Piston Slap: Cracking the Code, Sans The (OBD-II) Code? (Part II)

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap cracking the code sans the obd ii code part ii

TTAC commentator Igozoom writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’ve been reading your postings for years and decided to actually share my (maddening) issues with you.

I have a 2006 Mazda3 S five-door (five-speed manual, 2.3-liter) that I purchased new in December 2005. It only has 101,000 miles on the clock but has had a few significant problems along the way despite regular maintenance. However, the most recent issue has me stumped.

Last week, I was driving home and ended up in gridlock. During this time, my check engine light came on. I did my old standby trick: disconnected the positive battery cable when I got home and the light stayed off after I reattached the battery the next morning. I’ve no idea what is causing the light to come on, but I’d really prefer to do everything I can if I can figure it out and fix it myself.

When I was researching an issue with my emissions test, I also read about another related issue: apparently, there’s a coolant temp sensor that’s prone to failure after the 10-year/100,000-mile mark. Should I start there first? The part is about $40 and it looks relatively simple to install, so I’m thinking about trying that.

Where can I start to look for the sources of these problems before I spend the money for a mechanic to figure it out?

Sajeev answers:

Igozoom, you seem like a cool dude and I thank you for reading my work.

Like I said over 6 years ago: forget about World Peace, everyone needs to talk in code. And it’s so simple.

Check it: a basic (engine) code scanner is dirt cheap and there’s an app for that. Or go to an Autozone type of place, that’ll generate code(s) for free. Once you get the code, Google it, research on a brand specific forum and email your boy [s]Sanjeev[/s] Sajeev so we can give infotainment to the people.

And son, if you ever throw parts at a problem a lathe part is about $40 and it looks relatively simple to install, so I’m thinking about that” without an error code, we’re gonna have a big problem. You never, ever throw parts at a problem unless we’re talkin’ about this:

No such excuses exist today!

[Image: Shutterstock user mattcabb]

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.

Join the conversation
4 of 33 comments
  • NeilM NeilM on Nov 01, 2016

    2015 Golf R, started but ran very rough the other day, missing a whole cylinder kind of rough. I do have (not cheap) PC based code reader/diagnostic software, so I ran the codes: cylinder #2 fuel injector circuit malfunction. Now this is a direct injection engine whose injectors and much of their harness are buried someplace inside the cam cover. Nothing is going to be done by me while it's under new car warranty. Had it flat-bedded to the dealer. Next day they call and tell me that rodents have eaten my injector harness. When tech pulled the belly pan there was a cascade of nuts, acorn and miscellaneous plant material. WTF!!!! So on the plus side the fault code was absolutely correct. On the minus side this isn't covered by warranty and ran me $750 out of pocket to fix. Sigh.

  • 55_wrench 55_wrench on Nov 01, 2016

    Neil, Don't feel bad, same thing happened on our 1-year new '96 Crown Vic. Rats just loved the ignition wires, chewed through 3 of them. They took some dog kibble up on top of the valve covers with them and enjoyed the wires as a dessert. Ford must have mixed peanut butter into the insulation somehow, resulting in a new spin on Panther Love. Not Warrantied in my case either...120 bucks for a set of wires.

    • See 1 previous
    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Nov 02, 2016

      The wiring in Subuarus from the 80's and early 90's was apparently quite tasty to squirrels. A coworker of my wife had the problem many times with their Subaru. On the old show My Name is Earl there was an episode when Joy says that the Subaru is in the shop, damn squirrels ate the wiring again. I've never had a problem with any of my Panthers but one morning my wife went out to go to work in her Fusion Hybrid, and as she pulled out of the driveway she could tell it was missing bad and of course the CEL came on. She turned around and took another car to work. I went out there later and the scan tool showed a miss on #3. I pulled the top cover and found no wiring left between the bundle and the connector for the #3 coil as well as a few tooth marks on the connector.

  • Probert For around $15 you can have a professional check important safety areas - seems like a bargain. It pointed to a rear brake problem on my motorcycle. It has probably saved a lot of lives. But, like going to a dentist, no-one could say it is something they look forward to. (Well maybe a few - it takes all kinds...)
  • VoGhost ICE is so dangerous.
  • Akear Back as early as 2014 Ford was building some pretty decent vehicles. The Ford Fusion was getting good reviews and selling around 300,000 annually. The Mark MKZ was also the top selling US luxury car at the time in sales. My Ford Fusion is approaching the 200,000 mile mark, while current Fords blow gaskets at 40,000 miles.
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh yes ; required with non-federal legal penalties for deliberate violation https://imageio.forbes.com/blogs-images/trevornace/files/2015/12/smog-surrounds-beijing-1200x899.jpg?format=jpg&width=1200
  • 28-Cars-Later "Honda and Acura haven’t yet released an EV in the United States"Ok..."The 2024 ZDX rides on GM’s Ultium Platform and will feature Google built-in services. "Waht?