Help,, I have to "throw out " a perfectly good car( Mazda Tribute sudden cut outs)


#1

I have a 2006 mazda tribute that I have loved… but in last 8 months now just simply DIES with no warning, while you are driving. I have had it in to 3 different garages… and to the Mazda dealership in town. None can fix it… the dealership finally said that “maybe” its the computer but they cannot be sure so do not actually recommend me replacing it ( because the part alone is 1500 dollars!) .
The car basically blows a fuse. It simply stops dead while you are driving… yes. while you are actually moving.
Every place has replaced the fuse, and in one place they made the fuse stronger… but the problem is simply not fixed yet.

The car is mechanically great… and has new tires… but you cannot trust it to not die on you while passing a car… or turning left… you can see the potential for getting in a dangerous spot.

Can’t sell it … who would buy a car with an unfixable and undiagnosed problem. Would never sell without disclosure its not safe.

What the heck… a perfectly sound mechanical car that I can’t trust. Mazda tells me the computer cannot diagnose itself . and can’t find the electrical issue.


#2

PS when it “dies” you simply pull out the fuse and replace it… but trust me its not freaking easy in the middle of the road with cars honking… it even happened in a mcdonalds drive thru on lunch break… and that was a special nightmare. Replacing the fuse only works for awhile then kaput it goes agian.


#3

If it’s blowing a fuse then I seriously doubt it’s the computer. Sounds like a loose ground someplace. Something is shorting out. I don’t think this is going to be costly to fix…but it could be a nightmare to find. Find a mechanic who specializes in electronics.


#4

Which fuse is it, exactly?


#5

One mechanic thinks its the one that is the factory installed anti theft devise…I don’t know what exactly that is since I had never heard of it.
Mazda spent three hours looking or the problem and said they couldn’t find it. I have already had the other mechanics I took it to look for it… but they couldn’t find it either.


#6

Perhaps the mechanics at the local Ford dealership would be more skilled than the ones at the Mazda dealership. You should give some consideration to going to the Ford dealership because your car is mechanically identical to a Ford Escape, and as a result, the Ford technicians are very capable of working on your car.

(I assume you know that the Mazda Tribute is just a slightly disguised Ford Escape!)


#7

Knowing which fuse it is should tell them which circuit is causing the problem. For the fuse to blow it might be a frayed or worn wire shorting out, or some component on that circuit that’s defective. Try the Ford dealer, this should be solvable.


#8

I’m not sure any dealer is going to be helpful unless it’s a known problem on this car.

The best bet IMHO is a good shop specializing in electrical problems that has a reasonable methodology for troubleshooting such things.

The shop that “made the fuse stronger” , which I take to mean increasing the rating of the fuse, was misguided, at best.

@carspazz How often does this occur? Is there any pattern, or is it totally random?

It is actually a good thing that the trouble causes a fuse to blow, and to know that it can occur at idle, or barely rolling ( as evidenced by it happening at a drive-in window).

I don’t think it is the ECU either.


#9

putting in a bigger fuse could theoretically lead to a wiring harness fire


#10

putting in a bigger fuse could theoretically lead to a CAR fire!

I too think an automotive wiring shop is well worth trying.

Can you photograph the fusebox, post the photo, and somehow identify which fuse is blowing? I too am curious. We might get lucky. Some of the guys here have access to repair databases and might be able to come up with some suggestions.


#11

I really doubt that this is a computer problem. Any mechanic who likes and is good at electrical work can fix this. All you need is a complete wiring diagram that shows everything that is powered by that fuse. This diagram will likely be several pages. A good diagnostic would involve him printing out a complete wiring schematic, sitting down with a cup of coffee and tracing every last component on the car that ties into that fuse. Once he has a complete understanding of all the circuits involved he would do a thorough investigation of the current draw on the system, using a scan tool, labscope, amp probe, jumper wires and a circuit breaker. Depending on what he finds he may do a thorough visual and physical inspection of the engine wiring harness (not necessarily limited to the engine compartment), or may begin testing components one by one until the trouble is found.

Yes, it may take several or many hours at the local prevailing labor rate to find and fix the trouble, but it’s cheaper than junking the car, right? This isn’t something that’s going to be fixed for $50, but it shouldn’t cost thousands either.


#12

You’re right, the car’s a goner! When and where can I pick it up?

Seriously, it sure sounds like a frayed wire grounding out intermittently.


#13

Thanks folks… I am going to look for someone who specializes in wiring issues… not easy as I don’t live in the biggest of cities… and we are the biggest city on the island !


#14

Besides fixing it, trading in is an option. State nothing about vehicle unless they ask which they won’t.

It will likely get auctioned off where it is truly caveat emptor.


#15

Andrew I couldn’t do that … I understand your point about buyer beware, but in this case what if car stops dead as they are trying to overtake a truck and they are struck, or turning on a yellow light. etc… I would hate someone to be in danger when I know it could happen. If it was something that wouldn;t put them in danger I would do it… but not this…


#16

It really sounds like an anti theft related problem. I am not sure of the anti theft circuitry, as far as what would set it off while you are driving, then blow a fuse.

3 WAG, you have alot of stuff on your keychain and something is bumping the alarm button, try hitting the alarm button while it is running and see if it replicates the problem.

Check the manual to see if there is a way to disarm the alarm system.

Check to see if your fuel cutoff switch is malfunctioning, get it diagnosed in failure mode is the best option.