THE SAGA CONTINUES:
A guy that did a lot of work on pre-1980 cars. I quit working on car when they became smarter then me.
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.
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.
2004 Mazda 6, 3.0L V6 DOHC 24V, 5-speed, 113,400 miles.
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.
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).
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.
p.s. You will be graded on the detailedness of you answer.