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As it says in the title, I am not a car guy, despite my best attempts. My dad and brother both inherently understand cars, and could maintain virtually any cheap car we had; but not me. As such, I have a mechanic that has done great work for very reasonable prices. Unfortunately, money has been getting tighter and tighter lately, and I can't afford to have anything done if our car breaks down. This is made doubly worse because the only work I can get is delivering with UberEats.



So, it was with a bit of horror the other night when my car started lurching randomly and the CEL came on. Went to an O'Reilly's and got a code for a misfire in cylinder 3. Now, I've changed them in other cars the past, and it's usually about as easy as changing the oil, so even I can do it. However, not wanting to have any surprises, I searched for how to change the spark plugs in my 2004 Mazda 6 V6. What I was greeted with was a nightmare for a poor (seriously, my budget was $50 MAX) non-car guy.



I not only had to buy replacement plugs, I also had to purchase new coils (at $20 a piece). Then, I had to remove a plenum with seemingly endless hoses attached (hoping I didn't forget or incorrectly reattach any), and I wouldn't be able to test out whether it fixed the issue until I reassembled everything. I checked through dozens of posts here, as well as several YouTube videos, in the hopes of finding ANY workaround so that I could eventually get back to work ASAP.



The best I could come up with was to get a single new coil and six new spark plugs and just pray that that would be enough to hold me over until tax returns. So, before I went ahead and got the stuff, I decided to just take one look at the engine to see how much of a pain this would be in person. I pop the hood, lift it up, take off the plastic cover.... and see four distributor cables plugged into the front of the block.

Yep, it's the V4.

That's how much of a non-car guy I am. 馃槴馃槄
 

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@figarojones , I 2nd a pic. To my knowledge, the 6 didn't have a v4. If they are all in a row it would be called an i4. If you bought a the car with the impression that it had a v6 (they told you it was) I'd be kinda pissed and raise hell. But that's just me lol.
 

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I thought the V stood for valve and corresponded with number of cylinders in the engine (which I thought were also called valves). Just Googled and, wow, was I wrong.

@figarojones , I 2nd a pic. To my knowledge, the 6 didn't have a v4. If they are all in a row it would be called an i4. If you bought a the car with the impression that it had a v6 (they told you it was) I'd be kinda pissed and raise hell. But that's just me lol.
Honestly, I just assumed it was a V6. I had an i4 (man, that's going to take some getting used to) Sentra which was smaller and felt less powerful, so I assumed this had to have a bigger engine, which meant it had to have more cylinders. Like I said, I was the person in my family who didn't get the car genes. o_O
 

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Like I said, I was the person in my family who didn't get the car genes.
I barely knew how to change my windshield wipers before joining this forum (and I still barely know anything compared to some of these guys/gals). Experimenting and asking/reading/learning on here is the best thing to do.
 

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I thought the V stood for valve and corresponded with number of cylinders in the engine (which I thought were also called valves). Just Googled and, wow, was I wrong.



Honestly, I just assumed it was a V6. I had an i4 (man, that's going to take some getting used to) Sentra which was smaller and felt less powerful, so I assumed this had to have a bigger engine, which meant it had to have more cylinders. Like I said, I was the person in my family who didn't get the car genes. o_O
I saw that and that's why I tired to educate a little by letting you know that if all of the cylinders are in a row, it's an inline or "I" series engines. Another cool little tidbit is the fact that not all engines that have cylinders on opposite sides are considered "v" series engines. ;)

We all had to start somewhere and some start sooner than others. I changed my 1st starter without assistance @ 12 and did my 1st clutch job @ 14. I loved hanging out with my dad working on cars while my brother was off playing soccer or whatever lol. Now that I'm in my 40s, who do you think my brother calls when his cars have issues 馃ぃ馃ぃ馃ぃ
 

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I saw that and that's why I tired to educate a little by letting you know that if all of the cylinders are in a row, it's an inline or "I" series engines. Another cool little tidbit is the fact that not all engines that have cylinders on opposite sides are considered "v" series engines. ;)

We all had to start somewhere and some start sooner than others. I changed my 1st starter without assistance @ 12 and did my 1st clutch job @ 14. I loved hanging out with my dad working on cars while my brother was off playing soccer or whatever lol. Now that I'm in my 40s, who do you think my brother calls when his cars have issues 馃ぃ馃ぃ馃ぃ
I changed the Plymouth Furys 360 plugs solo at 14 also, called dad at work and told him it still ran :D He also taught me to see with my hands and i cant tell you how many times thats helped me with things other than car work. Never had a clutch till i had my Talon and even then, i only referenced the VFAQ guide for all the bolt locations taking it out (since it was my first time), putting it back in was cake. Hell i even got my non car guy roommate to be able to drop his FWD tranny in his Laser in under 40 mins lol.
 

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Yep, it's the V4.
Not trying to make fun of you but man, this was hilarious ! Not only not knowing what engine you had but also calling it a V... well, we can't know it all, some know about cars some others know about plants, medicine, terrain, geography, art, etc.

So you know, the V4 engine did exist and there is another configuration called H4 which is still used by Subaru and I believe Porsche.

When I was 15 we had a car that broke down all the time, like every month there was something going on. Out of necessity, I learned how to fix it and learned how the different systems work. We all have to start somewhere and the biggest step to learning is admitting you don't know something.
 

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Not trying to make fun of you but man, this was hilarious ! Not only not knowing what engine you had but also calling it a V... well, we can't know it all, some know about cars some others know about plants, medicine, terrain, geography, art, etc.

So you know, the V4 engine did exist and there is another configuration called H4 which is still used by Subaru and I believe Porsche.

When I was 15 we had a car that broke down all the time, like every month there was something going on. Out of necessity, I learned how to fix it and learned how the different systems work. We all have to start somewhere and the biggest step to learning is admitting you don't know something.
This is interesting! I didn't know a V4 really exist (or existed before).
 

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This is interesting! I didn't know a V4 really exist (or existed before).
The Saab 96 is one you may still see around that was equipped with a V4. I still go for the 95 personally. Go figure. They had a time in rally as well, driven by the famous Stig Blomqvist, a name that comes right up when you say things like Scandinavian Flick.
I saw a 96 this year at the Oregon Trail Rally.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you for all the support. For those who laughed, don't feel bad; I shared it because I found the whole situation (with me increasingly dreading this giant project, only to have it be something simple) hilarious. :)


However, the engine is now idling rough, and there's apparently a common issue where the intake manifold PVC hose cracks that corresponds with it. So, now to remove the manifold and hope that's the issue. 馃ゴ
 

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Thank you for all the support. For those who laughed, don't feel bad; I shared it because I found the whole situation (with me increasingly dreading this giant project, only to have it be something simple) hilarious. :)


However, the engine is now idling rough, and there's apparently a common issue where the intake manifold PVC hose cracks that corresponds with it. So, now to remove the manifold and hope that's the issue. 馃ゴ
Make sure you plugged the Maf back in.
 

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Dont take the manifold off and just hope the PCV is the problem dude. Do some troubleshooting first. Maybe one of the ignition coils isnt seated right or something
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Dont take the manifold off and just hope the PCV is the problem dude. Do some troubleshooting first. Maybe one of the ignition coils isnt seated right or something
The i4 has the standard distributor cap/spark plug cable setup. I have verified multiple times that they're all seated securely, though I'm going to purchase a new set with my next paycheck. If that fixes it, awesome! But I have a feeling it's the PVC because the symptoms match exactly (engine starts with a high idol, then after a minute drops to a rough idol that feels like the engine might stall).

Don't worry, though, I'm definitely going to actually double check everything and do further research before diving in. 馃榿
 

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The i4 has the standard distributor cap/spark plug cable setup. I have verified multiple times that they're all seated securely, though I'm going to purchase a new set with my next paycheck. If that fixes it, awesome! But I have a feeling it's the PVC because the symptoms match exactly (engine starts with a high idol, then after a minute drops to a rough idol that feels like the engine might stall).

Don't worry, though, I'm definitely going to actually double check everything and do further research before diving in. 馃榿
Rough idle could be due to several different things though. If it happened right after you worked on your car , well then likely it's the valve.
 
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