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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    the dealership ... say the battery and alternator are in perfect working order. This has happened twice now and they are unable to find the problem. Charge: $95.00 per visit.
    You both may be right: the battery and alternator may be fine but there is another problem. Did the dealership do a diagnostic test? Do you have another dealership or a trusted garage close by that can look at the car for a second opinion?
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    Ebay, of course. :)

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  • myname888myname888 Posts: 3

    I had the same problem with my 1997 Protege DX 90k+ mi. Somehow the front brakes got damaged when I was driving over a rough bump on dowbtown Chicago (bad roads). The breaks started making screeching sounds and machanics later told me that pad slipped off (?) and it was metal on metal making sounds. I went to Firestone and had front brakes and rotors replaced for $360, tax included. Rotors cost about $200, rests is labor and pads.

    I think you defintely must fix this problem and from the sound of it you could be up for the same reapirs as myself.

    Good luck.
  • myname888myname888 Posts: 3

    all of the sudden yesterday my 1997 Protege DX with 96K mi won't start. I have a new battery and light are on but the starter won't turn. I saw many other posts with the same probem but could not find a solution to it. Any ideas?

    My clutch is really worn out but dealership mechanic told me over the phone that it does not matter for this problem.

    Should I take the car to dealership or some independent mechanic?

    Thank you.
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    I am curious about your belt breaking. Have you replaced your water pump every timing belt change or at least every other change? I have gone with new Mazda water pumps (manufacturer?) at every other timing belt change with no problems. Also, has the radiator/coolant been properly serviced over time? I have been using Prestone long life (orange) coolant since the first coolant change (30K miles) with no problems. I know that in any given run of parts there will be a bad one or two, even more so with remanufactured parts.

    '95 Protege LX, 5spd., 181K miles and still going strong.
  • 77hchbck77hchbck Posts: 24
    888...if you have a volt meter check that the battery has ~12.5 VDC across the posts. Also check that the posts and connections are tight and free of any white corrosion. If you have a switch on your clutch pedal that is inline with the starter circuit, check that switch for continuity with the meter. If all above are OK and the starter motor is accessible, tap with something to create a vibration ( a rubber mallet or piece of board). If it now starts, you'll found your problem.

    Since your car has a clutch, have you tried to start it by rolling and popping the clutch???

    If all of the above seems Greek to you, seek help.
  • rogergrogerg Posts: 1

    I have a similar situation with bubbles coming up in the overflow for the coolant. What did yo ufind on your situation?


  • ganggang Posts: 15
    The window on driver's side suddenly dropped all the way down to the bottom when I closed the door of my 99 Protege ES yesterday. Then it could not be raised up any more through the button on the door panel. I had to manually raise it all the way up, but it becomes very loose now, and I am afraid it will drop down again. What is exactly the problem? Is this something I can open the panel and fix it up?

    Many thanks for suggestions...
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    You can try, but after my experiences with homebrew window repairs in the past, it probably isn't worth the effort. By your description, it sounds like the "scissors" that raise and lower the window have separated. The window sits in a horizontal U-shaped rail that raises and lowers by means of an "X" shaped pair of "scissors" that open and close beneath it. My efforts in the past with a Hyundai and a Toyota resulted in rattly, weak temporary fixes. Bite the bullet and take the car to the dealership -- or better yet (and especially if you don't have an extended warranty), take the car to a glass shop that does auto glass. GET ESTIMATES.

  • ganggang Posts: 15
    Thanks a lot, Meade! I will try auto glass shop soon.

    There is a crack line about 3 inches long on the tail light cover on the left side. I never realized this, but the mechanic pointed this out as a safety issue during state safety inspection. Looks like I have to get a new tail light lens, but would this be really a safety problem?
  • myname888myname888 Posts: 3
    thanks for 77hchbck, I think understand most of what you are suggesting but I got the message too late - I already had the car towed to Firestone station and they are going to take a look at it tomorrow. I will keep your advice in mind though for the (tap ... tap) time.

    A quick question - how hard is it to replace starter motor on 97 Protege? I helped a friend to change starter motor on 92 Camry and that was piece of cake.
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    My muffler just formed a hole again at the weld in the connecting flange. The muffler itself is fine; too bad they did not specify a stronger pipe as it seems a waste to toss a perfectly good muffler. Anyway, I fixed this last time with a $6 Mazda Protege muffler from a junkyard. This time I am looking for a better muffler. Does anybody know of an aftermarket muffler brand that is made really well? I am not looking for performance, just quality construction. A search of the internet made me realize that Bosal mufflers look just like the Mazda ones. I can get a new Bosal for around $90, which isn't too bad if it fits perfectly with a new flange. I would spend that much at a muffler shop and they would just reuse the old flange and weld a cheap little muffler to it. Thanks in advance.
  • miket1miket1 Posts: 6
    Not yet but I'm taking it back in again today. Last time they told me they would buy the car from me if the new alternator didn't fix the problem. Yeah right. Besides, I like the car and I just want it to run like it did before. Another mechanic recently told me that the belt pulleys are probably just not aligned/shimmed properly, but I'm sure my existing mechanic checked that already. Stay tuned...
  • miket1miket1 Posts: 6
    This is my first timing belt change and, yes, I had the water pump done too. The coolant has probably not been changed enough over time, but up here in the PNW I'm not sure it needs to be. Regardless, I had the major 60k mile tuneup recently and that was included at that time. However, the alternator they used was a remanufactured one (which I paid for) (they did not charge me for labor). I told him that I was willing to pay for any alternator that would solve the problem and he strongly suggested the remanufactured one (I can't remember the reason). I'm pretty sure he wasn't screwing me because they likely don't want to see this car again anymore than I want to bring it back in to them. In my opinion, I don't think it's the alternator. Don't know????????????????????????????????
  • civiletticiviletti Posts: 86
    The plug wires are a problem point with proteges. Also, it is a good idea to use a fuel injector cleaner like techron a few times a year. It's cheaper than having the fuel system cleaned professionally.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Well ... they're only a "problem point" if you don't replace them as recommended (or as they used to be recommended) in the owner's manual: every 30,000 miles. I look at them as another "wear item."

  • tiger1210tiger1210 Posts: 1
    Hi, would you know of the best repair manual for 2000 protege? I saw Haynes but it covers 1990-2000, too long for me, would like something more recent.

  • i have a 99 lx pro and 2000 miles ago my CEL came on and i was shocked went to auto zone and had it checked it was EGR excessive overflow. i heard if you clean the area around it you canhelp the light go off. if that doesnt work does any body have a solution cause the EGR valve cost 300.00 buck or i might have to go to a junk yard for it
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    I ordered a new Bosal muffler ($87) from an internet parts store and got it put on this morning. The speed of delivery was really amazing. I bought the part on Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 pm and it arrived on Thursday around noon with free ground shipping. Wow!

    The muffler appears to be well-made and was sized exactly like the Mazda original. The only differences are the new muffler has a small 1/8" diameter weep hole punched on the engine facing vertical face (I called thinking it was a defect) and the flange on the Bosal is a much thicker piece of metal with no welded-on nuts. This presented the only problem putting it on. Because of the thickness, the bolts would not fit like they do on the Mazda without some modification. So I had to first force off the nuts from the bolts using rust remover, a bench vise, a trusty vise grip, and a ratchet and socket. They finally popped and unscrewed. Taking the nuts off allowed the full length of the two-sided bolts to be used which was then sufficient for both the springs and the thicker flange. The Bosal web site did not show new bolts as a part, so if you do this be prepared to reuse the bolts or get new ones and also buy two new serrated flange nuts.

    I purchased a new soft metal gasket for the muffler but did not use it. This gasket material molds and bonds to the male section of the pipe and was still in good shape. If I ever have to replace the pipes in front of the muffler I can make use of it. A little spray lubricant helped to get the metal support rods out of the still good rubber hangers. And finally, my trusty yellow metal ramps gave me plenty of room to do the work. Give this a try in you need a new muffler and enjoy working on your car.

    Next up for my Protege is to have a glass shop replace my very pitted windshield. Call me nuts, but I think I'll keep this car another 10 years.
  • jbrandaojbrandao Posts: 1
    I'm glad I found this forum. I hope not to make y'all sad I found this forum (yes I'm from the south). My beloved car recently began to run too leanly (what it feels like to me). The problem was slight at first and grew more serious over a couple of weeks. It seems to be temp. dependent. If this were my '67 Mustang I'd say the problem was choke. I'm getting spark and and I believe it's breathing well. The injection system should be fine. I'm wondering if it might be some sort of throttle position sensing device or perhaps something that keys off the thermostat to adjust fuel/air mixture? It blows no smoke but last time I (had to) drive it I noted an odd smell when I got out--it wasn't burning oil or anything the quondam owner of a '67 Mustang would recognize. When in operation, the engine sometimes idles high before reaching operating temp. and feels like it's delivering about 60% power. Depressing the accelerator (under load) leads to ridiculous hesitation then rev up and a moderate increase in power. All the while I sense no missing. Also, the check engine light was on (for its timing belt/70k mi workup) and then began flashing.
    Any ideas would be MUCH appreciated. Any cheap ideas would be MUCHER appreciated.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    "Also, the check engine light was on (for its timing belt/70k mi workup) and then began flashing."

    I don't know what you're talking about with the timing belt workup bit, but the check engine light on means the engine control computer has detected a signal out of range in one of it's monitored circuits, and the light flashing means the computer has detected a fault which if left will probably damage the catalytic converter. Suggest you start by having the stored diagnostic trouble codes retrieved and go from there.
  • warren4warren4 Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 Protege with the same problem. The EGR port is blocked. Does the EGR port only go from the EGR opening to the intake where the throttle body is located ? Mazda states not to get carbon into the surge tank. I have no idea what the surge tank is ? I need to know how to safely clean the port. Any help would be appreciated.
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    Surge tank, I don't know what that is either. Here is what I do know. For my '95 Protege LX 1.5, the EGR valve has I believe four connections. Two are vacuum tubes with one connecting to the EGR vacuum modulator and the other one connecting to the vacuum switching valve. You can find these two controls by following the rubber tubes, then metal tubes going away from the EGR valve. The third connection is the electrical one or valve position sensor. It is just a wired clip into the top of the valve. And finally the last connection is the one into the intake manifold. With the 1.5, the exhaust manifold tube does not run directly into the EGR valve like shown in the Haynes manual. Rather, the exhaust tube connects to a seperate passage or side compartment of the cylinder #4 intake manifold runner and then this port connects to the EGR valve. Here is where I am a little fuzzy as it has been some time since I replaced this part and I did not keep the old one. I believe that there is second port that routs from the EGR valve into the cylinder #4 intake manifold runner and allows exhaust gasses to be burned when the valve is open. So if you add this port, that makes five connections total.

    As far as carbon, the only place you will see it is inside the old valve and on the port(s) coming from the intake manifold. Ideally, you are supposed to clean out these ports when installing a new EGR valve. I did the best I could with just an old toothbrush and either some carb cleaner or rubbing alcohol. As I recall, there was a sharp bend in the port, and I remember not being able to clean very far in. To thoroughly clean these ports would reqiure removing the intake manifold completely, a real pain. Anyway, the old EGR valve was very carboned up and after installing the new valve the pinging went away. So I feel the new part worked and corrected the pinging problem.

    Finally, some on this board have had success with a chemical cleaning of the ports and valve done by a repair shop with the proper equipment. This probably only works well for newer cars with minimal carbon buildup.
  • warren4warren4 Posts: 2
    Thank you for your reply. I will try & clean the port. The valve I have already cleaned but the engine light came back on.
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    I just got done putting in some new NGK plugs into my '95 Protege 1.5 . It had been about two years since last doing it. Looking at the gap on the old plugs, they were at .045" or out of spec by .02". The new ones were gapped at .040", just above the .039" minimum gap allowed. When I started up the car it initially ran rough and the check engine light came on. Also, the idle was quite low after warming up. Realizing that my young son had been in the car using all the accessories for the last several days, I guessed that that battery had been drained and was not fully charged when I started the car. Also, I did not disconnect the battery when doing the plug change so the computer was not reset.

    So had the computer remembered the old gap at startup and this caused the rough start or just the drained battery? One thing I realize about the Protege is that it seems to have an undersized charging system compared to other vehicles.

    I subsequently disconnected the battery terminal and reset the computer and also drove the car for awhile to fully charge the battery and everything is running good again.
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    Make that out of spec. by .002". Also, I was reading on another post about long life spark plugs and a engineer said that such plugs only have long change intervals on vehicles designed for them. Or, put another way, you shouldn't do extended change intervals with long life plugs on older vehicles that were not designed for them. Has anyone else heard this before?
  • giac23giac23 Posts: 2
    I have a 91 Mazda Protege with 185K miles. Recently, when I try to turn on the A/C, it doesn't blow cool air. What could be the possible cause for this? I was thinking a leak, but where?

    Also, Does anyone know where I could get a diagram that details where all the fluids chambers are located in my car? I know where the washer fluid and power steering fluid goes, but I really need to locate where the coolant, brake fluid, and transmission fluid go. Also where do I find the chamber that houses the Freon?

    If there is no diagram available, can someone instruct me where all these fluid chambers are located.

    Thank you,
  • mnrovermnrover Posts: 52
    Hello all - First posting in this forum! Sorry, this may have been already discussed.
    I have a 2002 P5 with 40k miles on the clock. Anyone feel that the P5 auto tranny is too quick to shift? I am finding my self constantly hitting the gas in order to downshift to accelerate. I have been using the "Autostick" more and more to combat the annoyance. Just wondering if Mazda would be able to remap the computer in order to alleviate this. I am thinking with all the unneccessary shifts will cause premature wear on the tranny. Any advice?? Thanks all
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I can't be of much help since my Protege was a manual, but you may get a better response if you post this over on one of the Protege5 discussions ... probably the "Problems and Solutions" discussion.

    Good luck,

  • mnrovermnrover Posts: 52
    Thank you for the info! Much appreciated. I will give the "Problems and Solutions" a shot.
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