The Truth About Cars » Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 01 Aug 2014 21:12:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: A Rather Thirsty Escort? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-a-rather-thirsty-escort/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/piston-slap-a-rather-thirsty-escort/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:01:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873833 TTAC Commentator Weltron writes: Hi Sajeev! The car I am writing about today is my winter beater, which is a 1999 Ford Escort SE sedan which says it has a tick over 155,000 miles. (Pictured above) The problem I’m having with it is it it getting dreadful gas mileage. My average tank is about 19 […]

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TTAC Commentator Weltron writes:

Hi Sajeev!

The car I am writing about today is my winter beater, which is a 1999 Ford Escort SE sedan which says it has a tick over 155,000 miles. (Pictured above) The problem I’m having with it is it it getting dreadful gas mileage. My average tank is about 19 miles to the gallon (in comparison that is what my twin turbo straight six Volvo gets around town). Over the winter I replaced both of the o2 sensors and got a marginal improvement (about .4 mpg).

And here’s the kicker: the dumb thing runs perfectly. No error codes or anything. Idles smooth and everything (well as far as Escort refinement goes). When I go on the highway (which is fairly often) I can see upward of 21… If I’m lucky.

Help please! I’m debating on whether to sell it or not due to this gas mileage problem for something bigger (thinking an Oldsmobile Eighty Eight/LSS or if I’m feeling lucky … an Aurora if I do end up replacing the Escort.) Thank you in advance for your help.

P.S. Here’s a list of what has been replaced/cleaned since the fall.

Mass air flow sensor cleaned
New air filter
New spark plugs/ plug wires
New o2 sensors (both upstream and downstream)
New muffler
New tires

Sajeev answers:

It’s funny how well-maintained vehicles occasionally have an obvious problem that’s impossible to diagnose.  But going to the beautiful, enjoyable yet expensive and complicated Northstar powered Oldsmobile is the wrong move!

You’ve done the basics, kudos to you.  That makes our job easier. Considering your Volvo drives in the same manner (presumably) there’s certainly a minor problem outside of driver error. And I wouldn’t be so adamant if it didn’t happen to me:

Try changing the fuel filter first, then get new/reconditioned fuel injectors.

That’s it.  I know you’ve slooooowly been losing power and efficiency.  Perhaps you notice a mysterious fuel smell?  The injectors are no longer turning on/shutting off correctly. And when you get ‘em installed, ZOMG SON, note the instant acceleration improvement and the later MPG lift.

So go ahead and keep it, even if the cylinder head might be a problem in the future.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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High Praise Or Hyperbole? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/high-praise-or-hyperbole/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/high-praise-or-hyperbole/#comments Sat, 19 Jul 2014 17:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=869562 Unlike the American motoring press, the Brits have never been as enthusiastic about Mazda. Even though countless journalists have extolled the virtues of the Mazda3, the Golf and Focus always seem to take the top spot in the C-segment evaluations. But the Mazda2 might be a…wait for it…game changer. With one of the first road […]

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Unlike the American motoring press, the Brits have never been as enthusiastic about Mazda. Even though countless journalists have extolled the virtues of the Mazda3, the Golf and Focus always seem to take the top spot in the C-segment evaluations. But the Mazda2 might be a…wait for it…game changer.

With one of the first road tests of the upcoming Mazda2, AutoExpress has declared

“Mazda has put a lot of effort into lifting the 2’s dynamics, design and quality levels to bring it in line with Europe’s class-leaders. With a totally new stylish look, new engines, sporty handling and improved trim levels, Mazda has placed it in the same playing field as the VW Polo and even the Audi A1.

Even as an unabashed Mazda fanboy, I have to say that comparisons to an Audi are a bit lofty. I may love their products, but I’m not under any illusions regarding their shortcomings. Even so, I haven’t been looking forward to driving a subcompact in a long time. Well, unless you count the Fiesta ST.

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2015 Mazda2 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-mazda2-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-mazda2-revealed/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:22:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=867002 Carscoops got their hands on the first photos of the all-new 2015 Mazda2, which is expected to get its official debut at September’s Paris Auto Show. For North America, expect to see a 1.5L Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine making 100 horsepower. World markets will likely get a 1.5L diesel making 104 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of […]

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Carscoops got their hands on the first photos of the all-new 2015 Mazda2, which is expected to get its official debut at September’s Paris Auto Show.

For North America, expect to see a 1.5L Skyactiv 4-cylinder engine making 100 horsepower. World markets will likely get a 1.5L diesel making 104 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. No word on what this one weighs, but the last Mazda2 weighs just 2,300 lbs. This on should be a lightweight as well.

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Mazda2 RE May Appear Soon, But Only In Select Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mazda2-re-may-appear-soon-but-only-in-select-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mazda2-re-may-appear-soon-but-only-in-select-markets/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=863249 The oft-rumored Mazda2 RE PHEV, powered by a range-extending rotary engine, may soon become reality, appearing sometime after the next-gen hatch debuts in showrooms between October and the new year. Motoring.com.au reports the PHEV won’t be making its global debut with the rest of the new Mazda2 family in August, nor will it likely appear […]

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The oft-rumored Mazda2 RE PHEV, powered by a range-extending rotary engine, may soon become reality, appearing sometime after the next-gen hatch debuts in showrooms between October and the new year.

Motoring.com.au reports the PHEV won’t be making its global debut with the rest of the new Mazda2 family in August, nor will it likely appear in showrooms where government support is lacking, according to Mazda Australia Managing Director Martin Benders:

The only markets in which you can justify bringing something like that out, to get at least a reasonable amount of volume to justify setting it up as a saleable model, are ones where there’s government support for those types of models.

Benders adds that the current crop of Skyactiv engines do a better job of reducing CO2 emissions and boosting fuel economy than the more expensive PHEV technology, with subsidies and sales quotas hindering the case for hybrids in countries where the support isn’t there. However, Benders doesn’t believe government money should be used to promote the technology, preferring the market to decide what lives and what dies.

As for the new-gen Mazda2, which will take its cue from the Kodo design language found in vehicles like the Mazda3 and Mazda6, power will be supplied by a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine and a matching turbo diesel; the latter will likely not make it to the United States when the new compact arrives next year.

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Reader Review: 2014 Mazda6 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/reader-review-2014-mazda6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/reader-review-2014-mazda6/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:46:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=863065 TTAC reader Steve submits his review of his 2014 Mazda6 Touring – with a manual! I drove home in my new Liquid Silver Mazda 6 (Touring with 6MT) in January of this year – at just over $23,000, this is the cheapest new car I’ve bought, and also the most enjoyable. Having previously owned a […]

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TTAC reader Steve submits his review of his 2014 Mazda6 Touring – with a manual!

I drove home in my new Liquid Silver Mazda 6 (Touring with 6MT) in January of this year – at just over $23,000, this is the cheapest new car I’ve bought, and also the most enjoyable.


Having previously owned a 2006 Mazdaspeed6 and more recently a 2011 Nissan Maxima, I had serious reservations about shedding so many ponies from my stable by opting for Mazda’s obligatory 4 banger. However, after a few years of the Maxima’s CVT, my left leg had atrophied to the point where I was bound and determined to buy another manual transmission, despite the power downgrade and the lack of entrants in the midsize sedan segment with an optional third pedal.

My first choice was a Cadillac ATS 2.0 RWD 6MT, but at the time I was shopping, I was not finding any deals. The tiny back seat and my three growing kids didn’t make things easier. The prospect of Detroit winters in a rear-drive car, my own lead foot (turbo engines tend to be thirsty with my driving habits) and the upward creep of the MSRP, I decided to pass.

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Although I looked at the Accord and Fusion, the sexy curves, long hood, imposing grille and general seductiveness of the Mazda6 drove me right into the waiting arms of my Mazda dealer. I opted for the Touring trim level without too much debate as it had the optional 6MT and the Sport was only available with cloth interior and could not be had with the considerably more aesthetically pleasing 19” rims. I considered the auto-only Grand Touring simply because it had quite a few extras not available on the Touring, like a moon roof, navigation, HID headlights, real leather seats and LED running lights to name a few. Had the Grand Touring been offered with a manual, I would probably have one in my driveway. But the Touring trim is really the sweet spot in terms of value; shaving at least $6,000 off of the price compared to a Grand Touring, probably more depending on equipment levels.

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The interior of the Touring trim is no penalty box. Upscale is not a word I would use to describe it, but it is tasteful and competitive with others in the class in terms of material quality. The dash is composed of primarily soft touch materials where it matters in addition to faux carbon and aluminum accents. There are hard textured plastics on surfaces where your hands are unlikely to wander. The seats are “leatherette” trimmed. It is a somewhat convincing leather substitute which is likely to fool those who don’t know better. I find that it is no better or worse than real leather in terms of comfort.

The base sound system is actually quite good; I have been very pleased with it. The Bluetooth audio works very well, as does the streaming Pandora function. HD radio is also nice feature to those who actually still listen to AM/FM. Fire up the car and my Google Music library starts playing where it left off in a matter of seconds; I assume it would do the same for an iPhone. There has been lots of criticism of the infotainment system which I find really unwarranted. It may not be the best, most intuitive system with the largest screen and fastest processor on the market, but I have managed just fine. It makes me wonder just how subjective the love/hate reviews of various infotainment systems must be.Open the manual and learn how to use it people!

The 6 has a touch screen infotainment system with a display that is roughly 5.5 inches, almost the exact same size as my Galaxy Note3. This also raises the question as to the value of these infotainment systems. Armed with a tablet, a giant phone and a laptop, what the hell do I need a fancy in-car infotainment system for? If you cannot manage to launch Google maps on the fly via voice command on your phone for turn by turn directions you probably cannot operate an in-car infotainment system properly either. My point being, these systems, particularly navigation systems, are largely redundant in my opinion. If you are so inclined though, you can use the touch screen or the command dial mounted between the gearshift and cup holders to operate the audio or customize a variety of functions such as the duration of your audible turn signal clicks, the time the exterior and interior lights remain on after the vehicle is turned off and various other functions. Climate control is easy to operate and has proven extremely effective for AC or heat. I have found that all the buttons are fairly well placed and reasonably intuitive to operate.

The back seat is spacious enough to accommodate my three children, two of whom still require booster seats sitting outboard and my five foot tall 8-year-old sitting in the center, but it is admittedly tight with the boosters. There is enough leg room for a 6 foot tall adult to sit in relative comfort behind a 6 foot tall driver.

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It’s true that ingress and egress to the rear passenger compartment is complicated by the sloping roofline but the situation is easily remedied by opening your eyes and not smashing your head into the door frame. If you find the process too daunting, you are probably lucky Darwin hasn’t yet come to claim you as an evolutionary failure in some sort of freak strangulation accident at the hands of some easily escapable contrivance. The front seats are comfortable on longer trips and sufficiently bolstered. The car has a push button start, but curiously, not advanced keyless entry. Only the driver’s window is express auto up/down and the key fob unfortunately cannot roll down any of the windows on a hot day. Headlights are auto off, but not auto on. It has a standard backup camera with cross traffic alert and blind spot monitor. The driver has a power adjustable seat. The rear seats split 60/40 to allow trunk pass through of bulky items. The trunk is sufficiently large for a few golf bags or at least one dead body.

On the road, the 6 feels downright nimble, especially compared to my old Maxima (a 4DSC it was not). The 6’s body stays planted while cornering even on imperfect surfaces where my old Maxima would have lost composure due to suspension rebound. Steering is fairly boosted at low speeds but has nice weight and feel once on the road. The 6 handles the patchy moonscape of Michigan roads rather well, even with the big rims and low profile tires. It is a firm ride, but never feels like it crashes over bumps; gracefully handling road conditions that would have shaken trim pieces off of my old Mazdaspeed6.

The car is not fast, but the 184hp and 185 torques produced by the Skyactiv 4-cylinder are a good match for the chassis and transmission. The powerplant is more than adequate for a 3200 pound car. Redline comes rather quick at just over 6k rpm and more brisk acceleration requires you to stay above 3000 rpm, shifts are relatively smooth and clutch operation is easy with a good engagement point not too far from the floor in the clutch pedal travel.

Cruising around 80 mph on the highway puts the car at about 3000 rpm, and there is what I would consider a moderate amount of engine, wind and road noise. In the last few months I have been consistently getting about 31 mpg is mostly city driving. The small amount of highway travel I have done so far has netted about 38 mpg. Fuel economy was a little lower in the frigid winter months, averaging 28-29 mpg, but I am very pleased with the fuel consumption since spring.

I have clocked over 7000 trouble free miles since I bought my 6 with no regrets, wishing only for a few goodies and options to be available with the manual transmission beyond the Touring trim standard features. But, like my father always said, “wish in one hand and sh*t in the other and see which hand fills up first”. It took me a long time to figure out what that means, and I think this crude pearl of wisdom is well suited to the compromises we all make when purchasing a vehicle. A perfect car with everything you want may not exist, but there is a vehicle that has what you need and is perfect for you.

I may be turning into my father - or perhaps finally letting go of my youth and embracing the horror of being a balding, 30 something father of three children who appreciates sensible, worry-free, reasonably priced transportation. With the new Mazda6, I get all that in addition to a nice dose of exterior styling, a chassis, suspension, transmission and engine that can bring a smile to my face and some joy to my commute. I know there are plenty of cars that can best the Mazda6 in every test that involves moving, I haven’t seen any ladies flocking to me as I pull up to the club and it is not luxurious by any stretch. But, what you get for the price of admission adds up to more than the sum of its parts and I believe the Mazda6 in general and the Touring trim in particular is a true bargain in a beautiful and fun to drive package.

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Crapwagon Outtake: White Barchetta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/crapwagon-outtaake-white-barchetta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/crapwagon-outtaake-white-barchetta/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:41:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=858217 What a difference a decade makes. My own 2003 Miata is, by modern standards, a pure, elemental sports car. Lightweight, with a cable actuated throttle, a 5-speed manual and no ABS. But turn the clock back to 1993, just ten years prior, and you could still buy this. From Bring A Trailer and Miata.net, we have this […]

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What a difference a decade makes. My own 2003 Miata is, by modern standards, a pure, elemental sports car. Lightweight, with a cable actuated throttle, a 5-speed manual and no ABS. But turn the clock back to 1993, just ten years prior, and you could still buy this.

From Bring A Trailer and Miata.net, we have this ’93 NA Miata. Pure White, steel wheels, one owner, just under 45,000 miles. It looks to be an A-Package car, sans A/C, power windows or locks, the opposite of my old ‘97 C-Package and my 2003. Both are quantitatively better cars that feel gutsier and more robust than the early 1.6L cars.

But the small-bore versions just feel so pure, so elemental, so worthy of the hyperbolic praise heaped upon them by every motoring journalist and their internet mouthpieces. The 1600cc mill does rev more freely, there’s an ethereal lightness to them (thanks to no ABS, additional bracing or any sort of crashworthiness) and that NA styling with the steel wheels will stand the test of time, even when the fixed-headlight NBs start to look dated. This is a pur sang Miata, a forever car that you can enjoy long after the government is tracking your every mile and we live in a Red Barchetta world.

Buy it, enjoy it, drive it every day. Who needs SkyActiv when the sky is two clips of the soft top away?

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata To Debut September 3rd At Laguna Seca http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-to-debut-september-3rd-at-laguna-seca/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-to-debut-september-3rd-at-laguna-seca/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 12:09:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=858089 Well, let the speculation rest. The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will not debut in Chicago, but at Laguna Seca. Mazda made the announcement early Thursday, with the news that the new MX-5, known as the “ND”, will debut on September 3rd in Monterey, California. Events will also take place in Japan and Spain, with the […]

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Well, let the speculation rest. The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will not debut in Chicago, but at Laguna Seca.

Mazda made the announcement early Thursday, with the news that the new MX-5, known as the “ND”, will debut on September 3rd in Monterey, California. Events will also take place in Japan and Spain, with the ND on display at the “Miatas at Mazda Raceway” event from September 5th-7th.

Mazda debuted the Miata’s Skyactiv chassis at this year’s New York Auto Show, but many thought that a surprise debut in Chicago would mark the car’s 25th anniversary after it bowed in Chicago in 1989. But it was not to be.

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Honda, Nissan, Mazda Recall 3 Million Over Defective Airbag Inflators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850770 Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling a total of 3 million vehicles equipped with defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata, following a similar action by Toyota. Automotive News reports 2.03 million Hondas, 755,000 Nissans and 159,807 Mazdas globally are being recalled to replace the defective units. The effort comes just after Toyota recalled 1.62 vehicles […]

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Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling a total of 3 million vehicles equipped with defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata, following a similar action by Toyota.

Automotive News reports 2.03 million Hondas, 755,000 Nissans and 159,807 Mazdas globally are being recalled to replace the defective units. The effort comes just after Toyota recalled 1.62 vehicles outside Japan that were recalled earlier this month for the same issue, and 655,000 vehicles in the home market that were being recalled for the first time. As of June 23, 10 million vehicles between 2009 and 2014 have been recalled due to defects in Takata’s airbag units.

June’s action follow those by the four automakers conducted in April of this year, when Takata informed the group that a number of the defective units had escaped into the supplier channels due to poor record-keeping between 2000 and 2002 at the supplier’s plants in Washington and Mexico, where the moisture-infected units were assembled and stored. Moisture degraded the airbags’ inflators, which led to the units exploding, throwing metal shrapnel throughout the cabin.

Other manufacturers who used Takata airbags — including Ford, Chrysler and BMW — are also calling back a handful of affected models, especially those in humid climates such as Florida and Puerto Rico; CEO Shigehisa Takada claimed “the high levels of absolute humidity in those states” may also cause catastrophic failure of the inflators.

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New Or Used? : A Mitzvah For The Mazda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/new-or-used-a-mitzvah-for-the-mazda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/new-or-used-a-mitzvah-for-the-mazda/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 00:11:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840674 I have a 10 year old Mazda Protege which I have loved ever since new. There is just one small problem. Rust. This car rusts like Dolly Parton sings. There is rust on the frame. Rust on the rear wheel wells which I have steadfastly removed ever single year. Rust on various parts of the […]

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I have a 10 year old Mazda Protege which I have loved ever since new.

There is just one small problem.

Rust. This car rusts like Dolly Parton sings. There is rust on the frame. Rust on the rear wheel wells which I have steadfastly removed ever single year. Rust on various parts of the powertrain. All the wheel bearings have been replaced, twice, and after yet another near dire prediction of expensive rust related maintenance, I’ve decided to sell the Protege.

I put it only at around $5000 and it finally managed to sell at the $4100. Right around where you said it would when I emailed you a few weeks ago.

Except now, I have a bit of a problem. I promised the car, but the guy I promised it to had a bit of a problem getting his finances in order. A little over a week ago we agreed to put off the final sale of the Protege until Friday.

So I decided to just do some detailed inspection of the rear of the vehicle a couple of days ago and I found my decade old nightmare. A huge swash of rust on the rear of the frame that has been untreated since new.

I decided to get that entire area treated and rustproofed. Total cost was around $400.

I then let the fellow know about the treatment and asked if he would split the bill with me. He gave me a firm and unfriendly no as the answer. I was a bit pissed off because, yeah, I didn’t have a green light from him. But at the same time, he hasn’t given me the green light either now for quite a while.

Part of me (a big one) wants to drive it to Asheville, give it a last go on Tale of the Dragon, then sell it down there.

What do you think?

Steve Says:

This is why all of my holding of vehicles come with non-refundable deposits.

You want a car? Great! Two weeks. $500 deposit. No exceptions.

This is what you should have done in the first place because it discourages future window shopping and keeps the buyer focused on his obligations in the deal. Nickelshiters stop nickel and dimeing you when they have enough skin in the game for there to be a major downside to their flakiness.

As for the repair work, stuff like that you don’t do as a favor until the buyer is on board with it. Life is short. If you were afraid that this guy was going to bite the big one if he got in a rear impact, then you were obligated by a higher authority to do the right thing.

You did half the right thing, and the funny thing is you did the tougher half. You paid for a somewhat expensive repair that you were under no obligation to do. That fellow though owes you nothing but gratitude. You should have put him in the loop. Even if that meant eventually losing the deal on the car.

What I would do is honor the trade. The financial hit sucks, but you know what? You are a person with integrity and honor, and that is something that money can never bestow upon you.

So honor the deal and if he doesn’t have the money by Friday do the second most honorable thing and offer to split the repair costs on Saturday. If he doesn’t bite, take it to Asheville but don’t sell it. I’m begging you. I already see enough rolling rustbuckets at the auctions from you damn Yankees.

Author’s Note: Steve has a short memory that comes and goes with his once thick New Jersey accent. You can always reach him directly at steve.lang@thetruthaboutcars.com.

 

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Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition Sells Out In 10 Minutes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/mazda-mx-5-miata-25th-anniversary-edition-sells-out-in-10-minutes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/mazda-mx-5-miata-25th-anniversary-edition-sells-out-in-10-minutes/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828610 Were you hoping to get your hands on one of the 100 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition roadsters? Alas, you can stop holding your breath: All 100 were sold within 10 minutes. Autoblog reports Mazda opened its pre-order site for the roadster on Tuesday with the idea of keeping it open until the […]

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2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition

Were you hoping to get your hands on one of the 100 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition roadsters? Alas, you can stop holding your breath: All 100 were sold within 10 minutes.

Autoblog reports Mazda opened its pre-order site for the roadster on Tuesday with the idea of keeping it open until the end of May or when 250 customers registered. Ten minutes later, 250 customers signed up, leaving the automaker with the unenviable task of contacting and verifying the first 100 who will be granted the opportunity to order this particular MX-5.

Once the customer chooses either the $32,205 six-speed manual or $32,655 six-speed sport automatic with manual shift, “the customer’s information will then be forwarded to the dealership of their choosing to finalize the transaction.” All models come with a retractable hard top, the Soul Red paint found on the Mazda6, special badging inside, and a custom Tourneau watch among the pieces available.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Ford Festiva L http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1993-ford-festiva-l/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1993-ford-festiva-l/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=816753 The Ford Festiva aka Kia Pride aka Mazda 121 spent much of the last decade being a fairly common sight in American self-serve wrecking yards, but lately I’ve been seeing many fewer examples of this little gas-sipper. You can buy this car new in Iran, where it is badged as the Saipa 132, and some […]

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01 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Ford Festiva aka Kia Pride aka Mazda 121 spent much of the last decade being a fairly common sight in American self-serve wrecking yards, but lately I’ve been seeing many fewer examples of this little gas-sipper. You can buy this car new in Iran, where it is badged as the Saipa 132, and some outlaw factory is probably still building the things in China. We’ve seen this ’90 Festiva in this series, and now I’ve found a decal-enhanced example of the final model year of the US-market Festiva (the next generation Pride was called the Aspire in the United States) in a Denver yard.
03 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin63 horsepower from this Mazda B3.
05 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSwooshy graphics were all the rage in the late 1980s and early 1990s, though I’m not sure if these are factory-installed or provided later by Manny, Moe, and Jack.
18 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhat more do you need in a car?

Let’s take a look at some ads for the Pride from around the world. Here’s Iran.

Korean car commercials tend to be full of video-game noises and macho voiceovers. Here’s a nice collection.

The early Pride got some very pastel 80s-ness in its Australian-market ads.

Venezuela.

Call it big. Call it small. Call it yours.

01 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1993 Ford Festiva L Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Mazda RX-7 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1979-mazda-rx-7-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1979-mazda-rx-7-2/#comments Fri, 25 Apr 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=809562 First-gen RX-7s aren’t uncommon in wrecking yards in the western part of the country, as demonstrated by this ’79, this ’80 with incredibly of-its-time custom paint, and this fairly solid ’85. In fact, I don’t bother to photograph most of the examples I see. Today’s ’79, with its brown-and-beige tape stripes, seemed worthy of inclusion […]

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01 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFirst-gen RX-7s aren’t uncommon in wrecking yards in the western part of the country, as demonstrated by this ’79, this ’80 with incredibly of-its-time custom paint, and this fairly solid ’85. In fact, I don’t bother to photograph most of the examples I see. Today’s ’79, with its brown-and-beige tape stripes, seemed worthy of inclusion in the Junkyard Find series, though.
09 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s fairly complete, the body is straight, and there’s no rust.
06 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s difficult to get these cars through the California emissions test, though, even with the not-so-stringent requirements for the 1979 model year.
04 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLooks like the dash and the door panels have been pulled.
08 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPoor doomed RX-7.

The car you’ve been waiting for is waiting for you!

01 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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New York 2014: Mazda Skyactiv Chassis Live Shots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-mazda-skyactiv-chassis-live-shots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-mazda-skyactiv-chassis-live-shots/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:14:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=802970 While Mazda’s new MX-5 Miata’s debut will have to wait another day, the iconic roadster’s new Skyactiv Chassis made the rounds at the 2014 New York Auto Show. As demonstrated, the new chassis places the engine further back toward the center while providing the upcoming Miata with a lower center of gravity and 220 pounds […]

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Mazda-Skyactiv-Chassis-05

While Mazda’s new MX-5 Miata’s debut will have to wait another day, the iconic roadster’s new Skyactiv Chassis made the rounds at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

As demonstrated, the new chassis places the engine further back toward the center while providing the upcoming Miata with a lower center of gravity and 220 pounds in weight savings over the outgoing chassis. Front and rear suspensions have been reworked, and steering improvements have been made, including the introduction of electric power steering.

Mazda-Skyactiv-Chassis-02 Mazda-Skyactiv-Chassis-03 Mazda-Skyactiv-Chassis-05 Mazda-Skyactiv-Chassis-06 Mazda-Skyactiv-Chassis-07 Mazda-Skyactiv-Chassis-08

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New York 2014: 25 Years Of Miatas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-25-years-of-miatas/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-25-years-of-miatas/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:47:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=801026 To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Mazda MX-5, Mazda brought out a number of historically significant Miatas. Some, like the Coupe Concept (above), the Mazdaspeed MX-5 and the Super 20 are well known.   But how about the 500,000th car produced, or the 1998 prototype that eventually became the 1999 Miata? They’re all in […]

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To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Mazda MX-5, Mazda brought out a number of historically significant Miatas. Some, like the Coupe Concept (above), the Mazdaspeed MX-5 and the Super 20 are well known.

 

But how about the 500,000th car produced, or the 1998 prototype that eventually became the 1999 Miata? They’re all in the gallery below.

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New or Used : Tastes Of The Weird http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-or-used-tastes-of-the-weird/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-or-used-tastes-of-the-weird/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:28:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799402 Steve L., just a short note to thank you for your TTAC articles. They are my favorite at TTAC and I look forward to a new article each week. Quick question: I noted in your last article you like some of the newer Mazdas. Can you tell me what new Mazda you would consider keeping […]

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beachsideresident

Steve L., just a short note to thank you for your TTAC articles. They are my favorite at TTAC and I look forward to a new article each week.

Quick question: I noted in your last article you like some of the newer Mazdas. Can you tell me what new Mazda you would consider keeping for your own personal vehicle?

regards, Steve T.

The Other Steve Says:

My personal tastes are probably a quick study in the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

I like weird stuff. Part of the blame lies in the fact that the wholesale auctions are slam packed with the lemmings of modern day transport. There will often be a line of 30 to 60 cars at the factory sales where the same exact model will be offered with minimal changes in features and specs. The strength of rental cars at auctions also skews me away from the common place car, which is why the rolling Big Mac Value Meal that is/was the Chevy Impala doesn’t raise my eyebrows.

What interests me Mazda wise? I like the Mazda 2. If you are careful with the spec sheet, you can get one out the door for under 15k. One of the regulars here bought one recently for less than $14,000 out the door, and made a nice pithy summation of it’s virtues, “The 100HP is plenty. The stereo is outstanding. The controls, shifter, it all works, and none of it makes you feel like you gave up anything.”

A generic popular car is not my thing because every day I’m surrounded by overproduced generic popular cars. What interests me is a Ford Fiesta hatchback. A base Mazda 3 with a stick that I likely won’t see at the auctions for a while. Even the new base Corolla with a 6-speed would interest me on paper because it offers the better engine and shifter of the high end model and cost about $5000 less.

If I had to buy new I would keep it cheap and try to hit em’ where they ain’t. Not because I want the deal. But because I just don’t value touchscreens, over-sized A-pillars, and a car that I can’t maintain myself. The cars I keep at the retail lot reflect my weirdness compared with mainstream consumers. 20% are sticks, and I always seem to have a couple of offbeat ones (Solara V6 /5-speed, green Beetle TDI) on hand that I buy for low prices, due to their lack of mainstream popularity.

Small, stick, powered for real-world performance, and preferably in the last year or two of production. Throw in easy access for basic DIY maintenance, and you pretty much have my perfect recipe for the in-town commuting and smooth Georgia roads I see on a daily basis.

So what about you? What would be the perfect ingredients for your new car recipe? Does anything in particular strike your fancy?

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New York 2014: Mazda Shows Next MX-5′s Chassis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-mazda-shows-next-mx-5s-chassis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-mazda-shows-next-mx-5s-chassis/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:02:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799418   Those wild rumors of Mazda doing a surprise debut of the next MX-5 turned out to be false – anyone with an understanding of modern automotive PR tactics knows that no launch is conducted without a relentless hype campaign. But at least they threw us a bone. Mazda claims that this chassis, which underpins […]

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2016-Mazda-mx5

 

Those wild rumors of Mazda doing a surprise debut of the next MX-5 turned out to be false – anyone with an understanding of modern automotive PR tactics knows that no launch is conducted without a relentless hype campaign. But at least they threw us a bone.

Mazda claims that this chassis, which underpins the next MX-5, will shed 220 lbs from the weight of the current car (which weighs in at around 2480 lbs), with an engine that sits lower and further back. The lighter weight, which is closer to that of the first-gen Miata, and the power bump from the new Skyactiv engine (assuming it’s the 2.0L 155 horsepower engine used in multiple cars) means the power-to-weight ratio should up in an appreciable manner.

For those who still want the current car (and judging by the sales figures, there’s not too many of you), Mazda has launched a new 25th anniversary edition of the MX-5. Only 100 units will be made available, in a special red-on-black paint scheme, with special alloy wheels and Bilstein dampers as standard.

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Hammer Time: Might As Well Go For A Soda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/hammer-time-might-as-well-go-for-a-soda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/hammer-time-might-as-well-go-for-a-soda/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:56:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=793313 “Steve, what car should I buy?” “Well, if I give you the real answer, you’ll roll your eyes and buy what you want anyway.” “No really. I’m open to new ideas.” “Okay then! Buy a 2012 Malibu. Buy a Buick Park Avenue. Buy a Dodge Raider or buy a Suzuki Equator.” “Ummm… are you sure […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

“Steve, what car should I buy?”

“Well, if I give you the real answer, you’ll roll your eyes and buy what you want anyway.”

“No really. I’m open to new ideas.”

“Okay then! Buy a 2012 Malibu. Buy a Buick Park Avenue. Buy a Dodge Raider or buy a Suzuki Equator.”

“Ummm… are you sure about that?”

“Hell no! Now go buy me a soda and buy yourself a Camry!”

A lot of enthusiasts give grief to the mainstream publications in this business. Sometimes I kinda don’t get why because to be brutally blunt, the “best car”  is usually firmly planted in the third row of most folk’s priorities when it comes to buying their next car.

For all the manufacturers desires to offer power, performance and utility together in one great vehicle, most of the general public just doesn’t care.

They usually want a brand first. Looks second. Then there’s fuel economy, safety, perceived quality… and a long, long list of excuses to get away from the less popular alternatives.

The best new car is rarely the best selling car in this business. There are Mazdas that I love which have a snowballs chance in hell of taking on the Toyotas and Chevys. Even if they do a far better job of checking off most consumer’s real world priorities, it’s a moot point and an inevitable outcome.

If Volvo came out with a breakthrough product, I seriously doubt that most shoppers of prestige brands would even remotely consider it. Never mind that there are plenty of reputable sources out there that can help dispel those myths as to which models now offer the best bang for the buck. Volvo no longer ranks in the pantheons of marketplace leaders. Case closed.

Even when mainstream publication have the gall to endorse an Oldsmobile or a Suzuki over a Camry or an Accord, the result of that neighborly advice is that people just won’t take it.

Why? People are brand loyal, and they are bias loyal.

Click here to view the embedded video.

That Ford station wagon that killed Aunt Edna’s dog 35 years ago?  Well, that just means Detroit cars are pure crap. Never mind that carsurvey, TrueDelta, and even the long-term reliability index I am co-developing have disproved a lot of those myths.

Cadillac can’t ever match a Mercedes. Mercedes isn’t as good as a Lexus. Lexus isn’t as good as a BMW. On and on through the merry go round of biases and BS until you can’t help but SAAB at the futility of recommending a great car at a steal of a price.

Kizashi! What? Exactly. It’s a great car if you play around with a stickshift version. You say you’re an enthusiast… but then when I recommend a stick version, you look at me like I’m from Mars.

The truth is that enthusiast cars don’t sell. The best cars for pure driving enjoyment, don’t sell. The Miata has been shucked in the low 10k range of annual sales for a long time now. Mustangs? An ungodly sales decline. There are some who blame these types of things on demographics or the police state. But I have a third theory.

American tastes increasingly resemble the American interstate. There is a sameness and sadness to the menu which is dictating that the best cars are psychologically unaccessible. Nobody wants to get off the straight and dull road that leads to the Camcrods, the Cor-antr-ics and the American badged truck.

Are all those models good? Well, yeah. But good seldom equals love. You want love? Go tear down a bias and rediscover why a great car is worthy buying.

Don’t forget the radar detector.

P.S. :  Feel free to share your thoughts below on great cars that have missed that elusive mark of mainstream acceptance over the years. I am going to be spending most of today getting a bonded title for a 21 year old Cadillac limousine. I will need intensive comic relief thanks to the interminable tortures that come with taking care of that type of title issue at the DMV. So please, feel free to share your stories and insights. I can always be reached directly at steve.lang@thetruthaboutcars.com .

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Editorial: Don’t Get Your Hopes Up For A New Mazda MX-5 Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/editorial-dont-get-your-hopes-up-for-a-new-mazda-mx-5-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/editorial-dont-get-your-hopes-up-for-a-new-mazda-mx-5-debut/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:20:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=780665 Mazda has some big news for Miata lovers at the New York Auto Show, with an exhibition of some of their favorite Miatas over the car’s 25 year history. Both myself (97 C Package, 2003 Shinsen) and Jack (former owner of a 93 ) will be attending, and we will make sure to get detailed […]

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Mazda has some big news for Miata lovers at the New York Auto Show, with an exhibition of some of their favorite Miatas over the car’s 25 year history. Both myself (97 C Package, 2003 Shinsen) and Jack (former owner of a 93 ) will be attending, and we will make sure to get detailed photographs of everything – but don’t be surprised if we come back empty-handed when it comes to the 2015 MX-5.

The latest in a long line of silly rumors (diesel MX-5? puh-leeze) is that the new MX-5 will make a surprise debut at the New York Auto Show. As much as I’d love for this to happen, I am not getting my hopes up.

Why? Because Mazda doesn’t typically make big reveals at auto shows. The 3, 6 and CX-5 all made debuts on their own schedule, and for Mazda, this is a smart play. They are a small brand and don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing. By launching them on their own terms, they can own whatever time slot they choose, rather than having to dole out big marketing bucks on fancy preview dinners or social media campaigns.

The New York Auto Show, while rising in importance, is also not the preeminent auto show to launch the new MX-5 at. A look at the debut calendar will also show what the MX-5 would potentially be up against: a new Dodge Challenger, Hyundai Sonata, Acura TLX and Chevrolet Trax (or other B-Crossover) are just some of the vehicles that the MX-5 would have to compete with for media and public attention. 25 years ago, the Miata’s debut at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show was a jolt of electricity to an auto market that had not seen a fresh new two-seat roadster in years. Today, the MX-5 is, frankly, an afterthought in the minds of the general public.

Based on Mazda’s past patterns of behavior, I’d say that they’ll launch the MX-5 when they are good and ready, and able to dominate the conversation around the car. If it’s going to be an auto show, then Tokyo or Detroit would be more fitting for such a major reveal.

Then again, I hope I’m wrong.

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Piston Slap: A Tribute to the Mariner’s idle Escape? (PART II) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-tribute-to-the-mariners-idle-escape-part-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-tribute-to-the-mariners-idle-escape-part-ii/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 12:28:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=778665 We had two updates to a previous Piston Slap this weekend, surprisingly within two hours of each other.  Let’s hear from the OP first: TTAC Commentator sundvl76 writes: Sajeev, reporting back: You may be interested in this, if for no other reason than to add to your diagnostic toolbox; my experience certainly can’t be unique: […]

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We had two updates to a previous Piston Slap this weekend, surprisingly within two hours of each other.  Let’s hear from the OP first:

TTAC Commentator sundvl76 writes:

Sajeev, reporting back:

You may be interested in this, if for no other reason than to add to your diagnostic toolbox; my experience certainly can’t be unique: Several comments below your post also suggested the motor mount(s) as the problem. I more recently discussed this with a professional wrench acquaintance, who also said that the mounts can be expected to go south after ~80K miles; he suggested using a padded floor jack to lift slightly on the engine during a time when I detected the “rough” idle (the oil pan on this vehicle, and maybe all Duratec engines, is waffled cast aluminum). Bingo! The vibration ceased when I did that.

I have now changed the large mount on the passenger side of the engine compartment, and can report that the vibration is no longer present. But, there is a bonus prize to this story: for the last 25 – 30K miles, I’ve been also chasing a creaking noise which occurred – again more prominently during cold weather than hot – at any acceleration from a stop sign/light. I would have bet serious money that it was coming from the rear suspension, and in fact went so far as to replace 3 of the 4 control arms in the rear (they’re fairly cheap and easy to replace), with no success. Replaced the motor mount::creaking noise vanished like magic!

This vehicle is nothing great by any means – wife drives it 80% of the time and it suits her needs – and I don’t care that much for it, but these nagging issues really made me start to think about dumping it. Whole new attitude now – it will stay around for a while yet! Thanks for your help and thanks for reading this. I enjoy your posts greatly.

Sajeev answers:

Excellent!  Nice to see my initial armchair diagnosis was on the money. All it takes is a fractional difference in mount height from new to cause this problem. Maybe a millimeter, maybe less! No way can you eyeball this and know for sure.

I am totally diggin’ the padded floor jack on the oil pan trick.  Perhaps the pan needs reinforcement to work here, not just the old school sheet metal affairs. But perhaps all it takes is a little lift at one corner (i.e. not the big flat part of the pan) to prove the bad idle is indeed an engine mount vibration. Or put a long board on the jack so the weight is spread across the entire pan, from corner to corner.

No matter, glad to see you are now enjoying your ride much more.  It’s hard not to love it after getting your hands, arms, legs and even your mind “dirty” in a successful diagnosis of a seemingly impossible problem!

Then Rene writes:

Sajeev:

Greetings! I enjoy your fine column and blog very much. Keep up the fine work! With regard to the poor idle that your reader was looking for help with on his 2005 Mariner, I thought I would chime in after much experience with the Ford/Mazda Duratec family of V-6’s, particularly the 2001-2007 Tributes and Escapes. In addition, a 2003 Tribute with 199,000 miles is my daily driver. I have found that the V-6 idle issue, after all the usual culprits have been considered and/or remedied without result, could be these two things—a failed DPFE sensor, or the intake seals are cooked.

These V6 engines have a manifold on top which is bolted to a plenum riser, which in turn is bolted to the engine. There are six seals where each component meets the other, and as one might expect, after 100K the six seals between the plenum and the engine have grown crispy from age and heat (in far worse condition than the six plenum to manifold seals, which might still appear pliable). The lower seals harden and begin to suck air in, and this condition reveals itself the most noticeably by a poor idle and a drop in fuel mileage. I have had excellent results by replacing all the intake seals (a complete intake gasket set is required) as well as all of the smaller vacuum hoses, cleaning the MAF sensor (using MAF sensor cleaner, not carb cleaner) and air flow meter; in most cases, showroom floor idle is restored.

These engines also seem to favor Motorcraft platinum spark plugs; I’ve tried other plugs in a pinch or on sale, but the Motorcrafts produce the smoothest idle and best fuel mileage for me. Of course, if the DPFE sensor hasn’t ever been changed, it’s a good idea. This component is also exposed to a great deal of operating heat. Mine clocked 140,000 miles before it failed, but I’ve seen them go earlier….and later. You never know with those. Finally, my last fleeting thought on the subject: two half inch vacuum tubes tee from the large air intake hose (just after the MAF sensor housing) and each one plugs into a grommet in the rear of each valve cover. These grommets deteriorate from heat and contact with oil and fail with time, resulting in a vacuum leak that starts slowly but soon gets worse. These should also be checked and replaced if they are soft and gummy.

I hope that this info helps someone.

Sajeev concludes:

Thank you for writing! I thought a failed DPFE throw a check engine light (CEL)…as that’s my expereince in my ’95 Mark VIII. And boy, was that a fun sensor to replace on the MN-12 chassis! But I digress…

Rene’s great assessment of the Duratec V6s is something every long-term car owner must consider:  dried up gaskets and rubber vacuum lines that either go brittle or gummy.  And not just the usual suspects you see with a quick look under the hood, there could be gaskets you wouldn’t even consider unless you have the proper service manual and/or information from your model specific forum.  And if you own one of the millions of DOHC V6s shoehorned in a wrong wheel drive platform, well, I promise you that your eyeballs can’t find all the hidden gaskets and rubber bits.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Japanese Automakers Find New Export Base, Opportunity In Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/japanese-automakers-find-new-export-base-opportunity-in-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/japanese-automakers-find-new-export-base-opportunity-in-mexico/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 14:45:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=769626 Within four months of each other, Honda, Mazda and Nissan have opened new factories in Mexico, taking advantage of the opportunities within the nation’s automotive industry to grow a new export base into the United States, Latin America and Europe while also gaining ground in the rapidly expanding local market, all in direct challenge to […]

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Mazda3s Loading Onto Three-Tiered Train Car

Within four months of each other, Honda, Mazda and Nissan have opened new factories in Mexico, taking advantage of the opportunities within the nation’s automotive industry to grow a new export base into the United States, Latin America and Europe while also gaining ground in the rapidly expanding local market, all in direct challenge to the Detroit Three and other automakers on both sides of the border.

Automotive News reports Mexico will become the No. 1 exporting nation to the U.S. by 2015 at the earliest in large part due to the 605,000 units per year added by the three Japanese automakers. Meanwhile, Toyota will begin production in 2015 at Mazda’s newly opened Salamanca plant prior to deciding whether or not to build a new factory of their own. Nissan’s premium brand, Infiniti, may also set-up shop in Mexico.

In turn, the Japanese will see benefits from the move, from mitigating losses from a weaker yen in exports from home and greater profit due to cheap labor, to no tariffs on exports to the U.S. due to the North American Free Trade Agreement and improved product availability resulting from shorter distances between markets.

Speaking of free-trade agreements, Japanese automakers will also have access to some 44 countries and up to 40 million sales annually as a result of Mexico’s many agreements, allowing them to take on competitors in Latin America and Europe.

Finally, the Japanese have taken market share away from the Detroit Three in Mexico’s own automotive market, holding a collective 42 percent over Detroit’s 35 percent in 2013, when just four years earlier Detroit dominated with 57 percent of the market over Japan’s 23 percent.

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Toyota To Receive SkyActiv Engines For Upcoming Subcompact http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/toyota-to-receive-skyactiv-engines-for-upcoming-subcompact/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/toyota-to-receive-skyactiv-engines-for-upcoming-subcompact/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 15:33:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=767377 Toyota’s line of engine/body mashups continues, this time with their upcoming Mazda2-based subcompact powered by Mazda’s SkyActiv engine family. Automotive News reports the subcompact, set to replace the current Yaris by 2016 at the latest, will be assembled alongside the new Mazda2 at Mazda’s newly opened Salamanca, Mexico factory. Approximately 50,000 of the factory’s total […]

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Mazda3 SKYACTIV engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh

Toyota’s line of engine/body mashups continues, this time with their upcoming Mazda2-based subcompact powered by Mazda’s SkyActiv engine family.

Automotive News reports the subcompact, set to replace the current Yaris by 2016 at the latest, will be assembled alongside the new Mazda2 at Mazda’s newly opened Salamanca, Mexico factory. Approximately 50,000 of the factory’s total annual output of 230,000 units will be allocated to Toyota for the subcompact, with the SkyActiv transplant assembled on-site.

Though few details regarding either subcompact have been released, Mazda’s partnership with Toyota will allow the former to achieve greater economies of scale for the factory by supplying engines and possibly other SkyActiv-related components to Toyota.

Production for Toyota’s subcompact is set to begin next year, while Mazda2 production may begin as soon as the second half of 2014.

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Ur-Turn: What It’s Worth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/ur-turn-what-its-worth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/ur-turn-what-its-worth/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=761305 Abraham Drimmer writes about moving from South Florida to Michigan in his Miata “You need to sell your car”, my father told me, when I informed him of my imminent departure. I got the call in mid-October, I’d be leaving Miami for Ann Arbor on short notice. “That thing is going to be absolutely worthless […]

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Abraham Drimmer writes about moving from South Florida to Michigan in his Miata

“You need to sell your car”, my father told me, when I informed him of my imminent departure. I got the call in mid-October, I’d be leaving Miami for Ann Arbor on short notice. “That thing is going to be absolutely worthless in the snow”.

A two-week notice later and I’m on the road, every artifact of my existence in this corporeal realm crammed into the 51.1 cubic feet combined passenger/cargo volume of my sunlight silver 2005 Mazda Miata. I reached Michigan safely, and promptly fitted a set of snow tires.

As I watched the little roadster gather a coat of fine salt, the wheel wells bulging with weeks of accumulated snow and grime, I mulled my father’s words. Was he right? Was keeping the car that act of youthful automotive hubris we all eventually regret? Is the Miata any good in the snow?

The Miata’s winter competency is subjective. Which do you prefer: control, or the illusion of stability? The back steps out often, understeer isn’t so much pronounced as it is happening constantly. Still, it’s light and subsequently brakes and handles predictably. The feedback is great, the car never lies to you. I like it that way; I’d rather be told of my imminent destruction than have it carried out with no warning. This characteristic speaks to my heritage, speaks to the heritage of Mazda.

There isn’t enough cargo room to allow you to shop at Costco, good —buy local or whatever. It also prevents you from stockpiling, forces you to leave the house regularly for provisions, keeps you social. Important in the coldest months.

It’s small, so it’s easy to brush snow off of. When the windshield isn’t obscured the heat from the sun evaporates the melted snow collecting in the floor mats, creating a sort of balmy greenhouse effect in the cabin. I like that as well, it reminds me of Miami.

Above all it’s engaging, physically and emotionally. You simply have to be a competent driver to get from point A to point B. You need to plan your route, check conditions, and dress appropriately. A pain, I know, but isn’t that what enthusiasts always talk about? Driver engagement? Isn’t that was we want? To be involved enough with our vehicles such that our conveyance from location to location is imparted with at least some fleeting sense of narrative? Sure I’m in a privileged position, what with no children, pets, or sense of self-preservation, I openly admit I have a lifestyle that can afford such inconveniences. Do I feel inconvenienced? Hardly, when I pick up my keys in the morning I’m happy.

That’s worth something, right?

 

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Piston Slap: A Tribute to the Mariner’s idle Escape? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-tribute-to-the-mariners-idle-escape/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-tribute-to-the-mariners-idle-escape/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 13:16:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=761745 TTAC Commentator sundvl76 writes: Sajeev, Your post of 2 Mar 2011 was a great explanation regarding the cause of the “T” joint oil leak I’ve been experiencing. No one on any of the normal Ford sites has been able to pinpoint the problem, so I thank you for the information. (I’d discovered the source, but […]

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TTAC Commentator sundvl76 writes:

Sajeev,

Your post of 2 Mar 2011 was a great explanation regarding the cause of the “T” joint oil leak I’ve been experiencing. No one on any of the normal Ford sites has been able to pinpoint the problem, so I thank you for the information. (I’d discovered the source, but didn’t know the cause/fix until your post.) TTAC is now on my Favorites list!

So, I am hoping you might also be able to shed some light on the reason for the poor-quality idle I’m experiencing with the same engine. This does not seem to be a mis-fire, but more of a resonant vibration typical of an engine slightly out of time, and/or at the incorrect idle speed. It occurs primarily in colder weather (below 50F) and does improve once the engine is warmed – IF the ambient temp is above about 40F. When ambient is below that point, the strong vibrations do not disappear. Of course it is most pronounced in Drive/Reverse but noticeable in Park/Neutral as well. Manually increasing the idle speed slightly using the throttle does help. In warm weather the idle may be rough upon first start but improves pretty quickly.

I’ve investigated thoroughly (w/ propane) for a vacuum leak, cleaned the Mass Air Sensor and TB, and have replaced the IAC valve and spark plugs, with no improvement. There are no codes in storage to guide me to the solution, and I’m now thinking the MAS itself may be faulty but am not sure how to test it.

Have you seen this problem with other vehicles?

The vehicle in question is a 2005 Mariner with 114K miles.

Sajeev answers:

Thank you for your note, and Behold The Power of The Internet!!!

I often suspect the hydraulic filled engine mounts in these cases. A similar question was posted recently, and our commentators had suggestions you should consider. So have a read there, too.

sundvl76 replies:

Sajeev,

Thanks for the link; read it all.

To add info to my question:

Engine mounts was one suggestion I’d found on another forum, and I’ve visually inspected them for leakage and also verified the engine does not move (power applied/brake on). Not saying it is impossible, but the symptoms are not the same as the Audi owner’s in the post.

Chevron or Exxon used 90% of the time, Shell occasionally. I also recall that when this first started (2 winters ago), I did an injector cleaning with the BBK kit, but no change in behavior was detected.

A small vacuum leak was also suggested – one which seals up when the engine is warm. Possible, but not sure how that matches up with my experience of the poor idle being dependent on ambient temps; the engine block should still eventually reach the same temp regardless of ambient. Incidentally, I’m in TX, so “cold ambient” is relative. . .

Thanks, I’ll keep watch on Piston Slap for further info.

Sajeev concludes:

If the engine mounts look that fantastic when running or not, consider the totally not impossible chance of clogged EGR passages.  I worked on a 1996 Sable LS (Duratec) that was EGR code free, but the uber-plenty EGR coking was a possible cause to its bad idle.  And while your Duratec V6 is significantly different from a UR-Duratec Sable, my EGR de-coking, fresh vacuum lines, a tune up (which you did) certainly cured the Sable.

And if those fail, perhaps you still need new mounts: perfection to your eyeballs doesn’t mean they are just out of spec enough to cause the funny idle.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Fiat, Abarth Likely To Receive Mazda-Based Roadster Over Alfa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/fiat-abarth-likely-to-receive-mazda-based-roadster-over-alfa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/fiat-abarth-likely-to-receive-mazda-based-roadster-over-alfa/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 19:19:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=764089 Long rumored to wear the Alfa Romeo badge, the next-generation Mazda MX-5 may instead don a Fiat or Abarth necklace in 2015 if Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has the last word. Automotive News reports sources close to the project stated product planners from Mazda and Fiat met recently to discuss a roadster based […]

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Long rumored to wear the Alfa Romeo badge, the next-generation Mazda MX-5 may instead don a Fiat or Abarth necklace in 2015 if Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has the last word.

Automotive News reports sources close to the project stated product planners from Mazda and Fiat met recently to discuss a roadster based upon the MX-5. Fiat’s planners are looking for a way to maintain the supply partnership deal with the Japanese automaker, lest the break-up leave Fiat in the red through 2016, when they hope to return to the black in their native Europe.

As for why, Marchionne has proclaimed that no Alfa will be made outside of Italy so long as he is CEO, a statement reinforced as recently as the 2014 Detroit Auto Show; Marchionne plans to head FCA until 2017 at the earliest.

The so-called heir to the throne abdicated by the Fiat Duetto Spider made famous by the film “The Graduate,” the Italo-Japanese roadster may find a home with Fiat or Abarth, too underpowered be paired with Ferrari or Maserati, while Lancia retreats into its home market as a one-model brand by the end of 2014.

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Geneva 2014: Mazda Hazumi Previews Two New Subcompacts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-mazda-hazumi-previews-two-new-subcompacts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-mazda-hazumi-previews-two-new-subcompacts/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 15:15:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=763057 You’re looking at the next Toyota Yaris. Seriously. Under the terms of a deal struck with Toyota, Mazda’s all-new Mexican assembly plant will build the next Mazda2  and the Toyota Yaris on a single, Mazda-derived platform. What you see here is the Hazumi concept, which previews the new 2. This concept features a 1.5L Skyactiv […]

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You’re looking at the next Toyota Yaris. Seriously. Under the terms of a deal struck with Toyota, Mazda’s all-new Mexican assembly plant will build the next Mazda2  and the Toyota Yaris on a single, Mazda-derived platform.

What you see here is the Hazumi concept, which previews the new 2. This concept features a 1.5L Skyactiv diesel engine with stop-start and Mazda’s i-Eloop regen braking system. While power figures weren’t released, the Hazumi squeaks in below to 100 grams of CO2 per kilometer benchmark. Like all Skyactiv Mazdas, weight should be kept to a minimum – even more impressive given the current Mazda2′s already svelte figure. If the next Yaris adopts some of the weight saving technologies as well as Mazda driving dynamics, the subcompact segment could get a whole lot more interesting.

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