX auto, '96 LX auto, and '97 LX std). Recently, the auto trans in the 96 died - locked up and would not move. No previous indication of problems (no leaks or power loss). At 66K miles the warranty was off and it was over 3 years old. I had it towed to the dealer and Mazda offered a rebuilt trans at cost. It still cost me $1000, but could have been $1750. From all the messages about auto transmissions problems, it appears that it is a weak link for 626s. I am wondering if others have seen that Mazda is helping with the cost of auto transmission problems.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    The thing is, the dealership isn't expected to repair automatics on site, except for things like seals and gaskets, and maybe the pump. Mazda North American Operations expects the transmission to be replaced if it's anything more complicated than that.

    And, more to the point, kapps and family own three Mazdas. It's definitely in Mazda's best interest to keep them happy; the company might think twice about someone who posts all over the Net that he'll never buy another Mazda, even at gunpoint.

    (Disclosure: I have a Web page which details some of the 626 tranny problems. God only knows what Mazda thinks of that, or what they will do when my own 626 gets towed into the dealership.)
  • overtonoverton Posts: 3
    I hear some of you complaining about rough idle, and then replacing the plug wires and it is fixed. Don't jump so quick as to think that has solved anything. In my 100,000 mile experience with the 2.5 V-6 I can tell you to have your valve cover gaskets replaced about every 30K miles. This engine is notorious for problems in this area. What happens is that they leak oil into the plug wells causing the wires and plugs to go bad and therefore causing rough idle. To see what I am talking about pull the plugs out one at a time and check to see if they are coated with oil, if so there is your problem. The quick fix is to replace the wires, but they will only fail after a while costing more money. The typical cost for this repair is around $400-$500, but your car will run like new. This information only applies to the V-6.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    This is also true of the 2.0-liter Four; however, there's only the single bank of cylinders, so it won't cost quite so much to fix.
  • dougmckeendougmckeen Posts: 2
    I posted earlier that changing the spark plug wires fixed my rough idling. On May 7, Overton posted that it may be the Valve Cover Gaskets. Overton may well be correct. One of my plugs was quite oily when I pulled it. I haven't checked them lately, but I might on the weekend.

    I suppose the trade off is $60 for new wires every X?? years versus $400-500 every 30k miles (2 years for me). Are there any other problems with having bad gaskets?

  • overtonoverton Posts: 3
    In reponse to dougmckeen:

    Here are problems that I have found to be true with bad valve cover gaskets: Rough Idle, & loss of power are the main two, try to imagine your car with two less cylinders. As for keeping on replacing the wires & plugs they go bad shortly after you put them in. Best thing you can do is try and find a mechanic to give you a good deal. Bad part is that to get to the back valve cover gasket on the V-6 you have to take a whole lot of stuff apart, the last mechanic that did mine could not believe how hard it was. Chances are the price will be constant because of this, but I would definatley see a mechanic about this, and also I don't know how many miles(km) you have on your car, but it is very easy to change the timing belt while doing this procedure since the engine is apart anyways, might be worth an extra 50bucks instead of having to pay 250-300 later. If you have anymore questions you can e-mail me at [email protected] I have been through this procedure so many times, that by the 2nd time I could tell the mechanic exactly what was wrong before he even looks at the car.
  • ilya4ilya4 Posts: 1
    auto trans died.
    I own 97 Mazda 626 97. There only 48k and trans is dead. While car was on a warranty I've heard some rumors about transmission problem Mazda 626 had. I dropped my car for the oil change at dealership in Vienna, VA at inquired about this problem from Service manager. He assured that he never heard about this problem, but suggested to use an innovative transmission service for about $120-130 that changed transmission fluid under the pressure ( technology). So... my transmission is dead and I barely made to the same dealership.
    Their estimation is replace the entire transmission at cost $2,700 + tax.
    Anyone experienced similar problem?
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    I rather doubt that the flush procedure, if it was done correctly, actually killed the transmission.

    If you have the four-cylinder 626, you have the LA4-EL transmission, which is actually Ford's CD4E, and the old drop-the-pan-and-change-the-filter transmission service doesn't work for it, since it doesn't have a bottom pan to drop; you have to do some serious disassembly to get to the filter. All the more reason to do the flush, I'd say. (I had this done on my '93, which has a different transmission, last year, with no discernible ill effects.)

    Still, if they botched the job, they could have done all manner of damage.
  • sashtonsashton Posts: 1
    Has anyone out the had problems with the "valve lash adjustments?" I do not know what this is, but my mechanic said that they need to be replaced. It causes a clicking noise in the engine. The mechanic says that it has been listed in the OASIS as a problem with the Mazda 626 (I have a 93 with a 2.0L L4FI). Wanted to know if this had anything to do with the valve cover gaskets or the idling problem, which I have had as well.
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    The infamous Mazda tick. The 2.0 (and some other Mazda engines) have hydraulic lash adjusters; they ostensibly do not require routine maintenance, but they have a tendency to sludge up with age. Before spending the long dollar on new HLAs, see if they will respond to cleaning. At the very least, change the oil and filter, this time with Mazda's OEM filter (which has a trick drainback valve) and a good synthetic oil, and see if it makes any difference in the noise level. This may be peripherally related to idle problems, though probably not to problems with the valve cover gasket (which likely will be changed anyway if you have to get at those HLAs).
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