LankyKiwi's Rally-flavored SP20

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2001 Mazda SP20 323
Gumboot Rally April 2018

Last weekend was the 10th Gumboot Rally, run right here in New Zealand. I'd done the last one and it was waaay too much fun, so when the opportunity came up to do it with a workmate I jumped at it. 900Km over 2 days later and I can't wait for the next one!



The Tamiya, Super sports stickers and the side graphics are hand cut vinyl, the sponsors stickers were shipped out 3 days(!) before the event, a late night at work got them all on with only a few bubbles. New mudflaps made from Polypropylene sheet as the old ones were completely caked in dead flies for some reason.



About 70 cars entered, everything from a Porsche Cayman to a Lada 2104 wagon, heaps of classic Fords, Subarus and minis


Saturday was theme day, we had giant teddy bears running around, Plastic Army men, pokemon teams and a pair of hillbillies in a pick up, it was nuts!

The roads were stunning, almost all backroads through the Waikato and Taranaki regions from Hamilton to New Plymouth to Taupo. At the start line we were given a book with directions and questions/ activities we had to do along the way, just like a scavenger hunt.

Sunday was my favourite, we got to drive up the Forgotten World Highway, a basically unused stretch of road through some ridiculous gorges and hills, stopping at tiny villages along the way. We basically doubled the population of Whangamomona for lunch



The car ran really well, no issues at all except the new mudflaps were too stiff and broke on the rough roads. The stickers and aerial (speed tested to 135Km/H!) got heaps of comments and looks, and the car sounded mint the whole time (pacemaker headers for the win!)

It did highlight 2 areas that need improving; the brakes shudder like crazy under medium-heavy use, and the low beams are as bright as a glow worm in a jar. Time for new disks at least (Toying with the 626 upgrade) and some better beams for the lights, any recommendations are appreciated!

IF you get a chance to do something like this, do it! It's so much fun with great people in cool cars on awesome roads.
 
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2002 323 protege
Looks like it was a fun event, great work on the car, as for front brake upgrade the mazda6 300mm fronts bolt straight on.
 
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2001 Mazda SP20 323
Update time! The last few weeks have been hectic as, moving house and work getting busier and busier, not much time for the little red Mazda

It did hit 200,000kms the other week!



I also made my half-yearly pilgrimage to the Pick-A-Part yards in Auckland and scored a bunch of stuff



A new air intake hose as the old one was splitting, a 2.0L 626 valve cover, Mandal 6 front calipers and the things I've been itching to get for ages, clear side indicators. I was getting quotes of $70 for a pair, these were something like $5 each. Score! There was also a half-leather interior sitting in a later model BJ Familia that was very, very tempting BUT it was not complete and finding the missing parts would have been nearly impossible, plus it would be heavier and not quite what I'm after.

After a scrub and a coat of paint the valve cover looks like this:



A little uneven with the wrinkles but it'll work fine. I forgot to grab the coils and leads from the 626 so may have to go back and grab them this weekend, or buy new ones...

Also, the lovely courier just dropped these off


Whiteline adjustable front swaybar links, only a little more than the universal units that everyone was trying to sell me, and they look much better!

Looking forwards to getting all this stuff on and seeing how it all works!
 
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2001 Mazda SP20 323
Brakes Done!

Whew. After a big weekend of car work, the brakes have been overhauled, an exhaust knock has been fixed and the 626 Valve cover is on!

2004 Mazda 6/Atenza calipers up front, new pads, new disks all round. Now the car pulls smoothly to a stop and doesn't want to shake itself to bits under heavy braking, much nicer to drive! Managed three trips to the parts store in 2 days, 1 for the initial parts, another to replace the rear pads with the right ones and another to replace the front disks with ones that actually fit!

I didn't check the Mazda 6 I pulled the front brakes off properly and only got the 273mm disks, it's still a 15mm increase over the SP20 but not the 283mm disks I wanted. Never mind, it stops plenty fine for my needs for now. Here's a before-and-after(283mm) of the front disks:



The exhaust was hitting the fuel tank shield at the back of the car, especially off throttle at around 2700 rpm. I pulled the back section off, bent the rods a bit and lowered the pipe just enough to let it clear. Now I don't have to listen to a DUGAGDUGADUGADUGA every time I engine brake.



The valve cover was nice and simple to replace, I sourced the coil packs from a 2000 626, the plug wires from a 1.6 Familia and made up a bracket to mount the coil packs above the intake



I also scrubbed the dust and crap off most of the engine bay. Hats off to the guys with super clean bays, it's a lot of work!

In other news I mocked up a ducktail out of card to see size and shape. I think it'll work OK with the roofline, the ends are where the fun is going to be getting it to flow nicely.



I also made a friend!



Saw this driving home one night and had to pull over for a picture :)
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
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2002 Mazda Protege5
That coilpack mount is pretty slick! Overall, really digging what you're doing with the thing.

Can't wait until I recuperate my funds to get a header like that!
 

Apu

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323 SP20
Any other updates? I*ve just bought an SP20 (I*m in Sydney) and following your build with interest!
 
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2001 Mazda SP20 323
Thanks!

No real updates other than I bought a K&N filter on special and need to figure out an airbox for it, the car is running really well. Hope you enjoy yours!
 
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2001 Mazda SP20 323
So the car modifying bug has bit again, after a while of simply driving there are a few ideas that have been brewing, and now is the time to put them in motion...




I've wanted to do an Angel Eye style driving light for ages, I grabbed some scrap LED strip lighting from work and wrapped it around the spotlights. It's not direct illumination as the LEDs are firing off into the bumper, but it does diffuse the light a bit and makes it not too bright to be annoying.



I also replaced the stock park lamps with LED units, if these hold up well I'd like to do a full LED bulb replacement, more efficient and better performance!



Lights are wired in to the park lights via Deutsch plugs so it's waterproof and looks nearly factory.



This is what a SP20 intake kit looks like in NZ! A proper aftermarket kit would have been ridiculously expensive to get here, so I ordered a bunch of silicon joiners, some tube and some clamps to try and make my own! Eventually I'll knock up a proper box behind the headlight that keeps everything nice and cool, and try to make it look relatively stealthy :)



Here's a rough mock up of where things might sit. The overflow tank will need moving somewhere but everything else should be OK.

Questions:

- Is the breather line from the valve cover to the intake simply a breather? Can I get away with venting it to atmosphere rather than plumbing it back into the intake?
- The air intake temp sensor will be in the air box once it's finished, what do people with open pod filters, etc do with this?

- Those with WRX/ Impreza seats, how do they feel? Do they sit higher/lower/whatever compared to stock?
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
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2002 Mazda Protege5
I cannot speak for the first two questions, but for the last one about WRX seats, I wouldn't try it.

I tried putting 02 WRX seats in my car, and while they do bolt in with some adjusting and bending, they rest at an awkward angle. It'll guaranteed give you back problems.

I'd ask JP Perera how his 06 WRX seats fit, though. They might play a little nicer.
 
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2001 Mazda SP20 323
Gumboot rally September 2018



A couple of weekends ago was the 2nd Gumboot Rally for this year, from Taupo to Napier then back via some stunning backroads and windy lanes. We stayed the night in Napier and had dinner in the local prison, the whole event was themed 'Inmate Escape'

I didn't do much theme work but still went and had a blast with some amazing people!




Turns out my $2 chopping boards aren't the best mud flaps! The issues is that they are curved inwards and can't flex properly, with some proper brackets they'll work much better

The car is running mint, last week was it's annual Warrant of Fitness/ roadworthiness check. It needed 2 new tires and some fixing of the exhaust leaks, but nothing too major, which isn't too shabby for a car with nearly 210,000 kms


Next on the list to do is to build an airbox, and I've attempted to order a rear sway bar from AWR racing. Hopefully that works as I've heard and read so much good things about upgrading the sway bar on these cars
 
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2001 Mazda SP20 323
After a few weeks of waiting, mainly due to NZ Customs, a big box arrived on my doorstep



ooohhhhh Shiny car parts, fresh from AWR in California



Compared to the absolutely shagged standard swaybar and endlinks

The car is so much sharper now, it actually turns in and goes where I point it on the twisty backroads around here. The stock car handles great, but adding this swaybar has pushed it up another level entirely




Also installed the Mintblue rear wing that I found at a wreckers. The paint isn't the best (Matches the car lol) but it fits and looks great

Next up for this car is to finish the airbox project, find the source of the clunk from the rear suspension, and look in to tires to replace the rears.

Any suggestions for a decent tire in 215/40 R17?
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
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2002 Mazda Protege5
Woah man, looks sharp! What endlinks are those? Looks fancy.

As for tire recommendations, I really liked my Yokohama S-Drives. A budget-conscious pick for the street and performance, and they wear like iron.
 
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2001 Mazda SP20 323
Thanks guys :)

@riot; thanks for the tire recommendation, another one for the list! Endlinks came with the sway bar and are really well made

@grffn; yep that's the one. It came with everything in the workbench pic, endlinks, clunk fix brackets, bushes and OEM horse shoe brackets. I grabbed extra bushes and mounts for future maintenance/ just in case
 
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2001 Mazda SP20 323
RIP wheels



:(




(notcool)


Coming home from the dentist (of all places to spend Halloween!) I cut a corner a little too much and hit a pothole a little too hard.


The front wheel took most of it and ate itself, the rear wheel got off easy and bent (might be repairable) Managed to get home with the spare on the front and a flat rear and grabbed a cheap steelie from a wrecker to get the car rolling. Luckily the near new tire up front looks to be OK and no suspension bits are bent.

Both photos are of the front wheel, the rear has a similar bend in it but no cracks

The current plan is to find a set of mazda6 17 inch wheels and transfer the tires over, Finding a replacement OZ wheel is going to be 'fun' if I even end up keeping them


I'm gutted because I love these wheels and they suit the car to the ground, hopefully the bent wheel can be repaired and I can find a replacement wheel, otherwise I'll be looking for another set of wheels that fit, are light-ish and look good.
 

Riot_Polizei

Comp Engineering Student
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2002 Mazda Protege5
Oh man that sucks...my sympathies man, hope you can get that rectified. Friggin potholes...

I know you can repair bent steelies by hammering them back in place, but I'm not sure about alloys. Way stronger, but more brittle, you dig?

If you can't find an exact replacement, you could always try a reverse-staggered wheel set. You'd get more grip up front, better turn-in, and allow your rear to slide out more easily in the case of compettition racing. Of course, that's mechanical sliding and not "skill-based" sliding, though.
 
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2001 Mazda SP20 323
Cheers Riot, unfortunately it looks like the rear wheel is cracked too, so both wheels are scrap :(

Did manage to get some 17x7 Mazda 6 wheels yesterday so at least the car is on the same size wheels all round :) The offset isn't quite right (+55 instead of +45) and the rears are really close to the struts but it all clears and I got to keep my tires :)


I'm thinking of dropping back to 16 inch wheels for more lightness/ more options but it'll have to wait until next year

In other news I finally found an all black Nardi steering wheel in good condition, so that's going on the car soon!
 

Apu

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323 SP20
Ooh...nasty.

I*ve got a mate selling a set of FD RX7 wheels with slicks on them (intended for use on an NC MX5) if you are open to having them shipped from Sydney.
 
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