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Discussion Starter #1
Time for a new thread. A day off from driving, but still many things to get done on the Mazda 6. Started by pulling all the wheels and checking everything out. Front brakes are practically new. Rear brakes are at 60%. No other undercar issues were found. Removed all the window tint. NY tends to frown on excessive tinting and this tint was fairly dark. Cleaned the steering wheel, shifter, and other hand touch points with a Magic Eraser to get rid of the accumulated oils. Replaced the wipers. Realigned the fuel door since it was pushed in in the front and popped out in the back. Now, waiting for it to get dark enough to adjust the headlights.

Leaving at 530am tomorrow for the final 600 miles home.
 

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Made the trip home today without any issues. 8 hours and 55 minutes for almost 600 miles. One breakfast stop, one lunch stop, one gas stop, and one bladder break. Total distance over 2+ days was 1600 miles. Pulled 30-33 MPG. Great seats in the car. Tracks well. Communicative steering. Bose audio system is very good. The ride is definitely on the firm side, but still comfortable. Firm, linear brakes. Definitely a car with a sporting spirit. I drove the Camry after I got home and it felt so bland.

There is definitely something loose under the back of the car. Starts "flapping" around 55 MPH. You can really feel it if you're sitting in the right rear position. About 1.5-2 "beats" per second. Somewhat intermittent. I'll have to look around tomorrow.
 

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Found the source of the flapping noise. There was a loose plastic cover underneath the rear of the car. The front retainer clip was missing and a plastic nut on the side was loose. So, a quick $0.50 fix.
 

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Spent the rest of the day accomplishing the following:

- Ran it through the car wash to get most of the 1600 miles worth of bugs off of it. Cleaned the rest of them off at home.
- Polished some minor body abrasions
- Touched up some paint chips
- Cleaned the remainder of the tint adhesive off the back window
- Cleaned the wheels
- Cleaned and conditioned the leather seats
- Vacuumed the interior
- Cleaned all the windows
- Removed the dealer "advertising" off the back

Tomorrow, it goes in for a transmission fluid and filter change (been about 60K miles) and a state inspection. While that's happening I need to go get a spare key cut (non-fob chip key) and go to the DMV and pay Uncle Andrew for the privilege of living in the state of NY. Then, it's a 6 hour drive to the far reaches of PA.

I got in the Sable for a bit tonight and it just felt so old. What a difference 10 years can make!
 

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The Mazda has a voice recognition system for hands free phone operation. However, it can leave one a bit frustrated. While driving with my daughter down to college the other night, she decided to call my wife, who was following along behind us. Daughter - "call mom's cell". Car - "calling dad's cell". No! This repeated a few times without any success. So, she said "dial XXX-XXX-XXXX". The car came back with pretty much random numbers. WTF? She repeated this a few times. Finally, fed up with it, my daughter replies "[email protected]#? you". The car responds with "would you like to change the language to French?". I break out laughing. Some poor engineer somewhere at least had a sense of humor about it!
 

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Huh, I like to call him Uncle Andrew too.

He's part of the family I don't like.

/politicaljokes

Nice work with that vehicle. It sounds like a beautiful ride that probably performs better than a new car does.

How is the night visibility?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nice work with that vehicle. It sounds like a beautiful ride that probably performs better than a new car does.

How is the night visibility?
The night visibility is better now that I've adjusted the headlights. Originally, the driver's side projected farther than the passenger side. Both were a bit short, IMO. So, I angled up the passenger side a bit to it would project farther than the other side. Both could probably stand to go up a little more. But, good enough for now.
 

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I had to talk my daughter through replacing a front turn signal light. On the Mazda 6 that requires removing 10 screw/clips to remove the inner fender liner to access the headlight assembly from behind. Took about 20 minutes. She couldn't get the bulb out of the socket by reaching up behind the fender liner with one hand. She passed the bulb socket up into the engine compartment so she could get two hands on it.

Last Thursday she called me and said "the car won't turn". What she meant was it wouldn't turn over. She jumped it and drove about 20 min to an appointment. Only to have it still completely dead when she came out. He dorm mate came and followed her to Autozone to get a new battery. The old battery was over 3 years old. I could of found one for $30 less. But, they install it and no need to deal with returning the core.
 

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Any engineer who thinks making a customer reach up in a fender well for a bulb is a good idea should be sent back to school. I remember changing the bulbs to Silverstars for the low beams in the 08 Fusion we had, same frustrating thing.

At least the Taurus (14) only made me do that for those nearly useless marker bulbs, not a critical bulb like a turn signal or headlamp.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This is likely a case where the engineers lost out to the stylists, in terms of accessibility. However, all it would have taken is a small panel in the fender liner. Pop out the panel, replace bulb, put panel back. 5 min, max.

Mazda seems to have some idiot things like this at times. My other daughter's Protege5 requires you to remove the front bumper cover to remove the front headlights. The Gen1 Mazda6s required you to remove the front bumper cover to remove the A/C condenser. Granted, even a relative novice can remove a bumper cover in about 30 min with a little guidance.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Gave the 6 a quick exterior detail yesterday. Clay bar, coarse polish, and carnuba wax. Top of the car is covered with little hard spots. Still need to pick them off and clean up any remaining residue. Need to scrape the front and rear windows with a razor blade to get them off. She doesn't park under any trees. Not sure what the source was.

Today I tackled the A/C compressor. Took it to the shop and they sucked everything out. Then, the fun began. Jacked up car and removed right front wheel. Removed the fender liner. The tensioner bolt is 15mm. Socket won't clear. So, use a wrench. Not enough leverage. Can't find a pipe big enough to fit over the end of the wrench. Go to HW store to get a chunk of pipe. Come home and remove serpentine belt. Pretty well cracked. Have a replacement ready. Remove cover under the engine. Get two lower compressor bolts from the bottom. Tops bolts require some maneuvering around the intake manifold and radiator hoses, but my fat hands can reach them. Just need to find the right mix of extensions and flex joint to make it work. Remove compressor by finding the magic combinations of rotations and not dropping it on my head. Head to JY to pick up replacement ($75). Get home and install it without too much fuss. Go to disconnect the hoses that run from the compressor to the high and low side tubing, and one of the bolts breaks off in the connector on the low side. SOB. Stupid galvanic corrosion. JY doesn't carry the lines. Crap. So, begin the process of drilling it out. Tried an easy out, but it wasn't budging. Drill baby drill! Then, re-tap it. In retrospect, I didn't need to remove the line. There wasn't any sign crud in the oil or lines. So, flushing the lines probably wasn't necessary. So, 2+ hours of wasted time.

Tomorrow, I'll vacuum out the system and make sure there aren't any leaks. While that's going, I'll install the new serpentine belt and drain and refill the tranny fluid. Got 4 of the 7 qts out back in August with the filter change. Probably get 3 out this time. That's 75% new fluid (5.2 qts). I'll check the spark plugs as well, as I suspect they are original.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Went to AZ to get an AC vacuum pump. They had one, but no hoses for it. That's not much use. I'll have the shop do it instead, I guess. Fought the new serpentine belt for way too long. First, it took forever to find a diagram online. I thought I had it right, but wanted to be sure before I got too far along. Basically, a 3 person job. One to release the tensioner, one to guide the belt over the last pulley, and one to turn the crankshaft. What a pain. Probably wasted an hour trying to find which way the engine rotates. I thought (correctly) that it was CW. But, found it on an obscure belt diagram. Google is really failing when it comes to a newer Mazda 6 w/ the 2.5L. Just about worthless. Drained the tranny fluid and refilled it with 3 qts of Mazda Type M5. I was surprised by how dark it was already. Drove to the parts store to get some more fender liner clips. Found out that the left side low beam isn't working. That's the side my daughter replaced the turn signal bulb on last week. A job for tomorrow. Got home, checked the tranny fluid level. It was about 1/2 a qt low, so I topped it off.

Cleaned up the garage and shuffled cars around. Came inside to ice both my shoulders and call it a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Wrapped up the remaining 6 work Thurs - Sat.

On Thursday, I dropped the car off at the shop for an A/C vacuum and recharge. No leaks and the compressor is quiet. Only charged me for 1/2 hour of labor to evacuate and recharge the system. Can't beat that.

On Friday, I replaced the low beam bulb on the left side. Already had the fender liner out for undercoating purposes. But, the Mazda fender clips suck ("screw in" type). Probably broke 1/3 of them. Got some 8mm Nissan clips at a local auto body supply store. You can get a small screwdriver easily under the head and pop them out.

Undercoated the entire car. Removed all the fender liners. Also, sprayed cavity wax inside the frame rails, subframe, and any visible underbody void. So, some extra protection against the inevitable rust.

Readjusted the left front fender clip. The bumper cover kept coming loose at the top of the clip. Pulled the cover part way off and loosened up all the bolts and put it back together. Seems to be holding for now.

Today, I finished cleaning off all the spots on the top of the car. What a pain. Pick every one off the paint by hand and cleaned up the remains with Goof Off. Then, polished and waxed. Even after I cleaned them off, the paint was still raised up a little bit. I had to scrape the front and rear windows with a razor blade. It looked like some sort of sap. But, there aren't any trees around the paring lot by my daughter's dorm. Hopefully, this isn't a common problem.

Checked the coolant. Looked good to -25 deg. So, good enough for this winter.

So, next month it'll be new tires and spark plugs. In the mean time, the Camry and Sable need pre-winter attention.
 

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My daughter calls me about 11pm last night to tell me the brake pedal feels soft and she has to press on the pedal more to get the car to stop. She checked the fluid level today and it was still at the full mark. So, not a leak. Sounds like a master cylinder. So, I told her to not drive the car. I'll make arrangements to get it into a shop on Monday. She said it started doing it earlier in the week.

The local Monro Muffler wanted $350 to replace the master cylinder. Which seemed a bit steep. $150 for the part, $200 for labor. I'll try an independent shop recommended by one of her profs.
 

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She took it into the shop this morning. They couldn't find anything wrong. Three different people drove it and didn't think the brake pedal felt soft. They didn't find any leaks. So, I told her to let me know if it gets any worse.

However, on her way back to campus, the TPMS light came on. She checked the pressures. The RR tire was down to 20 PSI and leaking. She took it back to the shop. The stem on the TPMS sensor failed (a common problem on this vintage of Mazda 6). So, $103 later, she's back on her way. I was planning on replacing them next week when I put the new tires on. Now, I have one less to replace.
 

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Got some new shoes on the 6 this morning. Went with the Sumitomo HTR A/S P02s. Well reviewed at Tire Rack and reasonably priced. Replaced both front TPMS sensors. One was OEM, the other an aftermarket one. So, it looks like 3 of 4 OEM TPMS sensors failed within 6 years, two in the last few months.

The A/C compressor is working fine and still quiet.

Need to do an oil change, since it's pushing 6K miles since the last one.
 

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Changed the oil in the 6 yesterday. The drain plug was seriously wrenched in. Took a couple of taps on the wrench with a 2lb sledge to break it loose. Drained oil and put the plug back in. Hand tightened most of the way, then finished with tools. Wasn't feeling right. It was starting to get snug, when I felt it start to loosen. Crap. Just left it at that point. Dripping slightly. Took it into the shop today and had a Helicoil installed on the pan. Too many quick-lube oil changes I guess. In the past 15 years I've had 7 vehicles with aluminum oil pans and I've never had an issue.
 

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Took the 6 on a road trip to MI for a brief family visit. My daughter didn't want to the take the Sable - go figure! Mileage was down quite a bit, 26.3-29.8 MPG for the trip. Last summer, I got 30-33 for the same route. Granted, slightly colder weather 25-35 deg for the trip versus 80s. But, a bit disappointing for driving 350-400 miles between fill ups.

There is also some sort of faint vibration in the car. About 5 Hz and comes and goes in a somewhat periodic fashion. Depends on road speed, not engine RPM. Seems to happen at higher speeds (>65 MPH), but haven't really explored the lower limit yet. You can feel it through the floor and steering wheel. The only change to the car recently was new tires back in November. Feels like a possible vibration issue in a tire, but not a balance problem. I have no idea which one. I probably won't get to it before my daughter heads back to school.
 

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I have lost about 3mpg on my Taurus going from 27 to 24mpg. It's the cold starts, thick fluids, higher rolling friction in the tires and finally the winter blended gas.
 

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Installed an auto dim mirror today.

I got it off a Gen1 Mazda 6 (2006) at the JY for $7. The button on the window is the same between the Gen1 and the Gen2. Spent the most time finding a switched power source. The right A-pillar had 2 larger wires running up it with a funky connector. I suspect those were for the side curtain airbags. The left A-pillar had a wire bundle. Can't find a wiring diagram anywhere online. So, had to probe each wire to find a switched one. Of course, it's the last one I checked. So, wired it up, set the zone, and calibrated it.

I also cleaned the driver's side front seat belt. It wasn't retracting fully without being fed in. Cleaned up the touch points and sprayed some dry lubricant on the lower part of the belt. Seems to work better now.
 
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