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Mazda Protege Maintenance and Repair



  • seksek Posts: 1
    I recently moved to Georgia and had an emissions inspection for my 2000 Protege ES. The OBDII scanner cannot communicate with my car. I took the car to the dealer and their diagnostic equipment could not communicate either. The car is running great, but the dealer wants to replace the ECU ($1,200) to solve the problem. Does anyone know what else could cause the communication failure? It seems unlikely that its the ECU since their is no CEL and no other symptoms.
  • I have had my car for just over a year and within the last several months anything that hits my windshield causes dings or cracks. Is anyone else having this problem? 2003 Protege ES
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  • Hello; my car check engine light goes on as soon as engine warms up a bit. After a while, the idle gets rough, and the car sometimes stalls. When stalled under those conditions, I have to wait 25 minutes for the car to cool and then it will restart. Have replaced rotor, distributor cap, plugs, PCV valve. The car is running fine otherwise, does not use any oil, and does not overheat under any condition. No gasoline smell either. Any suggestion ? Thank you
  • Yep, it sounds like slipping belt squeal.
  • My 93 Protege failed emissions with a slightly elevated hc reading ( 30 points over max) but the n02 values where twice the allowable max value - so I got a tune-up with a o2 sensor, thermal sending unit, and a catalytic convertor replacement - the shop said it upgraded to a high performance convertor - and long story short the car has been hesitating , and sputtering along every since - while also burning out 3 new catalytic convertors - the third exhaust shop I visited basically told me they had no way of determining what the problem is. Is there a solution?


  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    Here are some ideas for solving your problem.


    Rough idle:

    1. Vacuum Leak. Check all hose connections.

    2. Leaking EGR valve.

    3. Air Filter clogged.

    4. Fuel pump not delivering enough fuel.

    5. Leaking head gasket.

    6. Timing belt and/or pulleys worn.

    7. Camshaft lobes worn.


    Engine hard to start when hot:

    1. Air filter clogged.

    2. Fuel not reaching the fuel injection system.

    3. Corroded battery terminals, especially ground.

    4. Faulty coolant temp. sensor or intake air temp. sensor.


    Source: Haynes Automotive Repair Manual, Mazda 323 and Protege, 1990 thru 1997.
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    If you have not already cleaned your EGR valve, I just looked under the hood on my '95 1.5 and the valve is located just under the intake manifold near the center of the engine, firewall side. It has two small vacuum hoses on the sides and one electricial clip on the top. It is all metal with a sphere shaped or flat-round head. It is not far from the fuel filter, but much more accessible. It is relatively easy to remove with a swiveling ratchet extension.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Great responses, Joe! I don't have any problems with my Pro5 but I appreciate that there is someone out there looking out for some solutions!
  • Hi,


    I'm a novice when it comes to cars. I don't know anything to be honest. I would be very glad if you help me out with some pieces of advice.


    Here's the story: I bought a Mazda Protege 1999 last fall. Stupid as I am I forgot to ask about if the timing belt was changed. Now the car has approx. 120000 miles. If it hasn't been changed - now it's the time. If if has been changed twice - I guess I still have to have someone check it out. Is it hard for a mechanic to find out if it is time to change it? How much is it approx. to change it? I'm about to sell the car in about four months - is it still worth the trouble? Any ideas?


    Thanks in advance!
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    The recommended interval for changing the timing belt on my 2000 ES is 105,000 miles. Yep, 105K.


    Mechanics really won't be able to check it because you have to basically pull everything apart to see it -- and by that time you've done all the expense (labor) of changing the belt, which is only about $50 for the part.


    Keep in mind the Protege's engine is a "non-interference" engine, which means if the timing belt breaks, the engine will stop -- but valves won't slap into the pistons and total the car (like on some cars, like many Hondas). If you have AAA or a comparable driving club membership that will tow you and you don't mind the inconvenience of a sudden breakdown, go ahead and drive it until the belt breaks.


    The only other alternative is to chomp the projectile and get it changed!


  • hondafriekhondafriek Ottawa CanadaPosts: 2,976
    Actually it is easy to check the condition of the timing belt. The top half of the cover is held on with a couple of bolts. Rotate the engine with the coil wire disconnected, a little at a time check the inside face of the belt with a mechanics mirror.


    A reputable garage can perform this test in about a half hour, and tell you the relative condition of the belt.


      Cheers Pat.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    ... will be the first to tell you that it's hard to judge the age of a timing belt, and its internal condition, by looking at a straight length of it under tension. It's where it bends around a pulley that it shows its cracks, and since you're trying to look at it while it's installed on the car, there's no way to look at the part that's around the pulley without removing it. And I guarantee you NO reputable mechanic will give you any kind of written or unwritten warranty on how much time/mileage is left on it.


    I've tried that.


  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    "Here's the story: I bought a Mazda Protege 1999 last fall. Stupid as I am I forgot to ask about if the timing belt was changed ... I'm about to sell the car in about four months ... Any ideas?


    This may seem obvious but have you asked the seller of the car about this? Considering the cost of this service, the seller may have records or may be able to tell you. If he cannot tell you, I would think the responsible thing to do is to tell the next person purchasing your car that you do not know whether the timing belt needs to be replaced soon.


    TIP: Always ask for maintenance records when purchasing a used vehicle
  • The CEL on my 1997 Mazda Protege recently went on and stayed on. My mechanic diagnozed it as an evaporative emissions system problem (the evaporated gasoline from the fuel tank is meant to be absorbed in a charcoal canister and sucked into the engine through a valve) and wants to replace the canister purge valve. He claims that this part costs $250 dollars and has an electrical component inbuilt into it. I looked at online autopart sites but cant find this part available for this year and model.

    Does anyone know whether this sounds like an honest quote? Sounds like robbery to me.

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Is this only available as an OEM part or is an aftermarket part possible?


    Is the labor extra or included in your quote?


    You may want a second quote from a Mazda dealership and/or another garage.


    Here is something on the EVAP that I extracted from Haynes' Chilton Guide to the Protege.


    Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP) system

    The EVAP traps and stores fuel that evaporates from the fuel tank, throttle body and intake manifold that could escape into the atmosphere as hydrocarbon emissions. It consists of a charcoal-filled canister, the lines connecting the canister to the fuel tank, a temperature controlled vacuum valve and a check valve. Fuel vapors are transferred from the fuel tank and throttle body to a canister for storage when the engine isn’t running. When the engine is running the vapors are purged from the canister by intake airflow and consumed in normal combustion. The canister is equipped with a check valve that incorporates three check balls. Based on the running conditions and the pressure in the fuel tank, the check balls open and close the passages to the vacuum valve (consequently the throttle body) and fuel tank.
  • Thanks for the tips...I'll check into it. My mechanic claims there is no aftermarket. Labor not included.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Interestingly, the following article (which I found very easily by typing "canister purge valve protege" into Google) applies to the 1996-1998 Proteges:



    BTW, I just called the parts department at my Mazda dealer and, playing the part of you, asked for a price on a "canister purge valve" for a 1997 Protege.


    The response?


    "Mazda doesn't have anything called a 'canister purge valve' on the 1997 Protege."


    Ask this mechanic guy of yours for the real part name, or find another mechanic. Is this guy at a Mazda dealership, btw?


  • What did the dealers do to fix this issue? I think I have a wiring problem.


    Thanks in advance.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Post the specific diagnostic trouble code number. Several codes relate to the EVAP system.
  • Thanks. Battery, air filter and coolant OK. So is head gasket. Will look towards EGR, injectors and fuel pump.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    I'm in the market for a used, super reliable sedan. I understand the Protege sedan is no longer made, but from what I've read about it, it sounds like a very reliable car.

    Would any of you say it's as well built and reliable as a Civic or Corolla? What was the first year Mazda started putting the 2.0 engine in the Protege? Thanks.
  • Hi, I have a 94 mazda protege, and I cant wait to get rid of it. Anyways we have put in a new clutch (manual transmission) and have assembled everything however there is a slight problem. When pushing the pedal in it does not feel as if it has enough pressure (has some but not as it should). When I push the pedal in and try to shift, it is tough to get into gear like it binds and I cant get it into just grinds. We've bled the system what else to do?
  • It was a "solenoid valve" in the evaporative emissions system that needed replacing. Checked with a second mechanic -- paid $95 for part and 160 for labor. CEL has stayed off since.
    Thanks everyone who responded.
  • i have a p0402 code on my 99 mazda pro lx and this is the first prob the lady said that it was egr overflow she also said it could be to weather and other factors like frequent short trips ive gone 50 miles and it hasnt come on ive done the driving cycle thing and it has come on i also heard rumors of pro having prob with there cel and i was wondering if this a real prob was any CHEAP way to fix this cause my EGR valves cost 270.00
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    Carbon deposits in an EGR valve can be cleaned out if that is the only issue. $270, Wow! I paid $75 for a new Borg Warner aftermarket EGR valve for my '95 Protege LX 1.5 (part # EGR1122).
  • what can i clean the carbon out with ? also i priced the EGR valve everwhere the cheapest was 220 the odd thing is that the 1.8 models its only 125
  • i have a 99 lx pro and in my cruise control after speeds of 60 or so it takes the acc switch a few sec to activate i was just wondering why
  • jrdwyerjrdwyer Posts: 168
    I had to double check the valve prices after you mentioned it. You sure are right, the 1.6 liter is expensive and the 1.5 and 1.8 are more reasonable.

    I suppose you could use carb cleaner on the carbon deposits. But if they are really baked on, it might require harsher chemicals. They also recommend cleaning the ports from the intake manifold into the EGR valve. As I recall, I was only able to do this a little bit as the port made a 90 degree bend very quickly. Ideally, one would remove the intake manifold and do a more thorough cleaning of the port. The Haynes Automotive Repair Manual (in many libraries) for the Protege has a very nice drawing and chart on EGR systems.

    Some mechanics, like Pat Goss, are now recommending an EGR valve service where they take off the valve, install an adapter, and pump carbon removing chemicals through the passages every 30K miles. And also clean the valve, of course. The logic being that if it is not done regurlarly then carbon will get really thick and the chemicals won't work and you're left with time consuming manual cleaning.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    This reports too much flow through, though in reality, it's too little flow through the EGR valve.

    Multiple short trips, during cold weather, and a fuel tank that's less than half-ful have causes this code to be erroneously logged. This happened to me this winter, just a few months after the first CEL (also code 0402) was logged in my '99LX. I had the dealership clean out the valve. It cost me only about $78 for the service.

    I let the Autozone tech clear the code, then I found the erroneous code-logging reference, so I have kept my fuel tank more than half-ful since then and the CEL has not recurred. You could try this, and if it happens again even with the mostly-full tank, then I'd get the EGR valve cleaned or replaced.

    I havent' confirmed (as the manuals in my local public library are one generation too old to cover the '99 Protege...guess I could BUY a recent one, but I can wait for the library to acquire them), but I think the EGR valve for the 1.6L engine is behind the valve cover, on the driver side. You can follow the pipe from the exhaust manifold (also driver-side) that leads to the back of the engine to it.

    If there is truly too little flow through the valve, the combustion chamber can get hotter than intended as the main purpose of recirculating the exhaust gases is to cool the combustion chamber (not really sure about this, as I think it'd make it hotter since it's hotter than incoming fresh air, but that's what is stated in the emission controls section of any service manual...I think it's more to burn off fuel that wasn't completely combusted the first time), which you would first notice through pinging and knocking (I think). You can check your plugs to see if there's more erosion than usual.
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