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Thread: Chris' Mazda 323F V6

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    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    Chris' Mazda 323F V6

    (this may be a long read)

    So it seems there's abit of a pattern when it comes to my cars at the moment....

    Buy car > spend money on fixing/modifying > get bored or finds something else > sells within 12 months > loose money

    I'd like to think the reason for the change is justifiable (well, in my head anyway), but is it financially practical? Usually not.

    Lets take the current daily, my 2006 Honda Accord 2.2 i-cdti for example. I've spent a tonne of money repairing it and it's almost at the point of being 100% sorted. Do I have an urge to modify it? Not really. Is this the bordom starting to kick in? That's when I scrolled through Instagram and came across a photo which made me think "Holy crap! That thing looks AWESOME!"



    Instagram tag @ikaspeed

    Enter the downward spiral of google/FB/IG searches trying to see what I could find, parts available and just general research. I'm hyperfixated on this new idea that I can't shake it out of my head. Perhaps I have undiagnosed ADHD...anyway...

    Fast forward a couple more weeks and I started to actively look for a car to purchase. The first one I found was a green 1.5L with only 22k miles and a clean MOT history. The dealership was 2.5hrs away in West London, I called and was bluntly told to send a text message with the info I wanted to know and which photos. Two weeks  had passed with no response, I sent a follow up text but never received any reply.



    Originally I was happy with the 1.5 model but the V6 started to sound tempting. I found a dark green V6 model but this was 5hrs away in Blackpool. I contacted the seller requesting some photos of the underside, he would get some for me the following week.

    In the mean time I had found another V6 but this time about 1.5hrs away. We exchanged quite a number of messages but I had this feeling he was dragging his heels abit. This particular car had its MOT expire back in October 2023. He said the welding was done by a previous owner but he had a local company do a full underbody protection using Waxoyl. The car had a vacuum leak and exhaust blow stopping it from getting an MOT.





    A week or so had passed, still no arrangement to go view it. He did come across abit reluctant to fix the vacuum leak, but that's probably me being incredibly impatient and forgetting people do have other stuff going on. The seller had offered to price the car 'pre-MOT' but needed to check and price up the spare parts.

    I sent him an offer for the car as it stands with the leaks etc and he accepted. The car was transported to a new location and we agreed a viewing.

    The car was as described in the advert, the underneath was solid. I poked a screwdriver to the sills and it bounced off, thats a good sign! All of the wheel arches are solid and so were the chassis rails. The body work was average, the main damage was on the passenger side with a key mark along the whole side. Various panels/areas have had paint work at some point, but I wasn't expecting a 27 year old car to be mint condition.

    The test drive was good despite being very short due to no fuel. I did noticed the clutch pedal was quite high which was a concern. The brakes had alot of surface corrosion from being stood up for a few months which was to be expected. The engine ran smooth on start up until the vacuum leak occured, same with the exhaust blow, I'm hoping its a backbox gasket.

    I offered a second price and after abit of back and forth bidding, we shook hands at a deal. The Advan SA3R wheels weren't included so I had to bring my own. A friend kindly lent me a set of S14A 16" wheels, turns out the front tyres don't like to hold air.

    With the car loaded up, it was time to head home


  2. #2
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    The car came with a boot full of parts including a door card or two, another rear seat, centre tail light garnish and radiator hoses.

    One modification the car had which was a great bonus was the 1000 mile old BC Racing coilovers.

    Eventually this will replace the Accord for daily driver duties unless the price of E5 fuel suddenly bankrupts me haha

    I can't wait to get stuck in with it, there's plenty to do!

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  4. #3
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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  6. #4
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! HMT's Avatar
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    Cool, good purchase and a lot of potential
    Got mine for 23 years now....

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    hoodedreeper (01-21-2024)

  8. #5
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    Its been a busy Sunday having spent majority of the available daylight working on the 323F.

    I begun by removing the strut brace, airbox, battery/battery tray and radiator slam panel.

    I also unbolted the battery earth bracket, fuse box, coolant expansion tank, power steering reservoir to gain more access to the painted areas.



    I then brushed on some Gunk Ultra Degreaser and wiped clean with a damp microfibre. This stuff is great for engine bays, unlike regular Gunk, it doesn't require you to hose it off only a damp cloth.



    I did the best I could, it's not 100% clean but its a vast improvement from before considering I only removed the minimum.



    I got the car up on axle stands so I could drain the coolant. The old stuff was an awful yellow/green colour. The system at work had 2 suppliers list both red and blue coolant. I played it safe and kept with the green variant.



    The collapsed radiator hose was replaced along the other upper hose, all of the coolant hoses received new jubilee clips. I also installed a replacement intake hose and vacuum solenoid.



    I also gave the air box, battery tray, battery cover, coolant and PAS reservoirs a degrease. The brackets and radiator panel were wire brushed to bare metal and sprayed in Satin Tough Black paint (I've been using this for quite a few years and love it)





    With everything back together it was finally time to see if the vacuum leak was fixed. Thats when I discovered the battery clamp bolts wouldn't tighten any further and were loose on the battery terminals. I tried jump starting it using a spare battery but I think both are in need of a charge.

    Until next time...


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  10. #6
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    A new video is now on my channel


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  12. #7
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    My mid week day off meant another day working on the 323F. Today I was going to start the small jobs on the To-Do list, nothing ground breaking I'm afraid!

    I managed to get some off cuts of lead which helped bulk out the battery terminals, I was also able to re-use the original nut and bolt. The first turn of the key and it purred into life, lovely job!

    While the engine was running I investigated the exhaust blow



    I made a feeble and messy attempt at pasting it up, but it just wasnt working. I show more of this in the YT video

    While the engine was idling I was checking all hose connections and caps. Thats when I noticed the radiator cap on top of the engine was much looser than it should be. It could be turned with ease and there was up and down movement, certainly not sealing anything

    Once it had cooled down I removed the cap to see what condition it was, and behold the problem



    I gave the two tabs a pinch with some pliers and checked the fitment, as good as new!



    Next up was the rocking driver's front seat





    There's evidence of a previous repair, but that hasn't lasted (obviously).

    Getting to this connecting rod for was pretty straight forward. I removed the screws and reclining mech from the side, followed by a 10mm and 12mm head bolt.



    It's supposed to look like this



    I spoke to my friend Scott who works at a local engineering company to see if he could help out. He said to give him a few days and he'll get a new plate and captive nut welded on, happy days!

    Heading back to the exterior and it was time to replace the cracked bootlid garnish



    I go through the process of removing the panel in the video for any other 323F owners, but it's straight forward.



    Here's the video


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  14. #8
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power freedomgli's Avatar
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    Love these cars. Wish we got them in the USA. The small V6 sounds great. And they’re very stylish looking to my eyes.

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  16. #9
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    The next job on the list was to change the brakes. As you can see, they've seen better days



    I went with ADL Blueprint discs and pads, nothing fancy just something reasonably decent to get this on the road.

    Starting off with the driver side front, the slider pins and carrier bolts put up a big fight. This was just the beginning...



    Moving around to the passenger front and upon removing the caliper, I could see the friction matieral had seperated itself from the backing plate of the pad, seizing itself to the brake disc.





    The slider pins had zero grease which is no surprise. It's certainly been a long time since these brakes have received any attention

    Next up were the rears. I struggled pushing/winding the rear pistons back, after a quick google search I had found a guide on the owners forum. On the back of the caliper is a 14mm bolt, revealing a splined bit which helps retract the piston with 4mm allen key. All went to plan so I started the driver side rear, thats when things got tricky.

    After battling with this splined bit, I couldn't get the piston back far enough. The splined bit started to skip, this could be why



    I had flashbacks of the same thing happening with the previous MX5s and remembered this can be cut down, which I did. That's until I tried again and it slipped, chewing it up again. The caliper went over the brake pads with some minor help from a rubber mallet, but with the splined bit backed off, the disc struggled to turn. I couldn't retract this piston any further and I was loosing hope with this splined bit.



    So I had no choice but to order a replacement caliper, which luckily arrived the next day! It was a straight forward swap over, I can now finally bleed them.

    Starting off at the passenger rear furtherest from the master cylinder I cracked off the bleed screw. Something didnt look and feel right with it, turns out it was no longer straight.



    I was just about to head off to buy a replacement, until I realised I could just use the one on the old caliper. A quick clean up and it was good to go.

    I had a one person bleed kit ready to use, but long story short it just wouldn't work. My friend Ross came over to help me to do it the traditional way, I'll get this redone at a later day because I'm not convinced ALL of the old fluid is out. The pedal feels good and nothing has leaked so far.

    Next on the to-do list was to clean up the threads of the coilovers and pressure wash the wheel arches.





    The coilover locking collars were loosened and the threads received a coat of copper grease, followed by some coilover socks fitted.



    I set about removing the headlights and bumper to gain access to the fog lamp, ready to change the blown bulb.



    It turns out the unit has had water ingress and the housing has suffered from corrosion. I cleaned it up, and tested the unit but it still doesn't work. I noticed a very small hole on the lens which is probably where the water is getting in. I may be able to get this one working again, but it's going to need replacing at some point so I may aswell save myself some time and leave it for now.



    The S14A wheels received an EXTREMELY quick refurb, so quick you can still see the sanding lines...oops! The tyre of choice was Kumho HS52 205/50R16 which claim to have a A rating in wet weather performance.





    It feels like a life time since this was on the ground, but in reality it's only been a couple of weeks. It's been a very challenging couple of days but progress has been great and there's only a few small jobs left to do before it's ready for an MOT.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz1f3vdZ4B4

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  18. #10
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    Getting to the end of my pre-MOT to-do list

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zvitm6srWZc

  19. #11
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    Unfortunately I didn't take any photos for the previous video ^^ except for this one.



    I investigated the hunting further, my good friend Mikey kindly lent me his smoke leak tester. It turns out not a single wisp of smoke/vapour appeared, I guess thats a good thing though. The down side to that means it's not a simple fix and it could be something else.

    My next thought was the air flow sensor/air mass sensor/mass air flow sensor (how ever you wish to call it). After cross referencing a part number I found on eBay, it looks like this part is also shared with the NA MX5 1.8 and can be had for 20-30 for a used version. This will certainly make it easier to source a replacement!

    I let the car idle for around 45mins and the idle was fine, it didn't hunt once. Very strange.

    It was time for the last minute checks prior to the MOT. I did a nut and bolt check on all of the suspension and brake componants (a thank you to Andy from the owners club for sending me photos of the Haynes Manual). The only thing I found was a bad ball joint pinch bolt, the nut wouldn't tighten at all. A quick trip to my work to buy a replacement and it's now golden.

    It's now the morning of the MOT and nerves started to kick in. Ironically the 20 odd mile drive to the garage was my first test drive of the car. Luck was on my side and I didn't break down and nothing happened.



    The test went well, they were impressed with the overall condition of the car. Although they weren't too happy towards the end about the copious amounts of waxoyl used to cover everything haha



    The only things they picked up on was play in the steering rack bush and a minor oil leak which looks like the power steering? It was tricky to pin point because of the waxoyl (EVERYTHING is coated in it)

    While it was up in the air I used this opportunity to grab some photos of the underside.



    I noticed the front part of both subframe rails were severely dented, kind of looks like forklift damage? Unsure what's happened there to be honest









    All in all, very happy with the result! Still lots to do

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  21. #12
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    The previous couple of videos I've been experiencing some terrible audio, mainly due to strong winds. I felt it was time to start investing in my content creating, my first purchase was a new wireless microphone.

    There's plenty of choice when it comes to audio upgrades but I wanted something that was easy to use but wasn't going to break the bank. DJI has entered the chat.

    DJI are well known for their drones but I didn't know they also produce microphones, action cameras and more. They've recently released their 2nd wireless mic called the Mic 2 (inventive name, isn't it lol)

    I watched more videos and reviews than I can remember but it ticked all of the boxes and I knew this was what I was looking for.



    I apologise for the lack of photos for this update, the ones I do have are screenshots I'm afraid.

    There were a few small electrical jobs that needed doing, starting off with the dash lights. I noticed only half of the speedo cluster illuminated at night. The top dash binnacle was removed, luckily I had this apart when I wired in the horn button. I also removed the climate controls to replace a blown bulb, but after inspecting it they're not your typical bulb so I'll have to revisit that at a later date.

    Next up was the cigarette lighter socket. The illumination works but the socket itself doesn't. I checked the wiring with a multimeter and it was getting voltage.

    I installed a universal unit from work and adapted the Mazda loom rather than re-making it. Luckily the female spade terminal was the same size, all I had to do was crimp a connector on for the earth terminal.

    I also retained the illumination along with the light in the ash tray compartment.



    The electric aerial on these models seem to fail, I knew sourcing a working replacement might be tricky so I opted for a manual version. Once installed I realised the connections were both DIN male, the only DIN female joiner I could find was on eBay but I didn't want to wait weeks for delivery from China.



    The factory co-axial aerial lead wasn't a straight forward route straight down the drivers side, Mazda had to make it unnecessarily awkward. Instead they thought it was a great idea to go along the back of the boot and along the passenger side. From there it goes across in front of the passenger front seat and then along the centre console/dash where it plugs into a 1/2 metre aerial lead.

    My hoarding paid off for once when I had a 4.5m lead tucked away in my spares. I decided to re-route it the same way. Doing this may seem excessive but I'm glad I did to be honest. When I lifted the carpet up I was greeted with a very soggy floor both front and rear footwells....doh!

    This photo (screenshot) doesn't really show the extend of the water ingress, it was everywhere. I removed the A-Pillar trim to check the sunroof drain, but I've pulled it out of the connection behind the dash.



    I removed the arch liner but I couldn't see anything obvious. More investigation is required, hopefully it's not too bad to sort.

    The last job for the day was to sort out the driver side front fog light. Although not an MOT failure, the tainted orange light unit didn't look great and spoiled the front of the car.

    I was lucky enough to find a new in box genuine unit on eBay for not a huge amount of money. I think I paid 54 in total





    I did order a replacement loom, but it turns out it was incorrect. I swapped the brackets over, installed a new bulb and plugged everything back together to give it a test. Finally! A working fog light!

    Nothing exciting, but all of these little jobs eventually add up

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u733CIaCZCY

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  23. #13
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power hoodedreeper's Avatar
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    Another busy day on the 323F



    Ever since purchasing the car, the interior has been a mix and match. The biggest gripe has been the door cards. Having a dark green dashboard, green A pillar trims then black door cards followed by more green.



    I finally managed to track down some green door cards and they were with me within a couple of days.

    A shout out to Andrew aka MazdaMan in Biggleswade for supplying them. He's also helped me with the replacement intake hose, vacuum solenoid and a couple of other smaller bits.



    The eagle eyed readers may have noticed the driver's seat in the first photo is green. This is a spare seat I collected from Andrew. I've been experiencing some back and forth play/movement in the seat. I've pulled mine apart and all I can put it down to is the mechanism for the lumbar support and the reclining adjustment. Unfortunately this one is the same if not slightly worse. I guess its just part of the design and I'll have to learn to live with it.



    The little cubby compartment on the front door cards are a cool little feature. Infact I think the whole door card is much nicer overall.

    The passenger side window switch trim has certainly seen better days. Unfortunately this version is a different shape compared to the black door card, so I'll try and source a replacement in better condition.



    After accidently pulling the front sunroof drain out I struggled to find where it went. I didn't initially plan to strip it this much but I got carried away.





    I finally figured out where the connector was, tucked away in the corner behind a layer of foam and insulation





    The drain tube is a loose fit inside the white connector so extra care needs to be taken if you're messing about with it further up



    I blew out the drain tubes with a compressor and tested it with some water, I was happy to see it trickling out from behind the wheel.

    I also removed the wiper scuttle to check behind and it was bone dry. The leak must have been the partially blocked drain tube. I still need to dry the carpet but that can come later on now I know it wont leak any more.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaFBFQ4Ssl0

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  25. #14
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! HMT's Avatar
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    Cool, good progress, coming along nicely

  26. #15
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    I've been watching the videos.

    ONLY because of the content, not because I like hearing British people speak. Totally not because of that.

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