2014 Mazda3 SP25 GT loose jerky gearbox or drivetrain
Hi all, I wish this wasn't my first post, but I searched but couldn't find anything relevant:
I purchased (on lease) a brand new 2014 Mazda3 SP25 GT (BM5436) a couple of months ago. It has 2,500kms (1500miles) on the clock. Iíve got two large issues with the car. I have the same crazy head unit issues everyone else does, but the MORE important issue which Iím posting about here is the drivetrain.
Iíve been driving manuals for more than a decade. I had a 95 Honda Civic, a 95 Toyota Corolla Sportivo, and a (heavily modified) 95 Nissan Skyline. So I know how to drive manual, I sort of pride myself on smooth gear changes. But no matter how I drive in this Mazda3, itís a jerky ride. Specific examples:
1) More often than not, if I am rolling slowly along in traffic with very little or no pressure on the accelerator, and I press in the clutch, it takes the car out of gear as expected, but it also throws the weight of the car forward a little bit. Enough for the passenger to sometimes gives a funny look like I stuffed up.
2) If I accelerate from a standing start with my foot most of the way down for each gear, and short-shift (ie. Shift up @ 3-3.5k rpm), and foot my foot down on the accelerator quite quickly on each shift, there is a very noticeably *THUNK* somewhere in the drivetrain, like something shifting around. Most noticeable from 1-2, 2-3, slightly less so for 3-4 and not really noticeable for the higher changes.
3) Sometimes when rolling up to lights (out of gear altogether), the moment I stop, I can feel some shift in weight, or a similar *THUNK* to what I get when shifting gears.
4) When taking off from the lights, sometimes in the split second when I let off the clutch (with a normal amount of pressure on the gas to get rolling), I can hear some sort of *CLUNK* noise.
5) Often when rolling fairly slowly in 1st gear (definitely not slow enough to stall), the car will 'kangaroo' along a bit, in fits and bursts, like your feathering the accelerator to make it jerky on purpose.
Annoyingly, these things do not happen all the time. Maybe 60-70% of the time. Iím 100% sure itís related to interaction between engine RPM and roadspeed, as I notice it most:
1) At lower road speeds and with higher engine engine speeds
2) On shifts in momentum of the car (ie. Taking off, slowing down and gear changes)
3) Happens to some degree regardless of whether I drive like a grandpa or wind gears out
I believe there is some kind of looseness/slack in either the gearbox, the drivetrain, the power-transferring front axle, or the mounts holding one or more of these parts of the car are under-specíed in how much torque they are rated to handle. I took a Mazda mechanic for a 10 minute drive (he was only passenger) and drove as carefully as I could, unfortunately, this of course didnít show the problem very well and he said it felt fine to him. I was too worried that heíd say I was driving too Ďspiritedlyí and that was the cause of the issueÖ but it does it even at slow traffic, I just didnít come across that situation in the test. I am thinking of going back and a) testing the demo model again to compare) and b) get the mechanic to actually drive the car and tell me with a straight face that something isnít wrong. My main fear is that the car is behaving as designed, that most people donít notice because theyíre used to clunky cars, and that I might simply not have noticed when I test drove it because I thought it was just me getting used to the clutch in an unfamiliar car.
Has anyone else noticed this issue? It makes rev-matching impossible/pointless (because it throws the car forward so the gear change isnít smooth, then it jerks the car back and forward a bit because of the momentum shift, regardless of the RPM and road speed). It also makes me quite apprehensive of driving in traffic, for fear of giving my passenger the feeling theyíre about to be thrown into the car in front every time I have to stop in stop-start traffic. And WORST of all: makes the car NO FUN TO DRIVE.
Anyone else notice this kind of thing? ATM, Iíve told Mazda Iím working on recreating the fault reliably. The above conditions recreate the Ďroughnessí quite easily, but not ALL the time, sometimes it barely does it and other times the clunk throws the car around so much I want to push it off a cliff!
Thanks for any help/suggestions in advance!