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toddwr007, Other
Category: Mazda
Satisfied Customers: 2261
Experience:  ASE certified Master Technician. With over 30 years experience,Im here to help with your automotive concerns.
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My daughter has a 2002 mazda protégé, pin, that

Customer Question

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?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mazda
Expert:  toddwr007 replied 1 year ago.

OK, So you are saying there is no spark from the one (when it wont start) I need you to remove all 4 coil packs from plugs (keep connected to wire system/dont disconnect connectors) insert a thin flat blade screw driver into each boot and hold metal blade 1/2 from metal surface and have someone crank over engine to test for good spark, (do all 4 coil packs) Also has any one tested for codes? This engine does not have a choke, (the computer sees coolant/air temps. and forces the injectors to stay open longer to add more fuel when engine is cold) Please get back to me with results. Thanking you in advance!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I tried the test and I could not hear or see spark in cylinders 1 and 4 which come from the same coil (the new one I bought at autozome). So, I put the old coil back on, tested it, and saw/heard spark. I re-checked the spark plug gap in cylinders 1, 2, & 4 (I cannot get to 3 due to the mazda dealer) and have them gapped at 0.044 in. The car started. The "choke" I mentioned must be a throttle plate, it is at the intake manifold, i.e. I take off that flexible rubber duct from the air cleaner to the intake manifold, and I can see it. So, we are still likely to have an intermittent problem-it probably will not start on cold days.
Expert:  toddwr007 replied 1 year ago.

When it is running is the check engine light on? Will it start and drive to autozone so you can have it scanned for codes, So we can see if there is a weak/bad sensor causing the no start issue?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The check engine light is not on. In the past, a misfire in cylinder 3 was registered. Yes I can go to autozone to scan the codes-I was planning on doing that tomorrow. Also, the cylinder 3 spark plug has been way over torqued-do you recommend leaving it that way? I will need a big breaker bar to get it out.
Expert:  toddwr007 replied 1 year ago.

You need to remove it (many times when spark plugs are over tightened they tend to crack the inner electroid casing, Use a braker bar slightly crack loosse and spray some wd-40 at the base of the plug, Then let set for about 10 mins, and finish removing plug, Then replace plug, Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There are no more codes on the car (we do know there was a number 3 cylinder miss fire in the past) and finally replaced the spark plug in cylinder 3. It is expected to get cold this weekend, so we will see if the car starts then.
Expert:  toddwr007 replied 1 year ago.

Sounds good Please let me know!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The car did not start on 12-12-2015 which was a colder day, upper 20's to low 30's. When I say start, the starter engaged but it did not start. I did not check to see how good the spark was. Also, prior to that day, I went to autozone and they said the battery, starter, and alternator diagnosed to be good.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On 12-19-2015, the car finally started again; I had the car connected to another via jumper cables, and kept trying while holding the gas pedal down. The check engine light came on again and these are the codes that came up P0103 and P0300
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, the car did backfire several times. I did clean the mass air flow sensor.