Yes, sometimes some flavors of MPEG can give you funny results (i.e., no audio or out of sync audio).
MPEG Streamclip and Prism are free utilities that will convert your MPEG to a DV-AVI. The FAQs to the right of this forum tell you how to use them.
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Conversion would probably be the best solution on several fronts. However if the Video is working fine for you in PrE, you could also use a freeware audio-editor, like Audacity, to rip the Audio. You'd then just Save_As PCM/WAV 48KHz 16-bit, and Import that into PrE. You'd place that new Audio file onto an appropriate Audio Track, and just Mute the Audio from the MPEG.
There can be OOS (Out Of Sync) issues with either way. One common problem with muxed (Multiplexed with both Audio & Video) MPEG files, even when converted to DV-AVI Type II, is OOS. This is most often static OOS, and not dynamic, or drifting OOS, and can be fixed pretty easily.
Just some things to think about, but conversion would be what I would do. If there was any OOS, then I have an ARTICLE that I can post, that will step you through the correction. If it IS static, I'd correct that, as soon as the large Clip was placed on the Timeline. Then, when you cut, you will maintain that sync and not have to adjust each instance from that Clip.
These are really great answers to the problem.
So far I've used Prism to convert the file, and even used Video Pad (also free from NCH) to split the large file
up into clips. Seems to be faster and less demanding on my computer than Premier Elements . . .
Thanks again !