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2009 Mazda Tribute Suddenly Loses Acceleration While Driving

Today leaving work my 2009 Mazda Tribute suddenly lost all acceleration after pulling out of the parking lot. Didn’t die but was running like it was about to. Pressing the gas pedal had no effect at all.
When I turned the car off and started it again, it did start – with trouble but it started.
It ran OK for a few miles but suddenly lost acceleration again. Same thing. The car ran but the gas pedal had no effect. Shutting off and restarting got it going. In the 30 mile trip home it did it a total of 3 times. Each time shutting off and restarting.
When I was able to accelerate, it seemed to accelerate OK, but at the same time felt weak and … laggy. That last part could just be in my head though.

Just wondering where to start to fix this.

Assuming no codes, no Check Engine Light, and so on a wild guess might be the fuel pump getting iffy.
Another possibility could be the crank position sensor.

The weak and laggy could point towards the fuel pump. How many miles on the car and how often, if ever, has the fuel filter been changed?

There is a reason why the electronic throttle control was disabled, there should be faults stored in the computer.

About 150,000 miles on it. I don’t think the fuel filter has been ever been changed.
And the check engine light did come on once…

And what’s that about the throttle control being disabled?

How long ago did the CEL light up? Was your car checked for that issue? The codes might still be stored. You can get them read at any repair shop or you could go to a large chain auto parts store like Advance or O’Reilly’s. They should have code readers you can borrow and read the codes in the parking lot. They will hold a credit card while you read the codes and they will return it to you when you return the code reader. Ask for a printout of the codes and let us know what they are. We can help you interpret them.

The light came on once when it shutoff while driving. I was actually driving a little faster that time. Now I did remove the battery post - just checking for corrosion - the light went out and hasn’t come on since, but it did act up one more time after that.
I actually do have access to a code reader I can get later on this morning.

I agree; check for any diagnostic codes first.

I would be a bit nervous about the fuel pump at that many miles and no filter change. A partially clogged filter may not exhibit any symptoms but over time can cause fuel pump failure due to the pump having to work harder. Pump failure can be sudden and permanent or it can be random with a stall one moment and fine for the next few weeks, etc until it happens again.

It could well be the electronic throttle so I don’t have a problem with exploring that angle. Maybe that’s what the CEL is all about.

Well I think I’ll start with a fuel filter right now and see what happens. I’m also leaving to go do the scan.

Just looking through the All-Knowing Chilton’s Manual –
On a 2009, the Fuel filter is is in the fuel tank???

Drove the car about 20 miles. It lost acceleration twice. The light did come on again and the code is P2111 - Throttle stuck open.

Unless you are replacing the fuel pump, the filter should not need to be replaced. It depends on how much debris is in your fuel tank. You would likely have to drop the tank to gain access to the pump, and I would only do that as a last resort since it is a difficult DIY job.

Electronic throttle body systems are designed to shut down if a malfunction occurs, like a sticking throttle blade.

The Mazda Tribute is a sibling to the Ford Escape which is under investigation by NHTSA for failing electronic throttle body malfunction that may one day result in a recall;

On February 21, 2013, the Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) opened Preliminary Evaluation PE13-003 to investigate allegations of electronic throttle body (ETB) failures resulting in sudden reduction of engine power in model year (MY) 2009-2013 Ford Escape, Fusion, Mariner and Milan vehicles. During this investigation, Ford identified a condition in subject vehicles equipped with 2.5L and 3.0L engines that may result in a sudden reduction of engine power. According to Ford, the ETB internal motor contacts may develop a high resistance material buildup condition on the commutator, resulting in intermittent electrical connectivity and reduced engine power. When this condition occurs, the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) or Wrench light will illuminate and the vehicle may enter a limited limp home mode. Ford?s trade name for the feature is Failure Mode Effects Management (FMEM) mode. In this mode, engine power and vehicle speed are reduced, while full function of the power steering, power braking, lighting, and climate control systems are maintained.

ODI?s complaint analysis indicate that the predominant failure mode involved reduced motive power associated with the limited limp home mode with engine speeds limited to approximately 900 RPM. Analysis of warranty claims provided by Ford identified 59,807 claims related to ETB replacements and approximately 50 percent of claims are associated with diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) P2111, “Throttle Body Stuck Open”, and P2112, “Throttle Body Stuck Closed”. Ford described several factors where the ETB motor may fail resulting in DTCs P2111 or P2112 but the failure is not an existing stuck open or closed ETB valve position. According to Ford, the ETB control strategy provides the driver with three FMEM modes that allow varying degrees of vehicle mobility depending on the severity of the fault detected. DTCs associated with stuck open or closed throttle valves are designated the highest failure severity resulting in engine speeds limited to high idle corresponding to the limited limp home mode. Vehicles are not likely to unexpectedly stall as a result of this condition, but drivers may characterize the reduced functionality as a stall, even though their vehicle may still has motive capability. Other FMEM limp modes may result in reduced engine performance but will maintain vehicle speed above 20mph.

Looking at the book (Chiltons) it appears that you can get to the sending unit from the back of the car by pushing the back seat forward,
But, I wound up changing the Electronic Throttle Body and everything appears to good now. Driven about 50 miles thus far and no problems.
Thanks for all the help!

The plastic gears in the electronic throttle body are wearing out causing the throttle body stay open.

Here’s a replacement.