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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • jeff48jeff48 Posts: 2
    Did you ever get this spark plug bending figured out? Reason I ask is that there is now a recall on 2003 Proteges to repair or replace a valve inside the intake manifold. When I had it done at the dealership the mechanic said what happens is a screw that was incorrectly torqued at the factory can loosen and fall into the manifold and ultimately end up in a cylinder, bouncing up and down on top of a piston. Maybe that could contact the spark plug? He did say that whenever a screw falls into an engine you can hear it. Just a thought.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    No way...a loose screw in the engine would cause damage unless you were lucky and it got spit out through a valve...sounds like the engine was over-revved perhaps or maybe the timing belt is stretching somehow. Very weird to have happened TWICE!

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  • chud1chud1 Posts: 1
    my wifes car is a 99 mazda protege. recently i've noticed the smell of gas inside the car after it's been running for about ten minutes. anyone can tell me what it might be or what to check?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    the tubing and hoses for the evaporative control cannister would be a good start.

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  • I have had proteges eat all the screws and leave all the shutter valves laying in the manifold. Intake replacement was necc with the recall and the compression test showed no signs of damage. We had one a while back that ate a whole butterfly valve/disc, nevermind the screws. That is the exact reason the spark plugs are bending.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    thankfully these parts must be a soft metal...still, very scary thought if some metallic part got wedged the wrong way in a cylinder.

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  • mazdrvrmazdrvr US Posts: 112
    I posted this question in another sub-forum (care & maintenance ?) and now its gone...
    Anyway, my baby (01' LX 2.0 sedan) made 60,000 the other day. How long (miles) can I drive before I have a problem? I am planning to take her in to replace the timing belt this coming week but just want to make sure i'll be okay for a few more days (I drive 40-50 miles a day).

    I've had me spark plugs changed, fuel injection flushed, and my car checked and my service advisior said that everything is fine but I still have problems with accelleration and pick up and go. Just trying to increase speed or needng to merge on the freeway, my car does not pick up & go like it used to! I have the gas petal to the floor and nothing, just a very slow accelleration. Is this to be expected for a almost 5 yr. old car?
  • ganggang Posts: 15
    The audio system of my 99 Protege has been dysfunctioning for a couple of years, and it recently starts to drain electricity from the battery, giving me starting problem. I'm thinking to remove the system and take a close look of the wiring in the back, but I couldn't figure out how to remove it. According to the installation manual, I need a removal tool (U-shaped?) to insert into the four holes after the hole covers are removed. They don't have such a tool in the dealer's parts store for sale. Is there a way to remove the audio system other than bringing the car to the dealer?

    Many thanks,
  • pbarpbar Posts: 1

    I have this same problem with a 1999 Protege - have you found out what the solution is?

    Here are my details:
    I can put it in drive and nothing happens. Wait anywhere from 1 to 15 minutes for the OD light to flash and then the transmission will buck into first. Other thing I noticed is when putting ii into drive the RPMs will not drop until the transmission engages.

    I had the transmission fluid changed with no impact on this issue. Took car to the dealer, they could not find anything wrong other than the transmission will buck when put into drive so they recommended a new transmission. No OBD codes - condition has to exisist for at least 5 seconds before a code will be stored.

    Here is the rub, after getting the car back from the dealer the transmission still does not enage readily but now takes less time to engage, bucks less, and OD light only flashes occassionally. Yup, they did something and they're not telling.

    Other than getting the transmission to engage their are no other issues with transmission - drives just fine. Any info gladly appreciated.

  • I got a ford radio removal tool at autozone for a few bucks.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    You might ask them to inspect the speed sensor on the AT. Faulty ones have caused other owners to experience rough shifts or sudden downshifts (while at hwy speed, even!).
  • mazzymazzy Posts: 1
    Hi, :P I'm new to the forum but I'm looking for some answers or advice. Earlier today I was driving my '01 Pro and it jolted hard, felt like it locked up for a split second and then it was fine. Any idea what it would be? I'm at almost 80,000 mi, and I was just reading consumer reports on Mazda/Ford trannies having serious failures about now. My idle also falters at times...dips down to almost the point of stalling, she's automatic. How can that be adjusted? Thanks for any help you can give me. :D
  • ganggang Posts: 15
    Thank you very much for your suggestion. Actually I tried to use nails to open the units, and it worked.

    Now the problem is a short circuit somewhere. With the fuse for room lights on (#8 on the panel in driver's side) there is some cranking noise from the CD player, and this happens even when I unplug the fuse for the audio system (#3) while the car is off. This seems to be some messed-up wiring from the room lighting system, but I couldn't find a way to figure out where the problem occurs. Any suggestions, anybody?

  • xomlexomle Posts: 2
    i have a 1999 mazda protege es 1.8 . it now sounds like a deisel truck- took it to a mechanic and he said i need a new "front exhaust pipe". It is the pipe that goes from the cad conv(which is bad also) to the exhaust it is about a foot long- the two tabs that connect it to the exhaust are broken off. after much research i think i figured out that it is called the front header pipe i just want to confirm that with someone so i can find the part online instead of what he is asking me to pay for it- cant afford all of this very frustrated with this car i have had many problems
  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    At 67K miles and 5 years in service, I am a bit worried that the "OD Off" light is starting to blink in a noticeable sequence. While driving, I noticed that the ATX was holding gears in a bit longer before shifting (1-2). Then the "OD Off" light popped on and blinked in a sequence. The car still drove normally but I pulled over and turned the ignition off. I restarted the car and drove off. The light did not come on again all day after repeated short errands around town and on freeway. No CEL appeared either.

    I toggled the "OD Off" switch a few times and it functioned normally -- steady indicator light and ATX shifted properly from 3-4 (OD). I even checked the fluid while the ATX was hot and found a normal level with no obvious mal smell or discoloration. BTW, the fluid and filter were replaced last summer; my indep. mechanic found nothing unusual.

    Arhggg!!! I'm going to AutoZone to check for any PCM codes. Anything I should look forward to? She's been reliable... hate to see a major failure at 67K! Is there an update/reflash for our TCMs? I'm hoping it's a firmware/electrical sensor!

    BTW, my cruise control failed to engage properly once a while back... it did work okay the next restart. I'm guessing speed sensor in ATX...? Someone mentioned earlier.
  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    No DTC Codes stored on OBD II. The blinking O/D light has not reappeared. The ATX seems to force shift at about 3000 RPM from 1-2 and 2-3 under very light manuvers/load.

    Something is causing the ATX to force shift, affect cruise control operation and O/D Off MIL to illum. No leaks and fluid was changed routinely. It shifts through all gears including reverse and O/D hold works fine. Any thoughts?
  • I'll try to keep this post as short as possible but I have a lot of issues and need help. I drive a 98 Protege with roughly 111,000 miles on it and love it. I haven't had any problems with it until this past summer. I had my brakes changed, had a cracked exhaust manifold and a few other things that were repaired. Starting in October my car just died with the engine and oil light coming on, the radio, lights, etc. still worked but it stopped running. Brought it to the shop and they said it was distributor which was replaced but it still wasn't running so they looked around and the computer was fried- which I was told was caused from the distributor going. After my car being in their possession for 2 weeks I got it back. I drove it for a weekend and the next Monday it did the EXACT same thing and died.

    The mechanic was baffled because the computer was fried again. He was confused the first time as well because he had never replaced a Mazda computer because they don't go bad according to him. Well, they find another computer and replace it. He kept it for a week and drove it around and noticed it wasn't reacting well and he had no idea what it was. This is a great shop and I know MANY MANY people that use it so I know they aren't screwing me over. He calls a friend at Mazda's service department and my car was towed over to them. After hooking it up to the computer they discover there is a shorted wire. Apparantly a small rodent, a mouse for example, had crawled up near the fuel tank and gnawed on a wire. So they patch the wire and all is well. I FINALLY get my car back and has been in my possession since then (all together they had it almost 5 weeks!)

    Driving to work on Wednesday morning and the same damn thing happened, car died but at least I knew the signs and was able to pull over out of the intersection. I finally heard from the mechanic and he said it was the distributor, a coil is possibly bad, so it is covered under warranty. He then tells me that Mazda's distributors go out quite often - have other people experienced this? I thought that was going to fix the problem but there is still something going on. Have any of you experienced a surge in problems with the distributor, computer, etc. at 100,000 + miles????

    Thanks for reading!
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    I have 191K miles on a '95 Protege LX (1.5L) with the original distributor and computer and I have not had any problems yet.

    Rebuilt distributors are very prone to failure due to poor quality workmanship at some of the rebuild shops. With older foreign makes, rebuilt is usually all you can find.

    Hopefully, Mazda has some positive input on the rebuild quality if you choose a Mazda Parts rebuilt distributor instead of one from ABC parts store. But even if they are all from the same source, most higher end (dealer) service shops will not charge you for labor when defective parts need to be replaced under the parts warranty. Most budget type service shops will charge for labor when replacing defective parts. This alone is a good reason to request the best parts available for repairs.

    It sounds like bad luck with the short and bad part. I'd guess that once the new distributor is installed the car will be back to normal again.

    I also replaced a cracked intake manifold. Other things that may go bad in the future include the muffler connection flange cracking, the A/C compressor clutch failing, the EGR valve clogging with carbon deposits, and of course, the spark plug wires degrading over time. These are not serious issues, just things to be aware of.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    I had mine cleaned, and it occasionally clogs. It eventually clears itself every time (I asked the shop to clean it again the first 3 times, but I stopped bugging them after the 3rd time), but it's annoying every time the CEL turns on.

    Bummer that shorted wire. Rodents can be a problem when they get into your car.
  • 11b33t11b33t Posts: 51
    :( No one has ever had this problem ?
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    My first one ('89 323LX) had manual only. My current one ('99 ProLX) ditto. Guess I managed to avoid the age of motorized seat belts. :)

    My wife's Saturn had motorized shoulder belts; I hated them. I recall the driver-side one did get stuck once. It wasn't the only motorized item to go out, though (moonroof once and driver side window twice).
  • I just bought a 98 protege, and we can't figure out what the problem is.? It idles great, until you put it in drive. When you put it in drive, it vibrates like crazy, until you give it the gas and go. You can put it in reverse, and it idles fine. We tried to adjust the timing, but you have to idle it up to much to make the shaking stop. Has anybody had this problem before, and if so, how did you fix it? Any ideas what it is?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Sounds like a defective engine or trans mount grounding out when you put it in drive. Have the mounts checked.
  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    Okay. I had my ATX TCM scanned by a local independant trans shop. The Snap-On Redbox OBDII reader found one DTC: P0745 -- Pressure Control Solenoid Malfunction or related circuit. [Don't rely on those cheap AutoZone generic DTC scanners!]

    Mechanic cleared code and car drove normally for about 2 weeks. Dreaded O/D light flashed again and car shifted roughly -- thanks Mazda for the crappy transmission! Mechanic confirmed that it was the same code upon rescan.

    ATX mechanic and a couple Mazda Techs stated that the solenoid is relatively "easy" to replace and a common failed part (typically Shift 'E' and pressure control) on our ATXs. Part costs about $75 through a great online source. Not a great sign at only 67K and mostly freeway miles.

    Anyone ever dropped the pan before and changed one of these bad boys? Clue me in.
  • today23today23 Posts: 2
    I have a 98 Protege, and lately have been having a strange problem. When driving at highway speed, my engine just DIES. Completely stalls. The lights stay on, (no check engine or oil light come on as with another poster's problem) but I am unable to restart the car for several minutes. If I try to start before waiting a couple of minutes, the engine turns over but does not start.

    Does anyone have any suggestions about where I should start to look for a problem? Because this is so strange, it is difficult to diagnose. Any suggestions/help would be greatly appreciated, Thank you!
  • My car has 4 wheel disk brakes, I am having a problem removing the pads from the calipers because their is a friction fit pin securing the pads to the calipers.

    Can any one tell me how to remove these pins.
    You can see a picture of these pins at:

    Regards :confuse:
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Remove the retaining clips, tap the pins out far enough with a small punch to grasp the heads with pliers, and pull them out. Note the orientation of the anti-rattle springs. Clean the pins off with a wire wheel or sandpaper, and lubricate them with a light film of silicone brake lube before reassembly.
  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    ATX IS FIXED!! (See my previous posts) Dropped the trans pan and there were ALL the solenoids staring at me and easily serviceable without dropping the valve body. One 10mm bolt secures the EPC solenoid onto the solenoid assembly of the valve body. It is sealed in the valvebody with a small o-ring (comes with solenoid).

    I OHM'd the solenoid directly on the vehicle and it read DEAD OPEN between both terminal A & B; the ATX case wiring harness terminals (D & I) already confirmed this reading.

    Remove 10mm bolt and wiring harness. Then carefully pull out solenoid horizontally; you will get some resistance from the o-ring seal... just pull smartly and be carefull of sharp parts...!

    Install the new solenoid by lubricating the o-ring with new ATX fluid and follow the above-stated directions in reverse. Push in solenoid gently and it should "snap in" place on the valvebody. I tested the new solenoid and it did indeed pass with a reading of 4.4 OHMS (normal = 2.4-7.2).

    Since the fluid looked deteriorated (cloudy, dirty reddish), I changed the filter too. Really easy! Pull down old filter and put a new o-ring (or reuse old one) on the integrated pipe. Lube the o-ring with fluid. Gently push back up into assembly and reattach TFT sensor. Cleaned pan and magnet (pretty dirty after only one year). Reattached pan with black RTV (pain in the butt) and torqued bolts gently. Don't overtighten otherwise RTV is sqeezed out!

    Fill up with new ATX fluid (Dextron III) at the dipstick orifice with EXACTLY the same amount of fluid drained during the service -- I got about 4 qts. Start up engine and check for leaks and fluid level. Carefully change gears -- WITH ALL BRAKES ON -- to get fluid in all channels and check fluid again and again. No more O/D light flashing and ATX shifts perfectly! Will see if it holds up during road testing! Happy repairing people!
  • shhzoeshhzoe Posts: 2
    Our 2000 Mazda Protege has developed a stalling problem. When in heavy stop & go traffic for a while, the car dies and won't restart until it sits for 10 or 15 minutes. Car tries to start when you turn the key and it turns over, but won't start until the time passes. Have had it to shop, and the Cam sensor gets a faulty reading put the shop doesn't think thatis the problem. They think it may be the fuel filter which is built into the gas tank, & will cost $85 just to pull the gas tank to check the filter. Anybody have had this problem? Any sugggestions or solutions would be appreciated.
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