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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks! I've been lurking off and on for a few weeks now, and thought it was about time to make a first post. Just fyi, this is probably going to be a rather lengthy post, so I warn you now that you'll have to put up with my writing for longer than you'll want to. :lol:

My previous (and first) vehicle was a 1995 2-door Jeep Cherokee. Man, I loved (and still love!) that thing. It was very good to me; in fact, much better than I was to it. That straight 6 and Asin-Warner transmission make for a near-bullet proof combination, I love the Cherokee's classic styling, and the Jeep just fit my personality really well. We got it with about 107,000 miles on it, and I put about 60,000 miles on it in four years. It was in GREAT shape inside and out to be 10 years old. It was a one-family owned vehicle before I got it. I spent many an hour washing, waxing, and cleaning out that thing. I loved spending 5-6 hours on it on Saturday afternoons. Before I start thinking about it too much and end up shedding a tear, I'll just post a picture of it and move on.

Shortly after I got it:


After some fun (only took it off-roading once):


After a good washing and waxing June of 2008:


I love clean windows!


I had an audio system in it, as well. Pioneer Premier DEH-P860MP for the HU, Memphis Car Audio 16-MCA3004 (75x4) for biamping the Boston Acoustic RC520 component speakers.




Sorry for all the information and pictures of the Jeep on a Mazda forum. But it was a great vehicle for me, I still love it very much, and I could never start a first post about my Mazda without mentioning the Jeep.

Anyways, now to move on to the Mazda3. Over Christmas break Dad found a Mazda3 that the owner wanted to let go of for cheap. It was pretty dinged up on the outside. All four corners were scraped up, baaad scratches on the rear passenger side, bad scrapes on the hatch, dents on the passenger A-pillar, front bumper loose on passenger side, and it was very nasty on the inside. However, it's a 2005, 52,000 miles, and in great mechanical shape. So, Dad picked it up and got it the exterior all fixed up at a body shop for another great deal.

I vacillated back and forth on whether to trade the Jeep for the Mazda or not, but finally decided that with being in school for two more years, and THEN going to medical school, I need to have a solid, reliable car to depend on for the next few years, so I ended up letting go of the Jeep and taking the Mazda.

From what I've put together, the Mazda cost us about $5500, and then we had about $1700 worth of body work done to it. So that brings the total to $7200 for a 2005 Mazda3 with 52,000 miles on it and looks new from the outside. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I'm totally blown away at how it looks now. The body shop did an incredible job. I really wish I had taken some before pictures, but it really does look new now. Well, on the outside, anyways. Everything in the interior is just fine and works normally, but there's just a lot of TLC needed to get it looking new again. The only thing inside that's not fixable, is the finish is worn off the top of the steering wheel.

Now on to some pictures of the Mazda!




I don't have any pictures of the interior small enough to post, but if you want to see how nasty the interior currently is, you can view some pictures of it in my photobucket album: http://s133.photobucket.com/albums/q66/carmike692000/Mazda3/Waxed 2-7-2009/.

I do have a question about it, though. When I was still deciding on whether or not to take the Mazda over the Jeep, I came here and read a bit and so I did end up getting a third key for it. However, I want to use a key as a spare to put in my wallet, but as you know, the huge chunk of rubber on the top makes that a bit hard. Is there any security device in the rubber part? Or can I try ripping/grinding all that off so it'll hopefully fit in my wallet?

Thanks so much for reading through such a long post. And, thanks for putting up with the bit about my Jeep. I couldn't have posted this without having some kind of a tribute to it.
 

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Congrats on your purchase, sounds like you got a hell of a deal. Don't feel bad about the spiel on your jeep (looks great btw). I still miss my piece of crap '88 ranger. Of course that went out in style as I beat the crap out of it and then cut it up with hydraulic tools. :twisted:

From your pics it seems like the interior mostly just needs a good cleaning. A woolite/water mix and some microfiber cloths will go a long way to making it look fantastic. I'd also look into a good upholstery cleaner and see if you can get those mats looking better, otherwise you might want to pick up a new set. Depending on how trashed the carpet is you may want to check out one of the running GB's for a high quality replacement carpet (it's around here somewhere) by Cousin Dave.

For the steering wheel if it bothers you enough you can look around either for a replacement one, or you could try to find a leather shop and see what they'd charge to rewrap it for you. One of our members in the Ukraine had his done for a ridiculously low price.... then again that's the Ukraine.

For the key. Inside the black plastic part is the transponder chip. This is what tells the car to turn off the engine immobilizer and start, so you probably don't want to be screwing around with that. If you just want a spare key for opening the doors then you can get a generic one made at a hardware store, but it won't start the car.

My other stock suggestion (aside from getting a third key) is to replace or augment the stock anemic clown horn. It's a really cheap easy mod that helps increase the safety of the car. Oh and don't worry about this being a long post..... I have a couple that are hitting the 20k character limit. ;) Again, welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much for the reply!

You're right, a good cleaning and the interior will be looking nice again. I was out there earlier with a wet microfiber cloth cleaning. It did a lot of good on some parts, but the clear plastic over the gauges are streaked and it didn't help that at all. I'll have to do some research about cleaning chemicals and see what I need to use to get it all **** and span again.

I think I can get the carpet cleaned up, but I might end up taking it all out to do so. There's a lot of gunk in crevices and between pieces, and I'm seriously thinking about installing a stereo system over the summer, so taking it all apart will be beneficial for learning how it all goes together.

I can live with the steering wheel. I like the Mazda, it rides nice, and I know there are a lot of people here who REALLY LOVE it, but I'm not too wrapped up in it. For me it's just reliable transportation for the next few years. I'd really like to have a Cherokee and '87 - '93 notchback Mustang. Not to rag on the Mazda at all. It's a great car. And I'd certainly like it a lot more if it were a manual or especially if it were the MS3. But as it is, it's just reliable transportation (that I can still have a bit of fun in :D) until a later point in time. So I'm not looking for perfection.

Thanks for the info on the key. I guess I'll be leaving it alone. I hadn't really thought about it, but the only reason I do want a key for my wallet is in case I lock my keys in the car, meaning I'll never need to start it with my spare in my wallet. So just having a spare cut is a great idea. Thanks!

I've certainly noticed the horn being a little on the weak side. I'll have to look for that 'cheap easy' mod. I like those kinds of mods! :)

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
[quote author=coondogg link=topic=136319.msg2937452#msg2937452 date=1234662606]
:wavey:

Welcome to the forums, lol...
[/quote]
Thank you! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I couldn't find any motivation to do any studying today, so I went outside and started taking the Mazda apart to clean it up a bit. I didn't do too much, but I pulled out all the plastic in the center console up to and including the ashtray/cig lighter plate. There's a lot of junk down in there, as you can see, which I still haven't cleaned out. I thought it looked like cigarette debris, but I found a wrapper off a cigar, so I suppose it's cigar. I guess that's why it doesn't smell like cigarettes in the car, too. There's a certain odor, but I couldn't place it as being a cigarette or cigar, and it's not overwhelming. The cigar wrapper I found was for a grape cigar....I guess that explains the non-offensive odor.

I have soaked the center console pieces in warm water, warm water with Purple Power, and then warm water again to clean them up. The only piece I've really finished with yet is the ashtray/cig lighter plate, and as you can see from the pics, it looks like new. Hopefully the other pieces will, too.





(This is with it just sitting in place before I mounted it back in; I was testing out my new #73 bulb to see how it lit up the orange ring; does just fine. :))

The only problem is that I also soaked the little plastic piece that has the P R N D M for the shifter, and part of the white paint came off, though mainly for the R, as you can see in the picture. All the black outlining is still in great shape, though, so if I just touch up the white part it should be like new. Any idea what kind of paint would work well for that? Or would any type do the job here? I don't want it to be too thin and keep the light from shining through, but I also want it to stick to the plastic. Any tips on that?



Thanks so much!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I finally got around to tearing things out a little more today since I brought my tools back to school with me after spring break. I have all of the center console torn out, and the gauge cluster torn out, as well. I'll post pics of most of it below, but my main question is, what should I use to clean off the clear screen over the gauge cluster? It is DISGUSTING! I have a huge bottle of purple power. Do you think it would be ok and work alright to soak it in a mix of purple power and water? Or is there something else I should use to clean it off? Thanks!




 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also, I couldn't figure out how to remove the hood release from the lower dash trim piece. Can someone briefly explain to me how to do that? I tried pulling it up toward me while pushing the top part of it down, like I read in a thread somewhere here, but to no avail.

Thanks!
 

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Not sure how to release the hood but I'd check on prices to just replace the lens for the cluster. I can't imagine it being more the $30...
 

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[quote author=carmike692000 link=topic=136319.msg3025996#msg3025996 date=1238385618]
Also, I couldn't figure out how to remove the hood release from the lower dash trim piece. Can someone briefly explain to me how to do that? I tried pulling it up toward me while pushing the top part of it down, like I read in a thread somewhere here, but to no avail.

Thanks!
[/quote]

Take a screwdriver (flat or phillips, doesn't matter, you just need something to push with) slide it along the center of the release and push up on the plastic panel the release it clipped into. Basically the release has a plastic tab stick up behind the panel and you need to flex the panel just enough for this tab to clear the edge. The other two plastic tabs are hooks that go through other holes in the panel and are just kept from sliding out of their holes by that third tab.
 

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[quote author=carmike692000 link=topic=136319.msg3025996#msg3025996 date=1238385618]
Also, I couldn't figure out how to remove the hood release from the lower dash trim piece. Can someone briefly explain to me how to do that? I tried pulling it up toward me while pushing the top part of it down, like I read in a thread somewhere here, but to no avail.

Thanks!
[/quote]

There is a sticky or instructions on how to install a coin holder. The writeup specifically mentions you have to remove teh hood release latch to pull that trim. Instructions show how to do it. Search for it and you should find it..
 
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