Klop’s Mazdaspeed

Hello and good day Mazdaspeeders. My name is Kevin and I recently acquired a 2003 Black Mica Mazdaspeed Protege. Car is completely bone stock 140K.

I worked at a Mazda dealer back in 2009 and would remember seeing these little cars come in for service. Always wanted one, never thought I’d own one UNTIL my recent search for a commuter car led to me finding this MSP titled 2003 Mazda protege $3000 OBO. As soon as I saw the rims, spoiler and accents I knew it was game on 😁

The seller was a 20 year old college kid who didn’t know much about the car but only that it required 91 because it had “turbo”. Under the seat covers were the original seats. Car has been tinted for a long time. Rear seats in great shape. Paint was oxidized and couple dings here and there. Ended up grabbing her for $2300.

First thing I noticed it has a small exhaust leak that goes away when the engine warms up. Suspect cracked manifold (have been reading this is a common issue) Been looking at POPE mani to remedy this.

Knocking from front end while driving leads me to suspect worn sway bar bushings and links. If anyone knows a nice brand please recommend. I’ve also read something about updated mounting tabs?

It has Tokico Blue Struts with red lowering springs ( I think stock racing beat) I would like to upgrade the struts to Tokico Illumina or Koni yellow. They just seem so hard to find. If anyone knows a website to find parts for these please recommend.

This is my commuter car but I am a Dealer Service tech at a Porsche store in Southern California so pretty much can do about anything 😅

Future goals for the car is to make a streetable warrior that handles sub par while also retaining a turn key motive.

Thank you all for reading. BUT FIRST... PAINT CORRECTION (A kid at my dealer brought her back to life) Pics of when I bought it and after he cut and polished it.


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Hi and welcome, Kevin! Thanks for joining up and sharing your story. Be sure to keep us updated if you can on your ownership experience and mods. Great to see this MSP is going to be brought back to life!


(u_u) ...zZzZzzz
Welcome. Front sway bar bushings, I've stuck with OEM bushings from Mazda and I told my mechanic friend to replace those while the engine was out since they're hard to get to. Sway bar end links, Moog brand will do you just fine.

Tokico no longer produces the Blue HP or Illumina strut anymore. Koni never made struts for our cars. Sadly, the only options out there are KYB GR2 struts or coil-overs. The KYB GR2 will work fine but are definitely a slight downgrade compared to the Tokicos.

Another thing to note is that of all proteges, only the MSP had a different rear strut and spring design. The rear strut spring seat is higher and the spring is 0.75" to 1" shorter, I forget the exact measurements. What this means you may possibly have a loose rear spring when using the KYB struts (or tokico's if they were still available) since all aftermarket struts are made for the normal protege/protege5's out there. If you use aftermarket struts, this would be a good time to grab lowering springs to avoid problems. I've read some posts in the past where people change out the struts and have their rear MSP springs clanking around lol.

Here are some helpful links for you. In the first link, people mention the MP3 springs also being shorter in the rear, they're lying. I've owned an MP3 and an MSP and what they state is not true :D

Thank you for the insight 323 and for the welcome Antione. I would like to stick with a strut setup rather than a coil over as they are known to be quite a bit more harsh (coilover).

I like the way the car sits as it is and would like to retain the ride height. If you know any brand spring kit that comes close, please recommend.
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(u_u) ...zZzZzzz
A lot of old images are gone from the forum now thanks to photobucket :( but the eibach pro-kit lowering springs may be what you're looking for. They're one of the more milder drops at 1.4" front and 1.8" rear. Keep in mind these are not measurements of a drop for a stock msp but rather from a stock protege. You might need to browse car domain for msp's and look for ones with eibach springs. If you happen to see one where the rear end sits too high, they're running stock msp rear struts :)

Here's the only example I could find with a quick google image search: