If the Check Engine Light comes on, and diagnosis finds a trouble code, or codes, for misfires, it might be caused by insufficient valve clearance for the affected cylinder. The valve clearances should be inspected and adjusted where needed.
Problems for specific Mazda Protege years:
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Newest reported 1998 Mazda Protege problems
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.
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.
If the engine will not start after distributor rotor replacement, a common mistake is to install the distributor rotor in the wrong position. The rotor may seat in three positions and one should note the direction before removal.