College Student First Car Build

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2003 Mazda Protege5
I saw it and want it, but my wallet's had enough for a while :^)

If my rebate for the set is accepted, then maybe, but then again that's cash I could use for school

Between a new set of wheels/tires and paying off summer semester tuition, anything won't be done until I sneak in lots of work hours
The Hellas are pretty cheap, I got them for $40 I want to say! I wanted to mount them higher, but they wouldn't fit and I don't like hacking stuff up, so lower they go. But I feel you, just got done with summer classes and trying to pick up every shift I can at work before I go back in August. I know financing is bad, but I use Affirm to buy stuff I need but don't necessarily want to spend the money right there. No hard credit check and easy to pay. Got the sub and some things for my motorcycle through them.
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
I'm at a very huge crossroad. I want to keep modding the Mazda, but at the same time save money and start paying off my credit cards and student loans. I'm about out of ideas, as all I'd really want to do it lower it (I fell in love with air ride but there's no way I can justify spending almost $3000 on one part for a car I got for like $1700), wheels/tires, intake, 4-2-1 headers (if I can find some that aren't $500), and maybe finish with a full custom exhaust. The car has, so far, been reliable (KNOCKS ON WOOD). Not the fastest thing in the world, but does handle corners very well. Which makes me happy, the R6 keeps the speed demon in me suppressed. It's also going to need a repaint, I was using a clay bar the other day and was literally scraping paint from the car lol
So I'm thinking, its either keep pushing the last few thousand (of $) towards this car and make it what I want, or just wait until I graduate (hopefully a little less than a year from now), get a job as an air traffic controller (VERY well paying job), buy something under 20k (leaning towards an FRS/brz) and mod it (supercharger would be first). I've been researching them all week as I fell in love with Devin Niemela's (check his youtube) build. Either way, I think I would keep the P5 cause it's so cheap and I love the little thing. But at the same time with it being a higher mileage car, I don't know how much time is left in her. I wouldn't mind trying to swap the engine, as it's just something that I've never attempted.
I don't know. A lot to think about but who knows where I'll go
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
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2002 Mazda Protege5
I'm at a very huge crossroad. I want to keep modding the Mazda, but at the same time save money and start paying off my credit cards and student loans. I'm about out of ideas, as all I'd really want to do it lower it (I fell in love with air ride but there's no way I can justify spending almost $3000 on one part for a car I got for like $1700), wheels/tires, intake, 4-2-1 headers (if I can find some that aren't $500), and maybe finish with a full custom exhaust. The car has, so far, been reliable (KNOCKS ON WOOD). Not the fastest thing in the world, but does handle corners very well. Which makes me happy, the R6 keeps the speed demon in me suppressed. It's also going to need a repaint, I was using a clay bar the other day and was literally scraping paint from the car lol
So I'm thinking, its either keep pushing the last few thousand (of $) towards this car and make it what I want, or just wait until I graduate (hopefully a little less than a year from now), get a job as an air traffic controller (VERY well paying job), buy something under 20k (leaning towards an FRS/brz) and mod it (supercharger would be first). I've been researching them all week as I fell in love with Devin Niemela's (check his youtube) build. Either way, I think I would keep the P5 cause it's so cheap and I love the little thing. But at the same time with it being a higher mileage car, I don't know how much time is left in her. I wouldn't mind trying to swap the engine, as it's just something that I've never attempted.
I don't know. A lot to think about but who knows where I'll go
Are you me from an alternate universe?

Just today, I had to set an ultimatum on my P5 spending, with just a few days ago, having to let go of a deal I was offered on coilovers. I made the decision to push money I had towards school instead of the car, which has been mostly reliable ( lol ) as of late.

Really, the big fun stuff will be out of my reach while I'm going to school. Once I graduate and get a job as some sort of computer engineer, a very well-paying job, I'll really start to work on this thing. But there is a similarity here--while panicking about my car's headgasket being toast, I began to research cars I might replace it with. One of which was a Toyota Celica; any generation, really. Upon hearing the news that my car was alive, I settled on maybe buying one once I'm out of college for modding.

If you ever do an engine swap, get yourself a KL-ZE (or the more common KL-DE, less fun though). That's a V6 that'll make your car absolutely scream! If my current engine conks out when I'm graduated, that's what I'll do.

Anyhow, If I was you, I would definitely put your money into school over putting it into your car. You may not get much returns aside from good feelings and personal education/experience. But with college, you'll get your returns in the form of the capability to have several project cars and the ability to economically support them.

I hate waiting for graduation/jobs, but man it'll be so worth it when I can not bat an eye at dropping serious cash for performance...
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
I love all of the celicas! I've always had a spot in my heart for the old 60s Japanese classics. There's actually a car dealership about an hour and a half from me that only sells imports. Fortunately my school is paid for, unfortunately, it's with loans, and I believe my balance is near $70k and I still have about another 15 or so for my last semesters. I could have gotten the M4 I want at this point lol

But I'd definitely leaning towards just waiting until I graduate. If not, I'll just get coilovers myself and the wheels for Christmas but at the same time it is my daily and I was running errands the other day and realized how steep entranceways are around here.

Girlfriend is on board with me getting a gt86 style car, but who knows. Time will tell.

When do you graduate?
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
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2002 Mazda Protege5
s*** man, some days it seems like I won't graduate soon enough. Thanks to the dickheads that ran the counseling/transfer planning department at the community college I went to, I wasn't informed about how I was supposed to transfer to the 4-year institute of my choice. As a result, I'm going to have some extremely wonky semesters where filler classes might be a necessity, or when required classes are straight up unavailable. To give you an idea of this, I'm a Junior just about at 100 credits. I'll probably graduate 2019, maybe, but I do know for a fact that I'll accomplish my math minor this next semester. That minor better be worth it, because it was hard to get lol!!

I'm in the same boat as you: school's technically "paid off" with loans, but damn I'm at a fraction of debt that you're in! I work decent hours, so I kept a goal of paying off half of each semester with what I got, and paying the other half with the loan. If I play my cards right and stop burning my money on my car, I might graduate with a minimum of 12k in the hole (best case) or 22k (less-best case).

If and when I get a good dev job after I graduate, man will this car transform. I really want to pick up old junkers and teach myself some mechanic skills, so that I can build up this future classic we're running.

Good luck man, it's hard having to put aside something you're passionate about, but boy it'll be worth it.
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Funnily enough, I was a Mathematics major when I transferred from Florida to VA, love math and everything, but I failed a class and retook it the next semester and the professor was doing something and was trying to show us how the math worked, got halfway through, messed it up somewhere and looked at us and said "it works, trust me". I left, called my mom and changed to risk management and insurance lmao you should get a good paying job. My computer expert friend just got a job making almost $100k WITHOUT a degree, but he's been working full time for the last 6-8 years and can do stuff with computers I (with a little knowledge of how they work) can't even begin to comprehend.

The only reason my debt is so bad is because I use my loans to pay for rent, which ends up being $550/ month. Lived by myself last year and that was $1000 a month and the year before that we had an expensive place that was costing nearly $700 a month. Tuition is fairly cheap at like $10k a year. Last semester really got me as I got out like 21k (the max) and got a certain yellow item, a 2 wheeled item, a macbook and lord knows what else. but oh well.

Luckily my dad works in DC for the government, so I'm hoping to get a government job or the ATC job, which will both yield me pretty decent salaries, and my gf also graduates spring 2019, so definitely an advantage that we'll have 2 incomes! Time will tell, she saw me researching last night and said the gt86 at $15-20k makes more sense than the $45k mustang or truck, so I got that going for me lol
 

323

lolmsp lolms3
Moderator
as expensive as some goodies are for the car, it's cheaper than a car payment and premium insurance. but all said and done it's prolly best to finish school and get a job first if you're tight on monies.
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Very true about the car payment and whatnot. I'm hoping a good enough deal comes thru the dealership I work at before I leave after school. But I also just want a newer car, I've always driven older ones and its kind of a treat.

I definitely have time to think and weigh the options, but I just want to pay some debt off.
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
So my the P5 has been chillin. I think it'll need a clutch soon (the bite point is almost all the way up and the car is very jerky at times, no slipping though) but Saturday I had to reseal my girlfriend's oil pan gasket on her 2013 sonata, and it is honestly the biggest job I've taken on on a car. But today I was driving to the mall to get her MacBook looked at and this happens. This is the stupidity in the 757 area code. As bad as it sounds (and she agrees with me) I hate it happened at all, but I'm glad it wasn't in the P5 as with 240k miles I don't think I'd get more than $600 and a "good luck with a new car" (I cannot afford a car payment in any way as school sucks most of my money) Basically, I have the best luck with motor vehicles. Timing chain with the P5, the accident 3 weeks after I got it, my truck is a mechanical joke (it become a snowball, fix one thing and 3 others break, so I stopped dumping the money into it), my r6 is having some weird issues idling and randomly stalls when I pull in the clutch (very interesting when you're doing about 95 on a highway), and then this. When does it stop? lmao
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WCaQFU1JlywVOiMsibt1H6aNT6tQG8_5/view?usp=sharing
I hope the video plays audio, cause you can hear me deny he's about to do the uturn and then he proceeded to do it and me cussing. I turned the car off as soon as I hit him (i didn't know if it was going to be leaking oil or coolant) and didn't want to damage the vehicle more and that cut out me asking him if he was fucking serious and that he had to be fucking kidding me. There's another video of me pacing around cause we had just put a lot of time into her car recently. 3 hours fixing her bumper from a fender bender a few years ago, 6 hours on the oil pan, and she's almost paid it off and isn't in the position to buy a new car/start paying on a new loan. Oh well, waiting on his insurance to get back to us
 
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323

lolmsp lolms3
Moderator
Yeah dude. This area is terrible. I have to drive though greenbrier for work and it*s gotta be the worst in this area. Sadly you just have to drive thinking everyone is out to get you to stay safe
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Yeah dude. This area is terrible. I have to drive though Greenbrier for work and it*s gotta be the worst in this area. Sadly you just have to drive thinking everyone is out to get you to stay safe
I typically try to avoid that area lmao we were over at the Ashley's on 7/3 and 4 to buy and pick up a mattress and I remembered why I avoid that area at all costs.
I never take the motorcycle out because of the horrible drivers and this area has made me hate driving with the flat, traffic-packed roads. I miss the country backroads man. Pungo is so far outta my way I never go and everything south of here is a 45 minute drive
 
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Mazda protege5
Subbing, nice build so far man. Sorry about that ca'moron, I swear it's always the dumbest people with the most expensive cars. I feel you and Riot with the whole budget vs parts dilemma, I'm not in college but with my pay rate I sure wish I woulda went haha. Hopefully no one will crush the little p5, these cars are getting kinda hard to find for the right price
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
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2002 MP5
Yup !! We really like to salt things up here in the northeast... We love our salt.



Doesn't this one look all sporty !!!

So come on everybody !!!
Show your rust !!

I'll start...

Rear caliper FTW !!



And this...
It's the backside of my carpet showing...

 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
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2002 Mazda Protege5
Holy s*** that collision almost made me s*** a brick. Goddamn I hate ignorant and uneducated drivers! They're everywhere, holy s***! What a brainless and selfish move that pinhead pulled. Thank god you got yourself a dashcam to protect yourself with. There's no way he's getting out of this one, unless he's an uninsured dipshit on lien. Either way, glad you're alright. You can always replace body panels and cars, after all.

And ugh, thanks for showing me why I shouldn't move northeast, PCB :^)
 

323

lolmsp lolms3
Moderator
Hey which dash can do you have and how is it mounted? I*m becoming to think it*s a requirement to have one driving around these areas present day. Thanks
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Subbing, nice build so far man. Sorry about that ca'moron, I swear it's always the dumbest people with the most expensive cars. I feel you and Riot with the whole budget vs parts dilemma, I'm not in college but with my pay rate I sure wish I woulda went haha. Hopefully no one will crush the little p5, these cars are getting kinda hard to find for the right price
Thanks man!
I had honestly never heard of the P5 until I found a single one on Craigslist locally. I love the car and am glad I got it instead of the civic I wanted.
As for the mods, Ill probably just wait a little while to see what is wrong with the bike and see if Ill need a clutch for the Mazda but I think another $1500 and Ill be done until I paint it and whatnot.
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Holy s*** that collision almost made me s*** a brick. Goddamn I hate ignorant and uneducated drivers! They're everywhere, holy s***! What a brainless and selfish move that pinhead pulled. Thank god you got yourself a dashcam to protect yourself with. There's no way he's getting out of this one, unless he's an uninsured dipshit on lien. Either way, glad you're alright. You can always replace body panels and cars, after all.

And ugh, thanks for showing me why I shouldn't move northeast, PCB :^)
He tried to tell the officer he was making a lane change, but that changed when I said I had a dash cam. I was so annoyed and pissed off it wasnt even funny. Ive been in other accidents and been calm and all oh it was an accident but something that blatantly stupid and completely avoidable? I couldnt hold my tongue. After we moved the cars I was still outside the car cussing and fussing and eventually my girlfriend was yelling at me to get into the car lmao
 
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Hey which dash can do you have and how is it mounted? I*m becoming to think it*s a requirement to have one driving around these areas present day. Thanks
A lot of people have been asking this! It was honestly a no name $50 camera my girlfriend got off of amazon that they no longer sell. Im buying one for my car this week, as a $50 investment has saved us from who knows how much. Im probably going to get the first one on amazon when you search dash cam
As for mounting, shes not particular so its in the middle of her windshield and she just uses one of the cig outlets in her car. But I cant stand stuff on my windshield. When I drive her car I dont notice it, but mine is gonna have to go behind the mirror and have the cable routed under and behind the dash
 
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