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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I haven't seen this happen on any of the three Proteges I've owned, but I've had it happen in a Ford pickup, a Saab 900 and a Toyota Corolla. It's fairly common -- and luckily, not a big problem! The condensate drain tube has probably gotten clogged (they tend to "gum up" over time) or slightly dislodged either where it slips onto the bottom of the unit under the dash or at the firewall. I haven't looked for it on my 2000 5-speed (just like you have), but I know it can be a pain in the butt to get under the dash of these new cars, but a replacement tube is probably only a couple of bucks -- but then again, you're still under warranty. It'll probably be a simple and quick fix for your dealer.

    Meade in Virginia
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    the drain tube grommet came off. if/when it does, some comes out the hose onto the ground and some leaks back in on the carpet. The grommet may still even be there but bumped out of place. Did it happen after an oil change or other service? Either way the dealer can fix it no prob, but it's also a good time to make sure the tube isn't clogged.

  • curt3curt3 Posts: 101
    A few days back I ripped the carpet out of my Protege to observe the A/C drip and had a general idea where the problem was. Since it was under warranty I went ahead and took it to the dealership where they placed caulking around the grommet for the a/c overflow tube. Additionally, they recharged the a/c unit. It is my guess that a combination of insufficient refrigerant and a leaky seal resulted in a bunch of condensation ending up inside of the car. Thanks for the input everyone.
    I wrote several days back about my engine pinging on all 87-91 octane gas brands that I have tried in the last few months. I have taken it to the dealership 3 times to search for a cause knowing full well that Mazda designed this car to run on 87 octane. I had no results at the dealership but I did add an octane booster to the 87 octane fuel and have heard nothing since. The engine is running like a top. I do not like the idea of adding a four dollar treatment each time I fill up but the pinging has left and the car is peppy. Are most of you fellow Protege owners burning 87 ocatane?
  • It depends on which gas station I go to, but it's usually about 87-89 (regular).
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    But I have the 1.6L that has been discontinued in 2002. Probably a different compression ratio than the 1.8L and 2.0L (9.3:1, I think...I'll have to check the manual).
  • I have a 01 Protege that is working out great. I have only one concern which is a knocking sound when I start it on colder mornings. When I get the car going and punch the gas a little it stops, and this problem does not exist at all when the engine is hot (hot weather). I am not too concerned but wondered if this is a documented problem with the new 2.0 liter engines that came out in the newly designed 01 Protege ES. Has anyone else encountered this problem?
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008

    you have a timing problem.
    the gas is exploding before it should.
    addding the octane booster only delays the combustion which stops the pinging....but that would be temporary.
  • 87 octane works great in my '99 es. I would guess you either have advanced timing, spark plugs that are too hot, or excessive combustion chamber deposits [which increase effective combustion rato.]
  • curt3curt3 Posts: 101
    I did replace the stock plugs at 30,000 miles with Platinum plugs--these may be the culprits. When the pinging began I did ask the dealership if the timing need to be retarded and they said no. Since the warranty is almost up and most adjustments are not covered beyond 12,000 miles, I may just have my local garage tackle the timing. Thanks again.
    I will change the plugs this weekend.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I learned an important lesson during my ownership of one troubled, piece-of-junk, Ford-built Mazda B2300 pickup from 1994 to 2000:

    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    Timing, temperature and compression are finely tuned in today's computerized engines. There's a reason certain plugs, filters and other components came with your car.

    So many Mazda and Ford pickup owners have had numerous problems after installing non-spec K&N filters, "split-fire" plugs and aftermarket MAF sensors, and tampered with their exhaust dynamics in a supposed attempt to "boost performance." (Reference: "4-banger" board at I say, if these people wanted higher performance in the first place, they should have chosen another vehicle.

    Were those platinum plugs specified in your owner's manual as direct replacements?

    I don't plan on changing any specs when I replace plugs, filters, or anything else on my 2000 Protege.

    Just my opinion -- but I think it's an informed one!

  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Your $0.02 is worth a buck. Too many people try to upgrade performance of their vehicles with high performance air filters and plugs. Rarely is there any increase in performance yet drivability suffers. There is a reason that thousands of engineers are employed by auto makers and suppliers. they have to build a product that works well and stays that way. When you buy platinum plugs the increased cost of the item is nearly all marketing.

    Stick with what works unless you know your stuff. Most of us, myself included, are not qualified to re-engineer our cars and if you think Bosch has really taken the time to do it, think again.

    that's my $0.04
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    since I am an engineer and have worked with the design aspects of building up a machine.


    as mentioned, Spark plugs and air filters are the most common examples.

    my $1.00
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Dang, from $.04 all the way to $1 in about 4 hours. Don't we all wish the stock market could do that these days? :)
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    I tried them in my '89 323 and it knocked like crazy. I took them out immediately and put regular cheap-o Champions (listed as OEM-spec) in their place. Runs fine now.

    I'm not bothering with fancy spark plugs. Pretty much anything beyond the basic is all fluff.

    Now, you can get sub-par air filters though. One I got didn't even fit (gasket barely compressed). Tossed it out. Oh well.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I tried to write my "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" post as diplomatically as possible, still expecting all sorts of negative replies. Now that I see everybody's on my side, I'll say what I really meant:


    There. I feel much better now.

    (Oh, and the missing word up there is "FOUL." What were YOU thinking?)

  • I was ready to put them in my '96 Contour but the service manager talked me out of it. I came to trust this guy's auto savvy implicitly. Why I was tempted is because they're basically configured like an aircraft spark plug so obviously they must be better. (In my mechanically challenged mind)
  • We've used Bosch Plat +4 in all of our cars needing spark plug replacement and they have seemed to improve engine performance. They did make an improvement in my 99 Accord w/ 30k just as they did in a 93 Civic w/ 130k. SO when my Protege gets ready for new plugs, Bosch +4's it will be.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    You expressed interest in MAPP II several weeks ago, and I've been awaiting your e-mail. Are you still interested? If so, e-mail me at:

    It's two weeks from tomorrow -- Saturday, October 6 -- in a northern Va. park. Hope you can make it!

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    if you really think that the bosch +4 will make a difference, change them when your oem spark plugs are still going good. That way you will find out whether they REALLY make a difference.
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    I'm using NGK Platinums in the Alty.... very nice..
  • In my Protege5, autoumatic, 2.0l at 1,000 miles I am getting just over 30mpg on roadtrips and just over 25mpg in town. About where the sticker said. But I rarely punch it... Wanted to wait a bit. Today, I did some punching around traffic and in curves. I love the engine. Likes it revving high. Has a cool sound to it too.
  • I am running them right now in my '99 ES sedan with the 1.8L engine (which is basically the same as the 2.0L, but much more rev-happy). They seem to improve upper-end response (5,000+ rpm) which my engine visits quite frequently. Other than that, I don't notice any difference and if you don't drive in those rpm ranges, I would just recommend the NGK plugs which are much cheaper.

    I remember when I had my RX-7 and the Bosch Platinum +4's just came out. The parts guy at Pep Boys kept trying to sell me them because "their four-electrode design will be much better than the 20 year-old design on the NGK plugs I wanted." Of course, what he didn't realize was that the rotary engines have always used four-electrode spark plug designs. But, then again, he kept talking about how much better the plugs would be for clearing carbon deposits out of the cylinders and piston heads. Rotary engines don't have cylinders or pistons...
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    You made my point. I used to work at a parts store some years ago, when they were just Bosh Platinums. We were about 80% wholesale, but we'd get an occasional person off the street looking for plugs that double their HP. After going through the whole thing with them and suggesting that they stick with the OEM make, they'd ask for the Platinum or Splitfire. I tend to tell a convincing story, but the marketing machines of these companies have talked the masses into believing that the emperor has some fine threads on.
  • Even when I lay on the gas 2 times a day (to redline in 2 gears after full warm-up) the MPG figures do not change much. Driving 85mph knocks it into the mid-20s. My MPG varies between 26-29 and my best is 33mpg. I drive 65-75mph (with traffic) and dont really beat on the car. I'm at around 6k miles. To get that 33mpg I was driving on back roads through Missouri and around 45-55 the entire time.
  • I agree that platinum plugs (and other "super" plugs) won't really help proteges. I've heard about people having problems in their pros due to these "upgraded" plugs. However, not all parts are this way. Changing OEM parts can yield a superior driving experience (depending on your personal taste) weither it be appearance, audio, performance, handeling, or breaking. My reccomendation is RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I agree with you to an extent. I did a lot of mods on watercooled VWs back in the day. I learned a lot doing so, but I ended up with this opinion: It's very hard to make things better. What is possible is to give up one aspect for another. HP usually comes at the expense of drivability or emissions. Better handling is traded for ride quality. Of course, many feel it worth it to make these changes, just be informed.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    There is a new, less restrictive exhaust system out for the P5, which should fit the Protege 2.0 engine. I was thinking about adding it, but will it void the warranty. Also, I heard it only takes two bolts to remove the exhaust pipe and muffler and replace it with the new one. Is that true? Thanks. Malt, help me out! :)
  • What kind of benefits/detriment will a new exhaust have on the Pro? Less power? More power? More noise? Etc.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Any true Mazda accessory will not void the warranty of the vehicle. The exhaust system available from the dealer is from the MP3 (P/N 0000-8M-C08).

    You are correct about removal/installation: two bolts, replace the gasket ring, pop on the hanger and you are in business.

  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I vote for noise.

    waiting for eeterp to beat me up on this
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