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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • bdkaybdkay Posts: 6
    My 2003 Mazda Protege (manual transmission) did not present with acceleration problems but it did have the check engine light come on for 2 years before the problem was nailed down.

    All the stuff you are talking about is good stuff to do. We had all that and more done. At the end the car was really sucking gas - do you have the problem - and running rough. If yours is doing the same have the fuel injectors checked as this was the final solution to our problem. One bum injector and possibley three more. Mechanics also asked if we had been using cheap gas as that will gum up an injector. Have you been using cheap gas?

    Five months later and the car is running like a young hot rod after the repair. Good luck and let me know.
  • I read in this forum about another situation where a Mazda was running hot but there wasn't a post where it was mentioned exactly what had caused the problem or how to fully resolve it, so I am asking for help in that regard.

    The guage on my car will go to H (all the way up) UNLESS I am running my heater all the way on 4. The mechanic says I have no radiator issues, fan issues, or gasket issues. He says "the thermometer might be sticking". Does that sound right? If it was "sticking", wouldn't it stay "stuck" instead of moving up only when the car is moving? I am worried that I am somehow damaging my car by continuing to drive it while that needle is on H.

    If anyone else has this problem and have continued to drive on H, has it damaged your car?

    If it actually "stuck" how can I get it fixed so it works properly? The mechanic didn't offer any options there.

    Thank you,
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    If it actually "stuck" how can I get it fixed so it works properly? The mechanic didn't offer any options there.

    Curious. Didn't the mechanic suggest a new thermostat? You may want to take it to another garage for a second opinion.
  • spetz, this is a known problem that can be fixed. there is a mazda TSB (Technical Service Bulletin). I suggest taking it to a reputable shop who has access to mazda TSBs, or to a dealer. I recall there are DIY instructions online somewhere if you're so inclined.
  • I suspect your mechanic is right.

    You're right to be concerned about driving when the temperature is H. Don't do it!

    Have the thermostat replaced, it should not be expensive. A new thermostat is <$20, some coolant will need to be replaced, and <1 hour labor.
  • spetzspetz Posts: 3
    Hey, thanks a lot! I will look to the DIY first. If you have a clue where to find instructions, plz let me know. My passenger and I thank you...
  • I saw a writeup on this when I was doing pre-buy research. I just spent 30 minutes searching, and cannot find the source. It had to be on one of the online protege/323 forums. You might try posting on clubprotege, mazdas247, and others.

    I recall the problem was with improper sealing around the heater blower, and the repair was fairly involved.
  • Ok so here's what happened:

    I took your advice and did a band aid fix by filling the tank and putting fuel injector cleaner in. The car, once warmed up, ran fine but engine light still on. But no acceleration problems.

    Took it to the same mechanic and they could not figure it out. The code on the computer gave a random misfire at 0 mph (engine light went off while attempting to accelerate). He said that in order to figure it out without going in and tearing everything apart, they would need to see the engine cold and advised dropping it off and leaving it sit overnight at the shop to be reviewed in the morning. He said they got nothing telling them it was an o2 sensor or lean fuel mixture. But couldnt be certain unless they ran it cold and tried to duplicate the problem. they cleared the codes, engine light off, car ran fine for a week. i allow my car to fully warm up before going anywhere, especially with the cold nights and mornings we have had here in NJ.

    A week goes by and car starts acting up again...but not nearly as bad. one time since, the car was in idle warming up and i felt it shake periodically, very gently but noticably, for a few seconds and then stop. i will get an occasional hang in acceleration, but by gently working the gas, the car seems to overcome it and resumes normal acceleration. and it occurs less than half the time i drive.

    however, its very interesting to note that i seem to have the problem more often and worse when its wet or very moist out. for example last saturday it snowed very lightly and my car was out in it for 3 hours since i reached my destination that evening. started fine, but a few miles up the road it started hanging on acceleration again. i got home and didnt drive again that night. next day car worked fine. and for the past few days, again, a few minor periodic hangs in acceleration. however the engine has not been violently shaking when slowing down and going back to idle like it did last time. and the engine light has not come back on.

    as far as bad gas is concerned, i dont know what you mean. nor would i know the difference. i usually get gas at the lukoil up the street. however for about 3 years strait at my old residence, i would always stop and get wawa gas as it was the cheapest around and on my way home from work.

    im not sure if my fuel economy is struggling. its hard to tell since my commute to work and back is less than 4 miles round trip. and i havent been driving the car that much in fear of having a problem and being far from home. im actually still on the same tank of gas that the injector cleaner was mixed into.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    seem to have the problem more often and worse when its wet or very moist out.
    I wonder if condensation is affecting your spark plugs as the car warms up.

    the engine has not been violently shaking when slowing down and going back to idle like it did last time. and the engine light has not come back on.
    My 2002Protege 5 had a serious shaking problem when the EGR valve failed. The EGR issue is a common problem of Proteges, according to my mechanic.
  • I baught a 2001 Mazda Protege last april. I love this car. It's great. I have run into some problems with it tho. My oil pressure continously blinks and I've recently had to stop driving it. My car idles fine. But if i try to drive it anytime i get over 2500 Rpm it's starting knocking and clanging. I don't know much about this car it's the frist mazda i've owned. My grandfather is an old fashion mechanic. He can work on any chevy or ford you throw at him. But when it comes to my car he is clueless. I told him about my low oil pressure and he said that it sounded like my oil pump was weak. I've looked everywhere for and oil pump for my car. Nobody has one. Most people say they've never heard of it and then others say they have. I'm very confused. Does my car have an oil pump? If not how do i fix it? The nearest mazda dealership is in missouri. I can't afford to have it towed. What could cause this problem? Where can i find the parts to get it fixed?
  • You don't have to go to Missouri but you do have to go to a shop that can fix Japanese cars. What needs to happen first is that someone has to use either a computer or an oil pressure gauge to find out the REAL oil pressure reading.

    Once that is known, then one can work on possible solutions. You're just guessing here. You may end up doing lots of work for nothing.

    Here, read up on this, I think you'll find it helpful!

    Diagnosing Low Oil Pressure--Symptoms and Causes
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Thanks for the reference to the aa1car site
  • It's a good site for educational info, but you can often find more nitty gritty details from owners here at Edmunds, and sometimes step by step repair info as well.
  • dfangdfang Posts: 1
    Mr. Shiftright;

    Your instructions (2765)on horn repair for a 92 Mazda were right on. Tried it today and used styrafoam instead of regular foam and it seems to work fine now. Problem was at low temps the horn blew continuously. We will see how the styrafoam works out over time.

  • That was TDC1 who helped you there, not me! :shades:
  • lhylhy Posts: 48
    Hi everyone:

    I am thinking about buying a used 2000 Mazda Protege LX with 112K miles on it. How much do repair costs on this model run in general?

    I have heard that Mazdas are expensive to fix compared to other cars. Is this true for the Protege?

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I have not found the repair costs expensive for my 2002 Protege5 and parts are generally available. The other good news is that car has been reliable.
  • I had to repair my map light recently, the overhead one which is combined with moonroof controls. (2003 Protege ES sedan)

    Notes about the job:
    * The map light plastic assembly is held in place by 2 metal prongs on this model auto. These prongs are located at either end of the assembly, baton-wise. That is to say that if the assembly were a boat, the 2 shorter, pointier ends which would hold the boat's motor are the positions where the retaining force is. Waste less time knowing this; don't end up like me and puzzle over it for 9 months!

    * Once you have the assembly free, you probably want to unsecure the wiring. This can be done by hand by pushing *very hard* on the raised pressable portion of the wiring uniter clip, and simultaneously pulling the clip apart. (Twice for 2 clips)

    * If your "map light" switch has become inoperative, it might be due to an ejected tiny tiny screw near the switch itself. Try hard to recover the screw inside the assembly. If you can't find it, do what I did and take apart small electronics for a few years so that you can easily find a matching screw. Once you have located these screws, you only need to do the hard work of screwing the spring switch back into place; then your lamp should be switchable again!

    * Any problems with moonroof switches are unknown. That's up to you.
  • MODEL = 2003 Protege ES sedan

    Fog Light Lamp replace job:

    Wow, this took twice as long as expected, with the "assembly is reverse of disassembly" really biting into my day.

    To start with, go to Auto Parts and pick up one of the "H3" bulbs. Wal Mart had 'em in my area.

    On this model Protege, the fog light hard plastic assembly has a 10mm bolt holding it in place. The bolt is on the underside of the auto, directly under the fog light itself. Be careful *NOT* to reach for the recessed 10mm bolt in a similar location with plastic around it; this is for expert personnel who wish to tune the "aim" of the fog light. The one you want should come with a washer and be a bit coppery.

    Once you have the bolt removed and set aside, it's just a matter of pushiing and pulling and perhaps unwedging the assembly with flat screwdrivers, before you get the assembly pulled out about 2 or 4 inches where you can see the backside. (note that the right and left fog lights are set up with differing wiring, so one side's fog light might pull out 2 or 3 inches more than the other side)

    Once you can see the backside, there are 2 Phillips screws which need to come off. It's a really tight area, so you'll be helping yourself out a whole lot it you get a short ratchet drive Phillips head or a short short screwdriver.

    With those 2 screws gone and set aside, you can just about pull the bulb out. (At least you can see it now). First you need to unspring the retainer spring. Find the end which is hiding under some plastic which has an opening to the side. You will then move the spring through the open area and unspring it.

    Replacing the bulb is quite easy at this point. Remember:
    * Your replacement will also be a halogen bulb. Never handle the glass with your fingers. Wipe down the bulb with a clean cloth if you do. Grab the new bulb by the metal base only.
    * Your newer bulb has a wire and slotted thing coming from it. Remove the identical slotted thing associated with the old bulb by looking inside the half shrink-wrapped wire, and PULL the wire. Inserting the new bulb's wire lead works in reverse.

    Once you have the newer bulb in, you need to re-spring the stell clip. This is pretty difficult with bare hands; I recommend use of a short-head pliers to assist you in re-locking that dumb spring.

    With the newer bulb in and wires connected, you may test the lamp. Success? Yay!

    Now you will want to manually stuff the remaining wiring portion into the assembly and close it up. Reinsert the 2 Phillips screws and reattach the rear circular wall.

    You might be almost there now. The fog light assembly hopefully is hanging in front of the auto, dangling by a few inches of wire. Before you shove it back in, look hard at the assembly. Look again. You hopefully see 2 circular firm protrusions at the right and left side of the fog light. Look inside the bumper and you'll see where these knobs will have to end up for final positioning.

    Insert the fog light, trying from memory to line up those knobs on the right and left. It might take a few tries, and it takes some light pounding, but eventually you will see, at bottom, the hole for the 10mm coppery bolt and washer. Once you have the hole visible through the bumper plastic, you are there! Screw in the 10mm bolt and you are finished. Congratulations! :shades:

    Now if somebody wants to write up practical ideas for the "aiming" of these things; that would be awesome.
  • Hey, I found it if you're still around.

    TSB: 07-001/01

    Info is available here:
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