19th Dec 2013, 16:03

Update Dec. 2013:

Son noticed shifting into reverse is noisy: push the clutch all the way and take your time!

I ran ½ gal of lacquer thinner in ¼ tank for about 90 miles in order to clean the catalytic converter. Then I stopped at O’Reilly’s to have the codes read and cleared. There were “P0451 Evaporation Control System” and “P0421 cat warm up efficiency low”. The 1st code may have been caused by a loosely closed gas cap, the 2nd I hope to have addressed with lacquer thinner. Time will tell. The engine definitely starts quicker and runs better.

CEL returned some day when starting cold. Don’t know the code.

I changed the gear oil ($20). The old oil looked almost like new.

I replaced the timing belt short of 177000 (Yes, the car made 30000 miles in 4 years). It is not an easy job, in particular if you rely on the Haynes manual.

I had it changed and then started the engine: misfire! I found the distributor primary and secondary coils are burnt out. This may be coincidental or I made a mistake somewhere.

I replaced the distributor, but the misfire persisted. Therefore, I rechecked the timing belt again: The crank was one tooth off. After correcting this, the engine runs great! And the oil leaks on the valve cover and distributor are taken care of.

Meanwhile the “Mazderati” is transferred to my second son. He seems to be more concerned about maintenance and he has a better sense for mechanics.

25th Oct 2015, 14:01

Indeed my second son did very well with maintenance. He took it to quick oil change places and this summer we addressed 2 problems, one successfully.

The brakes needed attention: the rear brakes needed cleaning and lubricating as the e-brake lever inside the drums got stuck again.

The front brakes needed resurfacing of the rotors, cleaning of the calipers and replacing one slider boot and new pads. The brakes are excellent again.

The second problem was an oil leak that had the oil dripping on the exhaust pipe, causing smoke and fumes.

First we thought and hoped the oil pan leaked. We degreased the engine, dropped the pan and re-sealed it with black silicone. All seemed well, but a few days later the smoke and fumes returned. I concluded that the engine rear main seal is failing and the oil runs along the edges of the oil pan and drips on the exhaust pipe.

We solved the problem. No, we sold the problem. Our tough rusty lovely little runner had 188000 miles on it and was still running like a champ when it found a new owner.

So long!