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Mazda 626 Troubles



  • is there anything to watch out for when buying a 1994 626 with the 6 cylinder and 5 spd?
  • Remind me to write a Used 626 FAQ one of these years. :)

    Known issues:
    1. Oxygen sensors - you have two - tend to start fuzzing up around 60k.
    2. CV boots start getting flaky around 75k.
    3. Some OEM ignition modules have been known to go into thermal overload. The fix involves grafting a new module onto the distributor, or replacing the distributor outright.
    4. Oil in the plug-wire wells - sign of valve-cover gasket leakage.
    5. Sticking rear brake calipers. (Often this manifests itself as a hand brake that won't release.)
    6. Ticking noises, audible at idle, usually (though not always) coming from hydraulic valve-lash adjusters.
    #1, #2, #4 and #6 can afflict any fourth-generation 626; #3 and #5 tend to be '93 and '94 (some '95s) only.
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    There is a WEB site I discovered recently.
    Lot of very competent and usefull info there IMHO (don't just read the beginning - there is more +links at the bottom).
    Anyway - felt like sharing this with you guys.
  • I'm just about to get rid of my 1990 Mazda 626 (purchased new in 1989). Here's my tips on fixing some of the problems we encountered. Hope it helps!

    Leak in Trunk - the water is coming in through the tail lights. Get rid of the foam seals around the plastic light covers and use silicone caulk instead. It might be harder if you ever have to remove the plastic light cover, but it stops the leaks!

    "bucking" when you are at a stoplight or idling- The problem is the air/fuel mixture and the transmission. We can't help there - we still have the problem.
  • Thanks for the note on the 90 626. I have had the same problem with water in the trunk, to the point that it mildewed and rusted parts of my golf bag and stuff.

    I had replaced the trunk seal but that only partially helped. Then I -"shhhh"- broke a taillight and when I replaced the whole assembly -$50- the problem almost went away. I can't tell for sure as we have had a drought in the south for some time now.

    No problem with bucking - but I have a stick - if it did buck it would be the operator - ME !

    Since I last wrote "knocking on wood", I have had to replace a CV joint. I didn't think that was the problem, but she is back to cruisin' now. Thanks.
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    I have '94 626 ES auto. Transmission shifts very hard 1-2. Took it to AAMCO. It's easy to guess - they said - must rebuild. So I went to a mechanic I trust. Drained the ATX fluid and put TrickShift from B&M. It did make a difference (not only in the color - it's blue, not red :) ). Now it's way better than it was. Still - you feel it when it shifts, but it doesn't crash kidney stones anymore and I can save on dental as well :))

    (it costs about ~4.50US a bottle, but in my oppinion it's worth it every penny)

    Thought that might help someone here...
  • I a 1990 MX-6 2.2l that "bucked" in low gear. My brother had a 626 2.2l with the same problem. The cause in both cases was a tear in the accordian like air hose that connects the air flow sensor to the intake manifold. You have to look carefully in the folds to find the tear. If that is the problem, you can fix it easily yourself for about $60 and basic tools.
  • Just wondered if anyone out there knew of any problem areas with this year? Is the engine reliable in this year? How about the automatic transmission? I've read that these engines produce 170 hp. Is this correct? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • First year of the fifth generation, though it's not much different from the fourth except in dimensions - powertrains were (mostly) carried over. The V6 is 170 hp at 6000 rpm.

    There were some engine changes for '98: no more hydraulic valve-lash adjusters (you get to have your lash inspected every 60k miles now), and no more distributor (replaced by a waste-spark system). If anything, these should improve reliability slightly.

    The autobox is the same old GF4A-EL - not bulletproof, but not bad.

    The only thing I don't like about the '98 is the softened-up suspension, compared with the '93-'97 cars, but some people like the way it goes down the road just fine, and it's not tuned for maximum wallow like some other cars you could probably name.

    As with any 626, have a look at the valve-cover gaskets and the CV boots.
  • Model: 1993 Mazda 626 ES V6
    Symptom: If I start the car without warming up, the check engine light will go out after one mile or so. Then I restart the engine, the light will go away. If I start the car with warming up first, there is no such problem.

    Would someone please tell if this is caused by something wrong with my car, or something wrong with my driving habit. Thanks.
  • You'll have to pull those codes, or have them pulled for you, before you can be sure what's going on. If drivability isn't suffering, you might have an oxygen sensor on the edge of expiration and the computer is compensating - for now.
  • Thanks Windowphobe6. You are a kind person.

    Today I made a stupid mistake to guess the antitheft code of my radio(because it never worked since I bought it), after three times the system didn't let me guess any more. Now there is only 'ERR' flashing on the radio display and in addition the CD player also doesn't work now. Would you please tell me how much is cost of my mistake? Thanks again for any advice from you.
  • wjm1: Do you know if trickshift is safe for a new car? I'm seriously considering replacing the auto transmission fluid in my 00LXv6 with this product to further improve the shifts. I checked B&M's website and found that they don't recommend it for newer cars.

  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    It is not recommended for newer than 1998 transmissions. Go to B&M Racing and check it for yourself. If I was you I'd probably switch to a full synthetic ATX fluid (AMSOIL/Mobil1/RedLine) and install an auxilary cooler. That and 30K drain intervals should keep your ATX healthy.
  • Which, of course, means Radio Anti-Theft System. :(

    I rather suspect this will require the dealer to enter a series of arcane codes, for which he will charge you a body part of his choice. (Then again, he might think it's a neat idea to make you buy a whole new audio unit.) I have no doubt that this is reprogrammable, though I've never actually done one.

    The guys at have detailed the procedures for restoring the systems in Miatae; I have no idea whether it will work in other Mazdas, but if you want to give it a try, head over to and read through the FAQs. Even if it doesn't work, you're no worse off than you are now.
  • Thanks for the info!
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    After reading many posts in Probe Talk site I got worried. The guys over there consistency report more than 24mpg on on mixed why/sty driving.
    The best I have ever seen from my 626 was 22 and that was only why with no speeding.
    Usually it is 17-20. Checked the engine codes (suspected O2 sensors going bad) - no codes whatsoever. live in N. California, so the winter fuel here contributes to the bad numbers as well, but it still damn bad to me consider the up and size of the engine.
    What do you think about that?

    :qbrozen (297) you might want to check the Probe Talk site as well for the after market info as well.

    '94 Mazda 626 ES (V6)
  • Now you know why they call it an "estimate".

    There are a lot of factors involved in determining one's fuel-consumption figures, not all of which are easily controlled. Of course, driving style is a major contributor, and someone who drives as though there were an egg under the gas pedal will likely score better-looking numbers than someone who takes "Zoom Zoom" as an imperative, but the tires on which you drive, the surfaces those tires must endure, the winds you must face (or have at your back), and the occasional whims of fortune play a role too, and you're pretty much stuck with them. Except for the tires, of course.
  • The guy at Mazda dealer unlocked the anti-theft code very quickly using a trick, but he said he cannot disclose it to me. It will be great if someone can list the procedure here, in case it goes wrong again next time. (Thanks Windowphobe6, but the procedure listed on doesn't work for my Mazda 3263 AM/FM Tape system.)
  • At least you got it fixed, and I really don't blame the dealer for not giving it out. (And I don't have it in my files anywhere.)
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    Well, yes - I know all that. But when you're constantly under the estimate (17-20 when the lover estimate is 20) there should be something wrong...either with the car or with the estimate, right?
    I am definitelly not a hwy star, not a street racer and I have tried it really easy with the car. I did not see noticable, if any, difference in the MPG whatsoever.
    ...which is kind of sad, considering that many other much bigger and powerfull V6s are getting much better numbers as well...
  • Probably half the cars out there, even in Lake Wobegon, get below-average gas mileage. :)

    I had an ancient Toyota Celica that never, ever got above 18 mpg in town, and only once approached 30 mpg on the highway, and that was with a curio cabinet lashed to its roof. (The aerodynamics must have been so bad that the furniture actually improved them.) Nothing I did would bring up the numbers; eventually I quit trying, because I'd already spent more than the potential fuel savings just replacing parts.
  • I am currently looking at a new 626ES/V-6 with a sticker price of $24465. Can anyone give me an idea of what a good price for this would be? Also are there any opinions good or bad on the new model.
  • Using the True Market Value (tm) calculator at (a really neat little feature), I plugged in an ES V6 with automatic and side airbags - with the destination charge, it comes to exactly $24,465 MSRP - and they say $23,357, not counting any rebates or other incentives that might be part of the deal. (Note that they don't figure any kind of break on the destination charge; you're pretty much stuck with it.)
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    If you are OK with spending that money - go ahead and buy a Maxima instead.
  • I'm thinking about buying a 98 Mazda 626 LX with 34,000 miles for 11,000. I've never driven a Mazda and want a reliable car. Is this a good price? How does this car do in the snow? Should I buy a used Honda Accord instead?
  • I think the engine/transmission combination is the biggest variable with regard to reliability...

    If it is the 4 cylinder with the automatic, it sounds like you could be in for some trouble...

    As far as snow, I have the V-6 and a 5 spd, which comes with slightly wider tires. I've never been really impressed with the cars ability in snow, at least when compared to other front-drive cars I've owned before. My guess would be that the front is relatively light, and the wider tires don't help either.

    As far as the Accord goes, they are excellent cars, but in my opinion, quite a bit smaller inside. We test drove a 97 Accord before we bought the 626, and felt that the interior was a bit cramped, particularly the back seat.

    That's my two-cents!!!
  • Yes... the 626 that I'm looking at is a 4 cyl. automatic. So your advice is much appreciated!
  • I have had my car for 3 months, 3,000 miles and I am finding on the drivers seat bottom (side closest to the door) and back (closest to the door) the leather is starting to show wear (cracks). This is the only place the leather is wearing as I don't have many passengers to see if it would wear anywhere else. My dealer said the district manager will have to take a look before any decision is made and they need to see other Mazda's with the same mileage to compare. Please help me to understand why this is happening. I did not want leather in the first place and still dislike it. Thanks.
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