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Discussion Starter #21
Just finished my 2,400 mile road trip and I'm back in Chattanooga, TN!





Also, back to this sweet, sweet goodness!



My best average tank mpg was 37.5 and my worst was 22. Average for the trip was about 29 mpg.
And, it could just be in my head, but my car seems to be running a little better since switching to a full synthetic oil before the trip. I've also gained even more appreciation for the bags--they really restored the fun-to-drive qualities of my 3 even though I had a good 400 pounds in the car besides myself. I almost forgot about all the stuff in the hatch during the 80 mph Utah canyons because the car did not feel weighed down at all! The trip is usually very mundane since I can't go that fast in the twisties, but with the bags, I drove the car *almost* like I normally would if there was no weight in the back.

I also wanted to mention that the camera is such a huge help, especially when parking or backing out of parking spots in crowded parking lots. Performance is great even at night and in the rain.
@n8marsh you should definitely get them! And, even if you end up not liking them, they have a 60 day no questions asked money back guarantee. Might as well try them out!
 

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Nice looking 3, sedole! Looks so much better than my rust bucket 2004 gray hatch. And that lip...I'm jealous!
 

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Where did u get your blue interior lights and what's that next to ur gear shift is that factory?
 

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Discussion Starter #25
@XCNuse I would really love to go out to EECMM, but I don't know if I can swing it since the 19th is also my girlfriend's birthday. Is there a rough schedule for the day's events? I'll try to come by for a little bit if the times work out.
@JT thanks! Mine is starting to show some wear and tear too... Several hail dings and a couple small rust spots forming..:frown2:
@3.2s I don't remember what size bulb they are, but I got them from a website called "superbrightleds". And that little controller is factory. It controls the factory equipped navigation unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Not a whole lot going on with the Mazda lately since I'm back at school and Dental School interviews are coming up at the end of this month, but I just wanted to post a little update/throwback.

So here's a little throwback to my moment of weakness this summer! I went back to stock height for about two weeks. Definitely an impulsive move partly because I was feeling very tired of the car and partly because I was having daydreams of being able to rally style hoon it back on the dirt roads here in TN. I actually didn't mind the added wheel gap, but I couldn't stand how floaty it felt, so I put it right back lol.





I also wanted to say that I forgot to mention earlier that I did the DIY solid shifter bushings mod some time ago. The only real difference I've noticed is I no longer occasionally get locked out/stuck going into second when shifting very hard/fast.

I've also changed the setup of my rear helper bags a little bit since I last posted. I was noticing that the rear end would get unsettled during corners where it didn't before the install (only when there was no weight in the back), so I decided to valve each bag independently. Problem solved!

Besides that, I'm planning a run to the Dragon's Tail sometime soon, but I want to improve my heel-toe shifting before that happens. I can do 4 to 3 just fine, but the 3 to 2 shift is giving me some trouble. I need everything I can get to try to keep up with my friend's E36 m3, so who knows how that will go lol:csweeney:
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Still haven't ran the Dragon yet....but here's a mandatory post car wash picture and my new blue led glovebox light!



 

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Discussion Starter #30
Finally decided to get a rack! I will need extra hauling space when I move back to CA at the end of this semester, plus I will definitely use it for carrying my skis once I'm back on the west coast.

I'm also debating on putting a roof basket and a led light bar up there :grin2::grin2:



 

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Another cross-country Mazda3! Wish you a speedy semester and see you on the Best Coast :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
Thanks @color0 ! Can't wait to be back on the west coast!!

The basket is on!
I will admit that my mpg dropped by about 3 mpg, but that doesn't bother me too much as gas is only $1.50 here in TN. What bugs me is the wind noise...this thing howls! I wrapped some bungee cord around the front and that cut a lot of the noise down, but it is still noticeable at freeway speeds. It will be serving a function so I'll leave it on for now, but I don't know if I'll keep it on all the time once I get back to the west coast.

I do love how it looks though!








Other news:
I had to take some rutted dirt roads to get to a farm today, and I ended up tearing off the plastic skid plate while doing so (which has been cracked since I bought the car).. So, I'm debating between getting another factory one for about $40, making one myself from aluminum for around $80++?, or buying the corksport one for $250.

I like the added protection of the corksport one, but I don't know if I can justify the cost to myself. I also worry that if I make the plate myself, it might end up not very good due to my limited access to proper tools here at the university, which would be money down the drain...

I really should get a truck or 4x4 as a second vehicle lol. I always seem to end up taking the Mazda places it doesn't belong and breaking stuff (like when I tried to get to a waterfall and ended up breaking my power steering lines last year).
 

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I would make your own, tie it into the front bumper and extend it all the way to the subframe, ditch all the stock plastic. You get better aero, save weight and $$$. Win-Win-Win (after efforts)
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Well, the basket was ditched after 2 weeks of being on the car lol. I was bothered by the whistling noises it caused and it started to rust after just 2 heavy rains during the first week.

Anyways, I needed a new cargo solution for my trip back to CA, so I ended up getting a roof box; the Prorack cargo box 10. It's definitely not as sleek or good-looking as the high-dollar Thule or Yakima products, but for a few bucks less than $200 brand new, I'm pretty satisfied! And the best part: no more annoying whistles!

Homeward bound T-11 days!







 

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Discussion Starter #37
Sweet, I definitely think they will benefit you a lot!

Mine are still holding up strong!

Yeah, I decided to valve them independently because I noticed that when under hard cornering, the rear end felt a lot less stable than it did without the bags (when there was no cargo in the rear). I theorized that because the air could flow between the two bags, once I reached a certain G force amount during a corner, some of the air in the bag on the outside compressed side would go to the one on the inside, thus lifting the inside even more and unsettling the rear end.

So, instead of having air lines running from each bag meeting at a shared "T" fitting and then a single air line running from the "T" to the fill valve, I just ditched the "T" valve and gave each bag their own fill valve.

My theory could definitely be wrong, but after I switched the valving, the car felt a lot more normal!
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Just a little update:

3 is still holding up strong. Performed very well on the 15 days I skied this winter, even in several inches of fresh snow. Did have to bring it in to dealer to replace fuel neck lock ring though as I didn't have time to fix it myself (nor did I have time to research a mechanic as I've never taken it to a shop around here). Service manager had a full vehicle inspection done as I had never been there and was surprised that my "old car" (his words) was in such a highly maintained condition. Nonetheless...nice to hear that what I perceive to be as taking good care of a car is actually taking good care of a car!


Also...I went and did a thing:



I guess I got a thing for Ti Grey lol
 
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