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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    They aren't damping things as well as they used to, and you're hearing the result.

    And before Raymond rears up and starts crying "PROBLEM! PROBLEM!", I'll note that struts are a WEAR ITEM.

  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    And we know your struts have taken quite bit over the years!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Is that some kind of reference to my weight, Mr. Wild? Now, is that nice? Play nice, kiddo, or I may have Larry drive over to your place and dump a 55-gallon drum of Sawmill Gravy in your swimming pool.


    (Humorous Content Disclaimer to all Town Hall Members: Raymond and I know each other. We're kidding. Relax. And btw, Larry manages a Cracker Barrel Restaurant, if you're wondering about the Sawmill Gravy.)

    Struts normally last about this long, from what I've experienced. By the way, another reason I'll be trading the Protege next year is, I don't want to go through the (normal but expensive) CV Joint replacement around 100,000 miles.

  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    Can't say thay I replaced struts on any of my cars, even the ones I've kept to 120k miles. Probably should have, but never did. I've only replaced one CV joint, and that was on my Chevy Citation when I was 17.

    Oh, and Pool will be open Saturday, so bring on the Sawmill Gravy!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    The car really isn't driving any differently than it has before; I can just hear this vague clunking noise when I encounter a rough spot in the road and I'm driving slowly. (The road near our house has a downhill S-curve that you have to take at about 20 mph, and the edges and center of it have been eaten up by truck traffic -- you can't avoid one side's torn-up pavement without hitting the other side's. So I'm constantly taking this torn-up pavement with my wheels at a fairly sharp angle and the car leaning one way or the other. That's the only place I've been hearing this.)

    And yes, I'll be the first to admit that I've been rougher on this car than I would've been with a car that didn't just beg to be tossed around like the Protege does. The fact that this car has gone four years and 75K miles with constant near-red-lining, tire-limit-testing off-ramp speeds and general zoominess with no ill effects is one of several reasons I'm sold on Mazda.

    Takes a booming and keeps on zooming, eh?

  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    To give ya'al a heads up about my problems:

    Mazda is covering the parts [$250 -- master cyl and brake fluid]; I'm "responsible" for $170 labor to diagnose and install. The part most likely failed about 4 months ago before the last dealer service, but may not have been caught OR after service -- as the dealer claims; but I think less likely because there are telltale signs of accumulated fluid-grime under and around the power brake unit. It is hard to prove the date. I'm still working things out with the service dept. My '01 ES has only 46K miles. I'm a little worried but not too much.

    Another problem discovered -- however minor -- was also found by myself: The left headlight bulb popped out of the spring-loaded socket assembly. My wife noticed that the left headlight was pointing up while I was following her to the dealer. It was a genuine pain to "pop" it back in place.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I have been hanging around Edmunds, and especially on the Protege discussions, since May 2000. In four years I have NEVER heard of this problem. Looks like you got the master cylinder that was installed before the guy punched out at 5:01 p.m. on the day of the big Mazda Employee Dinner and Brouhaha over in Hiroshima.

    Or more likely, the recalled, Ford-built installation robot was replaced by a Mazda-built one right after your car rolled to the next stop on the assembly line.

    Don't sweat it. The new one will probably go forever. But in the very least, you've got a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty on the new one.

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    >> I can just hear this vague clunking noise when I encounter a rough spot in the road and I'm driving slowly<<<

    my Protege is also showing the exact same symptoms, at 56,500 miles.

    I wonder if this is covered under the total care extended warranty from Mazda.
  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    Ya... I won't sweat it. This is my 3rd, new Mazda. I sold my last Protege (1995 ES) with 95K miles on her; I never had a single breakdown or non-wear part failure! In fact my wife and I are considering the MZ6 Wagon late this year to replace an aging 1995 Camry.

    My 1995 Pro ES had no problems with the struts/shocks up until she was sold. I DID have the clutch shutter/judder problem but it never affected operation of the car. The front brakes also "clunked" due to a poor design in the caliper brake sleeves; Again this never affected operation of the car.

  • barich1barich1 Posts: 48
    I think that your clunking problems are most likely sway bar bushings. My parents have two 626s and they both needed sway bar bushings at around that mileage. Same clunking, no other noticeable symptoms.
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    It's Tuesday, so it's Mazda chat time again. Drag a friend along tonight!

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  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    That is a great tag line!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Chris ... Thanks for the info. About how much were those bushings to replace?

    Martin ... Wow, your story sounds strangely familiar. This isn't my first Mazda, or Protege, either. In fact it's my third (or my fourth if you count my wife's 2002 Protege5, which I own by association, lol). My first, a 1992 LX automatic (they didn't come in ES trim then; LX was top of the line) died an early death at 28K miles in a hydroplaning accident. My second Protege was another 1992 LX, this time a 5-speed. Same clutch-chatter thing! Anyway it went 83,000 trouble-free miles, clutch chatter and all. I bought my current Protege, a 2000 ES 5-speed, on May 24, 2000. (We Protege lovers remember our cars' birthdays, don't we?) I'm just a smidge past 75,500 miles right now. I've just made the decision to trade my Protege for a Mazda3S 5-door next May to coincide with avoiding my next state inspection and to get out of the car before my 100,000-mile extended warranty expires. I should be in the low 90Ks by then.

    Nik ... Good question on whether the extended "Easy Care" warranty would cover those bushings. I'll have to get out my literature and take a look. I have a feeling they're going to be listed under "wear items" but it's worth a look. I have a $50 deductible on the warranty, which beats any repair bill these days.

  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009
    Well, if y'all had been at chat last night, you would know that nothing happened to my car this week, for a change. :P

    Still starts right up, despite its series of unfortunate events. ;)
  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    Well, good news. My brake master cylinder has been replaced out-of-warranty. My dealer's service mgr goodwilled the labor (due to some unusual service mistakes) and Mazda NAO picked up the parts.

    Mechanic still left some brake-fluid grime on vac hoses/lines and parts under the PBU, but still a good job.

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    Hello, Mazda owners! I'm considering buying a 1994 Mazda Protege AT with 114,000 miles for my son who is coming home from Europe in a couple of months. I have owned a 1988 Mazda 323 and he had a terrific 1990 626 hatchback that he sold before he went to Europe, still running fine at 165,000 miles. Any of you still have older Proteges out there? Have they held up well? He just needs a cheap reliable car he can drive for a year or so before he takes off somewhere else. Thanks for your suggestions!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    My 1992 LX was running fine at 83,000 miles when I traded it in 10 years ago.

    My current car is a 2000 Protege ES with 75,000 miles on it, running fine.

    Can you find one newer than 10 years old though?

  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    Hi all, have been a past participant in this forum, and still read it weekly, well....ok almost daily... :-) Have had 3 Pros over the years, but now the only one is my 22 year old daughter's 2002 LX. I am about to embark on a cross country trip in this car with her, (bringing her back home to Tucson, from Detroit)and have several questions for you knowledgable folks.

    First, the car has about 45,000 miles (I think) and hasn't had spark plugs or wires replaced. I know from personal history, that the wires can be an least they were on her 1996 LX. We will have only a few hours to pack up her car and get on the road Monday after I arrive by we change them out, or wait till we get to Tucson, and I have my tools and other resources. (we have no tools or even covered parking in the apt complex she is leaving in Detroit). I could bring some tools on the plane, if someone can advise exactly what tools are needed. The car has been running fine lately, and she even commented on getting 30 MPG on the last tank.

    Second, can anyone from around the Detroit area recommend the best roads to take to begin the trip....AAA office provided trip-tik showing I75 south to almost Dayton, then I70 west to St. Louis. The web based AAA trip-tik suggests taking I94 to somewhere near Chicago, then south on I 57. Anyone have local experience with these roads? Is one way less congested or less construction? Thanks for any and all advice

  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,322
    It always seems busy around there whenever I drive up. I've driven I-75 between Cincinnati and Detroit several times. South of Detroit, it's pretty open. There is currently construction work on the I-75/I-70 interchange, but traffic is still open in all directions as they build the new ramps.

    So far as the wires and plugs, you'll need a metric socket set (I forget the size for the ones that hold down the coil-over plug packs, but it's a small one, like 9 or 10mm), including a deep one designed for spark plugs (metric) and an extension (those plugs are in deep) of at least 3 inches in length. Get some anti-seize compound for use on the threads of the new plugs to help removing them when it's time to replace those. And have a gapping tool to verify the spark plug gaps. The ones I buy from Mazda (NGKs, I think) come pre-gapped and have a shipping cardboard tube around the terminals to protect them.

    FWIW, I replaced my plugs at 30k miles, but am still on the original wires at 52k miles. I plan to change both at 60k miles. I'm averaging 31mpg on my '99 ProLX with the 1.6L engine and AT in mostly local driving. No symptoms of worn wires yet.
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