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'93 Mazda 626


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07-10-03, 04:44 AM   #1  
jrp30
'93 Mazda 626

Last week, my '93 Mazda 626 wouldn't start when I came out of the grocery store. When I turned the key, I was getting plenty of power to my battery (air was blowing, radio was on, etc.). Just for grins, I tried a boost, but nothing.

I had it to towed to Goodyear, and they phoned me up the next morning and informed me the car started up just fine. Of course, they told me they checked the battery/electrical system/alternator/starter, et al. (charged me $25.00 for it), and said everything looked kosher.

Well, as I expected, last night the same thing happened. It didn't start.

I know this is probably hard to diagnose, but thought I would throw it out there.

Here is my "no-car knowing" thoughts on what it might be. When trying to start it, it's almost like the gear is out of park. I'm wondering if there is some wiring below the gear shift that is loose. Perhaps when I had it towed last time, the vibration of it being towed caused the connection to occur again.

Thoughts?

 
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07-10-03, 05:25 AM   #2  
Joe_F
You need to be more descriptive.

When you say it won't start, do you mean that it will crank but not run? It won't even crank?

Next time it happens, wiggle the battery cables to make sure they are tight. If any have corrosion, clean them.

Next, tap on the starter body with a hammer. If the vehicle starts, the starter is wiped. Replace with a Mazda rebuilt.

Lastly you can try starting the car in neutral. If it starts, the neutral safety switch is wiped/out of adjustment.

Let us know what you find.

 
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07-10-03, 05:32 AM   #3  
jrp30
Thanks for your reply, Joe. Please see below:

"When you say it won't start, do you mean that it will crank but not run? It won't even crank?"

Correct. I turn the key, all electrical stuff comes on, but that's it.

"Next time it happens, wiggle the battery cables to make sure they are tight. If any have corrosion, clean them. "

Have done that.

"Next, tap on the starter body with a hammer. If the vehicle starts, the starter is wiped. Replace with a Mazda rebuilt. "

Well, here's the dillemma. I can't get to the freakin' thing. It's really buried. When I took it to the frauds known as my local Goodyear Service Center, they told me they *did* test the starter. Who knows though. I paid $25.00 for it. I wonder how long the warranty on their so-called "diagosis lasts?

"Lastly you can try starting the car in neutral. If it starts, the neutral safety switch is wiped/out of adjustment."

Tried that too.

"Let us know what you find."

Will do. Thanks again.

p.s. What do you think of the fact it didn't start, had it towed, the next day it started? Do you think the "vibration" of the car had anything to do with it . . . or simply time? Thanks!

 
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07-10-03, 06:45 AM   #4  
Joe_F
The starter may have a high spot on it and it jarred loose to the point where it would start again.

I have seen this many times. Just hit in the general vicinity of it next time it happens. Sometimes even the vibration turns the armature to a good spot and it will crank .

Tough to say what test Goodyear did for you.

Next time it happens, wiggle the shifter back and forth a bit and try cranking it. Do it both in neutral and in park. If it starts, look for a linkage/switch adjustment.

I think you may have a semi-wiped starter though . Make ABSOLUTELY sure the connections are good, clean and tight. A bad conneciton WILL act like a bad starter!

 
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07-10-03, 10:36 AM   #5  
jrp30
Thanks. Somewhat of an interesting occurence happened during lunch. I went to where the car is parked, got in, and it started.

I turned it off, then started it again. Turned it off again, and then nothing.

So it seems that "time" as opposed with the vibration of having it towed is causing it to start again.

Thanks agian

 
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07-10-03, 10:46 AM   #6  
Joe_F
No, it's probably again hitting that dead spot in the starter .

 
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07-12-03, 12:26 PM   #7  
jrp30
After tinkering with the car a little bit today, here is what I'm finding:

If the car sits for about 10 hours, it will start up (with somewhat of a delay). I can shut it off and start it maybe two more times before it won't start again.

When this happens and you try to start it, the EGI Main Relay and Circuit Relay fuses make a quick "click-click" sound. If you put your hand on them, you can feel them kind of "jump."

Is it possible that these fuses are get hot and shorting out, and then after cooling down (remember if I let it sit for a long time I can start it again), they are getting a connection?

Thanks in advance for your help!

 
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07-12-03, 02:09 PM   #8  
Joe_F
Hmm, maybe, but again .....

the next time it happens, tap on the starter with a hammer. Do it on a weekend where you are home and can putz around with it.

If it starts by tapping on the starter it's wasted. Mazda rebuilt time .

 
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07-12-03, 07:23 PM   #9  
Hey Joe;
While cruising through here I found this post. Almost sounded familiar to me. I once had a 1985 Mazda 626 with the same problem and posted here for some help. The post is still on the forum. Well, my problem turned out to be a wasted fuel pump, but I had the same syptoms that this poster has, random starts, dying while running... Just a thought...

 
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07-13-03, 07:48 AM   #10  
jrp30
Thanks, Joe and Bob for your replies.

Bob, I'll run a query for the post you implemented concerning your 95 Mazda. The only difference is that it doesn't (knock on wood) die while running.

Joe, I've been trying to get to the starter but it's quite difficult. I need to get under the car, and consequently need a ramp or something set the car up on.

Since there are guys on here that have automotive service center experience, let me ask you a question. I'll preface it with two things: I'm cheap, and I'm very paranoid about being ripped of by mechanics.

Anyway, let's say that I am able to determine it is the starter. Is it pretty difficult to replace? I could purchase a manual for the car and figure out how to do it (if it's well documented), but am not sure with how difficult it is for a novice to perform this.

Second, if I did decide to take it to a service center, what is the ballpark estimate for a new starter and labor.

Thanks again.

 
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07-13-03, 10:26 AM   #11  
i can't speak specifically about your car, but most starters are easier from underneath, and at the most will have three bolts holding it in, usually only two, you MUST unhook the battery when replacing it.

get yourself a set of ramps, drive carefully up and set the e-brake, it'll probably be right out in the open, i know i put a cylinder head on one of these a few years back, i just can't remember exactly where the starter was, at the hardest it might be under the intake manifold, you might have to wiggle it a little to get it out(watch it's one of those you have to take the axle out) the ramps will be cheaper than the labor to replace the starter and now you can do oil changes that much easier

i guarantee i'm cheaper and more paranoid than you, there are sleazy places out there, everywhere, but not everyone! it usually comes from the manager/owner-not the technician working on it. that's why i've taught myself how to fix everything i own, including inside and outside my house. my neighbor got two estimates for a water heater $1700 and $550, we went to home depot, $200 dollars later it was fixed!


any shop worth it's weight will have a large labor manual, thicker than two phone books(new jersey phone books, not backwoods ones) like six inches thick, ours are 'mitchell' and 'chiltons' they spell out the labor in time, multiply that by the shop's labor rate and you have your estimate, some places are known to add to that labor 'times' a little. if you have any doubts, have the desk show you in the book the labor time, it's usually a fair price for both, remember the technician has to eat too.

 
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07-13-03, 12:08 PM   #12  
Joe_F
I agree with Mike. You can get to a manual at the library or use the autolibrary.org link I have in my signature file below. Study the procedures and see if it's something that you want to tackle yourself.

Being cheap is a sure fire way to get ripped off or pissed off . Being SMART and thrifty is another thing.

The latter is the difference between an empty wallet and money well spend on tools to do the next job that requires them with relative ease.

I never squawk about certain expenses such as tools or literature or anything like that. Gotta pay if you want to play.

I paid $16 for the factory manual for my Chevy Cavalier. It's loaded with time saving information that would drive you nuts if you didn't have it.

Buy a good manual for your car and don't even sweat the money you spend on it.

 
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07-13-03, 12:23 PM   #13  
Next time it happens try to start the car with the gear selector in the Neutral position. It may be a bad neutral safety switch.

 
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07-13-03, 05:22 PM   #14  
jrp30
Interesting responses. As always: thanks!


i guarantee i'm cheaper and more paranoid than you, there are sleazy places out there, everywhere, but not everyone! that's why i've taught myself how to fix everything i own,
Duly noted. I don't know much about cars--in fact it's my weak point--but "around the house" I feel I can fix anything, after seeking advice from http://www.doityourself.com of course. :-)

any shop worth it's weight will have a large labor manual, thicker than two phone books(new jersey phone books, not backwoods ones) like six inches thick, ours are 'mitchell' and 'chiltons'
This is VERY interesting. So, you feel I can (after the estimate) request to consult one of these labor manuals? I LOVE it!

try to start the car with the gear selector in the Neutral pos
You know, we think alike. This was actually the first thing I tried.

Being cheap is a sure fire way to get ripped off or pissed off . Being SMART and thrifty is another thing.
Ha ha! I hear ya, Joe. I guess I should have expressed my demeanor as "cautious." I spend mega bucks on tools, literature, (personal time researching), et al. quite often. However, I think we can ALL admit that unless you can "fix it yourself", going to a service center is a lot like going to a doctor . . . there's not a lot you can do about the expense.

Someone mentioned it's not the mechanics fault, and I totally agree. It's these company's that nickel and dime you to death with "miscellanous charges", "various shop charges", etc. that expose themselves as the rip-off artists they are.

I know a lot about computers, and I am constantly helping my friends/neighbors with their computer problems. The computer industry is another trade that will rip you off in a heart-beat. Why? Because (as with the automotive industry) you either know it or you don't. However, it's always best to consult with experts that are willing to give their time (such as Joe and the rest of the experts on here) that make you a savvy consumer.

I'll keep everyone informed on what transpires. The funny part is that I am having trouble with our other car (a 1998 Ford). When it rains . . .

 
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07-13-03, 05:24 PM   #15  
Hi;
To find the starter just follow the red cable from your battery, it will lead you there. While your at it check that cable real close. On one of my cars I had a similar problem and all seemed good and tight, including me! LOL!! Well, closer inspection revealed a crack in the insulation about one inch from the positive terminal. When I expanded the crack I found the cable to be deterioated by corrosion from apparent battery fumes, or whatever. Replaced the cable and all was well. Also,pull the cables one at a time and clean the terminals and inside the lugs and reattach snugly. Also, when you find the starter make sure all electrical connections are tight on the motor.
As a addendum you may want to check the battery for its charge state. It may have a dead( weak) cell and storing only enough to fool you but not to start the car.
For your information and consideration and just to have my two pennies thrown into the ring! LOL!!!

 
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07-13-03, 09:53 PM   #16  
jrp, before you go crazy at the dealer/shop/garage over labor prices, remember the manual is only a 'suggestion' of how much to charge in an ideal(new) car, there is no law in america saying they have to charge exactly to the decimal point those labor times. they/we have to account for rusted bolts, broken bolts, stripped bolts, rounded bolts, alarm wiring, diagnostic time(varies greatly!) and even stuff the customer breaks. they give you an estimate, you say yes or no, call around to different places, i'll admit we do sometimes round up to the nearest hour on major jobs, because there is always the unexpected, but i would never stand for doubling it.


i was sitting in a lawyer's office waiting for my real estate closing and i overheard the secretary saying over the phone "divorces--could take 2-5 hours of labor, it depends" at $200 an hour!! and don't get me started on doctor's fees please

 
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07-14-03, 09:34 AM   #17  
Joe_F
Here's the bottom line:

An informed consumer is a happy one. And a smart one. No matter what it is.

Be it doctor services, lawyer services, car repair, house repair, computers, etc.

Bottom line #2: Any good service provider should be able to substantiate the charges.

Mike is right. Nissan puts in their parts books, "The prices listed are suggested retail prices. Nissan dealers are free to charge prices as they will in accordance with their market, etc, etc, ".

 
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07-16-03, 07:27 AM   #18  
jrp30
Joe was RIGHT!

Joe, I bow to your automotive greatness. Because my other car crapped out, I had to gave in and take my Mazda to a service center, and it was indeed the starter that was bad on it.

Cost? $352.30 (diagnosis/parts/labor). Seems a little high, though. I was told that this car has a "gear reduction starter" which is why it was so expensive.

 
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07-16-03, 08:56 AM   #19  
Joe_F
Unfortunately, this is one of the "benefits" of owning a foreign car. When (not if) they do break, parts are usually more expensive and you tend to get soaked.

Depending on the price of the starter, it may be fair. Take the part # that you were charged for by Mazda and plug it into Parts.com to get an idea what the price is for the starter.

Labor at many dealerships exceeds 60 bucks an hour, so it may be about right.

 
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