By on August 1, 2011



TTAC Commentator Supaman writes:

Hey Sajeev, remember that Mazda 6 that had the headliner problem? The dash storage problem? Got another one for ya.

From what I understand, the 2006 Mazda 6 V6 manual is fitted with 3 engine mounts: left, right and (dog bone) lower. The lower mount was replaced last year (on my birthday coincidentally) and less than a year later, I noticed it had gone bad again after feeling the engine rocking a bit in the bay. I carried my beloved back to my mechanic who replaced the lower mount (under parts warranty) and asked him to check all the mounts. According to him, all were ok. But just last week while I was doing my oil change, I noticed the lower mount (which is right behind the oil pan) was already going bad.

This baffled me and also caused the mechanic to again scratch their heads. One of them noticed, believe it or not, a FOURTH mount located directly above the lower unit. They took the car off the lift before I could look at it but a quick internet search doesn’t turn up anything regarding this mystery FOURTH mount. Any ideas?

Sajeev asks:

While this isn’t an easy question to answer for yours truly, I don’t have access to something like an ALLDATA account. But I am (and never proclaimed to be) a real mechanic. Then again, I wouldn’t say no if the kind people at ALLDATA or their competition decided to hook a brother up. It seems like a better shill than being in the pocket of the automakers with free press cars and pointless/lavish vacations.

But seriously, does your mechanic use an online repair manual like ALLDATA or Mitchell? This information is stupid easy to get from any mechanic with a $500 (or less) computer and a monthly subscription to this service. Get back to me, I think this is a good for a common sense automotive analysis in the Information Age.

Supaman answers:

Well…you wouldn’t believe the conversation I just had with my mechanic.

After a week of leaving him to search for this 4th mount and hearing no answer I called him just now. Apparently because my car is so rare (V6/manual…points?) the mounts are different than they would be in an automatic version and the parts aren’t usually stocked.

So I asked him about that online database you mentioned where I’d imagine the car’s specs would pop up and he didn’t have an answer to that.

He eventually found the part through a Mazda dealership and has to special order it. I’m still haggling him on giving it to me for free since I really consider the previous repairs to be incomplete and negligent on their part. He’s treated me well over the last 8 years (and 3 cars) but this latest stunt has me questioning the garage’s integrity (the store manager in particular). May need to start shopping around for another mechanic or ratcheting up my auto repair skills. I’d love to hear what the B&B have to say about this.

Sajeev concludes:


Honestly, I feel that access to these databases is absolutely necessary for any automotive wrench that hangs out a shingle and wants to earn your business. Computers are cheap. The monthly subscription will pay for itself after a few hours of farting around “the old fashioned way” to get information. Best and Brightest, is this a fair conclusion?

Send your queries to [email protected] Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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21 Comments on “Piston Slap: Do We Have ALL The DATA?...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Yes Mehta, I consider this a fair conclusion.

    Don’t you love the fact that we’ve reached a point where even in a sporty car (like a Mazda) the manual trans is so rare that mechanics don’t know to look for the differences between the manual and automatic versions of the car.

  • avatar

    Yesterday, I had to call our vet to make our dog’s annual appointment. I know she received a reminder card, but I couldn’t find it, so I got out the Phone Book! (remember those?) and called them.

    When she got home, she saw the yellow pages on the table and was surprised when I didn’t go online to get the number. I said: Why? I didn’t feel like firing up the laptop, and this was quicker. I also didn’t see the reminder postcard stuck on the fridge, either, which she quite humorously chided me all day for!

    Sometimes you just need to use all your resources than the easy way, but that mechanic wasn’t even up on the Chilton manual! No hope for him!

  • avatar

    Just asking…but why wasnt this car brought to the dealer in the 1st place? That’s where the part was eventually found.
    Whether you think this is fair or not, we have access to repair and parts information, updates, bulletins, etc that are just not available to the aftermarket.
    When you want the best steak, do you go to Denny’s?

    • 0 avatar

      No, but I don’t go to Ruth Chris, either, I’ll go to an independently owned place.

      Any talented mechanic at a dealership will inevitably leave and start their own shop. You have a chance of getting ripped off at an independent shop but with a dealership it’s a certainty.

      • 0 avatar

        “…but I don’t go to Ruth Chris, either…

        I will, but only on someone else’s dime!

      • 0 avatar
        John Horner

        “You have a chance of getting ripped off at an independent shop but with a dealership it’s a certainty.”

        I generally prefer good independent shops, but there are also good dealerships with competent techs and honest management. You have to know how to find them though!

    • 0 avatar

      Mazda dealers are a rarity in my area and the ones I’ve been to either have outrageous service prices or haven’t a clue about recalls and notices. Thus, I maintain a relationship with a private shop.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    I was so underwhelmed by my Mazda dealer’s knowledge of ANY notices on my Miata(s) and CX-7, and by his complete inability to fix anything correctly until I provided the downloaded recall/etc notice that I reluctantly unloaded all of my Mazda products.

    It’s sad, because zoom-zoom is true.

    However, fix-fix gets old after a time.

  • avatar

    A quick check on the internet by the owner should have turned this up before the mechanic was involved, though there’s not much excuse for him not knowing (or looking it up), either.

    Dealers typically either don’t know anything about the car or play dumb to increase the bill replacing the wrong parts. My parents had a Forester with a clutch hose that was leaking. The dealership, under warranty, replaced the master and slave cylinders and didn’t even think about the hose until the car got sent back a third time with no fluid in the clutch reservoir. The hose is a $35 part; I wonder if SOA agreed to all the extra work they did first.

  • avatar

    Yes any decent shop that deals in late model vehicles should have access to one of the subscription services. If for nothing other than the wiring diagrams and sensor specs. However while they have most of the factory level data they are not always 100% complete. The internets are also a very useful tool. It can tell you pretty quickly when you google as I did on Fri. I got to “Jeep 4.0 P0” and the first suggestion was one of the 2 codes on that vehicle. So it was pretty obvious that this was likely a “pattern failure”. Clicking on a couple of the links that included the other code pointed me what to test first. Yes I could have used the proper factory diagnosis tree and got there too, but using the collective experience of the net shaved at least 15min off the time in this case.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    there are so many holes in this story, it’s hard to say where to start……:a/…just because a 4th mount exists doen’t mean it’s faulty
    b/…it’s existence doesn’t preclude the other mounts also being faulty
    c/…do you really think a busy shop has time to re-engineer 6 year old problem cars and still maintain a reasonable price structure?
    d/…8 years of excellent service, and a shop gets the heave-ho for a minor hiccup…..the writer is fickle indeed, and should stick to new cars from now on
    e/…the whole alldata/mitchell thing is a red herring…..who says they can fix the symptom?
    . f/…come to think of it, exactly what is the symptom anyway?…nothing worse than a self-diagnosing (and also obviously fussy) car owner
    By the way, I’m not a mechanic either, just feel for one caught in a no win situation.

    • 0 avatar

      a/ The fourth mount was shot, which exaggerated the wear on the dog bone mount since it was then being forced to handle the majority of the engine’s torque.

      b/ see above

      c/ a busy shop sees cars of various ages from newly purchased to vintage so one would assume 90% of the problems would at least have SOME basis for a solution. Plus being a customer for nearly 9 years I’d know I thing or two about the cars that pass through that shop.

      d/ the store manager was new and since he represents the shop. Call me fickle if you want but my car is well maintained. Point in the direction of a 4 door sedan with a V6/manual combo and I’ll gladly get a new car.

      e/ outrageous…any mechanic worth his certification should at least offer a solution

      f/ maybe you didn’t read the post in its entirety. Again, the car I have is a gem and a rarity. I realize that, however at the end of it all, it is still a car.

  • avatar

    “Any talented mechanic at a dealership will inevitably leave and start their own shop. You have a chance of getting ripped off at an independent shop but with a dealership it’s a certainty.”
    Most techs at the indies HOPE to work at a dealership, very few have left so start their own businesses. And those that do are no longer turning wrenches.
    The independent always has a way out..”We did the best we could, you’ll have to take it to the dealer for that. PAY US.” We neither need, nor want a way out–we ARE the dealer.
    And we check all bulletins, and do what we can for customer loyalty. It’s unfortunate that your poor experiences have convinced you otherwise.
    And yes, I’ve worked for independents, and have spent the last 34 years at various dealerships, the last 30 with Mazda.
    Tell me again how much money, time, and effort was saved in this instance with the independent–who had to go to a dealer himself.
    Having said that..DVP’s post above is 100% correct on all points.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, don’t take it personally. Yeah, it’s unfortunate that dealership repair shops have developed the reputation that they have, but this is not exactly just me saying this. I’ll stick with indie shops, preferably ones that are still small enough that I can actually talk to the owner and get a feel for the place.

      And, uh, needing to go to the parts counter at a dealership is a whole different story than getting work done there. I’d love it if manufacturers would just ship parts directly to whoever ordered them, at MSRP, preferably overnight, with an easy-to-use website, but for whatever reason they don’t.

      • 0 avatar

        Heck, I’d love it my dealership offered parts to me at MSRP, rather than the MSRP + 50% they seem to want to charge. On the other hand, there ARE dealers online who sell them at MSRP – 25% with fairly easy to use web sites.

  • avatar

    I replaced all three (not four) of the engine mounts on my ’03 Mazda6S five-speed with aftermarket pieces. The stock “dogbone” mount near the firewall is prone to wear, and it makes a massive difference when replaced with an upgraded unit like one from CP-E.

    Upgrading the dogbone mount alone is mostly painless from a NVH standpoint. I consider it a must-have. If you replace all three engine mounts with performance parts, expect a massive jump in vibration and noise, though.

    Oh, and from one owner to another: Make sure you change the PCV valve and check your oil religiously. Pre-cat meltdown can be fatal to the first generation of the V6 Mazda6.

  • avatar

    Aristurtle: As one who takes pride in their work and puts customer satisfaction 1st on the list, I can’t help but take EVERYTHING related to my field personally. But I understand the sentiments of many here. No need to paint us all with the same brush.
    JimR: True on the expense of the pre-cat converter cost replacement. The usual culprit for their early demise is ignition missfire. Replace the spark plugs at the recommended service interval with NGKs(NOT Bosch, NOT Champions) and if not replacing the ignition coils, exchange the rear bank coils with the front back while the upper intake plenum is off the engine for spark plug replacement. Also, look at the intake air boot for cracks, especially those that have had worn lower engine dogbone mounts.

    • 0 avatar

      While I may be wrong, I don’t think anyone is lumping you personally into a category. I think everyone is saying that dealers charge more for repairs than independent shops. For example, my neighbor has an 06 Chrysler that needs a sensor replaced and front break shoes and rotors. My local mechanic is cheaper than Les Schwab, and they of course wont touch the sensor. The dealer of course is more expensive yet.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    My dad’s life long friend/our mechanic works in a garage built in Bristol Borough in the 1920s, and some of the tools are original to the building. He doesn’t have a computer, period. Whenever he needs access to one he calls up the transmission shop down the street that he deals with or the shop around the corner where he gets the emissions part of inspections done. They all have an Alldata account. It was kind of embarrassing for him though one day when my dad and I were down there and I figured out why my mom’s car was throwing a code by looking on my smartphone before he could look it up in the Hyundai book…

    If you want to start wrenching yourself, get on a forum that has at least one or two dealer techs on it. If nothing else THEY have access to Alldata and might help you get parts at the MSRP instead of marked up.

  • avatar


    You were close with 50% but Mazda dealers add 100%. Went to a Mazda dealer a few years ago for a caliper rebuilding kit for my Protage.

    The dealer wanted $75.00 for a kit containing 3 pieces of rubber. I told him he was crazy and purchased same at Auto Barn for $7.50.

    Sold my Mazda shortly after that. They are crazy.


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