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[DEFUNCT] The College-Budget P5

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
The Rear Valence

I'm not one for cosmetic mods/enhancements, but when I saw pictures of plasti-dipped rear valences, I had to give it a try.

I got some matte black plasti-dip spray, tapped off what I wasn't going to spray, and let 'er have it. Unfortunately, I made a mistake, and let the coatings dry before I removed my tape, so I ended up shredding the upper-half of my paint. Oh well, live and learn, right?

This also revealed that the tiny separation of the valence and the rest of the bumper had a lot of uncoated spots. To facilitate an easier spread, I jacked up the rear of my car. This way I'd have a better angle to work with.

Maybe half an hour later, I went from this:


To this:


I'm pretty happy with the results, and finally got a little bit of experience with painting.
 

323

lolmsp lolms3
should get the $1 clear coat from walmart instead. then you'll only spend $1 on a $4 car!
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
February Status Report

It's nuts thinking that I will have owned this car for a year in just a few months. It seems like just yesterday, I was going to my classes in my lifted Sidekick and experiencing the loudest road noises known to man...

I don't think I ever discussed it in depth, but when I put new front rotors and pads on my car, I must not of burnished/installed them properly. For about a month, I had the most irritating rhythmic squeak/grinding from my brakes accompanied by copious amounts of brake dust. My rims were horrible looking, my car sounded like garbage, and it drove me crazy. After some time, the noises just stopped, but my brakes began to pulsate. It's not as bad as I thought it would be, but the steering wheel definitely vibrates under medium braking loads.

Maybe I'm not taking it as seriously as I should, but I'll just hold off until I have to do all rotors and pads. Plus, I'll probably do the Mazda 6 brakes swap then.

That tie rod is still bad, and is getting worse. This car has been rattling/creaking when navigating bumps or when starting from a standstill, and I'm trying to eliminate as much of it as I can. Furthermore, I cannot find any adjustable endlinks for the life of me! There are no racingline, racingbeat, or AWR endlinks that I can buy, since they're all out of stock...jeez, guess I'll go with some moog endlinks, since I've heard plenty good about them. Plus, II may or may not have to replace my front endlinks. I dunno, I'm just spitballing to see what I can do.

Then there's the matter of my tie rod. I think I'll just replace both the same day I get my tires rotated and aligned.
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
The Second Mod

It wasn't on the list to begin with, but after reading about retrofitting (or is it futurefitting in this instance?) an MX-6 bar on a P5, I had to do it. Especially since it was inexpensive.

Here's what my car's truck looked like for a bit:


boy was it dusty in there.

I then cut out holes for the panels using my recently acquired hole saw set. It was a seriously cheap piece of shit, but it got the job done.

Here are some up close shots of the holes:

(Good Side)


(Measure once, fuck up twice side)


I'm very pleased with the look of it, and with the performance!


And yes, I did install the bar itself when the car was jacked up in the air with no load on the suspension.

Once the bar was installed, I took it out to the twistiest road near me to see if I could tell a difference.

To note, I sometimes bomb this road for fun after a long day at school, and I know my comfortable limit around it. Fastest I've ever gone through it was about 62 mph, but that was dicey. My car's body would "bounce" in such a way that while turning, if I adjusted the wheel's angle, the car would roll to oppose my input, bounce against it slightly, and then return to an equilibrium state during the turn. I make it sound super scary and dangerous, but this sensation would occur very quickly and to a small extent. It's enough to probably scare a passenger.

This STB virtually negated it. I still had body roll of course, but the car no longer roll-oscillated in the way I described. It felt far more planted and confident in harder/faster turns.

Not bad for 27 bucks, I gotta say!

Bar Used: Megan Rear Strut Bar MX-6 Probe

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Megan-Rear...d7wu:sc:FedExHomeDelivery!80918!US!-1&vxp=mtr
 
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Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
UPDATE: A Better Use for Tax Refund Money

Originally, I was going to buy Racing Beat's catback exhaust system, but that oil leak my car has bothers me too much. It's a slow leak coming from the bottom of my transaxle, which is bad economic news. That's a good sign that it's a rear main oil seal leak, but knowing this car, it could be a bolt leak. Either way, it's out of my hands for the next few days, and I'll be driving the van.

I don't have the experience nor the equipment to do this myself, and my one pal who could help me sold his damn engine hoist, so I sent it to a local shop my family and I have always trusted. Perhaps I'll learn how to swap in/out engines in the future, when I have an actual "fun money" stash to throw around.

I love this car a lot, and the longer I can keep it running, the better. I don't need it to sound badass if it's got issues.
 
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Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
Endlinks and Oil Leaks

As an update stemming from the previous post...I got lucky.

My inner-CV axles had bad grommets and bad boots, and were leaking down the sides of the transaxle. This mimicked a bad rear-main oil seal. With that squared away, I'm good to continue working on other aspects of my car.

Which leads me into the replacement of my front endlinks.

My car clunked like crazy going over bumps, backing out of my driveway, going from reverse to first...you name it. After figuring that the noise came from my endlinks--which were as old as the car--I went ahead and got some Moog brand replacements. This was my first time messing with endlinks, so it took me a little longer to figure out the what's what.

When I finally wrenched the old endlink free, I was pleased to see the visible improvement that the Moogs offered! Apologies for the shitty picture; lighting was bad, and I jittered right before the picture was done.



Damn, those are much thicker than OEM. Plus, the old endlinks were so bad that the ball-joints felt like thumbsticks on a game controller.

All good and torqued to spec!



My stock sway bar looked a little rusty, so maybe if I work up the gumption to drop the subframe and yank it out, I'll give it a good sanding and re-finish.

So for now, my (front) clunking is gone! there's a tiny bit of groaning, which is from my rubber bushings, but a little lithium grease spray could help that.

All I got to do now is figure out what to do with the rear endlinks...
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
If they are shot, I think you'll notice a good difference but I'm curious how much since you already have that bar in the back.
I know you posted this a long-ass time ago, so apologies for the late-ass response:

I ended up taking the RB swaybar out, since the brackets that came with it were all sorts of bent and messed up. The clunking was awful, and personally, I could've done a better job installing the thing.

The stock bar is back in, and I'm currently saving up for the anti-clunk brackets from AWR (alongside some smaller bushings).
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
Autocross

I finally took 'er out for a spin. With my fluid levels set, my oil leak fixed, and my rear strut brace installed, I set off to learn how to really drive a P5.



Turns out, racing isn't nearly as stressful or scary as I thought it might be. The car isn't powerful enough to get out from under me, so the corner histrionics were largely limited to me not letting the car return to weight-shifting equilibrium or hammering it too soon around a turn (one tire fire!!)

Gradually, each run featured less and less tire squealing and more calculated approaches. Shit man, it was a science! Hug the wall here, hammer it through there...I began to get the idea of how to approach road tracks, and how to throw the car around it efficiently. This place has some really friendly track pros, and they were all down to help me figure this racing thing out. I can't wait for the next run.

Well, I did encounter a few problems.

First of all, that damn CEL came back on. It was still P0171, which was "fuel system trim too lean". I "fixed" it once by spraying down the MAF with its respective cleaner, so I tried it again for a temporary fix while I check my lines. This time, I hosed the damn thing down with the MAF cleaner spray and let it sit. my seals between the air box and the intake hose were still fine, as there were no visible tears or scratches. I suppose it's onto things like the fuel pump filter, the FPR, and my fuel lines. I hope its something inexpensive, for once!
 
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:
Mazda Protege5
I know you posted this a long-ass time ago, so apologies for the late-ass response:

I ended up taking the RB swaybar out, since the brackets that came with it were all sorts of bent and messed up. The clunking was awful, and personally, I could've done a better job installing the thing.

The stock bar is back in, and I'm currently saving up for the anti-clunk brackets from AWR (alongside some smaller bushings).
No worries. That sucks man. Sounds like the awr ones are pricey.
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
Cat-Back Exhaust!

My Racing Beat cat-back exhaust arrived today! I'm so pumped!



There's still some spring break left, so it won't be long until I get this bad boy installed.

Initially, I bought this system since it was a modification I was itching to do. Well, when I went under my car to screw around with the rear endlinks and the swaybar, I took a good look at my exhaust system...

I'll upload pictures of what the old system looked like along with my future installation post. It's gonna be good!
 
:
2002 Proteg5 manual
I totally am interested in how this sounds in the car. I have been eyeing this exhaust since before I got my car, and look forward to hearing what you have to say about it.
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
I totally am interested in how this sounds in the car. I have been eyeing this exhaust since before I got my car, and look forward to hearing what you have to say about it.
Racing Beat's exhaust system is absolutely top-notch. When I finally got to rip open the surrounding bubble wrap and look at it, the impression of serious handiwork came to mind. It's gorgeous, really, and certainly draws attention away from the rusting trailing links, lateral links, and stock swaybar.

Installing took me about 2-3 hours (since I encountered some terribad Colorado-brand rust welds and was doing this on my back), but I'd imagine that someone with better equipment and experience could get it in far more quickly. Trying to keep the exhaust donuts in place was tricky, but it was nowhere near as annoying as the muffler hanger rubber! They were so old and malleable that they'd stretch really far and not want to come off.

When the system was in, I was highly impressed by the exhaust note/tone. Just as advertised, there were no raspiness or shitty ricey noises. The car took on a much more guttural or "throaty" tone while being far more deep and audible--but not so much that it would piss off the neighbors. It gives of a real "performance" attitude.

Now, the fun begins when you really send it! Upon flooring it, the exhaust tone really opens up and growls like it means business. I haven't redlined my car since putting the exhaust system on, but getting up past 4k rpms sounds excellent.

As for performance, the butt-dyno tells me that the car has slightly more pull. I noticed that in 4th and 5th gear, the car doesn't have as hard of a time pulling up hills. Most interestingly, though, was how 1st gear feels now. At least on my vehicle, 1st gear tended to be jerky. The exhaust system seemingly "smoothed" it out, if that makes any sense.

For actual empirical gains, I don't know yet.

Long story short, this system is excellent in build quality, sound, and performance. It's loud when you want it to be and quiet otherwise.

I'd highly recommend it to anyone running a N/A car (I don't know how it runs on a turbo set up)
 
:
2002 Proteg5 manual
Racing Beat's exhaust system is absolutely top-notch. When I finally got to rip open the surrounding bubble wrap and look at it, the impression of serious handiwork came to mind. It's gorgeous, really, and certainly draws attention away from the rusting trailing links, lateral links, and stock swaybar.

Installing took me about 2-3 hours (since I encountered some terribad Colorado-brand rust welds and was doing this on my back), but I'd imagine that someone with better equipment and experience could get it in far more quickly. Trying to keep the exhaust donuts in place was tricky, but it was nowhere near as annoying as the muffler hanger rubber! They were so old and malleable that they'd stretch really far and not want to come off.

When the system was in, I was highly impressed by the exhaust note/tone. Just as advertised, there were no raspiness or shitty ricey noises. The car took on a much more guttural or "throaty" tone while being far more deep and audible--but not so much that it would piss off the neighbors. It gives of a real "performance" attitude.

Now, the fun begins when you really send it! Upon flooring it, the exhaust tone really opens up and growls like it means business. I haven't redlined my car since putting the exhaust system on, but getting up past 4k rpms sounds excellent.

As for performance, the butt-dyno tells me that the car has slightly more pull. I noticed that in 4th and 5th gear, the car doesn't have as hard of a time pulling up hills. Most interestingly, though, was how 1st gear feels now. At least on my vehicle, 1st gear tended to be jerky. The exhaust system seemingly "smoothed" it out, if that makes any sense.

For actual empirical gains, I don't know yet.

Long story short, this system is excellent in build quality, sound, and performance. It's loud when you want it to be and quiet otherwise.

I'd highly recommend it to anyone running a N/A car (I don't know how it runs on a turbo set up)
Hows the interior noise at 80-85MPH? I dont want exhaust drone in my car every day lol. My truck exhaust, its audible at those speeds, but subtle and doesnt get tiring
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
Highest speed I went on the highway was about 80 mph, and while it was louder than stock, it wasn't major. I couldn't hear it over my music (or the wind noise, lol), so it certainly stays in-line with its loud when needed/quiet otherwise design.
 
:
2002 Proteg5 manual
Highest speed I went on the highway was about 80 mph, and while it was louder than stock, it wasn't major. I couldn't hear it over my music (or the wind noise, lol), so it certainly stays in-line with its loud when needed/quiet otherwise design.
Good. I hear some people with loud exhaust, and wonder how they dont get tired of it on long drives. I know Im pulling ~80 on my daily commute, so good to know it shouldnt be an issue
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
:
2002 Mazda Protege5
The Suzuki: A Retrospective

I've been very dormant in regards to my car, lately. I've bought some junkyard parts for the big brake upgrade and finally ordered new bushings with anti-clunk adapters from AWR's store, but felt that it served as too little of an update to write about. In short, things are happening, albeit slowly. I'm definitely looking forward to my next AutoX event here in two weeks, though!

So, to provide some form of content, I've decided to look back on my previous car. Hope this little segment conveys how much I loved that thing.[HR][/HR]The first vehicular love of my life...I've learned so much from it. It was tiny, rattly, handsome, and lifted with over-sized tires, and introduced me to really fixing cars.



The family van began breaking down frequently. I was stranded far too many times: the fuel pump failed at one point, the crankshaft and cams were wrecked at some point (not sure what happened), the starter died. I had enough, and needed something I could depend upon.

Yet, my boyhood got in the way of the "dependability" part. I had the option between a Corolla and the Zook, and instead of picking the car that would probably still be running now, I snagged the box on oversized wheels.

At the time, I thought I hit the jackpot. It was a boy's dream; fun, light, and could climb up rocks and whatnot. It ran, and it had the machismo jackpot: manual transmission. I didn't know how to drive stick beforehand, but that didn't matter. I'd learn.

After perhaps a month and a half of puttering around neighborhoods and parking lots, killing the poor thing and grinding its gears, it clicked. The bucking and dumping stopped, and I could finally drive the thing without killing anyone or myself.

I began to drive the thing in some of the off-roads around the city. I couldn't believe how easy it was for me to go over the various terrain!

How ironic it was that the first debilitating break would occur in a pedestrian parking lot outside of the gym. The clutch-cable went out with a snap, and the car was stuck. Luckily, a family friend well-versed in car maintenance lent a hand, and we got the thing up and running again in no time. Really, it was the first time I was under the car, and it was nowhere near as busy as the other car I owned. Didn't seem so scary.

I eventually became much more familiar with simple maintenance, such as changing oil, inspecting brakes, checking vacuum lines, so on and so forth. In fact, I had to adopt a habit of checking all the fluids once a week, since the car had a really bad rear-main oil seal leak coupled with what may have been a bad valve cover gasket. I didn't know then, but that more or less explains the black residue all around the engine.

And then the boyhood antics came back. I heard of a fancy technique known as "heel-toe shifting", and looked up guides on how to do it. Several attempts of making myself look like an ass eventually came to fruition, as I finally got rev-matching and using the clutch to slow me down/put me back in the power band. I could totally race now, lmao...my car didn't seem to complain.

Well, until it did.

About the fourth or fifth year I owned it, it started sounding like an old carbureted muscle car. Overtime, it started losing more and more bottom end power. Instead of easing off the clutch around 1-1.5k rpms, I had to rev it even harder to around 2 or even 3k rpm while riding the clutch.
I had an exhaust leak somewhere around the exhaust manifold, and I felt up to the task. And what a damn PITA that was trying to yank the exhaust mani off of the collector pipe...rust straight up welded it in. (I definitely learned from this...getting the exhaust out of my P5 was going to suck since it was rust-welded, so I just got a reciprocating saw and cut the fucker out.)

And sure enough, that gasket was done for.



I was very confident that this fixed the problem. I re-connected my sensors, bolted everything back on, fired 'er up...and damn! The problem was still there!

I tried the PCV valve...no improvement. Fuel Pressure Regulator? No difference. My parents were starting to get impatient with me, since I had to end up either borrowing their cars or getting rides from them. What could I do? My car was now so weak that it would stall trying to leave its usual parking spot.

"Fuckit man, it's gotta be the sparkplugs..." I guessed. I didn't know what to do, our family friend was out of town, and the heat was on. Well, I went ahead and pulled out the old sparkplugs, and...



Oil on the threads and carbon deposits. My piston rings were presumed to be shot, and perhaps it was also the fuel system? Dunno, but when my dad saw the threads, it was game over. He said that there was no way I'd be rebuilding the engine or getting a new one.

Like when I was stranded by the van, I was now stranded by the Suzuki, and my parents wanted me to get my own ass around town lol.

I came across several cars that I was interested in. I saw an unmolested NB Miata, a really pretty Foxbody, and even a slick Nissan Sentra SE-R.

Then, I came across the Protege5.

I haven't the slightest what drew me to it. Maybe it was the yellow color, maybe it was the fascia design that hearkened back to the days when NFSU1 and U2 were new to me...I didn't know then, but perhaps it'll all be elucidated at a future date. Either way, I knew what I wanted, so I cheekily made a point to first show my father the rear-wheel drive cars first. "Son, you know I can't have you driving a sports car" he said, so then I said "Oh, right...well, how about this wagon I found?"

Hot-diggity, it had 120k miles on it, a new paint job, and looked practical. He agreed, and I got permission to buy it.

Supposedly, that thing had a cold-air intake on it at one point, but the then-owner elected to rip it out and replace it with the stock airbox (without the front air scoop, lmao). I told myself that it would work...I find a way to keep it longer than I kept my Zook, and perhaps I'll have a bit of fun with it too. I'll put mods on it, and, well, here we are to this very day.

As for the Zook, it was sold to a guy who was very much into Sidekicks and Samurais. He had 4 Kicks and 2 Samurais at his own house, and was putting all the parts together into one super Suzuki, or something. He limped the car out of our place, and it left with the sunset. All those years of that rattly, boxy, boaty-gearshifting were now gone, and I had to fight back a tear lol.

The day it was sold:



Nothing is truly ours to keep; we more or less borrow our possessions for the duration of our existence or care. I'm glad its in his hands and not some one else's.[HR][/HR]Hope I didn't bore you all with my little Sidekick story! I loved that thing man, and if I could, I would get another.
 
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