98 PROTEGE ALTERNATOR BELT MAJOR PROBLEM

  • Tiny
  • Tennytaz
  • 1998 All Other Makes All Other Models

My daughter has a 98 Protege that I have had to a mechanic originally for a squealing noise when it started up. He said it was the alternator belt that it needed replaced. He replaced the belt it continued to make the noise then busted. When we took it back to him he stated the alternator had locked up and needed replaced so a new alternator was replaced we have now had 3 more alternator belts put on. The last belt was a Gator belt it busted and fell off on her way home from work leaving her stranded once again. The mechanic does not seem to know what the problem is. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Sunday, January 22nd, 2006 AT 8:15 PM

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  • Tiny
  • 10foTuck
  • Member

I had a serpentine belt do that twice becuase the width of the original belt was different than the new one so it would slide off sucks huh? Hope thats your problem. Call the dealer see what they say sounds like belt is too wide needs to be thinner to set into groove better

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Monday, January 23rd, 2006 AT 6:51 PM
  • Tiny
  • DocOlds
  • Member

I have been having the same problem with both my 1997 Protege and my sister-in-law's 1997 Protege. Both are 1.5 liter automatics with A/C and P/S. I replaced the water pump on my car when I did the timing belt at 135,000 miles, and I replaced both the belts at that time. About a month after doing the water pump, the problem manifested itself. I noticed that the problem was much worse with any electrical accessories on. I took the belt off, noticed there was a bit of play in the alternator shaft, and thought that maybe I had a bearing problem with the alternator. I replaced it, and all seemed OK for about two months. It started making noise again. I replaced the alternator again, under warranty. The car was OK for a while, then noise again. I bought another water pump (from a different manufacturer), but found the grooves in the crank pulley and water pump pulley full of melted rubber and debris. Instead of replacing the water pump, I cleaned out all the pulleys and put it back together. That lasted three days. Now, my sister-in-law's car is doing the same thing, after a water pump replacement. Both cars have aftermarket Duralast water pumps in them, and I am starting to think there may be a trend. I have tried different makes of belts (including the OE), alternators, setting a straight edge against the edges of the pulleys to make sure they are lined up properly, physically cleaning out the pulley grooves, and adjusting the belt tension. The only thing I have not changed is the water pump itself, and I hate to do it, as the pump is pretty expensive ($100 for the part), and I think I would push the car over a cliff if that didn't fix the problem. If anybody has any other ideas, I'd gladly listen to them.

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Monday, January 23rd, 2006 AT 7:29 PM
  • Tiny
  • Tennytaz
  • Member

Doc my mechanic now claims that the battery was the problem he took it to two different places one said the battery was bad the other tested and said it was good he replaced the battery. My mechanic claims the he feels the battery was causing the alternator to spin to fast and that was causing the belts to break. He is keeping the car for a few days to test the theory. I honestly do not feel the problem is the battery and we are just putting more money into this car with no hope in sight my daughter is also ready to take her car off a cliff. Anyone with suggestions as to why these protege's and their belts are squealing and breaking continually?

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Tuesday, January 24th, 2006 AT 6:55 PM
  • Tiny
  • DocOlds
  • Member

I have a new battery in my Protege. I had to replace it when the car threw the alternator belt on the expressway. There is no significant difference. Have you had the timing belt and water pump replaced on your car? My problems (with both Proteges) started after water pump and timing belt replacements. I have noticed that there is a difference between the stock pump and most aftermarket pumps I have seen. I do not know if it has any bearing on anything, but the stock pump has a sheetmetal impeller wheel, while the aftermarket units have a cast impeller. I wonder if the inertia of the heavier cast impeller is causing the belt to slip over the water pump pulley. I realize that this is a long shot, and there is no way to prove it besides investing the time and money in a stock-type replacement pump. I have also heard (on a different site) that some people claim to have had better luck with NAPA/Gates belts, but I don't know about the accuracy of that. I have used belts from Mazda, Goodyear, Dayco, and Kelly Springfield, and all have failed to make even a little difference in the noise.

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Wednesday, January 25th, 2006 AT 5:01 PM
  • Tiny
  • Tennytaz
  • Member

We did not have the timing belt or water pump replaced on the Protege since we have owned the vehicle. However we purchased it used a year ago. This problem however started approximately a month ago. The only thing we have replaced is the alternator and 4 belts. We have also used the models you mentioned with no difference. My mechanic swears there was a difference in the way the alternator was working when he changed the battery although he is not charging us until he sees if this fixes the problem so I am not feeling real confident he is confident the problem is resolved. I also have been to other sites. Many list the same problems we have encountered although noone lists a solution. It seems to start with one belt whether it be for the alternator or the water pump or the a/c then one goes the next and each part associated with that belt. I am truly hoping to avoid all of that cost and aggravation.

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Wednesday, January 25th, 2006 AT 9:17 PM
  • Tiny
  • DocOlds
  • Member

The alternator belt on my sister-in-law's car went last night. I have replaced it with a NAPA/Gates belt. It was more expensive than the Goodyear or Kelly belts, and seems a bit thicker and heavier, but I do not see where it will make a big difference. I'm going to keep a close eye on it and see if it corrects the problem.

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Friday, January 27th, 2006 AT 6:33 AM
  • Tiny
  • DocOlds
  • Member

Day five for the Gates belt in the sister-in-law's car and no complaints yet. My Protege got bad enough that I did the alternator belt again, rather than being left stranded. I only have about 40 miles on the new belt, but so far, so good.

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Wednesday, February 1st, 2006 AT 7:35 PM
  • Tiny
  • DocOlds
  • Member

The Gates belt is a loser too. The car did not make 100 miles before the belt started making noise again. I really hate this car. As soon as I can rid myself of this frustrating little nightmare, I'll never even look at another Mazda again.

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Saturday, February 4th, 2006 AT 6:07 PM
  • Tiny
  • IT-Guy
  • Member

I too had my belt begin squeeling. I had it replaced with a Gator belt, it didn't make it to the end of the week before it snapped. I had the battery replaced twice before I had even realized it was the belt. :Cry: I don't want to pay for another belt if it's just going to keep breaking. So. Has anyone found a solution to this yet?

Thanks.

Edit: what about the AC pulley? Is the AC belt the same for the alternator? What if the AC pulley were to go bad and lock down. Would that cause the belt to squeel and snap?

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Wednesday, February 8th, 2006 AT 8:05 AM
  • Tiny
  • Tennytaz
  • Member

I find it very interesting that there have been over 150 looks at these postings and not one person can give us a clue as to what the solution is. I have been to several sights like DocOlds trying to find out what the problem is with the Protege's and while there are many postings and complaints there is never one offer of a solution. Do all Mazda Protege's wind up off the end of a cliff? We have replaced a battery an alternator and 4 alternator belts. I've used Mazda belts, Goodyear Belts and Gator belts. This is my 17 year old daughter's car and the thought that she can get stranded at night alone terrifies me to the point that we are going to get rid of the car. I thought because there were 2 mechanics listed on this sight that someone would be able to offer a solution to this problem. I have checked Mazda's recall's to see what the deal is because there is just no way this many people can be having problems and there can't be something in common wrong but obviously no one cares to fix them they just pass them off to the next person. I agree with Doc time to just be rid of it and I too will never own another Mazda as long as I live.

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Friday, February 10th, 2006 AT 6:29 PM

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