RogerB HalfDork
March 15, 2013 3:34 p.m.

First, a little background. I had a 1999 Ford Contour with a V6 and 5 speed. On Nov. 10, 2011, a kid in a big SUV was looking at a deer off to the side of the road and failed to see that I was stopped waiting to make a left turn. This is the result:

On Nov. 29, 2011, I replaced it with this:

2000 Mercury Cougar with I4 and 5 speed. Probably not the wisest purchase I've made. 220K miles. Required major repairs on second day I owned it. Not off to a great start. But it didn't really matter, because on Dec. 6, 2011, another kid in a Mustang lost control and hit me on the driver's side rear quarter panel, which spun me around into the ditch where I hit a tree going sideways. This is the result:

I consider myself very luck, because it could have been so much worse. Anyways, on Jan. 23, 2012, I took possession of a 1999 Mazda Protege DX:

139K miles, 1.6L with automatic. If there's one thing I would change it would be to have a stick shift, but it runs, it's comfortable and it gets decent mileage. This thread won't be so much a "build", but more about replacing and repairing worn and broken items.

Nick_Comstock PowerDork
March 15, 2013 4:17 p.m.

Try to drive only where there are no other cars to hit you.

March 15, 2013 5:18 p.m.

I went from a Miata to a Protege LX and now to an FRS.

Not sure the Protege was not the best of the lot; it taught me that not caring about appearances, and parking anywhere you damn well pleased knowing others were more afraid of you than you were of them, was a fun way to live. Me and Mrs Redline were good friends in the Protege and it never complained. The wife unit had an automatic Protege LX for the same 10 year period, and it also was stupid reliable.

As a matter of fact, having come from such mundane reliability partly explains why have such a lot tolerance of the FRS's many small issues!

Also, you might want to look around and see if you have like a grounding strap dragging g behind you....Being struck twice by lightning suggest something!

RogerB HalfDork
March 18, 2013 12:48 p.m.

Yeah, I really love this car, mostly, because it's kinda dinged up already, so I don't really care when something like THIS happens:

I swear I am a magnet for idiots! I was pulling out of a QT, inching forward to see oncoming traffic because I couldn't see around the big vans / SUVs. The guy in the big Ford truck behind me saw me inching forward and thought I had gone, so he was looking at traffic and ran right into me. Luckily, this was the only damage.

nocones Dork
March 18, 2013 1:04 p.m.

He's paying for the Trunklid too right

March 18, 2013 1:38 p.m.

Wow, so OK is where the worst drivers in the US live. Got to remember that.

RogerB HalfDork
March 18, 2013 1:45 p.m.
nocones wrote: He's paying for the Trunklid too right

I'm still waiting for the guy's insurance adjuster to look at it. I'm too honest for my own good sometimes, but I figure I'll just keep my mouth shut and see what the adjuster says.

singleslammer wrote: Wow, so OK is where the worst drivers in the US live. Got to remember that.

Pretty much! I'm paranoid to the point that I'm going to rear-end somebody else, cause I'm constantly checking my mirror to make sure nobody's going to rear-end me!

FSP_ZX2 Dork
March 18, 2013 1:50 p.m.

Feel bad about the Contour--I really liked those cars from back then. Was almost like a Probe GT with 4 doors and a real back seat.

RogerB HalfDork
March 18, 2013 2:14 p.m.
FSP_ZX2 wrote: Feel bad about the Contour--I really liked those cars from back then. Was almost like a Probe GT with 4 doors and a real back seat.

Yeah, me too. I was hoping to find a decent SVT, but the only ones I could find were out of my price range.

octavious Reader
March 19, 2013 7:57 a.m.

Interesting. My wife has a 08 Mazda 3 that she loves, and to be honest I'm quite fond of. Its been a great car until a recent a/c issue I'm working on.

I've been toying with the idea of getting a Protege from this vintage since they are just an earlier version of the 3.

I'm like you and would also prefer a manual. Most of the ones I see around here are pretty ragged out. So we'll see, but I'll be keeping an eye on your thread.

RogerB HalfDork
March 19, 2013 12:58 p.m.

Ok, my little mishap has kinda derailed my thread, but while I'm waiting to hear back the results from the insurance, here's what I've done so far. Hopefully I'll have pics soon.

  • New Stereo and rear speakers. The stock units were toast.

  • Added Miata "daisy" wheels w/ almost new tires. Got them dirt cheap from fellow forum member "z31maniac" who also happens to be local to me. He couldn't use them any more, and I needed new tires badly, so it worked out well. I ended up having to use spacers on the front to clear the brake calipers, but no biggie.

Here are some things that need to be addressed soon (in no particular order):

  • Brakes! Still stops ok, but it's got pulsating pedal pretty bad and I think the rear drums are done. I've worked on discs before, but this will be my first experience with drums. Unfortunately, this model did not have the option of rear discs, so to convert would require to change to 5-lug hubs and that's a little more work and money than I really want to spend, so I guess I'll have to learn to work on drums.

  • Suspension: Needs new ball joints, tie-rod ends, etc. and struts. Still handles OK, but could use some freshening up. Just going with stock replacements or minor upgrades. Don't really think I'll be doing much AutoX or track, just driving to work, so don't need to spend too much on that.

  • Fix CEL: I forgot the code, but it indicates a bad MAP sensor. I've replaced that (twice). First time fixed it for a few months, but the second time didn't. I've been chasing it ever since. I thought I was on to something when I realized there was a broken tab on the air filter box. I thought maybe there was a leak there, so I put a zip-tie on it as a temporary fix. Light went out for a while, but came back on.

  • Poor Idle / stumbles at speed: Possibly related to CEL, but also I'm going to try cleaning the EGR valve (I think?) Found instructions online that this is a possible cause, so I'll try that first.

  • Fix Oil Leak: Drips a drop or two on the driveway every night. Not a big deal, but it pisses off SWMBO. She doesn't understand why I don't just "Fix That"

At some point in the near future, I need to do coolant flush, transmission drain/fill, and new timing belt.

RogerB HalfDork
Nov. 6, 2014 1:03 p.m.

Well, a year and a half later, I have yet to do most of the things on my list. I did fix the rough running by changing the spark plugs. The oil leak kinda fixed itself. I don't think I was tightening the oil filter enough when changing the oil. I did the front brakes out of necessity. I'm terrible about ignoring grinding noises until it becomes an emergency. I'd had the parts to do all 4 corners for months, but just never had the time. Eventually one of the pads ground down to the backing plate and popped completely out of the caliper. I had the piston pushing directly on the rotor. Needless to say, at that point it became an emergency! Replaced pads, rotors and calipers on the front. Fortunately, it was a pretty easy job. Didn't have time for pictures except for this one to capture the torrential downpour that started right in the middle of the job:

That was July 28. Still haven't done the rear brakes. Now I have more pressing issues. A couple weeks ago I had several electrical issues all start at once. It started with both high and low beams burning out on both bulbs. Then, the battery light would come on and the transmission would not shift into OD or down to 1st. And the battery would not hold a charge. Never got any CEL codes other than the one I always have. I've replaced the battery, positive battery terminal and entire negative battery cable. It is driveable but I still have the battery light / transmission issue. Everything is fine until I'm almost to work and then it starts.

So... tomorrow I'm replacing the alternator and serpentine belts. I have all the parts ready to go. I had recently ordered a timing belt and water pump since it was due to be done anyway, so I'll be doing all of it while I'm in there. If I have time, I'll clean the EGR valve and do the rear brakes, but I think I'll be lucky to get the necessary things done.

RogerB HalfDork
Nov. 10, 2014 9:32 a.m.

This weekend, I replaced the alternator, serpentine belts, timing belt, and water pump. Tried to do it by myself, but got stuck early on and had to get help from a friend. Didn't get any pictures. We were pushing it to get it done in time. The good news is, it's running great and no battery light and no transmission hiccups. The CEL hasn't even come back on... yet. I know it will eventually, so I'm not going to get too excited.

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