After my Mazda maintenance story hit Answers of the Day yesterday (not even sure how, as the work wasn't done as warranty, and I posted the story as a reply to someone's legitimate submission), I decided Oppo deserves a follow-up.

Today I finally had some free time, so I decided to check underneath the hood (haven't had a chance to since getting it back from the shop). Long story short, since getting my shift linkages replaced, I've had multiple shifting issues. The shifter almost feels like it has a bind in it. It doesn't always go into gear, and it pretty much will NOT go into reverse unless the car is off.

I popped the hood to inspect the new linkages, and I found this:

(ignore the mud. I have to drive down a lot of forest service roads).

What's that?

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I don't think that's Mazda-OEM. Could be wrong though... Upon further inspection, it's a magnetic screw-finder thing! (non-telescoping. The wire is malleable, and can be bent way out of shape). Definitely not OEM, must be aftermarket. 2+ HP!

Oddly enough, I don't remember my hydraulic fluid reservoir (used for clutch and brakes) being held together by zip ties. Could be wrong though.

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Also, I'm clearly missing my battery tie-down. That thing has more wiggle room than... well, let's not go there.

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There's also this wire. It's incredibly crimped. I'm surprised if it's actually sending a good signal. Could be responsible for my intermittent CEL.

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Last but not least, all the screws that hold my car's nose on are missing! Save weight, bro!

I'll get new clips this weekend, then try and figure out why my reservoir now requires zip ties. On the shifting issue: With the car off (obviously), I can get it into any gear with the shifter, or by manually moving the linkages under the hood. This tells me there's no bind in the linkages, or anything screwy in the transmission itself. So now I'll have to start diagnosing clutch issues. My bet is clutch hydraulics (most likely slave cylinder). Seems to me like the clutch isn't fully disengaging when the pedal is on the floor, so I'm relying entirely on the synchros to get it in gear.