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Old 03-15-2011, 10:51 AM
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Default Variable timing issues

My daughter has a 2004 Mazda 6 with about 113,000 miles. She was on the way to a friends house, driving on the interstate, and the oil light started to "flicker". As she was pulling over to the side of the road, the engine died. She left it along the side of the road until I could look at it the next morning.

When I started to check things out the next morning, the first thing I did was to check the oil. It was OK. She had just had the oil changed, so it was clean. (However, the quick lube put 10/30 in it instead of 5w20). The water level in the reservoir looked good, so I tried to start the car.

The car started up OK and I didn't see any problems, so I decided to try and drive it home (40 miles away). While driving, the oil light did not come on and the temperature was sitting right where it was suppose to be. I was starting to think that it might be something minor.

About half way home, I had to climb a large hill. As I started to climb the hill, I started to lose power. As I crested the hill, the oil light started to flicker and as I was pulling over, the engine died. I attempted to restart the engine and, while I was cranking, I noticed that the temperature gauge was reading very high, but was not pegged out. I immediately stopped trying to restart the engine.

I called a tow truck and had the car taken to my mechanic.

The mechanic took a look at it and was unable to get the car started. He said that the variable timing was seriously messed up and appears to have messed up the engine. He said that I needed a new engine.

So my questions:

1. Does this diagnoses sound reasonable?
2. Could the incorrect oil have caused this issue?
3. Could this have been avoided?

I talked to the Mazda dealer and was told that the variable timing going out was a known issue for a car this old. They said that in the past couple of months that looked at 2 cars with similar problems. One car they were able to replace the variable valve timing actuator and the other car, they had to replace the engine.

Any help will be greatly appreciated...I not looking forward to having to replace the engine.
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Last edited by Michael Schulze; 03-17-2011 at 09:49 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2011, 12:25 PM
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I would like to know how he came to that conclusion, it kinda seems like he came up with something you dont understand for an excuse to replace the engine. I say this because if the vvt solenoid were to fail it wouldnt have an effect on the engine other than performance. To me it seems like the sensor is malfunctioning due to it being dirty (standard oil gets dirty quicker) and cause the car to go into limp mode or the oil level not being high enough. I wouldnt ask the dealer if they have seen similar problems, it gives the chance to make up something to make your problem play into there favor. At this point you dont have a choice in seeing if you can get a second opinion from another dealer.
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  #3  
Old 03-17-2011, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracker View Post
I would like to know how he came to that conclusion, it kinda seems like he came up with something you dont understand for an excuse to replace the engine. I say this because if the vvt solenoid were to fail it wouldnt have an effect on the engine other than performance. To me it seems like the sensor is malfunctioning due to it being dirty (standard oil gets dirty quicker) and cause the car to go into limp mode or the oil level not being high enough. I wouldnt ask the dealer if they have seen similar problems, it gives the chance to make up something to make your problem play into there favor. At this point you dont have a choice in seeing if you can get a second opinion from another dealer.
TRACKER....you look like you might have hit this one out of the ball park. See next post for more details.
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:48 AM
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THE SAGA CONTINUES:

The Players

Me: A guy that did a lot of work on pre-1980 cars. I quit working on car when they became smarter then me.

Shop #1: A small auto shop with a good reputation in town and has for years. Honest business with maybe 2 mechanics along with the owner. Is well know in the custom business.

Shop #2: A local dealer. Use to be the Mazda dealer, but lost the franchise (political, not because of operational issues). No other Mazda dealers within 100 miles. Still has the only Certified Mazda mechanic in this area, and he is suppose to be very good (according to shop #2). I've had good dealings with them in the past.

The Car: 2004 Mazda 6, 3.0L V6 DOHC 24V, 5-speed, 113,400 miles.

The symptoms: Car starts ok when cold and runs good. As the car warms up, car loses oil pressure, begins a slight knocking that progressively gets worse, eventually, oil light starts to flash and engines shuts down very shortly afterwards (as if the key was turned off...auto safety shut-down from loss of oil pressure?). Even though check engine light was constantly on (has been on for months), there were no codes on computer.

The story: When the car broke down (see first post), I had it towed to shop #1. The owner of this shop initially told me that the VVT (variable valve timing) was "out of whack and more then likely fried the engine". Upon further discussions with shop #1, I have come to the conclusion the this car is not the expertise of this shop. If you want a nice custom job done on an older car, this would be the shop, but I think the Mazda his a little more complicated that this shop normally handles.

I talked to the mechanic at shop #1 that worked on the car....a very older guy that might have even work on the "Model T". He said that the owner just told him the car overheated. He checked the oil...the level was good (maybe even slightly over full), but didn't really seem to remember the color of the oil (important later), but seem to remember it was dark. He said water in reservoir was good.

He started the car, which ran fine and drove it into the bay. He let the car sit and idle to see if it started to overheat. He said that after 5 minutes or so, the car started a soft knock which got progressively worse. He went to turn the car off and the oil light started to flash and the car died on it's own shortly after the oil light started to flash.

I talked to shop #2 and told them what happened and what Shop #1 diagnoses was (might have initially skewed shop #2 diagnoses?). I was told by shop #1 that it sounded like the VVT actuator and that it might have fried the engine, but they have had success in the past of fixing similar issues by changing the actuator.

It sounded like shop #2 had a better grasp on the situation then shop #1, so I had the car taken to shop #2.

The next day shop #2 called me and said that they had bad news...I needed a new engine. They said: "The oil was 1/2 a quart low and was very dirty. It had metal flakes in it, probably from the bearings. The car starts up OK, but as it heats up, it loses oil pressure and dies".

I went to shop #2 and they showed me a sample of the oil. It was very black and thick. Shining a flash light into the oil, I saw 2 or 3 "dust-size" particles that shines (metal flakes).

My issue: The car broke down on March 11th. The oil was just changed on March 3rd (10w30 was put in, not the recommended 5w20) . When the car first broke down, I checked the oil prior to trying to drive it home and the oil was amber-colored and right at the full mark. The oil was so clean that my daughter asked "where is the oil" when I initially checked it. She had to look at it closer to see that there was oil on the stick.

The hill I climbed when the car died on me was only about 10 miles from where the car initially broke down. I really find it hard to believe that the oil went from amber to a thick dark black in only 10 miles of driving.

Any thoughts.

p.s. You will be graded on the detailedness of you answer.

Last edited by Michael Schulze; 03-17-2011 at 09:53 AM.
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  #5  
Old 03-17-2011, 10:05 AM
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Welcome to my world. 2004 Mazda 3.0 with a blown engine. You can probably spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars tearing the engine down and trying to find what exactly happened, maybe, but it isn't going to change the diagnosis.
You need a new engine. You can get a used one, and risk the same issue, or you can get a remanufactured one with a long warranty, which is what I chose to do. Don't forget to have the precats diagnosed for blockage. Not sure why this causes engine failure, but it does. You'll toast the new one in short order if the precats are bad and not replaced.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:06 AM
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p.s. makes sense to replace the clutch while the engine is pulled.
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  #7  
Old 03-17-2011, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHan View Post
p.s. makes sense to replace the clutch while the engine is pulled.
The clutch was replaced about 2 months ago.
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHan View Post
Welcome to my world. 2004 Mazda 3.0 with a blown engine. You can probably spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars tearing the engine down and trying to find what exactly happened, maybe, but it isn't going to change the diagnosis.
You need a new engine. You can get a used one, and risk the same issue, or you can get a remanufactured one with a long warranty, which is what I chose to do. Don't forget to have the precats diagnosed for blockage. Not sure why this causes engine failure, but it does. You'll toast the new one in short order if the precats are bad and not replaced.
What makes you feel like I need a new engine?

If so, as long as the block and crank are good, wouldn't rebuilding the engine be cheaper? Maybe even a lower engine rebuild (mains and rings, etc.)?

What are precats?
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2013, 12:13 AM
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Hi,
Did you ever figure out what was wrong. I have replaced my engine in my 2004 mazda 6 3.0l v6 and i am running into the exact same problem. I think it might be the oil pump and i have not yet been able to check the engine pressure.
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2013, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flashgordon View Post
Hi,
Did you ever figure out what was wrong. I have replaced my engine in my 2004 mazda 6 3.0l v6 and i am running into the exact same problem. I think it might be the oil pump and i have not yet been able to check the engine pressure.
Doubt you will get a response from him (but you never know, unless he is subscribed). It has been a couple of years and he only has a total of 5 posts.
Have you ever changed the PCV valve? Mazda doesn't inspect it or change it.
A faulty PCV valve will cause a lot of unecessary dirty stuff going everywhere.
If you have metal filings your engine is toast like this guy did, your engine is toast.
Oil control valve and ocv seals could affect VVT.
You won't get OCV valve seals from dealer you have to buy them here: Twisted Visionz - Online Store
the guy that put this site together is a true Mazda 6 3.0 ltr guru.

PRE-CATS: these are things that get clogged. Bits from these can be re-circulated back in to your engine via the EGR valve causing engine failure. Clogging can result from misfiring and contamination from oil and coolant.
Read: Pre-Cats Now Available for 3.0 ltr
http://autos.yahoo.com/maintain/repa...ques083_0.html
http://reviews.ebay.com/Reasons-for-...00000002803746
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Last edited by UseYourNoggin; 02-23-2013 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:31 AM
 
 
 
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2004, cx7, gauge, high, hill, malfunction, mazda, notice, service, solenoid, temp, timing, valve, variable, vvt


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