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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Pulsing brake and taillights FYI

Shortly after purchase of our '12 iGT, I noticed that the brake lights pulsed under heavy braking (following my girlfriend). It is something I can program into my '13 Passat (brake or hazzards) when the ABS kicks in, but thought maybe Mazda did it stock. I noticed there was no mention in the manual so I searched and found nothing... It was pretty hard to reproduce - only happened during pretty hard braking (w/ auto downshifting) while there was an electrical load (headlights, fan, defogger, heated seats).

It slowly got worse where after releasing the brakes, the parking lights pulsed for a second as well (slightly noticeable on interior lights). First dealer visit they said the body control module needed to be reset. I knew we'd be back... Seemed fairly obvious that there was a voltage regulation problem.

I video'd it and made another appointment with specific conditions that seemed to trigger it. The dealership brought in a regional specialist on the second visit. From what they tell me, they reflashed the ECU. The skyactive system was being overagressive with power management. During engine braking, the voltage was dropping too low, causing the pulsing. Whatever they did - it worked.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 11:49 AM
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Thanks for letting everyone know, I'm sure someone else will run into this eventually.

I may move and sticky this for everyone else's benefit. Otherwise may just leave it.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 12:26 PM
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You mean the i-stop was being overly aggressive? Skyactive is the engine, and this should bear no impact on the car's electrical behavior unless it wasn't triggering the alternator to run enough.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 12:53 PM
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unless it wasn't triggering the alternator to run enough.
From the sound of it, that may have been the issue. Less load on the alternator = less rotational drag on the engine = better fuel economy. It makes sense, especially since the ECU/BCM probably controls the alternator.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 12:59 PM
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but an isolated issue of this is weird
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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You mean the i-stop was being overly aggressive? Skyactive is the engine, and this should bear no impact on the car's electrical behavior unless it wasn't triggering the alternator to run enough.
I usualy see Mazda refer to the whole fuel economy 'package' as skyactive, not just the engine so that's what I was referring to. The ECU controls the voltage regulation and in this case, it was too agressive (if they were telling the truth). I've been trying to watch other Mazda3's to see if I can catch it happening but I don't think I've ever gotten behind another skyactive equiped Mazda3 while it was braking hard. From the driver's seat - it was not noticeable until it got worse.

I still find it odd that it did get worse. Unless the programming is adaptive and was 'learning' to get more agressive, I'd expect it to stay at the same level. If the dealer did anything other than a reflash, they didn't document it. And since it was only there one day, I doubt they changed any parts (had to make 2 visits to get TPMS sensor replaced)
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 09:48 PM
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OK i talked to my mazda guy, you have i-eloop on the car? If so then it was a problem with that system as there was a recall for it.

Skyactive is the marketing term for the lighter and better inspiration. iEloop is the regenerative braking with supercapacitor and start/stop system.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-18-2014, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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OK i talked to my mazda guy, you have i-eloop on the car? If so then it was a problem with that system as there was a recall for it.

Skyactive is the marketing term for the lighter and better inspiration. iEloop is the regenerative braking with supercapacitor and start/stop system.
No iEloop that I am aware of. Again - I'm not that familiar with Mazdas, but if I understand correctly, the '12 iGT was the only direct injected 'skyactive' that model year and the '13s had it more widespread. I thought the '14s had the start/stop first? Still learning as I go..
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2014, 08:29 AM
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You're right, i missed that it was a '12. Must've been a bad flash on your car or something that's usually calibrated at the factory.

Also keep an eye on your battery.
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