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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    If they don't get enough lubrication or get too much corrosion or brake dust deposits, then they'll bind up, like they have on my '89 323. I have to spare a weekend to disassemble, clean and lubricate both front brake caliper assemblies on my poor neglected baby. :(
  • compensatecompensate Posts: 212
    Thanks for the Gates link. I has seen that link a couple of years ago with older data and I could swear that most Mazda engines were listed as interference type.

    Well, that is good news. I don't guess we'll worry about replacing the next timing belt until the new one breaks (which may not occur for quite some time).

    Bummer on my Elantra GT, though! Interfence engine and 60,000 mile service! Arrgh!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    Yeah, it's a handy reference. I thought that our 92 Protege 1.8 DOHC was an interference engine the entire 10 years that I owned it! Go figure!

    We have a VW Passat now, and I just read on another site of a guy whose timing belt prematurely failed. Lucky for him, his warranty covered the $3,500 to $4,000 cost.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I can't believe Gates has the Mazda DOHC 2.0L listed as an interference engine. It is not an interference engine. It was like that last year and I would expect them to have fixed their catalog by now. Oh well.
  • alternatoralternator Posts: 629
    I e-mailed that correction to Gates about a year ago, and they admitted their error, but still no correction!
  • glideslopesglideslopes Posts: 431
    I never thought about the front calipers binding. I'll have it checked.

  • ram22ram22 Posts: 15
    I have a 2001 Protege LX 2 litre auto trans with 22,000 miles and seems quite good; a pleasure to drive around.

    If I release the brakes very slowly while starting to move OR if I apply the brakes very softly while bringing the car to a gradual halt, the brakes make a slight clunk sound or groaning sound. This always happens on an inclined plane.
    I have also unconsciously mastered this and I can make it groan or not if I choose to.

    I am worried about this sound. What is causing it and how can I solve it ?
    Will the Mazda dealer solve this free of cost since it is still under the bump to bump warranty ?
    Kindly advise.

    -Ramprasad S.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    very normal.
    nothing to worry about.
  • ram22ram22 Posts: 15
    Thank you chikoo.
    Thanks for the info about engine heat also.

    Normal ? I am surprised; but also glad.

    I have driven other cars like Corolla, Camry, Civic - each for about a month while we rented them or friends' cars. They don't make this noise.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    brake pads bieng used. Asbestos free or something.
  • As Chikoo said, very normal. The groan is very typical of automatics - Although they 'slip', they never 'disengage' as with a manual tranny, so the car is always 'trying to go forward'. This makes the brakes do a 'groaning clunk' (clonk-clonk-clonk...) when you apply light pedal pressure, because the discs want to keep turning. I'm surprised you never noticed with other cars - Every american car I've rented (all automatics) do this. My wife's 626 also does it, although it quieted down some with premium pads...

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    when the engine is cold to warming up I find that the revs keep dropping when the car comes to a stop. The revs at a standstill should be around ~700 but when I stop they can drop to 500/550. Noticed again this morning by the first red light. Revs drop to 500-600 car trembles and after few seconds it is gone. Once the engine reaches proper temperature, everything is back to normal.

    What is wrong here?
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Any number of items:

    PCV dirty (clean or replace)
    Throttle body dirty (clean)
    MAS failing (replace)
    Plug wires failing (replace)
    Spark plugs worn (replace)

    And probably a few others I can't think of now. The MAS on my 1.6L ('99) was failing and caused low, unsteady idle (as if it was going to stall) whenever I came to a stop or a crawl, even with the engine warmed-up. It also cause my fuel economy to drop from a typical 28-29mpg to 22-24mpg. Mine was covered under an extended warranty Mazda gave to owners of some 1.6L Proteges. You could bring it in to Mazda and ask them to diagnose the problem. I think it costs $36 or something like that.

    My Protege experienced similar symptoms to yours early in the MAS failure. It happened sporadically, mostly when the engine was "cold" but then it happened all the time and got me really worried about stalling (to the point where I'd feather the throttle to keep the engine running at stops).

    You can check the PCV and throttle body yourself by opening them up and seeing if they're really filthy (wipe them out). You can inspect your plugs yourself too for excessive wear (you'll need a very long 16mm spark plug tool, and maybe an extension...I had to use a 3in extension bar with my socket to extract my Protege's plugs). For the wires, you'll need to check their resistance (I don't know the tolerance range). If you have a multimeter, you can check the MAS too, though I can't inform you on what the normal readings should be (all it said on my report was it was "reading low").
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007

    Any number of items:

    PCV dirty (clean or replace)
    Throttle body dirty (clean)
    MAS failing (replace)
    Plug wires failing (replace)
    Spark plugs worn (replace)

    Right on the money, Chow-Chi!

    I had similar symptoms at the beginning of winter, and they vanished after doing 3 of those things - I bought NGK spark plugs and wires from the dealership (around $50 total - yeah I could have bought OEM ones for less) and had the PCV replaced at the next oil change - they used a no-name brand. The trembling vanished, and mileage came back up to more familiar levels.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    but I think the problem stemmed from me adjusting the Air adjusting screw too give too little air.
    I have raised it back and looks better now.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    BTW, do you think you could post a pic of the deposits/corrosion in your engine bay you were talking about? I might get a better idea. I should've asked to look at it when I could've.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    ...from me adjusting the Air adjusting screw...

    You are begging for trouble messing with that screw and not following the proper procedure.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    what kind of trouble?
    the TAS is the one which one should not be touched at all. There is nothing to my knowledge about the AAS.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I thought you were playing with the TAS.
  • Hi All,

    It's warmer now, so time to roll the window down, enjoy ... and start listening to all those noises coming from the engine bay that went unheard all winter!

    I am starting to notice a 'metallic' noise coming from the engine under certain conditions. It is whistle-like, and although it's very high-pitched, changes pitch. It's not loud, just like metallic 'chirping' - Hard to describe. Anyway, it seems to happen more with the engine cold, and it is noticeable when stepping on the gas under load. I think it may be as simple as a leaf or twig in the air intake, but haven't checked. Car is a 96 DX. Any ideas?

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    Funny, I experience the exact opposite.
    I can hear all sort of engine noises in winter when the windows are all up & there is no AC fan running and the only source of sound is the thin firewalll which lets in all engine noises.

    In spring, with the windows down, I can hear nothing except the wind whistling by and other cars on the road.

    Ok. I get it. you must be driving close to a wall, where the sound of the engine bay gets reflected and you can hear it from your open windows.

    Regarding your sound, could it be the belt stretching itself when cold? or maybe some pulley bearings need to be lubed?
  • Chikoo,

    Exactly! When I get on a 'walled' access ramp or drive by parked cars is when I notice the noise...

    I like your suggestion of pulley bearing needing lube - I think that that will also explain why the car makes other variety of noises when accelerating which are somewhat affected by the AC being on or off. I'll check them this weekend.

    Would you use lithium grease on these or are they sealed bearing?

  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    Use sealed bearings that can sometimes be replaced. The bearings usually run about $5 from a local parts store.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    They say it's the sound of the air going through the valve in the throttle body and not to worry about it.

    I'm not worrying about it because it's been doing it for tens of thousands of miles and I now have 55,500 miles on my '00 ES. And I have the warranty extended to 100K miles. :D

    BTW, mine is a five-speed and I hear it most when taking off in first -- during the first touch of the accelerator pedal -- the loudest. Is this the same for you guys?

  • Yes, I hear it more in 1st or 2nd with the first touch of the accelerator. Once you get the rpms high it goes away, so I think it makes sense that a valve could be the reason. I won't worry...

    Funny thing is that the noise from the air intake in my wife's 626 is more like a vaccum cleaner: A continuous 'sucking' noise...

  • One more. I built myself a scantool for the Protege, which is an ISO OBD-II compliant car. The contraption I made works fine on a Subaru Legacy 2000 and on a friend's 97 Honda Civic (both ISO OBD-II cars), but it does not work on the Protege! Argh! I know the car is ISO OBD-II (pins on the connector and extensive web searching). Does anyone of you knows if the ECU in early OBD-II compliant Proteges was funky in any way? I know there is a problem because I posted somewhere else an another fellow told me he also had troubles with his 97 1.5L Pro.

    Any hints welcomed...
  • doublesixdoublesix Posts: 29
    How often should I have the transmission oil changed for my Protege 99? I could not find any information regarding this in the manual book. Thanks!
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    The rear struts on my 1995 Protege LX (157K miles)were getting weak, so I decided to replace all four. I tow a utility trailer with an ATV quite often, and I think this contributed to the rear struts wearing out. Anyway, here are a few tips if you decide to do this job yourself.

    As I had never done this before, I consulted a Haynes manual and the instructions were pretty clear. I ordered 4 Monroe Sensi-trac srtuts from for about $53 apiece. Autozone has spring compressors that they loan out for free with a deposit. I don't own any air tools or impact wrenches and used just standard ratchets, sockets, box wrenches, a torque wrench, and a steel beater bar for leaverage on the ratchet. I also used two jack stands and the jack-up tools that came with the Mazda.

    I did this project over two days interspersed with other household chores, but it could be done in 4-8 hours using primitive tools like mine.

    Don't try to loosen the suspension support-to-piston rod nut on a workbench, it won't work. Break the high torque on this nut while it is secured in the car with a turn or two, then it can easily be removed after you have compressed the springs on the workbench. As the front springs are not that tall, you will have to compress them down almost as far as you can before safely removing the piston rod nut. The rear springs are taller, and you won't have to compress them as far to loosen the spring pressure on the top.

    I didn't replace the rubber bushings or suspension supports as they were in o.k. condition. I just cleaned them up and put them on the new struts. I believe the only place you can get these rubber parts is from Mazda.

    You will need to be careful when lowering the front struts to not damaging the front CV joints . Also, use some care when disconnecting the rear brake line from the rear strut as it is metal line from the strut to the brake housing.

    One problem I did encounter was the anti-sway bar connected to the rear struts. The nuts on the control links were completely frozen and rust spray did not help. So I used a hacksaw to cut the two control links and took off the rear stabilizer bar. I'm sure someone in this forum could explain how to remove these nuts. Anyway, if I can find two new or used control links for a decent price, then I will put the rear stab. bar back on the car.

    Overall, this was not too difficult a project, just time consuming. If you have average mechanical skills, a few tools, and a work bench, then you can do this project. Just be careful when compressing the springs and setting the compressed springs down (compressed springs that come undone are very dangerous). And be sure to put the parts back on in the same order or location as you took them off.

    Finally, you will need a 4 wheel alignment after replacing the struts. Happy Motoring.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Have a trained tech drain fluid, remove oil pan, clean and inspect, refill with OEM or Mazda compatible tranny fluid every 30,000 miles.
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