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Mazda 626 Troubles



  • Given the pain and sorrow that can descend upon a person when the timing belt goes south, it is incumbent upon manufacturers to design these things with a whole lot of reserve capacity; it would never do to have the average belt fail at, say, 60,003 miles.

    The fly in this particular ointment is that on most cars, checking the belt to any degree beyond "Yep, there's a belt there" requires just about as much labor as changing the belt in the first place.

    And anyway, $265 for peace of mind is, to my way of thinking, a heck of a bargain.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    I forgot to mention that my mechanic suggested that I needed to replace the PCV valve because it was "preventing the oil to rise high enough in the crankcase." I think he said something to this effect.

    My question is, what exactly did he mean and what does the PCV valve do? And what happens if one doesn't replace the PCV valve when it needs to be done? What damage will it cause, if any?
  • xialoxialo Posts: 1
    To Haroldhx1,

    I just replaced the MAF sensor in my '95 LX (4-cyl). The part cost me $99(at Auto zone) and took about 20 minutes to replace. Your Haynes manual will give you a fairly simple procedure to test and replace this part. If you don't want to mess around with the diagnostic test they outline, just check the MAF's connector for corrosion or other junk that may impede a good connection. If there is no evidence of a poor connection, the part is probably broken. The sensor is located in the air intake system just after the air filter and looks something like a section of flared aluminum pipe with a black chip on the top. Easy fix.
    The other device that my be causing your engine light to come on is a faulty O2 sensor. That's also easy to replace. You will need to get a slotted ratchet socket to take the old one out and put in the new one. I got that sensor for $63(at Auto zone) and the slotted socket cost me $20. The O2 sensor is located aft of the exhaust manifold in the lower section of the engine. Use some liquid wrench and make sure the exhaust pipes are hot when you try to take it out. If it's cold, the threading may jam and you could twist the sensor off.
  • Positive Crankcase Ventilation. This is a neat little piece of old-tech that snaps into the valve-cover gasket and sucks up any unburned gasoline that gets past the piston rings. There's a vacuum hose attached, and when the engine is running, the fumes are drawn back into the engine and given another chance to burn. The PCV valve also provides, as a fringe benefit, some protection against backfires.

    As for the oil level, well, if the crankcase is full of vapor, there's that much less room for actual oil; keeping that stuff out of there also protects the oil from contamination, which is good for the oil and good for the engine.

    This part is about as DIY-able as they come, and costs fairly little, so there's no reason not to do it.
  • These tend to go down the tubes somewhere between 60k and 90k. Fortunately, they're not too difficult a fix (see xialo's) description above; unfortunately, on the V6 cars, you have to mess with two of them.
  • haroldhx1haroldhx1 Posts: 14
    Thanks WindowPhobe and Xiaolo! I just bought one MAF sensor, and haven't put it on yet. The one I bought cost me $150. I checked AutoZone as Xialo mentioned, it's only $93 there. Anyway, if the new MAF sensor doesn't solve the CEL problem, I will buy an O2 sensor from autozone and replace it. I already saved a lot of money by not letting the dealer to replace the MAF sensor (it's totally $360 for them to replace it.) The only problem is, I don't have the tools to reset the code.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    I bought my 94 626/V6 with 99k miles on January 30, 2001 and within a two month span, I've already invested over $2650 in repairs in hopes to try and make the car last another 100k miles. So here's where the $2650 went (parts & labor):

    1. New tires, struts, an alignment, rear calipers,
    rear brake pads, and machined rotors
    = $1300

    2. New serpentine belts = $150

    3. New .02 sensors = $190

    4. Major tune-up = $400

    5. New CV joints = $330

    6. New timing belt, water pump, and PCV valve
    = $280

    I know that $2650 is a lot of money to invest in a car that only cost me $5775 but I really love my 626 and I want to keep it for a good long time. I just hope that I won't have to spend anymore money on any other major repairs for quite sometime. Wish me luck and happy motoring. Thanks windowphobe6 for all your help and expertise.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    Ooops! I forgot to add another $640 (parts and labor) for engine diagnosis, new thermostat, new distributor, new fuel filter, and radiator flush. I was going through my receipts and accidentally missed adding it to my post #407.

    This brings the grand total to $3290 instead of $2650. Wow! I can't believe I've invested more than over half of the $5775 that it cost me to buy the car in the first place.

    Does anyone think that it was crazy of me to invest $3290 on my 94 626? It's amazing what one will do when they love their car...
  • Hi all, Never owned a Mazda, but looking at one.
    It's a 97 626 V4 LX with 75000 miles on it. Everything looks fine except two problems I feel I need to ask gurus here. (1) sitting on the seat, there is a fairly evident vibration going on. Is this normal for 626? The engine sounds fine when I opened the hood. (2) Lack of power when test driving. There are three adults inside while testing.

  • tdreotdreo Posts: 17

    I just got a new 626 (4 cylinder) and have a few questions about it.

    1) Is this a "zero interference" engine? If the timing belt breaks will the engine be damaged? I know that I don't need to worry about it for a long time but I am just curious.

    2) This is my fourth Mazda, second 626, and I notice on this car I sometimes get a "oil" smell inside the car while driving. It seems to come in through the heating / cooling system. Am I crazy or has anyone else noticed this?


  • haroldhx1haroldhx1 Posts: 14
    I put on the new MAF sensor yesterday. During the first trip, the CEL didn't come on. This morning, it's raining and cold, the CEL came on and off again (three times)!! The dealer told me it's the MAF that needed to be replaced. Now I have no mechanics I can trust, which is a bigger problem than the problem of my car! The CEL really makes me crazy. It seems that I have no choice but replace the O2 sensor also.
    There is another problem after the replacement (which also occurs occasionally before). Now, when I shift from drive to park, the Idle speed will drop largely which almost makes the engine to stall. It doesn't happen at stop light, but only happens with the shift. I don't know whether it's because the computer is relearning after the battery was disconnected when I replaced the MAF sensor.
  • haroldhx1haroldhx1 Posts: 14
    My mazda is 94'LX with 75000 mile. It also vibrates especially at zero speed. I have paid attention to this problem for some times. I don't think it's normal. There is definitely some problem with the car. I know all old cars vibrate. But yours is only 4 years old. If you are lucky, it might simply be a bad Engine mount. Other causes can be mis-alignment, low idle speed, old spark plug, some valves went bad, emission pipes leaking, or, one or more cylinder not firing. There are other reasons I couldn't remember now. Anyway, my suggestion to you is do not buy it. I hate my Mazda 626. My friend has a Honda Civic of same age (94) with 110000 miles (35000 miles higher than mine), and it runs much greater.
  • Thank you for your advise. I knew I needed the opinion of someone who owns a 626. It is much less likely that I will buy this car. I thoroughly enjoy reading this board.
  • The '97 had only 114 hp to begin with, and loading it to three-quarters of its payload won't make it any speedier. If you're going to haul around this many people on a regular basis, looking elsewhere might be advisable.

    On the other hand, that much load should take some of the buzz out of it, so if it's really got the shakes, that's another good reason to pass it up.
  • This is something that the engine must do, but it shouldn't take more than a few stop-start cycles.

    You sure you don't have an air leak around that new MAF? Nothing screws up idle quite as efficiently as air leaks.
  • Believe it or not, whether the 2.0 engine is an interference fit or not is open to question. Most of the sites that copied the Gates Rubber Company booklet assert that it is. On the other hand, this engine first appeared in '93, and I had one of them, and the owner's manual spelled out in large print what would happen if the timing belt broke - if you owned the 2.5 V6. Not a word about the four-cylinder. And one of my correspondents, who does engine swaps with intent to race, has stated that except for the 2.2 that was in the '88-'92 626, no Mazda four has an interference fit.

    I suppose I could go slash my belt and see what happens, but that might be a bit extreme. :)

    What you're probably smelling is overfill spilling onto something warm. If it doesn't go away in a thousand miles or so, complain.

    Does the "fragrance" go away if you set the airflow to Recirculate?
  • If you love your car, no expenditure is too great; if you hate your car, no expenditure is what you're hoping to get by with. :)

    For those keeping score, here's the maintenance so far (five months) for my 2000 LX: oil/filter change, $19; replace wiper blade bent by visiting thug, $17; total, $36.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    IMHO, the perfect looking 626 would be that with the front-end of the 98 model and the rear-end of the 97 model. Overall, I think that the 93-97 626 body style is the best one of all of them, but the front-end of the 98-01 has a bold and aggressive expression, unlike the 93-97, which looks kind of bland. However, the 98-01 rear-end is boooooring!
  • indydaveindydave Posts: 3
    Like I mentioned earlier car has 31k miles needed new transmission. After speaking to the General Manager I got a loaner car. Got it back the other day and drives much better. Mazda took care of me after letting them know what I expected. Unfortunately dealerships tend to walk over you until you put your foot down. Stand up for what you deserve.
  • z88z88 Posts: 5
    Hi, all

    Last weekend I changed my spark plugs (96' 626 ES-V6), and noticed the first one from the left in the front (when standing in front of the car) was covered by engine oil! What is wrong? Love this baby so much, and can't wait to find out the cause. Any ideas, please tell. Thanks >>>>>>>
  • This is fairly common after 50-70k miles, and a relatively easy fix. Expect to change the plug wires also.
  • I have a 1999 Mazda 626LX that has a little over 60,000 miles. It broke down on me in the middle of the highway and had to be towed to the dealership. Mazda Corporate is paying the the new transmission that it needs. The dealership is trying to stick me with the labor cost with equal to close to a thousand dollars. Is it unfair for me to request that they reduce the labor cost. It sounds to me that this is a inherent problem with Mazda.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    Making any request to reduce a lower cost for any product or service is never unfair. You are a consumer who wants to spend the least amount possible, but unfortunately the retailer has a completely opposite point of view: They want you to spend the most as possible.

    Ask, and sometimes, you shall receive. Ask not, and chances are, they will not volunteer to give. Ask, and if they say no -- ask again, but try being meaner about it. Sometimes being mean really works. Good-luck.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,000
    I can't believe that its $1000. That seems REALLY high to me for labor. If nothing else, maybe you could call around to non-dealer shops and ask them how much they would charge to swap your tranny if you provided the new one (the one that Mazda is providing). Then again, I'm sure Mazda would fail to cover that transmission since it wouldn't be put in by the dealer. But, how long will they cover it for anyway, even if you let the dealer do it?

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • jules226jules226 Posts: 3
    I really loved my 1995 626. My car showed no signs of transmission problems. It had 36,000 miles when it went out on me. Of course the warranty of 3 years was over 1 month before this happened. Anyway FYI, mazda made a deal with me to replace the transmission and the cost to me would be a 40,000 mile tune up package that they sell. I believe it cost me about 400.00 in the end. I did get rid of it and bought a nissan quest. My boys were getting too big so this was a good reason to dump it. It seems to be a constant problem with the 626. Good Luck
  • I don't know how much it's changed in the past few years, but the book rate on removing/replacing the automatic on my old '93 was 18.1 hours - which comes to just about a thousand bucks at $55 an hour, assuming there is such a thing as a shop that charges only $55 an hour anymore.

    (And no, I didn't actually have this done; I just looked it up.)
  • I sucked it up and paid the money to get my car back today. When I drove it off the lot I drove great. That is until I stopped at the ATM and had to put the car into park for a while. When I did that the car acted as if it was going to shut off. It did not. I drove it back to the dealership after having it only 10 in. I also looked at my bill at this point and saw that the tech. that worked on my car noted that one of my motor mounts was broken and that it jerk hard when is put into reverse. I was not told this when I pick the car up and it was not like this before it was taken to them for repair. I explained this the service advisor. I use the term service advisor loosely. They are only their to help the dealership. I think they finally got tired of me explaining to them that my car did not have this problem before because they told me that the would have to calculate the cost and talk to someone else. They asked that I call them on Monday. I am not sure what they are trying to do to me but they have all of the money that I am going to give them. This repair will have to come from them because as I have stated numerous time before my car did not have this problem when I took it to them. I guess my question after all of that is what do I do now?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,000
    Wow! 18 hours??!! I guess the Mazda is much more difficult to work on. We've done trucks and some other cars (can't think of any right now) in less than a day. We even pulled the tranny out of my Jeep, rebuilt it, and put it back in all in about 10 hours of work (actually about 14 spread over 2 people). It took me about 8 hours or so (by myself) to pull the engine AND transmission out of my Mustang. So, I was just judging based on my personal experience (but none with a Mazda).

    Well, as we know, just as easily as things can improve over time, they can also become far more complicated.

    But, you're right, the book is what they go by when estimating (although, in reality, it could take more or less time). I stand in amazement.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • Cramming all the drivetrain components into one end of the car - and the same end where the engine is, yet - complicates repairs to an incredible degree. (Another reason to hope for a rear-wheel drive revival.)
  • Well, they do have to futz with them to get the engine and the transmission separated, so it's not like they can claim they never touched the things.
  • How much do engine mounts cost? That is with parts and labor for a 1998 Mazda 626.
  • Each engine mount has a slightly different configuration, a slightly different price and a slightly different labor rate, but worst-case for a single mount on the 2-liter seems to run about $150 for the part, 1.5 hours or so to install it.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    My Mitchell's Mechanical Labor Estimating Guide lists the following:

    B2000, B2200, GLC, 626......... 3.2
    *Transmission Assembly - Replace..... .6
    *Converter - R&R ........ .1
    *Seal, Front Pump - R&R..... .5
    *Flywheel - R&R........... .2

    Same vehicles, Transmission R&R AND OVERHAUL is 11.8 hours. Which labor guide were you using that quoted 18.1 hours to R&R the trans?
  • I'm using Alldata DIY's reprint of the Mazda service manual, following the "Std." recommendations. (Warranty work, of course, is "faster", or at least paid for at a lower rate.) And by gum, after going back into the material, I discovered that I read off the complete-overhaul column by mistake, not that Mazda dealers would ever do a complete overhaul. :)

    Anyway, the pertinent figure here is 6 hours flat, plus 0.4 if the flywheel has to be replaced also. My apologies for my apparent inability to line up tabular data. (Maybe this is the year I get new glasses after all.)

    I suspect Mitchell's is probably closer to the actual time it takes to R&R one of these units, anyway.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,000
    If it is indeed about 11 hours, then, at $65 an hour (is that the going rate?), it should right around $750. To me, that is quite different than $1,000.

    That's much closer to what I originally thought it should be.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • Well, I should be able to live this down starting around message #475. :)
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    I thought there might have been a misprint in the labor guide you read. It's been known to happen, and your responses are usually pretty knowledgable.
  • ...this demonstrates the wisdom of always getting a second opinion.

    In the meantime, I've been poking around some of the steeper grades in this neck of the woods - contrary to popular belief, Oklahoma is not cookie-sheet flat, at least not around where I live - in an effort to provoke untoward behavior from the CD4E. About the only time I really wanted a two-cog downshift and didn't get it was up a narrow two-laner in front of an M-Class Mercedes in a hurry. The Benz ultimately passed me, a whole 100 yards in front of its turnoff, and I suppose it would have been nice to leave Mr I-Want-My-Slurpee-Now in the dust, but you can't have everything with 130 hp.
  • My transmission with 98,500 miles just had to be replaced. I paid $1800 for a rebuild, $150 shipping, and $270 for installation. This total of $2220 is ridiculous. I am wondering if anyone knows the correct route to go about reimbursement from Mazda. I do have Mazda's consumer affairs CA phone #, and the attorney generals CA phone #, but I would like some suggestions from those of you who were reimbursed. The phone numbers I have may not be correct (I have not tried to make contact yet). In summary, any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,000
    I don't think you have a leg to stand on. Whereas 100,000 isn't great and it sucks that you had to pay for that, it is well past the factory warranty.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • kkidd1kkidd1 Posts: 1
    I have just spent 2800.00 on rebuilt trans(190K) and torque converter and new pressure solinoide. The mechanic inferred that the pressure solinoide was the reason the 1-2 shift was always "hard" and was probably the root cause of the break down of the transmission.These are "layman" terms for that is what I am....and kinda p/o'd. If someone is going to take a run at Mazda I would be interested.
  • I dropped my membership in the Transmissions Should Never Fail Club; the cognitive dissonance was causing my head to spin, and I have enough equilibrium problems already.

    The hard fact remains: It's hard enough to get any compensation from MNAO when the tranny goes at 51,000 miles, though it has been done.

    By all means, pursue whatever remedies you like. I have a great deal of difficulty imagining, however, a court that would rule that a transmission that failed after seven years or a hundred thousand miles is somehow defective.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 28,000
    Wait a minute. You had 190,000 miles on the tranny before a rebuild? What are YOU complaining about? I mean, at least the last complaint was just under a hundred thousand. But you had almost 200,000! You should be singing the praises of the car!

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • robc69robc69 Posts: 3
    I need some advice. I have a 98 Mazda 626. My lease is over next month and I took it into the dealer and was told the engine is blown. I have had some oil changes but they sludge had built up in the engine and the engine blowing was due to lack of oil changes. They will not even listen to my reasoning and don't want to see my oil change receipts because they where done somewhere else. I really can't afford what they are asking for a new or used engine at least $3000-4000. They refuse to cover it under warranty. And this is all one month before I have to turn in the car. I called Mazda Corporate and they offered no help in the situation. Does anyone have any advise I what I can do in this situation. Anything anyone can tell me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  • agt_cooperagt_cooper Posts: 202
    (Note to Edmund's hosts and other digerati: This replaces an earlier message of mine with the same title which was lost in the last System Glitch®.)

    I guess the real question is "How many oil changes did they think you lacked?" If you followed the schedule in the manual, even if someone else performed the maintenance, their position crumbles like a twenty-year-old radiator hose.

    There's an "Engine Sludge" thread elsewhere in Maintenance & Repair, but it may cast more heat than light on the subject.

    Interestingly, the one thing in Mazda engines you'd think would be most susceptible to damage from sludge - the array of hydraulic valve-lash adjusters - turns out to be absent from the '98 626.
  • Hi,

    I have a '88 626, 240K, running fine, but the A/C has lost gas during the past 3-4 years.

    Looking for a cheap solution for this summer (who knows where this car will be next year) I found an $40 R134 retrofit kit, which seems to be quite easy to use.

    1. However, the fine print of the manual in the kit mentions that it may be necessary to replace other components (like the filter/dryer, or the valve) as well.

    Do you think I really need to do that for my Mazda, or this A/C is compatible with the new gas.

    2. Another thing I cannot understand is that according to the kit application manual I do not need to bleed and evacuate the system. It is OK that it has no more refrigerant, but what about the R12 oil that is probably still in there?


  • bakybaky Posts: 1

    I have a '88 626, 240K, running fine, but the A/C has lost gas during the past 3-4 years.

    Looking for a cheap solution for this summer (who nows where this car will be next year) I found an $40 R134 retrofit kit, which seeems to be quite easy to use.

    1. However, the fine print of the manual in the kit mentions that it may be necessary to replace other components (like the filter/dryer, or the valve) as well.

    Do you think I rally need to do that for my Mazda, or this A/C is compatible with the new gas.

    2. Another thing what I do not understand is that according to the kit application manual I do not need to bleed and evacuate the system. It is OK that it has no more refrigerant, but what about the R12 oil that is probably still in there?


  • robc69robc69 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the reply. The problem with my situation is that I don't have receipts for all of the oil changes done because some of them were done at a local quick-lube place and they told me they don't have a computer system to pull up my account. My car has been sitting at the mazda dealership for 2 weeks and they won't do anything unless I pay for a new engine, which I don't think is fair. The lease is up in the middle of May and they want thousands for me to turn it in. I really don't know what to do in this situation.
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    Do you mean km or miles?
    If you've had 190K miles on the original transmission - you should be damn glad if you ask me...
    By the way - there are lots of oppinions on the 1-2 "kick" shift. Did you have it since the beginning or it started just before the tranny died ?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490 need legal counsel I think, because right now they have you behind the eight ball and you'll need more weight than what you have on paper. The best you can hope for I think even with an attorney's demand letter (this isn't worth going to court over--not enough money on the table unless you go to small claims without an attorney)...the best you can hope for is some kind of dealer or factory participation, where they split some costs with you.

    But right now they are intimidating you and you need to take a stronger and more rational position. Your current defense is too weak even though your cause may be very just.
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