Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    They aren't damping things as well as they used to, and you're hearing the result.

    And before Raymond rears up and starts crying "PROBLEM! PROBLEM!", I'll note that struts are a WEAR ITEM.

  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    And we know your struts have taken quite bit over the years!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Is that some kind of reference to my weight, Mr. Wild? Now, is that nice? Play nice, kiddo, or I may have Larry drive over to your place and dump a 55-gallon drum of Sawmill Gravy in your swimming pool.


    (Humorous Content Disclaimer to all Town Hall Members: Raymond and I know each other. We're kidding. Relax. And btw, Larry manages a Cracker Barrel Restaurant, if you're wondering about the Sawmill Gravy.)

    Struts normally last about this long, from what I've experienced. By the way, another reason I'll be trading the Protege next year is, I don't want to go through the (normal but expensive) CV Joint replacement around 100,000 miles.

  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    Can't say thay I replaced struts on any of my cars, even the ones I've kept to 120k miles. Probably should have, but never did. I've only replaced one CV joint, and that was on my Chevy Citation when I was 17.

    Oh, and Pool will be open Saturday, so bring on the Sawmill Gravy!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    The car really isn't driving any differently than it has before; I can just hear this vague clunking noise when I encounter a rough spot in the road and I'm driving slowly. (The road near our house has a downhill S-curve that you have to take at about 20 mph, and the edges and center of it have been eaten up by truck traffic -- you can't avoid one side's torn-up pavement without hitting the other side's. So I'm constantly taking this torn-up pavement with my wheels at a fairly sharp angle and the car leaning one way or the other. That's the only place I've been hearing this.)

    And yes, I'll be the first to admit that I've been rougher on this car than I would've been with a car that didn't just beg to be tossed around like the Protege does. The fact that this car has gone four years and 75K miles with constant near-red-lining, tire-limit-testing off-ramp speeds and general zoominess with no ill effects is one of several reasons I'm sold on Mazda.

    Takes a booming and keeps on zooming, eh?

  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    To give ya'al a heads up about my problems:

    Mazda is covering the parts [$250 -- master cyl and brake fluid]; I'm "responsible" for $170 labor to diagnose and install. The part most likely failed about 4 months ago before the last dealer service, but may not have been caught OR after service -- as the dealer claims; but I think less likely because there are telltale signs of accumulated fluid-grime under and around the power brake unit. It is hard to prove the date. I'm still working things out with the service dept. My '01 ES has only 46K miles. I'm a little worried but not too much.

    Another problem discovered -- however minor -- was also found by myself: The left headlight bulb popped out of the spring-loaded socket assembly. My wife noticed that the left headlight was pointing up while I was following her to the dealer. It was a genuine pain to "pop" it back in place.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I have been hanging around Edmunds, and especially on the Protege discussions, since May 2000. In four years I have NEVER heard of this problem. Looks like you got the master cylinder that was installed before the guy punched out at 5:01 p.m. on the day of the big Mazda Employee Dinner and Brouhaha over in Hiroshima.

    Or more likely, the recalled, Ford-built installation robot was replaced by a Mazda-built one right after your car rolled to the next stop on the assembly line.

    Don't sweat it. The new one will probably go forever. But in the very least, you've got a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty on the new one.

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    >> I can just hear this vague clunking noise when I encounter a rough spot in the road and I'm driving slowly<<<

    my Protege is also showing the exact same symptoms, at 56,500 miles.

    I wonder if this is covered under the total care extended warranty from Mazda.
  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    Ya... I won't sweat it. This is my 3rd, new Mazda. I sold my last Protege (1995 ES) with 95K miles on her; I never had a single breakdown or non-wear part failure! In fact my wife and I are considering the MZ6 Wagon late this year to replace an aging 1995 Camry.

    My 1995 Pro ES had no problems with the struts/shocks up until she was sold. I DID have the clutch shutter/judder problem but it never affected operation of the car. The front brakes also "clunked" due to a poor design in the caliper brake sleeves; Again this never affected operation of the car.

  • barich1barich1 Posts: 143
    I think that your clunking problems are most likely sway bar bushings. My parents have two 626s and they both needed sway bar bushings at around that mileage. Same clunking, no other noticeable symptoms.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,965
    It's Tuesday, so it's Mazda chat time again. Drag a friend along tonight!

    Mazda Mania

    Welcome to the Mazda Mania Weekly Chat!

    Liven up your evening and join your fellow enthusiasts every Tuesday from 6-7pm PT/9-10pm ET for our Mazda Mania Chat!
    The chat room opens 15 minutes before the scheduled chat time, so come early and get a good seat! Hope to see YOU there on Tuesday!

    Mazda Mania Chat Room

    PF Flyer
    Pickups & News & Views Message Boards

    Edmunds Moderator

    Need some roadside assistance? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Just purchased or leased a vehicle? Share your vehicle reviews

    PF_Flyer's 2014 Versa Note Long Term Blog
    How To Start Your Own Long Term Blog

  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    That is a great tag line!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Chris ... Thanks for the info. About how much were those bushings to replace?

    Martin ... Wow, your story sounds strangely familiar. This isn't my first Mazda, or Protege, either. In fact it's my third (or my fourth if you count my wife's 2002 Protege5, which I own by association, lol). My first, a 1992 LX automatic (they didn't come in ES trim then; LX was top of the line) died an early death at 28K miles in a hydroplaning accident. My second Protege was another 1992 LX, this time a 5-speed. Same clutch-chatter thing! Anyway it went 83,000 trouble-free miles, clutch chatter and all. I bought my current Protege, a 2000 ES 5-speed, on May 24, 2000. (We Protege lovers remember our cars' birthdays, don't we?) I'm just a smidge past 75,500 miles right now. I've just made the decision to trade my Protege for a Mazda3S 5-door next May to coincide with avoiding my next state inspection and to get out of the car before my 100,000-mile extended warranty expires. I should be in the low 90Ks by then.

    Nik ... Good question on whether the extended "Easy Care" warranty would cover those bushings. I'll have to get out my literature and take a look. I have a feeling they're going to be listed under "wear items" but it's worth a look. I have a $50 deductible on the warranty, which beats any repair bill these days.

  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009
    Well, if y'all had been at chat last night, you would know that nothing happened to my car this week, for a change. :P

    Still starts right up, despite its series of unfortunate events. ;)
  • hboydhboyd Posts: 98
    Well, good news. My brake master cylinder has been replaced out-of-warranty. My dealer's service mgr goodwilled the labor (due to some unusual service mistakes) and Mazda NAO picked up the parts.

    Mechanic still left some brake-fluid grime on vac hoses/lines and parts under the PBU, but still a good job.

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,241
    Hello, Mazda owners! I'm considering buying a 1994 Mazda Protege AT with 114,000 miles for my son who is coming home from Europe in a couple of months. I have owned a 1988 Mazda 323 and he had a terrific 1990 626 hatchback that he sold before he went to Europe, still running fine at 165,000 miles. Any of you still have older Proteges out there? Have they held up well? He just needs a cheap reliable car he can drive for a year or so before he takes off somewhere else. Thanks for your suggestions!
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    My 1992 LX was running fine at 83,000 miles when I traded it in 10 years ago.

    My current car is a 2000 Protege ES with 75,000 miles on it, running fine.

    Can you find one newer than 10 years old though?

  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    Hi all, have been a past participant in this forum, and still read it weekly, well....ok almost daily... :-) Have had 3 Pros over the years, but now the only one is my 22 year old daughter's 2002 LX. I am about to embark on a cross country trip in this car with her, (bringing her back home to Tucson, from Detroit)and have several questions for you knowledgable folks.

    First, the car has about 45,000 miles (I think) and hasn't had spark plugs or wires replaced. I know from personal history, that the wires can be an least they were on her 1996 LX. We will have only a few hours to pack up her car and get on the road Monday after I arrive by we change them out, or wait till we get to Tucson, and I have my tools and other resources. (we have no tools or even covered parking in the apt complex she is leaving in Detroit). I could bring some tools on the plane, if someone can advise exactly what tools are needed. The car has been running fine lately, and she even commented on getting 30 MPG on the last tank.

    Second, can anyone from around the Detroit area recommend the best roads to take to begin the trip....AAA office provided trip-tik showing I75 south to almost Dayton, then I70 west to St. Louis. The web based AAA trip-tik suggests taking I94 to somewhere near Chicago, then south on I 57. Anyone have local experience with these roads? Is one way less congested or less construction? Thanks for any and all advice

  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    It always seems busy around there whenever I drive up. I've driven I-75 between Cincinnati and Detroit several times. South of Detroit, it's pretty open. There is currently construction work on the I-75/I-70 interchange, but traffic is still open in all directions as they build the new ramps.

    So far as the wires and plugs, you'll need a metric socket set (I forget the size for the ones that hold down the coil-over plug packs, but it's a small one, like 9 or 10mm), including a deep one designed for spark plugs (metric) and an extension (those plugs are in deep) of at least 3 inches in length. Get some anti-seize compound for use on the threads of the new plugs to help removing them when it's time to replace those. And have a gapping tool to verify the spark plug gaps. The ones I buy from Mazda (NGKs, I think) come pre-gapped and have a shipping cardboard tube around the terminals to protect them.

    FWIW, I replaced my plugs at 30k miles, but am still on the original wires at 52k miles. I plan to change both at 60k miles. I'm averaging 31mpg on my '99 ProLX with the 1.6L engine and AT in mostly local driving. No symptoms of worn wires yet.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    They usually only last about 30K to 40K, and even if they haven't failed completely (hard to miss while your engine sits there and sputters), they've probably already broken down somewhat and started to short out. I replace mine every 30,000 miles or so. When I did it last, about 5,000 miles ago, I noticed an immediate difference in engine smoothness and a MPG increase of about 1-2 mpg.

  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    I replaced the secondary cooling fan today in my '95 Protege LX (172K miles). At first I thought the ringing-buzzing type noise was the A/C clutch since it came on when I turned on the A/C and I have experienced this problem on other cars before. But an A/C shop diagnosed it when they did a routine check on the system and topped off the R134.

    The electric fan motor was about $50 new from Mazda and it took me an hour to do in the driveway. I usually curse when doing repairs on small cars with tight engine bays, but this was actually pretty easy.

    First remove the plastic shield above the radiator, the metal shield on the back of the fan motor, and the two bolts holding the secondary fan assembly to the radiator. Then unbolt the bracket holding the radiator to the frame and tilt it forward to allow just enough room to slide the secondary fan assembly out through the front. Swap the fan motors, reattach the blade with locktite and nut and pop it back in.

    Cheers to the engineers who designed the drop-in fans and the floating/rubber damper type setup for the radiator. It sure made this repair much easier.
  • pkuehnpkuehn Posts: 6
    My 2000 Pro has been doing the same clunking described
    by several people here. I have it at the dealership as
    I write and their diagnosis was the "sway bar links",
    which I assume means the bushings. Anyway, the good
    news is the Mazda Extended Protection Plan is covering
    the repairs and a loaner car, as they need to keep it
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    hey guys (and gals) -

    2002 and 2003 Pro's are the same, right? all come with the 2.0 liter in DX, LX, or ES, right? is this the infamous 2.0 from the 626 that had issues?

    also, at 130hp, it seems kind of underpowered for a 2.0 liter. with an automatic, can a person driving a LOT (she has a 60 mile round trip commute each day at least) expect anywhere near 30mpg's in real life? or is it Civic/Corolla time to get better mileage.

    looking at 02 and 03 automatics, preferably with ABS and bags. good deals to be had on the inventory due to depreciation and the new 3 coming out.

    thanks for the input!

    BTW, my 99 Miata gets 30mpgs, and i sit in rush hour traffic, but it is also a 1.8, not a 2.0. and it is a stick of course. hoping the Pro can get at least that much since it won't be driven as "hard" as i drive my Miata.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    I don't recall much difference between 2002/2003 models. I think there was a slight change to the P5 midway through the 2003 model year (subwoofer instead of roof rack being standard, I think).

    The 2.0L in my wife's '03 P5 feels plenty fine, even with the AT (of course, my car is a '99 ProLX with the 1.6L engine and an AT). She gets about 28-29mpg in mixed driving (mostly highway, but it's rush-hour-type highway). She gets about 32-33mpg in non-stop highway driving. The sedan, being lighter and more aerodynamic, will do a little better. The Civic and Corolla will do better, mpg-wise, as their engines and transmissions are set-up more for fuel economy than acceleration-feel (though both will out-accelerate a comparably-equipped Protege/P5, though I think they sound kind of nasty when pushed that hard). I think both cars have taller top gears for highway cruising than the Protege.

    Other than the fuel economy, my wife likes her P5 very much. Her previous car, a Saturn SL2 ('91) got much better fuel economy on the freeway, though not any better in local driving. It was a better highway cruiser (taller top gear again and more aerodynamic shape), though I thought its engine had a coarse note to it.
  • arabamarabam Posts: 11
    I was also experiencing the same problem and took my car (2000 ES 53k) today to a local repair shop ... the guy insists that the sway bar bushings and the struts are fine; he told me that the front rotors may need to be replaced !! The brake pads were changed 1.5 yrs ago (at around 35k) at that time they had told me that the rotors were fine ... I am having difficult time to believe that "this clunking" is related to wharped rotors? I may need to take the car to a Mazda dealership; do you have any idea how much this would cost?
  • pkuehnpkuehn Posts: 6
    It doesn't cost much. I had the Mazda Extended Protection Plan, so I only paid the $50 deductible, but if I recall correctly, it would have only been $110 or so if I paid myself.
  • rotarykidrotarykid Posts: 191
    isn't a bad idea. Personally, if you brought your car to me and I was doing a simple oil change, I would check the swaybar links, bushings, and struts while I have it in the air. These items are common to fail and they make me money. Have them change the oil and while it's in the air, tell the service consultant/writer "i almost forgot, while it's in the air can they check my swaybar links and bushings? I am getting a rattle over bumps." best way to get a quick free diag.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    My clunking is getting more severe. I'm going on a trip this weekend and have work-related plans for the July 4 weekend, so it probably won't be until the first full week of July before I can take my car in. My dealership's service department is pretty adept at finding truthful answers to problems, so I'm fairly certain I'll get the right answer. A little nervous about whether the extended warranty will cover it, but we'll see!

  • jjnjjn Posts: 3
    I have had my 2001 Protege LXII at the dealership 4 times for the same problem. Each time they say 'cannot duplicate problem'..Then I drive with them and magically they know what it...They have replaced the sway bar bushings, rods and struts. NONE of this has resolved the problem...They insist the car is safe but will not put that in writing.

    Here is the situation..After the car is driven a while and the temperature outside is on the hot side, all of a sudden as you are driving or coasting to a stop, the popping sound comes form what appears to be in the front..It happens also just getting in and out of the car. It sounds like 2 pieces of something are rubbung together and then pop apart. If you rock the car you can hear it too. After the car is parked either overnight or for a couple of hours, then if you drive the noise goes away until after the car is driven several miles. I have duplicated this symtom over 6 times for the dealer and yet they cannot fix it.

    Mazda tech support has been of no help and now the dealer says bring it in again and we can look at it.
    They have done this 4 times...I am losing vacation time from work and becoming very frustrated.

    Any ideas of what this noise is and how to fix it?..I would like to be able to do the dealers' diagnostic job for them by seeing if anyone out there can help.


Sign In or Register to comment.