Last post on Sep 19, 2013 at 3:03 AM
You are in the Mazda Protege
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Mazda Protege, Sedan
May 17, 2003 (9:23 am)
The rear struts on my 1995 Protege LX (157K miles)were getting weak, so I decided to replace all four. I tow a utility trailer with an ATV quite often, and I think this contributed to the rear struts wearing out. Anyway, here are a few tips if you decide to do this job yourself.
As I had never done this before, I consulted a Haynes manual and the instructions were pretty clear. I ordered 4 Monroe Sensi-trac srtuts from Autopartsgiant.com for about $53 apiece. Autozone has spring compressors that they loan out for free with a deposit. I don't own any air tools or impact wrenches and used just standard ratchets, sockets, box wrenches, a torque wrench, and a steel beater bar for leaverage on the ratchet. I also used two jack stands and the jack-up tools that came with the Mazda.
I did this project over two days interspersed with other household chores, but it could be done in 4-8 hours using primitive tools like mine.
Don't try to loosen the suspension support-to-piston rod nut on a workbench, it won't work. Break the high torque on this nut while it is secured in the car with a turn or two, then it can easily be removed after you have compressed the springs on the workbench. As the front springs are not that tall, you will have to compress them down almost as far as you can before safely removing the piston rod nut. The rear springs are taller, and you won't have to compress them as far to loosen the spring pressure on the top.
I didn't replace the rubber bushings or suspension supports as they were in o.k. condition. I just cleaned them up and put them on the new struts. I believe the only place you can get these rubber parts is from Mazda.
You will need to be careful when lowering the front struts to not damaging the front CV joints . Also, use some care when disconnecting the rear brake line from the rear strut as it is metal line from the strut to the brake housing.
One problem I did encounter was the anti-sway bar connected to the rear struts. The nuts on the control links were completely frozen and rust spray did not help. So I used a hacksaw to cut the two control links and took off the rear stabilizer bar. I'm sure someone in this forum could explain how to remove these nuts. Anyway, if I can find two new or used control links for a decent price, then I will put the rear stab. bar back on the car.
Overall, this was not too difficult a project, just time consuming. If you have average mechanical skills, a few tools, and a work bench, then you can do this project. Just be careful when compressing the springs and setting the compressed springs down (compressed springs that come undone are very dangerous). And be sure to put the parts back on in the same order or location as you took them off.
Finally, you will need a 4 wheel alignment after replacing the struts. Happy Motoring.
#1652 of 3742 Automatic Tansaxle Fluid by doublesix
May 18, 2003 (4:47 am)
Have a trained tech drain fluid, remove oil pan, clean and inspect, refill with OEM or Mazda compatible tranny fluid every 30,000 miles.
May 19, 2003 (7:33 pm)
Did you try a propane torch on the nuts?
May 20, 2003 (5:04 am)
My 1.5L Protege, nearing its 60K miles, has developed valve noise (tapping...). I thought that I'd wait until the timing belt change comes up, and have it done then. However, I remember the timing belt in my 626 was pristine when I had it changed. So my plan was to try to do a valve adjustment myself and at the same time check the condition of the timing belt.
Now, I will have help from a mechanic friend of mine, and he has access to special tools, so I'm not worried about the valve adjustment. The real problem is getting the shims that will be needed to correctly adjust the valves. Any clues as to who may supply these? Trussville Mazda, maybe?
May 20, 2003 (5:30 am)
Any Mazda dealer should be able to get you the shims you need. If you are looking to save a little money, there are a number of on-line dealerships like Trussville. Another that I routinely use is Mazdastuff.com. Also, I can often talk my local dealer into matching on-line prices. They don't make the same profit off me as others, but at least I am still making them a little money, and I don't have to pay shipping and wait the extra couple of days for the parts. The down side is I do have to pay sales tax, but at least that money is going into state and local government coffers instead of the pockets of UPS. It may be worth asking your local dealer(s) to price match for convenience sake.
#1656 of 3742 Re:Guillermo by boggse
May 20, 2003 (5:39 am)
Excellent advice Ted!
#1657 of 3742 Propane Torch
May 22, 2003 (2:31 pm)
No I didn't try a torch to remove the nuts on the control links, does this work?
The control link connects to the stabilizer bar with a joint similar to a tie-rod end. I was able to break and turn one nut but then it just spun inside the tie-rod end and thus wouldn't come off the end of the bolt. There wasn't any flat edge on the inside of the tie-rod to grab with a wrench without destroying the rubber boot. So I just cut the control link.
May 23, 2003 (7:21 am)
are particularly useful when taking the calipers off the wheel assembly (when replacing rotors). The caliper bolts are usually glued with locktite, and although you can take an impact wrench to them, you'll probably break them. The heat melts the glue, or for rusted things, the two parts expand/anneal differently. I worked on one of the bolts of my wife's 626 for 2 hours, until my neighbor took pitty on me and showed me this trick with the torch...
#1660 of 3742 strange start problem
May 25, 2003 (3:01 pm)
I have mazda protege LX 92 auto with 90k on it. It runs strong. Now it has a problem starting up. Sometimes in the morning, she cranks, but can not start. She ka, ka..., struggles, but fails to start. But after a while, or after a day or so, she is back to normal. I have heard some guys suggested pushing the gas when starting. Any clues, is it indicating I need to do starter or even distributor problem.
Thanks in advance.