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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    Get your dealer to check the struts and the suspension overall. Do you hear this noise on a well-paved/bumpy road or when going over speed bumps?

    Is the shifting erratic at any time?
    Do you get all gears properly w/out hesitation?
    Is your tranny ever slipping? Like if you had the clutch pressed while accelerating on a 5spd?

  • The groaning sound ocurrs on well-paved/bumpy road at low speed only, but not under high speed.

    Automatic transmission system seems to be fine without any hesitation/slipping problem. I was just wondering whether I should have the automatic transmission fluid replaced for a car with 43K miles. I could not find such information in the maintenance table in the user's manual book. Maybe I should contact Mazda USA and find out.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    I had my AT fluid flushed at 30K miles along w/coolant. This info is not under Mazda's maintenance menu, but with ATs being expensive to repair I'd rather do some preventive maintenance.

    You seem to say there are no problems shifting and while it could be the tranny, don;t overlook the struts.

    I would really recommend you set up an appt w/your dealer on Monday. The car is out of warranty so hopefully it's NOT the tranny.

    I would also look in the transmission problems board (maintenance and repair board from the main town hall page) and maybe post it here too.

    And also check the MPV problems board for another post from today or yesterday about a noise that could be similar to yours. Maybe you can share thoughts with that owner...

    Also, wait until Monday or Tuesday to get more replies - it's usually dead on weekends here.

  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
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  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    I was gettig tired of the pinging my '95 Protege LX, 5 spd. with 163K miles was making. So after eliminating other possibilities, I decided to replace the EGR valve.

    I did it in a few hours this afternoon. Bought the part at O'Reilly for $85. My first time doing this. Part was by Borg Warner and identical to original. I used ramps, but it could be done without. The big pain with doing this was the VERY LIMITED amount of space to work with under the intake mainfold. It took several socket extensions and a swivel to get to the bolts. Thankfully only 2.

    Do engineers who design cars today actually work on them? My simple advice: put parts that are subject to wear in locations that are easily accessible or make the engine bays bigger like older American cars.

    The old EGR valve passages and the piston rod were coated with a thick layer of carbon deposits. So either a cleaning or a new one was definitely called for.

    After replacement, I took my car for a very spirited test drive, and so far, the pinging is gone.
  • fritz1224fritz1224 Posts: 398
    Did you have the "check engine" light come on? How did you know it was the EGR? What kind of gas do you normally use?
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    No check engine light, just pinging under acceleration or uphill driving. With pinging these are the possible causes:

    1. Incorrect grade of fuel. The Protege calls for only 87 octane and that is what I use. I buy gas from different stations in the area.

    2. Problem with engine control system. Other than the pinging, the car seems to run fine. So my guess is that the car's computer is ok.

    3. Fuel injection system faulty. Again, the acceleration of the car seems fine at various speeds.

    4. Damaged spark plug wires or plugs. I replaced both recently.

    5. EGR vlave not functioning.

    6. Vacuum leak. I checked all the vacuum hoses and listened for leaks. Found none.

    Considering that the EGR valve's purpose is to recirculate exhaust gases and thereby lower combustion temperatures, any problem with the valve could lead to higher combustion chamber temps and therefore pre-ignition or pinging.

    My source of information is the Haynes "Mazda 323 & Protege' 1990 thru 1997 Automotive Repair Manual, copyright 1997." I recommend this book or the Mazda Protege Service Manual.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    My 1999 ES has 56,000 miles.
    Run great.

    But... it SQUEAKS/CREAKS like an old boat when it goes over bumps the first couple of times in cold climate. This started happening after 45,000 miles. Never before.

    What is causing this? Shocks or springs?
  • Chikoo, my Protege (1999 ES 43K miles) shares a similar problem with yours.

    First I thought that it would likely be due to the worn-out struts, but when I brought the car to a garage, I was told that the noise comes from the two sway bar end links. They would charge me $113.70 for replacing the sway bars, but I decided to delay my decision. I am still not sure what exactly this means: The noise comes from some loose ends or worn-out bushing? Or could some greasing make the noise gone?
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    I think those are covered under my extended warranty. I will have to get my car to a dealer ASAP.
  • my '99 es does this over extreme speed bumps. I don't think it's a problem.
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    I am getting my '95 Protege LX with 163K miles back into "like new" condition (see previous posts).

    Over the last few days I have been struggling with the replacement of the right front half shaft and associated suspension/steering parts. Got all the parts at O'Reillys and was almost near the end when I hit a stopper. The '95, and I am sure later versions, has a right front half shaft in two parts with a bracket and bearing in the middle. I could not separate the two shafts, completely frozen. It looked like an easy job for a specialized puller or spreader, but I sure couldn't find one at the auto parts stores. So considering that I was doing this on the ground with jack stands and couldn't disconnect the bracket due to lack of space, I conceded defeat. But I did replace the tie rod ends on both sides as the grease boots were cracked open. I also noticed that the ball joints on both sides also had cracked open grease boots. This was likely the cause of a popping type sound I was having as I came to a stop while driving.

    So I call a nearby shop and set up an appointment. They look at the car and tell me that the boots are fine and they couldn't hear any clicking noise. I disregard their ignorance( I have been listening to the clicking every morning on left turns for the last 100K miles)and tell them to replace the half shaft. They check the play on the ball joints and say they are still ok. I tell them to look closer at the cracked boots and then replace them (A sure sign of bad customer service is when they argue with you over what you want done). So they finally do the work. The bill, $466. 2 hours labor at $86 per hour and aftermarket parts marked up 50% over what I paid a day earlier at O'Reillys, but at least it's done.

    Tomorrow I have the alignment checked (thankfully for free) and then the old Protege will be ready for the next half of its life.
  • Hi All,

    A friend of mine has a 97 Protege, 1.5L, 5 spd., with 67K miles. She told me the other day that her CEL came on. I had the codes pulled with my scanner, and got only one: P0505. Since I did not have the table with me at the time, I asked her if she had tightened the gas cap. She said that she never makes it 'click', so I said '...that's it...'. However, when I looked P0505 up on the web later that day, I found "Idle System Control Malfunction". I called her, and asked her if the car had ever stalled or idled erratically after the CEL had come on. She said that the car has not done anything different - No problems she can tell. Can a loose gas cap trigger a somewhat unrelated OBDII code?


  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    If it comes back again, then it is a repeatable problem.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    I put the strut tower brace into my '99LX (yes, I know, it's not really made for the 1.6L engine bay, but it definitely helps lateral motions), and it comes pretty close to the top of the engine.

    If I accelerate hard enough at low RPMs, especially in reverse, I can hear the strut bar being hit by the engine. Well, an air hose shook off near the top of the engine (highest point, towards the driver side and facing the rear). Apparently, this hose leads to a pressure sensor that helps the ECM decide how to run the engine, because idle got low and unsteady. Power still seemed OK.

    I thought the MAS unit I'd had put in as part of a recall was failing like the original faulty part, but plugging this hose back on fixed everything (hey, saved myself the diagnostic fee!). I put a nylon cable tie on it to help keep it on (either the metal clamp wasn't installed or it got shaken off), so I don't do this to myself again.

    And yes, I did raise the strut tower brace with a set of washers (thanks to a suggestion I got here on one of the Edmunds Protege boards). I don't dare raise it any more as I'm afraid I'd run out of thread on the studs at each strut tower.
  • wjm1wjm1 Posts: 33
    I had the coil fail on me (2000 Protege ES) a month ago and my mechanic changed it and said that "...Mazda almost had a recall on this issue...". Now I read in the forum some say that there actually IS a recall on the coil.
    Can anybody give me some details on it? Recal#, date issued and so on, please?

    I think it might be time to go and get some money back from the beforementioned mechanic.

    btw. yesterday my cat converter had the check enine light come (which makes sence with the faulty coil...)
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    You can check out NHTSA and's sites.

    You can also go to, log into the owner's section and enter your VIN to see if it's included in any recalls.
  • fritz1224fritz1224 Posts: 398
    The ignition coil recall for 1999-2000 Protege 1.8L engine is campaign #0702F. I received my notice in July 2002 and had it done on 7/31. Took them about an hour although the process is not that complicated and I'm sure they weren't working on my car only during that hour. I wasn't having any problems before the new coils and don't have any now. 2k ES with 26,000.
  • My 2000 SE 1.6 is in the plus 100,000kms zone now, no more warranty to back me up. Ever here to cliche about how parts fail after the warranty expired? So far, its gone like this:

    July: Car jerks while downshifting, check engine light comes on. Result: faulty throttle sensor, $350U.S. for part and labour.

    October: Check engine light comes on, check all the usual suspects (gas cap, fuses, etc.) light still stays on. Dealer checks codes, finds air metre and oxygen sensor not functioning propery. Dealer replaces air metre for free under TSB. I pick up the car, check engine light still on. I'm told the oxygen sensor has failed and needs to be replaced ($200-$400 CDN) Oddly enough, the car runs fine, although gas consumption is not as good.

    October: Steel rims have surface rust, need to be treated and painted again.

    Its been a great car so far, I hope it doesn't keep this up.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Though they should last 3-4 years normally, depending on how you use your engine. Though they can get fouled with excess unburned fuel.
  • gibbergibber Posts: 41
    Recently my engine light came on my 1999ES. I read the code P0171 - System too Lean (Bank 1). The car runs OK, except that the idle is rough. Mileage is pretty much the same as before, no acceleration hestitation or pinging. I cleared the code, but it comes on again after a few drives. I replaced the plugs, air filter, and checked vaccuum(in spec). Any suggestions?
  • Maybe a restriction in the fuel flow like blocked filter or injectors. Have you used a cleaner like techron? I run a bottle every 6 months.
  • gibbergibber Posts: 41
    Went to mechanic, he said the intake manifold gasket is leaking(there was another code, one of the cylinders was misfiring), ~$400 repair. I tried the injector cleaner before. Also discovered a cracked cat converter bracket rattling.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    take it to a mazda dealer and crib to him about getting it fixed under warranty. Mazda had a "secret" service bulletin for that.
  • After about 3000 miles on my 2003 Protege LX (auto), I began to notice a clicking nose when I was slowing down to stop and when I accelerated. It gradually started happening anything the car shifted at slow speeds between 1st or 2nd. It's like, accelerate (CLICK), slow down (CLICK)..over and over. I took it in and they replaced the front axle. As I'm driving out..(CLICK).. I'm like, "What the heck?" So I took it back. Now I notice it does it when I shift between neutral and drive. Not like a normal tranny engaging.. But a definite pause, then (Click). They told me it does that on all protege's. They sat me in a bunch of new ones and none of them did it. Then they took me to a couple of used ones and sure enough, the noise. They told me it's a solenoid in the tranny that does something. But I'm totally unsatisfied as this is like Chinese Water Tourture. Any body else aware of this? Any advice? The dealer is getting non-responsive and saying it is "operating as designed".
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    But mine's a '99LX with AT. It COULD be noise made by a solenoid, but I can't tell w/o listening to it in person.
  • 99, there may have been some changes since then. Like, do the 99's have the Ford tranny's like the 03's?
  • Yes, here at Mazda, we keep all the good info to ourselves (insert Dr. Evil-type laugh here) ....anyway, the 2.0 engine in the pro is the same basic engine that is/was in the 626. The intake gaskets have been leaking for years on the 62's engine as well. Mazda has a really tough time relaying problems found in the shop to the people who should know about it back at headquarters, so the chance of updating any part like the gasket does not show up for years.(example- the trans in the 2.0 626-junk, yet not redesigned to show any kind of improvement during it's 9 year run) The bulletin's reason for existence is for technicians @ the dealerships. If Mazda sent a copy of that bulletin to every owner of a 2.0 protege, there would be a line a mile a long at the door of the dealership's service entrance, and everyone would be demanding to have the gasket replaced. This is not good for anyone, and would only create an even worse feeling about bringing your car to a dealership. It's a similar situation when a recall is announced. The dealer gets people driving in WITHOUT ever even receiving a notice creating a traffic jam in the shop, or, the same people calling the service dept. phone lines(tying them up while YOU are trying to call about something important while we have your car here). By the way, the transmissions in the newer proteges have had a higher than normal (compared to previous gen pro's) failure rate so have yours checked before the warraanty expires.
  • 99, there may have been some changes since then. Like, do the 99's have the Ford tranny's like the 03's?
  • that groan you hear over bumps (typically during cold weather) is coming from the strut boots. simply pull the boot down with your fingers(this can be done on the ground) and spray your choice of oil based lubricant on top of the boot where it goes up into the strut upper mount. If you are double jointed, you can get a brush with grease up there which would work better.
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