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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    deteriorating acceleration is a known sympton for that.
  • Hi there...

    My car has 56,000 miles on it only, which is why I'm a bit concerned about the condition its in. I bought it almost 2 years ago with 35,000 on it, and to my knowledge the plug wires have not been changed.

    The air filter was changed on my last oil change, which was about 2700 miles ago. Its almost time for another one.

    What will the plug wires cost to have changed? Sounds minimal, I'm just hoping that would be a possible solution as it sounds like such an easy fix.
  • I haven't had the ignition coil recall done. When was the recall? I purchased the car used 2 years ago with 35,000 miles on it. I now have 56,000 on it.

    Any other ideas if that doesn't seem to be the problem?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I made a nice, lengthy reply to Curious yesterday, and even checked to make sure it was there, and it was. Now it's gone. C'mon, Edmunds, get your act together!!!

    Here we go again.

    The wires are about $60 from Mazda. They take about two minutes to install and require no tools other than your hands. Don't waste another $50 or $60 paying your dealer's labor charges for this plug-n-play job.

    The coil recall was about two years ago. My 2000 ES had about 40,000 miles on it when the recall was done, and I was experiencing NO driveability or other symptoms when it was done. To this day I still don't know what the difference in the two coils is.

    Take your car into your dealer and let the service writer punch up the VIN to see if the recall has been done. If it was done, there should be a decal on the firewall under the hood to that effect.

    I'm putting my money on the plug wires. The Proteges in our driveway are the third and fourth Proteges I've owned since 1992. The design of the head, with the wires continuing about six inches down inside to the plug caps, allows the wires to get hot and they break down over time. In my experience, I've learned to change them about every 40K miles or my engine starts missing and stuttering.

    Now let's see if this post remains.

  • Thanks for the lengthy reply...

    I wrote a couple messages/questions yesterday that seem to have dissappeared also.

    My question was that I'm having trouble just locating the plugs and wires on this engine. I even had a co-worker come out to the car to find them with me.

    Can you help me figure out where to look? Its such a dumb question, but the engine is not like what I'm used to seeing.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    As you stand in front of the opened hood, look down in the center of the engine bay. You'll see the valve cover of the engine running cross-wise in the center. The four wires disappearing into the center of it, in a straight line left to right, are the plug wires. They run from there over toward the front right, where they plug into the coil. They're not very long -- the shortest is about a foot long and the longest is maybe two feet long. If you pull one out of the head (they just pop off with a pull), you'll find that it continues about six inches down into the head where it plugs into the top of the plug.

    I did a quick search and found this photo that might help you. See the big silver valve cover, with the four wires coming out toward you? They join together and go over toward the right, behind the radiator and forward of the oil filler cap, where they plug into the coil.

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    the air filter?
  • Thanks for the photo and explanation...however, my engine looks a bit different then that.

    I'll go down to the car at lunch and see if I can figure it out.

  • fortunefortune Posts: 3
    Bought a 99' Protege about 3.5 yrs ago with about 56k highway miles on it from a dealer. It's got about 80k now.

    I drove it home from work one day and everything seemed fine. I started it up, it stalled cause I didn't let off the clutch quite right.

    I tried to start it again, and the engine had seized up. Took it to a mechanic and a dealer and both said there is nothing they can do.

    It had plenty of fluids, regular oil changes and really wasn't driven that much (25k miles in about 3.5 years).

    Is there anything to be done other than junk it? 3-5k for a junk yard or "Mazda rebuilt engine" doesn't seem worth it.

    Doesn't seem like there is any way that should have happened :(

    Was thinking about a Mazda3 to replace it but from those forums it looks like they aren't doing to well either......
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Did they say what was wrong with it?

  • fortunefortune Posts: 3
    They just said the engine seized up. An independent shop and a dealer both said the same thing. It would take a rebuilt or junkyard engine to get it back in working condition.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Is it possible your drain plug or filter were loose?

    My '00 ES is running great at 80,300 miles.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Did you figure it out?

  • fortunefortune Posts: 3
    Nope, no idea. I now absolutely nothing about cars and that's all both places had to say. 80,300 is about exactly what this one had.
  • oskwioskwi Posts: 88
    Hello all...

    My first question deals with my 2001 ES. Every now and then (...and mostly then) there is a slight hesitation when I hit the does not feel like a spark plug seems to be more of a throttle body issue. I may be mistaken about the Pro, but I owned a Corsica that had the same type of driving feel and it was the throttle body. This doesn't seem to be adversely affecting the car's just seems more noticeable than my previous Galant. Any thoughts? I want some info, since I'll be taking the car in for its NYS inspection next week. (NYS now has the 2nd highest inspection prices because of new emissions legislation that went into effect June 04...can't wait for that bill!)

    My second question deals with my mother's 2003 ES. VERY infrequently, she'll experience a jolt of sorts at exactly 40 MPH. It happened to me once when driving her car during the winter, but I assumed it was tire slippage from an ice-covered manhole cover/roadway and didn't give it much thought. In 25,000 miles, this has probably happened three times so it'll be very hard for the dealership to duplicate. I've looked at TSB's online and see nothing that would apply. Any thoughts? I want to start addressing this as early as possible during the warranty period.

    Meade...I came out of my local Cracker Barrel and parked right next to my 2001 ES was a brand new M3 wagon in pumpkin! I thought of you immediately! In WNY, if you see a pumpkin colored car, its either a Cadillac CTS or a Nissan Murano...the pumpkin color is not very popular at all!

    Thanks for any input.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Thanks for thinking of me! I must say I'm at a crossroads between Screaming Pumpkin and Blooberry (Winning Blue) right now.

    Your questions, my responses ...

    (1) My 2000 ES frequently does a (very) slight "urp" when taking off from a stop. I have accepted it as a quirk of the car. It's always been there, and has never gotten any worse even after plug & wire changes. (Keep in mind I have a manual transmission and this happens when first rolling in first, a microsecond after engaging the clutch -- and it still does it after a new clutch, flywheel and throwout bearing, so it ain't the tranny.)

    (2) Speaking of plug and wire changes ... I had read other owners talking about that sudden "kick in the rear" but had never experienced it myself UNTIL ... one day on the Interstate when I was going about 65, and the car had about 40,000 miles on it. It felt like another car had tapped me on the rear and scared the be-you-know-what out of me. I had been meaning to change my plug wires, since it was high time to do so, and surmised that a sudden short from one of the wires to the wall of the tunnel inside the valve-cover head would do it. Besides, it was a wet, snowy winter day and it hadn't been too long since I left home. It's foreseeable that a little moisture remained in down in the plug-top tunnels, and caused a short.

    Well, to make a long story short I replaced the wires. And by the way, several of them looked pretty well scorched down where the wire entered the boot that attaches to the top of the plug.

    Forty thousand miles later, I have never experienced the "kick in the rear" again.

    It's amazing how many things go away on Proteges when you change the plug wires.

  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009

    I have an 00 ES automatic, and I, too, have been kicked in the pants at highway speeds. Like your mom, maybe 4 times in as many years of ownership, so I've never mentioned it at the dealership. (They already have enough reasons to laugh at me.)

    At 38K miles, the wires haven't been changed will be interesting to see if this problem goes away when I take care of that.

    I've talked with other Protege owners who have experienced the same issue, but it doesn't seem to have affected long-term driveability.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Where ya been?


    P.S. 38K on an '00? Oh, if I were so lucky ...
  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009
    I'm right here. :)

    I posted a response to your query a week or so ago, but it got lost in the Great Server Upgrade. ;)
  • oskwioskwi Posts: 88
    Gee, I don't know may want to quit your day job and find employment at Mazda in the "Car Color Naming Department"! At least the average consumer would be able to know about what "Screaming Pumpkin" would look opposed to colors such as "Moondust" and the sorts. Having never been to the moon, "moondust" could be grey, white, beige, etc. That always drives me nuts!

    Anyway, I'll be changing both the spark plugs and wires this coming week so I expect to see improved performance. As far as the "urp", it comes and it goes and seems directly related to heat and humidity. When I purchased the car last September, winter fast approached and I don't remember the car behaving with the slight hesitation. Oh well! My previous Galant would experience a hard thunk from the rear end when under hard acceleration from a dead stop. Nothing was ever found and nothing ever occurred as a result of this in 185,000 miles. Every car has its quirks.

    The "rear end tap", as I'll refer to it as, does not seem threatening by what you both have mentioned here. I'll mention it in passing at the dealership but I expect them to just look at me like I've grown a third arm! :) Darn quirks...I demand perfection! I guess I'll have a long wait...

    I would assume, and you know what they say about assumptions, that you live near Chicago, "chicagopro". I lived out in Wisconsin for about a year and loved traveling to Chicago...however the seven hour traffic jams when trying to cross that skyway bridge (don't remember the exact name) are not something to miss!

    Thanks again,
  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009
    Yep, I live in the city, a few blocks away from Wrigley Field.

    The only skyway bridge I know of in the area is the one that leads to that what you're referring to?

    Let us know what happens when you swap out the plugs and wires!

  • oskwioskwi Posts: 88

    Yup, that's the bridge I'm referring to! I travelled from Buffalo to Oshkosh about seven times in as many months...I'm originally from Buffalo and went to Oshkosh for only one semester of graduate school before moving back to Western New York.

    Plug and wire change is this coming Wednesday. I'm looking forward to improved performance! :)

  • Yep,

    Was gonna post this and just now am getting to it. I took it to a Mazda dealer here in Minneapolis after having my dad's mechanic thinking it was a transmission issue. Mazda checked it out and said they'd call with what they found out.

    Get a call the next day and they tell me "your car is done", and it ended up being a Mass Airflow Sensor that had gone out. Apparently it regulates the amount of air that gets into the engine in order for it to fire.

    Luckily, even though I do not have the factory warranty on the car as I bought it used, Mazda stepped up and covered the replacement and labor at no charge because the part is under warranty for 70,000 miles. I did have them flush and replace my transmission fluid as that was probably original from when the car came off the line which is a bit scarry, but no harm done now.

    I can't wait to take the car in to get my oil changed this week and see if Jiffy Lube tries to tell me my tranny-fluid is dirty. They IMHO are slime-balls and are barely worth their $20 early bird oil changes.

    Oh well, back in business and the car is running great!

    Thanks for all the ideas. Have a great day.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    There was a recall on the MAF sensor on DX and LX models in 1999. That's why Mazda "stepped up" and fixed it for no charge.

    Glad to see you're zooming happily along now!

  • kagedudekagedude Posts: 407
    Hi. I got my old 1994 Mazda Protege DX 5spd back from my aunt and it has 71K miles. The engine is still in mint condition. The manual states I should change the timing belt on the SOHC engine at 60K miles but unfortunately, my aunt didn't do it.

    Any Protege owners that changed it past the 60K mark? If so, what was the mileage? Also, if in the event it does snap on you while driving, is it minimal damage to the engine? Thanks.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    That's like asking the proverbial question, "Mr. Owl, how many licks DOES it take to get to the bottom of a Tootsie Pop?"

    The world may never know.

    However, as the former owner of two '92s and now an '00 and an '02, and a veteran Edmunds member, I can offer the following enlightenment from a post made on this same discussion four years ago (which you could have found yourself, FYI, by using the "Search This Discussion" window on this page):

    "According to the canonical list compiled by the Gates Rubber Company, the '94 Protegé does have a belt, and Mazda recommends that you change it out every 60,000 miles. And if Gates is correct, this engine is free-running (as opposed to an interference fit), which means that if the belt breaks, the engine will stop, but actual damage is unlikely. The procedure, as I understand it, doesn't require any special tools, but it is a bit on the complicated side."

    That said, I changed the belt on my 1992 LX -- same engine as in your 1994 -- but it took an entire day and resulted in an expanded vocabulary and several ounces of blood-letting.

    It's gonna cost you a pretty penny -- several thousand of them in fact. Probably in the neighborhood of $300. (The belt itself is less than $50.) But if your car hasn't had a major service (like the 60,000-mile one that your aunt probably didn't do either), it's time to stop expecting everything and maintaining nothing! Get the car in for a major service and have the timing belt changed.

    $300 is pitiful little insurance for another 60K miles for a "mint condition" engine, as you call it. (You can recoup some of the labor in this labor-intensive job by having them replace the other belts while they've got the engine torn down -- use this as an opportunity to put a little pre-emptive maintenance back into this car that has served your family so well for a decade.)

    Unless you're planning on selling it in the next couple of months -- then you can unload it on some poor unsuspecting sucker. But the fact that it has a new timing belt just might cinch the deal then, too ...

  • kagedudekagedude Posts: 407
    Thanks for the quick response. I really didn't want to spend any maintenance money on the car since my aunt pretty much just gave it away and I have 2 other cars to maintain (TSX and Maxima). The car is definitely serving our family well. It is still very peppy and the a/c is still very very cold a few seconds after startup. I had so much fun driving it the first time again. I just called the dealer this morning and they wanted $599 for the timing belt which is why I'm hesitating. Yikes!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Well, you're not under warranty anymore ... why not price it at Joe's Engine Repair over on Elm Street?


    (As timing belts go, it's pretty straightforward -- any mechanic should be able to do it.)

    Let's put it this way. Your profile says you live in New York. So your Protege has been through 10 winters and 10 summers. Timing belts are made of rubber (and a few other things, but mostly rubber). Rubber stiffens, cracks and wears out over time and temperature changes.

    If you plan to keep this car for any more than a few more months, you're going to have to wind up putting a timing belt on it anyway ... either when you choose to, or when the car decides enough is enough and leaves you stranded out on a dark highway in the middle of the night. (Then you can add towing charges to the cost of that belt.)

    You've already cheated fate by 11,000 miles and managed to stretch -- probably literally -- 118 percent of the life out of the original belt. Congratulations.

    Now change the belt.

  • kagedudekagedude Posts: 407
    Okay... you've convinced me. =) Gotta find a reputable mechanic now. Thanks!
  • kagedudekagedude Posts: 407
    Hi. Anyone replaced the fuel filter on a 94 Mazda Protege DX? I'm having difficulty removing the fuel filter. I'm unable to loosen the bracket screw and can't seem to find a tool that will work. The area is tight and really hard to get any play doing it from under the hood. I've used a plier, an open and socket wrench. Any pointers? Thanks in advance.
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