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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys, I have been a long time follower of this forum but I have never done a build thread. I have always wanted a car that was a little diffrent and customized to my taste. Now I feel like I have one.

A little history: I bought my car new back in 2009 and have loved her ever since. She is my second mazda3. I used to own a purple 2004 sedan which I also loved but she climbed a tree on me and was left totalIed. I started out not knowing much about how cars worked(didn't even know how to check my oil level lol) but I have learned so much over the years from this forum.

I live in hawaii with lots of rain so it is very difficult to keep my car clean and rust free but here are some pics of my car.

The journey:
Slight scrape on the skirt



Added some leds


Small photoshoot I took with my phone




Installed Corksport SRI


Some expirimenting with plasti dip


Got wheels on craigslist that I've wanted since I was a kid but they were in bad shape. Wheels are Ace Zeus 18x7.5 -43 offset. The clear coat was peeling bad. I was going to repaint them but my tire had just poped so I made a last minute decision to dip them and run the new wheels with new tires.
Before:


The color is blaze blue. They looked ok from a far but I wasnt happy with them up close. Also they would never stay clean. Here they are after.


A night shot with new wheels


I wanted to redo my new wheels for some time now so I started painting my stock wheels to use while I repaint my Ace wheels. I decided on a brighter blue and love how they came out. The color is maui blue. This is currently how she sits.



I forgot to mention I added OEM LED tail lights, viynl eyelids, hatch stickers, RA mudflaps, a wing lip, and also some roof fins. I also just got some fender flares that I will be installing too. I've done lots of other maintenance things but dont have pics of those.

Anyway this is my girl Pearl I will continue to update my progress. Thanks for checking out my build.
Mahalo,
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just got done switching out my rear sway bar end links. PITA does not even come close to describing my experience.

My advice to anyone attempting this is to make sure you have the proper tools. A good ratcheting combo wrench set seems priceless now that I'm done.

I tried to get away with a few different open end wrenches and 2 different adjustable wrenches. It did not go smoothly lol. Trying to get your hands and a wrench and a allen key in such a tight space is ridiculous.

It took me almost 4 hours to get this done because I could only get a very small turn each time I tried to loosen the nuts. It would've probably taken me less than an hour if I had a ratcheting wrench set.

My old endlinks were completely done, they were falling apart when I took them off. Car feels better with the new endlinks. Feels like my suspension is a bit tighter, also no more clunking from the rear. Next is front endlinks but that will be another day. I'm worn out lol.

Anyway, lesson learned. Overall I'm happy with the results and it was worth the experience. A new ratcheting wrench set is next on my list.
 

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Yeah having the right tools for the job goes a real long way... Trying to save some money and a trip to the store usually ends in frustration, blood and a lot of wasted time :p I've learned that lesson more times than I can count
 

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I'll echo the tools sentiment... at this early stage, any tools you buy you WILL eventually find a use for, so don't worry about buying extra. It only increases your power to mod! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just got my jbr sway bar today in Powdercoated blue :) I also have new endlinks and new rear springs going in at the same time. Damn exited to install them all. Should be soon :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So install went ok. Took me a while because a nut was stuck on one of the old endlinks. I gave it a shot of pb blaster and let it soak but I ended up rounding the bolt. I thought I was gonna have to get out my dremel and start cutting but I gave it a go with my locking pliers and a lot of brute force. Finally the bolt gave way.

I also had a hard time getting the rear springs back in. It was a b**ch to get those bolt holes to line back up.

After all said and done it was well worth it. I chose to go with the middle setting on my sway bar because I thought the stiffest might be overkill on my car.

I am very happy with this upgrade. The rear of my car feels new again, actually a lot better than new. I can take turns much faster now.

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I am going g to jump in and ask a question about this topic. Where would someone suggest me to look on basic suspension upgrades and what's good to change when changing something else, if that makes sense?
@Microdave, you said you have a clunking noise, or did. My Mz3 has a right rear clunk/pop noise whenever I hit a deep driveway entrance bump or a hole in the street. Basically a bump at the correct angle makes it make that sound, could this be related?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
There could honestly be a number of possible things causing your car to make those noises but from what it sounds like it could very well be the rear endlinks. First of all, how many miles have you put on your car? Ever replace any suspension parts? Have you noticed any changes in your cars handling (i.e. More rear body roll when turning corners)?

When I first replaced my endlinks I was at about 130k my car clunked extensively when going over speed bumbs so I figured it was most likely the endlinks. After swapping in some new ones not only did it get rid of clunk it also tightened up the rear significantly. I noticed much less body roll and stability.

As far as suspension upgrades go the list can go on and on. The most common for us fwd guy is a stiffer rear sway bar. There are many brands to choose from, some are more aggressive than others and some are more adjustable than others.

Personally it took me 145k miles to purchase mine, but let me tell you that if I knew what a substantial difference it would make it would have been my first mod to my car. Difference is night and day.

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Discussion Starter #11
Today I took pearl up on one of my local mountains here in Hawaii called Tantalus. I finally got to push her and test out the new JBR sway bar to almost her limits(didn't want to break anything lol). It was a lot of fun. I was taking turns so quickly and easily when before I struggled to get rhe rear to shift weight just to take those same kind of turns a lot slower.

I haven't driven like that for a long time but it was much needed. I was taking turns so fast that i cought up to someone who looked like he was trying to drive fast in his tc and got stuck behind him. I backed off a bit because I didn't want to put pressure on him and make him make a mistake and crash(his turns were horrible enough as it is lol). Eventually I got bored of being stuck behind because I wasn't pushing my car so I increased the gap so I could have some open road ahead(I did end up catching up with him again, it was probably a sad day for him lol).

After getting to the top he gave up and just pulled off to the side. I felt bad but very good at the same time :) finally about halfway back down theres a nice scenic view spot to stop at so I took a few pics with my phone.
Heres one:


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That looks like a really nice picture my friend!:)

As for your questions about what I have done, the answer is nothing. I got the car with 68k and I have put about 4k miles on it. Changed the spark plugs, did a trnny flush and fill. The rear suspension was changed I guess, as to why I'm not sure, but both rear suspension systems are aftermarket. Ad to what pieces are exactly I'm not 100% sure. I had the vehcile inspected at the Mazda dealer near me and they found nothing. I plan on doing a suspension upgrade in the possible future, and I want to upgrade other things whie doing so like you mentioned it, endlinks and sway bars.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
So a lot has happened in the past week and a half. I finally got around to painting my calipers. I went with the G2 white paint.

Here's a pic of Pearl washed the next day


I had some time to paint my eyelids, restore and clear my headlights, switched back to my HID bulbs(had to switch to halogen for safety inspection), led fogs, and also installed some led switchbacks with resistors. No pic yet but soon.

The build is coming along. I just got in some hella sharptones in today. Didn't care for the yellow face so I painted it to match my wheels.

Started sanding my old wheels for paint today and primed the fender flares.

I feel like I've got a lot done in a short while but all that is far from the most exciting thing to happen all week. My wife just picked up a brand new Scion xb!!! I've always loved the styling on the newer xb's so I probably had a part in her purchase :)

It's her car so we'll see how mod plans go lol I really like how the handling feels for the car that it is. Oh and if styling isn't cool enough for me it came with upgraded TRD intake and exhaust. I haven't beaten on it yet because the engine is still breaking in but it has some spunk at low rpms so far. Oh forgot to mention it's white!!! :)

I have to take it back to the dealer for rustproofing and the final detail on Wednesday so I'll probably take some pics after that.



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Discussion Starter #15
Update:
I've been slacking on my build lately. Since my wife got the new xb we have mostly been using her car. Honestly my car did need a rest though. It's been my daily since i bought her in 09. I drove her almost every day since then and racked up a good amount of milage. I'm right over 150k.

It's been nice in the new car. The ac is great(which my car is lacking right now), the xb is higher off the ground(don't have to go super slow over bumps), it's very roomy and comfortable too. I feel like my car is very RAW copared to the xb.

Since I haven't been driving Pearl much I've sort of lost the need for constant improvement. I've just felt unmotivated lately. That was until today. My wife's mudflaps came in and I decided to install them. It's the first car that I've worked on other than Pearl. While working on the mudflaps it got me back into the groove of things.

After installing the mud flaps I felt almost inspired to start again on Pearls upgrades, sadly it was too late in the day to do much. I did end up washing both cars though, the wife even helped(relationship goal achieved lol).

So hopefully I'll have some time soon to dedicate to my build. I'm glad I feel motivated again.

Some pics of Pearl & Marshmallow



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Discussion Starter #17
Update:
Something happened that was very unexpected. I was scrolling CL and i found a guy selling his Corksport exhaust for a good price. The only problem was it was made for the speed 3.
Here's how it looks:


So i wasn't sure if it would fit. I contacted corksport to figure out if it would fit but haven't heard back. Probably because it was the weekend and not during business hours. Anyway I didn't want to pass up the deal so I did some research and found out it would fit but I'd be loosing back pressure because of the difference in piping size. I didn't mind so much about a little loss in power because I really wanted to gain some sound.

I know i could have just bought a new exhaust made for my car but in the end I'd probably be paying double what i did because of sipping costs to hawaii.

Anyway i decided to go through with it. Got it installed at a local shop here just a few hours ago. I love the sound of this thing. It's pretty loud but thats ok. I was hoping for a deep tone and that's exactly what I got. As far as back pressure goes I'm not sure if i lost much power. Honestly it feels like I have gained a lot more power especially at higher rpm. I feel like I really got a good deal and am happy with the new performance and sound. Glad i jumped on it. It's a nice early birthday gift to myself.

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Yeah you'll lose a bit of low end torque in favor of some high end power. Or at least that's what I seem to remember... But if you got a good price andjust want sound and a nice exhaust tip, then yeah, you'll get that for sure :p
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Lol yeah. For what I paid I'm definitely happy. I don't track my car and i mostly baby her anyway. I'm sure I'll be going above 4krpm a lot more now though 😈

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey guys,
Recently got around to some work on the fender flares. I've only done the rears so far.

Cutting was a huge PITA didn't want to scare my neighbors with the a grinder so i went the dremel route. I literally went through over 15 metal cutting wheels.

After cutting i sanded and sealed the bare metal so it all worked out. My plan was to run some 1" spacers in the rear that i already had so i ran that for a week. I wasn't too happy because there was stiil wheel gap between the flares and the wheels(my fault for not measuring).

Anyway i got some 2" spacers to close the gap and i am happy with them now. I ran into some rubbing problems on some rough bumps so i had to find a way to fix that.

I ordered some new bump stops and used those along with my old bump stops to stiffen the rear shock travel. I had to cut par of the old ones to make it fit but in the end it worked well.

When i lowered my car back on to the ground i was stunned. The back of my car looked lifted. There was almost double the wheel gap lol. I didn't think it through. I was trying to bounce on the rear hoping it would settle and lower back down but it didn't lol.

I ended up going for a ride still hoping that it would settle. I was happy about not rubbing but dissatisfied with the height. When I got out of my car it was a whole other story. My car had settled in almost perfectly for how i had hoped. I'm really happy the way it turned out.
Here are some pics:




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