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paul_s0
paul_s0 Reader
8/16/19 9:49 a.m.

Ok, an update this morning.   It's not heatsoak, it was the same from a cold start this morning (well, once it had warmed up enough to give it a few rpm).  On the way I popped off the upstream O2 sensor, no change, and the actuators for the variable inlet tract wizadry (apparently a common failure), no change.

Upon getting to work I popped #1 plug out, all looked normal.   Then #2 & #3... Hmmm.  I need a new valve cover gasket (well the bits for the spark plug tubes anyway).   Now, I'm not sure if this was the issue or not.  Sure, any oil in the plug wells isn't good, but I'm not sure it's enough to be causing a problem, and I'd have thought I'd have some misfires registered (none at all).  I've cleaned it all up anyway.  So, whilst I'm hopeful this was the issue, I'm certainly not confident.  We will find out in a few hours when I leave work..

 

paul_s0
paul_s0 Reader
8/16/19 2:35 p.m.

It wasn't the oil.   Leaving work it was exactly the same.  After about 10 minutes it did improve a bit granted, probably to around 75% of where it should be (with the full problem it feels like 50% power loss, border-line is it safe to drive), so below around 3k rpm it's not too noticeable, just over 3k rpm where it would normally wake up a bit, it just feels like a straight line.  Sigh. 

Just in case I've just pulled the battery for a few minutes and reconnected it, leaving work we'll see if there's any difference (I doubt it).

paul_s0
paul_s0 Reader
9/5/19 4:24 p.m.

So, uhmmm, I ought to update this...  Slightly embarrassed as it was somewhat self-induced.

A while back I followed some advice on Mazda 3 forums and removed all the inlet ducting and resonance chamber prior to the air filter box.  I then replaced all that with some flexible duct.  It suddenly occurred to me to check that, and found it wasn't where I left it.  It had somehow come loose, turned 180 degrees and the inlet was just under the gearbox, then to make matters worse, it had been squashed flat.  In my infinite wisdom I'd attached that hose so darn well to the bottom of the airbox that with the bottom squashed flat there was just nowhere for it to breath.  Apparently it sucked the inlet hose between the throttle and the MAF flat...It's now reinstalled much more securely, without an air tight connection to the filter box.

Oddly, the engine is pulling better than ever before, which is confusing, as is the similarity of the symptoms to when I went up to the highlands - at that point it still had the stock inlet ducting on, I wonder if it had some obstruction in it....

I'm still really torn what to do.  I'm still considering an E36, it would free up some short term cash, however over 3 - 4 yrs it will cost a bit more than the Mazda (E36 here would be $2k - $4k cheaper to buy than the Mazda, but then it'll easily burn a couple of grand in cooling and suspension refresh, plus window regulators of course, fixing stress cracks in the unibody,etc).  The advantage would be RWD on all the muddy tracks I drive laugh, plus knobbly tyres, new Bilstein dampers etc etc.  Then there is the fact that the Mazda is very capable as it is, it's mostly just be hankering something with a driven rear axle.  Then there's safety (or lack of in the E36 compared to modern offerings).  At that point I start considering 4th gen Legacy, but the only manual box ones here are the 2.0R, and the 2.0R here mostly comes with the (aprox) 150bhp EJ20D not the AVCS equipped EJ204 from what I can find.

Then there's the Disco.frown I still don't trust it.  Now the upper tailgate boot release is intermittent.  That goes through the same connecting block as the EPB wiring (still intermittent).  It's also randomly losing air, some days from the front, some days from the back..  The issue is we need something that can seat 2 child seats and an adult on the back seat, and fit in our small garage.   I'm not sure if the Legacy would meet the rear seating requirements, but there's not much which fits in our garage and has the rear seat space.  (The Disco3 touches the wall at the back and the door at the front)...

 

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