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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • tomcivilettitomciviletti Posts: 207
    Did you try a propane torch on the nuts?
  • Hey,

    My 1.5L Protege, nearing its 60K miles, has developed valve noise (tapping...). I thought that I'd wait until the timing belt change comes up, and have it done then. However, I remember the timing belt in my 626 was pristine when I had it changed. So my plan was to try to do a valve adjustment myself and at the same time check the condition of the timing belt.

    Now, I will have help from a mechanic friend of mine, and he has access to special tools, so I'm not worried about the valve adjustment. The real problem is getting the shims that will be needed to correctly adjust the valves. Any clues as to who may supply these? Trussville Mazda, maybe?


  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    Any Mazda dealer should be able to get you the shims you need. If you are looking to save a little money, there are a number of on-line dealerships like Trussville. Another that I routinely use is Also, I can often talk my local dealer into matching on-line prices. They don't make the same profit off me as others, but at least I am still making them a little money, and I don't have to pay shipping and wait the extra couple of days for the parts. The down side is I do have to pay sales tax, but at least that money is going into state and local government coffers instead of the pockets of UPS. It may be worth asking your local dealer(s) to price match for convenience sake.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Excellent advice Ted!
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    No I didn't try a torch to remove the nuts on the control links, does this work?

    The control link connects to the stabilizer bar with a joint similar to a tie-rod end. I was able to break and turn one nut but then it just spun inside the tie-rod end and thus wouldn't come off the end of the bolt. There wasn't any flat edge on the inside of the tie-rod to grab with a wrench without destroying the rubber boot. So I just cut the control link.

  • are particularly useful when taking the calipers off the wheel assembly (when replacing rotors). The caliper bolts are usually glued with locktite, and although you can take an impact wrench to them, you'll probably break them. The heat melts the glue, or for rusted things, the two parts expand/anneal differently. I worked on one of the bolts of my wife's 626 for 2 hours, until my neighbor took pitty on me and showed me this trick with the torch...

  • frank138frank138 Posts: 4
    I have mazda protege LX 92 auto with 90k on it. It runs strong. Now it has a problem starting up. Sometimes in the morning, she cranks, but can not start. She ka, ka..., struggles, but fails to start. But after a while, or after a day or so, she is back to normal. I have heard some guys suggested pushing the gas when starting. Any clues, is it indicating I need to do starter or even distributor problem.

    Thanks in advance.

  • tomcivilettitomciviletti Posts: 207
    As long as the heat will not destroy rubber ore plastic parts nearby, it is a useful way to loosen seized parts. I don't need it as much now that I live in Oregon, but my vehicles in salt using Pennsylvania needed heat to remove almost all nuts exposed to road spray.

    It is possible that getting red hot could weaken the metal, but it usually doesn't take that much. as irishalchemist notes, it's differential expantion that breaks threads loose.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    One thing to check is the condition of your ignition wires. I had a 92 LX (got rid of it at 160K, but it's still on the road at 167K today) and I had to replace the wires and other ignition parts around your mileage. The insulation starts to deteriorate and the car won't start (or starts poorly) especially in the morning (when it's more damp). Pay attention to when the problem occurs - if it's there or worse on damp mornings or rainy days, I'd pop for new wires, distributor cap, rotor and plugs. Just my $0.02. YMMV.
  • doublesixdoublesix Posts: 29
    I discussed with a few people before regarding engine braking by turning off the overdrive button before a stop or slowing down, but the answers were a mix.

    Is it really a bad idea in doing so?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Ask yourself, what's more expensive in the long run?

    New brake pads every so often, or a new transmission less frequently?

    I'd opt for the pads once in a while in favor of the wear placed on the tranny by lurching it into third all the time.

  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    I'd switch overdrive off while on a long downhill, and if I were already in 3rd gear or lower (if in O/D, brake until you shift into 3rd). I might even shift down to 2nd if the slope is steep and long enough. Brakes don't work as well if they get too hot, especially the organic ones (I think stock are part organic and part metallic). The fumes given off get between the pads and rotors, reducing friction between them and also possibly causing bubbles to form in your brake fluid (they'd have to get really hot for that).

    But I would use the brakes for everyday stops.
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469 downshifting or using the O/D lockout is mentioned as perfectly acceptable in the owner's manual (look at the section covering the transmission). Living in a hilly part of the country, I frequently engine brake on long, steep descents (there's one hill here that just scares the bejeebers out of people from the midwest - I use first gear on that one).

    Ancedotally, I have maintained this driving style on a Mazda Protege and it has gone 167,000 miles without any transmission problems. None.

    I've done the same on a Ford F-250 (currently showing 140k) and I had to have the pan gasket replaced (it's a '89 and it frequently sits a long time). The mechanic told me the inside of the transmission was very clean and required no other service than the pan gasket.

    Used the same technique on an 1983 Plymouth Horizon and it went 150,000 miles (before the body just got too bad for state inspection), with no transmission issues.

    While your experience may be different, the manual clearly states that engine braking is acceptable. My experience has been good and I'll continue to do so. YMMV.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    The way the guy worded the question, it appeared he was asking about doing this every time he slowed down. I also use my engine for braking on steep grades (I have a five-speed), but I don't routinely downshift every time I approach a stop sign. I'll typically let the engine brake the car until the car's going the minimum speed for the gear it's in (i.e., say, 45 for 5th, 30 for 4th, etc.), and then use only the brakes once I take it out of that gear.

    And even doing that, I've now got 58,000 miles on the original brakes on my 2000 ES.

  • feather01feather01 Posts: 3
    Hi everyone -

    We have a 2002 Protege ES which we bought new - has 14K miles on it now.

    For the past couple of months it has been "bucking" when you attempt to start driving from a complete stop. This only happens in 1st gear. I've been driving standards all my life and haven't had this happen since my first time learning at 16! To get it going when this happens, you almost have to floor it.

    Also, when you initially start the car after it's been sitting for a little bit (hour or more), it is VERY loud, seems to rev for a while. It's also much louder in general than when I got it.

    Of course it's still under warranty so I brought it to the dealer I got it from, and they have told me there is "absolutely nothing wrong with the car". Has anyone else had this happen? I'm very close to losing money and trading it in for something better.


  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Is it a manual or an automatic?

  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    I misread doublesix's message...I don't downshift for every stop sign or light either.
  • feather01feather01 Posts: 3
    it's a manual. . . thanks.
  • kaiserheadkaiserhead Posts: 166
    I have a 2000 1.6L manual transmission, and every so often its a little temperamental starting from 1st. I've just assumed it was the hot, humid Florida air, I just rev it a little more to compensate. It could just be a strange characteristic of the Protege.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Well, I can't speak to the "loud" issue, but as as far as the bucking goes, this is something that both my '92 and '00 manuals have done all the time, and I've been told is normal -- until now. Mazda seems to have developed some kind of revised pressure plate and bearing to combat this, and there's a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) that has recently been written about it. I'd say take it back to your dealer and press the issue since the car's so new.

    FYI, My 2000 ES has 57,000 miles on it and I've already talked to my dealer -- they're not as likely to do anything about it since the car's no longer under the factory warranty. You might have a case. But just to let you know, the '92 Protege I bought new back then did it for all 83,000 miles I owned the car -- just an "idiosyncracy" I got used to. The slipping would occur only on wet mornings and only when I first started out, then everything would be fine. My 2000 has been doing it also since day one. So I don't think the clutch is being hurt by this little quirk. And after a while you learn how to treat the clutch to minimize the effect when you first take off. My mechanically inclined friend who also just happens to be a mechanic at my Mazda dealership (nice, huh?) still says it's not much more than a quirk and not to worry about it --

  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    They bought out most of the Firestone/Bridgestone stores in VA back in 1997 and wouldn't honor road hazard warranties for tire purchased in the same store before it was bought out. People are so stupid. I can think of no way better to assure I won't be back to buy my next set of tires there. I like to stick to independent, local shops. At least that way I know where I stand. I suppose it would be different if I purchased Goodyears, or other mainstream brands.
  • latinladylatinlady Posts: 1
    I bought a new 2002 LS Aut. Does anyone wishes to tell me what good things to expect, or troublesome areas to be attentive of? I've had such bad luck with all my cars ...
    Thanks a lot.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    I think you should expect a relatively toruble free experience with your Protege. The key is to follow the maintenance schedule. Other than that, be sure to have fun driving it!
  • I noticed two electeic fans on the radiator, but only one was on! Are these set to progressively some on as the temp increases? The engine was running so hot, hot day, A/C on, etc. It never seemed to get this hot before. NO blown fuses, the fan turns freely by hand, but both don't come on together. Anyone know about this, TIA for any help.

    Also, what type on coolant should go in a coolant change, being an all aluminum block?
  • First, the coolant: 50/50 Prestone (the green stuff) and water. Use distilled water: Tap water will make calcium carbonate deposits in your block - bad . Make sure that you fill the radiator (with the car COLD!!!) through the radiator cap slowly to avoid trapping air bubbles, and then make sure that the reservoir is in the FULL mark (again, when the engine is COLD).

    As for the fans, they should both run. One is for the A/C, one for cooling the engine. If the engine is overheating (the temperature needle past the middle of the range - it usually sits just below half in mine), then the fan should definitely be on. The A/C fan will go on and off, depending on the temperature inside the cabin (I may be wrong about this, the fan may stay on and the compressor disengage...). In any case, if cold air is coming out of the vents and the engine is on the hot side, both fans should be one.

    It is relatively easy to check if the fans are kaput or the relays that turn them on are kaput. Simply unplug the fan from the harness and connect a battery to it (note the polarity when you do this, and ask for help if you are not comfortable doing it...). If the fan works fine, it should turn. If they do, and you still don't see them both coming on, your relays may be bad (many other things may be bad, but that is the first thing after the fan...).

    One more thing: Check the blades on the fan (do not even put the key in the ignition to do this if you'd like to have all your 10 fingers afterwards!). I had a cracked blade in the fan of my old GLC and would not cool worth crap.

    Hope this helps,

  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    Both keyless entry remotes for my 2003 Protege5 have stopped working. Since both have ceased to function, it leads me to believe that the problem is on the receiver side, not the remote transmitter side. I have no doubt this is somehow related to the dealer's less than stellar installation skill when putting in the auto-dimming mirror with compass. They reinstalled that recently. The problem is we are almost 4000 miles from the next oil change, so I guess we will have to make a another special trip to get it fixed.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    It took the service advisor all of 5 seconds to fix the keyless entry problems I was having. Essentially, the remotes got out of sync with the receiver. He claimed it was pretty rare. I'm just happy I didn't have to leave the car.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    After 4 years of living with this problem on my 99 ES, it is finally fixed.

    The problem: Engine jolts/jerks when A/C compressor is engaged.

    The cause: Leaky intake manifold gasket

    Solution: Replaced Gasket.

    It took 4 years for Mazda to figure out this!!!!!

    Jerry Standefer, u listening? Get your car checked.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    That guy is loooong gone. Sold his soul and the rights to his car to Racing Beat or some like outfit over a year ago. Last I heard his 99 Protege was converted into a turbo-charged monster truck. :-)))

    -old head
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