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Discussion Starter #1
So last night I noticed the Volume nob on my commander switched seemed shorter than it usually was, a few minutes later I noticed that the favorites button and back button were Sunk into the Trim panel that they stick out of... :taz:

I had taken apart the panel with the cup holders recently so I figured maybe something had gotten loose. So I took it apart and brought it inside for closer inspection.....



The shiny part on the left has 4 screw holes and it screws right into the Trim panel with the cup holders.

The Commander switch itself, on the right is secured to the plastic Trim part on the left by 3 small plastic clips

There are two fairly strong clips in the upper Left and upper Right side of the Commander switch. However, the third clip is quite small compared to the others, it is located near the bottom center, and it is the only thing supporting the commander switch when you put pressure on the lower buttons.

I marked the three clips in this pic:


What I discovered was that the small weaker clip at the bottom had broken, which is why the buttons were Sinking into the trim panel because there is NOTHING else to support it but the other two clips.... :taz: :censored 1: :ninja 1: :death:

Here's pic of the clip that broke off....


And just so you understand how the trim fits on:


Those three clips are the only thing holding the Commander switch to that black panel, the panel is held to the larger Trim panel by screws. Below the commander switch, there is a cable that plugs into it and empty space, so when you push down, all the pressure is on those three clips. :no:


Now, I can't entirely blame Mazda because when I was working inside below where the cup holders are, I actually left the commander switch plugged in, so the clip was getting pulled by the cable and the weight of the panel.... :whistling 1: :cry: I was just trying to save some time cause I was just doing something real quick... but still I figured it would be strong enough to hold together....

However, now that I know what the issue is and how weak the clip looks, it seems like it's almost inevitable that the clip is going to break after a few years of pressing buttons....

But I may be wrong....

BUUUUT, now that you guys know, at least you can try and put less pressure on the bottom while you are using the car, because if you use it too often or put too much pressure, it may break fairly quickly and I don't know if it will be covered by warranty.....

I'm probably gunna use some double sided sticky pads to fix it, although that may not be as solid as having a strong plastic clip :no:

....too bad : (
 

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I usually do a lot of wiring stuff on my cars, but after modifying many of them, I have some basic rules. I never take apart the center console or the dash if at all possible. These are not items that are designed to be removed and they will never be the same, or as tight, if you do take them apart. So I'll go out of my way to find other solutions. The panels in the driver/passenger footwells are designed to be removed and many of them have hand screw attachments. If a part is only held on with screws, like the upper console, you can remove that. Remember that if parts are held on only by compression clips, they will never be the same after they have been removed once and you will get rattles and noise. This is a new car and I don't want rattles and noise. I've wired in front sensors, USB power outlets, radar detector, Homelink mirror, phone cords, amp cables, etc., and have not broken my rules. It can be done.

That said, it is good to hear the warning which only confirms my experience over the years.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I usually do a lot of wiring stuff on my cars, but after modifying many of them, I have some basic rules. I never take apart the center console or the dash if at all possible. These are not items that are designed to be removed and they will never be the same, or as tight, if you do take them apart. So I'll go out of my way to find other solutions. The panels in the driver/passenger footwells are designed to be removed and many of them have hand screw attachments. If a part is only held on with screws, like the upper console, you can remove that. Remember that if parts are held on only by compression clips, they will never be the same after they have been removed once and you will get rattles and noise. This is a new car and I don't want rattles and noise. I've wired in front sensors, USB power outlets, radar detector, Homelink mirror, phone cords, amp cables, etc., and have not broken my rules. It can be done.

That said, it is good to hear the warning which only confirms my experience over the years.
Yea, no doubt its a safe bet to avoid the clips not fitting the same way. It just sucks cause it wasn't even something I was working on....

Buuut I guess I'm happier that it happened now rather than in 1 year after the clip wore out from constant use... that is, if it was gunna happen no matter what.... Cause now I can just fix it so it wont happen again.

Sticky pads are a no go though, im considering something else, possibly a single small screw.

It would suck though if this happened in 1 or 2 years..... I hope it doesn't happen to you guys, especially since you've seen this thread, just know that its like a ticking time bomb if it does actually break...

I was thinking about how the buttons may not need to be pressed that hard, but the Center Nob, when you pull it down, or push it Left or Right, that actually takes a bit of force put on ALL three clips, and when you go into settings you basically are forced to use the center nob directions....

I'm really curious to see how long it will last for other people, maybe in a year or two mazda will have a bunch of complaints about broken Commander Switches..... :ninja 1:
 

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Yea, no doubt its a safe bet to avoid the clips not fitting the same way. It just sucks cause it wasn't even something I was working on....

Buuut I guess I'm happier that it happened now rather than in 1 year after the clip wore out from constant use... that is, if it was gunna happen no matter what.... Cause now I can just fix it so it wont happen again.

Sticky pads are a no go though, im considering something else, possibly a single small screw.

It would suck though if this happened in 1 or 2 years..... I hope it doesn't happen to you guys, especially since you've seen this thread, just know that its like a ticking time bomb if it does actually break...

I was thinking about how the buttons may not need to be pressed that hard, but the Center Nob, when you pull it down, or push it Left or Right, that actually takes a bit of force put on ALL three clips, and when you go into settings you basically are forced to use the center nob directions....

I'm really curious to see how long it will last for other people, maybe in a year or two mazda will have a bunch of complaints about broken Commander Switches..... :ninja 1:
These types of plastic connections weaken dramatically the first time they are moved because the plastic is not designed to be flexible. If you look at this type of plastic under a microscope, you will see stress lines form the first time something is removed. It is a little more flexible when warmer and a little more brittle when cool. So when you put it back on, even if it isn't broken, it will lose its holding power. The same is true for the clips that hold door panels on. When I've installed new speakers in doors, I always replace all of those clips so I won't get rattles. The clips that are designed to be removed have center plugs that you pull up first. They are made of a more flexible plastic compound as well. If you remove the clips/pins that aren't designed to be removed a second time, it weakens the connection even more.

On older cars, we had panels that were held on by screws. On my Porsches, everything was attached with screws and not clips. They don't build them like that anymore except on the super expensive custom models.

Given my experience, I don't think that plastic connection will break in the future under normal use. However, if you and your partner use the front seat instead of the back seat for your activities, there might be more than normal pressure on all of your "commander" buttons.
 

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I agree what Nvoll said. Dont fix it if it aint broke. If Mazda gets a lot of warranty claims on this, they will fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
These types of plastic connections weaken dramatically the first time they are moved because the plastic is not designed to be flexible. If you look at this type of plastic under a microscope, you will see stress lines form the first time something is removed. It is a little more flexible when warmer and a little more brittle when cool. So when you put it back on, even if it isn't broken, it will lose its holding power. The same is true for the clips that hold door panels on. When I've installed new speakers in doors, I always replace all of those clips so I won't get rattles. The clips that are designed to be removed have center plugs that you pull up first. They are made of a more flexible plastic compound as well. If you remove the clips/pins that aren't designed to be removed a second time, it weakens the connection even more.

On older cars, we had panels that were held on by screws. On my Porsches, everything was attached with screws and not clips. They don't build them like that anymore except on the super expensive custom models.

Given my experience, I don't think that plastic connection will break in the future under normal use. However, if you and your partner use the front seat instead of the back seat for your activities, there might be more than normal pressure on all of your "commander" buttons.
lawl... yea, and I dunno how much pressure was on there when it was being pulled by the connector that plugs into the commander switch, I may have jolted it or something.....

still, I would think the engineers would have put at least Two clips to be safe, but I don't think they realized that all the pressure would be going on a single clip when they designed it.

Here's a different angle of where the clip is:



You can see it was a pretty clean cut where the plastic broke, and when you think about it, everytime you hit that giant Favorites button next to it, all the pressure gets put on that plastic.

It may last a while, I can't say for sure, but I bet that plastic will be tired after 5 years.....

I had a 2007 Focus before I got this car, and after having it since 2010 with 100k miles on it I think, two of the handles snapped on the doors on the inside, there was a piece of white metal that broke. Not to mention the shitty plastic knob that controlled the direction of the AC, that broke Twice......

Fortunatley though, I'm almost done fixing my commander switch, I got a strip of white metal with holes punched in it that im gunna band the Commander button in, and use the screws that are already part of the Trim to hold it all in place :cheesy:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree what Nvoll said. Dont fix it if it aint broke. If Mazda gets a lot of warranty claims on this, they will fix it.
Well yea, naw Im not saying there should be a recall, or that anyone should fix it, just a warning not to put too much pressure on it cause it may break....
 

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I had the same clip break when I was templating for my wooden centre piece. I bent a piece of aluminum flat stock to go from screw to screw to support the switch assembly. A similar bracket supports it in its new home.

 

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I had the same clip break when I was templating for my wooden centre piece. I bent a piece of aluminum flat stock to go from screw to screw to support the switch assembly. A similar bracket supports it in its new home.
Lol, sounds almost exactly like what I just got finished doing.... :cheesy:

Here was my solution, fits snug and works perfect:



This should last for the next 10 years :cheesy: haha...

Yea that red looks sick, I been thinken about adding some red LEDs to light up my commander switch now that I've taken it apart so much.... I was lucky I had this metal sitting around or I'd be screwed.

Works great though! Glad that is all fixed.... :cheesy: :banana 1: :ninja 1: :death:
 

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I haven't removed any panels on the car, but I have a very annoying vibration that's coming from the upper panel, the one shown in the photos. If I put hand pressure on it the vibration stops, but I need to find a permanent solution. The service manual says to "pull up" on the panel starting from the back near the console. Is it that easy, or do you need a screwdriver or other tool to wedge it up? I may not proceed with this, but I have to find a solution of some kind.
 

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I haven't removed any panels on the car, but I have a very annoying vibration that's coming from the upper panel, the one shown in the photos. If I put hand pressure on it the vibration stops, but I need to find a permanent solution. The service manual says to "pull up" on the panel starting from the back near the console. Is it that easy, or do you need a screwdriver or other tool to wedge it up? I may not proceed with this, but I have to find a solution of some kind.
It's just that easy, just give it a nice pull and it will come up, no screwdriver or wedge needed.
 

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Well, this explains why my buttons get stuck pressed down sometimes.

I guess I can stop beating up my coworker everyday for spilling soda in my car that 1 time (it didn't get near the commander unit, but it got close enough :p)



This thread has inspired me to go ahead and try to make a carbon fiber version to replace the black gloss cover.
Now I just need the motivation to actually sit down and do it.

Also, I might hold off on doing it until I have all the extra controllers I'll end up getting for exterior lighting and my airbag suspension.
I'm getting totally excited/stoked!!!!

The ball is in your court now Oracle and AccuAir, hurry up and make 2014 Mazda 3 specific components.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I haven't removed any panels on the car, but I have a very annoying vibration that's coming from the upper panel, the one shown in the photos. If I put hand pressure on it the vibration stops, but I need to find a permanent solution. The service manual says to "pull up" on the panel starting from the back near the console. Is it that easy, or do you need a screwdriver or other tool to wedge it up? I may not proceed with this, but I have to find a solution of some kind.
It is SUPER easy to take off. I have done it MANY times, but I wouldn't just "PULL UP" as it says, it will be easier to pull up at an angle towards the front of the car.

Here's the pics from the manual:




I usually start with my thumbs on the inside of the console and I pull up and forward, assuming you put the parking break up and unzipped it first.

Pull it up and forward, and it will come off no problem, and its easy to put back on too...

ONE WARNING THOUGH, it may be hard to get the part closer to the front off, in my car its attached to another panel that covers the shifter, that panel may come off of its spot and stay attached to the upper panel, in my car its a separate piece and should come off easy.

There are several clips when you put it back on though, they keep everything aligned right, so be careful that they all go in their spots or you could break one if its hanging over the edge...
 

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It is SUPER easy to take off. I have done it MANY times, but I wouldn't just "PULL UP" as it says, it will be easier to pull up at an angle towards the front of the car.

Here's the pics from the manual:




I usually start with my thumbs on the inside of the console and I pull up and forward, assuming you put the parking break up and unzipped it first.

Pull it up and forward, and it will come off no problem, and its easy to put back on too...

ONE WARNING THOUGH, it may be hard to get the part closer to the front off, in my car its attached to another panel that covers the shifter, that panel may come off of its spot and stay attached to the upper panel, in my car its a separate piece and should come off easy.

There are several clips when you put it back on though, they keep everything aligned right, so be careful that they all go in their spots or you could break one if its hanging over the edge...
Many thanks for the detailed procedure. Now if I can just solve my vibration issue without creating a new one in the process.
 

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this happened to me once. I pressed the volume down for Mute function and the ass just dropped. Snapped it back in place that same evening and today it dropped again. I'm going to have Mazda fix it during my next service. I was shocked that it's not held in by those screws, but only tabs.
 

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It is SUPER easy to take off. I have done it MANY times, but I wouldn't just "PULL UP" as it says, it will be easier to pull up at an angle towards the front of the car.

Here's the pics from the manual:

I usually start with my thumbs on the inside of the console and I pull up and forward, assuming you put the parking break up and unzipped it first.

Pull it up and forward, and it will come off no problem, and its easy to put back on too...

ONE WARNING THOUGH, it may be hard to get the part closer to the front off, in my car its attached to another panel that covers the shifter, that panel may come off of its spot and stay attached to the upper panel, in my car its a separate piece and should come off easy.

There are several clips when you put it back on though, they keep everything aligned right, so be careful that they all go in their spots or you could break one if its hanging over the edge...
Stop being so awesome with all your awesome pictures!!! Lmao.
Seriously, I would love it if you could upload the entire manual.

Good to know though as far as the tip on "pulling" on it.
 

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this happened to me once. I pressed the volume down for Mute function and the ass just dropped. Snapped it back in place that same evening and today it dropped again. I'm going to have Mazda fix it during my next service. I was shocked that it's not held in by those screws, but only tabs.
Hello,

Did Mazda fix it under your warranty or did you have to pay anything?

Joey
 
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