Mazda RX-7

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Auto Defects > Mazda

November 2001

Dear Consumer:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your Mazda 323, 626, 929, MX-3, MX-6, Miata, Millenia, Protégé or RX-7. Mazda started as a small car company with the GLC which according to Mazda stood for "great little car." Actually, the GLC was good, not great. Much the same can be said for Mazda's cars today - they are good, not great. Mazda's cars today are also larger, more upscale and much more expensive. Mazda is also know for its rotary engines which provided performance at the expense of fuel economy and reliability. The 323 replaced the GLC in 1985 and was itself replaced by the Protégé in 1990 (4-door) and 1995 (2-door). The 626 and RX-7 debuted in 1979 with the 929 and MX-6 in 1988. In 1990 Mazda introduced the Miata, the first of its stylish cars, followed by the MX-3 in 1992 and the Millenia in 1995 which phased out the 929 at the end of the 1995 model year.

CAS has received complaints from consumers concerning brake problems, seat belt failure, fires, transmission problems, engine failure, unintended acceleration and airbag defects that have led to extensive repairs and injuries. Seat belts failing to adequately restrain passengers have been the cause of serious injury in Mazdas dating back to 1977. In newer models, airbags have been troubled prone. Over 300,000 1988-91 323, MX-6 and 929 were recalled for faulty seat belt buckles while 213,000 1995-97 626 and MX-8 were recalled for oversensitive airbag deployment. Other major DOT investigations into Mazda defects include ignition switch/lock failure on 1976-81 passenger cars and inadvertent door opening on 1988-91 626's and 929's.

CAS has received complaints about transmission problems ranging from slipping and vibration to unintended shifting resulting in expensive repairs and premature replacement. Mazda has issued numerous Technical Service Bulletins on transmission defects including a rebuild program for Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmissions (EC-AT) on 1982-90 models.

You'll find more information on these and other Mazda problems below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against Mazda on the defects we know about and help us spot new ones.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

MAZDA 323, 626, 929, MX-3, MX-6, Miata, Millenia, Protégé, RX-7 FACT SHEET
(See reverse side on how to obtain Technical Service Bulletins listed in parentheses below.)

Electrical: Horn inoperative or stays on, '98-00 626 (09-008/00);

Engine/Performance: Rough idle/hesitation during acceleration, '98-01 626 (01-015/00); Drive belt squeal, '00-01 Millenia (01-013/01R); Rattle from engine in neutral or when depressing clutch, '99-00 Miata (01-014/00)

Steering/Suspension: Tapping at rear of vehicle, '98-00 626 (01-004/00R); Steering wheel off center, '98 323, Protégé, Millenia, Miata, '98-99 626 (06-001/98); Click or squeak @ low speed or on rough road, '98-00 Millenia (02-002/01)

Transmission: Whine or ringing heard in car at 40-70 mph, '99-01 Millenia (05-001/01)

Other: Noisy or binding sunroof, '98-99 626 (01/99R, 002/99); Key difficult to insert or rotate in door, '98-99 Protégé (09-011/00R); Water pump leak '98-00 626/Millenia (01-016/00); A/C mold/mildew, All to '00 (07-002/00); Fuel tank cannot be filled, '98-01 Millenia (01-007/01R, 09-003/00R)

MAJOR SAFETY RECALLS
Copies of recalls may be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Accelerator/Throttle: 36,671 1986 626 - Throttle sticks open (86V-042); 400 1988 626/MX-6 - Floor mat interferes w/accelerator pedal (87V-149); 72,883 1988 626/MX-6 - Throttle valve sticks open in cold weather (88V-022);

Brakes/Wheels: 17,850 1986-87 RX-7 - Corroded front calipers (87V-160); 14,807 1988 626/MX-6 - Brake shoe separates from cylinder piston (87V-196); 15,822 1991-92 B2200/B2600 - Steel spoke wheels crack (92V-139); 300 1991 Miata - ABS has no fluid or brakes in front (91V-079); 13,900 1993-95 RX-7 - P/assist loss (96V-149); 71,000 1999-2000 626 - Master cylinder reservoir cap lack vent holes (00V-074): 13,000 2000-01 Protégé - Left rear brake hoses leak (01V-024).

Electrical/Electronic: 102,548 1986-87 626 - Ignition switch terminal malfunction & W/S wiper, A/C, heater, engine fan loss (90V-118); 43,239 1990-91 Miata - Rear T/signal bulb too dim (91V-190); 20,000 1996 626 - Stalling due to powertrain control module program error (97V-228); 8,000 1999 Miata - Fuel injector wiring harness shorts (98V-066); 73,000 1998 626, 23,000 1999 Protege - Audio unit short & speaker fire (98V-243, 00V-301); 40,000 1994 626 MX-6, 79,000 1995 Protégé - Headlights go out (99V-358, 00V-118).

Engine: 5,760 1995 Protégé - Engine valve springs break (95V-033); 40,000 1997 626, MX-6, 31,000 1998 626 - Timing belt tensioner spring breaks & engine stalls (98V-206, 00V-134).

Restraint System: 42,810 1988 626 - Broken automatic belt spring (88V-063); 565 1995 626 - Improper inflation of passenger side airbag igniter end cap separates creating fire hazard (95E-006); 300,000+ 1988-89 323/MX-6, 1988-91 929 - Faulty front seat belt buckles (95V-103); 17,800 1989-91 RX-7 & 134,000 1992-93 MX-3 & 1990-94 323 - Automatic belt retracting cable jams (96V-173 & 97V-211); 213,000 1995-97 626, 1995-96 MX-6 - Oversensitive airbag deployment (98V-249).

Steering/Suspension: 100,000+ 1979-83 626/RX-7 - Corroded idler arm pin (85V-108); 2,450 1993 MX-6 - Lower ball joints not torqued enough (92V-045); 25,000 1992-95 MX-3 - Corroded coil spring (97V-116);

Other: 33,868 1988 626/MX-6 - Hole in fuel tank (87V-186); 109,305 1990-93 Miata - Accessory hard top hoist straps break (92V-159); 200,440 1988-92 626 & 1988-89 929 - Door handles break (93V-174); 12,316 1993-94 RX-7 - Radiator cap pressure relief valve too high (94V-094); 13,400 1993-94 RX-7 - Fuel hoses leak (95V-069); 22,000 1999 Miata - Fuel filler pipe non-return valve sticks (00V-032).

Center for Auto Safety, 1825 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20009-5708

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