I was a mechanic on Mazdas for 9 years. Can't remember the particular model 1998, but generally, here's how to remove the starter on a 90's Protege:
Disconnect the negative battery terminal to remove power from the starter. The starter and starter solenoid are one unit.
There should be 2 or 3 14mm bolts holding the starter to the tranny. At least one of these bolts is accessed from above the transmission, requiring the removal of (at least)the air filter housing and intake, and the battery and tray if you want to make it easy on yourself. Remove those first, then remove the top starter bolt before you go under the car. You might be able to access the top bolt from the left wheel well if you take out the plastic splash guard behind the left wheel, and have a nice long extension with a "wobbly" 14mm socket. There are a number of 10mm bolts and a few plastic fasteners that hold this on.
I believe the starter is located behind a bracket that supports the intake manifold from the engiine block. Remove the 4 bolts on this bracket and remove it from the vehicle. The starter wire may be attached to this bracket with a plastic clip, just undo the clip and the bracket should come right out. The bolts that hold the bracket on the manifold end are usually pretty hard to get to; be patient.
Once you have access to the starter, there should be either 1 or two bolts that hold the starter in on the bottom. Remove the bolts and carefully remove the starter from it's position in the transmission. Once you have the starter free, remove the starter cable and the small wire from the clip on the starter solenoid.
Re-install in reverse order.
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