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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. First time poster but not new to the forum (and not a mechanical dolt). With the courage and insight I received from this site, Happy Wrenching, and the Mazda 6 forums I embarked on swapping a 2011 Fusion 2.5l into my 2004 2.3l 6i manual. Spent months and HOURS reading, copying, rereading, planning. Got a 26k mile engine for $650 from a salvage yard and the fun began. The swap went on without a hitch - I used the Mazda intake/exhaust, fuel rail, plugs, crank pulley, crank position sensor, oil pan/pickup, timing cover, and intake cam (with VVT gear swapped). Engine fired up within 15-20 seconds after priming. Idles perfectly! Elated!

While I had the engine and transmission out of the car, I decided to replace the clutch, flexplate and throwout bearing - after all the car has 105k miles on it. Bought an Exedy kit and installed with no concerns; clutch went in the correct way; flexplate torqued in star pattern; throwout bearing clipped to fork; input shaft lightly greased; new pilot bearing tapped in and lightly greased; transmission refilled with lube; clutch bled. The clutch moves the fork and throwout bearing... the throwout bearing presses on and releases from the flexplate... the car shifts through gears smoothly with the pedal in and out... but the car doesnt move when the pedal is released, nor does it stall out. Stumped!

So I look under the car (with wife in the car) and the passenger CV has come out of the hub joint and is spinning the wheel ever so slightly as it winds up the boot. I must have pulled it out when I was removing the shaft from the transmission. So I take out the passenger CV and intermediary shaft and reinstall the shaft back into the hub joint with a new Cclip, boot and grease. Reinstall and the car still wont move, despite the speedometer recording I achieved 40mph with the car on stands. Stumped!

I pulled the engine out of the car again and rechecked clutch, pressure plate and throw out bearing installation. The car had no transmissions concerns before the swap, so clearly I did something. The clutch I replaced was not original, it was an Exedy and had the exact same part numbers as the new ones. During the swap, after pulling both axles, I did thread a wire through the transmission/axle holes as I read the gears may come out of alignment. With the engine running and shifting through gears, there is a slight rubbing sound - similar to a brake pad rubbing on a rotor. The sound increases/decreases with RPM, and is only present when the clutch is engaged. Stumped.

Pulled the engine/transmission a 3rd time (in under 3 hours I might add!). With the transmission sitting on the floor, I can turn the input shaft and see the gears through the axle holes turning. With only the transmission (no engine) installed in the car, and the axles installed, I can turn the input shaft, and the axles turn. At this point I am left to believe it is a clutch slipping issue, but the parts removed/installed are identical in part number and appearance. I have measured many aspects of the parts and they are within 1000th of an inch of each other. The clutch disk spins freely when held up to the flywheel, the pressure plate sits flush to the flywheel with no clutch disk, and 3/16inch away from the flywheel when just starting the bolts. When the pressure plate is just finger tight, I cannot spin the disk, so I cannot see how it is not clamping.

Additional bit of background - my inlaws purchased the car new, and I received it at 80k miles. I drove it carefree for another 25k before the engine died. Drove it home one day with fluttering tach, TCS/ABS, and engine light on. When driving home, it seemed to run 'ok' when under load, and would act up when decelerating/coasting. I never drove it again. I could barely get it to run. IF it ran, I could not rev over 3k and it would immediately stall if I tried to release the clutch while in gear. I had it towed to a mechanic who said it was out of timing and had caused interference. When taking it apart for the swap I did find that one of the timing chain guides (non-adjustable one) was broken, so the story fit. There was no metal pieces/shavings found upon disassembly. Not entirely sure why the TCS/ABS got thrown in the mix, but allot goes wrong when the timing is off. TBS/ABS and engine light are on after swap.

Go big or go home... How is this for a newbe post? Appreciate any help.
 

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That is an excellent detailed post. I have done a few of these swaps and never encountered the issue that you are having. The good news is that your new engine is running well and I agree with you everything points to a clutch issue. I know that you sound very competent which makes this even more puzzling, as you sound unlikely to make a rookie mistake. But.....over many years on another car forum (Miata) an extremely common cause of this issue is installing the clutch disc backwards. I know you said you didn't do this, but it is also exceedingly easy and common to do this. Do you by chance have any photos of your parts as you installed them to verify correct placement? Wish I could help more if this isn't the problem.
 

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One other thing. You mentioned flex plate. The donor engine comes with a flex plate since it is an automatic. To use a clutch you have to mount a flywheel instead of the flex plate. If you didn't do that it would be your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Appreciate the compliment, and we all make mistakes. I did use the term flywheel and flex plate interchangeably… however I did use the flywheel from my engine which is the manual.

Boy do I have pictures! Here is one of the installed clutch… you can barely read the T/M indicating it is installed correctly.
Tire Wheel Motor vehicle Automotive tire Product
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes. If rotating the engine as if it were running, the flywheel, clutch disk and pressure plate rotate. If sticking the alignment tool in and turning the engine again, I do not have the strength to keep the disk from turning. There seems to be a ton of pressure on the disc clamping it between the flywheel and pressure plate - as there should be.
 

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Did you happen to read the OBD-II codes before the engine swap? Even if no, what are the codes now? I'm also curious about the condition of the old clutch and pressure plate.
 

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I am (now) a cause & effect kind of guy. After swapping engines on a 67 Camaro for similar type engine symptoms, After building & exchanging the engine,I still had to deal with the original issue that caused the engine problem in the first place.Swapping parts almost always leaves you stabbing in the dark. Real Troubleshooting on the other hand always leads towards the real problem. It's (sometimes) harder and always takes more patience, but in the end you will arrive at the truth.

My guess is, if you will work the original problem you will (eventually) find the answer that solves the puzzle. I would work the engine codes and while I was at it, pull the head off the (original) 2.3L and verify "interference". Then you will have some valuable data that should point you in the right direction...

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it is sound wisdom coming from a former parts swapper...
 

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I am (now) a cause & effect kind of guy. After swapping engines on a 67 Camaro for similar type engine symptoms, After building & exchanging the engine,I still had to deal with the original issue that caused the engine problem in the first place.Swapping parts almost always leaves you stabbing in the dark. Real Troubleshooting on the other hand always leads towards the real problem. It's (sometimes) harder and always takes more patience, but in the end you will arrive at the truth.

My guess is, if you will work the original problem you will (eventually) find the answer that solves the puzzle. I would work the engine codes and while I was at it, pull the head off the (original) 2.3L and verify "interference". Then you will have some valuable data that should point you in the right direction...

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it is sound wisdom coming from a former parts swapper...
What on earth does any of this have to do with the drivetrain not transmitting power through the transmission? He swapped the defective "part", ie the garbage 2.3 that he had. His new engine runs fine. A transmission failure is not going to throw a check engine code on his manual transmission car. Pulling the head on the old engine, while maybe educational, will not solve his current issue.
 

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What on earth does any of this have to do with the drivetrain not transmitting power through the transmission? He swapped the defective "part", ie the garbage 2.3 that he had. His new engine runs fine. A transmission failure is not going to throw a check engine code on his manual transmission car. Pulling the head on the old engine, while maybe educational, will not solve his current issue.
If you're so smart then offer a better solution, smart guy...
 

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Only meant to point out that the same codes seem to exist both before and after the engine swap.

[ TBS/ABS and engine light are on after swap. ]

Troubleshooting is all about taking facts and building on those. To condense what I have read so far the original poster had an undetermined engine (or transmission) problem. He or she then simply replaced the entire engine to remedy said problem. No in-depth troubleshooting to try and locate the cause of the issue. Because of this it is almost impossible to move in the right direction without starting from the beginning.

All this "the 2.3L is junk" hypothesis becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy if one simply takes it as Gospel. I guess (following your thinking) that if my steering wheel start vibrating terribly then I should simply replace the steering column or (all 4 tires/or both) to get rid of the problem. No investigation needed. That's just plain nuts!
 

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Only meant to point out that the same codes seem to exist both before and after the engine swap.

[ TBS/ABS and engine light are on after swap. ]

Troubleshooting is all about taking facts and building on those. To condense what I have read so far the original poster had an undetermined engine (or transmission) problem. He or she then simply replaced the entire engine to remedy said problem. No in-depth troubleshooting to try and locate the cause of the issue. Because of this it is almost impossible to move in the right direction without starting from the beginning.

All this "the 2.3L is junk" hypothesis becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy if one simply takes it as Gospel. I guess (following your thinking) that if my steering wheel start vibrating terribly then I should simply replace the steering column or (all 4 tires/or both) to get rid of the problem. No investigation needed. That's just plain nuts!
Well his timing chain guide was broken, so there is concrete evidence that his original engine was messed up. There is little illogic in replacing a damaged 2.3 with a newer 2.5, especially since the newer 2.5 can cost as little as $250 with far fewer miles on it than the damaged 2.3 it is replacing. Replacing a timing chain guide on these engines is extremely challenging without pulling the engine to get proper access, and by the time you've done this, why not drop in a newer, fresher, and arguably better engine? To not do so, to borrow your words, is "just plain nuts!"

Also, can you please illucidate why the ABS light being on would prevent the manual transmission vehicle from moving?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The initial problem causing the engine to "implode" was a broken timing tensioner resulting in a mistimed engine. There was no interference noted when I removed cam, lifters, and pistons (for fun). I didnt need to replace the engine after this determinant, but with 105k on the original, and the 2.5 swap so cheap and so "easy", I decided to go that route. I cannot explain the ABS/TBS lights appearing just before the engine stopped, but they went away within 5 min of the new engine running, so un-scientifically, I am going to call them related. Just before the swap I reset those codes several times but they kept coming back, after the swap, they went away on their own with a few minutes of idling. As the transmission and wheels had not been turning at the point the codes cleared themselves, I am left to assume there may have been some harsh conversations occurring between the ecu and the traction control / ABS systems. As I parked the car in December, I cannot for the life of me remember the codes it was actually throwing.... I will have to see if the Foxwell scanner I have stored these codes.

So back to the resulting problem... After pulling the engine for the 3rd time, and after confirming the flywheel, clutch disk, and pressure plate were installed and torqued correctly, I installed the engine and transmission only. Didn’t hook up any wiring and didn’t fill with fluids. My thinking was installing the engine and transmission, install the axles and wheels and lower it to the ground. If I manually place it into gear I don’t believe I should be able to push the car. This might shed some light if I remove all electronics from the equation.

Stabbed the passenger side cv shaft in no problem, but took a harder look at the drivers side. The c clip was a bit gouged, as was the 1/8 leading edge of the shaft - the part that goes into the transmission. I used a V file to smooth out the splines on the end and a flat file to clean out the c clip groove, then installed a new c clip and attempted to stab it back in… but when lining it up to insert, something caught my eye - something shiny and metallic inside the axle hole…

Body jewelry Necklace Jewellery Eyewear Circle


low and behold, I pulled this out! It is the metal ‘spring’ that is on the inside lip of the axle seal. Clearly being mangled, I can only assume that when installing the axle the first time, it came loose and lodged somewhere inside the axle hole and either prevented the axles from seating properly, or prevented the gears from fully engaging. I think I am pretty lucky it didn’t get ground up in the gears and cause bigger problems. I installed a new axle seal and the cv shaft slid right in. Installed the wheels and dropped it off the stands. Put it in gear and I could only rock it back and forth. With newfound hope, I hooked up everything and filled with fluids. Fired right up and DROVE the car 3’ forward and 3’ backward under its own power! That is all I had room to go with all me tools spread around from this month long saga… but it DROVE under its own power.

I put the car is back in one piece (figuratively) and made its maiden voyage into the light of day with the new 2.5 propulsion. Took it on a 10 mile tour of the countryside I live in and she hummed better than she ever has. Funny the engine sounds and feels smoother/quieter than I ever remember it before. There is still no zoom-zoom with this engine, but moving on its own power is still exhilarating. I am not getting any of the stumbling or codes (knock on wood) that others completing a similar swap encountered. Maybe I paid my price by dealing with the transmission axle seal spring, and the car-gods are being kind.... but for now, I will enjoy cruising around in my beloved 2004 Mazda 6i with a new lease on life. Thanks for all who played this game with me... I'm going to call it a win!
 

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Congratulations! You are the winner and your perseverance paid off, as did you ignoring sanctimonious posters who just want to attack others on the forum instead of focusing on the problem as it is presented. You are correct that the new inexpensive 2.5 feels smoother than the old, garbage 2.3 This has been my experience now after performing five such swaps over the past two years. And for the very small price of the 2.5 it is a great upgrade, and brings a new lease on life to an aging car. Also, as you found out, if the swap is done carefully and meticulously, there is no reason for a CEL to light up. The ECU has no idea if the engine is a 2.3 or 2.5, nor does it care. It does care if the sensors are not installed correctly, the timing is off, or other such errors are present.
 

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The initial problem causing the engine to "implode" was a broken timing tensioner resulting in a mistimed engine. There was no interference noted when I removed cam, lifters, and pistons (for fun). I didnt need to replace the engine after this determinant, but with 105k on the original, and the 2.5 swap so cheap and so "easy", I decided to go that route. I cannot explain the ABS/TBS lights appearing just before the engine stopped, but they went away within 5 min of the new engine running, so un-scientifically, I am going to call them related. Just before the swap I reset those codes several times but they kept coming back, after the swap, they went away on their own with a few minutes of idling. As the transmission and wheels had not been turning at the point the codes cleared themselves, I am left to assume there may have been some harsh conversations occurring between the ecu and the traction control / ABS systems. As I parked the car in December, I cannot for the life of me remember the codes it was actually throwing.... I will have to see if the Foxwell scanner I have stored these codes.

So back to the resulting problem... After pulling the engine for the 3rd time, and after confirming the flywheel, clutch disk, and pressure plate were installed and torqued correctly, I installed the engine and transmission only. Didn’t hook up any wiring and didn’t fill with fluids. My thinking was installing the engine and transmission, install the axles and wheels and lower it to the ground. If I manually place it into gear I don’t believe I should be able to push the car. This might shed some light if I remove all electronics from the equation.

Stabbed the passenger side cv shaft in no problem, but took a harder look at the drivers side. The c clip was a bit gouged, as was the 1/8 leading edge of the shaft - the part that goes into the transmission. I used a V file to smooth out the splines on the end and a flat file to clean out the c clip groove, then installed a new c clip and attempted to stab it back in… but when lining it up to insert, something caught my eye - something shiny and metallic inside the axle hole…

View attachment 106893

low and behold, I pulled this out! It is the metal ‘spring’ that is on the inside lip of the axle seal. Clearly being mangled, I can only assume that when installing the axle the first time, it came loose and lodged somewhere inside the axle hole and either prevented the axles from seating properly, or prevented the gears from fully engaging. I think I am pretty lucky it didn’t get ground up in the gears and cause bigger problems. I installed a new axle seal and the cv shaft slid right in. Installed the wheels and dropped it off the stands. Put it in gear and I could only rock it back and forth. With newfound hope, I hooked up everything and filled with fluids. Fired right up and DROVE the car 3’ forward and 3’ backward under its own power! That is all I had room to go with all me tools spread around from this month long saga… but it DROVE under its own power.

I put the car is back in one piece (figuratively) and made its maiden voyage into the light of day with the new 2.5 propulsion. Took it on a 10 mile tour of the countryside I live in and she hummed better than she ever has. Funny the engine sounds and feels smoother/quieter than I ever remember it before. There is still no zoom-zoom with this engine, but moving on its own power is still exhilarating. I am not getting any of the stumbling or codes (knock on wood) that others completing a similar swap encountered. Maybe I paid my price by dealing with the transmission axle seal spring, and the car-gods are being kind.... but for now, I will enjoy cruising around in my beloved 2004 Mazda 6i with a new lease on life. Thanks for all who played this game with me... I'm going to call it a win!
I'm glad you got it sorted out. I figured it was something to do with the axle but I never would have guessed it was the spring from the axle seal.
 
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