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Noisy Mazda Miata Transmission

I have a 2009 Mazda Miata w 6-sp manual transmission and 3000 miles. After the tranmission oil gets hot – about 20 fwy miles – the car develops a gear lash noise when accelerating in any gear from 2000-3000 rpm – like wooden balls in a barrel. Noise has been reported on Mazda web sites. Is this acceptable, or should I insist on transmission replacement?

How much warranty does it have remaining?  Have you had it to the dealer?  If so what did they say?

Have you checked the transmission fluid?

Car now has 4000 miles; power train warranty runs to 60,000/6 years, extended warranty to 100,000/10 years. 4 visits to dealers. First dealer finally declared, “Normal.” Second dealer declared, “Abnormal”; Mazda District Service Manager said to change transmission oil, which they did (2 full changes in one day). Last e-mail from Mazda USA said “normal,” but I’ve never had a car (out of 25, mostly manual sports cars) exhibit such a noise.

When I first heard it, I thought the noise was pre-ignition, so bad, that I was reluctant to drive the car at all.

I’m building a case for CA lemon law, but I don’t know yet if the noise is a precursor to a serious problem.

Roger Bohl

Quotes from the Internet (see, especially, the last!):

7/27/08 That’s the same sound I was complaining about, after some reading on this forum I have given up complaining about it as it seems “normal” for the 6MT. My '99 had some weird noises and it never broke so I guess this is the same deal.

7/26/08: OK, I read the “I bought a Diesel” thread but there seems to be several noises described there that occur under different circumstances. Here’s what I’ve got: New 08 PRHT, 600 miles, 6M, Susp… Pkg. No strange noise when motor is cold. When warmed up, I get a rattling noise (like marbles in a plastic bottle) from under the car from the vicinity of the transmission when accelerating from low speed in 2nd gear. I hear the noise when the car is warm whether the AC is on or not. I don’t notice it in neutral or any other time for that matter.

Does this sound like Gear Rollover noise? From what I could gather from the other thread there is no fix for this. Is that true?

7/26/08: That’s the noise that everyone’s been talking about in the “diesel” thread. I’ve got it too - very annoying, I must say.

7/26/08: According to Mazda customer representative that came out to look at our car with the same sound, they said it was “normal”. I told them it was only “normal” if it was a design flaw. Normal manual speed transmissions do not make this sound. I also don’t remember the sales person talking about this sound during the sales pitch.

“Is this acceptable?”


Transmissions, manual or automatic, should not make strange noises.

Keep complaining.