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Mazda Protege5



  • sunbyrnesunbyrne Posts: 210
    Last year on an extended business trip I rented a 2000 Altima and put over 500 miles on it. My overwhelming reaction: BORING. Probably the least interesting car I've ever driven. If the 2001 SE version is a *LOT* more interesting, it might approach my Pro5. Space is fairly comparable. You probably won't get much of a deal on a Pro5, but you can get 0.0 financing on a Pro ES, and I would certainly do that over getting an Altima. I'd consider it a safety measure--I'd probably get killed in an Altima because I'd fall asleep at the wheel... No, seriously, the Altima isn't a bad car at all, I just found it uninteresting.

    Now, Bruno, where are you seeing all these Pro5's in Houston? I've only ever seen one other one--in my parking lot at work, grr--and it's also silver.
  • bluong1bluong1 Posts: 1,927
    Mike, here are places for sight hunting of P5s in action where you may have better luck:

    - Parking spot of my company in Sugar-Land: red
    - Corporate St, Stafford: yellow
    - 59 feeder road @ Sheaper: silver
    - Westheimer@Hilcroft: silver
    - Border book store in Westheimer: black
    - my complex at Stafford: yellow.

    Are you still following me Mike? Probably not. Oh well... ;-)

    Get out and drive.

  • sunbyrnesunbyrne Posts: 210
    Ahh, mostly on the West side. That makes sense, since Jeff Haas is the only dealer that actually seems to have more than one Pro5 around. My haunts are the Rice/Medcen area, Pearland, and Clear Lake. Maybe I'll see some more when I zoom-zoom around the beltway through your neck of the woods back to Jeff Haas to get my deflector installed and my tint done on Monday...

    Hey, speaking of tints, what tint have folks been getting? The darkest we can get in Texas is 35%, but do I really need to go that dark? Bruno, what'd you get? I seem to recall you saying you had the dealer do it, and we have the same dealer...
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Someone on the Protege sedans board owns both a 2000 Altima GXE and a 2000 Protege ES sedan. You might wanna come over and talk to them about the difference between the two cars. That person's screen name is Nikecar.
  • What octane do you use?

    Also...does it hurt if I refill with 92 Octane EVERY time?

    Plus do you recommend Iridium spark plugs in additional to a high flow air filter.

    Share some of you Mod Knowledge!!
  • Thanks for all of your timely replies! The info about the S-plan is very helpful, I didn't even realize it existed. I posted my message on the Protege sedan board and hopefully will get some good input there as well. I'll drive the Altima, but I definitely enjoyed the sporty feel of the P5. Thanks again.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    Funny, but I don't see any difference between your explanation of octane and "resistance to detonation." The higher the octane, the higher resistance to detonation there is. If you put lower octane fuel in a high compression engine, you will get pinging, which is basically predetonation of the fuel before the piston has reach TDC of its compression stroke. If you have fuel that is more resistant to detonation (i.e., higher octane), it won't detonate from the compression and heat, rather by the spark. Either way, the only engine Mazda builds that requires premium fuel is the 2.3L Miller-Cycle V6 from the Millenia S. Funny thing is that the high-performance rotary engine requires an octane rating much lower than what is available, but that is whole different story.

    After driving my '99 Protege ES for 2.5 years now, I have found no difference between premium, midgrade, and regular fuel. Premium fuel produces a slightly (and I mean slightly) smoother idle. Fuel mileage remains the same as regular. Premium is probably better if you keep your engine in the 6,000rpm range, otherwise it is a waste of money. The bottom line is that Mazda engineers designed the engine to run on 87 octane [(R+M)/2 method], and you should stick with that. It runs just fine.

    The owner's manual recommends a minimum octane rating of 91 RON. This is not what is posted on most United States gas pumps. What we see is octane calculated using the (RON + MON)/2 method, or Anti-Knock Index as it is called. Research Octane Number (RON) is a measurement of octane under regular driving (i.e., light engine load). Motor Octane (MON) is a measurement of octane under extreme driving (i.e., heavy engine load). We use the Anti-Knock Index, which is the average between RON and MON. 91 RON is equivalent to 87 Anti-Knock Index. 94 octane, whether it is MON, RON, of Anti-Knock Index, is much higher than what Mazda recommends.
  • bluong1bluong1 Posts: 1,927

    There is no harm using 92 every-time, believe me, accept for your pocket. I use 89-fuel with occasionally (1 over 5 times) 92-fuel. If you live in high altitude, high flow air filter is a must, otherwise I don't think you need them. Spark plugs are important. When you change them, try to replace with the best, since it doesn't cost much more and it warrant the smoothness of your engine. It just one person opinion.


    you are right, if your definition of "detonation" includes the molecules breaking phenomenon, than "resistance to detonation" is the right word. The manual recomended MINIMUM 91 RON, that means any fuel having more than 91 will do fine, including the regular fuel and the premium one that Jon are using. My point is the low mpg Jon get may not due to the fuel, as you also pointed out above. It must due to something else. IMHO, the criminal is probably not spark plugs, but a dirty air filter, defected computer, leak of fuel, or simply Jon has a heavy right foot! As I said, I average about 28mpg with my P5, without managing much at red light. The rotary engine has very very low compression ratio by design, that's why you can use regular fuel.

    I don't remember what is the degree of tints of my car. I'll figure it out tomorrow.

  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    In the Protege, it is quite easy to get terrible mileage. I've been through tanks where I've only managed about 19-20mpg. Of course, that's taking the engine near redline with every shift and driving up to the speed limiter (very disappointing 119mph!). But, I have also found that tire pressure can greatly affect fuel mileage. Everytime I take the car into the dealership for maintenance, they reset the tire pressure back to the factory recommended 32psi. However, I don't have factory tires on the car (those awful Potenza's don't last, you guys are lucky with your Dunlop's), I have 205/50R15 Nitto NT450 "Extreme Performance" tires and 32psi is entirely too low for them. With them set at 32psi, I can't achieve anything higher than 25mpg!! I can't imagine his air filer would be that dirty with such a new vehicle, but it wouldn't hurt to check. Something large sucked onto the filter can really block air flow.

    BTW, I have 100% fully metallized titanium tint on my ES. They are 33% on the front windows, and 25% on the rears. They really cut down on the heat and glare. I have a full lifetime warranty on them against fading, discoloration, and delamination. It was a bit expensive at $260, but I have been extremely happy with them; I've had the tint for over two years now.
  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    119 mph!

    I am sure you did this on a test track? ;-)
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    Looking back, I probably should have. But, I was lured into a race with a Mustang GT ('94 or '95 5.0) and Porsche 944 Turbo. I found out several things that day. The 944 Turbo is an amazingly fast car and I think he was just toying with the Mustang and I that day. The Mustang GT is quick up to highway speeds, but the 5.0L runs out of breath at those speeds while the Protege's DOHC is just getting into it's sweet zone. Oh, and another thing... The Protege ES handles amazingling well over 100mph. :-0
  • elec3elec3 Posts: 160
    I'm not exactly sure what my fuel economy has been but it seems pretty average. All my driving is around town in stop and go driving, a real mileage killer. It seems that I've also been getting 270-290 miles before the fuel light comes on. Today the light came on, I drove maybe 2 miles and then stopped for gas. 12.006 gallons filled it up, so that should give you some idea of how many gallons you have left once that light comes on. The only real way to test is to set one of the trip odos and run it out of gas (keep a couple gallons in the trunk) but this isn't terribly good for your engine so I'll let someone else try it ;) I have a 1500 mile trip coming up that is all highway driving at 55-80 mph and will mostly be done with cruise on so I'll let everyone know what type of mileage I'm getting under those conditions. I use regular gas, 87 octane gas/ethanol blend in the Chicago area and 86 octane in New Mexico (perhaps because of the elevation over 4000 feet).

    As for tint, I'm really torn. My car is titled and licensed in Illinois which has pretty strict tint laws but the P5 and I spend 9 months of the year at school in New Mexico where the tint laws are extremely generous (anyone who has ever been under the New Mexico summer sun knows why). I'd love to get some metallic or mirrored silver tint to match the paint on my silver P5 but the stupid laws have me worried. BTW, I found this page with tint laws for every state. Be sure to read the disclaimer at the top before you run out for tint.

    119? Wow. I still wonder what this car would be capable of with a chip or turbo but haven't really heard anything about either.

  • elec3elec3 Posts: 160
    Hope this will be of use to some folks out there looking to screw around with the stereo in their P5s :) I must give credit to phoenixmp5 on this forum for his invaluable assistance. Without his starting point I wouldn't have all this info to share.

    Things you will need:
    Phillips screwdriver
    Small flathead screwdriver or pocket knife
    Bag, box, or can to hold fasteners while you work
    No less than 2 hours

    Things you may need (I did):
    Wire cutters/strippers
    Speaker wire
    Electrical tape
    Krazy glue (just in case)

    So you wanna take your doors apart? It could be because you're looking to replace the mediocre rear speakers or because you're looking to install a subwoofer and need to tap the rear speaker wires for a signal. Here's how to do it.

    Start by opening your door, locating and removing all visible fasteners. These are: a smallish plastic screw below and to the right of the door lock button, a metal screw (which I believe is diagonally mounted) inside the door handle (the one you pull to open/unlatch the door), and two plastic rivets in the rear-facing side of the door. These are slightly tricky because they are mounted flush into the door panel and can be identified as a round button with a ring around it. Pry the head of the rivet out with a flathead screwdriver or pocket knife and pull the top of the rivet to full extension, then remove the rivet from the door frame.

    Remove the cover of the armrest/door handle. I want to be very clear here, I incorrectly thought the entire armrest/handle was removable and it is NOT, so please do not try to pull it clear, you may succeed (thankfully I did not). You should be able to see a line running across the top and inside of the armrest. This is where the decorative facing seperates from the rigid handle underneath. The best way to remove the facing is to grasp the armrest/handle with one hand and curl the fingertips of the other hand underneath the thinner side of the facing that goes towards the front of the car and give it a reasonable pull. If at any time you are pulling on the entire armrest/handle, STOP, you screwed up :) Think removing a facing from the actual handle and you'll be fine. Once the facing is off, remove the two screws you find underneath it. Set all important screws, fasteners, and other parts aside so you don't lose them.

    You are now ready to remove the door panel. STOP. If you have not removed all the fasteners above, do not pull on the door panel. Your door panel will give long before a metal screw will. It helps to understand that the door panel looks like two pieces but is actually only one piece and is constructed of rigid molded plastic and what appears to be rigid molded fiberglass. The best approach is to be firm but not forceful. Start by pulling at the front to bottom front section of the door panel. This part of the panel is attached to the door by simple PVC plastic pop rivets (I think three or 4) and should pull clear with just a bit of effort. Now on to the bottom of the door. This part of the panel is held in place by round PVC buttons which socket into plastic C shaped holders in the door panel. There may be a more elegant solution but simply pulling the bottom of the door panel away from the door will with a bit of force should pop it loose. Continue across the bottom from front to back and up the back side of the door. These fasteners continue to about the rear-middle of the door panel. There are 3 or 4 of them.

    The panel should now be fully unfastened and ready to be removed. It is important to know that the door handle/release that you removed the single screw from in the beginning and the push button lock are parts of the door frame, not the door panel and are not removed. The plastic door panel lifts up and over the door lock button and the door release passes through its opening in the door panel. The door panel should now be completely clear of the frame except for the plastic wiring harness for the power windows. This unplugs much as you would expect it to and should be pretty familiar to anyone who has worked with PC power supplies. At this point you can lift the door panel clear and take a look at the speaker.

    The rear speakers are mounted at the bottom front of the door frame with 3 phillips screws. You can easily remove the screws and speakers and pull them slightly clear of the door frame. All the wires within the frame are electrical taped together and run behind a sheet of plastic that is stuck to the frame with a black goop, presumably to shield the inside of the door from water. You should have access to at least enough wire at the speaker to see what you're doing. The speaker has a connector similar to the one for the power window. You can release the speaker connector by depressing the slanted plastic tab inside the connector with the flathead screwdriver or pocket knife and then pulling the connector clear.

    At this point you're home free and can either simply plug in the new speakers if they use the same plug or, if not, cut the connector, strip the wires, and connect the new speaker. I leave that part to you. I left the factory speakers and spliced the wires for a subwoofer signal connection. For both rear speakers, + (signal) is sort of a pinkish color and negative (ground) is yellow with a black stripe. This was a lucky guess on my part after remembering that when proper electical standards are followed, the negative wire is always indicated (the stripe).

    Your door goes back together much the opposite of how it was disassembled. Screw the speaker back in. Make sure the door lock button is in its clip. Plug the power window wires back in to the panel. Place the door panel over the lock button. Pull the door release handle back through its hole in the panel. Pop the rivets back in. Replace the screws and plastic rivets. Replace the door armrest facing. The only part I'm not totally sure about is getting the PVC buttons at the bottom of the door back into their C collars. The C collars all seem to face different directions and I can't quite figure out how to get them all back on but the door functions fine otherwise. If anyone knows how to do this, feel free to comment. That's all there is to it!

    Free extra: If you aren't replacing the speakers and only need to splice wires, it may be possible to do so without removing the door panels. Open your rear door and locate a ridged rubber tube running between the door frame and the car body. You can remove either end of this for access to the wires for power windows, locks, and the speaker. The door side is easy, it's a simple rubber gasket that you can pry out or can pull out with your hands. The car body side is a bit tougher. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry the rubber cover completely off of the squarish plastic wiring harness. Pull the green button out a bit until you can see the small tabs on either side of it. Press these tabs together and pull the button, then harness
  • elec3elec3 Posts: 160
    clear of the socket in the car body. Using this method (from either side) you may have a hard time getting enough length of wire to splice as all excess is taped together and stuffed inside the door but it can be done. Positive for the speaker is (still) pink and negative is yellow with a black stripe. Both are run next to one another into the plastic harness so they should be easy to locate. After splicing you can run the new wire down through the hole in the door hinge so the wire doesn't get crushed. Then either pop the rubber gasket back into place (on the door side) or push the green button back in, replace the rubber wiring harness cover, and push the harness back into the socket in the car body (on the car side). I wouldn't say I highly recommend this method but it's workable if you're afraid of dismantling your door.

    And a final free tip: If you need to run a wire from the car cabin into the engine compartment, to run a wire off of your battery for good power for a sub for example, this can be accomplished by locating the rubber grommet in the firewall. Adjust the driver's seat back all the way and lay on the floor so you face the firewall which is above the pedals and behind the steering column. You'll find a diamond shaped piece of plastic behind the black sound insulation. You should be able to remove this and gain a pass through into the engine compartment but it was extremely tight and I gave up. Next to this, however, is a rubber grommet through which all the important accessory wiring is run from the fusebox inside the cabin to the battery. It is small and round on the cabin side and larger and oval on the engine compartment side. You can either poke a hole in the grommet with an awl or knife, being careful not to sever any wires or use the flathead screwdriver (again) to pry one side of the grommet away enough to pass a wire or two through. The grommet fits very tight and should keep a good seal even with a wire passed through outside of it.

    I'd like to apologize to everyone for the extreme length of this post and the technical (boring) nature of it but it was the only way to share all of this information with people who are likely to want and use it. I wish I'd had a walkthrough this detailed BEFORE I set out to do this, but I'm glad I now have all this info to share with fellow P5 lovers. Enjoy folks, maybe I'll wash my P5 tomorrow and get a few pics of it and my sub up to check out :)
  • Thanks bro for the information!.. look forward to replacing my speakers soon as I get my car and this walkthrough will be a big help!.

  • Elec3,

    Glad to hear of your victory.
  • Just picked up a silver Pro5. Got it for $200 under invoice. My other car is a 1999 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS, and the Protege actually feels stiffer! The engine is obviously down on power, but the car is nimble. I got a lot of existing/future information from my salesman, so if anyone has a question, I will be happy to answer if I can. Love the car - nice looks, plenty of room, and sporty.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    How did you negotiate that price?

    Best I've been quoted is 4% over invoice on a 5-speed with no options. ($17,468. w/ dest.)
  • sunbyrnesunbyrne Posts: 210
    elec3, thanks for the detailed info on speaker replacement. I might give it a whirl, as I'm none to impressed with the stock speakers.

    What size will the Pro5 take in the doors, 6 1/2? Or was it 6 x 8? I'd guess someone has said before but I can't remember.
  • elec3elec3 Posts: 160
    Unfortunately I don't know the exact sizes though I can tell you the rear speakers are round while the front ones are oval shaped. Some have said that you can replace the speakers with ones not exactly the same size as the originals and also that you might have a hard time finding replacements because the screw holes line up sorta funky.

    Sorry I can't be more precise, I'd be replacing my speakers now if it wasn't for the fact that I have a $2000+ cash outlay coming up in about a week for school :( Easy come, easy go.
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