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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    let us know how you made out with the spark plug wires on your car. I never did find out which year and model you were attempting to fix.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I haven't been here since my last post and it appears something hit the fan in my absence. The post numbers don't add up (hardly -- SEVENTEEN POSTS REMOVED??? WHAT THE HECK WENT ON?) Oh well, I guess it was good I wasn't around to see it.

    I returned the Beldens yesterday on my way home from work, and picked up the set of NGKs. They're resistor-type wires, which ought to help with the VHF transceiver I have in the car (ham radio hobby). They are designed to be OEM replacements, they have the molded boots for the top of the valve cover, and they're even tagged by cylinder number for the Protege.

    PLUS -- They're in a lovely shade of brilliant BLUE!!!

    Rotarykid -- I guess you got too absorbed in the "debate." In my very first post about plug wires -- post 1992 -- I gave all the details about my car.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I noted you mentioned that I might compromise my performance by using an aftermarket distributor. Not possible. My Protege doesn't have a distributor. In fact, the only "problem" I've had with my Protege's ignition system was the OEM (yes, original) coil pack that was replaced under a recall campaign last summer.

    Go figure! Maybe my original coil pack should've been a Belden product.

    BTW, I asked and asked back then what was changed in that coil pack -- but never got an answer. Since you're the resident mechanic, do you happen to know what they changed in -- or what was wrong with -- the OEM coil pack? Mine never gave me any trouble; I had the car in for its 30K-mile service and when I got it back, I had a new coil pack and a decal under my hood!

  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    my first post on the subject (1997) was only to suggest the use of factory wires which work. They happen to be the same as the ones you now have (ngk). so you should be all set. MY suggestion that aftermarket cap and rotors can create problems for mazda ignition systems was a general observation and not directed toward vehicles without distributors.
    As for what was corrected with the internals of the coil pack- I am not sure. Did you happen to need a warm-up converter shortly after replacing the coil? 9 out of 10 proteges with the bad coils had damaged converters as a result. Usually code p0421 would appear soon after.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    They just replaced my coil and I kept on driving. Then again, as I said, I never had the coil go south on me -- so maybe Mazda did the recall pre-emptively.

    By the way, you've just reached my car-detail knowledge limit. What the heck is a warmup converter?

  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    Dang - you got the exact OEM NGK wires labelled 'Mazda", from another source! Good find :) You prolly did even better than my 20% off Mazda price!

    Ray, the starts were smoother, and cold idle was quieter. This last part may be a placebo effect - but it seemed to rev quicker and smoother. Not having a tach made it harder to tell for sure ;)

    Mileage improved noticeably (1-2) and did not correspond to (was indep. of) weather or gas formulation changes. I did also change plugs at the same time, used OEM only.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... since my plug change, and I haven't replaced the wires yet (will do this afternoon) ...

    You 5-speed 3rd-gen owners should be aware of the "quirk" where the Protege hesitates slightly when taking off in first sometimes? Well, upon this latest plug change, it seems to have disappeared or, at least, greatly diminished. Wondering if Mazda's using different plugs or a different gap now? I dunno. Maybe just the new plugs with their associated clean spark are diminishing this, but I've noticed in the last few days that the car is much smoother taking off in first.

    Can't wait to see what the wires do ... and wow Ashu, looks like I've made the find, huh? I know the wires are NGK ZX52s, with an NGK stock number of 8198. As for the blue color, the following link DOES NOT show the exact wires, but shows a set of NGKs that illustrate the color:

  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    just because I'd think I'm supposed to notice.
  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    mazda has many names for it's parts-pre-converter, warm-up converter, three way warm up converter....basically I am referring to the pre cat. This is the one directly following the exhaust manifold. There is another converter mounted horizontally below the car.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    are what mazda uses as oem replacement.........saving $30 on a set is definitely a plus.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Anyone can color their wires blue. Are we certain that these are the EXACT wires as OEM? Is there an NGK model or stock number on Mazda's wires?

    If I'm reading you correctly, Mazda uses a DIFFERENT wire than what was installed at the factory as a replacement, right? (My stock wires are black.) If they're using a different wire, I wonder why?

    Beating this subject to death,
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I'm doing all this pre-emptive maintenance this week because I'm leaving town Friday on a 5-hour trip to Charlotte, NC, and my return trip won't be the same route as I've got a stop to make in southwest Virginia near Mount Rogers. So I'll be traveling somewhere around 700 miles on the new plugs, wires, oil and coolant, and rotated tires, on everything from smooth interstates in the lower elevations to back roads (even a gravel road) in some of the highest elevations in Virginia (up to about 5,500 feet). I'll have a full report -- including gas mileage numbers, which ought to interest EVERYONE who's read the news lately -- upon my return next Tuesday.

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    I had the warmup cat go south right after I got a CEL for the ignition coil.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    1. Did you get any indication (i.e. rough engine running, etc.), other than the CEL, that something was wrong with the coil? Like I said, I never got a CEL, experienced rough idle, or anything. I took the car in for other things and voila, I had a new coil. That was probably 20,000 miles ago, and I haven't had any CELs (ever) or any CAT problems.

    2. Please e-mail me! A few of us have been trying to contact you for weeks! You can e-mail me at

  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    yes-the replacement wires are different from stock, but about the same grade. sometimes, on certain models, you can order the black(factory) wires from the dealer.
    I have had customers with no check engine light or driveability issues which had the coils replaced and then had a bad cat soon after. meades car may have had a coil that never failed.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    HOW do you tell if the coil FAILED? What were the symptoms? Were they dramatic (i.e. engine stumbling), or were they something Joe Driver never would've picked up on?

    Like I said, I never got a CEL or noticed any driveability concerns. I went in for an oil change and got a coil change too!

  • reitrofreitrof Posts: 122
    I had a coil start to fail on my Hyundai which does not have a dist cap and it would stumble a bit on acceleration. Wasn't very noticeable
  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    the failed coils would create a misfire on 1 or more cylinders. the hesitation/skipping is pretty noticeable on our 4 cyl cars. It would vary as to which cylinder would not fire. Customers would notice the lack of power if the coil was bad enough, and some would get the MIL lamp on without noticing a driveability issue.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Couldn't have been easier to do. The wires were a hair longer than the OEMs but they still fit all the clips nicely and look pretty darned good in blue, if I do say so myself.

    Now for the important stuff.

    The car runs NOTICEABLY smoother now. From cold start to running down my 25-mph neighborhood street to having a morning "test" run on the interstate at 80, the engine is smoother and quieter. I cannot wait to do my MPG measurement Friday! I feel this $41 is the best $41 I've spent on the car in a long time.

    BTW, I could see some discoloration on the plug end of the No. 1 OEM wire. Its black insulation was brown -- undoubtedly from the heat down there next to the plug. I looked up inside the boot and saw that the connector at the end of the wire was pretty well blackened, so it's a pretty good bet that the connection wasn't the best it could be and I was losing some performance as a result.

    As is common with me, I saved the old wires. It was just about pitch dark when I finished the little job, and I want to really take a good look at the old wires before I toss them in the trash can.

    More later ...

  • bean3422bean3422 Posts: 183
    Mine had not given any problems, but I got the recall notice and took it in right away.

    Because I love Mazdas so much, I would love to say that Mazda is a great company and just did this out of love for their customers...'fraid not.

    Since this coil pack affected the emissions, they were required by federal law to replace it.

    Not that I am slamming Mazda, but they are just like every other company and would not pre-emptively replace anything unless the customer requested it while under warranty.

    It would be nice to find a company that does do that...just admit we screwed up and surprize their customers. They think it saves them money, but in the end it just hampers customer satisfaction. Would it be better to spend the $200 and have the customer keep coming back for their next vehicle? I don't know...not a marketing genius myself, but I know what kind of treatment I would like...and I digress. (Sorry for the soapbox!)
  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    I think mazda made the first move by sending you the recall notice, did they not? If you are referring to SSP's (special service programs) then I can see your point. BUT, if mazda (or any other company) replaced every part that ever failed on every car regardless, they would not be in business. As far as not pre-emptively fixing any problems without the customer requesting such repairs you are only half right. Almost every car that comes in these days gets a PCM update regardless of any complaint. Some of our models have up to 5-6 concerns that are addressed during the update or reflash. There are also legal issues when it comes to making repairs that are unrequested-some on the mazda side- some on the consumer side. Unfortunately, there are people in all types of business that do things underhanded, and obviously the auto industry is no exception. Dealers doing repairs on customers' cars that were not requested by the customer can be construed as fraud by the manufacturer. And believe it or not, some customers take issue with you making repairs that they didnt request (warranty or otherwise) and can create a problem just because they have issues with that dealer and want to create problems, or maybe there should have been more communication, or some just dont like dealerships in general(now who wouldn't like a dealership?!)or whatever the reason might be. The best way to correct problems is to have a customer complaint, they bring the car in, we fix it, they get the car back fixed. Thats how it works.
     I often put things on this board myself that warn owners of what to look for on their particular model, and I am a representitive of a mazda dealer. That seems to work against me sometimes in here, but believe it or not, I'm only trying to help.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Is this clutch-slipping thing a problem or not?

    You've probably read the posts here and there about it. My 2000 ES, along with the Proteges and Protege5s of several other members here, has exhibited the "problem" of quite noticeable clutch slippage during the first few takeoffs after a cold start, especially on damp, cold mornings. One Protege5 owner (in Tennessee, Raymond?) actually had his fixed under warranty. I don't think it was the clutch itself but rather a revised pressure plate or something. Somewhere along the way I heard there was a TSB about it, but no recall.

    Mine's been doing it every humid morning since day one, and my service writer told me way back when that it was a "quirk" of all Proteges and there was nothing wrong -- "even the Miatas do it." I must say it hasn't gotten any worse (or better); 71,000 miles later it did it this morning. But after two or three takeoffs in first it goes away.

    Any help?

  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    let me look into it- I know some recent miata models had a clutch chatter problem that we took care of under warranty. I replaced 2 myself and I dont recall if it was a disc or cover problem- both were replaced. I will have more info tonight on protege clutch issues if I can find any info. Just last week I replaced a clutch on an 02 pro5, but it seemed to be driver error(disc was in pieces).
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Yeah, like I said, the clutch has no problems once it's "warmed up" (for lack of a better term). So I highly doubt it's the clutch disc itself, since (a) it only happens on cold mornings for a few starts, (b) it's been doing this since the car was new, and (c) I've been driving manuals since 1985 and know the do's and don't's of clutch operation. Plus, I've never replaced a clutch, and I drove my last vehicle (1994 Mazda B2300) 117,000 miles on its first one. My last Protege, a '92, was traded on the truck at 83,000 miles and it also was on its original clutch.

    After about another 10 minutes I'll be gone until Tuesday morning. I'll anxiously await reading the results of your investigation!

    Thanks again,

  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    there is repair information on the mazda website that refers to 99-03 proteges (1.8's & 2.0's) in which drivers may experience clutch chatter or judder during cold operation. (dont know what judder is exactly). The fix is to replace the clutch cover, disc, and flywheel. There is no date on the document to verify when it was released. this is NOT a TSB.
  • fayfay Posts: 7

    thank you for your reply. I was out of town and didn't see it until today.

    The auto shop replaced the plug wires(before I post here) but the problem still existed. The car stalls after making a right turn. I did some investigations online(I know very little of car) and looked like it's probably caused by a bad coil. What do you think of it? Thanks.

    My original post:

    Report from Firestone on my 94 protege DX:

    Ignition breaking down as engine heats up. suggest the following parts in this order:
    1. coil
    2. distributor assembly
    3. computer
    The onboard computer will not communicate with the diagnostic scanners.

    Is it still repairable?
    Thank you.
  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    basically the auto shop wants to replace almost every part in the ignition system. I find it hard to believe it needs a coil, distributor and pcm. Perhaps their diagnostic equipment is not designed to adapt to your particular car. Early 90's imports had a lot of unique systems as far as diagnostics were concerned. Unlike today, you can retrieve codes from any newer car with the same single piece of equipment. My advice, is to take it to the dealer (keep your shirts on dealer bashers) and at least have it diagnosed there. Then you can take it to joe schmoe's garage and have the parts put in there if you like. One word of caution, aftermarket distributors can sometimes be faulty right out of the box. (The same goes for alternators.) Be sure that there is a genuine mazda cap and rotor on the car as well. Cheap aftermarket parts can breakdown the ignition system easily.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Purchased the Mazda strut tower bar kit from Rosenthal Mazda and I need assistance with problem.
    Have 2003 Protege LX with cruise so the bar for a Protege with cruise was ordered and received.
    Problem is the replacement cruise bracket that was received appears to be the exact same bracket that is already on the car and the cruise actuator will not clear.
    Bracket received is pn BJ0F-66-3BYB. Part number referenced on the instructions in section 4A is pn BJ0F-66-3AY. I assume I r'cvd the wrong bracket in the kit. Calling Rosenthal on Monday to attempt to resolve this. Any help/advice is appreciated.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    I received a quick response from Rosenthal. Told that BN5W-66-3B2 is the part that I should have received and it is being ordered and sent to me. Hopefully it is the solution to the fitment issues.
    Odd that it is a different part number from the Mazda install intructions.
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