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Mazda MPV Transmission Problems



  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    People will complain about most anything that involves money out of their pockets.

    The van is not under factory warranty. It would be great if Mazda would go the extra mile and pay for a new transmission for your MPV, or at least pay part of the cost. They might get a customer for life that way. But they are under no obligation to do so. There is such a thing as an extended warranty for people who want warranty coverage after the standard warranty expires. It looks like on the MPV (and the Ody too), that could be a good investment.

    I have a friend who owns an Ody. The tranny blew at about 97k miles. Honda said "sorry, fella." Fortunately though, he had bought a 100k powertrain warranty that covered it--and luckily for him, it blew up when it did and not a few months later!
  • toby_laitoby_lai Posts: 22
    Hi all,

    I have a 2001 MPV that has 70k miles on it (mostly highway miles), and there has been no issue/problem with the automatic transmission, and partly because the owner's manual does not mention any scheduled change of ATF and partly of my negligence, I have not had any ATF change on the transmission from day 1.

    I've done some research on the internet on having the ATF change, and there are a lot of theories out there on when to change and what type of change to perform (just fluid change, drop pan and filter, and what not), and some even suggest not to do any ATF change if no maintenance has been done to the transmission because new fluid will cause the tranny to fail, and should just leave the fluid alone (if this theory is true). I just want to ask you all for your opinion on what to do? I took out the dipstick and examine the fluid, it's still mostly red (if that is any kind of indication). And why does owner's manual not mention any scheduled maintenance to the ATF fluid (except to examine it twice a year, that's all I could find), should I just leave everything alone for the time being? I can't imagine leave the fluid in there and not change it at all, but don't want to risk a still working tranny. Thanks for any opinion/suggestion.

  • engtechengtech Posts: 6
    I have my 2004 mpv In the shop to have a repair done and an oil change. I asked the service people what factory recommends. At 60k it is only fluids no flush or replacement of the transmission filter. As long as the fliud is still red in color. If the fluid is not red than a flush and filter change is what they recommend. New transmission fluid should not hurt the transmission. The new fluid will flow better and is more viscous. I have never herd of new ATF causing a transmission to go out. I have worked on cars for 10 years and done plenty of fluid changes and flushes and have never had one come back with a problem because of the fluid change.
  • toby_laitoby_lai Posts: 22
    Thanks for the reply. The reason I raised the question of whether to change oil fluid is this:
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    The part about leaving in old "gritty" trans. fluid, instead of putting in all new, to "pull" the transmission sounds pretty nutty to me.
  • engtechengtech Posts: 6
    I have heard that leaving the old filter in was a good Idea to let some of the grit in but to still change the fluid in an older car no flush. To not change at lest the fluid dosn't sound right to me. The more and more grit in the fliud will help but only to a point. If the grit gets to be to much than it will have the wrong effect on the tranny. This will not let the parts of the tranny move in the maner that was intended. I would ask the dealer or a mech that you trust about it. The reasion for the pull is if you have two smooth surfices a little grit will let them have something to grab, but and the other hand grit in the teeth of the tranny will push them away and not let them make good contact with each other. This is odd I will ask my mech and give you another reply when I find out what he tells me.
  • We have a 2002 MPV bought new and maintained according to Mfr. The trans was shifting funny into 4th gear and my mechanic recommended flush and change fluid, and to go to the dealer and make sure of programming and what did they think. They said it was working normally. A few days later it melted down and had to be towed 50 miles back, but the dealer (Rosenthal Tysons Mazda in VA) said it was my fault (1) because I didn't change the fluid (owners manual says check level only), and (2) because I did change it. Mazda customer service said they could not offer any consideration for this issue; Rosenthal wanted to give me a "discount" so I had it towed to Aamco and rebuilt for less. It was $2,700 with 12/12 warranty, but they sell 36k and lifetime warranties also. It works perfectly now, but I wish I had found this forum before this happened. I have found people who say they change their trans fluid every 12k, and many others who disagree, and like I said Mazda doesn't say to change it ever. In my case it was already malfunctioning (slipping into 4th from 3rd and from 5th); the dealer will not work on them, just replace it with rebuilt, so if you have a problem go to Aamco or other transmission specialist before it breaks since they will open it up and trouble shoot it. One more point: after change of fluid there was no change whatsoever in malfunction and only about 10 seconds warning when it broke, maybe 200 miles after change and 100 after "Experts" said it was fine.
  • sammy127sammy127 Posts: 1

    I have a 2002 MPV with 50,000 miles. It still has 6 months left on the 7 year, 70,000 mile extended warranty that was purchased from the MAZDA dealer that sold the car to me.

    The transmission started having problems. Erratic shifting, etc. I took it to the dealer, and they "pulled the codes" and it came back with a code indicating a fault with the Transmission Range Switch. It's a $350 repair. Now, the interesting part....

    The Mazda extended warranty people refuse to pay for it! Mazda put out a service bulletin a few years ago saying that the Transmission Range Switch causes a lot of problems, and Mazda has redesigned it, and if a customer complains about transmission problems, it's probably this part. So....the extended warranty people from MAZDA adamantly REFUSE to pay for this repair because they say the original part didn't break - it was designed wrong to begin with, but it hasn't broken so they won't fix it! Sounds like crap, especially since the transmission used to work and now it doesn't. It presumably didn't spit out fault codes before, but does now.

    I can't believe Mazda is doing this! What a screw job! Even the service advisor said he's never heard of them pulling this kind of crap! "The part didn't break, it was always like that (defective) so our extended warranty doesn't cover it."

    Anybody got any ideas??
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Well, the part was functioning properly the first 50,000 miles and now it isn't. So, I would say even though it's not broke, it is certainly defective and not functioning the way it should (even with a poor design). Sounds like the cheap S.O.B's are just trying to get out of paying a claim. Stay on them. Be firm, yet polite. May get better results to show up in person than over the phone.

    Also sounds like a thrid party warranty sold by your Mazda dealership??? If so, and they refuse to pay, I would ask the dealership to pony up and pay for the repair, as they benefit financially whenever they sell those crappy third party warranties.

    Also, I'd ask to speak to the service manager. He's the guy with the power to do something about it. Then the general manager. If all else fails you can try small claims court. Good luck.
  • carolc3carolc3 Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Mazda MPV automatic with about 73,000 miles. It had some issues before but the warranty always covered it and the dealers (even when out of town) handled things well. Loved it...until now.

    Stopped at a stop light the other day and when I went to accelerate, the first and second shifts did just fine. But, that was it. It wouldn't go into the next shift. I could drive just fine up to about 40/mph. Ironically, it drives better in the third gear, where I can drive up to 55/mph.

    There are no warning lights on on the dashboard. The mechanic says the reading comes back with an "internal transmission failure".

    I am considering taking it to the dealer to see if I can negotiate the repair cost since some previous work under warranty involved the transmission. Any suggestions from those of you that may have experienced this internal failure??
  • rcpsrcps Posts: 2
    I bought our 02 MPV from a friend a couple of years ago, and our family was very happy with it. A month ago the automatic transmission failed completely, and we took it to the dealer. They wanted over $3,000 to replace it, which I could not afford, so I took it to a transmission rebuilder, Toronto Transmission.

    They fixed it for $2,000, but 2 weeks ago it died again. They repaired it under warranty, but yesterday it died a third time. They are now telling me that there is a problem with the axle that is causing the failure. I don't have a clue if the axle could cause the transmission to fail, or if I should pay the transmission shop more money to fix it. I don't want to go elsewhere because the repair is under warranty, and I would have to pay for another repair and for the tow. Next time they could tell me it failed because of something else.

    Can anybody help?
  • jks8jks8 Posts: 1
    My transmission just died at 86k miles. Has anyone gotten anything out of Mazda?
  • Yes, I was successful with Mazda. However, not one on one. I went to the dealer where I bought my car and made them also stand behind the product that they sell. The dealer talked with a representative from Mazda and they agreed to pay half of the $4,000.00 bill. My transmission died at 60,000.00 miles.
  • namberlnamberl Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 MAzda MPV that initially got 20mpg and gradually increased to 23mpg over 80,000. In May while away from home the transmission went kaput and would not stay in gear. I had it towed to a garage that I knew nothing about and was at their mercy. The owner determined that the hydrolic pump failed and would not hold the trans in gear. My options were a new Trans at $8000, a used as is trans at $2100 or him rebuilding mine for $2600. I chose the latter. It now shifts better than ever and on a recent 2000 mile trip to Colorado I averaged 26+mpg with the car top carrier on and driving 80mph in Nebraska and Colorado. What could the mechanic have done to get these improvements?
  • rcpsrcps Posts: 2
    I have no idea what he could have done. When our 02 MPV transmission went, the dealer quoted $3,000 for a replacement, but we went elsewhere and had it rebuilt for $1,200. It failed 3 times within weeks of the rebuild, we paid another $1,000 for other fixes, but it never worked properly again. After a couple of months, we gave up and traded it in for $2,000 on a new vehicle.

    Will never buy another Mazda again.
  • Well, may be a little late ..but still share my experience - Mine gave up last month - 2001 MPV - Reverse will not engage and in neutral moves forward and sometimes just shudders when starting - "Rebuilt" offers are available for $1300-1500 - Parts + labor - Transmission is real complex and I wonder how much of "manufacturing accuracy in alignments " can be achieved with rebuilds - More issues are often reported with rebuilds - I settled for a "used" transmission ...for about $900/=( 90day 5k warranty)
    and got the van fixed for total $1500.00. Runs smooth and well so far. The only risk is the what the part guy claims - the tranny I got is supposed to be 120k-km. Well it is like replacing the entire block than opening and closing the block which possibly needs very well controlled environment for assembly and caliberation.
  • I have a 03 Mazda MPV with 78000 miles on it. I've already had the water pump replaced twice, first time at 47k miles and then at 77k. Oil pan leaked at 77k as well and the gasket was replaced. PCV hose was recalled in '03, then I had a CEL appear at 50k and had to get it replaced again. Apparently the replacement part in '03 through the recall was defective as well. I had few other sensors go bad around 45k and those were luckily covered by the 48month warranty, but it had to be towed. I can't believe I have so much problem with the minivan even before it ever got to 100k. It's a freaking money pit and every time it has issues, my wife want to trade it in for a Honda. For now it's still cheaper to fix it then getting a new car. I'll probably never buy Mazda again....too much head ache.
  • Just purchased a used MPV with 83K miles. Works great, but makes a chirping noise like some brake pads when we put it in reverse (without brakes being applied). Any ideas? So far, haven't noticed any adverse impact, but don't want to let it go if it's something we can/should fix. Thanks.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Just a guess, but a chirping noise sounds like a belt to me. Might try your question in the maintence board if no one else chimes in here.
  • farney1farney1 Posts: 2
    Should clarify the noise -- instead of a sharp chirping sound, it's more like a humpback whale moan sound.
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    Noise coming from the engine area or the wheels (front or back)? Does it change when you apply the brakes?

  • I bought my automatic 2005 Mazda MPV new and have put over 50,000 miles on it. For about 1.5 to 2 year it has been slipping at times when it goes from 2nd to 3rd gear. It only did it ever now and then to start off with. Usually when one of my boys would drive it and then if I drove it again. My son and his wife use it everyday right now to go to work and take their children to daycare.It has gotten worse and I have taken it to a shop twice now, each time the mechanic test droves the van, but it won't slip when they are driving it. They tell me there is nothing they can do because they don't know what it is doing. The first mechanic I had test it, was at the place where I got the car, however he lives over an hour from here. I had him test it about 2 month ago. today I had a transmission place test it again. I am afraid it will leave me or my kids with the grand babies and then I will also have a repair bill. was told by someone that the van has a memory chip that gets used to me driving it and then when someone else drives it, it will want to shift at the same time. I have had other people say "no that is not true". Has anybody else had the same problem. Oh and by the way when I took the van the first time it had a little over 35,000 miles and not quite 5 years but they said the warranty had expired. I love my van and haven't had a whole lot of trouble with it, and I would like to nip this in the butt before it becomes worse. I read all the forums and people have wrote similar things. Makes me nervous. I was hoping I wouldn't have to buy another vehicle. Any suggestions?
  • budmantombudmantom Posts: 33
    I had a transmission issue with my 04 I think the issue is called "shift shock", our MPV would shift into 2nd or 3rd extremely hard, so I'm not sure we have the same issue but I took our van to Mazda and they re-flashed the computer and that solved the problem (it took them two tries) now our MPV shifts flawlessly. I thought that this issue was resolved on the 05 and 06's, your van does have "learning" computer so MPV owners have had transmission issues resolved for a short time until the computer re-learns certain shifting patterns.

    You may want to visit and try posting your question, they have a lot of knowledgeable people on that forum.

    All the best,

  • donateditdonatedit Posts: 1
    edited March 2010
    A tale of two Mazda's:

    1991, 323, MANUAL 5 speed, 4 cylinder. My brother bought it as a salvaged vehicle in the mid 90's. Gave it to me (free) in 2004. It is still rolling on at 19-1/2 years with 180,000 miles.

    2002 MPV AUTOMATIC 5 speed, V-6. Paid $24,000 out the door. Dead transmission and being donated at 8 years with 108,000 miles.

    Speaks for itself doesn't it.

    Sadly this is a very clean, very well cared for MPV. A fine car with the exception of the #$&* transmission!!! I guess we are the fortunate ones. We actually made it to 108,000 miles before it died. (info below)

    I'm the kind of guy who fixes all my stuff. I was going to attempt to fix this tranny issue too. But, it got rediculous when I couldn't even get to the connectors for the solenoids (hidden under wires and hoses that don't move or flex), much less get them apart. From there I just stared in anger at the rest to this vehicle. Vertually NOTHING is acessible.

    So, what is the point. Great I fix the tranny. So what. Have any of you seen the radiator hose configuration on this van. Probably not. Vertually all the hoses are so burried you can't see where they end even with the battery out and a flashlight!!! This is not the typical upper/lower hose setup. There are multiple hoses and plastic splitters etc. that I'm sure they had difficulty getting on at the factory with the engine out.

    My new mantra - NO more V-6's and NO more Automatic transmissions (we are migrating to a Civic, manual 5 speed).


    I replaced the fluid twice at 40,000-ish and 90,000 miles. At about 35,000 miles I noticed it was getting brown. At 90,000 it looked fine, but I replaced it anyway. I removed a cooler hose and ran the fluid (engine running, in gear) into a marked bucket. I added as much as came out. A poorman's power flush. This helps to insure the fluid in the convertor, valve body etc. get exchanged fluid.

    My wife was rearend at 107,000. A few hundred miles later the "push from behind feeling" from the transmission started. I don't tink the two are related. I drove the car 100+ miles and never felt it. Then all of a sudden it happened (and perpetuated) on the freeway and the O/D light started flashing.

    I did a lot of searching. There is a piston that cracks and might be the cause. I've also heard solenoids and pressure control valves in the valve body.

    This is a good article describing the problem and possible causes:
    The Jatco JF506E, JA5A-EL or 09A transmission found in Land Rover Freelanders, Volkswagen Jettas and GTIs, Mazda MPV and Jaguar X-Type models was introduced in the 2002 model year and has been adopted by several manufacturers.

    The widespread use of this transmission means that there are tons of them on the road and they are now making their way to transmission repair shops- at least the ones that were not replaced by the dealerships under warranty.

    Some of the problems being seen with this particular unit include valve body wear in the torque converter clutch regulator and pressure regulator valve bore areas, which can result in a loss of torque converter clutch operation, transmission overheating, high or low line pressure and delayed engagements into forward or reverse.

    Other causes of delayed engagement can be attributed to a worn low clutch drum bushing. A worn bushing will allow the drum to misalign and damage its Teflon sealing rings. This problem can also cause falling out of gear at a stop or a slipping upon acceleration from a stop.

    One extremely common problem with The Jatco JF506E / 09A unit is a cracked reverse piston. A cracked piston can cause one or more of the following complaints: no reverse, a slipping reverse, a poor shift from second to third an elongated shift into fourth or fifth gear, and in some cases, no third, fourth, fifth or reverse.

    Fortunately, while these transmissions certainly have some issues, there are corrections for this long list of complaints.

    Firstly, there are oversized pressure regulator and torque converter clutch regulator valves available which enable a transmission rebuilder to machine and restore the valve body to "better than new" condition and prevent future transmission problems related to valve body wear. This operation requires some specialty equipment to perform. Many transmission repair shops don't have the capability to rebuild the valve body in house and are forced to buy a very expensive new or remanufactured unit and pass the price on to the customer.

    Delayed engagement resulting from a worn low clutch drum is easily fixable by replacement of the drum or replacement of the worn bushing. Replacing the bushing, however, is a specialized "hone to fit" operation which should only be performed by a transmission repair facility that has the right equipment to properly complete this operation. This goes with the same caveat- if your transmission shop can't perform this operation in house, the cost of a new component is certainly going to raise the total cost of the transmission repair.

    Lastly, the cracked reverse piston situation is going to require replacement of the failed part with a new one. The replacement component has been strengthened at the manufacturing level in the area where it would crack. The upgraded part seems to be a permanent fix for this particular complaint. Fortunately, the price of a new and upgraded reverse piston is fairly inexpensive; especially considering it should never fail again.

    While you may have a vehicle with a transmission whose design may be less than perfect, don't fret- a successful repair is usually in the cards if you are able to find a repair facility with the expertise to correctly and thoroughly repair your transmission.
    Author Resource:-
    Joe Sirugo is co-owner of Trans Specialties and has been in the transmission repair industry for over 20 years

    This site is limiting my post. I'll end with the fact that there are manuals, diagrams etc. available with a search.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    Thanks for the info. Do you think more frequent trans fluid flushes would help?

    I did my first trans flush around 27k. Fluid looked pinkish brown. Second flush was around 50k miles.
  • bg25520bg25520 Posts: 2
    90,000 mi. Previously had some symptoms of it not shifting correctly. While driving recently transmission died totally when coming to a stop, would not go in any gear. Took to transmission shop and was told that it would cost $2500 to repair. Love the van and never any other problems with it! We hope it can get repaired at a lesser not want to replace vehicle. Anyone know where we can take it to a reliable repair garage in the Leesburg, FL area? Thanks
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,443
    The shop say what specifically was wrong with it? Usually a rebuilt trans. is around 4 grand.
  • rgb2rgb2 Posts: 31
    I had similar symptoms in my 04. Took it to the dealer who updated firmware of the transmission control unit. The slip is still there but happens way less often, mostly when I am rolling to a stop and suddenly floor it, which I try to avoid :)
    I thought 05 model came with the updated firmware.
    It does have a "learning" transmission. See if this helps.
    1) Do a transmission fluid flush.
    2) Disconnect the battery for a few minutes to force it to "re-learn".

    Let us know how it goes.
  • bg25520bg25520 Posts: 2
    Thanks for the feedback. It is now in the shop again, after spending almost $2,000 for a re-built we were lucky to find a reasonable garage. It started 'growling' and they said to bring it back in. Don't know how long it will be there again. Decided to sell it though, so if anyone is's going to be a good clean car once it's fixed.
  • 05cosmicmpv05cosmicmpv Posts: 2
    edited May 2010
    I too have a 2005 Mazda MPV, with low miles, around 37k. I have it in the shop today, as there appears to be an odd transmission slip. Seems that when shifting around the speed of 40, the van sometimes does not want to shift up in gear. More gas just displays a higher RPM range on the tachometer but does not produce any higher speeds. It seems to want to get into gear but can not at times. Reducing speed seems to allow it to get in gear but this is not normal. This did seem to throw an engine light/code that is unknown to me, as of the moment. This all happened, just today and has never done this in the past. Let's see what the dealership states.

    Considering the mileage on this car and the posts I have read thus far, it certainly sounds like there is an engineering opps from Mazda/Ford here.

    I am now an un-happy Mazda owner. Nobody should see issues with a car under 50,000 miles.

    >> Anyone have any insight to this issue or end all fix/resulting resolution?

    :sick: or maybe a :lemon: only time will tell.
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