Last post on Jun 09, 2012 at 11:01 PM
You are in the Mazda Protege
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Mazda Protege, Sedan
#2131 of 24043 RE: #2077gfest (Answer To Timing Belt Question)
May 14, 2001 (10:31 am)
As a former saleman of Mazdas (1995-1996 era), I can truthfully say that the timing belt on a Protege goes a lot farther than 60,000 miles. As a matter of fact, that interval has been extended from 90,000 miles to 105,000 miles in California (different belt, maybe?). In any event, you should not be concerned about a timing belt until at LEAST 90,000 miles. As further testimony, my sister's 96 Protege LX with the 1.5L 4 cylinder and automatic had the belt changed at 110,000 miles, and it really did not need it then. 90% of her driving is freeway driving here in San Diego, so miles accumulate quickly. My rule of thumb is, the belt is fine for 90,000 miles or more if you do the following:
1. Accumulate miles quickly (instead of letting the belt dry rot due to slow and/or non-consistent driving...(5,000 miles a year or less). When driven occasionally, the belt sits in one spot for long periods of time, and takes a set in that spot. The belt is after all, under a lot of tension at all times, and works best if used regularly. If you use the car consistently, you will NOT have timing belt problems.
2.Do not subject the belt to oil leaks from leaky front oil seals or antifreeze leaks. This is IMPORTANT!!! Fix ALL leaks in the front of the engine immediately. Hot engine oil or antifreeze will kill the belt prematurely. The cavity where the belt resides should be DRY. All sprockets should be oil-free. As an addendum, REPLACE the front oil seal everytime you replace the timing belt as added insurance. It is cheap, and easy to change when all the parts are off. Carefully inspect all the external drive belts, and change them as well. The labor charge will be the same, as these belts must be removed to gain access to the timing belt, and replaced afterwards. Buy new ones at that time and save the headaches later.
3. Drive somewhat sanely. Obviously keeping the engine at or near the redline every time you drive will shorten the life somewhat, but as long as #1 and #2 are followed, higher rpms by itself will not require the belt to be changed at 60,000 miles. Most people are driving more these days, and 60,000 miles is not feasible anymore. Mazda recognizes this, and has installed a better quality belt, and has extended the service life accordingly.
If you do the work yourself, please check the tensioner as well, and replace it as required. My Nissan lost it's tensioner a few thousand miles after a belt change, and this resulted in a complete top end overhaul, complete with valves, because the tensioner locked up, and the engine kept spinning...OUCH! Real expensive, but a great lesson learned.
Check with your dealer,(or other reputable mechanic), and have it inspected periodically if you are concerned.
#2132 of 24043 Re: Timing Belt
May 14, 2001 (10:37 am)
1. How many components do you need to remove in order to inspect the timing belt?
2. Some people claim visual inspection of the timing belt is not reliable.
#2133 of 24043 Test drove a Protoge5
May 14, 2001 (12:14 pm)
Last Friday night, I test drove a bright yellow Protoge5. It had just come into the dealer that afternoon, with 5 miles on the odometer. The sales guy had to go get gas for it, so I piloted it to the gas station. Gave me an opportunity to really look it over in the bright service stations halogen lights. Popped the hood, same 2 liter motor as the stock ES, but had a brace between the two strut towers, nice. Popped the rear hatch, not a much room as the trunk of the stock Protoge but the seats do the 60/40 split, so yeah, more room there. The one place to look at a car to see build quality is the trunk area. Tight fitting components there suggest solid work throughout. The Protoge5 was very solid! Crafted like a much higher dollar import.
The test drive was brief, no tags yet, so only a short run on the freeway. Impression: A little noisy, tire noise, suspension, like I noticed with the ES I drove about six weeks ago. Power: good, but had to step on it to engage the lower gear to find the torque to get up to 60 as I merged onto the freeway. From a stop, it has good initial power. Handling: snappy, sharp, but,,, I found the seats has minimal bolstering on their sides. Its tossable, but I found I had to hang on with my arms and brace myself with my legs around the corners. I guess I'm spoiled. I have a 93 G20 Infiniti that has excellent seats and handling. Don't know why Mazda skimped on the side padding...
I really liked the looks of the "5". It is a little small for me though and am still looking at the Trib...
#2134 of 24043 Mazda rating of 8 more horsepower
May 14, 2001 (1:29 pm)
I see the Mazda Protege SE is rated at having 8 more horsepower than last year. Is this for real or is Mazda playing the same type of game with numbers as they did with the Miata? Is the horsepower difference evident from the test numbers available from the road test?
#2135 of 24043 Re: Mazda rating of 8 more horsepower
May 14, 2001 (1:48 pm)
The SE (Canadian) is listed at 103 hp. It had 95 hp last year?
If you meant the ES, "maybe" the extra cc's have something to do with it.
#2136 of 24043 Hmmm....
May 14, 2001 (1:48 pm)
"...or is Mazda playing the same type of game with numbers as they did with the Miata? "
I don't think they were playing games with the type of action they have taken. You don't voluntarily offer to buyback cars or offer service and cash as part of a game. I would guess that it was truly a mistake. As far as your canuck Pro HP, I have no idea.
#2137 of 24043 RE: # 2101 Response to hkchan's Question
May 14, 2001 (2:29 pm)
In response to your question, on the Protege 1.5 and 1.8 engines, the valve cover gasket has to be removed in order to inspect the belt. Remove the spark plug wires, making sure to mark where they came from if you are not familiar with this procedure. The whole procedure is BEST done when the engine is COLD, for obvious reasons.
Remove the valve cover hold-down bolts, and carefully remove the valve cover. The belt will be visible on the passenger side of the car. It wil be laced across both cam pulleys.
Using a contrasting colored marker or "white out", make a thin mark across the width of the belt for location purposes, and with the aid of an assistant behind the wheel, quickly and lightly "bump" the starter. Since the spark plug wires are disconnected, there is no chance the engine will start. Observe the condition of the belt as it goes around, looking for cracks in the "cogged" section that rests inside the pulleys. Check one section at a time. Look for oil and antifreeze, and any visible signs of the belt rubbing on any surface. Make sure that the belt does at least one complete revolution around the pulleys (as indicated by the dark marker line coming back up again.) Make as many revolutions as necessary to check the entire belt. One weak area renders the belt useless, and should be changed at that point.
Touch the belt and feel the slack between the 2 cams. The belt should be snug in that area. Excessive slack in this area indicates a worn belt/and/or worn tensioner. Generally 1/2 inch deflection or less is sufficient. Look for frayed edges on both ends of the belt. Further, the internal "teeth" should be pointy and not rounded off on the edges, (which indicates slippage on the teeth of the pulleys. Those teeth also should not look "glazed".
The entire belt compartment area should be clean and DRY as stated before. A small amount of dust inside indicates that no moisture is present. Moisture of any kind is a sign that you have a leak. Investigate, determine the source, and repair any leaks before continuing.
If all of this is fine, inspect your valve cover gasket and replace if necessary. Replace the valve cover, and correctly reinstall the spark plug wires. Do not over torque the bolts. Start the engine and check for oil leaks.
In NO case should you exceed 120,000 miles on the same belt. The risk is too great at that point. The belt will usually be brittle internally by then, and could break at anytime regardless of appearance. I usually change it around 105,000 if it has looked good up to that point, and much less when it is obvious that it needs changing. Factory belts seem to work better and last longer than after-market belts, regardless of who makes it.(Many years of changing belts at Pep Boys has proven this fact out. Many repeat jobs due to inferior belts makes me a firm believer in the factory belt).
#2138 of 24043 Road/Tire Noise Impressions/Question
May 14, 2001 (3:59 pm)
Before I begin, I must once again thank all of the informative contributors to this excellent forum. It is greatly appreciated.
I finally had the opportunity to rent a Protege for over a week. It was an 1.8 LX with P14 tires. The only thing that I really disliked about the car was the road and tire noise. Otherwise, it was a pleasure to drive, although a little more "oomph" would have been nice on occasion. Would the P15 tires on a 2.0 LX, and perhaps from a different manufacturer, noticeably decrease the noise level, or am I asking too much for an entry-level car, even though it is of such high quality?
One reason I'm not interested in the ES is that it uses peformance tires which according to those more knowledgeable than I increases the road/tire noise.
May 14, 2001 (5:15 pm)
Thanks for the info on y9ur new Pro. We are looking at the auto ES too and will probably buy one soon. I also just heard about the S plan and it is available to me thro my company. Didn't know you could get it otherwise. I'm not sure that the S plan guarantees a lower price than bargaining because I checked on a Ford Focus S plan price at the dealer's and then walked out on the lot and saw the same car marked 'Clearance' at a lower price. Anyway the visit to the Ford dealer was just a check No more Fords and I'm glad to hear that they have kept their hands off the vital parts of a Pro. Also some delaers in this area want me to come in before they will give me the S plan price. One gave me a price over the phone (he said it would be within 100 bucks since he did not have the actual invoice)of 13,700 for a base ES 5 spd with moonroof after the rebate. Looks like I might be able to get an auto with the ABS package, if available , for around 14,000, Does that sound incredible to any of you proud Pro owners?
#2140 of 24043 Re: edmund2460
May 14, 2001 (5:29 pm)
Assuming $13,700 is correct, how did you figure you could add automatic trans. and ABS for $300 more?
Are you saying $13,700 for base ES 5-sp and moonroof and $14,000 for base ES + auto. trans. + ABS and no moon roof? If so, good luck finding one with ABS and no moon roof. I would like to track one down too. Mazda's offering a $500 rebate and free moon roof on the ES. Not sure if the rebate goes up to $1,000 without a moon roof.