2011 6-speed manual Mazda6 transmission issues

grcauto

wrench
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
1,457
Points
48
You would need to submerge the entire thing to get water inside. Your clutch got wet.
 

dragan322

Newbie
Joined
Apr 17, 2024
Messages
18
Points
3
I am talking about the "manual transaxle oil". The "clutch fluid" is probably hydroscopic, so is well-sealed from intrusion of water from splashing/submerging. The transaxle has a vent/breather on top, so water can get in if the transaxle is submerged or even splashed severely.

Many, but no all, manual transmissions/axles will have drain plug. You can just loosen the drain plug and let some fluid drain into a clear container, water will be at the bottom of the trans, and whatever is in the fluid drained will settle at the bottom of the clear drain container. Easy to see!

Frankly, though, I would completely drain the trans to check for water and refill with fresh fluid.

Is the clutch "grabby" now? That can be annoying, but not a real problem. Just keep using it may self-heal. Don't let the clutch slip, though; back off on the throttle or use a lower gear if you detect slipping.

PS: I just peeked at Rockauto... $150 for the LUK clutch kit. with 142K miles, you might just want to remove the clutch for full inspection and renew the clutch.
BillR, Thanks again. The clutch isn't grabby (i.e., feel like it's slipping) anymore, although to me the car in general doesn't seem to be running as smoothly as it did before the water incident. However, I haven't had any serious revving slipping since Tuesday evening. It does seem like I need to get the RPMs a bit higher to shift now, but that could be my imagination. I'm guessing that procedures like draining the transmission and renewing the clutch with a new clutck kit are above my skill level, but I'm hoping to find someone around this town that can do these jobs. If I could drain the transmission myself, I would do that. I'm also trying to drive the vehicle as little as possible until I get something done.
 

dragan322

Newbie
Joined
Apr 17, 2024
Messages
18
Points
3
You would need to submerge the entire thing to get water inside. Your clutch got wet.
Thanks, grcauto. That sounds encouraging. I'm wondering where exactly the air vents are on this car. Maybe high enough and protected enough that water couldn't get in? Dennis
 

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
7,932
Points
63
I disagree, total submergence would not be necessary with some types of transaxles. The vents are up high, of course, but splashing through a puddle can throw water up past the roof level. Also, the shaft seals have to be considered. They are meant to keep fluid from coming out of the trans, and are much less effective in preventing it from coming in.

"The clutch isn't grabby (i.e., feel like it's slipping) anymore,..."

That shows how poor my writing skills are! What I call "grabby" is the exact opposite of "slipping". I'll try to explain:

By "grabby", I mean the clutch does not engage smoothly when the pedal is released. This is not so noticeable when moving and shifting gears, but will cause some jerking or shuddering of the car movement when starting off from a stop.

"Slipping" means to me that the clutch fails to fully engage when the pedal is fully released. The engine rpm is not "locked" to the car mph and opening the throttle to apply power causes rpm to rise with less-than-normal/expected mph rise.

Yes, it is possible to have a combination of these symptoms. The clutch could feel grabby all the way until the pedal is fully released , but the clutch still slipping! The slipping, with clutch pedal fully released, is the predominant symptom and the condition that will cause the clutch to fail such that the car is no longer operable. As I said before, "grab" can be annoying, but rarely will leave you stranded.
 

grcauto

wrench
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
1,457
Points
48
Thanks, grcauto. That sounds encouraging. I'm wondering where exactly the air vents are on this car. Maybe high enough and protected enough that water couldn't get in? Dennis
How deep was this? Did water get inside the car?
 

dragan322

Newbie
Joined
Apr 17, 2024
Messages
18
Points
3
How deep was this? Did water get inside the car?
Thank you, grcauto. It was hard to tell how deep the water was because it was early evening (getting dark) and the water was flowing over the road (vs puddling). My guess is that the water was 6 inches deep, but it could have been a little less. While driving, we could see the pavement beneath the top of the water. We drove through three different areas of water -- the length of each water-covered road section was about about 150 ft. No water got inside the car at all. We did smell a burnt smell inside the car as we were driving afterward.
 

dragan322

Newbie
Joined
Apr 17, 2024
Messages
18
Points
3
I disagree, total submergence would not be necessary with some types of transaxles. The vents are up high, of course, but splashing through a puddle can throw water up past the roof level. Also, the shaft seals have to be considered. They are meant to keep fluid from coming out of the trans, and are much less effective in preventing it from coming in.

"The clutch isn't grabby (i.e., feel like it's slipping) anymore,..."

That shows how poor my writing skills are! What I call "grabby" is the exact opposite of "slipping". I'll try to explain:

By "grabby", I mean the clutch does not engage smoothly when the pedal is released. This is not so noticeable when moving and shifting gears, but will cause some jerking or shuddering of the car movement when starting off from a stop.

"Slipping" means to me that the clutch fails to fully engage when the pedal is fully released. The engine rpm is not "locked" to the car mph and opening the throttle to apply power causes rpm to rise with less-than-normal/expected mph rise.

Yes, it is possible to have a combination of these symptoms. The clutch could feel grabby all the way until the pedal is fully released , but the clutch still slipping! The slipping, with clutch pedal fully released, is the predominant symptom and the condition that will cause the clutch to fail such that the car is no longer operable. As I said before, "grab" can be annoying, but rarely will leave you stranded.
Thanks again, BillR. That's my fault -- not understanding the difference between slipping and grabby. I would say that I'm not sensing any real slipping or grabby now. I haven't driven the car in a few days now, thinking maybe it's better not to -- and to give it more of a chance to completely dry out, if that's what it needs. I did look more into changing the transaxle fluid. Searched online for "where" to fill and and also where the drain plug is, and watched a few YouTube videos about doing it. Doesn't look so difficult to do now. Prior to this little bit of research, I called three service facilities. One general auto service place quoted $89, Aamco Transmissions quoted $161 and our Mazda dealer quoted $255. A small shop I use for state inspections said he doesn't do manual transaxle fluid changes. Question -- Are there any manual transaxle oils I should avoid? So far, several that I looked at don't even list their SAE weight or API service number. I've been looking for GL-4 or GL-5 and 75W-90.
 

dragan322

Newbie
Joined
Apr 17, 2024
Messages
18
Points
3
I just took the Mazda out for a drive now, after letting it sit for a few days. Not what I expected. When shifting the engine is definitely running at higher RPMs in the next gear to reach the power level / speed it normally would be at. I drove up a hill I'm familiar with that I usually do in 6th gear with no problem. Here it revved up to 350 RPMs -- not at all normal. I definitely have a problem and will need to do something. Might the transaxle fluid change possibly fix the problem?
 

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
7,932
Points
63
OK, be careful to avoid typos. Do you mean it revs up to 3500 rpm on the same hill and speed where it would normally be a bit lower, like 3000 or so? Does it lock-up OK if you back off the accel pedal momentarily and then re-apply power to maintain speed up the hill?

I think the clutch dried out long ago, but if it was already "marginal" due to mileage on it, the water may have caused some permanent damage. If the water caused initial slipping, that slipping may have worn the clutch enough to put it over the edge. Also, there are some thin springs in there that may have rusted and changed just enough to make a "ready to die" clutch give up.

I hope you understand that I am not insisting that a lot of water got into the trans. I am only pointing out that the result of much water in there could be quite costly. If there is even "a chance" (and I think there is) that water got in, checking the fluid is very wise. It doesn't even cost anything to just check, if you do it yourself.

Is that what your Owner's Manual specifies, GL-4/5 or 75W-90? If so, lucky you. Too many manufacturers prefer to specify proprietary (and expensive) "wonder lubes". The GL-4/5 or 75W-90 designation are generic and should be widely available. What FLAPS do you prefer? I will go to there website and find some suitable product choices.
 

dragan322

Newbie
Joined
Apr 17, 2024
Messages
18
Points
3
OK, be careful to avoid typos. Do you mean it revs up to 3500 rpm on the same hill and speed where it would normally be a bit lower, like 3000 or so? Does it lock-up OK if you back off the accel pedal momentarily and then re-apply power to maintain speed up the hill?

I think the clutch dried out long ago, but if it was already "marginal" due to mileage on it, the water may have caused some permanent damage. If the water caused initial slipping, that slipping may have worn the clutch enough to put it over the edge. Also, there are some thin springs in there that may have rusted and changed just enough to make a "ready to die" clutch give up.

I hope you understand that I am not insisting that a lot of water got into the trans. I am only pointing out that the result of much water in there could be quite costly. If there is even "a chance" (and I think there is) that water got in, checking the fluid is very wise. It doesn't even cost anything to just check, if you do it yourself.

Is that what your Owner's Manual specifies, GL-4/5 or 75W-90? If so, lucky you. Too many manufacturers prefer to specify proprietary (and expensive) "wonder lubes". The GL-4/5 or 75W-90 designation are generic and should be widely available. What FLAPS do you prefer? I will go to there website and find some suitable product choices.
Yes, 3500. When I backed off the accellerator, then accellerated again, the revs jumped around a good bit.
The owners manual does specify GL-4 or GL-5 and 75W-90 transaxel oil.
Questions:
1. So, you think I should proceed with changing the transaxel oil -- or just let a little out to see if there's water in it?
2. Is it possible that water in the transmission has caused a lot of permanent damage, making the car "beyond economical repair?"
3. So is this possibly a "clutch replacement" issue, a "transmission repair" issue, both (beyond economical repair), or none?

Thanks again.
 

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
7,932
Points
63
Have you found the drain plug? I would just loosen it enough for a fast drip and catch about 1 quart in a clear jar If you don't see any water in that (post pix if unsure) then leave the lube in there. Hold the jar up with bright sun behind it to look for the water. And, let the car sit for several hours before doing the drip/drain, to be sure water settles to the bottom of the trans. I don't think it is likely the trans was damaged much, even if there is water in there, but was trying to steer you in the "wise" direction. Check for water and get it out, don't take a chance with the trans. Gear-lube is cheap!

As to whether any repair is "economical", two primary considerations are how much the car is worth and whether it will be a DIY effort or you will have to take it to a shop.

In my high-priced area (SF Bay, Calif) a peek at Craig's List suggests that car can be somewhere between $4000-8000. That is too wide a spread for me to use. You would have to get a good handle on what the car is worth in your area.

As I hinted at before, parts costs are not all that much. Either a clutch kit or used trans can be had for about $150. Paying somebody else to do the job can increase the cost by 10X. It really sounds like your clutch is now worn to the point where it needs to be replaced, so I would get some estimates on doing that job.

Just for kicks, I'm going to look up labor hours for the clutch trans work...
 
Last edited:

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
7,932
Points
63
OK, I'm back. Labor time for the clutch is 6.7 hrs, with .2 hrs each more for the flywheel or pilot bearing, if they have to be replaced. They usually are re-useable, but a good shop, with good warranty, may insist on doing them to be safe. That 6.7 hrs includes the trans R&R necessary to get to the clutch, so if you do end up needing a trans swap, it only makes sense to do the clutch at the same time. There would be little increase in labor cost. Note that a shop may not give you the sweet parts-prices I mentioned above. They would incur extra cost to go get the trans from JY, they need to make some profit from ordering/handling/stocking parts
 

dragan322

Newbie
Joined
Apr 17, 2024
Messages
18
Points
3
Thanks, BillR. I have one quote from a transmission place I used for a pedal adjustment a while back. They have a good reputation. The owner told me they use only 100% new parts. I see what you mean about the "sweet parts-prices." Also, I talked with my insurance company and this situation will be covered (minus our deductible) so I'm going to proceed with your recommendation to have it done. I've done a number of smaller car repairs in my lifetime, but not anything related to a transmission job like this -- plus I'm too old to even be trying anymore. I'm attaching the quote for $2,000 to see what you think of it.
 

Attachments

  • Mazda6-ClutchJob.jpg
    Mazda6-ClutchJob.jpg
    221.5 KB · Views: 5

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
7,932
Points
63
Well, we could nit-pick some on the line items, but the end result is just as I expected. A $200 DIY fix turned into a $2000 overhaul. You could get a second quote, but I expect it will be very similar.

Did they do any actual diagnosis, or just listen to your flooding story and say all must be replaced? I am still concerned, of course, about the possibility, slight as it may be, of damage to the trans.
 
Top