Mazda3 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought an '09 Mazda3 hatchback about 2 weeks ago, and am really liking it. Up until 7 years ago, I owned a '97 Miata for 7 years, and I bought my daughter an '03 Protege5 about 10 years ago, which she still has (it got her through 8 years of college, and then some). So, I am quite familiar with Mazdas. Sure, they are kinda cheap-made, but they are designed relatively well, and are pretty reliable. My Miata was the most reliable car I have ever owned in my 37 years of owning vehicles. Yes - far, far more reliable than my '99 Toyota 4Runner has been (but it has almost 200k).


This Mazda3 is a hoot to drive. Fairly quick (2.3L), and the handling could give even a true sports car a run for its money. I will have to restrain myself to keep out of trouble driving this car.



I'm fixing a few little things that are bugging me, have already replaced the spark plugs (as a benchmark, and the previous plugs most definitely needed replacing). Next will be a transmission fluid flush. It has 111k on the clock, and is in really good shape overall, having had only one very minor accident in its history, which wasn't even a fender bender.


Having been looking for one for a few months, with no luck, I couldn't be too choosy, so I had to make a sacrifice on the color. Black. Worse than red, for keeping looking clean. I had a certain budget (paid cash for it), and a fairly small geographical search radius, so I jumped on this when I found it, and I don't regret it.


I do 100% of maintenance and repairs myself. No mechanic ever touches any of my immediate family's vehicles, except me (but I am not a professional mechanic). I would have preferred a manual transmission, but I shudder at the thought of pulling both the engine and transmission for a clutch replacement. Plus, when I find work again (I am semi-retired), a manual sucks in stop & go traffic. However, if it were a rear wheel drive Miata, I definitely would have gotten a manual.



One of the biggest bonuses is that I can even throw my mountain bike in the back (after removing its front wheel), if my 4Runner happens to be temporarily down. I can even take it camping, or haul one of my German Shepherds in it. If I get some spending money, I may put a receiver hitch on it so that I can use my bike rack.


I semi-retired my old 4Runner to just utility usage, and this Mazda3 has become my daily driver. Sometimes I name my cars if they have a personality, so I named this one Black Betty. Some of you old farts probably know that song. :bigsmile:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,207 Posts
Welcome to the Mazda3 community.

As a suggestion, keep an eye out for a low mileage 2.5 liter Ford Duratec; when your 2.3 engine goes Tango Uniform (this is a matter of when, not if), the 2.5 liter Ford motor is a virtual clone (externally) to the 2.3, however, it has some very important internal upgrades to correct for the failures in the 2.3; that and it is both more powerful and gets about the same fuel economy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Welcome to the Mazda3 community.

As a suggestion, keep an eye out for a low mileage 2.5 liter Ford Duratec; when your 2.3 engine goes Tango Uniform (this is a matter of when, not if), the 2.5 liter Ford motor is a virtual clone (externally) to the 2.3, however, it has some very important internal upgrades to correct for the failures in the 2.3; that and it is both more powerful and gets about the same fuel economy.
Thanks for the heads up. I wasn't aware of that, and would not have bought it if I had been. I have been doing some research since reading your reply, and didn't find too much. What I did find mentioned that the problem was most common in 2004-2005 models, and that was (or is) a class action lawsuit against Mazda for it.

If I don't get some encouraging information soon, then I will sell the car, while it is still running well, and get a Miata, for the same price I get for the Maz3. I am very well acquainted with Miatas, and have strong faith in their engines.

Do you happen to have any links saved that might indicate how common this problem is on 2009 Maz3's?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,207 Posts
Thanks for the heads up. I wasn't aware of that, and would not have bought it if I had been. I have been doing some research since reading your reply, and didn't find too much. What I did find mentioned that the problem was most common in 2004-2005 models, and that was (or is) a class action lawsuit against Mazda for it.

If I don't get some encouraging information soon, then I will sell the car, while it is still running well, and get a Miata, for the same price I get for the Maz3. I am very well acquainted with Miatas, and have strong faith in their engines.

Do you happen to have any links saved that might indicate how common this problem is on 2009 Maz3's?
I do not believe there are any 2.3 liter motors which are salvageable, to the best of my knowledge, there were no internal upgrades to the 2.3 throughout its production life; it is the 2.5 where are of the new engineering upgrades were applied.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I am now seeing that, in addition to possible valve problems or piston ring problems, the PCV valve could be a possible cause of massive oil consumption problems. It looks like a full or multi-day job just to replace the PCV valve, which, while needing to be done anyway on a car this old, but might not even prevent the oil problem from occurring.

Lesson learned: I should have done sufficient research before buying this car. I made a huge mistake. Despite really liking this car, I am now going to sell it and buy a Miata instead.

Thanks for making me aware of this problem before I really lost my butt on this POS car. POS, only because of this particular problem, and the related design stupidity (the PCV valve location). Shame, because it is so practical and such a fun car to drive.

Color me a fool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
All engines can go Tango Uniform. I have a high mileage 2.3 with no issues at all. Only thing that has worn out is the AC compressor. 200K and going up. 2008 3
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,207 Posts
All engines can go Tango Uniform. I have a high mileage 2.3 with no issues at all. Only thing that has worn out is the AC compressor. 200K and going up. 2008 3
True, but some engines have a much higher incidence of failure than others, the 2.3 is well known for premature failures. Does that mean a few last a long time here and there? No. Like it or don't, anybody who owns a 2.3 should plan on an engine failure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
True, but some engines have a much higher incidence of failure than others, the 2.3 is well known for premature failures. Does that mean a few last a long time here and there? No. Like it or don't, anybody who owns a 2.3 should plan on an engine failure.
I think they had more problems up until 2006. Lots of 2.3 engines out there with a lot of miles. What is the common failing point? 2005 and later models had oil burning problems that Mazda couldn't figure out. That's really I can recall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
OP here again. It is now back up for sale. I can't chance really, really losing my butt on this car, when the risk is so high. If the engine craps out, my $5k car is worth less than $1k. I am not willing to spend up to $2k on a 2.5L just to up my odds. Well, that cost and the very, very huge PITA of swapping an engine, even if just bolts right up to everything.

I am not at all fond of the thought of anything from Ford (or Chevy, or Pontiac, etc.) in anything that I drive. I want a real Mazda engine. I really wish I had done sufficient research prior to buying this thing, which I happen to love driving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
I am now seeing that, in addition to possible valve problems or piston ring problems, the PCV valve could be a possible cause of massive oil consumption problems. It looks like a full or multi-day job just to replace the PCV valve, which, while needing to be done anyway on a car this old, but might not even prevent the oil problem from occurring.

Lesson learned: I should have done sufficient research before buying this car. I made a huge mistake. Despite really liking this car, I am now going to sell it and buy a Miata instead.

Thanks for making me aware of this problem before I really lost my butt on this POS car. POS, only because of this particular problem, and the related design stupidity (the PCV valve location). Shame, because it is so practical and such a fun car to drive.

Color me a fool.
Check around my posts. One issue with oil consumption on these engines is the valve cover gasket was redesigned. I caught oil on the threads of two spark plugs, plus loose fasteners on the valve cover, around 16xK miles. The PVC is a PITA, and I posted pics for that as well as NO ONE who changed the damned thing posted pictures or instructions worth a damn on the entire InterWebs.

FWIW - My car is closing on 179K miles and its only issue right now is a bad gasket for the thermostat. I've had to play hell bleeding the air pockets from the cooling system on the drive to/from work this entire week. Guess what's on the maintenance agenda this weekend?:grin2:

Welcome. These cars are a blast, and I'm partial to the 1st Gen so much that I'm seriously considering a second.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Check around my posts. One issue with oil consumption on these engines is the valve cover gasket was redesigned. I caught oil on the threads of two spark plugs, plus loose fasteners on the valve cover, around 16xK miles. The PVC is a PITA, and I posted pics for that as well as NO ONE who changed the damned thing posted pictures or instructions worth a damn on the entire InterWebs.

FWIW - My car is closing on 179K miles and its only issue right now is a bad gasket for the thermostat. I've had to play hell bleeding the air pockets from the cooling system on the drive to/from work this entire week. Guess what's on the maintenance agenda this weekend?:grin2:

Welcome. These cars are a blast, and I'm partial to the 1st Gen so much that I'm seriously considering a second.
If my car doesn't sell soon, then I will end up replacing the PCV as well as the valve cover gasket.

I have priced it so that nobody jumps on it, and I won't lose anything on what I have put into it since buying it, which is a few hundred, on miscellaneous stuff that needed done anyway. Plus, I spent a few days making a new hatchback cover (or whatever they are called). My cover was missing when I bought it, and rather than pay $110-150 for a used one, I made a really cool one for really cheap. Yesterday, I changed the oil and transmission fluid, and today the drive belt (serpentine) and tensioner. Last week was the spark plugs, air filter and cabin air filters. All were things that needed done anyway, plus are selling points in my ad. I had started doing these things when I learned about the potential engine problem, and didn't want to stop before finishing, plus some of the stuff I had ordered online prior to learning.

I dread doing the PCV valve, if I get to it before it sells. But at 112k miles, it needs to be done anyway, and I will attempt it in a week or two, if nobody buys it.

It is completely asinine of them to put a PCV valve like that in a location like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,032 Posts
Luckily, in my 04 with the 2.3, I haven't had any issues whatsoever. Nearly 220,000 miles, doesn't use a drop of oil, and still runs strong.

I did do the spin-on filter conversion, and I religiously do my own oil changes every 5,000 miles with 5W-20 Mobil 1 Gold Cap or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum, and I prefer to use Mazda OEM filters. If my stash of LF05-14-302B Mazda filters is depleted and I forgot to order more, I'll use Wix.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,207 Posts
OP here again. It is now back up for sale. I can't chance really, really losing my butt on this car, when the risk is so high. If the engine craps out, my $5k car is worth less than $1k. I am not willing to spend up to $2k on a 2.5L just to up my odds. Well, that cost and the very, very huge PITA of swapping an engine, even if just bolts right up to everything.

I am not at all fond of the thought of anything from Ford (or Chevy, or Pontiac, etc.) in anything that I drive. I want a real Mazda engine. I really wish I had done sufficient research prior to buying this thing, which I happen to love driving.
Ummm, if you care to look closely at the engine currently in your car you will see it says FoMoCo all over it; you do know what that stands for, don't you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Ummm, if you care to look closely at the engine currently in your car you will see it says FoMoCo all over it; you do know what that stands for, don't you?
Did I come across as not now knowing who made this engine? I am well aware that I have a Ford engine. I learned that after I bought it. That is the reason this car is back up for sale.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,207 Posts
Did I come across as not now knowing who made this engine? I am well aware that I have a Ford engine. I learned that after I bought it. That is the reason this car is back up for sale.
Here's the thing, from a performance and durability perspective, the the Duratec 2.5 is pretty much a match any 2.5 liter four-banger of the late 2000s or early twenty-teens. To be sure I'm not necessarily a Ford fan, but the Duratec engine is about as solid as it gets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,789 Posts
I honestly find all of this silly. The whole car is built on a Ford C platform variation along with numerous other vehicles from Ford and Volvo though they each put their own spin on it. In the 3 it's a good platform, I haven't had much go wrong on mine. On pretty much any car you look at you will find a major failure that could occur and cost you $1K+, especially on a 10 year old vehicle. If the valve cover gasket isn't leaking, leave it alone! If the PCV system is working, leave it alone! Neither are considered a standard maintenance item on most modern cars. If the car isn't using oil then just drive it and enjoy it. Most importantly, don't neglect oil changes and check you oil regularly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
If my car doesn't sell soon, then I will end up replacing the PCV as well as the valve cover gasket.

I have priced it so that nobody jumps on it, and I won't lose anything on what I have put into it since buying it, which is a few hundred, on miscellaneous stuff that needed done anyway. Plus, I spent a few days making a new hatchback cover (or whatever they are called). My cover was missing when I bought it, and rather than pay $110-150 for a used one, I made a really cool one for really cheap. Yesterday, I changed the oil and transmission fluid, and today the drive belt (serpentine) and tensioner. Last week was the spark plugs, air filter and cabin air filters. All were things that needed done anyway, plus are selling points in my ad. I had started doing these things when I learned about the potential engine problem, and didn't want to stop before finishing, plus some of the stuff I had ordered online prior to learning.

I dread doing the PCV valve, if I get to it before it sells. But at 112k miles, it needs to be done anyway, and I will attempt it in a week or two, if nobody buys it.

It is completely asinine of them to put a PCV valve like that in a location like that.
When I did the PCV I opted to replace the intake gaskets while I was at it. Honestly, like any other first time job it's kind of a PITA due to the learning curve. The only reason the PCV sucks for me is that bending takes its toll on my lower back. The best How-To I found for that was a YouTube video by a guy in England on his Ford Mondeo. I posted pics in the Powertrain forum with details which should help. At 112K miles, your car is a low mileage wonder. I say you should keep it.

You've knocked out enough items on it that it will provide many years of service. It's cheaper than a car payment!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I am now thinking I will likely keep it. At least I am not going to lower my asking price to get someone to buy it quicker, and will stand firm on my current price. If I don't sell it, I will be worrying about it crapping out on me for as long as I own it. If it sells, I my mind would rest far easier if I got something with a proven 2.5, or better yet - a real Mazda engine. But once it gets close to 200k on it, then at least I will stop worrying about the oil problem, as that could happen to any engine at all with 200k on it.

My thinking on the PCV valve is that it could be a cause of the oil consumption problem. I would rather head-off that possibility before it happens, and I have replaced lots of PCV valves on vehicles with over 100k on them. I have replaced a few on my nearly 200k 4Runner, as failing PCV valves have caused oil burning problems on it (that went away when replaced). Or, I could check my oil on the Maz3 weekly, and when I notice the level dropping, then I could replace the PCV valve and hope that the problem goes away. Also - a cracked breather hose could cause a consumption or other problem, so why not nip 2 potential problems in the bud?

Regarding the valve cover gasket, that was one way I bought this car at a lower price. There was some oil on the upper back of the engine. I thought it was probable either spilled oil from a change, or a leaking VC gasket. I got the owner to drop the price by $500 because of that. I cleaned off the oil (I always like to keep an engine clean so I can see fresh leaks, and a clean engine is much easier to work on). I haven't seen any oil reappear on it, so it very well may have been spilled oil. Also, I have read of folks finding oil on their spark plugs, which is something that would not be readily or easily seen. I would rather head-off that problem too. It helps that a VC gasket job on this car seems to be a very easy job, and cheap, too. Why not do it, especially if I am already in there for the PCV valve? Taking care of known potential issues and nipping possible problems in the bud, before they happen.

I know I am OCD, anal-retentive, and over-think things. But I love machines and pride myself on keeping them in good working order, as well as doing every single thing on them myself. I never, ever take any vehicle to a mechanic. The only work of that nature I ever pay for is tires and alignments, and only because I cannot afford the equipment to do that type of work. If I could change auto cars with tire irons, and align them with yardsticks and lasers, then I would. (After some major suspension work once, I actually did align a wheel that way, and got it within 1/2 degree of the designed alignment number).

In summary, I think I will replace the PCV valve, breather hose and VC gasket (as well as gaskets on anything I have to remove), but all of that will have to wait until after Christmas, when funds become available. Or before then, if it happens to start using oil. That is, if it doesn't sell before I get to that. I know I would worry far less with either a 2.5 or if I got a Miata (Miatas are well known for being extremely reliable).

If I didn't love driving this car, as well as the practical aspects of it, then I would have already lowered my asking price to get rid of it and ease my mind. At this point, I really want to keep it, and will do what I can to make sure that I can do that. But one thing I most certainly will not do is swap an engine on it. I love working on cars, and am good at it, but that is far more than I want to take on, but time and money-wise.

I hope I covered all of the points I was thinking of. I am 53 and my old, cluttered brain is withering away. I really don't want this thread to go on forever.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
FWIW, I'm fiddy, so don't let your age get you down. You pretty much seem to have the bugs ironed out.

Just a tip when addressing the PCV is to have some throttle body cleaner on-hand. Chances are the back side of yours is filthy.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top