2011 6-speed manual Mazda6 transmission issues

dragan322

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Make
Mazda
Model
6
Year
2011
Miles
142,000
Engine
2.5 four-cylinder -- Manual trans
2 weeks ago I drove my 2011 Mazda6 six-speed manual through about 5 or six inches of flowing water on a road. Didn’t stall out, and the car has been drive-able but the transmission revs higher when I switch gears and doesn't have much power when this occurs. Possible that water got into the transmission? Thanks.
 

billr

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Possible??? Sure, maybe even "likely". Change the fluid and filter. Serious off-roaders often loosen drain plugs to let most of the water out after fording streams.
 

bp042665

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being its a maual trans most likely you have going on is a slipping clutch but i would check fluid for sure water might have gotin in it
 

dragan322

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being its a maual trans most likely you have going on is a slipping clutch but i would check fluid for sure water might have gotin in it
Thank you! Are the transmission and clutch two sepatate things? Would water in the clutch area cause the clutch to slip?
 

dragan322

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Check your fluids. The clutch will dry out.
Thanks so much! If it does dry out, would I need to do anything more to get it back to normal? Are there fluids in the clutch as well as the transmission? Thx!
 

billr

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My apologies for not noticing this is a manual trans...

Yes, the clutch and trans are two different assemblies, in most cases. There may be some cars with a "wet" clutch, like many motorcycles have, but I am not aware of them.

Has this been driven during the last two weeks; and the slipping still persists? That puzzles me, as water should dry out in just a few minutes/miles. There is usually no permanent damage, but the metal friction surfaces may get a bit of rust on them that will cause grabbing, not slipping. That rust will also go away after just a few operations of the clutch.

One very unlikely scenario is that enough water got into the trans so that the fluid level was raised enough to get past the input shaft and into the clutch. Fluid/oil will cause slipping, and won't dry out nearly as easy!

There is usually a flywheel cover on the lower side of the clutch area that can be removed to do some inspection of the clutch stuff.
 

grcauto

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Thanks so much! If it does dry out, would I need to do anything more to get it back to normal? Are there fluids in the clutch as well as the transmission? Thx!
Take it easy on the takeoffs so you don't loose friction material.
 

dragan322

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My apologies for not noticing this is a manual trans...

Yes, the clutch and trans are two different assemblies, in most cases. There may be some cars with a "wet" clutch, like many motorcycles have, but I am not aware of them.

Has this been driven during the last two weeks; and the slipping still persists? That puzzles me, as water should dry out in just a few minutes/miles. There is usually no permanent damage, but the metal friction surfaces may get a bit of rust on them that will cause grabbing, not slipping. That rust will also go away after just a few operations of the clutch.

One very unlikely scenario is that enough water got into the trans so that the fluid level was raised enough to get past the input shaft and into the clutch. Fluid/oil will cause slipping, and won't dry out nearly as easy!

There is usually a flywheel cover on the lower side of the clutch area that can be removed to do some inspection of the clutch stuff.
Thanks so much for the added information, Billr. I should have mentioned that I had to drive through water in three different areas on the same road on that trip -- all within 10 minutes. Each area was about 30 ft with 6 inches of water running from a nearby river over the road. We also smelled like what seemed to be an electrical smell in the car. Afterward I sensed a difference in how the car drove home. Something wasn't right. The next two days the ignition would not start until the third try. That happened just twice. But that's also when the "slipping" (or "grabbing"?) started. It got a bit worse with time, although some days were worse than others. Mostly was slipping with a less power on upgrades and driving up hills. I've only been driving it around town on short trips once or twice a day, not wanting to be stranded somewhere. The slipping/grabbing continued for about 12 days total, then on Tuesday evening this week, it got noticeably better (all of a sudden no grabbing). I expected it to begin grabbing again, but it hasn't done so again since Tuesday, although it doesn't seem to be running completely right yet. Maybe it still hasn't completely dried out yet. I don't know if the flywheel cover can be removed to inspect the clutch. Might that be an easy thing to do? Thanks again.
 

dragan322

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Take it easy on the takeoffs so you don't loose friction material.
Thanks, grcauto. By takeoff, do you you mean engaging the clutch from 1st into 2nd? Is "friction material" the clutch itself that I should be concerned about? Since Tuesday evening, the clutch hasn't grabbed much, so I don't know if that means I'm out ofthe woods -- or I should expect more or the same problems as I continue todrive the vehicle.
 

billr

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Did you ever check the fluid for water? If not, do so immediately. The damage that can happen to the clutch from either water or oil on it is generally minimal, relatively cheap-and-easy to repair. The six-speed trans is a whole different matter! if bearings or gears in there have been damaged by try to lube them with water, this car may be "beyond economical repair"

Some flywheel/clutch covers are easy to remove. Others can be difficult, and may not provide much view of things once you do fight them off. There is usually a hole in the bell-housing, where the clutch slave cylinder or actuating linkage get in. You may be able to sneak a borescope/camera in there.

If it seems like it is slowly getting better, I would let it be for a while; after checking for water in the fluid, of course
 

grcauto

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Thanks, grcauto. By takeoff, do you you mean engaging the clutch from 1st into 2nd? Is "friction material" the clutch itself that I should be concerned about? Since Tuesday evening, the clutch hasn't grabbed much, so I don't know if that means I'm out ofthe woods -- or I should expect more or the same problems as I continue todrive the vehicle.
If the clutch is older and it slipped a bit being wet you may have little life left in the friction disc. The face of the clutch disc has a very hard cork that is used for friction material. It has good grab and handles heat well.
 

dragan322

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Did you ever check the fluid for water? If not, do so immediately. The damage that can happen to the clutch from either water or oil on it is generally minimal, relatively cheap-and-easy to repair. The six-speed trans is a whole different matter! if bearings or gears in there have been damaged by try to lube them with water, this car may be "beyond economical repair"

Some flywheel/clutch covers are easy to remove. Others can be difficult, and may not provide much view of things once you do fight them off. There is usually a hole in the bell-housing, where the clutch slave cylinder or actuating linkage get in. You may be able to sneak a borescope/camera in there.

If it seems like it is slowly getting better, I would let it be for a while; after checking for water in the fluid, of course
Thanks, BillR. When you mention checking the fluid for water in it, do you mean the transmission fluid or the clutch fluid? I'm guessing it does have both because under “capacities” in my manual, there’s one for "manual transaxle oil." If that's transmission fluid, I don’t believe Mazda manual transmissions have a dip stick, but that it may involve removing a drain plug? Do you think I determine if there's water in the fluid by removing a plug? If it involves removing it, then maybe the likelihood that water could get in would possibly be very low? There’s also the clutch fluid reservoir. That’s something I did check a few weeks ago, and I checked it again this morning (photo attached). It seems fine to me. Thank you again for your help!
 

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billr

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I am talking about the "manual transaxle oil". The "clutch fluid" is probably hydroscopic, so is well-sealed from intrusion of water from splashing/submerging. The transaxle has a vent/breather on top, so water can get in if the transaxle is submerged or even splashed severely.

Many, but no all, manual transmissions/axles will have drain plug. You can just loosen the drain plug and let some fluid drain into a clear container, water will be at the bottom of the trans, and whatever is in the fluid drained will settle at the bottom of the clear drain container. Easy to see!

Frankly, though, I would completely drain the trans to check for water and refill with fresh fluid.

Is the clutch "grabby" now? That can be annoying, but not a real problem. Just keep using it may self-heal. Don't let the clutch slip, though; back off on the throttle or use a lower gear if you detect slipping.

PS: I just peeked at Rockauto... $150 for the LUK clutch kit. with 142K miles, you might just want to remove the clutch for full inspection and renew the clutch.
 
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