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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • i am replacing my muffler
    everything up to my catalylic converter has been removed
    i have done minor repairs on my car but i am hard up for money so i am going to be doing this myself
    i have the new muffler and i am going to get the piping for it
    what i am looking for is information on how to put it all together
    it is a sohc
    and it is split piping
    sorry if i am not using the correct mechanics language i am new to this
    i just dont want to do it myself without any advice and have it fall off or not work correctly
    but i am open to any suggestions
    im trying to get this done as soon as possible because i am moving to california and i have to have it in tip top shape to not only pass emissions but to also be able to hold my own against the never ending traffic in la
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    You might want to check out your local public library or a store like Autozone for a copy of the Haynes repair manual for the Mazda 323 / Protege.
  • I put a new batterry in it a few months ago. Starter is new and charging system is fine. As the oudoor temp drops the engine noticealby cranks slower. At about 0 deg F or colder I have to use a booster pack to start it. Even then sometimes it floods because it cranks so slow.

    This morning I did the booster pack thing and got the car started. When I walked to the front of the car one of the belts was squeeling. This is when I noticed my power steering pulley barely turning. It was like the ps pump was frozen. My question is how can a ps pump freeze??? Ps fluid does not freeze!! I don't care how cold it is.
    I can see how the pulley not turning would cause my hard starting especially in the cold but what would cause it to do that.

    I had this problem last winter too but didn't realize it was the ps pump slowing everything down. I have never had any problems with my power steering whatsoever. It doesn't leak, there's no water in the resevoir, and it steers fine.

    Has anyone else heard of this kind of problem and what the solution might be?
  • Slavuta I have something similar to what you're desribing but I have a Auto Trans with 100k. My check engine light has been on for a few months and the computer says it's the timing censor. Just a few days ago my car has began having a weird idle where it drops below normal and sometimes jumps and eventually turns off if the car isn't put into drive. If I stop at a traffic light it cuts off but cranks back. Is this the timing censor ?
  • My temperature gauge moves up to slowly when i start driving. It will only go up quarter of the way, where as normally it stays between the cold and hot. I am guessing it is my thermostat. If it is could i replace it myself. I have a 2001 mazda protege 1.6 litre manual transmission. Also before replacing it where can i find it?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Yeah, you could have a "lazy" thermostat combined with colder weather setting in.

    If your engine temperature drops too low, the thermostat should close again to raise the temperature to operating level.

    Here's a description of how it works;

    Thermostat Function

    Your thermostat is in a housing at the end of the LOWER radiator hose, where it enters the cylinder head.

    When installing, the "jiggle pin" on the thermostat points toward the top, and the sealing ring on the gasket faces the cylinder head.

    The part is about $18 and the book says it takes a mechanic about 1 hour. You'll have to drain your coolant beforehand and probably take off some parts of the air cleaner for access.

    Good luck!

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  • spetzspetz Posts: 3
    I just joined up, and am very interested in all the interesting posts. Just got my second Protege, a 2000 auto with 68k on it. Seems to run well, but on a trip over the weekend, my passengers feet began to freeze. When we traded places, I found that there was a lot of cold air coming into the passengers side from under the dash, and very little warm air. This is not good in a Wisconsin winter. Does anyone know what might be going on? Didi gremlins remove a piece of my dash? I also noticed the glove box is equally cold, Any ideas would be much appreciated.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    lot of cold air coming into the passengers side from under the dash, and very little warm air.
    Have you tried setting the controls to "feet only" and maximum heat? If no or low heat is coming through on the passenger side and the driver's side is fine there could be some blockage or a closed flap on the passenger side.
  • spetzspetz Posts: 3
    Thanks for the ideas. I did try the heat only on the feet and the cold wind continued. It seemed as if there was a direct wind from the engine compartment into the passenger's side. Where might I find those "flaps" and what would I do if I found them? Do you have an idea how many there are and where they are? Thanks a lot!
  • I need some advice in regards to an issue I'm having with my 2003 Protege 5.

    It started a month ago when my car started having problems accelerating. I would hit the gas but the car would just crawl. If I pumped the pedal, it would eventually accelerate. Once the car was moving, I had no more problems. The check engine light came on and I took it to a mechanic. The reading from the computer was a random misfire, and further inspection of the vehicle revealed that my coil pack boots deteriorated and allowed excessive moisture in which shorted the spark plug wires. My engine would not accelerate because the plugs were misfiring. They put new plugs, plug wires, and boots in. Engine light off, car ran fine

    This past week I started having this problem again. And today it got much worse. The car hangs on both forward and reverse. The engine, in both drive, idle and even more so when breaking, starts rumbling and I hear the sound of something slipping very faintly. The transmission (which was what I thought it originally was) shifts gears just fine. Again, once the car is moving it stays in motion. No stalling, no rumbling. But it is getting harder and harder to accelerate. And when I try my engine sputters and sounds like its going to stall. The engine light came on and when I pressed the gas to try and get it moving, the engine light flashed about 5 times and went solid again. I popped the hood once I made it home to see if I could find anything making a weird noise and found nothing (I have had this car for over 5 years and know what it sounds and feels like). When I killed the engine I heard a whooshing sound (similar to wind through a cracked window) coming from the air filter and vaccum hoses. I restarted the car, and killed it several more times and heard this noise every time. Now, I have never noticed this noise before so I don't know if this is normal or not, but I know it can be the sign of a cracked hose or something with the air in take. But I'm no mechanic. The car starts just fine and seems to run in idle ok, but once I try to drive it the problems start.

    Sorry this is so long but just to summarize:

    little to no acceleration unless I really work the pedal

    Car runs perfectly fine once it gets going

    rumbling in the engine ad very rough vibrations once I slow down and go back to idle or just have my foot on the brake while in any gear

    whooshing sound when I kill the engine for several seconds

    transmission shifts just fine. No grinding or clanking noises when shifting.

    new spark plugs, wires, and coil pack booots installed a month ago

    car has 97,500 miles (approx)

    If anyone could give me some ideas of what might be wrong it would be appreciated. Im "cartarded" and am really trying to learn more about cars, maintenance, and how to diagnose problems. Thanks!
  • 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?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    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

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  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Thanks for the reference to the aa1car site
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    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.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 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.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    That was TDC1 who helped you there, not me! :shades:

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  • 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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