99 Mazda Protege runs awful now

bdhobbs1

Member
:
1999 Mazda Protege
I was trying to get the check engine light off, we have emissions testing here near Houston, Texas and it won't pass inspection with the light on.

My shade tree mechanic ran the codes on my 1999 Mazda Protege and said that C2 and C4 spark plugs need replaced.

I said I had just bought 4 new spark plugs and wires just 4 months ago and it's running fine.

He proceeds to remove the 4 spark plugs and said they look fine.

He puts everything back together and now it runs AWFUL, sputters like it's missing 2 spark plugs now and it dies when you put in gear or change gears.

I went and bought 4 new plugs and wires and put them in myself - SAME PROBLEM - Sputters and dies

I then went to the auto parts place and had them run the codes again. now they are saying the Coil packs need replaced and those are $90 each.

Is this normal for something else to go this bonkers when you are just checking things out?

I am so puzzled beyond belief right now

What the heck is going on?
 

dmention7

Member
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'03.5 Blue MSP #2543
Which engine do you have? Unless I'm remembering totally wrong, you should have 2 coil packs: one that drives cylinder #1 and #3, and the other for #2 and #4. Sounds to me like the coil pack for #2,#4 might have been on its way out.

If it still idles, then while it is running try pulling the plug wire from each plug one at a time and see what happens. Or remove the coil pack connector to the coils one at a time. If a pack is entirely dead then it won't affect the idle when you disconnect it.

Unless you completely mangled the new spark plugs or set the gap entirely wrong, it's almost certainly not the plugs. Same with the wires.

Also, if you ask nicely, a parts store might let you try swapping one of the coil packs with a new one to make sure that's your problem before actually buying it. That only takes a couple of minutes.
 

bdhobbs1

Member
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1999 Mazda Protege
I have a 1.6L engine, two coil packs.

It does idle without dying.

My roommate is good friends with a manager at O'Reilly's, he's on vacation this week in Mexico though, rotten timing, lol.
 
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2003.5 Mazdaspeed Protege
Do as said above to rule out and firing issues. However I do have a question though, this said mechanic pulled 4 plugs and put them back in then you issue started, correct? Start with what he had done. Check all the mounting bolts for coils, pull the two wires and check them internally best you can for damage, same goes for the boots on the coil packs. Something went wrong when he did that. Find that issue first, then we can help you with the CEL. I would not go back to the same guy again. Also note that you wont need a manager at parts store to try the coil pack. lol
 

bdhobbs1

Member
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1999 Mazda Protege
So they auto parts place would let me test a coil pack first? without manager input?

And I will check out those parts and let you know if I find any damage to them.
 
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2003.5 Mazdaspeed Protege
They may or may not, really depends on who you talk to. Just tell them briefly what is going on and that you want to try a coil pack out. If it works make sure you can buy it right then though. I have not had a problem with doing that before with some parts. Then again I deal with parts stores almost on a daily basis, plus my last job as a auto supervisor I was always talking to them. So relationships have been built.
 

HA-Y-N

Member
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2003 mazda protege lx
Is it possible the coil pack connectors are switched around? i would check those.
 
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2003.5 Mazdaspeed Protege
I wouldnt think it would matter really. My WOT/2step box has me tie them in together as one connection. So I wouldnt thing they would matter. Plus they are laid out in the motor in a loom right? Or has someone messed with that?
 

HA-Y-N

Member
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2003 mazda protege lx
yeah im sorry i was thinking the coil pack connectors were interchangeable but i took a look at mine and they are not
 

bdhobbs1

Member
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1999 Mazda Protege
I checked the boots, they look fine...

However, when I slowly pulled them off
One made the engine die
The other boot came off and the engine stayed running

What does that mean?
 

dmention7

Member
:
'03.5 Blue MSP #2543
So just to clarify, you pulled the boots off of the spark plugs, or the coil? And when you say, one made the engine die, and the other did not, are you talking about two wires from the same coil pack?
 

cartracer12

Member
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2018, Mazda 3 Sport, GT
if you pulled the boot of of one coil pack and the engine died that is the good pack, the coil pack that you took the boot off and the engine ran the same is the faulty one.
 

bdhobbs1

Member
:
1999 Mazda Protege
Still running bad, 3 mechanics, roommate and his son have all looked at it. Each not familiar with Protege's.

newest Question, the coil packs are on #2 and #4, does #2 connect with #1 and #4 with #3 or is it #2 to #3 and #4 to #1

next step is compression and leak down testing, unless we are wrong with how the plugs and wires are connected, then we will try that first.
 

bdhobbs1

Member
:
1999 Mazda Protege
I'm not a mechanic, just trying to find people to help.

So lately I've turned to youtube to watch how to do it.

I noticed on the videos that #1 spark plug is connected to the #4 coil pack & plug
And that leaves #3 spark plug connected to the #2 coil pack & plug

It's been wrong for weeks now, 1 with 2 and 3 with 4