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Mazda Protege5 Maintenance and Repair



  • pciskowskipciskowski Posts: 155
    The stock stereo is garbage. You can replace it with a much better unit for less than $200, and get one that plays MP3 files as well.

    A moonroof is a hole in the car. On the top. Add water and gravity, and a leak seems inevitable. If it was dealer installed or stock, they should fix it under warranty.

    Be careful before you buy any car with "Toy" in the brand name.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Be careful before you buy any car with "Toy" in the brand name.
    I could see this coming from left field: Be careful before you buy any car with an "az" in ... :P

    p.s. I am a very happy P5 owner
  • kuruptboikuruptboi Posts: 12
    The symptoms that are occurring are as follows: when in gear, any gear, letting off the throttle, the RPMs stay at whatever level they were at before letting off the throttle rather than decreasing as a normal idle should. In the case of the car trying to find the correct idle, which happens occasionally, the idle fluctuates up and down cause the car to jerk around. If the car then finds the correct idle, the very next attempt at idling it goes back to the same incorrect idle or jerky fluctuating idle. The car is a 03 with just over 30,000 miles on it.

    Any help would be deeply appreciated seeing how 3 dealerships don't know what the problem is.
  • dwryterdwryter Posts: 87
    Three dealerships couldn't figure this out?! That's sad. I suggest you call the least-bad of the three, ask for the Service Manager, and tell him you'd like to continue patronizing his department, but need them to demonstrate their commitment to customers by finding solutions for even the difficult jobs. Ask him to please call in the regional service rep.

    Or, instead, you could call around to the local independant shops that work on foreign cars -- one experienced with Mazdas if possible -- and ask over the phone if they have any idea what the problem might be. Your description is clear enough that a knowledgable mechanic should recognize the symptoms.

    I had a similar problem with my '87 Honda Civic Si and my independant Honda mechanic identified the problem as some sort of idle valve. I don't remember the exact name of the part; this was eight years ago. But my mechanic recognized the problem right away. It cost something like $150 to repair, including parts and labor. Of course, there are far more mechanics who specialize in Hondas than Mazdas. Sigh.

    Best of luck. Let us know how it turns out.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    3 dealerships don't know what the problem is

    The advice of dwryter makes a lot of sense to me.

    Did you call the dealers about this or actually bring the car in for them to look at the problem? Last night on Autoline (a great TV show in Canada hosted by Kirk Robinson) three owners of independent autoservice firms mentioned the problem of clients calling for quotes and diagnostics over the phone. They wondered were people fishing for the answer they wanted to hear irrespective of what the real problem was or were they hoping to get a job done for less money irrespective of the quality of the work? Their recommendation is find a garage that looks reputable to you, have the problem properly diagnosed, and if you need a second opinion go to an alternate garage. To hammer the point home, they mentioned several cases where people were actually paying much more than they had to for parts and labour that were unnecessary.

    The idling problem you mention reminds me of a frequent item cited by Kirk. Additives in modern gasoline can eventually carbonize leaving a black gunk on the throttle body. This layer of carbon can affect efficiency by restricting air intake and undoing the proper gas-air mix that your engine needs. Symptoms: decreasing fuel economy (i.e. less mpg); erratic idle/acceleration patterns. Solution: have your garage check and clean if necessary the throttle body every couple of years.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Go back and ask those dunces to check your car's "Idle Air Control Valve." It's a vacuum- or computer-controlled valve on or near your intake manifold that controls idle speed. My 1994 Mazda pickup had an IAC Valve which, like most other things under its Ford-engined hood, needed replacing after about 50,000 miles. My 1978 Toyota Corolla had the same symptoms you're describing and it was fixed by replacing the IAC Valve.

    Since your car is only two years old and has only 30,000 miles on it, this is a warranty-covered repair. Take it in and demand service!!!

    It probably failed because of carbon deposit build-up in your throttle body and on the IAC Valve's little sensor that sits in the airstream going into your engine. This begs a question: What brand and octane of gas do you use? I'd ask more questions, like how often you replace your fuel and air filters, but at only 30,000 miles I don't suspect they'd be the culprit. Poor gas or using an improper octane rating could do it, though.

    So could using a K&N Filter. (Uh-oh, don't tell all those K&N addicts out there!!!) Too much oil on the filter can cause oil to enter the throttle body and gum up a lot of stuff that was designed for nice, dry air -- not oily air. (A lot of Ford Mass Airflow Sensors have had their coils damaged by oil from K&N filters.)

    Here's a link showing a typical IAC Valve problem:

  • kuruptboikuruptboi Posts: 12
    I actually had the Idle Air Control Valve and gaskets replaced on it the first time it was in the shop. The car ran fine for a couple days then it was back to the same problem.

    I then took it to another Mazda dealership/service closer to my work. They told me that they forgot to set the base idle in the computer when the previous service shop reset the computer for the IAC. They told me that it was set and told me it was ready. I picked the car up after 6pm, meaning there was no one there but the lady with the keys. The car was still screwy.

    I took it back and told them it wasn't fixed so they called up Mazda Tech line and they told them to disconnect the battery to reset the computer and all the codes. Once this was done the care drove fine for 2 weeks.

    At the end of the second week the symptoms returned. I took it back to that same shop and they had no idea what to do so they just disconnected the battery again and told me to put the stock exhaust back on because the Tech line said it may be a backflow problem with my exhaust. I have a Greddy Evo 2 exhaust on there, which is free flowing, so i know that is not the problem. They gave me the car back and it drove fine for a couple days, only to have the same problems.

    I also have an Injen cold air intake on the car, if the sensor on that is malfunctioning could that cause the problem. I am searching frantically for the problem. It seems as though no one knows how to fix the damn thing and of course the dealership/service dept always blame it on the aftermarket parts.

    Thanks for the feedback, hopefully this extra info might spark some new ideas.
  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    I hate to say it, but put the original exhaust back on along with getting rid of the cold air intake. Not enough back pressure in the exhaust can also cause problems.

    Seriously though, stop messing with intake and exhaust mods when you have no way of tuning the fuel injection properly. If you wanted a faster car you should have bought a faster car.
  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    Also, Mdaffron is correct in asking what octane gas you are running. Alot of people try and run higher octane gas than what a car needs, fooling themselves by thinking it provides magic horsepower. High octane gas needs "high compression" in order to burn completely. Unburned fuel will leave carbon deposits and screw up any exhaust sensors down the line. Running higher octane gas than what the car manufacturer recommends is a good way of wasting money and destroying your engine.
  • kuruptboikuruptboi Posts: 12
    fair enough but why would the car run completely fine for 2 years with the mod parts on there and now all of a sudden issues have arisen. i use regular unleaded gas btw.
  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    What has me confused is that the problem seems to go away for a couple of days to a couple of weeks every time they work on it, but then comes back. A bad sensor should stay bad.....A vacuum leak should keep leaking. A bad chip should stay bad. Fuel pumps and clogged fuel filters act up at higher rpm's and not at idle. Hmmmmmm?

    Moisture can affect electrical parts intermittently. When it first starts to act up, did you just wash the car, or was it raining, or was the humidity high?
  • kuruptboikuruptboi Posts: 12
    that is what has me confused as well. get this: today was the first day in a couple weeks that it has been over 60 degrees and the car ran flawlessly. the car has been slipping and acting up for 2 weeks solid, whether the car has been running for a while or not. i am not sure if this is a coincidence but i am taking it in for service saturday (brake pads/oil) and i will mention it to them. i am starting to think my car is possessed... either that or only like warm weather.
  • kuruptboikuruptboi Posts: 12
    just an update on the previous post. cold this morning (44 degrees or so) and the car is acting up again. seems like the temperature outside is affecting the performance of my car. thoughts....ideas?
  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    I can't explain why in previous cold weather of the last two years your modifications wouldn't have caused trouble but do now, (not saying they are the cause but just speculating) but if your car is only acting up when it is cold, it leads me to look at your cold air intake again. I would try going back to the original stock set-up that allows warm air to be mixed in as an experiment, since it would be relatively easy to do.
  • kuruptboikuruptboi Posts: 12
    that is what i planned on doing if the dealership couldn't figure anything out while it is in the shop tomorrow.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... I just traded my unmodified, un-fooled-around-with 2000 Protege on a 2005 Mazda3. In 91,100 miles, the car had zero problems (except for a set of strut bushings, replaced at 85K miles under my extended warranty).

    My wife currently drives a 2002 Protege5 with 49,500 miles on it. She has had zero problems with the car.

    So, I dunno ... but in general I like to believe that a car manufacturer knows the best way to put its car together, and adding so-called "performance enhancing" equipment usually just spells trouble down the road. Like iamz said, if you had wanted a faster car, you should've bought a faster car.

    I say it this way: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  • kuruptboikuruptboi Posts: 12
    i put the factory intake back on the car. same problem.

    this is even after it was at the shop and they changed the spark plugs and pcv as well. i know neither of these would affect the idle, but they couldn't figure it out AGAIN. they called the mazda tech line AGAIN, and they pretty much said that i had to put the factory intake back on before they would troubleshoot it further.

    i did that and alas am having the same problem. stock parts, same problem.

    another thing that has me is the mod parts were on the car for the duration i have had the car, minus a month or so. but it is now acting up? the mod parts are off and it is still screwy. now what?
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    it was at the shop ... the mod parts are off and it is still screwy. now what?
    Sounds like you may have to the shop-hop at this point, i.e. going from one shop to another trying to find a mechanic that understands the problem.

    I echo Meade's earlier comments and wonder if I had a part installed that subsequently damaged the operation of the vehicle who or what should be responsible: the vehicle, the part, the installer or myself? A defective air filter over time can do a lot of damage; removing the air filter later and blaming the car seems not to make sense to me. I guess a kuruptboi gets a kuruptcar.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Your non-stock stuff caused problems with OEM parts installed on the engine. Like your service guy said, now that the CAUSE has been eliminated, they can go in and CURE the parts it affected.

    Analogy: Putting in a new heart won't clean up the clogged arteries around it -- but it's the first thing to do!

  • kuruptboikuruptboi Posts: 12
    i took the car in for service on the idle problem after putting the stock intake back on. the dealership thinks the PCM is screwed and has since given me a loaner car (05 Mazda 6 V6) until they can figure something out.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    a loaner car (05 Mazda 6 V6) until they can figure something out

    Not a bad loaner! Let's hope everything works out with your P5.
  • kuruptboikuruptboi Posts: 12
    now they are saying "they think" the problem is the mass air flow sensor. they think it needs replaced. they are also saying that it needs replaced because of the aftermarket intake that was on there...and thus the replacement and the labor is not covered under warranty...adding almost 400 dollars to my bill. and if it isn't the problem they will take the part off and only charge me for the labor. seems that no one knows how to fix this thing and i am paying for their experiments on my car.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    First, you've got a problem that's proving difficult to diagnose. Hey, car mechanics aren't gods. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt to repair something. That's life.

    Second, you have no recourse on the warranty thing, unfortunately. Any owner's manual and warranty literature, including Mazda's, will tell you that modifications will void the warranty. And many people heed that -- I've read cautions from people on several forums who recommend doing all this "modding" after the warranty expires for just this reason.

    You really have no one but yourself to get mad at about your voided warranty.

    Also, regarding your "I am paying for their experiments on my car" comment -- well, they could turn that comment around and tell you they're having a tough time diagnosing the problem because of all the "experiments" you've done with Mazda's engine. I have been visiting this discussion for as many years as we have had a Protege5 in our driveway, and since April 2000 as a Protege owner -- and yours is the first problem of its kind that I can recall with a Protege5 or a Protege.

    I can report that my wife's Protege5 has 49,500 miles on it, and my Protege (which I recently traded for a 3) had 91,100 miles on it, and several people I know on the off-site forum I manage have Protege5's with at least 50,000 miles on them -- and none of us have had these kinds of problems. Of course, our cars are all stock too.

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I can understand how kuruptboi and others would like to personalize and modify their machines. Many of us felt the P5, as much fun as it is, was underpowered at 130hp. It went something like, wow, what a car, I wonder if it had a few more horses how fantastic it would be. I and countless others dreamt of a Mazdaspeed version (which happened to the sedan) or an upgrade (which happened, and became the 160hp Mazda3).

    Some owners took action by modifying. I think everyone realizes that as soon as you start switching parts, you are responsible for that part. In cases where there are good parts installed by competent installers there may never be a problem. What may not be obvious is that by modifying, you're not only changing the part but affecting the related parts on the car. So, that K&N filter may not be the best idea if it starts fouling your throttle body. Or that turbo component from some firm on eBay may not be worth the headache if it turns out to be a problem and has to be removed.

    The good part of this story is no one was hurt in the process. Yes, there is some money being exchanged but this is a small price to pay compared to a failed component that causes an accident.

    Thanks kuruptboi for sharing your saga, I hope the rest of the story turns out well for you.
  • jw03jw03 Posts: 1
    I recently bought a MP5 2003 with 10,000 miles on it. Seemed to be running great for a while, but I noticed that when I would have the fan or air conditioning on there seemed to be a bit of a hick-up in the power at times... It would hesitate upon acceleration, and the wierdest thing of all, the lights would dim very slightly and then go back to normal. I took it in to the dealer I bought it from and asked them to check it out. They said it was "normal" when the fans would kick on for the engine to feel a drain on the power. I don't really buy it. I've driven enough cars before this one to know that the motor should be able to handle powering the ventilation system without dimming the lights and causing the car to be jerky when I'm speeding up. Any clues or ideas?
  • iamziamz Posts: 542
    1. Your AC kicking on (compressor pump) will momentarily load the engine and cause the lights to dim (more so at idle though).

    2. Your electric blower fan for the interior should not.

    3. Your engine cooling fan will though because of the power draw at start up.
  • rwimberlyrwimberly Posts: 1
    Hey I have the syptoms and have tried almost everything.
  • pawletzkipawletzki Posts: 1
    I have a Protege 5 2002 and it has 54000kms on it and the ABS and brake light stay on. I wondering if anyone could help me out? The car runs fine except for these annoying lights staying on.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    According to James E. Duffy’s Modern Automotive Technology (Tinley Park, IL : Goodheart Wilcox) the first thing to check is the base brake system not the ABS.
    “To begin anti-lock brake system diagnosis, make a visual inspection of all the major parts. … Any possible base brake system defects must be ruled out first before an ABS or TCS problem is suspected. If the red brake light is on, you must check the base brake system first. ... Based on your findings, determine what step should be taken next. If the (brake) fluid level is low, check more closely for leaks. If one set of brake pads is worn down, make sure that the corresponding wheel is not dragging.”
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