Last post on Mar 11, 2013 at 12:18 PM
You are in the Mazda 323
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Mazda 323, Hatchback
#302 of 448 Air filter location on Mazda 323
May 18, 2008 (4:05 pm)
Hi -- I'm new to this forum, which I'm glad I found. This is probably going to seem like a rather ridiculous question, but here goes. I own a 1991 Mazda 323, which still runs quite well after 120,000 miles. I'm going to be taking on more maintenance myself after a number of years of just letting my shop handle things. (Long story.)
My question is, where is the air filter? I have the Chilton's manual for this car, and the setup in my engine compartment (at least where the air filter is concerned) looks nothing like what's in the manual, which shows a box with a clip-on housing that holds the flat air filter. Instead, what I'm seeing is in the two pics linked below:
Is the air filter element actually *beneath* the airflow meter -- that is, do I need to physically remove the AFM to get to the filter? That seems hard to believe for something as routine as changing the air filter. Anyway, any information that anyone on this forum might have would be much appreciated.
#303 of 448 Re: my 323 might come back from the dead... [girlcarbuilder]
May 18, 2008 (4:16 pm)
Bad news, they came over today to tell me that they figured it out (and it's nothing like we thought). Apparently the crankshaft has separated or something like that. They say the parts are like $275 to fix it, so no way I'm doing that. Oh well.
#304 of 448 Re: my 323 might come back from the dead... [girlcarbuilder]
May 19, 2008 (9:38 am)
Here's another update - I walked over to talk to them some more today to get details and they really insist that they want to fix it. Here's the story, you tell me how accurate it sounds and how plausible the cost is to fix it:
Apparently the "cotter pin" (?) on the crankshaft has never been right and has slowly shaved down until the point where the crankshaft has just been spinning which is why it lost power and then won't start. Since the previous owner was some kind of mechanic this new guy believes they rigged the pin to hold in place long enough to sell the car (welded?)
He doesn't want to just replace the cotter pin though - he says the crankshaft is damaged now to the point where it won't hold the pin right so even if he managed to make it hold (via a weld?) that not old would it fail again, it could fail in a bad way where the engine would seize.
What he wants to do is go to the junkyard and get a replacement "short block" (isn't that the whole engine???) for like $70 and then I think he said it would need replacement gaskets? (I think, may have that wrong) for $100 or so tops. He says he could just replace the crankshaft but those parts would actually be more than replacing the block which can be more easily found.
I pointed out that the amount of labor he needs to do on this would be insane and something a non-mechanic would never pay for because it would be worth more than the car but he says it's worth the computer I had promised in trade and still wants to fix it regardless.
I think this guy is being way too optimistic and I bet there are going to be other things along the way. He offered to buy the car instead at my asking price of $200 and insists it's worth saving.
So what do you think I should do? I have a bad feeling about replacing the entire block (engine) and then other things always go wrong after that.
ps. he says there was absolutely nothing wrong with the timing belt and the water pump seems like it's in good shape - those other mechanics would have just taken my money!
#305 of 448 Re: my 323 might come back from the dead... [needwheels2]
May 19, 2008 (10:09 am)
I smell fish. First, there are no cotter pins on the crankshaft! There is a woodruff key in the front that holds pulley and gear from spinning. Very rarely do they ever cause trouble. If ever! At the worst the gear might be worn, but that is even very rare.
He wants to buy the car for $200.....he knows it is cheap on gas. You need to try to find a way to look at some parts and see what they look like new. Search the net and see what a woodruff key, crankshaft timing gear for a belt and the nose of the crankshaft looks like.
Never a good idea to swap parts from one engine to another without doing the proper machine work needed. Oh, machine shops that do enigine work do have to rebuild crankshafts at times by adding metal by welding it on and re machine the whole thing again.
#306 of 448 Re: Air filter location on Mazda 323 [ahab_2001]
May 19, 2008 (10:26 am)
That is correct for the 86-89 models and I suspect also for your 91. Not a big deal, just pay attention to the big hose to the AFM and disconnecting the wire harnass and coil wires and you should be okay.
Also, 120K is a major maintenace point. Read some of my earlier posts that cover this critical service time. This serice point will decide if you get to 180K miles or not.
150K or so is also serivce point for front wheel bearings! Surprise for those who thought they were not serviceable! Pay closer attention to your suspension components and steering rack. Problems begin to occur there as well. Still cheaper to keep her than replace with new car notes.
#307 of 448 Re: my 323 might come back from the dead... [girlcarbuilder]
May 19, 2008 (10:26 am)
Well it's possible he used the wrong terminology, remember he's not a pro-mechanic (but apparently his dad was and was supervising his work over the weekend). The pin/key apparently attaches to the way bottom of where the timing belt was and attached some kind of pulley to the crankshaft? Apparently it sheered down to the point where it didn't do it's function of holding the cog/pulley/whatever in place and just let it spin.
I don't think he is trying to trick me or anything like that (I meant we are neighbors, not like he can hide anything from me, he shows me all the parts, etc).
I need to get ahold of a camera somehow to take some pictures to show you.
His dad actually did suggest they could just weld the pin/key/whatever back on and it would be a $2 part. They didn't hide that from me at all. They just told me the consequences of that part failing could be bad and make the engine seize? You think I should just insist they should just rig it anyway?
He wants to buy the car because he knows he can work on it easily since it has no computers controlling all the timing etc.
I really don't like the engine swap idea. He's so gung-ho, young kid and trying to impress his young wife-to-be with all his knowledge and skills and I easily suspect he's being way, way too optimistic about everything going smoothly.
#308 of 448 Re: Air filter location on Mazda 323 [girlcarbuilder]
May 19, 2008 (12:34 pm)
Thanks, GCB -- much appreciated!
#309 of 448 Re: my 323 might come back from the dead... [needwheels2]
Jun 14, 2008 (12:31 pm)
These crankshafts have a known design flaw being a short crank snout. Mazda later redesigned it. When the timing belt is changed if one is not paying attention the woodruff key can be put in backwards if this is done it will wallow the keyway out along with destroying the key. yes they can be welded in but then you risk burning up the front seal which will leak and i mean bad not to mention if you use the old timing gear and it is not properly lined up it will rub a hole in the oil pump.
There is abetter fix that works without replacing the crank. You will need a good woodruff key and a good timing gear. I got mine from an old engine at the salvage yard. Then you need a new front seal and a tube of octite pressfit along with atube of loctite blue. Then go to http://www.miata.net/garage/hsue/LoctiteCrank1.html. Matter of fact just go there first. The timing belts on these can be changed without taking the crank bolt loose just a bit more work but worth it to not have to worry about this problem. THese cars are worth the repair they are known to get 300,000 miles when cared for properly. I have done it all welding and the loctite repair. The welding of the pully to the crank works for awhile but the loctite repair worked even better. THe weld will torch the seal and even when I used abottle of water onit the weld wound up breakiking after wearing a hole in the oil pump. I cut the weld out and done the miata repair just as described and got all the mileage still left in the engine.
Hope Iam not to late I just saw your post.">
#310 of 448 Re: my 323 might come back from the dead... [323gtxrfreak]
Jun 15, 2008 (8:06 am)
I appreciate the time you took to post that! Not too late, I've parked it for the summer as even if I could fix it for a couple hundred I wouldn't have the money for insurance+registration+gas anyway.
I figure it sat this long, I'll wait for the fall when it's cooler.
Meanwhile I've turned my bike into an e-bike to get through the heat.
This guy has resisted any kind of other fix than an engine replacement, so I am going to be curious how he reacts when I show him your information. Your way HAS to be easier.
#311 of 448 Re: my 323 might come back from the dead... [needwheels2]
Jun 15, 2008 (6:00 pm)
Personally I am not familiar with this design problem, but I am aware of a history of the 89 having the snout of the crankshaft break off. That happened on the original engine in ours. When I found that out, we dropped a crate engine in it from the dealer for 2 grand. When the first timing belt change came up, the crate engine uses a larger seal from a Miata on the crank. It was a ah ha moment that something was corrected.
Further research on the different years of 323's at Advance Auto's website revealed that there were several different snout sizes used from year to year. Somewhat different topic about the crank, but may give you a bit more insight into what you are dealing with.
Taking a break from the car during the summer is not a bad idea. It can give you time to go to the library and try to find some Mitchell manuals and read up on it. See if you can find any service bulletins about it as well. It also pays to try to pick the brains of a dealer parts person about it as well. They are more than happy to give info when they make sales also. On the other hand, they would like to see us bury our 323 and buy new!
As for GTX's idea, I am not crazy about it, but I would be game to try it before pulling a motor for a overhaul. The worse that can happen is still the piston and the valve dance. Then at that point you could address a proper repair to the crankshaft again during a overhaul. Still cheaper than buying new. Couple it with a 5 speed, that car should pulll better than 40 mpg after an overhaul..