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Saved Mazda 323

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With the Rover gone, I moved the Mazda into the vacant spot, and it was the first time it had moved under its own steam since it was dropped off. 

Still feels like it's running on 3, so hopefully the rotor arm / dizzi cap will cure it. Or maybe not. Maybe ignition module? It's not old enough for points, thank goodness. 



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Funny, I once managed to connect the HT leads the wrong way round in my Viva while fitting new plugs - it started and ran, but was rough as all-get-out, with the engine rocking like a mad thing.  Your vid doesn't sound quite as bad as that, though quite different cars, admittedly.

Have you a workshop manual you can double-check the sequence, at all?

Assuming all's connected as it should be, with a new dizzy cap, rotor arm and leads, I'd say new plugs might be a worthwhile investment - obviously parts darts is not a fun or cheap pastime, but basic copper NGKs or Champions shouldn't be too pricey.

The ones currently in it look pretty well used, and a crack in the ceramic or over-large gap might be causing the causing the current bad running. You can enjoy* my redundant Laguna thread for details on how incorrect gapping makes a car run like a bag of shite (never did find out what the gap shoulda been - HBOL, the owners manual, ECP and the sticker on the rocker cover all stipulated wildly differing measurements).

Am I right in thinking these units have a non-interference drive belt? Wonder whether the timing's ok - in case someone swapped the belt but put it back a tooth or two out of synch. Even if it is electrical rather than fuel-related, might be worth changing the fuel filter after its lay-up.

Not trying to teach you to suck eggs, mind - I just share your frustration here! You've done AN GOOD THING to save this wee Mazda, and I just hope a solution presents itself before enthusiasm dissolves. Keep us posted!

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I've done the plugs, sorry, thought I'd mentioned that. 

Only things left are the rotor arm, ignition module and maybe even the coil. And then onto the fuel issues. 

Timing could be a good call though, will have a look. 

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31 minutes ago, dollywobbler said:

I'd be surprised if timing caused a misfire. Has it had fresh fuel yet?

Yeah, it was completely empty when it arrived, so stuck a can's worth in. 

It fires first time every time, so can't be too bad. 

Just wish there were local shiters to assist / stand around and offer helpful* suggestions while drinking tea. 😂

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32 minutes ago, sierraman said:

Have you had a proper clean out of the carb and set it correctly? 

Does it just run rough at idle or does it start to run rough when you rev it? 

No, not touched the carb yet. 

It runs rough all the time and won't rev very high. 

When it is warms up it struggles to stay idling but revs higher. 

I've got some vacuum hose on order and will start on the carb when it arrives. It's slow progress though as I don't get a lot of time on it. 


 I'd much prefer a simple Weber conversion! 

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Maybe worth testing the spark on each lead to see if all cylinders are getting a healthy spark or if ones a bit feeble. 

You could Disconnect each lead again individually and see if the misfire gets worse or stays the same. If you could narrow down which one is the problem cylinder would be good. 

You could then Whip the rocker cover off an have look if anything looks odd on the camshaft /lifters in the area of that piston,

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Ah, that's good to know the plugs have been swapped already - must have missed that. Annoying it hasn't been the speedy fix we were all hoping for.

Any coil bother I've had in the past has usually caused no starting at all, rather than rough running - but I don't really know a lot about them. A spark test would be worth carrying out, as suggested, though my Laser test set seemed  to imply all was well on the Laguna, when it was actually suffering from a dying coil pack. Do try disconnecting the leads one by one and see if one cylinder is the culprit - this was how I eventually cracked the problem.

If you've a new dizzy cap on, then a fresh rotor arm may do no harm either.

I do remember swapping the ignition module in my grandfather's 1988 Mazda 121 because of poor running, now you mention it... in the course of fitting the replacement I realised his HT leads were also falling apart, so fitted a new set of those. Although we did get it running right, I was never sure what the ultimate problem had been. Maybe worth bearing the IM in mind, though, if the basic checks continue to yield nothing.

My Cortina's 2.0 Pinto turned out to be a tooth out on the timing belt, and ran pretty lumpy until the belt was removed and reset - hence wondering if that might be a similar issue here. Should be relatively straightforward to make sure that the timing marks all line up on the crank and cam pulleys, and then rule that out.

Fortitude! I'd love to come round and have a poke at this over a mug of tea stirred with a spanner; just wish there wasn't all that bloody sea in the way...

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I've done a few of the vacuum hoses (typically didn't buy enough) and put the new alternator belt on. Struggling to get it tensioned right, but hey, it's progress. 




More interestingly though, I have a couple of videos to upload. And I drove it! Only round the block, but it was helpful to get a feel for things. It would help if I actually knew what I was doing though! 

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If you haven’t touched the carb I’d make that my port of call. Could well be a failed gasket between the body of the carb and the manifold, make sure they sit flush to each other. Clean the carb out and make sure it’s set correctly. Can’t imagine an overhaul kit would be very expensive for this.

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12 minutes ago, sierraman said:

If you haven’t touched the carb I’d make that my port of call. Could well be a failed gasket between the body of the carb and the manifold, make sure they sit flush to each other. Clean the carb out and make sure it’s set correctly. Can’t imagine an overhaul kit would be very expensive for this.

Yeah, will try to work through it systematically. 

It's an Asian 980 carb, and they have a complicated vacuum setup, and various electrical components too. 

Wish me luck... 

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My gut feeling from the videos and info posted on this is a vacuum leak and/or a gungy carb.  It doesn't sound exactly like a misfire, it's more like the fuel mixture is wandering.  I assume you're on electronic ignition, so it's unlikely to be something like a failing condenser and generally that problem seems fine when the car is cold and gets progressively worse as it warms up.  A compression test wouldn't hurt if you can do it, just to tick another potential issue off the list.

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1 hour ago, TheDoctor said:

In other news, I've located my feeler gauges, and also this nifty tool from my Lada ownership days... 



Seems to have various feeler gauges as well as a file, presumably for cleaning up points / contacts etc. 

I've got 2 if anyone wants one... 

Um...yes please!  The feeler gauges are wider than usual to help setting the valve clearances with Lada's odd rocker arrangement which is usually awkward as the rockers can wobble.

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+2 on the compression test. Get the basics checked first so you can be assured that you have a solid base to work from. If that's had the arse ragged out of it and dropped/ bent a valve, fucked a lifter/ spring, lost a tappet etc you'll be chucking cash all over the place with zero result. Take the top off too and check everything is still where it should be. ( May need a cover gasket to refit)

Check cam timing, set to tdc on the crank, look for alignment marks on the cam and the number 1 cylinder is about to fire on the rotor/ distributor. Then check the firing order is right on the leads. It could of slipped a tooth in the hands of Nigel mansell. 

I bent pushrods on a Kent engine (fiesta) ragging the shit out of it and it ended up developing its own low rev limit. Driving it could get up to 90mph but then it would die back to 70 before going again. Gave that courtesy car back... " Cheers for that, it's making a funny noise tho m8..."

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