View Full Version : '99 Mazda Protege - Transmission Problems

09-30-2011, 11:43 PM
My trusty '99 Protege is having some transmission issues. It is a 1.6 DOHC and a 4-Speed Automatic. I have owned the car for almost two years now. I got it with about 72,000 miles on it, and used it primarly to commute to college and work, about 90 miles a day, and to see my girlfriend, 40 miles away in Whitewater. It started having transmission troubles shortly after I got it, around 75k miles. It would make a scuffing noise shifting from 2nd to 3rd under light acceleration. I dumped a bottle of Lucas Anti-slip transmission repair in it, and the problem got better. About 6 months later, the 2nd-3rd gear problem came back, and it would slip and scuff going into third. I put a bottle of Anti-slip in it for Mazda Transmissions, and the problem went away completely for about another 6 months. This summer, it starting having more issues, and you actually had to let off the gas so it wouldn't slip going into third gear. The last week, it has been terrible. It scuffs shifting 1st-2nd, and once it's been driven about 20 minutes, it will hold 1st gear too long, and slowly shift into second. The transmission fluid is dark red. These cars are noctorious for premature transmission failure, there are many consumer complaints about them, some people had to replace the transmissions within the first month of buying the car, brand new. The problem is that it is a Ford transmission, and they are extremely prone to overheating.

The car just turned 118,000 tonight, and I am doubtful that it will make to 119k on this tranmission. It has been an EXCELLENT car for me. I've not had one issue with it not being reliable and it has always started and gotten me to work and back, and anywhere else I needed to be. I currently use it to drive to work and back, about 400 miles a week of driving. It gets 30+ mpg. Due to these transmissions being troublesome, used ones are hard to come by, and they most likely will began to fail just like the original. I want to replace the transmission, but it will probably have to be rebuilt. The best quote I have gotten was $1,595 plus tax for removal, rebuild, and reinstall from a shop near Madison that specializes in tranmissions only. The dipstick reads "full" currently, and I do not want to add any more fluid to it.

I am curious, what exactly is going on in the transmission to cause the symptoms it has? I believe the 2nd-3rd shift problems were a band going bad, the 1st-2nd shift is probably the clutch pack going out? Fourth gear is perfect, and it shifts 3rd-4th very normally. I've found that driving the car agressively, the tranmission seems normal, it shifts well after 4.5-5,000 rpm in first gear, and if you hold second gear out past 4,500, it shifts well into third, but if you drive it like a human being, it's almost undriveable! I've been lucky to get so much more life out of the car and have the tranmission last this long after it started having troubles.

Does anyone have any suggestions to help me prolong whatever life is left in this transmission? Luckily I have spent no money on the Z28 lately, and have saved about $1,000 for the Mazda so far. The Z28 needs new injectors, that would be a quick fix, but I'd hate to spend that money and get it running, only to have winter be just around the corner, and snow renders that car completely useless.

I'm looking for any kind of advise, and if anyone around here has dealt with similar issues in their cars. I rely on this car heavily for my job and it being out of commission will cause some issues. I could sell it off, but I wouldn't get much for it as-is, and I wouldn't be able to buy anything nearly as nice, the A/C is cold, the heat is hot, everything works well on it, and the 1.6 in it has at least another 150k miles left in it. I'd like to save it!

10-01-2011, 12:58 AM
I dont see an prolonging anything.
Too late your trans is all ready done.
You where putting additives in there you should have kinda of known this was coming.
Once the trans starts to come apart, the clutch materal + other debris goes into the fluid & eventually tears up the rest of the friction linings is the trans.
Where do you think your trans is now?

10-02-2011, 03:29 PM
Put about 200 more miles on this weekend so far, it seems to be holding up alright. I am hoping to get another few months out of the car! If it makes it to 125k, I'll be pretty happy. At first, I didn't think it would make it to 80k, it continues to suprise.

10-03-2011, 09:41 AM
why not repair the trans, a tow from out in nowhere land to the trans shop would be 20% of the rebuild cost. Might as well just pay for it, instead of stretching it out for another 2 months. Or consider you got a few years out of a cheap car and pick up another one ;)

10-03-2011, 09:51 PM
Like Wrencher said, you're on borrowed time. If you're gonna replace the trans and keep the car, just do it now before it leaves you stranded. If you are gonna sell the car/trade it, do it now before it leaves you stranded. Are you on the same trans fluid as when you got the car at 72,000 miles? Sounds like it... Remember, an ounce of prevention (trans flush) is worth a pound of cure (new trans)...