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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Phil Rab, owner/installer for Rab Designs Car Audio in Mandeville, LA

Current Mods:

JBR Stage 3 (RMM, shifter plate, shifter bushings)
ROCA OEM style (solid rubber) Passenger Motor Mount
Koni STR.T struts/shocks, speed3 RSB, Michelin Pilot AS3 tires 205/50/17 (stock size.)
MotorCraft XT-M5-QS in the trans(here for where I got mine)
Eonon D5151 w/ ebay backup camera Kenwood KDC-X997 + Infinity 6.5" components and coaxials + JL 320.4 + Sundown SA12/Rab Designs ported enclosure
Stubby Antenna
Spin on filter conversion
Aluminum AC knobs (ebay)
Ebay Flip Key with OEM blank installed (break out the hacksaw and file) starts at post#50 - de-modded cause the dealership cut my key some jacked up way, would start the car, but wouldn't unlock the door. Kinda became an issue when my remote battery died.
Door edge guards and badges removed (the easy ones at least)
Lamin-X yellow fog overlays and independent fog mod how-to
DIY SRI/converted stock air box and resonator delete
Painted shifter trim (looks classy, not ricey)1 2 3
JDM Axela badge
Redline Leather Goods shift boot, e-brake boot, console lid cover
TRS 5000K HID retrofit

Phil's AC Hell Thread http://www.mazda3forums.com/showthread.php?t=475618&highlight=

Phil's Shop thread/Rab Designs Car Audio builds and work in progress http://www.mazda3forums.com/showthread.php?t=647202&highlight=

Old Miata videos, I still miss this car.
http://www.mazda3forums.com/showthread.php?p=9096490#post9096490

I was mainly a lurker in the dark days of owning my 2005 hatch with the automatic. Now, with my 2007 hatch with a proper stick shift, the mod bug has bit once again

This build is going to be a balancing act for me. I commute a hundred miles a day for work, so comfort is priority one. I also bus my daughter around, so add safety to that. I'm also paying down a mortgage(translated as dirt poor most of the time). So, must be quiet, comfortable, and cheap; I know, I like a challenge.

My mods to date are pretty sedate. An Eonon D5151 sits in the dash. I did some work making custom wallpapers for it, and changed the GPS software to iGo Primo 2.4. Down the road, I may look into a backup camera and a small sub, but nothing crazy.

Under the hood, its all factory other than a spin on oil filter conversion and a James Barone Racing stage 3 kit (rear motor mount, shifter plate, and shifter bushings). The gear box is loaded with Redline MT90 and 5w-30 Mobil 1 in the engine. When time allows, I'll start looking into a fiberglass duct to channel cool air from the grill into the factory airbox, a DIY ram air.

Suspension is pretty open. Priority one is ditching the junk tires for something stickier but good for a daily driver. I'm thinking something from BFGoodrich, but I'm open to suggestions. I'm not sold on lowering the car since I drive some awful roads to work, but a rear away bar is probably in my future along with some paintwork on the factory wheels.

It's been a long intro, and I'll try to keep motivated in the face of keeping up with my family and work life. I'm also hoping some of my DIY work will benefit others here to repay the help I've received over the years.



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Discussion Starter #3
Right now I'm battling the boss(wife) over painting wheels. I want to paint the factory snowflakes bronze or white. She disagrees. Apparently bronze looks ghetto, and white on a purple car doesn't look good.

If anyone responds to the above by saying her opinion doesn't matter, you're either single or a glutton for punishment.


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Bronze fo sho.

White, while it could look good on purple, it just doesn't.

Bronze with black speckle would look awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's what I keep saying. I agree with her that gold wouldn't look great, but a dark bronze would look good.


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Discussion Starter #7
Work's been slow lately. Money is all tied up getting everything together to replace my A/C compressor (when UPS finds the damned one they lost in shipping:angry:), and my daughter's birthday is coming up this weekend.

I did spend last weekend doing a spin-on oil filter conversion (hate the cartridge filters!!!) since the PO apparently cross threaded AND siliconed the cap in place last oil change, and changed out the thermostat to get rid of my CEL (0126, 0128). Now the engine is back to singing.

Next on the list is to adjust the shifter cable per JBR's directions so that I can get my shifter plate working a little more smoothly. Anyone have any advice here other than trial and error? My shifter is a bit notchy going into 5th, and tends to hang up downshifting from 5th to 4th. It's nothing bad, but it'd be nice to make it a bit smoother.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Did u fix the problem with the shifter?
Yes and no. Adjusting the shifter per JBR's directions is helping, just gotta keep playing with it till I'm happy. What's STILL pissing me off is the second gear synchro playing dead. Gonna have to drop the coin on Ford unicorn blood to put in the trans, cause MT90 ain't doing it.

Btw, had the same experience in my old Miata. Redline ain't bad, but FoMoCo synthetic trans fluid always seams to do the trick.


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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Update

Well, this weekend I'll be working on the car, but nothing glamorous. After UPS' debacle losing the A/C compressor XCNuse was selling me, I found one locally (used, but far more money than XCNuse was selling his for), so that's on the to do list before the temperature here in Louisiana goes from hot to 'You're f'ing nuts not having A/C'. Hopefully, by the time I make my Monday morning commute, I'll be in a cool and dehumidified car for a change.

On the horizon, I've got a few Father's Day presents coming my way:
1. Backup Camera - ebay special. cheap, from China, but it replaces one of the license plate light housings so it'll be nice and low key. Integrates right into my Eonon D5151.

2. Ebay special 'Hyper Yellow' fog light bulbs - I don't see the point in HID fog lights since their reflector isn't designed to throw light a long distance, and the dark amber light will look nice with the HID upgrade I have planned for the future for my low beams.

3. Ebay special flip key shell - found the directions here just recently, so I'm going to gut a spare key from my old car (totalled 2004) for the RF chip to communicate with the transponder in the steering column, have the key cut (or alternatively have a factory key cut and cold weld the factory blank onto the pivot of the ebay key's blank, have heard the blanks are pretty low quality and very soft metal), and I'll have a nice little flip key for my 2007 3 since I haven't seen any OEM solution to making this happen for our cars.

Looking forward to adding a few small toys to my car. In the future, when a little money frees up, I'm looking at a TRS Morimoto Elite HID retrofit into my low beams with clear lenses and modified reflector bowls.

I'd also love to put a badgeless front grill in. Any recommendations that fit worth a damn? I've seen Nextmod and Speedline (can't figure out if their grill actually fits MY 2007 S hatch for sure). Anyone care to offer a recomendation? Most of what I've found in search just says the aftermarket grills fit horribly, and the AutoEXE costs WAY too much for my taste.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
And scratch my plans working on the car this weekend. Came down with a stomach bug Friday night Saturday morning. Spent the last two days in bed or praying to St. Ralph. Maybe during the week......


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Discussion Starter #13
Think I'm going to skip the grill honestly. The more I look at them, the less happy I am with the options that are out there.


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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Back to topic, after a weekend of being sick as Hell, I'm replacing my A/C compressor. It'll be a few weekend before some boxes start showing up from China (eBay) with some budget toys for my car.

Next up is eBay flip keys and a backup camera. Much later will be HID's from TRS.


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Discussion Starter #17
Final verdict 32 degree temperature drop in balmy 70% humidity (love SE Louisiana) and not a peep from the compressor. The old one used to make an incredibly antisocial clattering noise while it ran.

For anyone likewise doing this job yourself, get a copy of the FSM, follow it, and take your time. It's definitely a DIY job, albeit more difficult than changing a headlight bulb.


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Glad to hear it! I'm glad you're feeling better, too. Last week it was in and out of the 90's every day. Unfortunately, I know what it's like to not have AC, but I'm glad I don't have to deal with it since I got the 3!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Glad to hear it! I'm glad you're feeling better, too. Last week it was in and out of the 90's every day. Unfortunately, I know what it's like to not have AC, but I'm glad I don't have to deal with it since I got the 3!
Yeah, I spent a month without A/C, partially while XCNuse and I screamed at UPS about the compressor he sold me that they lost. Then, the weekend I have lined up to fix it, I come down with THE WORST stomach flu I have ever had, and spend a day and a half in bed hating life. At least it got done, and I'm finally looking forward to driving my car to work again.


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Update: USPS showed up with boxes of goodies for me. Yellow fog lights already installed, night pics to follow when it gets dark tonight.

Flip key will be a little bit before its done. I've gotta see if I want to get the blank that came with it cut, or cut a spare I have lying around and JB Weld thank blank to the rotating mechanism in this key. I'll ponder and take pics either way.

I've also got a backup camera that'll probably go in this weekend. I'm figuring tap the power off the reverse lights (pick up the wires in the headliner where they come in from the hatch) and run signal all the way up to the HU.

A happy Father's Day is one I spend with my family with some time out to work on my car.


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