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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • gandrigogandrigo Posts: 87
    99 protege 1.6L
    My car is headed into the shop tomorrow to have the control links from the front sway bar changed for a second time. the first set lasted 50000km, the second less than 20000km. the first time I had them changed the service rep told me this was a common occurrence. While still under warranty this is more of a hassle than anything else, but ultimately I fear paying for these things on a yearly basis. Clearly there is a flaw in the design, or something else is wrong with the front end causing premature failure. I do corner aggressively, but isn't that part of the reason for getting a Protege? Has anyone else experienced this problem? Any insight or advice would be appreciated
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    never heard of this problem with anybody on either of the board I frequent, edmunds bieng one.
  • rogerb7rogerb7 Posts: 13
    I too have bucking problems, but only when engaging the clutch from a stopped position into 1st gear. I have an 01 ES, never had this occur with many other manual shift cars I've owned over the years. It goes away after engine warms up but is annoying.

    Does anyone know for sure if there is a TSB on this problem? Is the dealer obligated to tell you? I checked the NHTSA website but couldn't find one for this problem.

    FYI, it's

    Also on a long trip after a/c was running for about 8 hours, it air was not as cool. After several hours should it be turned off for a while?
  • gandalf17gandalf17 Posts: 348
    Hi everyone. It seems I may be having my first Pro related problem. My car is a 2000 ES, 5-speed, with 74,500 kilometres. The car has been problem free to date, except for recently.

    Here is what is happening. Essentially, my idle appears to be sticking sporadically, both while in gear and if the car is in neutral. For instance, if I am cruising at 60km an hour and take my foot off the gas, the engine will start to brake itself slowly, but when it hit's between 1,500 and 2,000rpm, the idle sticks and the engine stops braking itself. The affected idle seems to be in the 1500rpm to 200rpm range. I have also been able to simulate this problem by placing the car in neutral and slowly hitting the accelerator to about 1,750rpm and then removing the throttle. The idle will come back down to about 1,500rpm and then stay stuck in that position as opposed to coming back down to 700rpm which is the usual engine idle speed. I can "unstick" the idle in this state by tapping the accelerator quickly causing a brief rpm spike which causes it to drop back to 700rpm.

    Please also note that if I brake while in gear, the idle does not stick and will come back down as per the engine speed. However, I do notice and feel the extra effort on the brakes since the engine is not, in effect, assisting the braking as it normally would.

    I have also noticed that the engine performance is a little sluggish also. Not horribly so, but my wife and I both notice the difference. This problem is occurring when the engine is cold or warmed up and the check engine light has not come on and my engine temp is running the same as always.

    So, my question is whether anyone has experienced this before with their Pro? Or, might know if this relates to any recalls or TSB's, or just has an idea what might be causing this based on mechanical knowledge.

    All input/feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Mine acts like this when I have my air conditioning (or defroster, which uses the a/c compressor) on. But it's closer to the lower end of your rpm scale, and after a few seconds at a stop, it returns to normal idle rpm on its own. But I can make it return early by tapping the accelerator.

  • gandalf17gandalf17 Posts: 348
    Hey!!! Actually, it has been happening with the AC off. I too have a similiar thing that happens with the AC. Usually it sticks a tad and it tends to add about 100rpm more at idle so that she is running about 800rpm as opposed to 700rpm. This occurrence is pretty normal as AC systems put a lot of drain on small displacement 4 bangers. You would lose engine performance and have quite the engine lag.

    Oddly, what I am encountering is very similiar to the AC situation. I first noticed it when my wife and I had to drive downtown a few days ago and were stuck in traffic for an hour. The whole time we were basically in first and second gear. It was after this that I noted a problem.

    We took the Pro into work today and of course, she ran perfectly. I was planning to take it into the dealer today too, but I would like to be able to replicate the problem.

    Question: Could this be at all related to the MAS (Mass Airflow Sensor) and was there a recall on the MAS with the 1.8L? I know there was for the 1.6L, but thought I remembered someone mentioning a recall on the 1.8L.

    Thanks Meade.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I don't recall (pun intended, naturally) seeing anything about a MAF sensor concern with our 1.8s, nor has mine given me any trouble in just shy of 60,000 miles. But there was a recall on our ignition coil module. Mine wasn't giving me any trouble, but I had it done anyway. Only took about an hour.

    To date no one has told me WHY the module was recalled, so I have no idea whether that could have any bearing on what you're experiencing.

    Have you had yours replaced?

  • gandalf17gandalf17 Posts: 348
    really love a good punn. Nice one. :)

    Like you, I did have the ignition coil replaced and like your Pro, ours did not have any of the symptoms associated with the recall.

    I decided not to go to the dealership today and will see if this was an isolated incident, or the precursor to something more sinister. Obviously, I would like to be able to replicate the problem, or have the engine demonstrate the sluggishness when i turn it over to the dealer to look at...
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Sounds like an electrical, not mechanical, issue to me. It may be the MAS, but have you tried resetting your ECU by disconnecting the battery from it for over 10s? If those aren't the culprits, there are a lot of sensors that may be causing your ECU to decide to keep the engine speed up. For instance, your O2 sensor may cause the engine to run fast to heat up the catalytic converter faster etc. I'd pay your local TRUSTWORTHY service shop to diagnose the problem. Electrical problems can be a pain to trace.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Hmm. Never had a problem with mine. I corner aggressively sometimes, but not constantly. The Pro is fun to tackle curves with, but it's still not a racing car.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    did one determine that the front control arms are shot?
    what are the symptoms?
  • rogerb7rogerb7 Posts: 13
    Fyi, I took our 01 ES to the dealer this am for other work, and mentioned the clutch bucking. Service rep said he was not aware of any TSB on the Pro for this problem altho there is for a different Mazda car (don't recall which one, sorry.)

    Got a phone call a few hours later, saying there is indeed a TSB for the Pro and a part is on order to fix this problem. Fortunately the car is still under warranty.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    The other car is the Miata. My 2001 ES showed early signs of this before I sold it. It never happened freqently enough to bother me enough to get it fixed.
  • gandrigogandrigo Posts: 87
    You can tell the control link is shot by the annoying clunking coming from the front suspension when going over bumps as well as the excessive roll in corners. Alternatively climb under the car and grab the link (thin rod connecting the torsion bar to the shock tower. If you can rotate the link about its longitudinal axis, i.e clockwise or counterclockwise rotation if you were to look at it from the top of the car, it is shot. A functional control link should not move (The technician tests it by applying torque with a 3 foot pry-bar). My dealer maintains he has seen them fail often, and sooner than mine but that there is no recall or TSB. They are not covered under the major component warranty. Seems I'm the only one here.
    For those of you owning post 2001 proteges, there was a redesign and thus you have little to fear.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... as my mechanic performed that test on my 2000 ES's control links about a month ago during a brake job. They were nice and solid. The car has 59,000 miles on it and rolled off the line in March 2000.

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    Checked Engine. Engine was still there.

    Wondered what was wrong.
    Took it to the dealer.
    Dealer replaced MAF and Catalytic convertor(1st tin can, or so he said).

    Car: 1999 Protege ES.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I would suppose you're past the end of the 3/50 warranty, right? How much did you pay?

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    bumper to bumper warranty from none other than Mazda Itself, if u remember, with $0 deductible.

    Nothing out of my pocket. They even gave me a loaner 2003 dx for 3 days.
  • kaiserheadkaiserhead Posts: 166
    I had a strange incident today, I was downshifting (manual transmission) into third gear and the car jerked twice like it was about to stall, it kept going but the check engine light stayed on. The car drove normally for the rest of the drive home. After the car rested for about an hour, I started it two time, it ran normally, but the check engine light stayed on, after a third start the light went off. Any thoughts on the cause? I'm suspecting bad spark plug wires, bad gas, or moisture?????

    BTW: 2000 1.6L manual transmission.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    There should be a diagnostic trouble code stored in the engine control computer, relating to the misfire. A scanner is required to retrieve the code and identify which circuit had a problem.
  • You probably read about my incident (1.5L 96). I had the same thing happening: Minding my own business at a stop, took off, and the car started jerking and choking on me. In my case it was pretty bad, and if I drove it in high gear it would mis-fire all over the place. I had to downshift to 2nd gear and gun it to get out of it. My problem was cables/plugs. Actually, plugs, which destroyed the cables. However, I initially changed cables only (did not have time to do plugs also), and it solved the problem, although I could still feel an occasional mis-fire here and there. Changed the plugs, rotor, and rotor button a couple of weeks later, and its fine. The plugs I took out were the original plugs at 60K miles, the color was good, but the gap was 0.055" (it is supposed to be 0.04"). No wonder the wires got beat.

    Another thing I noticed after doing this: City millage went from 28 to 31! In any case, how many miles you have in your 2000. The plug wires go at around 50/60K. The code I got was P0300, random/multiple mis-fire. The light blinked during the 'seizures', then stayed on after I changed the cables, and then just died out after several 'drive cycles'. I did not reset the codes when I read them, I just allowed the computer to lick its wounds...

  • kaiserheadkaiserhead Posts: 166
    Thanks for the help, I'm suspecting cables, spark plugs were done about a year ago at the 30k service. I took the car out last night to see if it would recreate the problem, it didn't. Usually this wouldn't bother me until the problem became more frequent, but I'm driving from Miami to Toronto in three weeks and I don't want any trouble in the back country of Tennesee.

    BTW, the car has 88,000kms, or 54,600 miles.
  • Howdy,

    Right after I wrote about plugs and wires, I noticed my 96 Protege was pinging with hard acceleration under load (like steping on the gas on 3rd/4th gear going up hill). It is not particularly bad, and only happens when you go a bit over the normal range for the gear (say, 40 MPH in 3rd, 50 MPH in 4th - Don't have a tachometer, so no idea what RPM that translates to).

    In any case, I only noticed yesterday and today. As I mentioned before, plugs, wires, cap, and rotor were changed a couple of weeks ago, and it did not ping then. Only thing I can think of is bad gas (I filled up in a different gas station, although same chain - Sunoco - last Monday), or it is related to the temperature (we hit 90+ yesterday and today in Philly), or the ECU is adjusting to the new plugs, wires, etc., and took a wrong turn somewhere while adjusting the timming.

    Any ideas? I will do the obvious, which is fill up in my regular gas station next time, and if that does not cure it switch to Premium (93), as I currently use 89 (this car should work OK with 87, though...). If that fails, I'll check the base timming. But any other suggestions (top engine cleaner, like Techron) would be apreciated.


  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Make sure they haven't closed up any, or deposits aren't closing the gaps. Check the resistance in the plugs and wires too.
  • Mazdafun,

    I did check that. They are fine at 0.044 inches. The resistance in the wires is ~450 ohms/feet (an average of all wires, but they are all similar...).

    It did not ping at all yesterday afternoon. I had parked the car in the shade and when I left work it was cooler (a chilly 78...). Plus it did not do it with the new plugs/wires/cap/rotor for almost two weeks, but started doing it when it got really hot. I guess that may be the problem here, but I'll keep poking...

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Check the EGR valve, and make sure coolant temp is ok.
  • I will look into that if the switch to premium (93) does not remedy the problem. A friend of mine had a theory that did not sound that off the wall. His reasoning follows:

    As the gap in your plugs widens, you start getting more and more carbon deposits on the piston heads. Since the plug gap is wider, you get no pinging. Now, right after you install new plugs with a narrower gap, you still have carbon accumulation, and you may start hearing pinging because of that. He suggested I do a carbon cleaning (something about pumping top engine cleaner through one of the vacuum lines, etc., etc.).

    I've seen some descriptions of this process (one of them from a Mazda TSB related to pinging), but it looks like a hairy operation: Take this pipe, unplug it, put an 'orifice' here (I thought an orifice was a hole...), feed TEC at a rate of such-and-such ounces per minute, turn around, stand on one foot, clap three times while pressing the throtle half way, then rev the engine to so-many RMP while parying to the Mazda Gods, etc., etc., etc. Is this a normal procedure?

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    Yes. This is a normal procedure to remove pinging/knocking due to carbon deposits. I have used it oh-so-many times on my 2-stroke engines.

    In those 2-stroke engines, We used to open up the cylinder head and scrape the carbon deposits off the head and the piston head, with whatever can scrape it off.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    Actually, Mazda is the name of a Zorastrian God "Ahura Mazda", God of Fire IIRC.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329 at high revs on the freeway for a while to burn off the carbon deposits. I recall hearing this called an "Italian tune-up" because it's used a lot on Italian makes (engines not run hot enough, so carbon deposits formed).

    Worth a try anyway.
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