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Being brave or stupid? help

1996 Mazda Protégé with 128,000 miles.

A friend talked me into thinking I could install a cracked engine intake hose on my car. I ordered the part (it is an ugly thing, but what do I know?) looked at the manual, and do not know if I can really do this. Do I need to disconnect the battery and drain the radiator as preparations?


Are you talking about this air intake hose?

If so, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to install. If you’re not working near/over the battery, you don’t need to disconnect it. If you are working near/over the battery, you can disconnect it by removing the NEGATIVE/BLACK cable and keeping it away from the battery. Once you’ve done that you don’t need to disconnect the other cable.

Don’t touch the red/positive terminal of the battery unless you know what you are doing and how to avoid shorting the battery.

You don’t need to drain the radiator unless what you’re installing is a radiator hose and not an air intake hose.

Is it a coolant hose or an air duct?
If it’s a coolant hose, is it a big one going to the radiator or a small one going to a box on the firewall?

My suggestion would be to get a repair manual at the parts store and follow the instructions. You do not need to disconnect the battery to work on the cooling system unless you need to remove something electrical (like perhaps the alternator) to get access. Access to the lower radiator hose can usually be gained by putting the car on ramps and removing the plastic splash panels under the front end.

Be sure you have the tools necessary before beginning. That will include a pair of long-nose vice grips to clamp the manufacturer’s hose clamps open. I like to replace them with worm-drive clamps, available at any hardware store for about a buck apiece. If you do so, do not overtighten the clamps. It’s easy to do, and they’ll cut into the hoses. When installing the new hoses, it’s easier to use coolant as a lubricant. I won’t hurt a thing.

And if you have one cracked hose, replace both of them. The other is on its way out too.

And most importantly, if you don’t feel comfortable changing them yourself, use a trusted shop. Don’t let anyone talk you into doing something you don’t feel comfortable doing.

@jesmed1: Yes, that is the part! There appear to be 5 orifices to disconnect and connect, but I cannot find where the 5th one is; The Mazda repair Manual my friend found does not have a clear diagram of the 5th underneath.

Wish there were a three dimensional diagram in a manual that one could maneuver around to look at all sides of a particular part in its place in the car, up, underside, each side, etc. (maybe I will check You Tube…)

@the same mountainbike: My normal pattern is to think I cannot do something, but if I tinker with it, and stare at it, go away for a while, come back a few times, I generally can do this. But, your advice is well taken.

Both of you did address the safety concerns I had which was the primary stumbling block, thankyou! Now, about that 5 orifice…

Can you post a photo of the part?

It is the same as the link posted by jesmed1 above.

@Juanita, I don’t quite understand your problem with the “5th orifice.” The new hose should have exactly the same number of “orifices” as the old hose, which I assume is still on the engine. Just take some masking tape and label each thing as you disconnect it from the old hose. Then remove the old hose, install the new hose, and re-connect all the things you disconnected.

THe connectio that you are not finding must be under the part.
Look at the new part…put them side by side…and it should give you a hint.

Also , If you remove the other 4 connections…that may loosen the part so you can gain a little more room to find the 5th connection. Wasn’t that a band in the 60s!!!


Sorry. I missed that. My bad.

Replacing this part does not require you to either disconnect the battery or drain the cooling system. It’s basically just an air intake. I was unable to find an installation diagram, but that rectangular block underneath might be for a mass airflow sensor (guys? input?). If so, it’s a plug in part.

Frankly, you can successfully repair any crack by wrapping it with electrical tape. There is no pressure applied to this part, it has almost zero mechanical stress, and it holds no fluids whatsoever. You’re only sealing a simple air leak. No different from fixing a vacuum cleaner hose, except the tape will be subjected to a bit of elevated temperature. Not a problem beyond the capabilities of electrical tape as long as the tape is wrapped around the hose a few times.

All: Thanks for the suggestions. I put heat resistent glue on the old part which has the crack in last weekend as a temporary measure. Wrapping it with electrical tape would have worked, too.

However, I have the part so I should install it. I think I know how to deal with the “5th connection”. I am such a wuss-afraid that I will break something.

Thanks again!l

Well, I did replace the part and the car runs just fine. I am embarrassed to say how long it took, but I learned a lot, including what to do if you drop a clamp into the bowels of the engine compartment… I found it was actually better to wiggle the connections apart each one a little bit at a time rather than doing one or the other first completely. Probably more to do with the strength of my hands than any thing else.

Any need to keep the dead part?

And now, anyone recommend a good grease remover for the hands?

Thanks to all who posted all the helpful responses!

Naw, no reason to keep the dead part.

Every part store or big-box store (like Walmart) sells hand cleaner for mechanical work. Personally, I always wear disposable latex gloves that I get at the hardware store in boxes of 100, so I never use the hand cleaner. I have arthritis in my hands, and I find that in addition to keeping my hands clean the latex gloves also give me much better grip. I lack the ability to close my hands enough to grasp a lot of items, so the gloves are indispensable to me.

if you put dishwashing liquid on your hands before they get wet, it cleans them fairly well

No need to keep the old part . . . chuck it

Good going Juanita.

Toss the old cracked dirty one. It lasted 128K miles. The new one should too. Will you have the car in 18 years? Would you want to put it back on in any event?

Dish washing liquid works well on greasy dishes as well as hands.

Sorry, I didn’t read page two before posting.

The latex gloves make sense and I even had some in the house to polish shoes. Sheez… Thanks for the suggestions to clean the hands, too.

I am so glad to chuck the dead piece.

I am grateful for all of your help to “get 'er done!” as my Wisconsin relatives would say! Not a really big project, but a good one!

GoJo and/or Lava soap is all I use.

@Juanita: " . . . but I learned a lot, including what to do if you drop a clamp into the bowels of the engine compartment . . . "

Yeah, I hear you on that. Like the time I changed the water pump on my '69 Renault 10 and in the process had a bolt go flying through the air and fall directly through the hole on the top of the bell housing, settling down inside on the fly wheel, thereby turning a 1/2-hour project into a four- or five-hour near-nightmare. Fortunately I was eventually able to fish the thing out with a magnet attached to a piece of wire. Whew.

As for a reason to keep your dead part, it might be a good idea to hold onto it for awhile to see if any defects develop in the new part and you have to return it. Otherwise, the only other reason would be to keep it as a spare, or for the sentimental value. Neither seems much worthwhile given the kind of part it is.

“…if you drop a clamp into the bowels of the engine compartment…”

I once dropped an antifreeze jug cap there and never found it!

GoJo hand cleaner is good. Dishwashing liquid full strength might work, also.