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    Thread: Mazda Protege- Tell Me About Them

    1. Member
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      07-05-2008 10:49 AM #36
      i drove a protege ES with an auto and the power was more than adequate. this was at my buddies used car dealer about two years ago and i remember thinking to myself that this was the best used small car i had ever driven. it was fun but the road noise was pretty bad; yet i felt it was worth it.

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      07-05-2008 02:26 PM #37
      I got to drive the Protege today. It is a 5 speed manual, with alloy wheels, ABS, and power everything (sunroof, windows, mirrors, etc...). I am not sure of the engine size (forgot to pop the hood), but it was pretty quick. What a sweet driving little car this Mazda is! At nearly 9 years old, this little gem handles crisply, and responds immediately to the flick of the shifter. It seems mechanically sound, as I flogged the shix out of it at a variety of speeds and road types. I even talked the salesman down in price, from 4500.00 to 3800.00. I still need to run carfax on it, but I am feeling like I am close to making a deal!

    3. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 12:42 PM #38
      Quote Originally Posted by maskedSONY View Post

      I have a 2001 Protege ES 5-speed so I think I can help you out.
      Like others have said, the steering and suspension in the car is goddamn fantastic - I like to say that when you are on the highway, the car feels like a Japanese BMW. It is stiff, so try to avoid the rough stuff. The 2.0L engine gives pretty decent gas mileage, about 26-27 in the city and 30-31 on the highway are the numbers I get pretty consistently. Around town it's a bit weak if you ask me, but on the highway the 5th gear is aggressively geared and allows you to pass and pull away from traffic with a decent amount of strength.
      The interior is really nice. The seats are a bit flat but are great for long trips - my legs hardly get fatigued. The dash has some minor rattles, but nothing that is too bothersome. edit - The stock radio has a great layout for its controls with two large knobs and nicely organized buttons. Visibility is great because the car is a 90s design, when massive beltlines weren't in style. And the illumination is more red than orange and looks great at night.
      The brakes are pretty good, and the ABS on the car is very effective and sensitive. There have been several times when the car actives just one wheel when coming to a stop on a wet or snow covered surface. Keep an eye on the rear brakes, which are known to have the calipers seize.
      Ok, now for trouble spots. With the cars that have a 2.0L engine, the engine mounts are known to develop tears near the 50K mileage mark. If the clutch shudders when you drive the car, or the engine feels like it jumping out of the car when you launch it, replace the engine mounts ASAP. SLS sells the front and passenger side mount, and AWR sells a transmission mount which I am installing a week from now. (I'll post how effective it is eventually.) You need to do this because if the mount tears you can damage critical parts of the engine from the vibration. This is the one flaw of the 2.0L engine: it has a ton of vibration (compared to the 2.0L in the new 3) and so Mazda put soft mounts in from the factory to make the car feel smooth.
      The suspension endlinks are known to go out depending on the mileage, which will improperly load the suspension and cause the car to not track or handle properly. Make sure you have these checked when you look/test drive the car.
      The A/C in my car blows strong in hot weather, and can cool the car down within 10-15 minutes - however if you are sitting at idle, the A/C can be weak. This is something I've seen with all Mazdas - if the revs are higher than 2000, then the A/C gets considerably stronger. My car behaves the same way.
      Rust is also something to consider - While the paint on the Protege is, IMO, more durable than the paint jobs on the Mazda3, it still forms rust bubbles at the rear wheel wells on some cars. There's a dealer TSB to fix this, which is caused by the rear bumper screws being loosened ever so slightly.
      Ok lastly, - if you are in a major city, just do yourself a favor and don't buy a Protege unless you change the mounts. Don't want to change the mounts? Then get a Civic EX sedan. The Protege is really a car that was born for the mountains, highways and empty country roads. City roads will destroy the car, and the engine mounts will eventually wear and cause you to go nuts with the transmission shudders that result.
      I hate my car whenever I drive in the tri-state area, but I love it once I get to an empty curvy highway because the car is sooo rewarding to drive with its suspension and steering feel. It's a great car to own, and I love how it looks, but there are some things which can be annoying with its ownership which you should know about it.
      Good luck!

      Modified by maskedSONY at 10:41 PM 7-4-2008


      Modified by maskedSONY at 10:46 PM 7-4-2008

      I have been looking at late model ES and LX Protege's, kind of dissapointed about the vibration and motor mounts. I do quite a bit of heavy traffic driving, so this would definately kill it for me


      So I guess I'll look at Pro5's and early Mazda 3's. Or even Civics, but I prefer Mazda's.

    4. Member Fe2O3's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 12:57 PM #39
      Quote Originally Posted by VWVan View Post
      I have been looking at late model ES and LX Protege's, kind of dissapointed about the vibration and motor mounts. I do quite a bit of heavy traffic driving, so this would definately kill it for me


      So I guess I'll look at Pro5's and early Mazda 3's. Or even Civics, but I prefer Mazda's.
      Nice thread from the dead.
      I have an 02 purchased brand new. Commute in it every day and it's perfect for it. In 10 years, I've had to replace the intake hose, $35, and the motor mounts. Of the 4 mounts, the rear one is a little bit of trouble to do, but not that big of a deal. Other 3 take maybe 30 minutes combined.
      As far as rust, mine has none. The fender well issues... there are plastic liners that trap leaf debris. Open those up every year or two and clean that stuff out. Takes a few minutes at each fender.
      If I were in that market, I'd definitely look for another
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

    5. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:24 PM #40
      Are the motor mounts easy to see if they are torn when I'm checking out a car? Is yours a manny tranny?

    6. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:33 PM #41
      Quote Originally Posted by VWVan View Post
      Are the motor mounts easy to see if they are torn when I'm checking out a car? Is yours a manny tranny?
      OH HELL YES. Get under the car and look for the main mount, which is basically under where the Mazda logo is on the car. Get a flashlight and if any light shines through the rubber in the mount, time for a new one! Also I suggest you check the passenger side mount. The transmission mount and rear mount usually hold up well.
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

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      10-02-2012 02:35 PM #42
      Great cars, and a lot more fun to drive than they look.
      Quote Originally Posted by JalopnikMatt View Post
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      Quote Originally Posted by al@absolute View Post
      Go to bed or we're going for a drive in the Durango.

    8. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:37 PM #43
      Quote Originally Posted by VWVan View Post
      I have been looking at late model ES and LX Protege's, kind of dissapointed about the vibration and motor mounts. I do quite a bit of heavy traffic driving, so this would definately kill it for me

      So I guess I'll look at Pro5's and early Mazda 3's. Or even Civics, but I prefer Mazda's.
      The Protege5 is the same motor and the same exact issue. Look for a 2001-2005 Civic - those are very durable used cars.

      Also if you want to get replacement mounts, get the AWR 70 durometer set, not the SLS mounts that I wrote about in my old post.

      http://protegegarage.com/1427-product-1427.html

      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    9. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:50 PM #44
      Thanks for the info

    10. Member 2.0_Mazda's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 05:48 PM #45


      This is to what extent mine was damaged/finished. I felt it when driving, but couldn’t see it when looking directly at it. I finally replaced it after 150k Kilometers, but I’ll have to replace the rear motor mount which is much harder. 3 of the 4 mounts are accessible.

      Now, talking about the car, I have an 01 with a 2 litre and a manual. Some may say its down on power, or it sucks in the MPG department, but I love mine because of the handling and overall feel of the controls. I guess that part is subjective though.

      In traffic, I wouldn’t recommend you any manual, but especially not this one. The clutch is easy to gage, but there seems to be some loose that is really annoying in stop-and-go traffic. The flywheel feels really light so any little bit of gas pedal movement is felt. Mine, like others I’ve been in, has a quite loud cabin, and many things vibrate.

      Nevertheless, I love the car, but probably because I’m never in traffic. If I remember well, the Mazda 3 with 2litre was much smoother than the protégé.

      Hope this helped

    11. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 08:59 PM #46
      My wife has a 2.0 Mazda 3, 5 speed which isn't that bad in traffic. I should just get one of those since I know what they are like.

    12. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 10:39 AM #47
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0_Mazda View Post
      Now, talking about the car, I have an 01 with a 2 litre and a manual. Some may say its down on power, or it sucks in the MPG department, but I love mine because of the handling and overall feel of the controls. I guess that part is subjective though.

      In traffic, I wouldn’t recommend you any manual, but especially not this one. The clutch is easy to gage, but there seems to be some loose that is really annoying in stop-and-go traffic. The flywheel feels really light so any little bit of gas pedal movement is felt. Mine, like others I’ve been in, has a quite loud cabin, and many things vibrate.
      Launching the car smoothly from a dead stop in any situation is basically impossible. The clutch has great feel but the engine's mounts are so soft that the engine basically hops all over the place as it begins to put power down. This is the main reason why I chose to get rid of my Protege.

      And my Accord NEVER does, mostly because it's a very different design - the Accord is heavier, wider and has a separate sub-frame which the engines mounts on. When I got the car it took me a long time just to get used to its noise level and refinement, because I was used to the raw feel of the Mazda.
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    13. Member Fe2O3's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 11:33 AM #48
      My 02 shifts smooth as butter. No need to drop $300 in mounts.
      Corksport and a few companies make urethane inserts that pop in to your existing mounts. Total around $140 last I checked.
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

    14. 10-03-2012 11:34 AM #49
      Where I live in Ontario protege and even 3s are compete rustbuckets. Worse than any other car. A shame because that is what has kept me from considering them 3 or 4 times.

    15. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 12:11 PM #50
      Cars here typically do not rust out due to the mild climate. Hell it has only rained 2-3 times since the beginning of August.

      I would consider an Accord except finding one with a manual tranny isn't easy.

    16. Member 2.0_Mazda's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 02:23 PM #51
      Quote Originally Posted by Fe2O3 View Post
      My 02 shifts smooth as butter. No need to drop $300 in mounts.
      Corksport and a few companies make urethane inserts that pop in to your existing mounts. Total around $140 last I checked.
      I bought the inserts and regret putting them in. It felt like the engine was bolted directly to the frame via only metal bolts. It also added a weird hope when it gets really warm outside. I got rid of one insert in exchange of a new mount, but still have another to take out.

    17. Member Fe2O3's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 02:38 PM #52
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0_Mazda View Post
      I bought the inserts and regret putting them in. It felt like the engine was bolted directly to the frame via only metal bolts. It also added a weird hope when it gets really warm outside. I got rid of one insert in exchange of a new mount, but still have another to take out.
      They come in different "hardnesses", from bone rattling down to near stock. But yeah, I recall lots of people complaining about that.
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

    18. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 02:56 PM #53
      Quote Originally Posted by Fe2O3 View Post
      They come in different "hardnesses", from bone rattling down to near stock. But yeah, I recall lots of people complaining about that.
      After owning a Protege, it made me appreciate Honda's 4-cylinder engines that much more. The Civics don't have any of the vibration or refinement issues that Mazda had with the old Protege engines.
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    19. Member two.twoliter's Avatar
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      10-04-2012 05:12 AM #54
      Quote Originally Posted by maskedSONY View Post
      After owning a Protege, it made me appreciate Honda's 4-cylinder engines that much more. The Civics don't have any of the vibration or refinement issues that Mazda had with the old Protege engines.
      A Protege with a Honda K20 and some extra sound deadening would be a nearly ideal car. My Protege really does have excellent steering and handling - in some ways equal or better to my '91 CRX Si.
      Previous: 87 325e, 90 Accord Coupe, 99 Neon ACR, 91 CRX Si, 93 S-10, 00 Protege ES

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      10-04-2012 07:30 AM #55
      Quote Originally Posted by maskedSONY View Post
      After owning a Protege, it made me appreciate Honda's 4-cylinder engines that much more. The Civics don't have any of the vibration or refinement issues that Mazda had with the old Protege engines.
      The DOHC 1.5 in my 97 Protege and SOHC 1.6 in my 90 323 were quite smooth even at fuel cutoff. (shrug)
      The later NVH was probably mainly due to them being largest displacement versions of old engines.
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