A loose or corroded ground terminal on the driver's side of the cylinder head can cause a rough idle, misfires, and there may be trouble codes. Restore the ground to the cylinder head.
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Repairpal verified 1990 Mazda Protege problems
An electrically shorted air flow sensor can cause a crank-no start condition. Diagnosis may show that ignition spark is normal, and there are no trouble codes stored.
A loud ticking noise may be heard from the top of the engine, particularly when the engine is still cold. It may also be heard after the engine returns to idle after freeway driving. The noise is commonly caused by a lack of oil flow through the hydraulic valve lifters. Modified lifters are available to alleviate the problem. Following the maintenance schedule for oil changes will also help prevent a recurrence of the noise.