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YACT: '97 Mazda Protege

orakle

Golden Member
Nov 28, 2002
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Since learning to how to operate a manual transmission, I've been driving my parents' 1997 Protege fairly often. One thing I find kind of strange for a car with a stick is that there is no tachometer in the instrument panel, just fuel/temp gauges and the speedometer. I was wondering if there was any trivial (that doesn't involve buying a new car, heh heh) way of determining the RPM without relying on the "feel" of the car to know when to shift. Up to now, I've been going by the sound/feel/speed of the car and it's worked well. I was just wondering how hard it would be to actually get an RPM reading to see precisely where I'm shifting and what the revs are when I'm driving along.

Also, could anyone tell me how difficult it would be to install a "line in" connection to the stock head unit? On the front of the HU, there is a button that says AUX, and when I push it the display reads "noCD". Could this be a useful input or would it more likely be some kind of proprietary connection? I use my MP3 player in the car all the time, but my tape deck adaptor is starting to make a clickety noise and I fear it's on its last legs.

I would probably be better-served by just installing a new HU with cd/mp3 playback (and/or appropriate inputs). Would this be a tough thing to do myself? Which head unit would you recommend, and would I have to change anything else (speakers, amp?, etc)?

Anyone know of a Mazda-specific board where I could ask questions and find tutorials?

Thanks ATOT! :)

EDIT: Let's make this clear, I'm not saying I need a tach, I was just wondering if it could theoretically be done at minimal cost. I know how to drive the car properly, and I understand pretty well how it works, Ronstang.
 

Heisenberg

Lifer
Dec 21, 2001
10,621
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There are quite a few cars that are manual with no tach. Your only option if you want to know the RPM is to put in a tach. It's not terribly difficult, but it does require some mechanical/electrical skill.

As for the line in, if the head unit didn't come with one it would be extremely hard (unless you're an EE or something) to add one to the unit.
 

AgaBoogaBoo

Lifer
Feb 16, 2003
26,096
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Yeah, I've seen quite a few without tachs, even on new cars. For the purpose of most of these cars, you don't really need one.
 

JohnCU

Banned
Dec 9, 2000
16,530
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Originally posted by: Heisenberg
There are quite a few cars that are manual with no tach. Your only option if you want to know the RPM is to put in a tach. It's not terribly difficult, but it does require some mechanical/electrical skill.

As for the line in, if the head unit didn't come with one it would be extremely hard (unless you're an EE or something) to add one to the unit.
a line in... damn that'd be hard. i didn't specialize in electronics though. maybe if i had a circuit diagram of the HU.
 

orakle

Golden Member
Nov 28, 2002
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Originally posted by: Heisenberg
There are quite a few cars that are manual with no tach. Your only option if you want to know the RPM is to put in a tach. It's not terribly difficult, but it does require some mechanical/electrical skill.
Would the car's computer (does the car have a decent computer?) already have the RPM reading in it, or would I need to install the whole kit to actually determine the RPM and display it?

As for the line in, if the head unit didn't come with one it would be extremely hard (unless you're an EE or something) to add one to the unit.
There's an AUX button on the front of the radio, so I assume it's got another input, but I really don't know if it's proprietary or what.. When I push it the display says "noCD"
 

JohnCU

Banned
Dec 9, 2000
16,530
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Originally posted by: orakle
Originally posted by: Heisenberg
There are quite a few cars that are manual with no tach. Your only option if you want to know the RPM is to put in a tach. It's not terribly difficult, but it does require some mechanical/electrical skill.

As for the line in, if the head unit didn't come with one it would be extremely hard (unless you're an EE or something) to add one to the unit.
Would the car's computer (does the car have a decent computer?) already have the RPM reading in it, or would I need to install the whole kit to actually determine the RPM and display it?

There's an AUX button on the front of the radio, so I assume it's got another input, but I really don't know if it's proprietary or what..
check the back for RCA inputs, then buy RCA -> stereo thingie converter to plug in the ipod.
 

Heisenberg

Lifer
Dec 21, 2001
10,621
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Originally posted by: orakle
Originally posted by: Heisenberg
There are quite a few cars that are manual with no tach. Your only option if you want to know the RPM is to put in a tach. It's not terribly difficult, but it does require some mechanical/electrical skill.
Would the car's computer (does the car have a decent computer?) already have the RPM reading in it, or would I need to install the whole kit to actually determine the RPM and display it?
I'm sure the ECU monitors RPM, yes. You would still need to install and mount a tach, even if you get the signal from a lead at the ECU.
 

soydios

Platinum Member
Mar 12, 2006
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It seems as if you need to learn the shiftpoints by feel/sound/speed. I know with my car, which is an automatic, how many RPM it is at each speed in what gear.

As for the line-in, the only way to find it is to pop out the head unit and take a look at the back.
 

krunchykrome

Lifer
Dec 28, 2003
13,413
1
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I have a 1998 Ford Escort with 5 spd manual and it has no tachometer. You just have to get used to your car and know when it IS infact time to shift. It's not difficult at all. You usually find this the case with cheap, low end manual cars.
 

miri

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2003
3,679
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76
I had a mazda pickup with no tachometer, i just went by the owners manual on when to shift based on mph
 

orakle

Golden Member
Nov 28, 2002
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Originally posted by: krunchykrome
I have a 1998 Ford Escort with 5 spd manual and it has no tachometer. You just have to get used to your car and know when it IS infact time to shift. It's not difficult at all. You usually find this the case with cheap, low end manual cars.
Well that's what I've done so far.. I can "feel" when it's time to shift. Still it'd be nice to see what the RPM is.
 

orakle

Golden Member
Nov 28, 2002
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Originally posted by: soydios
As for the line-in, the only way to find it is to pop out the head unit and take a look at the back.
Ah. I suppose I need some kind of special Mazda tool for this?
 

sniperruff

Lifer
Apr 17, 2002
11,644
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it doesn't have a bong or any sound to tell you to shift up? anyway, just listen to the engine and you'll get used to it.
 

miri

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2003
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Originally posted by: sniperruff
anyway, just listen to the engine and you'll get used to it.
that sorta sucks when you have your stereo up loud
 

orakle

Golden Member
Nov 28, 2002
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Originally posted by: miri
Originally posted by: sniperruff
it doesn't have a bong or any sound to tell you to shift up? anyway, just listen to the engine and you'll get used to it.
that sorta sucks when you have your stereo up loud
Exactly... I've become accustomed to going by sound/feel of the car but sometimes it's not as obvious because the motor is drowned out by the speakers.
 

overst33r

Diamond Member
Oct 3, 2004
5,762
12
81
read your owners manual for shift points...mine are 10/25/38/45, 5 speed toyota corolla which is a similar car to yours... i also go by ear but if you really wanna know just read the OM...
 

Lonyo

Lifer
Aug 10, 2002
21,939
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Originally posted by: orakle
Originally posted by: miri
Originally posted by: sniperruff
it doesn't have a bong or any sound to tell you to shift up? anyway, just listen to the engine and you'll get used to it.
that sorta sucks when you have your stereo up loud
Exactly... I've become accustomed to going by sound/feel of the car but sometimes it's not as obvious because the motor is drowned out by the speakers.
Once you know by sound, you can know the approximate speeds, and go by them.
I went by sound, but now I go by feel and speed. Once you know what your car will handle (eg. inclines) in which gear and at what speed, you don't need a tach.
 

RGUN

Golden Member
Dec 11, 2005
1,007
3
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Just go as high in the gears as you can without lugging the engine. You dont need to hear it at all, you will feel the engine struggle if you're in a gear to tall for your speed.
 

Stunt

Diamond Member
Jul 17, 2002
9,717
2
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You don't need a tach.

(approximate)
start = first
15-25 = second
25-45 = third
45-60 = fourth
60+ = fifth
 

Cattlegod

Diamond Member
May 22, 2001
8,687
1
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Originally posted by: Stunt
You don't need a tach.

(approximate)
start = first
15-25 = second
25-45 = third
45-60 = fourth
60+ = fifth

yep, that is if you are going a bit faster. if you want better mpg just shift into
0-10 = first
10-20 = second
20-30 = third
30-40 = fourth
40+ = fifth

I have an '03 mazdaspeed protege and that is what i usually use.
 

wasssup

Diamond Member
Nov 28, 2000
3,142
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I don't need a tach to tell me when to shift, but I still like having a tach. If I buy a WRX, it'll definitely have gauges for oil/boost/etc etc...

Again I don't need them -- but I like knowing how my car is behaving.
 

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