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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.)
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
  • 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.
  • Hello all.

    I was having a serious start-up noise problem stemming from the lack of oil at the top of the engine. It was exacerbated on cold mornings. This rattle would go away after 5 minutes or so.

    The car had been making these noises for the past 30,000 miles. But since the owner's manual mentions that start-up noises are to be expected from time to time, I blew it off.

    I became more concerned, though, as the sounds became increasingly louder and taking longer to subside. So, I perused this thread hoping to find out what was going on and found that many of you had experienced the same problem. The HLAs were not "pumped up" because of using generic oil filters sans flow back valves.

    To get to the heart of the matter, I bought some OEM oil filters and changed the oil (my first use of synthetic, BTW). When I started it up this morning (about 25 degrees F), there was little rattling. There was still some sound, but it was muted compared to previous start-ups.

    This leads me to a question. If one does nothing to correct the HLA noise, will it cause long term problems? As I mentioned, I ignorantly let it continue for 30,000 miles (55,000 mile total on my '95) and all seems well: no power loss, good fuel economy, etc.

    What do you think?
  • It's unlikely you've done substantial damage; if you had, the switch to the OEM filter and synthetic oil wouldn't have made very much difference in the noise level. If you stay with this regimen, you shouldn't have major problems with the valvetrain for quite a long time.

    And there are a couple of noises that masquerade convincingly as HLA noise: the most notorious is a ticking from the friction gear spring on the exhaust cam. This isn't a cause for concern either. (If the sound is much more noticeable near cylinder #1, and it disappears abruptly above 2000 rpm or so, suspect the friction gear; it is possible to have both noises at once.)
  • I have a '94 Mazda 626 LX, which is not running smoothly since the weather gets cold. For example, when I stop the car at the traffic light, there is some wierd loud noise coming from the engine (or the air hose). There is no noise when I am driving or the shift is put to Park.
    The big problem started from yesterday. When I started the car last night, and turned on the highlight, the battery light flashed once. Then later, when I arrived at home, and shift the gear from drive to park, the idle began to drop and rise, and the car shaked with it. Today, this parking problem happened twice. Then, in my third trip, the car is hard to start. When I just turn on the engine, the idle begin to rise. But then the battery light lights up and the oil light follows also, and then the idle drops down to zero and the engine is dead. I have to start it two or three times to make the engine finally stay alive. I will go to a mechanics on Monday. Before I do that, I am hoping some of you might give me some idea of what could be the problem. I Thanks in advance!
    By the way, the MPG of my car is extremely low, only 14-15 lately. But I always heated the car 4-5 minutes before I went on driving since the weather is cold.
  • It's not easy to pinpoint these things, especially if no codes are being set - you didn't mention the MIL coming on - so I'm guessing that there are two factors in play here:
    • The battery is weak, because of the cold, perhaps because the alternator is under spec, or maybe it's just old;
    • The engine computer, possibly affected by irregularities in its power supply, is having trouble compensating for an idle-speed variation.
    You mentioned a noise possibly coming from an air hose, which suggests a vacuum leak somewhere - which would certainly mess up the idle. Also, the tubing to and from the air filter can crack, which can cause irregular inputs to the mass airflow meter. I'd check out all the rubber and plastic parts before I started spending money on electric gizmos. And it's conceivable that at least some of this is battery-related; if the battery is questionable, the computer may behave in a manner contrary to its programming. (I had a '93 with a couple of minor weirdnesses which cleared up when a new battery was bolted in.)
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    Did you try to pull any codes from the computer? That would be the thing to start from.

    Is that 4 or 6 cyl. LX ?
  • Thank you for your help! I admire your expertie, windowphobe. It's indeed related to the battery.
    I went to do an engine diagnotic service at a mechanics (FireStone) yesterday, since I need the car in a hurry, and hope they can help me find other problems. The following is what they did:
    1. Install a new battery;
    2. Replaced the battery terminals
    3. Fan Belt adjustment
    4. Clean the intake
    5. clean the MAF sensor.
    It cost me $450.
    Now, the car starts as before. But some old problem persists: the car always vibrates heavily if the speed is low, e.g. when I stopped at a traffic light. This problem seems getting worse after this repairment. And, if I drive the car for a while, say 1 hour, then if I stop at the traffic light, I can observe the temperature begin to rise way above normal. Is it true that the fan will stop working at zero speed?
    Because of this problem, I run the yellow traffic light every time.
    By the way, my car is 4cyl. LX, and has 75000 miles on it by now.
    Last time, I asked about my car shaking at high speed. Windowphobe suggested me check the tire and do rotation. Indeed, after I changed two front tires, the problem is gone. Thanks!
  • The 626 has two fans, driven by electric power; engine speed, or lack of same, doesn't have much effect. Usually only one fan runs, and then only once the engine is up to operating temperature; the second one comes in when things get hot (or when there's additional engine load, like when the a/c is turned on). Fan-relay failures are not unheard of in these cars.

    Is your idle speed (per the tach) fairly close to 700 rpm, or is it all over the place?
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    I just bought a 94 626 LX/V6 (5sp) last month. It has 99K miles. It runs excellent but I'm not sure if the timing belt has been replaced yet. Do you suggest that I change it anyway? And if I don't, what are the consequences if it goes? Also, when I press the power moonroof switch, it sometimes opens and other times it doesn't. Could this be a problem with a worn-out switch that needs to be replaced or could it be the power moonroof motor? By the way, there is no abnormal clicking sound when I press the moonroof switch.
  • Assuming one believes Mazda's manual over the contrary stuff on the Web, the V6 is an interference-type engine, which means that if the belt goes, the valvetrain (and the odd piston or two) is likely to go with it. The replacement regimen is 60k miles, except in California, where the laws of physics are superseded by acts of the Assembly and you're supposed to replace the belt at 105k. You're probably not in immediate danger, but I wouldn't put it off much longer.

    My '93 had some weird interaction between the two moonroof switches. If Slide wouldn't work, I'd hit Tilt, which would; then I'd close Tilt, and this time Slide would work. (If I wanted Tilt and it didn't work - well, you get the idea.) This is the only 626 I've driven that had the moonroof - my current one doesn't - so I don't know if this is typical behavior or just an electrical glitch.
  • I am trying to decide if I should buy a 1998 Millineum with 16,000 miles, a V.6... or if I should get a NEW 2000 demo, 626, V.4 with 5000 miles. Both vehicles are loaded and have the 36,000 or 3 year warranty. I want the car that will last the LONGEST... am trading in a car with 245,000 miles. The V.4 seems to have enough power for me, but I want the car that will make the most miles. Please help!
    Thanks, Neworleans
  • On the other hand, the Millenia is likely to cost more to maintain over the years, especially if it's the S version with the Miller-cycle engine, which is a bear to work on.

    Then again, it's hard to imagine someone considering a Millenia S thinking that the 626 LX has enough power. :)
  • Hello everyone

    I hope that everybody is doing well, even though their cars may not be doing so well. There are quite a few smart people out there who know their Mazda's. I like my Mazda but sometime's it get's frustrating, but they need some TLC just like alot of cars. My Mazda is 1993 626ES V6 with 173000 kms, and lately the hold light is flashing. I have a appointment at my Mazda dealer to see what the problem is and with the knowledge I've gained here hopefully we will be able to solve the problem. My Mazda dealer was telling me that when they pull the codes that it just gives them the general idea of what may be wrong then they have to try and pinpoint it.He says with the code number that it could mean 15-20 possible problems that they have to try to nail down. Is he just feeding me a line bull or is this true because he said it could be a few minutes to figure out or 45 minutes to figure out why the hold light is flashing. My car is having one more problem. At startup it cranks over for quite a few seconds before it starts, not all the time but about half the time.Any advice any of you could give me would be greatly appreciated,thanks alot and have a great day.
  • Another problem is that the idle speed of my car is really low. As I can read from the tach, it's about 340rpm. I asked two mechanics sometimes ago. Both of them said the idle speed is controlled by the computer, and couldn't (or shouldn't) be adjusted. Recently, I read some maintainess manual which says I can adjust the idle speed by turning some screw on the throttle body. Can someone tell me if it's ok for a novice like me to try it by myself? What equipment I should use?
    Windowphobe, I'd love to hear some advice from you. Thanks in advance!
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Here are typical Mazda trouble code retrieval procedures and the meaning of some of the codes. Note that I've cut it off at Code #10. There are 77 Mazda pre-OBDII trouble codes. Each refers to a specific circuit or sensor, but DOES NOT specify the exact fault. Could be a sensor or solenoid, the signal wire to it, the return line from it, etc, etc. After determining the area of concern the tech still has to troubleshoot it to locate the exact cause. Think of it as being given the street name but not the house number.

    Mazda Code Retrieval
    Accessing Trouble Codes

    Carbureted Models
    System malfunctions detected and stored in the emission control unit can be displayed using the self-diagnosis checker tool No. 40-H018-9A1. Any current or memorized malfunctions are indicated by a displayed code number and a corresponding buzzer. A monitor lamp on the checker indicates oxygen sensor operation. A normal air/fuel ratio is indicated by a continuous flashing of the lamp. The lamp will not light continuously if the air/fuel is lean and will not light at all if the mixture is rich. Refer to the manufacturers instructions for operating procedures of the self-checker tool.

    Fuel Injected Models

    A system selector tool No. 49-B019-9AO or equivalent on OBD systems and tool No. 49-T088-OAO or equivalent on OBD II systems, can be used to diagnose the main input or output devices. Systems are displayed as code numbers appearing on the system checker. Refer to the manufacturers instructions for operating procedures.

    1 Ignition Coil - Trailing Side (1989-1991).
    1 Crank Angle Sensor (1984-1988).
    2 Crank Angle Sensor - No Signal.
    2 Air Flow Meter (1984-1988).
    3 Crank Angle Sensor - G Signal.
    3 Water Thermo Sensor (1984-1988).
    4 Intake Air Thermo Sensor.
    5 Knock Sensor.
    5 Oxygen Sensor (1984-1988).
    6 Speedometer Sensor.
    6 Throttle Sensor (1984-1988).
    7 Boost Sensor (With Turbocharger, 1984-1988).
    7 Pressure Sensor (Without Turbocharger, 1984-1988).
    8 Air Flow Meter.
    9 Water Thermo Sensor.
    9 Atmospheric Pressure Sensor (1984-1988).
    10 Intake Air Thermo Sensor.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Gee, makes you wish for a carter carburator, ignition points and a timing light again, doesn't it?
  • There are, in fact, seven items which are monitored by that frightful little critter: the throttle-position sensor, the vehicle speed sensor, the pulse generator, and four different transmission solenoids. (Other malfunctions are reported on the MIL/CEL.) Since each of these can goof up in two or three ways, though, "15 to 20" is pretty close to the mark.

    If the transmission is shifting more or less normally, I'd suspect the TPS first - which might also have something to do with your cranking issue.
  • Not me. I fought with those turkeys all the way into the 90s and I don't ever want to see them again. :)
  • There is an air adjustment screw on the throttle body. (This adjusts air volume only; mixture is set by the ECU and is not adjustable by mere mortals.) It doesn't really require additional tools, though to be sure it's accurate, you should attach an external tach rather than rely on the one in the dash. And you really shouldn't mess with this, either, unless you're absolutely certain the timing is correct. If you're idling badly, the first order of business should be to have the idle air control valve (a smallish, hyperexpensive part) cleaned or, heaven forbid, replaced.
  • Thaks for your opinion on my problems. I just changed my spark plugs and noticed quite a bit of oil in the spark plug wells.Is this due to the valve cover gaskets and is it a big concern if they are starting to leak quite a bit.
  • Hello all, well I just got back from my mazda dealer and we pulled the codes to see why the hold light was flashing and the mil light was also on.These are the results
    Code #'s 15 left bank O2 sensor
    17 left bank O2 sensor no change
    23 right bank O2 sensor
    24 right bank O2 sensor no change
    3 G signal
    4 NEI signal
    He said codes 3 and 4 were related to the distributor and that it needed to be replaced and that I needed two O2 sensors to be replaced. This is on a 1993 626 ES, he said the hold light is probably flashing because the transmission gets some information from the distributor hence the problem because of a faulty distributor. Any insight any of you could give would be greatly appreciated. I live in Canada and he said a new distributor would run me 558.20 and the oxygen sensor 176.15 do these prices sound normal. Thanks and have a great day.
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