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Hi everyone,

I know this is a common problem with the early Mazda 3's but I've done pretty much everything and the problem will not fully go away. I own a stock 2004 Mazda 3 that I've owned the past 10 years. There's always been an issue with the car not feeling "punchy" or having a "lean code" pop up with the CEL. I would do some kind of fix, and it would hold off the issue for a while till it would pop back up again.

They symptoms are similar to others'; Car shakes when stopped at a red. Rough idle goes away if I switch gear to neutral. RPM's start falling when stopped and will flutter a little bit. I have step on the gas to keep the car from stalling. The car stalled on me a few times, and it will not start up again till the car's cooled for an hour. Car starts up watery when the gas tank is full etc...

I've literally changed everything since the mech's say they don't know what causes the generic lean code. There are so many parts that can throw that code up. I've replaced the fuel pump (twice), spark plugs (twice) O2 sensor, MAF, Reflashed the PCM, Replaced the PCM with another from another car, and replaced the Purge Solenoid.

Each time I replace something, the problem goes away for a few months to a year, then it'll come back. The latest time I replaced the purge and it made it so the CEL stopped coming on. The car would still rough idle, but not as strongly as before. I thought that I would do a full throttle body and injection system clean to see if it would get rid of the last of the jitters, but after I did that, the problem got worse again. It's not so bad as to kick on the CEL, but it seems it's going to head that way after a few weeks.

Any idea what's going on? The mechanic said that the only thing left to change is the throttle body. He's checked for leaks too. I'm pretty tired of having to spend so much money on this car. I just kept telling myself that it's cheaper than having to buy a new car... but I'm not so sure.
 

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yeah I'm having the close to the same problem but mine is running to rich now I did have a short ram air intake but removed that case my system was running to lean, then replaced my MAF then my O2, then my purge solenoid and will keep getting a CEL after a week of driving fine.
 

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Have either of you tried replacing the PCV?
I'm assuming by purge solenoid you mean PSV.

Very different. The PCV can absolutely cause a rough idle, and it's always the one item everyone seems to forget because it's such a major PITA to get to.

Also, yes, cleaning the TB plate 9/10 times creates more issues than fixes.
 

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i had same problem a year ago. changed the PCV and all the other usual parts. then i disconnected these 2 plugs and problem went away.
downside: have to let the car warm up otherwise it runs rough in the morning.

 

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VTCS actuators; they run vacuum lines depending on pressures etc. that change when the vtcs valves are open or closed; to change the length of the runners
 

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So if these were unplugged and the problem improved, what would that indicate? My idle issues have seemingly solved themselves, but I suspect a throttle response issue.
 

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i had same problem a year ago. changed the PCV and all the other usual parts. then i disconnected these 2 plugs and problem went away.
downside: have to let the car warm up otherwise it runs rough in the morning.



Now that's a turbo MZ3, would it still be the same scenario on a regular MZ3, or would we also have to let it warm up first?

So if these were unplugged and the problem improved, what would that indicate? My idle issues have seemingly solved themselves, but I suspect a throttle response issue.


This. I would like to know as well.
 

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My 07 had the same issues with rough idle.
I checked everything with a vac gauge and all looked good...

What ended up working for me was the following:

Removed throttle body and cleaned the engine side thoroughly.
Only clean the crosshatched areas in the attached pic (Not the areas with the X)
Put a new air filter in the car
Disconnected the negative battery lead for 30 minutes (hit the brake pedal 3 times... just for good luck)
Reconnected the negative to the battery and started the car
Let the car idle for 20 minutes
Turned the A/C on full blast for 20 additional minutes
Opened the windows for a bit to let the icicles on the rearview mirror melt (LOL)
Took the car for a 20-30 minute ride around town.

The car has ran and idled perfectly.
Oddly enough, I was having another common issue where the dash display would show that the car shifted into second gear, but the actual transmission woud not shift until about 3-5 seconds later.
The procedure above appears to have cured that issue as well..
 

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I'm glad that I've found this thread. I'm running into the same issue but maybe a little bit worse... Mine sometimes dies on idle and is very hesitant when getting going from a stop. I've cleaned the throttle body, like the post above many times, which seems to fix it for a little while. I just hit 70k miles in my 2005 3, so I haven't done much. I've lengthened the MAF wires, got a new MAF, cleaned the MAF, got a new air filter (and intake for that matter), changed plugs about 15k miles ago, etc. I guess I'm going to do O2 sensor, PCV (ugh), PSV, and go from there...
 

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I'm glad that I've found this thread. I'm running into the same issue but maybe a little bit worse... Mine sometimes dies on idle and is very hesitant when getting going from a stop. I've cleaned the throttle body, like the post above many times, which seems to fix it for a little while. I just hit 70k miles in my 2005 3, so I haven't done much. I've lengthened the MAF wires, got a new MAF, cleaned the MAF, got a new air filter (and intake for that matter), changed plugs about 15k miles ago, etc. I guess I'm going to do O2 sensor, PCV (ugh), PSV, and go from there...

Clean your EGR valve otherwise I would guess PCV tube has a cut in it. That's no fun to work on that nonsense removing the intake. I wish my 2005 had such little miles well maybe I don't.
 

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Had a similar problem with my 08. The car would rough and stall just before reaching normal operating temperature. After many unsuccessful fixes, I decided to read the vehicle's info using a obd2 reader and discovered that the coolant temperature reading spiked just before stalling. I proceeded to replace the coolant temperature sensor and the problem was finally solved.
 

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Rough idle I would always look for vacuum leaks as a first culprit.

My car has been doing something strange since I reset the ECU about 800 miles ago. When I'm coasting in neutral the idle RPM will hang at about 1500 until I slow to nearly a complete stop. Once I'm nearly stopped it drops to its regular 700-800 rpm idle. It didn't do this before the ECU reset.
 

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Rough idle I would always look for vacuum leaks as a first culprit.

My car has been doing something strange since I reset the ECU about 800 miles ago. When I'm coasting in neutral the idle RPM will hang at about 1500 until I slow to nearly a complete stop. Once I'm nearly stopped it drops to its regular 700-800 rpm idle. It didn't do this before the ECU reset.
antics, May be worth opening a new thread to help investigating that
 

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antics, May be worth opening a new thread to help investigating that
possibly. I was hoping that maybe someone with the idle issues in this thread would have some experience with what I described. maybe some kind of link to something.

In looking for solutions to my problem, I read on a few threads about cleaning the TB and making sure the IAC valve passages are clear. Might be something for OP to check out.
 
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I took my 2006 Mazda 3 2.3L to a local mechanic for this issue. He did a throttle body cleaning and replaced my thermostat. So far (1.5 years) the problem has not recurred.
 

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Hi everyone,

I know this is a common problem with the early Mazda 3's but I've done pretty much everything and the problem will not fully go away. I own a stock 2004 Mazda 3 that I've owned the past 10 years. There's always been an issue with the car not feeling "punchy" or having a "lean code" pop up with the CEL. I would do some kind of fix, and it would hold off the issue for a while till it would pop back up again.

They symptoms are similar to others'; Car shakes when stopped at a red. Rough idle goes away if I switch gear to neutral. RPM's start falling when stopped and will flutter a little bit. I have step on the gas to keep the car from stalling. The car stalled on me a few times, and it will not start up again till the car's cooled for an hour. Car starts up watery when the gas tank is full etc...

I've literally changed everything since the mech's say they don't know what causes the generic lean code. There are so many parts that can throw that code up. I've replaced the fuel pump (twice), spark plugs (twice) O2 sensor, MAF, Reflashed the PCM, Replaced the PCM with another from another car, and replaced the Purge Solenoid.

Each time I replace something, the problem goes away for a few months to a year, then it'll come back. The latest time I replaced the purge and it made it so the CEL stopped coming on. The car would still rough idle, but not as strongly as before. I thought that I would do a full throttle body and injection system clean to see if it would get rid of the last of the jitters, but after I did that, the problem got worse again. It's not so bad as to kick on the CEL, but it seems it's going to head that way after a few weeks.

Any idea what's going on? The mechanic said that the only thing left to change is the throttle body. He's checked for leaks too. I'm pretty tired of having to spend so much money on this car. I just kept telling myself that it's cheaper than having to buy a new car... but I'm not so sure.
I have a 2011 model mine is rough idle at lights or in park. Put a scanner on and found out it was my IAC - idle air control valve. Changed the part now running good as new
 
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