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Mazda 626 Troubles



  • troztroz Posts: 4
    I am going to do a flush on this transmission in the next couple of weeks, and I was wondering if those of you who have done this procedure can steer me in the right direction.

    I have read that attaching extra tubing to the ends of both of the cooler lines is necessary to get the lines to reach to the two buckets I will use. My question is what size tubing -- does anyone know? Did you buy clear tubing and clamp it over the top of the ends of the trans fluid lines?
    My second question is around the enormous splash I have read about -- any tips or tricks for the dirty fluid bucket to prevent a nasty tsunami?

  • jskho, were you getting '17' and '08' (which is the one for the VAF)? As you said, wait a while, and hopefully the CEL won't come on on a '08' code. In my case it took a couple of days of driving after I reseted the computer for the CEL to come back before I finally took care of the problem...


  • Haven't done it myself yet, but I'm studying the logistics of the process carefully. What I have in mind is having ~ two 6 foot pieces of clear (braided) tubing, and couple them to the stock tranny lines with barbed couplers. The ID of the hoses is 3/8 or 11/32. I was also thinking that the bucket with the clean ATF should be higher than the tranny (i.e., sitting on top of the car's roof or something), with some sort of petcock to controll the ATF flow (I was thinking of using a tank I have at work that has a bottom drain valve). To avoid having ATF splash all over, I would tie the ends of both hoses to some sort of weight (a stone would do fine) and throw that into the buckets/containers. At work I have 20 pound lead bricks that I was planning to use. That will hold the hose down, and will weight the buckets to the floor. I will also 'calibrate' both buckets with quart marks so I can tell how much is going in and how much is coming out (the containers I have are clear plastic).

    I read that the pressure on the cooler lines is low (10 to 15 psi), and the flow is also low (2 to 3 quarts a minute)...

    They are just ideas, as I haven't done it yet, but I hope they help

  • blacklabelblacklabel Posts: 11
    I've had this car for about 8 months, it's my first car. 1993 626 LX 4cyl automatic (yes it's slow :)). It currently has 131k miles. First off, the tranmission shifts quite rough and sometimes hesitates to downshift, like if I was to come to a rolling stop and then hit the gas it pauses for a while as it downshifts to accelerate. It's not really that bad, but I did notice it especially yesterday when I was making a left turn and I had to kinda hurry so I wouldn't cut someone off and when it hesitated like that I was stuck in the intersection a tiny bit longer... but I guess it doesn't really matter. I'm surprised it's gone this far, but from all these other threads it looks like the 93 trannys are decent and it's not till the 94 when it had MAJOR problems.

    Now on to the idling... It shakes quite a bit when idling at a stoplight or whatever. Before in the winter when I got the car, it took like 5 minutes of driving before it'd start to do that but now since it's warmer it's pretty much like that always. And the rpms are REAL low. They're only about 400-500, but steady, not jumping around. And it just kinda feels like the car is going to stall cause it's so quiet and almost like it's skipping. But it never has stalled.

    But it idles very quietly. Like today when I was unloading some stuff and it was running, it was very quiet, much quieter than you'd expect from a 93 with lotsa miles and the exhaust still isn't like it should be (stupid ppl, they really FIXED it). But then after I finished and was about to move the car, some type of fan (in the engine area) started up. It was quite a bit louder, especially over the very quiet engine. That was the first time I've heard it then. But maybe a fan is on when I start the car cause it is louder for like a minute when I first start it.

    Otherwise the car runs great. Again it doesn't shift very good, but it revs very nicely and is very smooth while driving.

    Any ideas? I heard several possibilties from reading a ton of threads here and other places: radiator mounts (?), engine mounts, idle gasket cover, idle throttle adjustment.

    Also, any ideas on a cost? Do you think the mazda dealer would look at it and tell me what it is and how much it'd cost for FREE then I could decide? And is there really any reason to fix it? I mean there's probably other things that might need fixing considering I have all the service reciepts from original owner and it's pretty much brake work every couple years, exhaust work every couple years, and new alternator. But damn reliable I'd say. But I would hate to spend a lot of money fixing it only to possibly have the tranny go on it which would definitely f*ck me over since it'd cost like $2000 to fix from what I hear and hell I got the car for $2500...
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    Proper idle on this car is 700 rpm. I suspect that if the correct idle can be restored, the shaking will be reduced. (Mounts are a potential issue, yes, but try the easier stuff first.)

    As for that fan, it comes on as needed when the temperature is high enough - such as during a period of extended idling.
  • A little update. As I mentioned in previous posts, I was considering draining/changing the ATF through the dipstick several times to improve the condition of my fluid. I finally got my little oil extractor (a PELA oil extractor used for boats), and was able to get 2.5 quarts out through the dipstick. The whole process was clean and quick (done in 15 minutes)...

    I know, I know, I will have to do this 5 times to get 80% new fluid in, or 7 to get 90% clean fluid (and something like 12 to get more than 95% of the suff clean). In any case, I think that this gradual change may be better on the internals of the tranny than a single complete flush.

    I plan to do this 4 more times (every night after my wife gets home from work), and after driving the car with 80% clean fluid for a week or so, do the real complete flush using the two-bucket method. I did drive the car after the partial change, and it shifts just like it did before. Oh, well, at least I did not screw anything up in the process...

    I'll keep you guys posted. Please let me know if you think what I'm doing is extremely idiotic...

  • kbuikbui Posts: 15
    I have a '89 5-sp Mazda 626 with 198K miles, and it still runs like a charm. I've taken very good care of it over the years (regular oil change, belts, etc).

    Last week I failed emissions inspection for the first time: the HC measurement is too high, by about 30%. I have tuned the car up since (should have done it before having the state inspection, stupid me) and put in new plugs, a new air filter, and a new PCV valve.
    I've never replaced the O2 sensor in the car's life and wonder if it's still good. The shop manual calls for checking voltage at the O2 sensor, but how do you get the O2 "boot" off? It looks like a regular spark plug boot, except that it is much smaller, and it's made out of metal instead of rubber. I have tried to pull on it, but it won't come out. It has no flat side, so I don't think it's threaded. Can somebody offer a hint? Do you just pull on the boot like a gorilla, or is there a more subtle way to get it out? Thanks in advance.
  • jskhojskho Posts: 107
    kbui, maybe you can check the voltage at the other
    side of the wire, where it plugs into the connector towards the engine computer?
    This will allow you to check for problems in the wires also, although wiring problem is unlikely to hallen.

    BTW, anyone know how to adjust the idle speed of a 93 V6?
  • One way of doing it is to take the sensor out, find out which cables are the 'signal' (I think they are the white and gray cables), attach that to a voltmeter, and cook the tip of the sensor in your gas range (the exhaust temperature is ~ 700 F...). The voltage should go up, because there would not be O2 in there (I think the value is more than 1.2 volts). I haven't done this myself, but read about it on the web, so take it for what it's worth. Actually, if you do a google search by "O2 sensor testing" you'll get zillions of hits that will describe different ways of doing this.

    I agree with jskho about 'back-probing' it while on the exhaust pipe. You will have to find a way of getting two wire leads into the connector. You may do this by disconecting the wire, which is a real pain, and putting two leads in there being careful that they don't touch each other, and then running the car and testing with a voltmeter at the leads that come out of the wire harness. Watch out for the fans!!! They will turn on when you least expect it, and will scare the crap out you when they do (personal experience)... Usually the O2 sensors get lazy and don't change their voltage as fast as they are suposed to.

    Hope this help,

  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    Irish. Why would you want to do any more than an 80% exchange given the cost benefit ratio. I think that would be enough especially if you went to NAPA and purchased the right amount of Lubegard to add on the last exchange. My son's transmission was going bad and adding Lubegard immediately smoothed out the rough shift between first and second. Found about this stuff through my Mazda mechanic. Sorry if I'm being repetitive.

    kbui Ohmygosh, you got 198K on a sensor that is supposed to be routinely changed at 60K. That's real good. I changed mine at 120K and noticed the difference. Don't think I got much of a gas mileage improvement, but the engine does run smoother and is more responsive. I got a Bosh for about $80. I got the OEM so it was a simple matter of unscrewing and unplugging the old one then putting on the new one.
  • kbuikbui Posts: 15
    jskho, irishalchemist & mrdetailer, thank you for the O2 sensor tips. I will try the "backprobing" method - that's a real good way of checking the sensor and the wiring.

    I've monitored my mileage ever since I bought the car (I bought it new), and it has always hovered around 33-35 mpg. That's why I thought the O2 sensor was "doing its job."
  • freds5freds5 Posts: 5
    I have a '98 626 4 cyl. automatic with about 85k miles. I asked the dealer regarding a change in the automatic transmission fluid. The dealer said new tranny fluid at this point would strip the gears. Just wanted another opinion on this and if there is anything to be done to try and ensure the transmission doesn't break. Otherwise the car has been running just fine w/o any major problems and I'd hate to have to replace it.
  • freds5, unless you use Aqua Regia (a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acid - sorry, I'm a chemist), you won't "strip the gears". Only problem may be that the new fluid could dislodge crud that is sticking here and there harmlessly and get it somewhere it's not suposed to get to (i.e., a valve). FYI, if you read a couple of posts above these ones, you'll see that I've been 'diluting' the old fluid with new fluid. So far I've done it three times (I can get 2.5 - 2.8 quarts each time through the dipstick). By the third time I have > 1/2 new fluid, and have not stripped the gears yet ;-)

    I plan to do this 2 or 3 more times, and then add LubeGard as suggested by MrDetailer. Although my wife says the car behaves the same as it always did, I think it is starting to shift smoother and it's not 'clunking' as bad when going into 'D' in the morning...

    Hope this helps. G.
  • Did the third tranny fluid exchange - Now I have (according to my math) close to 60% new fluid in there.

    Now, can the tranny fluid have anything to do with better idle? I think that it idles a lot smoother when I'm stopped at trafic lights.

    Am I just high on ATF fumes, or could this be possible?

  • slickdogslickdog Posts: 225

    I can think of a couple things that would warp new or recently machined rotors fairly quickly:

    - The lugs were over-torqued on the affected wheels. This is quite common. Lots of mechanics like to zip the lugs on quickly with an air wrench without bothering to check the proper torque specification.

    - The calipers are causing too much "loose friction" between the pads and rotors when the brakes are not applied. Older cars with deteriorated or improperly lubricated caliper bolts can experience this problem. If the caliper is unable to travel out to a fully retracted position when the brakes are released, the pads will make excessive contact with the rotors, overheating and warping them over time (accelerated by highway driving, of course - more speed, more friction, more heat).

    Some cars are more or less susceptible to these problems depending on their design (quality of rotors, caliper parts, etc.) but none that I've worked on seem to be immune to them. Some mechanics will downplay their importance (hopefully yours wont), but ever since I've been working on cars, being a perfectionist has saved me from redoing work and experiencing lots of nagging, recurring problems.

    You shouldn't assume that replacing the rotors or any of the other brake parts would have prevented the problem, just make sure you cover all the bases and check the small details (torque specs and caliper bolt condition/lubrication in your case).
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    Nope, and you will also notice it when Lubegard is added.
  • Definetly smoother idle. Also smoother tranny shifts after my fourth 'suck-and-fill' fluid dog and pony show. According to my math there is now 80% new fluid in there. The color of the stuff that came out this last time was a far cry from what was coming out a week ago. Still a bit dark, but cherry-red now. It looks really pretty on the dipstick (before it was dark on the dipstick).

    It also feels like the slushbox shifts 'tighter'; meaning, I feel like the tranny has the equivalent to 'less play' that you feel on a manual stick (I really know how to tell if a manual stick is good/bad because I drove sticks for 15 years, but the 626 is my first ATX experience apart from rentals...).

  • troztroz Posts: 4
    To get ready to flush my GF4A-EL transmission from the cooler lines, I just bought some 3/8 inch inside diameter tubing and a barbed connector of the same dimension. Can you confirm that these will fit the lines? The car is a relative's and I will have to travel to do this, so I don't want to get started and not have the right size for the extension tubing.

  • I have the CD4E, which is not the GF4A-EL (your's goes with the V6). In the CD4E, the hard lines are definitely 3/8 OD (which will fit a 3/8 ID rubber hose). However, I would be surprised if the OD of the hard lines were thicker/thinner that the ones on the CD4E. If you want to make sure, ask your relative to check the line size. For this, he/she would have to pop the hood and look for a steel line that goes to the top of the radiator (this is the tranny to stock cooler connection). If this is slightly thicker than a number 2 pencil, then it's 3/8.

    Now, if you are as paranoid as I am, you could buy a long piece of 3/8 hose (actually, you bought it already), and then short (6") pieces of 5/8, 5/16, 1/4, etc., and 5/8-to-3/8, 5/16-to-3/8, etc., etc., braided adaptors so you cover all the bases. If the OD of the stock tranny lines is, say, 5/16, connect two short pieces of 5/16 tubing to the lines, and then use adapters to connect to the long pieces of 3/8 tubing.

    Perhaps more knowledgeable gurus in the board can give you the exact OD of the lines. Again, I would be surprised if they were anything other than 3/8 (as a matter of fact, all tranny cooler kits come with a 11/32 ID hose so that it fits snugly to 3/8 OD steel lines...).

    Hope this helps. Good luck,

  • Anyone knows how much coolant is in the radiator and how much in the engine block in the L4 626 (FS) engine? I want to flush the radiator, but I am hessitant to use one of those chemical flushes. If the volume in the block is more than the volume in the radiator, the instructions in the flush bottle (drain, fill with flush agent, run engine, drain, fill with water, run engine, drain, and then fill with antifreeze-water) will leave a lot of flush agent around, which is something I don't want to do.

    Also, I don't have the space/tools (i.e., garden hose) to do a regular back-flush...

  • mark38lmark38l Posts: 10
    I have a 1998 Mazda 626LX 2.0l with 85k. I am planning on having the timing belt replaced at 100k.

    As anyone run into any trouble after the belt has been replaced. I am worried about the dealer screwing something up. Also does the radiator need to be removed?

    How much $$$ am I looking at?

    Comments are appricate d.

  • First, I would not be able to sleep at night if I had 60K wear item go 100K (but I'm pretty paranoid...).

    As for prices, it depends. Most of the times they do water pump and belt tensioner at the same time they do the belt, so you are looking at 500-700, depending on the shop you take it to. I personally think that doing the water pump and tensioner at 100K WILL be a good thing to do (had belt, tensioner, and pump done on mine at 70K). Each job is probably 300 bucks, so rolling all of them into one (at 500 to 700) makes sense. The same ammount of dissasembly is required for those items.

    Now, make sure that they replace the valve cover gasket when they do it. ASK him if he will replace it, and if not (or not sure), buy a FelPro gasket and have him change it when putting everything back together. The VCG gets REALLY hard and does not seal properly. My mechanic did not do it (used globs of silicone sealant instead) and then I had oil leaks, fouled plugs, check engine lights, and poisoned O2 sensors. Apart from that, he did do a good job (?). I was able to check this when I changed (DIY) the valve cover gasket last month.

    Hope this helps,


    PS: I don't see why they would need to remove the radiator to get to the timing belt...
  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    They shouldn't have to yank the radiator out; the timing cover isn't what you'd call incredibly accessible - they will have to pull the splash shield, all the drive belts, the power-steering pump, and everything above the valve-cover gasket - but the radiator isn't in the way.

    Going rate out here in the flyover zone for a belt change on the four-cylinder is a shade under $300. Add $100 or so for the water pump, ditto for the tensioner. (At 100k, I'd do the water pump whether it was weeping or not, and it's probably not a bad idea to replace the tensioner since it's right there in front of you.)
  • Any clues/suggestions on a coolant system flush for the L4 626 (use Prestone flush or just water, unplug thermostat and back flush or just flush with distilled water, etc., etc.?).

    Thanks. G.
  • pdrumans1pdrumans1 Posts: 48
    My friend has a 97 Mazda 626 LX with the 4cyl/auto combo. Two days ago, the o/d light came on and started flashing. I drove the car and the when accelerating casually or aggressively, the transmission will hold gears until red line unless you let off the gas a little, then it will shift. Is this an indication of the tranny going bad or is their any potential to save it, if it is doing this? Any similar experiences? and outcome?
  • pdrumans1, tell your friend to be ready to write big checks...

    The flashing O/D light means that the computer is no longer doing it's job (it's bypassed), and everything is relaying on the tranny's hydraulics to do all the shifting. Some people call this 'limp' mode.

    Now, it could be a number of things:

    a) it could be electronic problems. Have you tried reseting the computer (don't know how on a 97 - it's OBD-II). This may 'cure' it for a day or two, but if the problem reapears, then investigate more.

    b) it could be low fluid (you probably checked that).

    c) it could be that the fluid is spent, and you may need to flush/fill (get all the old fluid out, including torque converted, and replace with new), and as suggested by many in the board, add LubeGard. This may work OR toast the tranny for good (new fluid can dislodge varnish cooked onto it and this crud will find it's way to the least desirable places - Some people refer to it as the 'morning after' effect).

    d) Most likely, the slushbox is pooched...

    Sorry to hear about it. Hopefully it's not a completely cooked tranny. Good luck, and let us know what the problem was or how you solved it. It hasn't happened to me yet, but every time I get on that car and I get light reflecting from that region of the dashborad my legs shake thinking my time has come...

    Also, how many miles on that 97?

  • pdrumans1pdrumans1 Posts: 48
    The car has in the 70K range and from what I have read, this is popular time for the problems. No engine light yet, but I warned my friend to not let the engine rev into the red zone. I am going to help drop the car off at the dealer tomorrow for their imput :( , but I think it is pretty much toast. They checked the fluid level and said it was within the recommended level, I did not however ask about the color of the fluid or how dark it was.
    to reset the computer, would se just unhook the battery?
    Will let you know the results after inspected, but glad it is not my car.
  • Yep, most likely the tranny is pooched. As for fluid color, the color of the stuff you get on the dipstick is OK for a quick check, but your friend may want to get a couple of mililiters out into a clear glass vial/container. It should be darker than new stuff, but light should be able to go through it (i.e., put it up to a light and you should see it 'shine' a little on the other side). Otherwise, there is to much crap floating around.

    As for redlining the engine, it has a gas cutout at 7500 or 7800 RPM. From what I read in '', a lot of people has abused these engines (both the V6 and the L4, MTX and ATX) without problems. However, I only redlined it once (to avoid being crushed by a big and bad 18-wheeler), which got me sweating bullets for the rest of the trip, but nothing happened. In any case, I would not like to have to redline it to get it to shift properly.

    As for reseting codes, the 'pull the battey -ve' trick may not work, because this car is OBD-II. However, the emissions is the OBD-II part, so the 'tranny' part of the brains may still get reset by pulling the -ve battery terminal. No harm in trying that. Also, in the L4 626 from 95 you can read the tranny fault codes by jumpering two leads in the diagnostics box (near the battery). I don't know if these are still there in the 97 though (windophobe sure knows this...).

  • pdrumans1pdrumans1 Posts: 48
    Thanks for the all the info, I appreciate it and hope my friend will too.
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