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There’s a reasonably clean, automatic ‘96 MX-6 M-Edition for sale near me for about $4k. It’s got around 120k miles on it and no reported trans or drivetrain issues. At about what point does the automatic trans start going kaput on these?
 

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Automatics are a ticking time bomb for these cars, they undersized the tranny cooler. But then again, its "easy" depending on skill to swap to five speed - that may be your final plan for the car if you keep it
 

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Automatics are a ticking time bomb for these cars, they undersized the tranny cooler. But then again, its "easy" depending on skill to swap to five speed - that may be your final plan for the car if you keep it
With that being said…. I’m not interested in a trans swap… could I just get a bigger cooler and this extend the life of my auto?
 

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There’s a reasonably clean, automatic ‘96 MX-6 M-Edition for sale near me for about $4k. It’s got around 120k miles on it and no reported trans or drivetrain issues. At about what point does the automatic trans start going kaput on these?
If you buy the car and it has the original in-dash 3 disk changer I would be interested to buy it from you if you’re going to upgrade the stereo, not to be jumping the gun or anything. Haha lmk
 

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I have an 94 MX-6 LS automatic that I originally bought new. Around 1999 with just over 50K (and just out of warranty) the tranny failed and I lost reverse. Mazda did a partial "good will" replacement to the extent of selling me a new tranny at dealers cost. The earlier auto trannys were not particularly failure prone but Mazda improved the automatic and the final version by 1997 was pretty reliable.

In 1999 they put the latest ('97) version in my car and it has lasted until now...23 years (!) and 190,000 plus miles.

I give it an annual or 2-year Power Flush (complete fluid change) to new tranny fluid which is a good idea.

A larger tranny cooler pretty easily zip ties to the back of the radiator and can be connected to give additional cooling capacity. There are a number of them available, including one I saw that even had an electric temp-controlled cooling fan, handy when stuck in traffic on a hot day.

The extra capacity cooler is helpful to slow down the tranny fluid from breaking down from heat but an annual change of tranny (use synthetic) fluid also helps avoid this problem.

So my experience has been that the '97 (final improved version) of the MX-6 LS automatic trans has actually been very reliable...still shifts smoothly.

I do like the "Hold" feature on this 4-speed auto tranny which lets you lock it in gear so it will not upshift-useful for getting out of snow or mud in 2nd gear when it might spin otherwise or just stay in the gear you like for faster pick-up, use the thumb switch to release it.

I like the 4-speed tranny over the 5-speed manual for city driving when you constantly have to shift and the gearing of the 4-speed + torque converter gives good acceleration in the lower speeds.The 5-speed is very good on open road and higher speeds. Your call depending on where and how you will use it.

I am not exactly sure when they phased in the improved tranny...def. by '97 but might have been in some late 96's, as well.

If the tranny was replaced after '97 in a car you are considering buying, it would probably be the improved transmission, as they then no longer used the the older, less robust units for replacements.
Good luck!
porker \(^@^)
 

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Fine advise above - but if that isn't your year, then ticking time bomb. I did a larger tranny cooler on a babied 94 I used to have and at 120000km, it wouldn't go in reverse. So good luck is the mention.
 
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