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Mazda Protege, Sedan
#2063 of 3738 Strut tower bar help needed
Mar 14, 2004 (1:05 pm)
Purchased the Mazda strut tower bar kit from Rosenthal Mazda and I need assistance with problem.
Have 2003 Protege LX with cruise so the bar for a Protege with cruise was ordered and received.
Problem is the replacement cruise bracket that was received appears to be the exact same bracket that is already on the car and the cruise actuator will not clear.
Bracket received is pn BJ0F-66-3BYB. Part number referenced on the instructions in section 4A is pn BJ0F-66-3AY. I assume I r'cvd the wrong bracket in the kit. Calling Rosenthal on Monday to attempt to resolve this. Any help/advice is appreciated.
#2064 of 3738 Strut tower bar update
Mar 15, 2004 (8:01 am)
I received a quick response from Rosenthal. Told that BN5W-66-3B2 is the part that I should have received and it is being ordered and sent to me. Hopefully it is the solution to the fitment issues.
Odd that it is a different part number from the Mazda install intructions.
#2067 of 3738 Okie-dokie, here's the rub!
Mar 16, 2004 (7:12 am)
Well, I got past the first hurdle with my dealership. The tough one. The one where the service manager actually admits something's up.
He told me basically what rotarykid did ... that there is a TSB for an "updated" clutch disc, pressure plate, cover and flywheel.
No recall, just a TSB. And, as we all know, TSBs do not mean "freebies" necessarily.
My service manager pointed out that my car is WAYYY out of warranty (the warranty that covers the clutch, that is ... 1 year/12,000 miles). Yes, it is. I passed 72,000 miles yesterday. Now, I did comment to my service writer that my clutch slippped WAYYYY back when, like when the car was new, but the service writer back then made some kind of passing remark like "Oh, they all do that," and I, having owned a '92 that did it too, merely accepted that answer. So the "complaint" never made it to paper.
All that said, here's the deal. The service manager told me that the parts I have on the car right now are not going to wear out any quicker than the new stuff -- i.e. the TSB solves the cold-takeoff chatter only; my current clutch isn't substandard as far as longevity is concerned. HOWEVER -- the current clutch does have 72K of wear on it (er, should I say, "off it").
So ... he's made me a deal, and since I am planning on keeping the car another year or two at least, it might be a deal I can't refuse. He has offered to install the "updated" clutch disc, pressure plate, cover and flywheel for the cost of labor only -- and his "internal" labor rate at that -- of $303. Mazda would eat the $455 in parts.
If I don't get this job done, my present clutch could last me another 30,000 miles, or not. Clutches are very sensitive to how they're treated, and I treat my clutches well. I've never had to replace a clutch, and my last vehicle -- a Mazda pickup with a manual tranny -- still had its original clutch when I traded it for the Protege at 114,000 miles.
But whenever my clutch DOES wear out, I'm looking at a $600-$700 job if I go through the dealership -- and correct me if I'm wrong, but just replacing a worn-out clutch doesn't give you all the new stuff Mazda's installing in this TSB. Taking my SM up on this offer would give me a new clutch and the other parts, and no more clutch worries ever, for half the price.
Do I feel slighted at all? Yes, I do. But am I also a resident of the Real World and know when to stop whining and accept life's little poo-poos? Yep.
Think I'll take Mazda up on their offer. Compared to not pursuing it at all, this will save me some big bucks come clutch time.
And Raymond -- you've got far fewer miles on yours, right?
Time to press the issue!
P.S. I'm still hesitating to call this a "problem," Raymond. Since the chatter has never affected my ability to use the car in any way, I'd be more apt to call it an "annoyance" like a rattle. Let's not get into wordplay, OK? I've still had a very reliable car for 72,000 miles. And now I'm getting a brand-new, updated clutch for half price. This looks like a win-win since I got a pretty good life out of the original clutch already!
#2068 of 3738 Protege Clutches
Mar 16, 2004 (8:14 am)
Just to chime in, my '95 Protege LX 1.5L with its original clutch is still going strong at 167K miles. It does shift a little rough when cold, but after a mile or so it's smooth. I found that it performs better in cold weather with full synthetic gear oil instead of standard gear oil. At the moment I'm using Mobil One, but have used other synthetic brands with success. And though I am easy on the clutch in normal driving, I also frequently pull a 4x8 utility trailer with a 400 lb ATV on board.
I like the gearing and feel of the Protege manual tranny and clutch better than that of my previous '92 Honda Civic. The Civic hydraulic clutch felt overly light when disengaging. Also, the lower gearing of the Protege over the Civic sure helps when pulling a trailer up a hill. Yesterday I was climbing a steep gravel road and needed 1st gear and 4-5K RPMs to make it up. The old Protege pulls strong and still gives me 28-30 mpg with the trailer and ATV behind.
Mar 16, 2004 (8:52 am)
See, Raymond? Maybe they've updated the drivetrain to get rid of an annoyance, but this "chatter" may truly be a "quirk" that's more of an annoyance than anything else. Like I said, my '92 LX did it for the entire 83,000 miles I owned it too.
Dammit, I wish I knew what to do! I'm leaning toward spending the $303, just for the sake of the fact that I might wind up keeping this car for a long, long time, and a new OEM clutch & flywheel for that kinda money is a steal!
#2070 of 3738 For my money it will always
Mar 16, 2004 (10:03 am)
be a 'problem'. But we've argued the semantics enough already. I'll give my dealer a shot at it when I do the 30k service in about a month. Late April is prime "chatter" time as the mornings are cool and damp.
Quirk or not though, I feel it shouldn't be there. Having driven upwards of 20 manual cars and never feeling anything like it just doesn't make sense to me. Geez, for the first 12k miles I was convincing myself it was my bad driving. But for some reason it only happend when I was driving the P5 and not the Civic. That seemed strange but I had to believe it was the case. Then I started reading that it seemed to be a noted 'problem' (lol), and I tried to do something about it.
If anyone remembers, Mazda actually paid for my rental car so I could leave the car at the dealer for them to test. They never said they would pay for a fix, but they paid for that much anyway. Then of course the dealer didn't notice anything. Guy was a putz, I could feel it in the passenger seat yet he claimed he felt nothing. The manager drove it later, but of course it was afternoon and it wouldn't do it then. At that point I gave up.
#2071 of 3738 I guess this is my point.
Mar 16, 2004 (11:14 am)
What I've been trying to say all along is, it appears ... since it's been present on all three generations of Protege ... that this cold-start clutch chatter, while not desirable, has always been a characteristic of the transmission design ... until now, since Mazda apparently has found a new design that's immune to it.
So what we have here is, Proteges have not "developed" this condition at some point after purchase ... this condition has been a part of the car when they've rolled off the assembly line. I would almost prefer to call it more of a design defect than a problem, but again, echoing what I've said before, I don't know if it deserves the term "defect" any more than the strange, undesirable pulsing you get when you stomp on the anti-lock brakes in some vehicles -- it's a characteristic of the system, and even though some people may find it offensive and "not supposed to be there," it has no bearing on the effectiveness or longevity of the brakes. Similarly, the cold/wet-start chatter may just be part of Mazda's design of an otherwise stellar clutch/flywheel system. Who knows?
So if this condition has been a result of Mazda transmission design and has been a part of each and every car as they've rolled off the line in Japan, AND it's a condition that does not affect clutch life or operation, then is it a problem? And if we customers decide at some point down the road that we don't like this *inherent* characteristic of the car, whether it's "supposed to be there" or not, does Mazda really owe us anything, other than a reminder that we had every chance to choose a car more to our liking before we signed on the dotted line?
If Mazda's designed an update, great! And they're going an extra step to help us get our cars modified? Outstanding! Think many other manufacturers would do this? Keep in mind this is not a recall!
#2072 of 3738 Put that way,
Mar 16, 2004 (1:07 pm)
Would I have bought the car knowing I was going to have the clutch chatter? Hard to say, but probably not. I think it would have given me some fear as to the quality of the overall car. I had never owned a Mazda and I never knew a car to have clutch chatter.
So when I signed on the dotted line, I never expected that to be part of the car. It wasn't on my papers anywhere. And I didn't notice it until months after my purchase. My wife drove it as her car for the 1st year or so and I only drove it occasionally. When I first felt it, I asked her about it. She told me she though it was her driving, which is what I thought about me at first. We realized it wasn't us.
So does Mazda owe me antying? No, everything works just fine and it really is nothing more than an annoyance. But having a clutch design problem that has lived through so many years is kind of strange.
And I guess I'd feel better about it if they weren't willing to fix it. Stand by it as a design characteristic and tell me it's fine.