weird sounds...

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  #1  
Old 10-08-09, 04:00 PM
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weird sounds...

Hey all, just hoping you guys could help me brainstorm. I changed my belts and recently refreshed my K&N air filter. I also changed my brakes (calipers, pads, rotors) all in August in Alaska on my 2003 Mazda Protege5, 2.0 Liter. The day before I was to drive back to New York I hear a funny revving noise. Not sure exactly how to explain it but it sounds like maybe the fan has something stuck in it or something is rubbing against a wheel. It's a hollow sort of revving sound that gets quite loud at high speeds. So I thought I over oiled my K&N and didn't worry about it. I got pretty decent gas mileage on the drive down but the sound kicked the whole way. So I'm back home and I swap out filters for a more traditional air filter and the sound persists. I haven't pulled off the wheels but they seem just fine. There is a hole in the plastic that forms the wheel well on the passenger side, but I doubt that's the source, though the echo wind blowing through there might make... I also checked the way the belts run and they seem fine. Could they be too tight? The fans turn trouble free and the temp gauges reflect no abnormalities. I did have a tire blow out near Madison Wisconsin... but the Firestone folks in Chicago who replaced my tire and mounted the wheel would have noticed anything in there... right? I don't know. Should I clean the MAF? Would a soiled MAF even make a noise? Thanks in advance! Not looking for the solution as I know I'm being really vague here, just a brainstorming session so I could diagnose this thing.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-08-09, 07:45 PM
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do 'not' fool with the maf-it dont take much of any thing to destroy it.
if you see some grass/leaves type contamination on the screen -up stream of the actual 'maf' sensor-clean with a brush-inspect air filter & housing-for leaks.
this is-'not' likely to cause a-'noise 'concern.
will the noise change pitch/noise level-if at about 35 mph - make rather strong lane change manuvers-swirve left to right-(open road-traffic permitting)-wheel bearing.
does the noise change -with eng -rpm-/pulley-drive belt/bearing problem.
 
  #3  
Old 10-08-09, 09:25 PM
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Newt, great advice. I think it's the pulley/drive belt... it's commensurate with RPMs. How do I find out what's exactly at fault? I guess a good place to start would be an explanation as to why the noise is tied to RPMs? I did break off a threaded flange on the alternator when I changed that belt. It's where the pivot screw bolts it onto the frame. It still seems to be in there pretty darn good though. Maybe the tension is too tight? Thanks for your input!
 
  #4  
Old 10-09-09, 07:19 AM
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It could be something striking, but I would also be concerned about the flange you're talking about on the alternator. That flange gives the alternator support against the tension of the belt. You could either loose the other mounting bolt or have a problem holding the tension.

If the alternator is pulling out of alignment now, that could be the source of the noise.
 
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Old 10-09-09, 08:09 AM
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does the 'protege'-compare to 'ford' body style?
on the 2.0 motor in a ford motor in a focus,the idler pulley bearing gives problems(if you are looking at it from the passenger wheel opening,-it is the bottom left-not very easy to get at)
as mentioned above-broken ear on alt could be at fault/should be repaired.
 
  #6  
Old 10-09-09, 09:44 AM
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Well, I can't repair the broken ear without replacing the alternator. I checked the alternator belt yesterday and it seemed very tight. Could that be it? Also, it is very much in alignment. But I'm going to say this has to be where my problem is. Should I give a little more slack to the belt? I guess it couldn't hurt. I drove all the way down from Alaska and put more than 4.5K miles on it. There's no rubbing, no burning smell. So the belts are definitely not causing the noise. I'm guessing it could be a pulley/pulley bearing? How would I even begin to know? Do the pulleys just pop off? How do I pull them?
Thanks!
 
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Old 10-09-09, 12:21 PM
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alot of mazda built vehicles have -ford components
wht does this vehicle resemble in the ford line up?
most will be accessed through the rt ft wheel opening.
probably need a special tool for belt tensioner.
try -autozone.com-regester your vehicle & some other info.
they have an online manual - that may be of some help.
 
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Old 10-09-09, 01:33 PM
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I got under the car to fidget with the belt when I changed it (and broke the ear off the alternator). I suppose taking off the wheel and the plastic in the wheel well might have helped a bit but it generally was necessary to get underneath the car. I'll check autozone.com for more help! Thanks!!

As for the special tool... that wouldn't be to tighten/loosen it, it has a typical pivot screw, tensioner screw sort of setup. If there is a tool, it would be to measure the tension. Not that important as if the belts are a little too loose or too tight, would it make a difference in the car's performance/longevity/belt life? Infinitesimal.
 
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Old 10-09-09, 01:39 PM
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it does not have a spring loaded tensioner?
is it a 'v' belt, or a ribbed serpentine belt?
 
  #10  
Old 10-09-09, 01:45 PM
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No, it's all tensioner screw. Not serpentine at all. There's an alternator belt and a power steering belt (which also drives the pulley for the cooling fans). They're both ribbed, and they are a ***** to get to and change and they're fastened really awkwardly (the pivot screw for the alternator threads from left to right when you're on your back looking up at it, but I forgot and broke the darned thing trying to thread to screw from right to left). So what's the thinking here? Is it a pulley bearing? Too tight a belt (probably not, right?)? Out of alignment belt? I'm being lazy, but I also feel if I were to go out and jack the car up and get under it I wouldn't see what's going on up under there either because everything looks in order from the top down, honestly. Thanks again and again y'all.
 
  #11  
Old 10-09-09, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by seancashmere View Post
No, it's all tensioner screw. Not serpentine at all. There's an alternator belt and a power steering belt (which also drives the pulley for the cooling fans). They're both ribbed, and they are a ***** to get to and change and they're fastened really awkwardly (the pivot screw for the alternator threads from left to right when you're on your back looking up at it, but I forgot and broke the darned thing trying to thread to screw from right to left). So what's the thinking here? Is it a pulley bearing? Too tight a belt (probably not, right?)? Out of alignment belt? I'm being lazy, but I also feel if I were to go out and jack the car up and get under it I wouldn't see what's going on up under there either because everything looks in order from the top down, honestly. Thanks again and again y'all.
A serpentine belt has ribs on it that run in small groves in the pulleys.. is that what you have??? You say the belt also drives the pulley for the cooling fans??? Are you sure??? Noises are hard enough to diagnose but if you go around the pulleys & stuff with a mechanics stethescope it'll be easy to find... Try to clarify what your working on tho as most modern Mazdas don't have belts driving cooling fans??? Roger
 
  #12  
Old 10-13-09, 01:42 PM
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No way, the power steering belt also drives the engine cooling fans, no doubt about it. You can look in while the car is idling and see that the pulley turns whenever the cooling fans come on.

So I took the plunge and bought a reman alternator. I'm trying to pull the old one and figured out the root of my problem with the original alternator. The ear broke off because the screw just doesn't thread into the ear properly... or at all. I don't know how it was on there in the first place though. It just doesn't make sense. I pulled it off the car and tried threading it through the reman and the same thing. I obviously stopped before I broke the new alternator, but the bolt just doesn't thread into it. I messed up the threads too, so I ordered one at the dealership. I'll have a chat with them about it later (I'll bring in the alternator on Thurs. morn. when I go to pick up the bolt). But they're never usually that helpful. What do you all think about this?

My other issue at the moment is with the alternator plug. I can't figure out how to unclip it. Again, it's something I'll propose at the dealership, but they'll be no help, as usual. How do I pull the plug on my old alternator so I can install this new one. I tried squeezing and pulling, but it doesn't budge.

Thanks!

p.s. Autozone.com thinks it's the alternator pulley bearing too, so I'm crossing my fingers that this ultimately solves this noise.
 
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Old 10-13-09, 02:07 PM
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there is a tab to push -some where to release the plug.
each manufacture is different.
 
  #14  
Old 10-13-09, 02:27 PM
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I know... this one is not self evident. Japanese imports are soooo hard to work on. There's no clearance for anything and the sometimes, the aggregate of all the pieces don't fit.

Again, anyone with direct experience unplugging the alternator on a 03 Protege5??
 
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Old 10-13-09, 03:25 PM
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i saw in an other post-hopkinsr2-worked for mazda
 
  #16  
Old 10-13-09, 03:50 PM
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Awesome... Hopkins? And what's the deal with threading that long alternator bolt? If the ear doesn't break off, the screw gets ruined. It apparently thread from the middle to the wheel (left to right when looking up at it). Which would make sense except, every other bolt on the alternator screws in from right to left. But outside of that, it JUST doesn't thread properly. What am I not getting here. The guy at the parts counter, over the phone, said he's heard of people having trouble with the bolt too.
 
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Old 10-13-09, 08:15 PM
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Sean,, I'm confused about what your working on...Is it the A/C clutch that turns when the fans come on??? Do you have a service manual??? I'v never seen a Protege with belt driven cooling fans.. Is this maybe a Miata??? I don't know how the ear gets broken either..& in my ((very small)) mind I don't remember any trouble with them... Are the threads damaged on the screw??? Remember these are all metric in case you replaced something with a hardware store bolt or nut..Are ALL the bolts & nuts loose where the alt & the alt brackets are??? When you do get the belt off,, can you move the alt back & forth by hand?? I'm thinking a bracket isn't loose & holds the alternator... You try to move the alt & the stress damages some threads & breaks the ear...Sorry,, not much help..Can you post some pics so we can verify if this is front wheel or rear wheel drive... If it is a Protege,, It'll be the first one I've ever seen with a belt drive cooling fan set-up... Roger
 
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Old 10-13-09, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by hopkinsr2 View Post
Sean,, I'm confused about what your working on...Is it the A/C clutch that turns when the fans come on??? Do you have a service manual??? I'v never seen a Protege with belt driven cooling fans.. Is this maybe a Miata??? I don't know how the ear gets broken either..& in my ((very small)) mind I don't remember any trouble with them... Are the threads damaged on the screw??? Remember these are all metric in case you replaced something with a hardware store bolt or nut..Are ALL the bolts & nuts loose where the alt & the alt brackets are??? When you do get the belt off,, can you move the alt back & forth by hand?? I'm thinking a bracket isn't loose & holds the alternator... You try to move the alt & the stress damages some threads & breaks the ear...Sorry,, not much help..Can you post some pics so we can verify if this is front wheel or rear wheel drive... If it is a Protege,, It'll be the first one I've ever seen with a belt drive cooling fan set-up... Roger
'i' thank 'you' for talking to this guy-'i' am at a lost-have no idea,what he is tring to do
 
  #19  
Old 10-13-09, 09:02 PM
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Geez guys, I'm sorry if I'm not being explicit enough here. I'll try to clarify. On the power steering belt, there is a pulley that spins whenever the engine cooling fans come on. I thought that meant the pulley is obviously driving the fans, but maybe I'm wrong.

As far as the ear breaking off, it's strictly my fault. In fact, it may not have totally been my fault as I did try many different orientations before deciding to force the bolt through. At any rate, I was replacing the bolt that holds the alternator to a bracket. I oriented it the way every other bolt on that side of the car was oriented and it looked a little crooked. I kept resetting it and trying to get it in before it eventually just broke the ear off. Turns out, it goes in the other way... I think. In fact, I tried that several times too, and it just wouldn't go in. Today, I pulled the bolt (I had it on, obviously, even though it no longer had that ear to bolt into). And I tried to screw the bolt into the new alternator before even getting it into the car. No dice. The bolt's threads started stripping. The bolt is screwed so I'm going in to the dealer to buy a new one. Somehow, the bolt that perpendicular to the tensioner screw some how has damaged threads on it too. At any rate, I'm sure you're all 100% more knowledgeable about this than I am. There was no play in the setup I had, and it looked solid... it just never sounded solid. My questions are, how do I pull the plug on the alternator (the tabs aren't obvious and I don't want anything else to break while I'm "fixing" it), and what would you reckon as the issue with the bolt/alternator housing why it won't fit back together the way I fist pulled it apart? This is really puzzling, because the bolt came out relatively easily, as best I can remember.

One small hope, maybe when I was reverse threading the bolt into the bracket, I ruined the threads on the bolt. It looked very good when I pulled it this afternoon and it threaded into the new alternator the wrong way very easily. It just never threaded through it the right way (it's obvious which way is the right way as most of the bolt has no threads and one side of the alternator brackets have no threads to correspond). That's my hope, yet it just doesn't make sense. I'll see when I get the new bolt and show the boys at the Mazda parts desk what I'm talking about.
 
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Old 10-14-09, 09:42 AM
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If the alt is tight in the bracket with all the bolts loose & it won't at least kinda move around,,, there is still something holding it & may not allow you to line up the bolt holes properly.... Don't tighten any bolts or nuts untill everything is threaded several turns by hand.. This way you can ""wiggle"" stuff around to line everything up... Newtofta is right about the tab on the plug,,, unless it's the big wire as it should have a nut on a stud... Sometimes a mirror will help... I think what you mean by the belt driven cooling fan is confusing everyone (especially me!) Is it the cooling fan starting when the AC clutch engages??? Pick up a manual... They are worth their weight in gold.... Roger
 
  #21  
Old 10-14-09, 09:53 AM
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Yeah, that's what I was trying to do with the reman... thread the bolt by hand... but it won't go. Hopefully I'll have better luck when I pick up a new bolt tomorrow. I do have a pdf manual, but it tells me nothing about the plug (I did pull off the one with the nut easily). I now know the orientation of the bolt but I had it right after I broke the ear off. I'll sit there with the parts people and thread it by hand. With any luck, a new bolt will hit the spot. Thanks.

Now the whole belt driven fans thing is irrelevant at this point but I haven't ANY clue what an A/C clutch is: just goes to show how little I know and why I'm even on here looking for help in the first place. As I mentioned earlier, in trying to source the noise, I noticed that a pulley on the power steering belt spins simultaneously with the engine cooling fans. I'm pretty sure I had no A/C or cabin fans even running at the time... but again, big time amateur here.

Thanks for persisting with me here guys. I feel hopeless that I can get the new alternator in as this bolt situation just seems unworkable, but it must work, right? It was on there to begin with and shops do these things all the time?
 
  #22  
Old 10-15-09, 04:32 PM
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Update: Terrible day here guys. I brought in the reman alternator to the dealer's parts desk and had them look. They were baffled and sent me to Napa to get another alternator. I went to Napa with the new bolt from the dealer and the alternator and they thought the reman manufacturer reverse threaded the alternator by accident so they had another store bring us a different alternator from a different manufacturer. This one fit even worse, it didn't eve start to thread. I called their customer support because by this time EVERYONE was stupefied. They told me to by a 10X1.25 tap and fix the threading on the alternator myself. I thought, bingo, that's likely what the dealer would have done. That's what any auto repair would have tried?!? So I set off to find a tap. Strauss had none so I went to the parts desk to see if they had an alternator. Nope. Went to Pep Boys. No tap. Alternator? You betcha! So I whipped out the bolt and tried it. Would you believe it, no go still. However, the associate wouldn't believe it so he grabbed a 14 mm wrench and set to work with my $5 dealer bolt. I'll give him credit it, he messed up the threading on the alternator, but it can no go in by hand and the bolt has no damage at all. I took back the alternator I was going to tap, back to Napa and it's pouring rain outside. I've got to drive to Vermont on Saturday and it's supposed to rain until Sunday, so I guess I've no choice but to go out and do the repair tomorrow.

Turns out, too, the adjuster screw, (perpendicular to the tensioner) has two rounded off threads in the center. I think that may be my noise culprit. Maybe it had to support the alternator's weight the whole drive from Alaska. And while it was doing so it was vibrating away? I tried to get the dealer to order me up a new one, but wouldn't you know it, incompetence strikes again! They order a tensioner screw instead and had the nerve to ask me for $2 to overnight the right screw (plus pay list, plus take the train; another 2-1/2 hour roundtrip at $4.50 tomorrow to pick it up). I loathe dealerships. I told them I'd find it elsewhere. Still can't drive the car (too cold, wet and dark... going to wait until tomorrow and give it a cold, wet try in overcast daylight).
 
  #23  
Old 10-15-09, 07:23 PM
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Are the threads actually reverse or is that just the terminology that's being applied? Reverse threads are typically in the center of a rotation and are used to prevent loosening of the bolt or nut.

First, I would determine what you have on the bolt. Shelve whatever you've been told so far about sizes. Then... go to a hardware store with a Metric/SAE selection and find the nut that matches your bolt. Then go over to their taps or wherever you need to find one and get the tap to match the nut. Tap the hole on the alternator. Then you'll be in good shape.

You're having quite a battle with that particular issue.
 
  #24  
Old 10-15-09, 08:38 PM
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Marbob,

You make an excellent point. I shouldn't have listened to the cust. service guy's specs for the thread's pitch, however, as I mentioned, I found an alternator whose threads is, for all intents and purposes, a match. It threads by hand relatively well until almost the very end and at that point, a couple of cranks with my ratchet should finish her nice and right.

Reverse threads: what they meant was that the threading was in insert, not part of the alternator. It was threading put into the ear. The guy at Napa was convinced the manufacturer put the threading in the wrong way. Me; not so convinced. I have a sneaking suspicion here that I just don't know what I'm doing and have some how convinced everyone else that it's not my fault.

Anyone care to fashion a theory as to why this has given me so much issues? At first I thought it was just me being a stupid city boy, but every single person who's looked at it has been equally puzzled! Maybe we're all stupid?

Here's what I reckon for the alternator. Some QC guy at the reman plant got really thorough with this specific one and realized that the thing doesn't bolt on so he (or she) wrenched the life out of the bolt... that's why the threads on it look so miserable (or maybe he took a tap to it?). Bottom line is I'm SURPRISED there isn't a service note out on this issue anywhere (not that I checked thoroughly, but the dealer's parts counter had no clue as if they ever do).

Is there some lesson to be learned here? Is it don't buy Japanese? I don't know, it's not like American cars fair much better. I'm still all ears if anyone has anything more to add to this and I'll update the thread with my misgivings tomorrow.
 
  #25  
Old 10-16-09, 05:22 AM
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I couldn't say for sure without seeing what you have. Unless something terminates the threads at the end of the threads, a threaded hole will allow the bolt to be inserted from either direction. A RH thread will turn clockwise to tighten and a reverse thread (LH) will turn counter clock. Think of it in terms of a standard nut - it will turn onto the bolt from either side of the nut.

The problem you're having is unusual from my experience. Also anytime you have something that seems so complicated will often have a simple answer.
 
  #26  
Old 10-17-09, 11:07 AM
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From bad to worse

My situation just hit the skids. I installed the alternator... although occasionally the battery light comes on, so I don't know if the battery is being charged as it should. Still, it seems to work fine. But my noise is still there... as I figured, with my luck, it would be. So I paid more close attention to when it is exactly that the sound kicks in. As soon as the A/T jumps into second gear.

Did I mention when I first got under the car to look at the alternator bolt, before ripping it out, I noticed that my tranny pan was in bad shape. The screws were loose and some were almost dangling. I figured those gravel roads in Alaska gave it hell. I tightened her up and topped off the tranny fluid (Mercon V, however, it didn't really lose any fluid). The bottom of the pan is covered in tranny oil and sandy, grainy sediment. When I finally identified when the sound kicks in I was uber disheartened. Here's my plan, I know this may be a bad idea, but I'm going to flush the fluid again (I did it in early April). I suppose if the fluid is really bad, then draining it will only cause more problems, but the way it's making a pronounced sound means it's in trouble ANYway, right? So before I go to Aamaco with it, I'll try a last ditch manual flushing and filter change. I'll clean up the pan with solvent and I'll wipe all the sediment off the bolts. I'll retorque and cross my fingers. I'll probably go through 16 bottles of Mercon V. I'm dreading what that magnet will look like. This is the pits. What say you all?
 
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Old 10-17-09, 07:03 PM
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You started by changing the belts,,, Than a lot of issues with the alternator,, & now you suspect the Transmission???
 
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Old 10-17-09, 08:01 PM
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Yeah, I guess I'm not being clear. Sorry. I started this thread to find the cause of the noise. I started the diagnosis with the recent cleaning of the K&N air filter. Swapped it out with a conventional one. Then I reasoned it had to be the alternator... considering I changed the belts, and in doing so, broke the ear off the alternator. It was suggested here that it was the alternator belt pulley and seeing as how the alternator was 6 years old and the ear was broken off it, I swapped that out. It hasn't fixed the noise. So I'm left to suspect a bigger problemo.

As for the battery light coming on intermittently, what do you all think? Could it maybe be the connector not seated correctly??? Thanks!
 
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Old 10-17-09, 11:00 PM
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The battery light coming on I would guess a bad alternator.. You probably don't want to hear that... Don't know,, What is the output volts & amps ??? What is this thread about??? I've lost track.... Is it still about a noise?? Have you tried to locate it with a stethescope as I suggested several days ago??? The problem with noises on the internet is we can't hear them so you need to be as helpful as you can... Noises from the alt should sound like they're at the alt & not the other side of the engine compartment where the trans is,, Sorry, I'm not much help.... Roger
 
  #30  
Old 10-17-09, 11:18 PM
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The reason I never got on board with the stethoscope is because the sound is only audible when the car is in gear and on the road. But I suppose the reasoning behind a stethoscope is to identify the sound at idle, huh?

I can live with the bad alternator. It was the only one that threaded, BUT, I'm sure there's a warranty for it as I did buy it from Pep Boys so I'll call up the customer service folks and have them get me another one. Now that I've just done that repair, it's not as harrowing to do anymore. What I'm most concerned about is that this is a tranny issue... which is definitely out of my league. I'll do a flush and see what gunk, if any, is sitting in the pan and on the magnet. If it's clean, I'll take it to the dealer to diagnose. If the tranny pan is in bad shape, I'll bring her to a tran. specialty shop. I mean, what else can I do? If I had a heated garage, I'd prop her up on stands and work on her until I got it, but I live in Brooklyn, NY with on-street parking. I guess I can only go so far with DIY in my situation. Pity, really. Thanks for all the help folks. I'll update when I figure out what's going on.
 
  #31  
Old 10-18-09, 08:14 AM
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If you took a hit around the pan of the tranny look for loose pieces around the flywheel. You may just have a rattle in that area. It can be relative to rpms just because of the loading of the engine when it shifts.
 
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Old 10-23-09, 01:15 PM
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Solution!

The hub bearing on the driver side was done. Lucky me after driving 5k+ miles on 'em that they didn't fail while on the road. Anyway, had a mechanic fix that and the stabilizer link on both wheels... set me back $415. I swapped out the faulty alternator and the new one seems to be working just fine. Learned a ton in the process, the hard way. The tranny pan had some sludge in it, but was pristine otherwise. Cleaned that up and threw in some fresh fluid. All is well in Mazda land, for now.

Thanks again guys. My next project will be to properly identify when the passenger side hub bearing goes and try that repair on my own.
 
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