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1990 Mazda Protege Rough Idle Stutter on Acceleration

HI Guys,

I’m hoping you can help me out with a problem that I’ve recently encountered with my car - a 1990 Mazda Protege with a 1.8L DOHC, manual 5-spd transmission, ~173K miles on it. On my way home the other day, the car ABRUPTLY started to run very rough - with what I would call repetitive and incessant stuttering when accelerating (though I am by no means technical with respect to cars). I shut the car down, hoped the problem would go away, but when I started it up later that day, the problem was still there - the car BOTH idles rough and doesn’t accelerate very smoothy. When I come to a stop, the car feels as if it’s going to stall but stays running. This afternoon, I took it out on the road for ~3 mile drive (up to ~ 50 mph) and the problem is the same - but I did also notice, when driving, that the car gave off a smell reminiscent of firecrackers - perhaps a sulfur-ish smell. I googled the issues I was having and I got a whole array of problems - ranging from simply bad spark plug wires (which have been replaced in the past 1.5 years) to a stuck EGR valve - I’m hoping you can help sort through my problem. Here’s some additional info on my car:

-Was just in the shop 2wks ago for overheating - found the thermostat to be bad - they replaced it and I no longer have the overheating issue. While there, they also replaced the belts for the alternator and water pump (Which had been squealing for quite some time)

-Spark plug wires and distributor cap were both replaced in the last 1.5 years

-Last oil change was > 6 months (but less than 3000 miles) ago - all the fluid levels seem to be fine

-Though I think it is unrelated, the car is also making a high pitched squeaking noise emanating from the R front of the car while driving - I suspect this is the suspension-related as the shop informed me that I have one front stablizer link broken while the other is loose (and when I push down on the R-front side of car while it is not running it yields a similar squeaking noise.

Thanks in advance for your help!

The suspension problem is not going to cause the engine to run rough. There are a number of things that could cause the engine to misfire.

Fuel injectors
Distributor cap
Distributor (worn bushing)
Burned valve
Valve lash (if this is closed up, then get fixed asap or it will burn the valve)
Blown head gasket (you will be losing a small amount of coolant)