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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    ur guess is as good as mine.
  • Hey Everyone,

    As you know, I've been trying to figure out what was causing the severe engine vibrations on my 2002 Protege LX .

    It is a high frequency vibration that is at its worst at around 3,000 RPMs on the freeway. The vibration is definitely coming from the engine and not from the wheel or suspension.

    I believe my Protege has either defective or improperly installed engine mounts that are not doing their job by filtering out some of the vibrations before they reach inside the cabin.

    The funny thing is that the engine feels fine at idle.

    My Protege has an automatic transmission. Could that have anything to do with it?

    The Mazda service department was no help. They said severe engine vibrations was considered "Normal" for the Protege. If that is true, then Mazda is making some terrible quality cars. I've driven Dodge Neons with less engine vibration. And those things were crude as hell!

    Is there a test or any other way for me find out if the engine mounts are the cause of my vibration problems?

  • protege_fanprotege_fan Posts: 2,405
    Does it only happen while in motion? You could put the car in neutral, apply parking brake, and then have somebody rev the engine to 3000 rpm to check.

    It's probably while in motion though...the engine moves quite a lot more when you're moving rather than just revving the engine while stationary (according to some I've talked to in regards to intake fitment).
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    If the Dealer is unhelpful, try another one, or if that is not an option, call Mazda North America at 1-800-222-5500. They REALLY like to know when one of their dealers is not helping since it makes Mazda look bad. That should fix any problems with the dealer. Of course, you could just threaten to call. Proteges should be vibration free. Having an AT shouldn't make a difference.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    I have a suggestion:

    Check out the amount of transmission fluid in your AT. make sure it is less than the uppermost line when HOT.

    I had engine resonance problem at around 3100 RPM which magically vanished after I reduced the AT amount to somewhere between the two lines on the dipstick when HOT viz. after driving 15 miles or so.

    Could work for you.

    The Protege engine has one of its mount on the firewall(unique?) which makes you feel everything the engine is doing. I can feel tiny "happy" vibrations when revving which actually increase the pleasure of driving.
    But like in your case, if the engine is not stable during revving, that also would be passed on to you.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Try to get a test drive in another Protege. That should tell you whether or not yours in unique.
  • sd1228sd1228 Posts: 46
    I own Mazda Protege' 95 with 115K miles and looking for a good independent repair shop/mechanic for the same in Austin Texas metro area . Any recommendations ??
    (I have a major service coming up including
    timing belt , water pump replacement)
  • The seat belt warning light and alarm on my '94 Protege LX (97,000) come on intermittently when I am driving with all of the shoulder and lap belts properly engaged (it has automatic shoulder belts). The alarm and light seem to reset themselves when I give a quick tug on the shoulder belt. Until recently the problem happened so rarely that I never thought about it, but now it is going off constantly and driving me nuts. The dealer says that they need to do a diagnostic to determine the problem (which is $80) and that it sounded like a $250 computer sensor for the belts. Has anyone encountered this problem and found a way to fix it that is less than $325+?
  • sgtgloksgtglok Posts: 8
    We just bought 2002 LX for my mom and since she was away for a week, I took the car and drove it for 5 days to work. Although I am not used to small cars and 4 cyl. engines (I drive an SUV), I found LX responsive and the engine pretty quite when going over 50 mph. It revvs healthy (for 130hp v4) when accelerating and at over 3500 rpms, and I didn't feel any vibrations. Definetely, either take the mechanic for a drive at highway speeds or just check with different dealership.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    My 92 does the same thing. I took it to the dealer a long time ago and frankly can't recall wht they wanted to do, but do recall that it cost a lot more (couple hundred bux?) than I wanted to spend. It was a "replace" situation, not a "repair or adjust."

    Here's what I found...the sensor in the shoulder belt reel at the center console has developed a "sweet" spot which causes the buzzer to sound. In fact, if I gently pull on the belt and find the spot, I can get the buzzer to sound continually. The only cheap advice I have for you is to move your seat slightly forward or back to get the sensor off that sweet spot. If that doesn't work for you, I think you're off to visit the dealer. Luckily for me, the sweet spot in our car is at my wife's seating position, not mine. :->

    Good luck.
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Posts: 1,583
    Proteges have an INLINE 4 cylinder engine....

    Just about ALL modern 4 cylinder engines are of INLINE configuration....
  • sgtgloksgtglok Posts: 8
    I stand corrected - i4, not v4. Small, in other words! :)
  • gregmc3gregmc3 Posts: 2
    I recently purchased a '99 Protege LX, it is a high mileage car (108,000) one owner but has been very well cared for. I have records of all oil, trans fluid changes, plug changes, tire rotations, brakes etc. The only problem is that when I hit a bump, I hear a clunk or thud from the front end. The front motor mount rubber has seperated from the inner sleeve but the clunk sounds like it is coming from the struts. Struts are not leaking but the rubber boots are in bad shape. CV boots are not torn and I don't hear clicking while turning so I don't think that is the problem. The clunk is more pronounced when going straight instead of turning. Any other places to look? Thanks for suggestions.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    I'd start by correcting obvious defects such as the engine mount. The clunk is probably a worn upper strut mount. At 108,000 miles the struts are tired anyway. Consider replacing them and the mounts.
  • mbs7mbs7 Posts: 28
    My 99LX has been a good car so far. It now has 50,000 miles on it and runs great. The only problem, and it is an annoying one, is the pinging when I accelerate. I know we've gone around and around with this issue, but I want to give an update.

    I tried running premium gas (92 octane here in Calif) and it helped. The pinging was almost completely gone. I was still able to make it ping by accelerating just so, but for the most part it was gone. However, the 92 gas made the car idle rough. Not wanting to continually run 92 in my car, combined with the high CA gas prices, I have switched back to 87 and 89. In short, I've made no real progress.

    The pinging doesn't really bother me per se, but if it ends up shortening my engine's life, I will be angry. Mostly I try to accelerate slowly enough to avoid the pinging. But sometimes, like uphill, it is unavoidable. I have it on record that I brought this up twice with my dealer, so if I suffer a serious failure, they are going to hear from me.

    I like my dealer, but even the most likeable dealers are still fairly annoying. First time at dealer:

    Me: I think the engine is pinging.
    Dealer: Computer says no pinging detected.

    Second time at dealer (note the sound is identical to the first visit):

    Me: I think the engine is pinging.
    Dealer (after mechanic test drives car): It is pinging. You have a bad air flow sensor and you need an injector cleaning job.
    Me: Ok. Whatever it takes to make it stop.
    (Later that day)
    Me: Here's my money.

    To this day, it STILL PINGS!

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Isn't there a recall campaign or TSB or something out there on the MAF sensors on '99s? Your service manager should be able to enter your VIN and find any recalls or TSBs applicable to your car.

  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I remember posting up there somewhere that you need to have the PCM replaced. I can understand that you may be hesitant to take advice off the web, but why post that you are still having probs if you aren't willing to entertain the advice you get off here?
  • dsm6dsm6 Posts: 813
    I'm puzzled by the dealer's comments for the first time you brought the car in: the computer says no pinging detected. I thought part of the issue was that this year Pro (among others) doesn't have knock sensors. If so, then how could the computer detect pinging even if it were there?
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    Well, if the Pro didn't have a knock sensor, then the computer wouldn't detect the pinging, hence the dealer was correct in his statement. ;-)
  • jeffy729jeffy729 Posts: 45
    Hello everyone. This is my first posting and after reviewing several pages of comments from other Protege owners I thought I fill you in on my experiences over the last three years and 50K miles of my 99 LX.

    1. It began pinging almost immediately after I bought it on 87 octane. I gave up on the dealer (no problems found, no "computer codes", etc...) 89 octane has taken care of it!

    2. The MAF Sensor failed at 24K miles. It ran rough and hesitated before the "check engine" light came on and stayed on long enough for the technician to find the "code". I understand there may be a recall of sorts?

    3. The Speed Control Sensor (something that relays vehicle speed to the transmission so it knows what it should do) died at 36K miles. It decided to downshift to second cruising at 70 miles an hour! Scared the crap out of me (it is an automatic). The check engine light blinked on and off and it ran rough and shifted badly all the way to the dealer.

    4. The alternator went out at 48K (just made the warranty!). The charging light blinked on an off and the car had no power at all, ran rough, idled very low, etc... Turns out the alternator was actually overcharging and it was freaking the computer out!

    Now it's 52K miles down the road and it's running fine. Hopefully all the electrical bugs are taken care of since it's now out of warranty. It's always been fine mechanically speaking. Hopefully my experiences might be of use to someone. Don't be shy about seeing the dealer if your Protege is running rough at a young age! If one can't find the problem, see another dealer (the quality of technicians varies a lot!).
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