Protege 2.0, 1.8 (non turbo) valve stem seals replacement


OK, so I finally tackled this tedious job this weekend, and I'll try to explain the procedure.

Of course, I had everything but my camera on my mind when under the hood, so no original pictures, just the ones I had on the web...

Protege OEM valve stem seal manufacturers did not do a great job of making a lasting seals using the finest materials, so... hmmm, sometimes they go broke within first 60 000 miles...

Well, first the symptoms:

As the car stays cool over night, first start next morning it produces a cloud of white-blue smoke, lasting for 5 secs or so...

If your engine does NOT spend coolant (the coolant level stays the same within 3 months) (note the coolant level oscillates as the engine gets warm/cold), AND if you oil doesn't look creamy, (emulsion like, meaning it doesn't contain coolant)

then it means, your head gasket is ok, but your valve stem seals aren't...

The other symptom might be that id doesn't smoke every morning, or at least not as much all the time...

The reason being that depending on the position of you cam(s) when your engine stops, the problematic valve(s)-seals stay opened or closed, so the oil does or doesn't leak into the chamber...

One "on the fly" way of checking the stem seals is to take the spark-plugs out in the morning on a cold engine, and using a flashlight try to get the pistons in to TDC and look at them, if one or more appear to be wet (oily), -> BINGO you got your selves a leaking valve stem seals... (do the test for a couple of mornings, just to be on a safe side)

OK, now, the intro into the procedure...

First, you have to get a new set of seals (intake and exhaust seals ARE different) and and a pair of cam seals, as you will have to take the cams out of the head...

You'll need some SSTs, like:

valve removal players
valve compressor device:

And a good old torque wrench!!!

All right:

1. Take apart the entire assembly (belts, covers, pulleys) as you were about to change the timing belt, as I wrote in the DIY topic next to this one, EXCEPT you just have to take the timing belt off the cam pulley to take the pulleys off, to take the cams off... (whistle)

Well, one might ask: why then taking all apart, shouldn't just the head (valve) cover and upper plastic cover be enough?

Yes, to start with the procedure, but how will you be able to adjust the belt back on the cams once you are done without being able to see the crankshaft notch, and especially if you need to rotate the pistons up and down while replacing seals???

Ergo, you need to take apart the belts, covers, crankshaft pulley...

2. the basics:

Valves are held closed by a strong (and i mean one badass strong coil spring)...

the end of the spring pushes against the end-cone plate that has a tapered hole in which two small retainers sit, holding the bunch in place...

Not getting the picture? Here it is:

Try to realize the 101 on the system, coz it is essential!!!

Ok, the spring pushes against the valve retainer but the retainer can not move coz it has been locked by two small tapered valve keepers that are locked into the small groove at the end of the valve stem...

Ok, and on our Mazdas, the entire system is covered by a valve cup, above which the cam lobes operate, pushing the valves down, ergo opening them...

Confused again???

No biggie,

V6, one side taken apart,

cams taken off, cups are visible:

One cup taken out by a strong pick magnet: Valve retainer and two keepers visible...

Ok, now, the goal of the operation is to get the spring, keepers and all out of the way, to reach to the stem seal:

There it is, the little bugger!!!!

but if we take all out, what will keep the valve up?

well, nothing. It will fall down into the cylinder, and you are screwed!!!

Ok, that is the FIRST issue you have to cover, and thankfully, there are some guys who thought of an very convenient trick...


Take a standard issue clothes line rope, some 10 ft of it.
Rotate the crankshaft so the piston of the valves to be messed with is at the BDC. Push the rope through the spark plug hole into the cylinder as much as you can, it can accomodate some 9 ft of it.. Leave the other end out, not to drop into the cylinder...

Rotate the crankshaft BY HAND until the piston compresses the rope against the valves, and you feel the resistance on your hand...

Getting the picture?

The rope will stop the valves form dropping down...

Ok, once you've done that, it is just a matter of compressing the spring a bi to loosen the keepers, removing the keepers, removing the spring, removing the old seal, and replacing the new one, putting the spring back on, kompressing it to put the keepers back, nad voila: movi to the next valve...

YEAH RIGHT!!! In theory!!! but, here are the things and tips you should realise before even statring to think of doing this:

1. While removing the cams, the leftmost console(s) (closest to the cam pulleys will be a pain to un-stick, coz they are glued by the silicone sealant to the head... Be gentle, be patient... When putting back the cams and the leftmost consoles, clean them and reapply some sealant... Otherwise, oil will leak... other consoles do not need sealant...

2. Tighten back the consoles EVENLY, half a turn each, otherwise you risk snapping the camshaft(s)... at the end, tighten them to 11-14 Nm of torque.

3. The cam pulleys need to be removed, MARK the notch positions as they are attached, just as you are unbolting the pulley bolts... Block the cams from spinning by putting the fork or the open end wrench on the hex part of the cam between first and the second pair of lobes... Torque them back to 50-60 Nm...

4. The valve keepers are tiny, VERY TINY!!! It is VERY easy to get them to fly away, to fall into the oil passage, or to lose them... then, you are screwed!!! You'll have to take the entire engine apart... Put plenty of paper to plug all the holes in the head... to prevent this from happening...

5. Do not scratch the cup holes while compressing the spring and retainer...

6. Do not mix-up the intake and exhaust seals, coz they are different diameter.. Intakes are bigger, coz intake valves suffer vacuum, and vaccum closes the seals more... Exhaust ones are smaller to fit the stems tighter, coz exhaust valves (stems) suffer pressure, so the seals have to be tighter...

7. be sure to "feel" the double click while pressing the new seals on, so the grooves on the seals are fit into the grooves on the valve guides. They need to be tight, otherwise, if the seal "unhooks" and lifts and "floats" on the valve, it vill be as not having the seal at all.

8. Be generous on lubrication...

9. Mark every part, and put it back the same way, on the same position. (cups, covers, consoles...)

Here are the very good how-tos I found on the net, read them, and study them....

And a footnote:

-Be aware what you are putting your self in to!
-If all ok, it will take you at least 8 hours to tackle this job...
-The risks are great IF you are not taking precautions...

And of course, I am NOT to blame if something goes wrong and damage occurs...
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read your valve stem thread and it helped alot thanks -- was wondering if the stem seals on the 1.8 were 2 different sizes like it says in the thread --had already replaced mine when i read your thread -- they didnt appear to be different and came in a bag all together --am still getting oil in all cyllinders --smoke on cold start -- then goes away -mostly- the car has plenty of power when driving when hot i took off wire and plugs and a puddle of oil was in all cylinders --when cold it must seep back down because i see just oil residue left-its not coming from valve cover am sure because i dried the plug hole and drove -- rechecked for oil--was dry
- i dont know -any info would be helpful thanks- Darin(huh)


2001 Protege DX
Is the 1.6 the same procedure for timing belt replacement?

I am thankful for this write-up and at the same time still a little lost:) I just picked up a '01 Protege DX 1.6 and it hasn't had its timing belt replaced yet. So I am going to tackle this job. Is it the same procedure for the 1.6 as it is for the 1.8 & 2.0?




'99 Mazda Protege EX
99 Protege EE Valve stem seals......

read your valve stem thread and it helped alot thanks -- was wondering if the stem seals on the 1.8 were 2 different sizes like it says in the thread --had already replaced mine when i read your thread -- they didnt appear to be different and came in a bag all together --am still getting oil in all cyllinders --smoke on cold start -- then goes away -mostly- the car has plenty of power when driving when hot i took off wire and plugs and a puddle of oil was in all cylinders --when cold it must seep back down because i see just oil residue left-its not coming from valve cover am sure because i dried the plug hole and drove -- rechecked for oil--was dry
- i dont know -any info would be helpful thanks- Darin(huh)
Have you found out about your seals ? Exhaust and intake differance 'cause i have that problem now :(


MAZDASPEED Protege 2K3.5 #882
So I just thought I'd add some pics and some tips on this, since I had to do it myself a few weeks ago. I had a few signs to point me to this. I noticed I was getting crappy MPG, I was loosing oil but there were no external leaks and none was spilling in my drive way and every time I started up the car a cloud of white smoke would billow out until the engine got to normal temperature, so after doing the research and coming up with the prognosis, I figured I had bad seals and I found this how-to. I followed it every step of the way and I wouldn't change the procedure, so much thanks to OP gozz.

First of all I had to purchase my own spring compressor:

As you take apart the engine, as if you were doing a time belt change, remember or take a pic of the cam gear positions. The intake gear goes with the pin opposite the letter E and the exhaust cam gear goes opposite the letter I as seen in the pic:

I wasn't taking too many pics during the whole process because I was doing this by myself and wasn't interested in stopping after every step, I just wanted to document a few things. As you can see I also had to buy these valve removal pliers as well because the seals were basically caked on to the valve. You might get it with regular pliers but I highly recommend the valve pliers because they contour to the seal when trying to pull it out for the best grip. I had to pry it at least once to get it loose and 1-3 more times to actually remove them.

At this point I'm well under way and to be honest, the actual removing and replacing of the seals is probably the easiest part compared to removing the belts and cams. One thing I want to mention though is that I used 3 3/8" washers per bolt (4 bolts, 12 washers in all) on the hole where the cam collars go to screw the stands on because the holes on the compressor stands aren't big enough to just slip onto the hole for the cam collars. You can see the one side in the pic it looks like two washers on the bottom but I'm certain I used three, and then the one little on on the top.

Here's a side by side of the left valve with the keepers on and the right with the keepers put into place and ready to be compressed to hold the valve down. It's just a matter of setting them in, compressing the spring, having the keepers fall into place and decompressing the spring. As I said, I did this all by myself which is doable, but I recommend you have someone help you because it gets hard compressing the spring with one hand and making sure the keepers fall into place with the other.

So I guess the million dollar question, did this help??? Well take a look at a used seal and a new one:

All sixteen seals looked like that with that gaping hole and once I got them loose off the valve they came out with ease. With the new seals I had to slip them on and push them down to the bottom of the valve like putting on a new pair of leather gloves, you gotta force them in a little. So after doing this, I have no more white cloud or burning oil. Also just as a reference, this engine was one I had to get from a junkyard because my first two engines bit the dust, so I have no idea why or how the seals ending up being so bad. In retrospect I should have changed them when I did the motor swap, especially since I'm turbo, but now you guys and girls know.
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2002 Mazda Protege5
The 2.0L motor in the 02 protege5 is the same as the sedan, yeah? This applies to it as well?

How do you decide whether to do just the valve seals, or also send the head in for guides (and seats?)?

My 02 P5 burns about a quart every other day (about 300 quarts per oil chainge...). Rings test okay, no oil in coolant, no drip stains on the driveway, and smokes a lot occasionally on startup. I'm ready to do the valve seals, but I wonder if I should also do the guides while I've got the cam gears off. How do you make that decision? Wiggle test on the exposed valve seals? Is there a better valve guide test?


2018, Mazda 3 Sport, GT
300 quarts per oil change? How often are you changing your oil. That's ridiculous expensive and terrible for the environment.

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2018, Mazda 3 Sport, GT
We should link thus thread to a description of how the adjust lifter clearances. It would be silly to go. Through all the effort of replacing valve stem seal and not do lifter shimming in the same repair.

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