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Old 01-23-2018, 10:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Turtle I'm back..! Also, Mazda......because Mazda..

Story Time

It was 11 months ago today that I wrecked the Honda Insight into the back of a slow moving SUV at highway speeds in a hail storm. I have served 11 of the 14 month driving suspension for not having insurance at the time of the accident(mail problem, didn't receive notice of cancellation..).

..I'm back..!

I purchased a new-to-me car to get around for school, work, etc, and will be driving it in a few weeks once the application for hardship driving permit goes through. I will be updating this thread with my projects and results. I am hoping to have as much success with this Mazda as I had with the Passat and Insight(for the month I owned it). However, my living situation does not allow for major projects such as removing the engine in favor of weight reduction, so I will be sticking to minor stuff until the middle of the year.

The Car


The car is a 2006 Mazda 3 iTouring sedan with a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine and 5 speed manual transmission. There are 122,500 miles. The clutch and all fluids were replaced just prior to purchase, there are no Check Engine Lights (CEL) and it drives very nicely. The suspension is great, the car has a lot of pep for a 2.0 non turbo engine (insert subtle future turbo conversion hint here?), it does not leak and is very clean. Overall it appears to be my "Next 5 years" car. Why only 5 years? Because I get bored of things and need to always be tinkering. I would love to get another Honda Insight and Passat, then swap the engine from one to the other.

The issues:

Airbag Light: An airbag light remains lit after initial startup check indicating an issue with the airbag system. The Passenger Airbag Disabled (PAD) indicator bulb does not light as it should during startup check.

The issue was a burned out PAD indicator bulb, or so I thought. A 2 pack of replacement bulbs (14 volt, 2.7 watt) from Autozone was $5. The original bulb from factory is 12 volt, 1.7 watts. Occasionally the light will pop back on although replacing the bulb fixed the issue for 95% of startups. I can regularly reproduce the issue of the airbag light in the instrument cluster remaining on by turning the ignition to on but not starting the car right away, then starting the car. I am thinking the issue is related to the battery dying after a few days. Perhaps the battery does not have the required voltage when the engine is not running to perform a successful check of the airbag system? A 12 volt versus 14 volt when the car is running thing, seems likely considering the issue never happens if the car is started from the off position in one go with no time to sit in the on or ACC position. Blehh, getting new battery in one hour to test my hypothesis. if that does not fix the issue, I will order the correct bulb and see if that does.

Bulbs - Ash tray, Accessory plug ring, Glove box, Trunk[Semi-Fixed]: The bulbs are not lighting. Burned out bulbs suspected. Will check sockets for current with multimeter. Glove box bulb is the same as the PAD indicator bulb so I have an extra on hand to replace bulb.

The trunk bulb was replaced, works now. Removed the ash tray bulb and wiring to make way for two hidden USB plugs in the ash tray. Glove box and Accessory plug ring are still out. Glove box stays out even with new bulb. Wiring issue? Short? Related to dying battery?

Rear Window[Fixed]: The driver side rear window switch will only move the window down, not up. Oddly enough, the opposite is true for the driver seat switch which controls the same back window. To successfully put the rear driver side window down and up requires using both switches.

Rear switch had a broken switch part. Took apart and confirmed metal spring inside snapped on one side. Window works correctly when connection is made manually. Will replace at junkyard. Front window switch had an issue with the same piece being bent from someone pulling the switch too hard. Bent it back and window works perfectly with front switch.

Rear Bumper: The rear bumper was involved in a slow impact, perhaps walking speed which broke the left rear reflector, caused paint flaking, and caused the bumper to pop out of the tabs which hold it in place where the bumper meets the trunk.

Popped the bumper back into tabs, gap closed.

Parasitic Drain: The battery will die over the course of a few days if the engine is not ran. The previous owner had the interior amenities fuse wired to be live when the ignition is turned to ON to avoid the drain. Possibly related to unlit bulb issue, possible short circuit. Also, possibly related to the aftermarket Android head unit installation. I would like the trip computer to not reset, interior lights to turn on when the door is opened, etc, so the previous owners' wiring fix will be removed and the parasitic drain fixed completely. After messing with issues for a few days, I am leaning towards a bad battery also. Testing ideas today. Got rid of some parasitic drain however, or at least I think I did.


SO...I'm excited to be back. Time will tell whether I can get better than the 32 MPG the car is rated for (Highway). Should be pretty easy starting with a good reliable platform.


Last edited by dfeldt91; 02-02-2018 at 11:00 AM..
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfeldt91 View Post
The battery will die over the course of a few days if the engine is not ran. The previous owner had the interior amenities fuse wired to be live when the ignition is turned to ON to avoid the drain. Possibly related to unlit bulb issue, possible short circuit. Also, possibly related to the aftermarket Android head unit installation. I would like the trip computer to not reset, interior lights to turn on when the door is opened, etc, so the previous owners' wiring fix will be removed and the parasitic drain fixed completely.
Take a voltimeter/ammeter and put it between the ground and battery and see how many mA it's drawing with the key off.

It's possible your battery itself just has an internal short, or if not, you can pull fuses one at a time with the ammeter in line and see when the drain goes away.

25-45 mA is normal for a modern car.

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Old 01-24-2018, 05:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey, a fellow Salemite! I'm in Silverton mostly these days.

I've had my license suspended 3 times in my youth due to speeding tickets. I even had an at-fault accident caused by me swerving and colliding with a vehicle while avoiding a slow vehicle with lights off, before sunrise, in a rainstorm, hiding in the spray of a semi. I wasn't cited for that accident. Seems pretty severe that you were suspended for 14 months for the accident unless there were other adverse items on your driving record.

Mazda 3s are pretty fun cars. It was on my list when I was looking to replace the Subaru that a kid totalled when he rear-ended it.
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You should do well with that Mazda3. It's noted for good fuel economy and overall reliability.

My '15 Mazda3 with the 2.0 liter engine and automatic tranny has proven to offer sports car handling and compact car economy. Since I bought it new, I've averaged 44 mpg mostly commuting on the highways with the air conditioner over the course of 28,000 miles. I use no extreme ecomodding techniques; just smooth and easy application of all the pedals.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
Hey, a fellow Salemite! I'm in Silverton mostly these days.
... Seems pretty severe that you were suspended for 14 months for the accident unless there were other adverse items on your driving record.
Unfortunately, the insurance company dropped me but due to a mail mix up I never received notice and was then uninsured at the time of the accident. In Oregon, it is a mandatory 1 year suspension for an accident without coverage regardless of driving record. They give you two months of driving time after the accident to prove you had insurance before the suspension goes into effect. I didn't have another car so it was essentially a 14 month suspension. Lame laws regarding insurance companies not having to make contact when dropping someone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeteorGray View Post
You should do well with that Mazda3. It's noted for good fuel economy and overall reliability.
I'm loving it so far, however I have only driven it straight home from the previous owners home and around the culdesac twice to test electrical systemunder various conditions. I've been chauffered around town in it and it drives great, seems to be pretty sporty. Should be hearing back from DMV today or early next week. Excited to get back to driving.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I appreciate your story, I used to drive a Mazda and this story should be taken bookmark for next time if I have any purpose to buy another Mazda )
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Old 03-27-2018, 11:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeteorGray View Post
You should do well with that Mazda3. It's noted for good fuel economy and overall reliability.

My '15 Mazda3 with the 2.0 liter engine and automatic tranny has proven to offer sports car handling and compact car economy. Since I bought it new, I've averaged 44 mpg mostly commuting on the highways with the air conditioner over the course of 28,000 miles. I use no extreme ecomodding techniques; just smooth and easy application of all the pedals.
The newer Mazdas are a lot more fuel efficient than the older ones. 2013 (I think?) and newer are comparable to Civics, whereas older ones aren't that good, per what I've heard. BUT it's the driver more than the car that counts, so here's cheers to good mpg readings all around!
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Wow, I'm sorry to hear about the accident/bureaucracy mess. Gotta love it when they saddle you with a problem like that.

I think you'll like your Mazda. My Ma has had one for, oh gosh, going on 10 years now? I believe hers is also an '06, it's a hatch with 2.3 and automatic. Next to her turbo New Beetle, this is her favorite car she's ever owned, and she likes that it's actually been reliable for her. Great chassis, car always feels very solid, stable, and willing to take whatever you throw at it without being either harsh or feeling twitchy. I've always thought it felt confined inside, though. Good for you with getting stick shift, because I don't care for the automatics in these. Keep an eye on your coolant, they have an integrated thermostat and housing unit which likes to spring leaks (I sold tons of them for Duratec Fords and Mazdas and have replaced my mother's for the same leak as well).

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