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Mazda 626 Troubles



  • jrybaljrybal Posts: 1
    I own a 97 626 with a total of 80k miles. I have had to replace the transmission twice now because the "O/D" light keeps coming on and off, thus, making the transmission run very roughly. Any suggestions about writing to Mazda to have them pay for the cost of replacement???
  • There is a small group on the Delphi discussion site that has gone through this already. If you don't mind registering at a Web site - it won't cost anything but an occasional email - go to and look for the Mazda Transmission Failure forum. Their insights are likely to be superior to mine, inasmuch as I've never actually had one fail.
  • The engine light indicator in our Mazda 626 '95 4 cyl comes on and off while we are driving and sometimes while in idle. Our mechanic has replaced the temp sensor, checked the O2 sensor, changed the spark plugs, fuel sensor, and air filter. He also has done a tune up and the light is still coming on. Before he did this work, he was getting a 181 code on the computer, Fuel system at rich limit. Any ideas before we return to the shop are much appreciated.
  • A lot of things are read by that pesky little light, and if the engine is running well otherwise, you'll have to have the diagnostics done to know for sure what the problem is.

    Some Mazda guys swear by "When in doubt, change the plug wires," and if you're still running on the originals, you're due.
  • (I just read the original version of this on another topic.) Usually, there has to be a fairly obvious problem for you to be running a risk in continuing to operate the vehicle; if it's behaving itself, you're probably not hurting it any, except to move up the failure time for the flaky component(s). Some people with this engine have been looking at the CEL for literally thousands of miles.

    Computer problems are uncommon, but possible, and the little buggers are expensive to repair and even more expensive to replace outright. If everything else checks out, though - and you'll have to have some serious circuit testing to be sure - then it pretty much has to be the computer. If the car's running well enough, I'd ignore the light until something serious happens.
  • strodstrod Posts: 1
    I'm thinking about buying a 98 626 4 cyl automatic From what I can tell the tranny was redone for this model year. I would appreciate any comments if all the transmission problems were cleared up or are still occuring.
  • Having replaced my '93 4 cyl. 626 LX transmission twice, I am not without sympathy for these folks, but let's get back to the rough idle problem for a moment...

    Has anyone found the source of this problem, but more to the point, a credible fix for the same? There are times when the engine is running so rough at a stop that I think it's going to die on me. (I do have regular maintenance performed, but my dealer remains clueless.) Your thoughts on the matter would be appreciated.
  • (Re rough idle) I forgot to mention in my earlier posting that I had the dealer check the plug wires and no oil was found....

    Thanks for sharing your time and knowlege.
  • The first order of business is to verify that the engine is set to idle at the correct speed (generally 700 rpm). There's an air-adjustment screw on the throttle body. (Mixture is not adjustable, except by the computer.)

    I'd check, after that, the IAC valve, to make sure it's not gunked up or sticking. (Usually it can be cleaned; in really horrid cases, it must be replaced, but usually when it gets to this point, the engine won't idle at all.) Deposits on the valve, or on the throttle body or in the injection system, will cause undesirable results, so cleaning is definitely your first priority.

    After that, look for air leaks - it's possible for cracks to develop in the intake tube - and for deposits in the mass-airflow sensor. Lots of possibilities, so it's better to take them one at a time.
  • One of the worst problems with the CD4E - the tendency to blow out the pump gasket - was fixed in late '96. The coast/forward-clutch assembly was redesigned in '98, so a '98 model almost certainly has the first fix in place and perhaps the second, depending on how late in the year it was produced. (As I understand things, the running change was implemented 1/9/98 on the transmission production line; exactly when the newer trannys showed up at Flat Rock, I don't know for certain.)
  • To whom ever,

    Would the fact you used regular gas instead of premium in a V6 cause the O2 sensors to go bad early?
  • I recently got a used 1995 Mazda 626 4c LX. Whenever I press gas, it sounds rough. And when I make a sudden acceleration or use air conditioner for more than 10 min., the engine light" engine electrical system" comes on. Any ideas about what happened and how to fix them will be appreciated. Thanx!
  • Are there any known problems with with year? it seems as if everyone is talking about all the years excet 97. i'm thinking of buying one with 37k miles, and i'd appreciate any advice i can get.

  • There really aren't any. The five-speeds, while notchy to some, are generally reliable, and the few engine issues that cropped up with the fourth-generation 626 had been pretty much disposed of by '97. Clutch-disc wear on these things is, of course, highly dependent upon driving style. I'd have no qualms about buying a stick-shift '97.
  • To follow on robaltima's question: Would an oxygen sensor go bad after extended periods of lower octane than expected? Probably not, but then the lifetime on these little critters is so wildly variable that it's impossible to say for sure.

    And for indianaalien: The Malfunction Indicator Light, to give it its full name, is telling you that something is wrong, and that a code has been set to identify what is wrong. Get a scanning tool, or get to a shop that has one, and pull that code, and you'll know what the problem is.
  • This is definitely not a problem limited to the 4 cylinder. My '96 Mazda 626 LX V-6 with only 82,000 cost $2,000 to rebuild the transmission. Very, very disappointing. I also own an '87 which just turned 140,000. It has been such a great car, it is the reason I purchased the '96. Oddly enough, today I am dropping off the '96 at the shop to have the valve cover/gaskets/wires/plugs replaced. I have oil in my plugs too and it is driving poorly. It is idling around 1700 rpm. and at times will crank up to 6000 rpm before kicking into 2nd gear. I should be fine tomorrow.
  • Actually, apart from pump configuration and solenoid count (which changed in '93), it's basically the same transmission in both years. Did they tell you which part(s) failed? (One known weak point in all the G4A-EL variants is a turbine shaft O-ring that seals the oil feed to the 3-4 clutch pack.)
  • I bought a 94 Mazda 626 last month with 70k mi on it. After spending $680 to change the timing belt, power belt, oil, battery, and have the trans fluid, it runs good. But today, the "HOLD" light keeps flashing, and the trans works roughly. I have met the same problem when bought that car. But the mech in dealer told me that's because one of the connector of trans was loose. After he tighted it, it runs good for two weeks. Today, I have read so many posts about the problems on 626's trans, I wonder if there is any problem on my car? Can anyone tell me what the problem is before the dealer service charge me too much? Thank you for all your help!!!
  • The problem with our 1995 626 4cyl has been fixed. Our mechanic did another test and got a code 181 again. This time he cleaned the air flow meter. He thinks we let the air filter go for too long and this let dirt get in. The engine light has not come on again for the last two days, in town and highway driving. Hope this is helpful to someone else.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Thanks for the feedback!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • In Mazdaspeak, this is an electrical problem with the transmission - either one of the solenoids, or one of the engine components upon which the transmission depends for information. Some of the '94s had a screwy speedo gear, so it's possible that the tranny is being told to shift at speeds it simply can't believe - in which case, it drops to its "fail-safe" mode and does a good imitation of a worn-out three-speed. Contrary to popular belief, this does not necessarily mean the transmission is about to melt down. When flashing, the HOLD light sets codes, just like the regular MIL, so you need those codes pulled before you go any further.
  • My '87 626 (4 cyl) is a 5-speed. The '96 626 (V-6) is an automatic. The '96 has an E-CAT Transmission - computerized. Fortunately the electronics were not damaged. I don't remember exactly what on the transmission was damaged -- I did see it once they took it apart --- lots of metal shavings in the pan. It was starting to get chewed up pretty good.

    As a side note -- on my '96 --- it only cost me $224 (US) to have the valve cover gaskets replaced and to do my 90k service. 50% of that bill was from the Mazda wires ($119).
  • I bought a 93 626 v6 in Oct 1998 with 40K miles.
    With in 6 months I had to replace both front wheel
    bearings and spark plug wires (at about 45Kmiles). In June of 1999,
    While on vacation in California I had to have the
    Transmission rebuilt to the tune of $3,000 (I was
    ripped off I know but I was stuck, what could I
    do). 5 months later my wife told me the oil light
    was on so I checked the oil and the level was fine
    but a few miles down the road the engine ceased.
    The top end was not getting oil due to all the gunk
    that had built internally. I had religiously
    changed the oil but I guess the previous owner did
    not. $2,700 . In July of 2000 I noticed the AC was
    not working as well as it used to so I took it in
    for a service and they told me it took very little
    freon and they could not detect any leaks. The AC
    only worked for a day but I was moving to a new
    state and could not get it back in before the move.
    A new mechanic tells me I have two leaks and one
    Of them is a pretty good one. The estimate is about
    $600. When I moved I had the car transported and the
    transport called me and told me the rear driver side brake
    would not release. It had to be towed to a dealer in my new
    state and they determined that it was not transport related
    so I had to pay them $200 to replace the caliper.
    Also, the engine light has been turning
    on and off since before the transmission troubles,
    the code says it's an oxigen sensor. The car
    still appears to be in good shape but it has bleed
    us dry and I now detest the sight of it. I should have
    dumped it long ago but I’m not that smart and as it
    stands today I still owe $3,400 on the beast.
    Does any one have any advice on dealing with a used lemon?
  • My mistake; I thought you were implying that the '87 was also an automatic.
  • I bought my '93 in fall 1998 with 80k miles, and it's exhibited hardly any of those symptoms, so apparently there was a reason the previous owner of lemonman's 626 only put 40k miles on it in five years. :(

    If I remember correctly, the '93 takes only 1.7 lb of R-12. (The '94 was switched to R-134.)

    Rear calipers this year did have a tendency to lock up. But those other problems, except perhaps the oxygen sensor, are fairly atypical. I'm just wondering what that previous owner did, or didn't, to induce all these failures.
  • I'm not sure I agree that the problems you are experiencing are so atypical (see my earlier posting at #19). Too many others have reported transmission, air flow meter, leaking valve cover, ac, oxygen sensor, idling, etc. problems. I am the original owner and followed the maintenance schedule faithfully, so I don't think this can be passed off as the prior owner's poor maintenance or driving habits.

    I don't know why I haven't junked this car yet. Yes, I do -- I don't need another car payment and there's a part of me that always thinks I've fixed all the really bad stuff so things should be ok now. Stupid, delusional, freakishly loyal? I don't know.
  • And not stupid either. Buying something new is bound to cost you more than fixing up the next thing to go wrong.

    How about "high threshold of pain"?

    And let it be said, this particular series was generally more reliable in its third generation ('88 through '92) than in its fourth ('93 through '97). Whether this is due to the switch to US assembly or not is unclear. (The MX-6 and Probe were already being made in Flat Rock before 626 production started there.) Either way, the jury is still out on the fifth.
  • rg1495rg1495 Posts: 1
    Hi, I am planning to buy a used Mazda 626 V6,1994 model. I think it was the first time 6 cylinder engine was introduced...Is there anybody who has any experiences with the same model????.....if you could send in your comments I would be more than obliged....Hoping to hear from ya all soon....Thanks a lot
  • jpg10jpg10 Posts: 8
    Hello all, I am new and desperately seeking help from this board. I own a 1996 Mazda 626, 4 clylinder etc., and this is my story. One day at 80,000 miles the o/drive off button started flashing then a few days later the check engine light came on and then they both stayed on. Off to the dealership to learn that I had torc converter slipage and needed a new transmission for 2,700. Got a second opinion and then a third...had the transmission re-built for 1,600. 12month guarantee. Well we picked it up from its 19th visit to the shop thursday only to have the o/drive light start flashing again. It always goes away if you cut the car off and start again but the little phantom always returns...oh let me back up....burned up a 2nd transmission as the repair man said don't worry about the light you can drive it to the zoo. Well its stuck in third gear at 5,000rpms and my two year old in the car...What a nightmare. I need car THERAPY or prozac one after this experience. Picked it up thursday and the light returned. Learned that only Mazda has the equipment to properly diagnose the problem. They won't sell it to independants...I wonder why? They want to keep their rotten car problems a secret is my best geuss. Enough is going to the dealership tommorow for another 80.00 diagnosis..the third. If it is mechanical I will sue the repair place to get it fixed but if its electrical I will be further in the hole. Has anyone got insight into this problem. It has been to an auto electric specialist and had loose ground wires fixed, it has a cooling system on torc converter, new plugs and a tune up.
    I would appreciate any help you can give....
  • This is the second year a six-cylinder engine was offered in the 626. Potential issues include sticking rear brake calipers, possible thermal overload in the ignition module (if it dies at high speed and then starts right up after a few minutes, you've got it), and the usual panoply of 626 oddities that came in with the '93s. Also, this is an interference engine, so if the timing belt goes, so does the top of the engine. As far as reliability goes, Consumer Reports turns its editorial thumb down on the '94; it's possible to get a good one, but you really need a detailed vehicle history on any middle-90s 626.
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