My daughter has a 2002 mazda protégé, pin , that did not occasionally start (over the last 3-4 months), i.e. the starter engages, but the engine does not start, but now it mostly does not starts. I told her, several weeks ago, to take it to a Mazda dealer
and have them check the fuel injectors, fuel pressure, fuel pump, timing, electrical spark, i.e. all the things involved in making it spark, compress, and get fuel. She may not have conveyed all that too well. They said it was the timing belt, and since she
bought it with about 140000 miles and no record of a timing belt change, she had it done. We assume they did that and assume it is ok (but now I wonder about that). While performing that, they realized, somehow, there was a misfire in cylinder 3. Prior to
Mazda working on it, we noticed the check engine light came on and had the computer code read by an Autozone store and yes that is what was registered, so that was no surprise or issue to us. They said it needed new spark plugs, spark plug wires, and coils.
We did not have them change that since four months and about 6000 miles prior to this service, they were replaced by a Big O Tires store (or so we assumed since she paid for that). She then took the car back to Big O Tires to see if they agreed; they did not.
They took it apart, did a compression test and said cylinder 3 pressure was only about 107 psi. They showed us the compression on cylinders 3 and 4 with cylinder 4 having about 120 psi (I saw what I assume to be liquid gas in the cylinders). I looked at the
spark plugs and the wires and they seemed to be pretty new and good to me, i.e. the two wires were not brittle or crackly and the plugs were almost new looking (I even later compared them to photos on the internet; two of them had a corona on the plug and
the articles I read said that does not make it defective). So, the car was towed back to Mazda to be examined again. They said the pressure was good and they wanted 474$ to put new plugs, wires and coils on it. We declined the service and had the car towed
back to my house. It turns out on that day it was towed, the car started for the tow truck driver, so I drove the car some when it was taken off the truck, and then I pulled it into my garage. I put in three new spark plugs in cylinders 1,2,4 even though I
do not think they need to be replaced; I did not replace cylinder 3’ plug since the mazda dealer used extensive force on that plug and I did not want to possibly damage anything-THAT IS A BIG PEEVE-I need a breaker bar to get it off. I put new wires on it
even though I do not think it needs to be done (I checked the resistance and there was no broken wire). I put on one new coil because that is all that autozone had at the time. I do not know how to test the coils-that is something I will have to research and
do. It started up, which was no surprise since it WAS JUST RUNNING with the “old bad parts”. The next day, I decided to try to remove the cylinder 3 spark, but gave up. By the way, the Mazda dealer said the compression was good, about 120 psi (I think he said
the compression was good on all the cylinders but it is interesting that just the number 3 cylinder spark plug has excessive use of force on that plug, so I have my concerns). I tested the compression on cylinders 1,2,4 and they were 90 psi where the car was
outside sitting in the cold, outside temperature probably around 35 degrees Fahrenheit; I did not spray or pump any fuel into the cylinders, I had cylinder 3 plug in while testing the other three cylinders, had the car connected to my van via jumper cables,
and had my wife turn the ignition switch on (I assume the choke was closed since it was cold). Also, my daughter thought it did not start, or was harder to start, on cold days. Also, over the summer the car did over heat twice, so she had a new radiator installed.
I have tried to start it yesterday, 12-5-2015 and today 12-6-2015, but it would not start; today is milder, around 50 degrees. Also, yesterday night, I took out the cylinder 1 spark plug, held it against the engine block in several places, and I could not
see a spark (I have done that 20-30 years when I worked on some of my cars). Assume the timing belt is good, assume the spark plugs, spark plug wires, coils are good, assume the fuel pump is good, assume the injectors are good, assume the compression is good,
what is most likely wrong with the car? What voltage tests can I do if the switch is turned on, but not to crank it? E.g what voltages should I see at the coil connectors and fuel injectors? Is the computer (or what ever) that controls timing, injectors, or
coils good? Can It be reset? I did disconnect the negative, ground, wire from the battery, reconnected it, and it still did not start. Do you know of someone in the Denver area that can truely diagnose the car while I watch, but not Groove Mazda?