[DEFUNCT] The College-Budget P5

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
Woohoo! I think you've nailed bang-for-buck suspension mods here.

How much swearing and finger contorting was needed to get the bigger bolts in?

Best of luck with the exams, keep us posted with what happens on race day!
Actually, dropping down the (very slightly) thicker grade-8 bolts was far easier than the last time! It fit the holes very nicely without scraping the threads, but it didn't jiggle around either. Just a perfect fit. With a washer on top and on bottom, the bolt and nut assembly barely gave me any problems. Plus, I've had lots of practice installing and removing this ghetto assembly, and have it down to a science now. My magnetic telescoping pick-up tool really came in handy!

And thanks--I'll need lots of luck with my exams, and even more with the race.

Hey good luck man. Springs and rear sway have always been my favorite mods on these cars.
Thanks man; I can see why. Any chassis/suspension mod on this car does perhaps twice as much as any other car. With the lowering springs and my swaybar back in, let's just say that I beat my record on the twisty road nearby...[HR][/HR]More hood progress! I finally got to use the random orbital sander, and it probably saved us upwards of four or so hours of work. Here's what it looks like now:



Almost stripped and clean. That clearcoat's incredibly thick and stubborn to remove, and some of the contours of the hood are hard to get with the sander, so there's a lot of work left to do. I learned that you can safely use acetone on fiberglass, so once I'm done with the carbon fiber part, I'll just chemically strip the rest of it. I'm also thinking about adding some extra wire mesh in the holes, since it feels empty without it.

Here's a closeup, detailing the stubborn clearcoat and the exposed carbon fiber:

 
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pcb

The Diagram Dude
V
2002 mazda protege 5
How goes your refueling issue?

It must be hard to race your car if you can't put any gas in the tank. lol
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
How goes your refueling issue?

It must be hard to race your car if you can't put any gas in the tank. lol
Still a problem, but a problem I can get around. I can refuel the car slowy by holding the handle a quarter/halfway up. Doesn't get in the way of my racing, thankfully.[HR][/HR]On the topic of racing, so far this event has been swell. These springs greatly changed the P5's handling characteristics! I don't recall spinning any tires or understeering at all...as a matter of fact, I now have to contend with oversteer when going around corners! I can really cook it around curves and turns now.

There were far too many times where my muscle memory kicked in and made me think I was about to understeer into a corner. This meant that I would often times let off the gas and allow the car's weight to shift forward, so that I can have a more neutral balance in my vehicle, and have some turn-in. This is no longer the case; rather than stabilizing the vehicle and causing more neutral steer, lifting off causes my car's rear to send out from underneath me. In other words, with balanced pedal and wheel inputs, I can actually conserve momentum around corners and hit the throttle earlier.

Now it's just a matter of, for a lack of better words, finding the balls to reach the new limit of my car
 
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Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
Inactivity Status Report

Hi fellas,

I don't think I'll have much to post in my build for a while. I have ideas here and there on what I'd like to do, but finding the time to do is difficult. For now, little things that aren't time-consuming, or projects that I can break up into several weekends, are what I want to focus on. Things like that hood, for instance.

I decided to go ahead and start an Instagram account, but I don't know how often I'll be updating it. I mostly did it to keep up with the local car scene I'm a part of. Which reminds me...



I decided to put the group's black banner on. Only, instead of on the windshield, it's above the windshield. What do you think?

With that banner now on my car, I'm actually going with the crew to appear in a car show! I pray that people will look away from my couple rust spots, lol...[HR][/HR]
Maintenance​
[HR][/HR]Yes, the car still can't fill up. I'm occasionally rooting around the EVAP system, poking and prodding at what could be the cause, but I haven't had time to lift up the car and perform a thorough inspection. I can get around the filling issue by holding the pump handle half-way.

I believe some front-end suspension components are getting tired, and need a refresh. I get some clunks on occasion, and some various other noises. Nothing seems to be impacting ride and handling, but that's for all I know. It could be like my lateral links, where they were destitute, and I didn't know until I replaced them.

When changing the springs, one of my rear brake pads fell out of my caliper. I picked it up and put it back in, but couldn't help but notice how low it was getting. Soon, I'm going to have to perform a brake job.

The rear swaybar assembly is holding up nicely! I successfully added an extra layer of ghetto on top of my current ghetto set up: flare nut wrenches holding the bolts in. I found that by leaving flare nut wrenches slotted into the top bolts, it's far easier to tighten the assembly, and will serve as a tell-tale if the bolts begin to loosen. However, I do know that I need to re-grease my bushings already. God, like two days later, the damn bushings dried out! They don't completely close around the swaybar, so I probably have to hollow them out slightly.

Rust is truly the greatest adversary of the Protege, and there are a couple of concerning spots along my car's body that'll become a real problem later on. They're all on the rear passenger-side quarter panel, too. I need to starting seeming my options in regards to stopping this and repairing it.

Finally, I feel like I need to re-wrap my header. The old wrap around it is holding up, but it looks like it's falling apart in a few spots.[HR][/HR]
Modifications?​
[HR][/HR]More and more, I find myself wanting a short throw shifter again. I'm used to this sportier clutch and the lightened flywheel, but I believe a STS would sweeten the deal. I might try what was suggested to me with my old and shitty OBX adjustable shifter; punch a hole through it and slide in a thin bolt/nut assembly to hold it in place. I'll try this first before venturing out to buy a new shifter.

It probably won't do too much, but I'm thinking about wrapping the CAI piping in gold heat reflective tape. Found a pack of 5 roles for 18 bucks, so could be worthwhile. I'll try and get some measurements of temperatures before I perform this, though.

When I do my brakes, I really want to replace the old, mushy brake lines with some braided steel ones. Out on the track, I've found my pedal lacking preciseness. It's gotten a bit mushy and hard to communicate with, so some brake lines should crisp up the lines.

Mesh grilles are too freaking expensive for this platform, but I really want one...I'm coming up with some plans to take an old Protege grille, cut out the OEM plastic middle section, and put in some mesh wire, somehow. I could potentially build a mesh grille for around 40 or 50 bucks--half the price of the cheapest mesh grille on ebay.

I've also come to realize that a lot of my car's blacked out. The tint's dark, the wheels are black, the rear valence is black, trim's black, I have a mini two-piece "splitter" that's black, black grilles and foglight deletes, etc...this makes the headlight bezels and the chrome-nose grille stand out awkwardly. I would love to paint the headlight bezels, and black out the chrome on the grille again.

All this is keeping with the theme of "College-Budget". I'm trying to keep costs down, and want to see just how much I can do on the cheap! I've been quite lucky and fortunate with most things, I believe.[HR][/HR]
Closing Remarks​
[HR][/HR]That's it for now. I've finally reached a period of stability! There hasn't been any sudden breakages, no parts have blown out on me, nothing...I've been able to breathe, and look at this thing as a modifying platform again. I'm still keeping an eye and ear on this thing, though.

The last racing event really taught me a lot about my own driving ability. Sometime along the line, I stopped listening to my car's weight shifting, and have grown too heavy on the gas pedal. The car's potential probably tripled after putting the swaybar back in and after lowering it, but I need to change right along with it.

I'm also confident that I'll need to buy some RE-71Rs to survive if I compete next season.

I've also been saving up some cash on the side to get my car dyno'd. I really want to know how much it actually weighs, and how much power it actually puts out. It'll give me a proper idea of what to think about when it comes to modifying it. If my car's truly at 2716-2749LB curb weight, bringing it up to 165 HP N/A would bring me to the top of my class, power/weight ratio-wise. Might be far too costly and difficult to do N/A though.

I've also come to one realization...say, when I graduate, and this internship becomes a salaried engineering job, this build thread will no longer be a "College Budget"-oriented one. What'll I name it then? :^)

That's it for now, see you guys around

 
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V
2001 Mazda SP20 323
That's a decent update!

I'm digging the banner placement, fits nicely there. Might need some of these for the rust spots lol

Front swaybar bushes and the strut tophats tend to clunk when worn, it's a good chance to upgrade those front bushes too :p

What kind of grease are you using on the rear? White lithium spray seems to work for me, and lasts a while too

Have you thought of trying a shifter extension? sounds weird but they do work really well, there's less distance for the hand to travel, and the extra throw is easy to get used to after a while, plus they're cheap as chips :)

Black headlights look great! and will look even better with the carbon bonnet too. It's a 1 day project if you've got all the gear and get started early. I feel you on the grille situation, there's not much out there for these cars at all.

'College Budget' doesn't necessarily mean you have to be at college :D your car is a great example of how easy these things are to modify for not too much cash, keep it up!

Lastly, what flavour engineer are you? Mech, electrical, civil?
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
That's a decent update!

I'm digging the banner placement, fits nicely there. Might need some of these for the rust spots lol

Front swaybar bushes and the strut tophats tend to clunk when worn, it's a good chance to upgrade those front bushes too :p

What kind of grease are you using on the rear? White lithium spray seems to work for me, and lasts a while too

Have you thought of trying a shifter extension? sounds weird but they do work really well, there's less distance for the hand to travel, and the extra throw is easy to get used to after a while, plus they're cheap as chips :)

Black headlights look great! and will look even better with the carbon bonnet too. It's a 1 day project if you've got all the gear and get started early. I feel you on the grille situation, there's not much out there for these cars at all.

'College Budget' doesn't necessarily mean you have to be at college :D your car is a great example of how easy these things are to modify for not too much cash, keep it up!

Lastly, what flavour engineer are you? Mech, electrical, civil?
Thanks, but lol this car has enough stickers as is :^) Maybe I'll put it in the interior...

I probably should've investigated those when I took out my struts...well, I can always blast em' with some WD-40 to temporarily stop the squeaking, or so I've been told.

I'm also using white lithium grease, but not the spray kind. I have both, and should probably try the spray kind to see if I get some uniform distribution.

And nah, a shifter extension's a little much with how long the trow currently is. Even without one, I can still reach down and shift quickly enough with the lightweight flywheel, thankfully! If I ever turn this thing into a dedicated race car, then I'll have to consider a shifter extension again.

I guess by "College-Budget", I mean that I want to keep things as inexpensive as possible if I can help it. The older I get and the more I work on this car, the more I realize that I hate spending money lmao! If I can find cheaper solutions for this modding bug we all got bit by, I'd love to share. With major strokes of luck like the free CF hood, springs, CAI...it's hard to give advice about those cheap acquisitions!

Finally, I'm a computer engineer. Although, with the way this internship's been going, I'm a software developer that knows a little about circuits lol[HR][/HR]Racing Season Results[HR][/HR]Despite missing three events due to transmission troubles, I finished 9th overall. Really shows you how spotty attendance in my class is, lol.[HR][/HR]State of the Union[HR][/HR]It's freezing cold outside, and I got my re-occurring P0140 (O2 Sensor Circuit No Activity Detected, Bank 1 Sensor 2) CEL again. I bought a replacement downstream O2 sensor, so once the bad weather melts away, I'll drop it in.

Modding is slow going. I've been hit by a wall of midterms and lab reports, so naturally, they went the wayside. However, I did get a shipment of parts and stuff:



Some (incredibly tiny) rolls of heat reflective tape, 7 sets of 10 5" discs for my random orbital sander that were pretty cheap, black header wrap with steel ties, and a new pod filter for my CAI. After today, I have some downtime, so I may be able to get some progress done. I have a spare headlight that I can experiment on with the random orbital sander and some polish, so I got that going for me!

I'll have to see about getting some work done on that hood.
 
V
Mazda Protege5
It looks like the lateral links are held with nuts and bolts and the trailing links are held with weld-nuts.

What's the torque specs on the trailing links? I also ordered them and should be tackling them some time next week.

Also, @Riot

The car is coming along very nicely!
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
V
2002 mazda protege 5
What's the torque specs on the trailing links? I also ordered them and should be tackling them some time next week.
63-93 ft/lbs for the one bolt and 46-77 ft/lbs. for the other.

Aim for the middle.



I remember Newton Meters from physics class but I find ft/lbs. more tangible.

Pushing on a handle one foot from the bolt with 50 pounds of pressure is easier to guesstimate.

This...




Newton was a little off when he was cracked in the head with the apple.
He figured he'd keep the math easy and apply ten "Newton's" per KG.

But it turns out to be 9.81.

I like the metric system.
It's all based on 10's.

You just move the decimal place around without needing a slide rule. Lol

And.
If you're ever stranded on an island and you have an exact measurement of 10 cm, you can make a measurement system by creating a 10X10X10 cm cube, filling it with potable water at room temperature and you've got exactly 1 liter and 1 KG.
 
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Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
Also, @Riot

The car is coming along very nicely!
Thanks! Slowly but surely, it's going somewhere.

I like the metric system.
It's all based on 10's.

You just move the decimal place around without needing a slide rule. Lol
Jeez, slide rules, huh? You know, I've only ever seen two and used one in my lifetime, but not because I had to. A while ago, a family friend, long retired from a life-long endeavor in science and engineering, offered to help me with some math classes. Dude's wicked smart...after all, you have to be in order to get your PHD in a science field. We got on the topic of computers, and he mentioned his old slide rule set. Sure enough, we walked to his office, and he grabbed one of the gun holster-looking things from a drawer. He popped it open to reveal two slide rules tucked inside, and demonstrated their operation to me. I gave it a try, but I couldn't tell you how to use one now, lol!

When I was in elementary school, we were far beyond the days of the slide rule.[HR][/HR]You know, now that I'm on Instagram, I've since learned that some people out there photographed my car already. I can most likely jazz up my posts here with some more glam shots! In times of slow progress like these, I can just upload some of those for you fine fellas.
 
V
Mazda protege5
Damn man been putting some work in on the car, I love the attention to detail in your build. You give us updates on all the clunks and funny sound, really paints a picture of your progress. I'm talking to the guy on offer up for his CF hood, I might need some tips on resurfacing the clearcoat. I'm honestly sorry for your misfortune with your fuel system, filling that way sucks. I had a '76 dodge b200 caravan with a 32 gallon tank, it had a bent filler hose hardline. We had to hold the handle at half pull and kick it up to 3 o'clock, took forever
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
Heya Riot, have you had a chance to play with that reflective tape?
Sorry man, I've been far removed from car stuff for the past two months due to school and work, and haven't had time for anything car related. I've been lurking on your build page though, and am blown away!
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
Phil Swift

To break my streak of inactivity, I've got some bad news. A truck drove over my front driver-side fender and bumper, and tore things apart!



I popped the hood to check for frame damage (hopefully unlikely), but didn't really notice anything. It was getting dark, so inspection would be difficult.



The fender's dented in passed the headlight, and the headlight's scuffed with paint or rubber (can't tell).



We've exchanged information, and I'm awaiting their insurance company's actions or statements. I'd imagine someone's going to come over to inspect the damage.

I wasn't able to work on my car lately, and now I have this to contend with! I don't know if the age of my P5 will become a factor in how the insurance company deals with this, but to my knowledge, the insurance company usually locates a business that accepts their insurance type and sends the busted up car over there. Here's hoping everything up front gets replaced. I just have to grab those foglight deletes if (or once) my car's damage is appraised. Would hate to get those trashed!

Damages observed:
  • Front driver-side quarter panel dented inward underneath headlight
  • Front driver-side headlight scuffed
  • Bumper turn signal indicator busted out, electrical connections broken
  • Bumper snapped in two between lower grille and driver-side foglight hole; fragmentation around headlight
  • Driver-side fender liner torn
  • Driver-side corner splitter smashed up

How ironic that of all the times I've taken this thing to the track where I'd operate it under the limits of grip, the only serious body damage occurs in front of my home :^\
 
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323

lolmsp lolms3
that is how it goes my friend. hopefully all damages are minimal which is what it appears to be in the photos.
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
V
2002 mazda protege 5
I hope they don't just try to write it off and give you twenty bucks for it.
 
V
2001 Mazda SP20 323
Nooooo! That's not the kind of update we need! Hope no one was hurt in the incident, it does look mostly cosmetic which is a good thing

Fingers crossed insurance comes through for you, keep us posted
 

grffn

Contributor
V
'02 P5
:( Not the way you wanna start the holidays man, sucks. Hope everything ends up working out in your favor.
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
V
2002 Mazda Protege5
The End

Well folks, the car's been totaled. I didn't expect the repairs to exceed anymore than 1k or perhaps 1.5k, but sure enough all repairs totaled up to $2,5XX.XX. This placed the damages squarely at 75% ACV of the vehicle, which is what cars get totaled for in my state. Surprisingly, though, they're throwing me almost 3.5k for the vehicle, and given the scrap value of around 3XX, I wouldn't lose much by buying it back.

After much discussion with my wonderful sister, I think my best option may be to cut my losses, surrender the vehicle, and stick with the family's beater van for now. This thing's been a money pit, albeit an awfully fun one, but I'll be damned...it truly has been one thing after another. I figured that taking the nearly 3.5k for what's left may have been a blessing in disguise.

I'll direct the money I get out of this to school and books. That van will keep me moving, and this internship I have gives me a helpful margin for saving. The way I see it, I can get my student debt paid off fairly quickly, find a good place to move out, and in some years time, have more cash to throw around for projects like these. I was foolish to dump so much money into a car I needed for a daily, and to race it with reckless abandon. But I tell you, I couldn't of made a better mistake...

Some unseen pictures and videos throughout the years:

The First Car Meet


The Last Car Meet




A Rainy Night




Mischief (I wasn't busted! Don't follow your pal if he's pulled over...)




A Proper Rev Video:

Conclusion

Thank you all for your support, advice, and words of encouragement. It's insane how much I learned about cars with this thing, and how much better of a driver I've become. You were all a blessing, and when I think back to this old P5, I'll remember that I couldn't of done it without you guys.

I may or may not get a new car. I have a few ideas swimming around my head, but I'd rather not hype up anything in particular. Whatever it is, it's most likely going to remain stock and unadulterated until I can afford to make some mistake$, if you catch my drift!

Perhaps within the next couple days, I'll gather my old parts and start a small sale thread. Unfortunately, all my key mods are going to leave with the car...but, I still have some goodies around here that could be of some use.

I'll still linger around here some. See you around!
 
V
2001 Mazda SP20 323
Damn, man that sucks to hear :( I guess that's part of the challenges of driving older, less popular cars. Did there end up being frame damage at all?

Best of luck with whatever platform you end up choosing, if the level of detail and research that went in to your P5 is anything to go by, it'll be well worth the wait
 
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