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Hi all, I could use some advice/tips on my first MS3. I've been wanting to get a 1st gen Mazda 3 or (preferably) MS3 since accidentally nuking my beloved '08 hatch last year (oil....it developed a drinking problem and I didn't catch it in time). I found a Speed in Texas. It turned out to not exactly match the description in the ad....but, I still bought it. It needs work. Not sure how much of a project I'm jumping into here. I'll try to briefly summarize where I'm at so far.

It has 167k miles. The seller showed pics of the compression tests, around 180psi on all cylinders (I have yet to verify this myself). He thinks maybe the engine was rebuilt or replaced at some point based on these numbers.

Seller says he replaced all coil packs, and they do look new/clean. A set of old coil packs were in the back of the car, these were the old ones that his mechanic removed (according to seller).

It starts right up, but seems a little rough at idle compared to my old '08. I can feel more vibration in the car at idle, but perhaps it just needs a motor mount? Feels like it's shaking a bit. I probably wouldn't think anything of it if I hadn't had the '08 to compare it with.

When punching the gas, the engine sounds rough, much like a fuel starvation issue. Could also be a misfire. When initially accelerating, throttle response feels good, but as you continue to put your foot into it, the engine starts missing and coughing, and power sags. When revving the car in neutral, it will top out at 6700rpm (rev limiter, I presume) but doesn't sound happy....lots of sputtering and backfiring. Again, my spidey sense says lean mixture.

I replaced a couple of very janky vacuum lines (one to brake booster, one to bypass valve). Also replaced the air filter, which was pretty nasty. This seemed to help a little bit.

There's a sensor connection around the top of the exhaust/turbo area with no wire going to it. Gonna dig into the FSM and find out what this is.

The car appears to have been worked on by monkeys. I've found numerous stupid things in the engine bay. Fortunately, a number of items were trivial to correct, which really makes me wonder about the mechanic the seller was using.

The seller picked up the car at auction about a month ago, from what he told me. He insisted the turbo was working fine, but there's oil seeping out around the big hose coming from the turbo (driver's side of the intake, bottom connection). And with the airbox open, I see some smoke coming from the intake when revving the engine. I assume the turbo is cooked. Interestingly, the car came with a spare turbo (seller didn't know why it was there). The spare turbo appears used (a tiny bit of carbon on the turbine) but seems to be in very good shape. I assume a previous owner diagnosed the bad turbo and picked up this used one.

CEL is on solid, but occasionally goes to flashing at idle. I will be pulling codes this week.

Anyways, I will be scouring the forums and also FB groups for ideas, but if anything pops out in my notes here, feel free to chime in.

Matt
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I presume you know the flashing CEL is indicative of a misfire. I'd recommend not running it any further until you've pulled the full list of set and pending codes; then get to work with differential diagnoses and feedback from our forum. You already know that it's not running right and that it needs work -- running it further seems of no value and destined to toast the catalytic converters.
 

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I didn't know exactly what the flashing CEL meant, thanks for that! Yes, it's parked for now.

Matt
 
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