Mazda Tribute

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

November 2001

Dear Mazda Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS)
about your Mazda Navajo, Tribute, MPV or B-series pickup. Mazda trucks
and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) have an identity crisis – i.e., they
are really Fords in disguise. The B-series is the Ford Ranger, the Navajo
is the Explorer and the Tribute is the Escape. Only the MPV is a real
Mazda and even then Ford owns half of Mazda which explains why the MPV
has a Contour engine. Sales of Mazda trucks and vans is anemic compared
to Ford. The B-series, Mazda’s best seller averages about 40,000 per year
compared t0 350,000 Rangers, the Navajo dropped off the charts in the
mid-1990’s with sales numbering in the hundreds compared to 400,000 Explorers.
The MPV chugs along at 15,000 per year.

The reliability of Mazda trucks and vans are more like Ford
and not as good as other Japanese manufacturers like Toyota or Honda.
The bumpers on the MPV have long been a weak point with damage soaring
over $5,000 in a series of 5-mph crashes. CAS has received consumer complaints
on brake problems, engine and transmission failure, unintended
acceleration, stalling
and other defects that lead to extensive
and costly repairs.

Seat belts failing to adequately restrain passengers have
been the cause of serious injury in Mazdas dating back to 1977. This problem
prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to
conduct an investigation for Takata seat belt buckles that open in crashes.
The result was a recall of 360,433 Mazda models, including the 1989-91
Mazda MPV. Another NHTSA investigation which led to a recall was ABS failure
in 1991-92 MPVs.

CAS has received complaints about transmission problems
resulting in expensive repairs and premature replacement . Many of the
complaints received involved the MPV, which has the troublesome EC-AT
transmission. Complaints range from slipping and vibration to total failure.
Mazda had two Special Service Programs on it’s 1982-89 cars in which they
replaced the EC-AT for free. However, they failed to extend them to include

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.


Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

MAZDA Navajo, Tribute, MPV, B-Series FACT SHEET
(Technical Service Bulletins are listed in parentheses below.)

Body/ Chassis: Side-view mirror vibration,
1991-92 Navajo (33/92)/1989-93 MPV (40/93); Clear coat paint cracks/peels,
1991-94 Navajo, 1994 B-Series (16/94); Front seat won’t manually adjust,
1991-94 Navajo, 1994 B-Series (19/94); Dashboard vibration/noise, 1991-94
Navajo, 1994 B-Series (22/94); Rearview mirror breaks off, 1991-94 Navajo,
1994 B-Series (33/94); Sits low in rear, 1998-00 B-Series (002/99); Fuel
odor in passenger compartment, 2001 Tribute (01-001/01).

Front brakes drag, 1991-92 Navajo (10/92); Braking/Steering pull or drift
to right, 1991-93 Navajo (15/92, 3/93); Grab/squeal after cold start,
1991-94 Navajo, 1994 B-Series (7/94); Front brakes clunk, 2000-01 MPV

Speedometer reads high in cold weather, 1991-92 Navajo (14/92); No start
from battery acid emission, 1992-93 Navajo (1/94); Rear defogger inoperative,
1991-92 Navajo (15/92); Battery dies from heater circuit malfunction,
1994 B-Series (2/94); W/S wipers work with switch off, 1999-00 (09-001/00R).

Valve train noise, ’89-92 MPV (12/92); Engine mount vibration/noise, 1992
Navajo (15/92,16/92); Oil pan leak, 1991-92 Navajo (17/92); Fan clutch
noise, 1991-92 Navajo (1/93); Engine noise, ’89-93 MPV (1/94); Heat shield
rattles, 1991-94 Navajo, 1994 B-Series (6/94); No start on incline, 1990-92
MPV (14/92); Long cranks, stuck fuel pressure regulator, 00-01 MPV (01-002/01);
Engine mount vibration, 2001 Tribute (01-013/00R).

Torque converter vibration in 4th, 1991-92 Navajo (10/92); Binds in Park,
A4LD trans. up to1994 (tech. bulletin #223); Pump damage after overhaul,
A4LD trans. up to1994 (#203); Ping, creak when trans. engaged in 4WD vehicle1998-99
B-Series (09-001/00R); Grind/buzz on 2-3 shift in manual trans., 1998-00
B-Series (05-003/00R); Transmission fluid leak at radiator, 1998-00 B-Series

Rear axle leak, 2001 Tribute (03-001/01, 03-003/00R); CV joint boot wear,
2001 Tribute (03-002/00R); A/C mold/mildew, All except B-Series to 2000

Copies of recalls may be obtained from NHTSA’s Technical Reference
Division at 202-366-2768.

22,000 1998-99 B-series, 606 2001 Tribute – Throttle sticks open (99V-062,

6,680 1989 MPV – Inoperative power assist (91V-013); 29,824 1989 MPV –
Brake lockup (91V-161); 95,074 1990-91 MPV – Rear brake assemblies (92V-027);
48,609 1994 B-series & 1993-94 Navajo – Parking brake slips (94V-169);
2,500 1994 B-series & 1991-94 Navajo – Master cylinder studs fracture

Fuel System/Fires:
6,424 1991 Navajo – Hole in fuel tank (91V-020); 1,868 1994 B-series –
Front fuel lines crack (94V-111); 357 1998 B4000 – Fuel line leak at manifold
(97V-186); 5,600 2000 MPV – Fuel injector leak at lower intake manifold
(99V-171); 5,700 2001 Tribute – Fuel line leak at filter (00V-277).

1,449,000 1979-93 B-series, 1989-2001 MPV – Tire & load label information
incorrect (00V-113, 00V-409); 12,000 2001 Tribute – Missing owner’s manual
information on child seats (00V-323).

10,587 1989 MPV – Center belt attachment too weak (89V-194); 50,000+
1989-91 MPV – Faulty front seat belt buckles (95V-103);

10,000 1991 Navajo – Rear bumper separates (91V-028); 33,8540 1991 Navajo
– Transmission fails to hold in Park (91V-189); 6,973 1992-93 & 6,800
1993-94 Navajo – Hatchback lift cylinders fail (95V-164, 99V-310); 23,000
1991-93 Navajo – Glass sunroof comes off (97V-235); 12,000 2000 MPV –
Doors don’t lock with childproof lock system (99V-191); 39,095 2000 MPV,
1,900 2001 Tribute – Incorrect rear wheel hubs on 4×2 (00V-260); 24,000
2001 Tribute – W/S wiper linkage disengages (00V-387).

CENTER FOR AUTO SAFETY, 1825 Connecticut Ave NW,
WASHINGTON DC 20009-5708


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