Mazda 323/626/929/GLC/MX-6/RX-7 1978-1989



See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14

Naturally, without the proper tools and equipment it is impossible to properly service your vehicle. It would be impossible to catalog each tool that you would need to perform each or any operation in this repair guide. It would also be unwise for the amateur to rush out and buy an expensive set of tools on the theory that he may need one or more of them at some time.

The best approach is to proceed slowly, gathering together a good quality set of those tools that are used most frequently. Don't be misled by the low cost of bargain tools. It is far better to spend a little more for better quality. Forged wrenches, 6 or 12-point sockets and fine tooth ratchets are by far preferable to their less expensive counterparts. As any good mechanic can tell you, there are few worse experiences than trying to work on a car or truck with bad tools. Your monetary savings will be far outweighed by frustration and mangled knuckles.

You will find that virtually every nut and bolt on your Mazda is metric. Therefore, despite a few close size similarities, standard inch-size tools will not fit and must not be used. You will need a set of metric wrenches as your most basic tool kit, ranging from about 6mm to 17mm in size. High quality forged wrenches are available in three styles: open end, box end, and combination open/box end. The combination tools are generally most desirable as a starter set; the wrenches shown in the photograph are of the combination type.

The other set of tools inevitably required is a ratchet handle and socket set. This set should have the same size range as your wrench set. The ratchet, extension, and flex drives for the sockets are available in many sizes; it is advisable to choose a 3 / 8 in. drive set initially. One break in the inch/metric sizing dilemma is that metric-sized sockets sold in the U.S. have inch-sized drives ( 1 / 4 , 3 / 8 , 1 / 2 , etc.). Thus, if you already have an inch-size socket set, you need only buy new metric sockets in the sizes needed. Sockets are available in 6 and 12-point versions; 6-point types are stronger and are a good choice for a first set. The choice of a drive handle for the sockets should be made with some care. If this is your first set, take the plunge and invest in a flex-head ratchet; it will get into many places otherwise accessible only through a long chain of universal joints, extensions, and adapters. An alternative is a flex handle, which lacks the ratcheting feature, but has a head which pivots 180 degrees. In addition to the range of sockets mentioned, a rubber-lined spark plug socket should be purchased. As a final note, you will probably find a torque wrench necessary for all but the most basic work. Beam type models are perfectly adequate; although click (breakaway) type models are more precise, they require periodic calibration.

Begin accumulating those tools that are used most frequently: those associated with routine maintenance and tune-up.

In addition to the normal assortment of screwdrivers and pliers, you should have the following tools for routine maintenance:

Metric or SAE/Metric wrenches and sockets, and combination open end/box end wrenches in sizes from 3mm to 19mm. If possible, buy various length socket drive extensions.
Jack and jackstands for support
Oil filter wrench
Oil filler funnel for pouring fluids
Grease gun for chassis lubrication
Hydrometer for checking the battery
A container for draining oil
Many rags for wiping up the inevitable mess

In addition to the above items there are several others that are not absolutely necessary, but handy to have around. These include an oil absorber, a transmission funnel and the usual supply of lubricants, antifreeze and fluids, although these can be purchased as needed. This is a basic list for routine maintenance, but only your personal needs and desires can accurately determine your list of tools.

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Fig. Fig. 1: All but the most basic procedure will require an assortment of ratchets and sockets

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Fig. Fig. 2: In addition to ratchets, a good set of wrenches and hex keys will be necessary

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Fig. Fig. 3: A hydraulic floor jack and a set of jackstands are essential for lifting and supporting the vehicle

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Fig. Fig. 4: An assortment of pliers will be handy, especially for old rusted parts and stripped bolt heads

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Fig. Fig. 5: Various screwdrivers, a hammer, chisels and prybars are handy to keep in your toolbox

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Fig. Fig. 6: Many repairs will require the use of a torque wrench to ensure that components are properly fastened

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Fig. Fig. 7: A few inexpensive lubrication tools will make regular service easier

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Fig. Fig. 8: A good set of tools need not be outrageously expensive

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Fig. Fig. 9: Although not always necessary, using specialized brake tools will save time

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Fig. Fig. 10: Various pullers, clamps and separator tools are needed for the repair of many components

The second list of tools is for tune-ups. While the tools involved here are slightly more sophisticated, they need not be outrageously expensive. There are several inexpensive tach/dwell meters on the market that are every bit as good for the average mechanic as an expensive professional model. A tachometer which can be used on 4, 6 or 8-cylinder engines may be useful if you intend to work on other vehicles; all of the vehicles covered by this repair guide, however, require either a 4 or 6-cylinder setting. Just be sure that the tachometer scale goes to at least 1,200-1,500 rpm.

Although it contains no cylinders, rotary engines require a tachometer suitable for 4-cylinder engines.

A basic list of tune-up equipment could include:

Tach/dwell meter
Timing light. The choice of a timing light should be made carefully. A light which works on DC voltage supplied by the car battery is the best choice; it should have a xenon tube for brightness. Since most late model cars have electronic ignition, and since nearly all cars will have it in the future, the light should have an inductive pickup which clamps around the number one spark plug cable (the timing light illustrated has one of these pickups).
Spark plug socket ( 13 / 16 in. or 5 / 8 in., depending on plug type)
Wire spark plug gauge/adjusting tools
Set of feeler blades. You will need both wire-type and flat-type feeler gauges, the former for the spark plugs and the latter for the valves.

Here again, be guided by your own needs. A feeler blade will set the points as easily as a dwell meter, but slightly less accurately. And since you will need a tachometer anyway... well, make your own decision.

In addition to these basic tools, there are several other tools and gauges you may find useful. These include:

A compression gauge. The screw-in type is slower to use, but eliminates the possibility of a faulty reading due to escaping pressure.
A manifold vacuum gauge
A test light
An induction meter. This is used for determining whether or not there is current in the wire. It is especially handy if a wire is broken somewhere in a wiring harness.
A simple, hand-held vacuum pump. This is used for finding vacuum leaks or inspecting and testing many emission control systems.

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Fig. Fig. 11: Dwell/tachometer unit (design may vary)

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Fig. Fig. 12: Inductive type timing light

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Fig. Fig. 13: Compression gauge and a combination vacuum/fuel pressure test gauge

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Fig. Fig. 14: A variety of tools and gauges is needed for spark plug service