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Old 08-18-2013, 02:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New 2005 Mazda 6 V6 - worried :(

So I bought an 05 Mazda 6 V6, black on black leather, full options, 66k miles. I really love this car, I was considering an Acura TL, but, found that spending $14k on a car with 120k+ miles was just ridiculous, even though I come from owning Acura Legend's and Honda Accord's.

Anyway, get used to this whole Mazda thing I love that this motor was designed by Porsche, sold to Ford and then put into one of the nicest looking sedans made in the last 10-15 years. The concern I have is that I notice a "burning" type smell when I pop the hood, or, standing near the outside of the car. It's almost like burnt brakes, but, I know burning brake smell and it's not. Doesn't smell like oil, and no smoke anywhere, gets me thinking it might be the pre-cat's. I have never had a cat go bad on me before...I really never cared all that much, because the EGR system in my other cars never fed the engine catalyst material when the cats did go bad, but, apparently these Mazda 6's have a proclivity for doing so, so before this might kill the motor, I would rather be proactive with a solution. Much like the Acura Legend and the blown headgasket situation, you had to be proactive about cleaning the EGR system to avoid the BHG's (that or swap in the 3.5L motor from the RL, which I did both of).

Can I gut the pre-cats and still run the car w/o getting a CEL, or perhaps change to a different set of pre-cats KNOWN to not have this issue. I mean, I NEVER drive on a CEL, and I check the A/F ratio whenever I can just to see what's up, I never put my vehicles in a situation that could endanger the cats, BUT, this is a new car to me and I have only had it for 300 miles, who knows what the previous owner did. One LAST thing, and another rather concerning issue, from idle, if I just barely rest my foot on the accelerator, I get a rhythmic "ticking" sound that is NOT RPM dependent. My first thought was, "oh shit, a rod bearing went out" but, this is too much a "solenoid" sounding tick, way too rhythmic and steady, again w/o change during RPM increase or decrease. If I had to guess I would almost say it seems like it is this electronic throttle body opening and closing, but, I really don't know. I have no oil consumption, oil is clean and where it has been for the last 300 miles, just wanting some help with this if possible. Also, hello to all at the forum and thanks for having me
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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66k precat fail... That would be a pretty early. Im sure one of the v6 owners should pop on and reply. The Tic you hear it says your mazda is healthy and running correct. We tick its what we do.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Lol, yeah, I figured the ticking wasn't a big deal because it does not change with engine RPM AT ALL, and is only present when I am on the throttle just off idle. It sounds like a solenoid or even an injector type click, was just curious. Yeah, 66k miles is ridiculously low miles for me, and I have owned Ford trucks in the past, still have a 97 Explorer, so I am not concerned at all about Ford build quality, they have always been reliable to me, but, reading all of these threads about pre-cat failure has got me thinking that I should really keep up on this, I mean, to me this is one of those "classic" cars, one that will ALWAYS look good and with the V6 performs very well in every situation. I don't mind throwing a set of cat's at it, to prevent engine damage. Other V6 owners opinions to this? Also, I am going to take the car to my local muffler shop to see how the cat's are doing, but perhaps this slight burning smell is just them heating up, or something entirely different..it's almost like hot plastic in a way, which initially I wasn't concerned about because of the proximity of all of these high heat sources to plastic panels and covers I am not really used to having.

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Old 08-18-2013, 09:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The ticking you are hearing is likely a solenoid. There is one (cant remember which one) up near the firewall that is known to tick. I believe there is/was a TSB for it.

It seems that overall the V6 is a good powerplant but it does have its issues like any other engine. Mine has a slight tick that is relative to engine speed & i go through some oil. Doesnt concern me too much at this point as the car still feels great.

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Old 08-18-2013, 10:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What a coincidence, it DOES sound like something right on the firewall too, as I can only hear it when I am in the car, pulling up to my driveway with no radio and everything dead quiet in the car. I've tried to listen for it in the engine compartment but couldn't hear it, like I said, at first I freaked out a bit because it sounded knock-like, but, when I soon figured out it wasn't RPM dependent, I stopped worrying about the main/con rod bearings. The engine itself is quite quiet, you hear the injectors over everything else, which is a good thing, as these injectors are just about as loud as my Legend injectors, so, if there is a tick going on that is actually engine related, it's far below my concern, as the engine sounds very healthy, sounds just a chain driven version of my Legend engine, except it's smoother as this one is a 60° V6 vs. the 90° 3.5L in the Legend. Thanks for the welcome btw, this car looks fantastic to me, always has, ever since they came out...I always said I would get one, and now I finally own one, with low miles too!

The ONE thing I HAVE to change in this car though, is the front radio bezel/trim, I like the 06+ model version better, the black with silver perimeter trim. Aside from switching that out and tinting this car, I am looking forward to owning it for a long, long time. The nice thing about having the Onyx Black color is, when it comes time for new paint, it won't be a difficult match, or expensive job, here's to owning that long that I'll actually have to paint it

Back to you V6 owners, what is a preventative measure that I can do to get me at a more secure place with these cat's? Like I said, I'd like to just swap them out with something known to not have as much of an issue. Are the Magnaflow cat's a good option, or, can I gut these pre cat's and be ok? Is it more about the bend of the 03-05's or the actual construction and materials?
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You can gut the pre-cats but you will get a CEL without O2 simulators. Another option is to delete the EGR so there is no risk of ingesting catalyst through it. The best way would be to buy some MSDS headers & pick up some power in the process. Still would have the CEL issue though.


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Old 08-18-2013, 10:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Big question then becomes, how does the ECU handle the deletion of the EGR system. This was precisely the problem with the Legend, not the catalyst material, but the EGR system and ECU. There are 2 ignition timing maps that are alternated in the Legend, one for EGR "active" and one when EGR is "inactive", the difference was that the "egr active" fuel trim and ignition timing curves were optimized for actually having a reduced amount of OČ available, so when the EGR system was deleted it would set a CEL and always run the richer, less advanced timing map. If the EGR got clogged, since it was OBD1, it had no idea that there was no flow (just that the valve was open) and would run the other, leaner, more aggressive map, run extremely lean with advanced timing and ultimately ping the motor until the headgasket blew. Not fun stuff.

Obviously this is much past 1996 so there is EGR flow detection in the Mazda 6, but, does anybody know if the Mazda 6 ECU adjusts it's fuel trim and ignition timing based on whether or not the EGR is functioning (and has sufficient flow)? I don't want to run a CEL all the time, not because of the appearance, but, because it would make me less aware of any other issues that might be causing the a CEL, should other situations arise. Seems like my best bet might be going the Magnaflow route for the pre-cats, or perhaps newer ones from an 06 or newer model. Just in case, I'll do a search for OČ sensor emulators, I mean, gutting the stock units, as long as I have at least one OČ sensor down the line, would still be enough to keep this car healthy and adaptable to atmospheric pressure change, I mean it does have a MAF too. I travel to and from Flagstaff a lot, so going from 1000ft. to 7000ft. happens quite frequently, which makes this slightly more important

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Old 08-19-2013, 06:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Its not a total deletion of the EGR its more of a reroute. You take the EGR out of the exhaust & plumb it up to the intake tract so it brings in fresh, clean, filtered air instead of exhaust & potentially catalyst. The EGR reroute wont prevent clogged cats but it sure will prevent ingestion of catalyst.


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Old 08-19-2013, 09:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It could very well be the cats even with the miles on your rig, mine were gone with around 75,000km (45k miles) I'm just glad that I caught them in time. And I can vouch for the MSDS Headers, I replaced my manifolds with them and am very happy!
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Lots to answer, most of which has been covered......... SOOOO Much typing. must not be lazy.....

alright, first on the EGR delete. we are not eliminating it from the system, only eliminating from the exhaust track. it will still be flowing, just air instead of exhaust (nothing in the sensor knows what it is flowing, could flow dog farts if you wanted).

as for a later model headers. You can't without changing the subframe as the 06-08 subframe and exhaust were modified so that the MS6 engines could use the same subframe and fit. Way more work than it is worth.

As for Gutting, the rear O2s MAY (I say may because it is 50/50 shot some never get a code) throw code for emissions nonsense. this will not effect your A/F as the A/F is controlled by the foward O2 sensors and they are prior to any cats anyway.

As for your issue, I have never heard of anyone experiencing a scent on these cars before their cats failed. not to say it isn't, but it sure would be the first time I have heard of it being diagnosed that way. They are under an entire layer of sheet metal and inside a metal tube anyway.... Not like older cars where you could smell it pretty clearly.

Before I start fixing the "smell".... I would first figure out what the cause of the smell is. Otherwise you are just throwing parts at things and guessing at best. The "CAT" issues are over stated at best and the number of actually cases we have experienced here are under two hand fulls of documented cases (not "mechanics claiming"... which I personally don't trust at all).

Now on to what it MIGHT be. When are you experiencing this smell? what direction of the car is coming from? auto/manual? have you checked the ECU for any stored codes?

Ps if the cats are the issue, and by all accounts they could be as well as any number of other issues. You should look into if your car is under the mileage and dates for the EPA mandated 8y/80k warranty that would require the dealership to fix IF that is the problem.
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