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Thread: Need help with "End of life" decision - Transfer Case + Transmission 08 CX-9 AWD

  1. #1
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    Need help with "End of life" decision - Transfer Case + Transmission 08 CX-9 AWD

    2008 CX-9 Touring AWD

    Hi all,

    After 128k mostly trouble-free miles my Transfer Case bit the dust. Burning smell, no 4wd action in snow.

    I took it to the local dealer (Dublin Mazda, northern California) and they said the PTU is shot, and also the splines on the transmission.

    So now it's a $4k job on a car worth about $9k.

    The car is now on the lift and I have a few choices:

    - Pay them $465 for work completed and have the car towed.
    - Pay $1085 for them to put the old PTU back in and return the car to the condition it was when I brought it in.
    - Pay $4k for a new PTU and refurbished transmission

    I reached out to Mazda Corp. and begged for assistance with parts. They told me it was too far out of warranty and too many miles, so no help.

    The sad part is that the transmission is in great shape minus the splines.

    I asked if they could assemble it, making it drivable again without the PTU, essentially turning it into a 2wd car. They said "With out the transfer case the vehicle can't drive due to the link between the transmission and the front axle shaft assembly runs through"

    So I'm asking for advice. Is it possible to successfully drive the car without the PTU? If the dealer wont do that, will an independent shop?

    Thanks,
    Sasha

    Dealer supplied pic of splines:
    http://imgur.com/a/4J26J

  2. #2
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    CX-9 2013 AWD

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    Quote Originally Posted by SashaPave View Post
    2008 CX-9 Touring AWD

    Hi all,

    After 128k mostly trouble-free miles my Transfer Case bit the dust. Burning smell, no 4wd action in snow.

    I took it to the local dealer (Dublin Mazda, northern California) and they said the PTU is shot, and also the splines on the transmission.

    So now it's a $4k job on a car worth about $9k.

    The car is now on the lift and I have a few choices:

    - Pay them $465 for work completed and have the car towed.
    - Pay $1085 for them to put the old PTU back in and return the car to the condition it was when I brought it in.
    - Pay $4k for a new PTU and refurbished transmission

    I reached out to Mazda Corp. and begged for assistance with parts. They told me it was too far out of warranty and too many miles, so no help.

    The sad part is that the transmission is in great shape minus the splines.

    I asked if they could assemble it, making it drivable again without the PTU, essentially turning it into a 2wd car. They said "With out the transfer case the vehicle can't drive due to the link between the transmission and the front axle shaft assembly runs through"

    So I'm asking for advice. Is it possible to successfully drive the car without the PTU? If the dealer wont do that, will an independent shop?

    Thanks,
    Sasha

    Dealer supplied pic of splines:
    http://imgur.com/a/4J26J
    i think the dealer is right, you need the PTU to support the axle shaft (see video 1:45 time mark), basically to have it run as 2WD you still need the PTU as a "dummy" support for the shaft that goes to the differential:



    IMHO, I think your best bet is option (2)

    (1) Pay them $465 for work completed and have the car towed.
    why pay them $465 and still not have a working car ? you'll have to pay for towing twice ($100) to your house and another ($100) to local shop, that's a total of $665 wasted and car is still not working

    (2) Pay $1085 for them to put the old PTU back in and return the car to the condition it was when I brought it in.
    Instead of (1) above, opt for this option and drive as a 2WD and just get winter tires during snow season or at least get a working car going and trade it in, to get some money back, you mentioned, your transmission is still in great shape so the car is still good just drive it as a 2WD for a long as you can to get your money's worth and be thankful you had 9 uneventful years with the CX-9 until now

    (3) Pay $4k for a new PTU and refurbished transmission
    IMHO, this is too much money for a car that will probably last another 2 years at most if you're lucky, Google CX-9/Ford Duratec engine water pump failure, that's worst than the transfer case, throwing $4000 to fix one problem and down the road you'll have the water pump issue to deal with.

    see video below for what is involved to replace the PTU, it's a Ford Edge but it's basically the same as the CX-9 when Ford and Mazda were partners, the guy in the video makes it sound easy but he's a professional shop owner:



    Here's some background info on the infamous Ford water pump leak into the engine in video below.

    Not trying to scare you or anything, just giving you all the facts before you spend $4000 on transfer case problem and then the water pump problem comes up.

    I have a 2013 Cx-9 myself, I don't plan to keep it long, I'll sell it to try to get max dollars back just so I don't have to deal with these issues. my own fault for not doing due diligence before buying. my CX-9 isn't a purebred Mazda, it's a bastardized Ford LOL j/k,

    the new CX-9 is 100% pure Mazda, no Ford components.

    Last edited by astriuminc; 02-23-2017 at 08:42 PM.

  3. #3
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    WRONG, i currently converted my awd to fwd without putting back the PTU because i have the exact same problem as yours, splines shot in the transmission. i am now running it in FWD as it is not worth putting money into it. I can tell you fwd sucks in the snow with such a heavy vehicule but i can live with it until the car dies completly.

    Also, it makes putting it back together so much easier than if you try to put back the PTU in there. It shouldn't take them more than 2 hours to put the car back together once the PTU is out.

    let me know if i can be of anymore help
    Last edited by puma; 02-24-2017 at 10:36 AM.

  4. #4
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    honestly my fear is that the splines of the passenger side driveshaft do the same thing in the transmission, we can see i think on your pic that the inner splines for the passenger side are starting to weakens, at least, they looked like they did on mine.


  5. #5
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    Thanks Puma, do you think this could lead to the PTU "seizing" at some point, causing the rear wheels to lock up?

  6. #6
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    You mean if you put back the PTU? it could but i suppose something is going to give in real quick, I still sugget you don't put it back in, will cost less in reassembly time and the car will be 100lbs lighter without the PTU and the driveshat.

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone for the info!

    Update: The dealer offered a $4200 estimate to rebuild the transmission and replace the PTU. I went ahead and they sent out the transmission to a local shop to do the work. They replaced the spline hub and some internal transmission parts at the same time, due to wear.

    I worked with the dealership on price and got it down to $3600.

    3 weeks later and the car is back and working well. We were up in the snow last weekend and I tested the AWD, and now the rear wheels are engaging.

    From my end it's a shitty outcome:

    - Mazda knows this is a defective part.
    - They've made no effort to redesign the PTU and apparently sold it on CX-9s through 2015.
    - They wouldn't honor the extended PTU warranty.
    - If the PTU dies it will likely take out an otherwise great transmission (Aisin F21) like it did mine.

    The reason I went with a dealership is because they'll offer a 12 month warranty on the work, and the parts used. Transmission shops will often offer a guarantee on parts they sell, like used transmissions, but if you buy a PTU through them and it shits the bed, they'll likey charge you for labor to replace it.

    I will gladly join a class-action lawsuit against Mazda Corporation regarding the PTU, and transmission issue it causes.

    6 years ago I bought the CX-9 because of the reliability of a quality Japanese car. I've had other Mazda's in the past and they've been great. I didn't realize with the CX-9 I was buying half-a-Ford.

  8. #8
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    do you have any details on how they replaced the spline hub? It is part of the differential which is a non servicable part from mazda. You can't even buy the part by itself.

  9. #9
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    Same question here, I'll see if I can find out. My hunch is dismantling a used unit for the part.

  10. #10
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    Im having the exact same problem, I just called Mazda and they refused to help with the problem arguing expired warranty but its clear this is a bad design issue and should not be dependent on a warranty period.
    I still need to contact the dealer to find about the estimate for the whole repair, did you pursued any further action against Mazda?

    Greetings.

    Quote Originally Posted by SashaPave View Post
    Thanks everyone for the info!

    Update: The dealer offered a $4200 estimate to rebuild the transmission and replace the PTU. I went ahead and they sent out the transmission to a local shop to do the work. They replaced the spline hub and some internal transmission parts at the same time, due to wear.

    I worked with the dealership on price and got it down to $3600.

    3 weeks later and the car is back and working well. We were up in the snow last weekend and I tested the AWD, and now the rear wheels are engaging.

    From my end it's a shitty outcome:

    - Mazda knows this is a defective part.
    - They've made no effort to redesign the PTU and apparently sold it on CX-9s through 2015.
    - They wouldn't honor the extended PTU warranty.
    - If the PTU dies it will likely take out an otherwise great transmission (Aisin F21) like it did mine.

    The reason I went with a dealership is because they'll offer a 12 month warranty on the work, and the parts used. Transmission shops will often offer a guarantee on parts they sell, like used transmissions, but if you buy a PTU through them and it shits the bed, they'll likey charge you for labor to replace it.

    I will gladly join a class-action lawsuit against Mazda Corporation regarding the PTU, and transmission issue it causes.

    6 years ago I bought the CX-9 because of the reliability of a quality Japanese car. I've had other Mazda's in the past and they've been great. I didn't realize with the CX-9 I was buying half-a-Ford.

  11. #11
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    Mazda CX-9 GS AWD

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    My dealer sent my Trans to an independent specialist that cannibalized a used one.
    They rebuilt my Trans with the new output shaft for about $2K.

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    We had this same thing happen, and it was infuriating. Took it to the dealer, they said "uh, we hear a noise in the transmission, it needs a whole new transmission". What? My mechanic said the problem is with the transfer case, are you sure it's the transmission? "Yup, completely sure". Needless to say we didn't believe them and took it to our transmission guy.

    He said that, yes, the transfer case was the problem, transmission fine, but the differential is bad and for some reason isn't sold separately from the transmission. So Mazda compounds their awfulness but not even letting you buy the solution to the problem without a big expensive part that doesn't actually need replacement.

    I had my guy grind down the splines on the shaft, turning it into a FWD. It's been fine. We put expensive tires on it, and while it's not as good as AWD in the snow, it's better than the cost of the transmission replacement and we can limp along like this for a few more years.

    Will never buy anything from Mazda again, ever. It's one thing to have a design flaw, quite another to treat your customers like garbage when your shoddy design got them into the mess they're in.

  13. #13
    Registered Member JPL's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwarrend View Post
    We had this same thing happen, and it was infuriating. Took it to the dealer, they said "uh, we hear a noise in the transmission, it needs a whole new transmission". What? My mechanic said the problem is with the transfer case, are you sure it's the transmission? "Yup, completely sure". Needless to say we didn't believe them and took it to our transmission guy.

    He said that, yes, the transfer case was the problem, transmission fine, but the differential is bad and for some reason isn't sold separately from the transmission. So Mazda compounds their awfulness but not even letting you buy the solution to the problem without a big expensive part that doesn't actually need replacement.

    I had my guy grind down the splines on the shaft, turning it into a FWD. It's been fine. We put expensive tires on it, and while it's not as good as AWD in the snow, it's better than the cost of the transmission replacement and we can limp along like this for a few more years.

    Will never buy anything from Mazda again, ever. It's one thing to have a design flaw, quite another to treat your customers like garbage when your shoddy design got them into the mess they're in.
    It's too bad you're writing off all current and future Mazda's. The 1st gen CX-9 is barely even a Mazda. The failing parts (transfer case and transmission) aren't Mazda parts/designs. Current Mazda's are built to proper Japanese standards free of these issues.

    I know once people get burned on a brand it's hard to convince them to not dump them but it helps to understand the facts. Those Ford days were a sad time for Mazda but it's an entirely different company now. As for any lack of dealer service, can't hold it against them too much when it's double the warrantied mileage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPL View Post
    It's too bad you're writing off all current and future Mazda's. The 1st gen CX-9 is barely even a Mazda. The failing parts (transfer case and transmission) aren't Mazda parts/designs. Current Mazda's are built to proper Japanese standards free of these issues.

    I know once people get burned on a brand it's hard to convince them to not dump them but it helps to understand the facts. Those Ford days were a sad time for Mazda but it's an entirely different company now. As for any lack of dealer service, can't hold it against them too much when it's double the warrantied mileage.
    Just as a point of clarification, my position is entirely based on Mazda's way of handling this problem. I don't want to do business with a company that operates that way, even if the new vehicles they're building never show the same problems, or any other problems.

    It's one thing that the transfer case goes bad. Fine, design mistakes happen. It's less great that they handled this as a warranty extension rather than a straight recall, but it's obvious enough why they would do that, and it would make sense -- if it were only the transfer case that went bad and could be replaced. And thus, when my transfer case failed at 110k or so, it's no surprise that they wouldn't offer any warranty support for it.

    But it's worse still that the transfer case, which is expensive, doesn't just fail, but takes down the differential with it. And it's worse still that Mazda not only won't provide warranty support, they won't throw you a bone and sell you just the differential, either. You need to rip out and discard a working transmission, which is vastly more expensive than the parts that actually failed, just because.

    So, yes, when you design a product that I couldn't reasonably have expected to have needed a $6k repair at 110k miles, and then you tell me I'm on the hook for the entirety of that repair, yes, you've lost my business forever. I wouldn't rehire a plumber whose work ended up costing me $6k in repairs out of pocket, and I would warn my friends away from hiring that plumber as well.
    Last edited by jwarrend; 05-30-2019 at 03:37 PM.

  15. #15
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    I totally agree with the above poster. I am curious as to why i don't hear about the ford explorers 2011-present having transfer case problems. I hear about the water pump with both the cx-9 and the explorer but only the mazda cx-9 has the failed transfer case/ trans problem. Please remember that the parts of this vehicle were built by ford but designed by mazda.

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