Mazda3 Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,493 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I got tired of having gravel and mud get thrown up against the side of my car, so I decided to install splash guards.

Mazda makes splash guards for the 3, but unfortunately, they don't fit if you have side sill extensions like I do. I did a little looking, and it doesn't appear that any company makes bolt-on splash guards for 3s with side sills, so after doing some searches here at MZ3F, I managed to figure out a solution.

Now, I know there's already a how-to out there (at http://www.mazda3forums.com/index.php?topic=19435.0) for adding splash guards. However, that how-to uses plain flat splash guards, which don't look all that appealing to me. It's a good how-to guide, so if you're fine with using flat splash guards, it should work well for you. I decided I wanted contoured splash guards for a cleaner look.

I got my inspiration from this post: http://www.mazda3forums.com/index.php?topic=2803.msg78801#msg78801. MZ3F member roadbikin found a set of contoured splash guards at AutoZone that will fit a 3 with the side sill extensions. Here's his picture of the package:



It's a Powerflow #1 set of splash guards. Powerflow makes several styles; you want style #1 for the front wheels, and style #2 for the rear. I chose not to install rear splash guards, so this how-to only covers the front wheels. The splash guards aren't advertised on AutoZone's Web site, but they're readily available in their stores (I've been to three AutoZone stores and all of them had the splash guards in stock). The cost is only $15, which is nice in case you make a mistake (like I did).

UPDATE: It doesn't look like many auto parts stores carry these in stock any more, at least not the stores in my area. Strangely enough, Amazon carries them, so that would be a good place to get them if you can't find them locally.

I've actually installed two sets of splash guards on my 3. The first set I simply bolted on using some expanding anchors. What I discovered a few weeks later, unfortunately, is that the flap that runs along the side of the splash guard scratched the surface of my side sills. So I pulled off the splash guards while I figured out a better solution.

Here's what I figured out. The flat splash guards are good in that they can't scratch the finish of the side sills. However, the contoured guards look better. What I basically did was combine the two by cutting the side flap off of the contoured splash guards. So here's the step-by-step:

First, buy a set of the #1 Powerflow contoured splash guards. You'll also need fasteners; after looking around, I found that a combination of plastic anchors and stainless steel screws are the best. They're completely removable and mean you don't have to drill any holes in your car, because you'll be using the existing holes in the wheel wells. The anchors I bought were an inch and a half long, and have little teeth along them to help them stay in place. I also bought stainless steel screws an inch and a quarter long, with threads that fit into the anchors well. Here's a photo of the anchors and screws I used:



Next, you need to modify the splash guards themselves to make them fit. Below is a picture of the left splash guard; the right gets modified exactly the same way. The red line shows where you need to cut the flap off -- a utility knife or pair of good scissors will do the job. Note the little tab I left towards the top; that's to make the splash guard fit the top of the side sill. The distance between the top of the splash guard and the bottom of the tab is 2 1/4 inches. After that top tab, simply cut the rest of the flap off.



You'll also need to drill two holes in the splash guard in order to mount it. Use a 1/8 inch drill bit to drill the holes so the screws still have plenty of material to hold down. I measured the locations of the holes from the backside of the splash guard, where it's flat. The upper hole is 2 3/4" from the top of the splash guard, and 1 1/4" from the outside (straight) edge of the guard. The lower hole is 5 3/8" from the top, and 2 1/4" from the edge. When you're done, your splash guards should look like the picture above.

Now it's time to install the splash guards on the car. Start the car and turn the front wheels all the way to the left so you can install the driver's side splash guard. Using a Phillips-head screwdriver, carefully remove the two plastic screws in the wheel well that hold the front end of the side sill, then carefully pry out the plasic retainers. They don't really seem to hold the side sills on at all, I suspect they're there just to provide a little reinforcement.

Insert your plastic anchors in the holes. If the anchors fall through when you put them in, the anchors you bought are too small. They should go all the way in, but the heads of the anchors should be flush with the surface of the side sill. Then start to thread your screws into the splash guards, so you can line them up with the anchors easier. Carefully screw the splash guard in, making sure not to overtighten the screws or you might strip out the anchors.

With the left guard installed, turn the wheels to the right and install the guard on the passenger side. There should be a small gap between the edge of the splash guards and the side sills; you want this so that the splash guards don't scratch the finish of the sills, but the gaps won't be noticeable.

Here's a pic of the installed guard:



As you can see, the tab that you left on the splash guard is designed to fit around the top of the side sill to give the whole thing a cleaner look. If you don't like the look, it's easy enough to cut the tabs off, or trim them to your liking.

Here's the front view of the installed splash guard, showing the mounting screws:



The heads on the screws I used seem to be big enough to securely hold the splash guard on. If you're worried about the guard not being held on well enough, you can add an appropriate washer between the head of the screw and the splash guard, but make sure you use a stainless washer so it doesn't rust.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
great write up DrWebster, I like the way they mold around the sill. Looks silky smoothe!!! I'll grab some at Autozone tomorrow and post some pics when they're done
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
Wow, I am so glad I found this thread with the walkthrough! I have seen the other thread mentioned at the top, but it did not include the modification of the flap or the drywall screws. I will definitely be going this this weekend! This should be a sticky, very helpful for all the HB owners!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I'm ready to install the Powerflow splash guards on my wife's new 3s. I've positioned the splash guards and gone through DrWebster's post. One thing I am finding is that there isn't much ground clearance. I haven't trimmed the splash guards as DrWebster's post suggests..so maybe that allows the splash guards to be mounted higher (although in the photo, it looks like they are positioned just like I have them...the top of the guard is just below the existing screw). I am getting just under 4" of ground clearance under the splash guard. It certainly will be the lowest point on the car.

Can anyone confirm that this is the height I should be expecting?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
761 Posts
Anyone put these or any other mudflaps on a lowered 3? I am a little worried about clearance issues but I HATE hearing rocks hit the side of my car. I would probably just buy one set for the front.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I followed DrWebster's instructions and now have front splash guards on the wife's 3s. I left a bit larger top flap than shown in the picture in DrWebster's post. If the wife doesn't like the larger flap, I can easily trim it...but I can't extend it without buying new guards. :lol:

I did buy a pair of the Powerflow #2 splash guards to do the rear wheels. But, I think I'll hold off installing them. The back of the car gets very little stuff kicked up by the rear wheels.

Thanks for the excellent instructions DrWebster. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,493 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
OK, so here's a bit of an update. Since I installed the splash guards way back in 2006, they've worked great -- until a week ago, when I was washing my car and noticed that one was missing. I must have hit something while driving that caused it to get ripped off. I decided to remove the other splash guard until I could make up another set of replacements, which, unfortunately, has proven tricky -- all of the auto parts stores near me seem to no longer carry splash guards for cars (only trucks and SUV's). Powerflow still makes the #1 and #2 splash guards, it's just harder to find them now. Strangely enough, Amazon.com carries them; here's the link for the front (#1) splash guards:

http://www.amazon.com/Powerflow-6401-Pro-Fit-Splash-Guards-Car/dp/B000CP86ZE/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=automotive&qid=1217131654&sr=1-6

I'm also going to suggest to anyone who does this mod to add a stainless washer between the head of the screw and the splash guard, to give the screw more surface area to hold down. Since plastic anchors are used, I suspect even if you manage to lose a guard like I did, there's minimal risk to damage of the vehicle -- the anchor will pop out. I'm also contemplating modifying the guard so that it can be anchored by a 3rd screw (one of the screws that hold the wheel well liner in), which should provide additional support.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top