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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    I just had the A/C go out in my 95 Protege LX 5 spd. last week (146,000 miles). I did not get the burning smell you did, just no cold air and a whine from the bearings in the a/c unit.

    I had a local independent shop look at it and they first said they would try to just replace the clutch pack in the unit as this is what they felt was wrong. Unfortunately, there were no aftermarket replacement parts just for the clutch pack. So they had to order a new compressor unit(includes new clutch pack) from the local Mazda dealer to the tune of $360. With labor and tax the total bill was $516. It works like new again.

    On a similar note, I was driving when the a/c went out in our 88 Olds Delta 88 at 178,000 miles. I also noticed the burning smell when it happened. With this car, repairing the clutch pack was possible. The independent mechanic wanted $300 and the old beater, now used by our 16 year old daughter, just wasn't worth the repair. So I got a shorter belt from Auto Zone and just bypassed the system.

    Good Luck.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    You've probably got a seized compressor, and the burning smell is the drive belt dragging on the compressor clutch pulley.
  • dsm6dsm6 Posts: 813
    I took my 02 Pro ES into a local Mazda dealer to see what they had to say about the famous "death rattle." The result? They tightened a heat shield and gave me my car back.

    Evidently they didn't even test drive the car after making the "repair." It still rattles, of course, every single time I run it cold, just like I told them when I brought it in. Besides, anyone here who is familiar with the problem knows it isn't due to a loose heat shield.

    One simple test drive after the car cooled off would have told them they didn't fix it right. Scratch that service department off the list.

    Anybody else have any luck in finding someone with a solution to this problem?
  • deh_clawdeh_claw Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Protege with an A/C problem... On 6/28, I left my Protege at the airport L/T parking lot in Charlotte, NC. When I left, the A/C was working. When I got back, it started acting up. Here are the symptoms: A/C will work for 10-30 minutes and then quit. Or the A/C will not work at all. Have had the freon checked, it is fine. Compressor appears to be running, just no cold air. No strange smells from the a/c, just not working. Any ideas?
  • rbrooks3rbrooks3 Posts: 174
    Here's a post that addresses the "death rattle". It's post 12999 from the Protege forum and was done by Protegefan.

    "Here is a post from another forum I thought would be handy for all to see:

    2.0L Engine Noise
    This is what Mazda has to say about it, I think we should push them to come up with a fix faster, come on it has been a problem since the middle of 2000! What do you think? I would like someone to explain the jargon that they use VTCS plates? what are there function? What does ECT stand for and what is its function? Also they use the term "believed" to be the problem which means they are not sure or are trying to limit their responsability!
    The dealer noted the noise and gave me a bulliten from Mazda.
    Category: B Piston Engine
    Repair Reference # 3562
    Subject: 2.0L Engine noise with cold coolant temp
    ALL 2.0L between 2001-2002 are affected
    Customer may experience an engine rattle under light to moderate acceleration with engine coolant temps below 149 deg F and engine rpm's between 1500 to 2500.
    Confirm noise only occurs within the VTCS ( Variable Tumble Control System) operation "valve closed" period (when ECT is below 149 deg F)
    This noise is currently believed to be the result of the timing between VTCS plates "opening", and the ignition spark advanc command. This is an operating characteristic of this engine and no repair attempts should be made. Although the noise is present only during cold start up and disappears once the engine coolant reaches 149 degrees F, Mazda realizes that it is an annyance to some customers and its engineers are investigating possible countermeasures in an effort to address customer satisfaction.
    Sounds like they are trying to get away from a recall and a problem that will or will not (they don't know)cause damage during warranty!
  • dsm6dsm6 Posts: 813
    An operating characteristic, eh? A totally benign operating characteristic? Let's hope so.

    I could definitely see it being pitched as such even if it isn't in attempt to avoid a recall, but I guess I'm pessimistic about such things.
  • rbrooks3rbrooks3 Posts: 174
    I'll tell you what I do because I don't trust Mazda at all. It does only happen when the car is cold. I start the car and let it run about 1 minute. Then I shift gears at barely above 1500. I'm lucky in that by the time I reach the main road from my neighborhood, I've gone about 2 miles, so it's pretty much up to a warm enough level that there's no noise.

    Here's why I don't trust Mazda. I bought my wife's MPV in 2001. It was a 200 model. The thing had a heck of a time starting up. It was the same warm or cold. You'd turn it over once or maybe 6 times to start it. I thought the problem was a leaking pressure regulator. No. Turns out Mazda said they were aware of the problem and were working on "counter-measures". Nice, suddenly Mazda uses Black Ops lingo! We had the car for moths before they installed the counter-measures. Now it's usually 1-3 times to start it. SO, they introduced the car to market knowing there wa a problem and it took over a year to arrive at a "fix" that still does not work.

    Don't tell me for a second that Mazda was not aware of the death rattle noise and a potential problem. The bottom line is that after calculating customer satisfaction v. cost, they were ab;e to take the "we don't care" approach. I'm not aware of any other engine making this noise.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469

    I have a 1992 LX with the DOHC 1.8 engine, 158,100 miles. The other day I noticed that my temperature gauge was climbing considerably higher than normal (it's always been rock solid in the lower middle of the gauge once warmed up). The condition is worse with the A/C on.

    I checked a couple of things...
    1) Secondary cooling fan (in front of the radiator and condensor) is not running, when the temperature climbs or the A/C cycles.

    2) I pulled the fuse from the on-the-hood block for the cooling fan and checked it with an ohm meter...fuse is good.

    3) Coolant level and mix is good.

    4) Primary cooling fan is running.

    I'm thinking it's probably one of the following:
    1) thermo sensor is bad (but the primary fan is running).
    2) secondary fan motor is bad (how do I check this?)

    What activates the secondary cooling fan when the a/c goes on? Is it a separate sensor or some other connection?

    Can someone direct me to where the thermo-sensor is on this car? Should it register no resistance when the engine is hot?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. TIA.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    To check the fan's function, you need to hook it up to a power source. I think it runs on 12V DC.

    The thermostat is a heat-actuated valve that constricts/opens coolant flow. Typically, this part is replaced when you replace the coolant. If it doesn't work properly, coolant flow is restricted, allowing the coolant to overheat.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I ruled out the thermostat, since I can see the coolant start to circulate in the radiator (with the cap off) when the thermostat opens.

    It's really the lack of the secondary cooling fan running that's the problem. I just don't know where the sensor is that makes it run.

    Good suggestion, though, on just running it off the 12v source to see if it's functioning. I'll try that this evening. I'm going to forecast that it will run fine. I'm still thinking it's the sensor. The primary fan runs fine, though.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    There is no sensor for the secondary fan. It runs when the compressor cycles on. It's either a relay, wire or the fan motor itself.
  • I just purchased a brand new 2002 Mazda Protégé LX. The car only has 1,500 miles on it. The problem I’m having with the Protégé is this. I am experiencing severe engine vibrations when I drive the car on the freeway. The vibration is so bad that my feet feel numb and tingly after driving the car.

    Does my Protégé have a defective engine or a broken engine mount?

    Or is the engine vibrations I’m experiencing normal for the Protégé?

    Is there a fix for this problem?

  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    What RPMs?

    Is the transmission auto or manual?

    Is it more related to engine speed (RPM) or road speed (mph)?

    Can you get the same vibration if you rev the engine in neutral?

    If it's engine-speed related, it's probably bad or missing engine mounts. You might also want to check your engine for proper operation (not misfiring or prematurely firing, spark plugs are firing in the correct sequence or not firing etc.). The engine doesn't have any counterbalances to smooth it out. It is what it is. If it's shaking too much, there's something wrong.

    If it's speed-related, you need to check:

    1) Wheel balance.
    2) Wheel roundness (check the tire and the wheel).
    3) Alignment.
    4) Strut and spring function.
    5) Other suspension components.
  • rbrooks3rbrooks3 Posts: 174
    Sounds like you need to avail yourself of the free loaner car warranty form Mazda. I would answer Mazdafun's questions while filling out the form as you drop off your Pro. My 02 5 speed certainly does not make my feet tingle. Give it back to the dealership, drive your free loaner and let them call you when your car is fixed.

    Ron B.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Trying not to sound patronizing:

    The car's under warranty. Use it!

    2000 ES
    2002 Protege5
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    My previous post described how my engine temperature gauge was climbing up into the very hot range.

    Since that post, I came to the conclusion that the engine was in fact running at the same temperature as always, but that the gauge was not working correctly.

    If I would shut the engine off and then place the key in the "accessory" position (to activate the gauges), the temperature would be where it always was before this problem arose.

    Here's where it gets interesting (or bizarre). The starter failed on Monday morning. A salvaged starter was installed and worked fine. And the temperature gauge works now, too. Go figure!
  • Well, I took my 2002Protege LX into the Mazda service department like everyone told me to do.

    The service department inspected my car and told me that the severe engine vibrations I was feeling when I drove on the freeway is actually considered quite "Normal" for the Protege.

    In fact, the service guy told me that I had one of the "Better" ones because there were other Proteges who's engines vibrated even worst than mine.

    I guess there is nothing I can do about it for now except play the Beach Boys song "Good Vibrations" every time I drive my Protege!

    Hey, do you think Mazda would ever be willing to let me test drive another Protege to see if they are telling me the truth about their engine vibration problem?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Can't anybody test drive a car? I have a 2000 Protege, but my wife and I had to test drive a couple 2002s before she bought her Protege5.

  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    If you can't find satisfaction at that dealer, find another that's more interested in helping you. If not, then contact Mazda NA.

    It'd help if you describe at what speeds and what the road conditions are. Since the suspension is tuned more stiffly than the mainstream accepts, road imperfections do come through more than in, say, a Corolla or Civic or Focus. However, it shouldn't be shaking hard on a smooth road.

    Definitely take a few for a test drive and check them out under similar conditions.

    A tire place once told me it was normal to get bad vibrations at highway speed (anywhere above 45mph they don't consider being covered by their wheel balancing service...what a rip). I replaced my (out of round) tires and never went back there.
  • protege_fanprotege_fan Posts: 2,405
    What did they check when you took your car in? Suspension? Alignment? Tires? Engine mounts?

    I think all of the above could give you the impression of engine vibrations.

    I *ahem* drove a little fast last night...something like highway speed. My Pro was rock solid (as usual)...economy car not meant to go "that" fast? HAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAH!!!! Okie dokie.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Cruising at 85mph (hey, I was keeping up with traffic, trying not to be a road hazard) was pretty smooth, if noisy (wind and engine) on my last length road trip. 65mph is very quiet and smooth (unless driving through Detroit or other "rough" places where they don't maintain their road surfaces), if not "Lexus" smooth. Then again, I don't like being so isolated from the road. That's why I like the Pro.
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    FWIW (very little, I know!) my 95 is surprisingly smooth for an econobox with mildly sporty aspirations, at freeway speeds, especially on tarmac (less so on laid concrete roads). I do, though, have 70% profile 13 inch touring all-season tires(yuck).

    I've taken a number of road trips, and often HAVE TO drive 80+ to not be a road hazard ;-) and never have my passengers (or I) complained about a harsh ride or vibrations.

    I think your dealer is trying to get away without doing his job well - make them satisfy you! And definitely test-drive a couple of other (new and old) Proteges, there is always the SMALL possibility that it IS you, and that you're made for (without getting anatomically gross) more cushy cars like the boring Corolla/Civic etc. Although I doubt it!
  • dsm6dsm6 Posts: 813
    Actually, in adition to being solid at speed as others have noted, my 02 Pro seems amazingly smooth and quiet at idle compared to other 4 bangers I've driven/owned.

    Of course, there is the cold engine "death rattle", but that's a different story.
  • dsm6dsm6 Posts: 813
    My brakes "groan" quite a bit. Most often when they are cold. My friendly local service rep says he called Mazda NA, and Mazda NA says this is perfectly normal. Anybody else have this "problem?"

    p_f: glad to hear you don't have the death rattle. Mazda says this is normal too, but it sure sounds and feels like something could be getting damaged and I don't know that I trust auto manufacturers on these types of things.
  • protege_fanprotege_fan Posts: 2,405
    When are they groaning? Under what conditions?
  • dsm6dsm6 Posts: 813
    they groan just as I'm using them to come to a complete stop. They sometimes pop when I start up again. It just started recently, and does it just about every time I come to a stop.
  • protege_fanprotege_fan Posts: 2,405
    take a drive at lunch and take a listen to mine. I don't recall hearing anything like that though.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Usually it's due to some rusting of the rotors or accumulated dust on the pads (fallen off the edges onto the faces). I sometimes get this first thing after some condensation (or other method of getting moisture on the rotors) on the rotors. It's just the rust getting rubbed off and making noise.

    If it's not that, the only other time I get groaning noise from my brakes is if the pads are sticky (so the groaning noise is more prevalent on towards the end of the braking action when the relative speed between the pads and rotor is low...whereas the rusty rotor usually is noisy when you first apply the brakes and then goes away). You might try replacing the pads to ones with less organic material (such as kevlar or semi-metallic or semi-ceramic...but these can wear your rotors faster and can make more screechy-squealy noises) and resurfacing (machining...make sure they can do it w/o removing the rotor...results are better) the rotors to make them smoother.
  • dsm6dsm6 Posts: 813
    It sounds like they're sticky - they groan near the end of braking, then pop as I take off. If nothing is getting damaged and the brakes will continue to work fine as such, I'll just put up with the noise.

    Thanks, guys.
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