College Student First Car Build

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2003 Mazda Protege5
Hello all, I wanted to document and date all of my mods and join a car community. I am currently a senior, studying finance with a concentration in risk management and insurance and a minor in marketing, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. I currently work at a local BMW/MINI dealership as a service porter . I've had an interest in cars, motorcycles, and airplanes as long as I can remember. I currently own a 2002 F-150 with more problems than I can name, a 2007 Yamaha R6, and my new-to-me Vivid Yellow 2003 Protege5 (nicknamed School Bus). I purchased it on 1/22/18 from a nice local guy with 230k miles. I was skeptical at first, but the man who owned it spent 10 minutes on the phone with a laundry list of parts he had replaced within the last 2 years. So far I've had the car for 3k miles with zero problems (minus the few from just having a very old car), but overall, it is a solid car and I'm satisfied with it. It is my first manual vehicle and first one I want to get into modding. I did end up rear ending a lady on 264 about a month after I got the car, and did some damage to the vehicle. Completely destroyed the hood and cracked the bumper. Got a new hood from Partsgeek (which got shipped with the corners bent), still haven't gotten the bumper or grill, as I think new grills are too much IMO, but determined to wrap the car, and get a junkyard bumper since it is $200 cheaper and I don't need to paint. I've determined this is going to be the car that teaches me about cars. I want to eventually turbo it or grab a MSP engine and drop in it, but thats once this engine goes. With that being said, below is the list of things I have done, and things I want to do.

Have done
Subwoofer
Aftermarket headunit
MPV wiper stalk
HID kit (from previous owner)
35% tint all around

Want to do
Exhaust
Lower
Intake
Vehicle wrap
Wheels


I will try to come back here and update as much as possible, as budget is tight and time is scarce.

 
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2003 Mazda Protg5
I thought I replied.. But use an image hosting site such as imgur. I'm not sure if it still works, but
was how I used to do it.
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
Sunburst yellow is a really pretty color for these things. Really nice looking ride so far!

Poor thing's missing an upper grille. Do you have any kind of replacement in mind? As in, are you shooting for an OEM replacement or something aftermarket? If you're looking for an aftermarket one, DGM makes a pretty carbon fiber one. It's pricy, but boy it looks nice,
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
I'm loving the car so far! Went to a local Mazda dealership today for a few Misc parts I needed and managed to only get one as the rest no longer exist lol. As for the grill, I just checked out the DGM and its a little more than I want to spend right now. I'm getting one from a junkyard this weekend. When I ran into the lady it got obliterated all over the highway. I'm still finding pieces all over my car (I ripped the bits out and threw them in the back seat).
 
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2003 P5
I had a yellow P5 rental before I bought my Laser Blue - EVERYBODY wanted to race the yellow one!

For OEM parts, try Jim Ellis Mazda and Quirk Parts, I've had luck finding things like MSP/MP3 struts
and steering knuckles from them. If aftermarket will do RockAuto is your friend.

Enjoy the ride!
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Ordered a HKS exhaust today! Hopefully it'll be here within the next few days so I can install it
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
I ended up doing the most driving in a 24 hour period I've ever done (always kinda skeptical to take it farther than to school and back due to high mileage), but managed to do about 450 miles in a 24 hour span no problem! From cruising on the highway at 80 mph for a few hours (and managing to get around 25-30mpg) to running her hard on backroads, she never missed a beat! That's the first time I've really pushed the car. The main point of my trip was to run to a pick a part near my parents house as they had around 10 protege5s. Of course the usual shenanigans, but I managed to find a grill, the light above the steering wheel I broke, a dipstick (previous owner broke), even the kick plate that goes on the rear bumper to protect it (just needs a good coat of paint). Every front bumper was either damaged or ripped off so the engine could be removed. My list of needed parts has shrunk now, as I only need a wing (want to paint it but want to keep the original one JIC I mess it up) and the bumper. Love working on this car and she's keeping me as happy as can be :)
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Sunburst yellow is a really pretty color for these things. Really nice looking ride so far!

Poor thing's missing an upper grille. Do you have any kind of replacement in mind? As in, are you shooting for an OEM replacement or something aftermarket? If you're looking for an aftermarket one, DGM makes a pretty carbon fiber one. It's pricy, but boy it looks nice,
Managed to snag a grill outta a pick a part today. You were right, looks so much better!
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Had time to paint the rear bumper guard and install the exhaust (working at a car dealership has its perks). Exhaust took me 15 minutes to install, which isn't bad considering it is the first time I've ever done it. I thought the HKS exhaust online was cat back, not just axle back. Still need to find the pipes from the cat to the axle. Basically, it is not loud enough. Does sound a little louder, and is throaty, not raspy like some other 4 cyl owners (cough cough) but happy for now!

 

JazzySP20

Madaz
L
AUSTRALIA
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BJII Astina SP20
If you want louder, remove he two bolts and take out the reducer on the rear muffler. Try that and see if you notice a difference in sound.
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
If you want louder, remove he two bolts and take out the reducer on the rear muffler. Try that and see if you notice a difference in sound.
I've been meaning to. just been busy. I eventually want to get a full exhaust with headers, but a few other projects need some attention
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
I am starting toi love this car more and more. I can't stop looking at parts and visualizing the car and what I want to do. I've been searching for a wing/spoiler as mine is fading and the clear coat is cracking and falling off. I want to repaint it, but I've never painted something like that and wanted another one in case I FUBR it. I had to take a trip to Georgia to help a friend move his second car, and was searching the local pull a parts and found a P5 that was dropped off there the day before I was going down there. I got there and a beautiful, unmolested red P5 was sitting there! Got the wing and hood liner off of it and will be going on my car later this summer. I also did the tribute washer nozzles upgrade (not too happy with it, doesn't have the coverage I'd like, but definitely better than the stock ones.) Slowly but surely making this car what I want it to be. I found a front lip, but need a front bumper and found a wing on here i LOVE but like the cowl hood, it is a unicorn and barely exists.

 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Progress has been slow as I get set back with trying to find parts i want. I fell in love with the DG Motorsports front lip and rear wing, emailed the guy and he informed me he doesn't make them anymore ): I've kinda gotten discouraged from tring to mod it as I can't find parts. I ordered weather tech window shields (again, wanted the dark tint to contrast the yellow and black parts on it but they only had light and I didn't want some cheapo stick ons). But i decided today to plasti dip the rear valence and mirrors since there's an extended weekend and I'm ahead in my classes. Might also do the batter terminals this weekend but it's supposed to storm all day Monday, so I guess we shall see where the weekend takes me. I snapped a picture before I started and will post an after!
I also got a Mazdaspeed Licence plate frame, which I love (minus the $40 price). One day she will get a MSP engine, but for now she's gonna have to be a poser. Lol

 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
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2002 Mazda Protege5
Nice man, you'll love the black rear valance! It really gives the car a far more aggressive look from behind.

I must say that you shouldn't get discouraged from the lack of parts, as there are always part-outs and craigslist postings out there.

I scored an MP3 IM and a set of 4 wheels for less than 200 bucks, so I've been quite lucky. Just gotta hit up craigslist and make pals!
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Nice man, you'll love the black rear valance! It really gives the car a far more aggressive look from behind.

I must say that you shouldn't get discouraged from the lack of parts, as there are always part-outs and craigslist postings out there.

I scored an MP3 IM and a set of 4 wheels for less than 200 bucks, so I've been quite lucky. Just gotta hit up craigslist and make pals!
I just have to be patient and search more. It saddens me that such a nice car doesn't have support or is overlooked. I think the timeline that I have in my head is too short for the time it is going to require lol

What's an MP3 IM?

I finished the last coat of the plasti dip at around 10 PM so I cant see it, but with a flashlight I'm loving it!
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
I just have to be patient and search more. It saddens me that such a nice car doesn't have support or is overlooked. I think the timeline that I have in my head is too short for the time it is going to require lol

What's an MP3 IM?

I finished the last coat of the plasti dip at around 10 PM so I cant see it, but with a flashlight I'm loving it!
One of the more popular N/A mods to do to a P5 is to turn it into the special edition Protege MP3 from 2001; doing this requires an intake manifold without VTCS and the MP3 ECU (racingbeat catback suggested). You have two options: remove your current IM, cut out the VTCS, and fill the holes left behind with epoxy; drop in an IM from the MP3 (they came without the VTCS). You could also port and polish it for more power if desired, but I've yet to see empirical data on that bettering performance.

I should've had this done a few months back now, but Diff EQ was a demanding mistress...
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Well, today is the first day the car left me stranded. Turns out the timing belt has popped through the cover and there's a loud clunking sound when it's running. My friend, who is also a former Mazda tech, is taking a look at it when he gets a moment. Hoping it just needs a timing belt and cover and the associated parts. If not, I am highly considering swapping an MSP engine into it. (which if you have any info on that please please contact me, I have a few questions). Hopefully, this is either something not too bad or something that I can turn into something good.


 

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