Rebuilding a Mazda 3: Part One

Hm, let’s start with my title.

My little stop-me-I’m-speeding-red daily driver Mazda 3 wasn’t hit (since last June, but that damage was fixed by the other guy’s insurance company) and didn’t strand me on the road (today anyway – last time it did was early December of 2012, when I was still in radiation therapy), but needed quite a bit of work:

– air conditioning compressor (that’s what crapped out on me and stranded me on the side of the road last December, thereby creating a 5-hour detour for me between my house and radiation therapy – never mind the fact that I was supposed to work that day.  Yep, never did make it to work that day)
– motor mount(s) (knew one was broken, decided to change all three since this is a known weakness on this car – turns out when they were all replaced that all 3 of the existing ones were busted – facepalm!) – Oh, and the new ones are black and red and grey and on my, so sexy!  I know, I’m weird, but I’ve found a few people who appreciate my weirdness, so it’s ok)
– shocks (one was leaking – I have 150,000 miles on the car, so that’s not the biggest surprise in the world)

Since some serious work was being done: all four tires coming off to do the shocks, the air conditioning compressor is on the passenger Bottom side (not a typo) of the engine and the motor mounts are two on top, one on the bottom of the engine, and because I can’t emotionally deal with flipping a car right now, not to mention the financials don’t support it (so we’re hedging against another 5 years with my little baby), the “while we” list got kinda long:

– struts, shock boots (to go with the new shocks)
– brake pads (we new at least one end needed to be done – let’s do ’em both)
– brake rotors (turns out this was a good decision, as Hubby said he didn’t think my old ones had another turn in them)
– rear adjustable camber arms (another Mazda 3 weakness – for some odd reason the OEM camber arms set such an angle that this car eats tires faster than it should – aftermarket adjustable units should let us adjust the rear suspension to stop doing that)
– radiator and new coolant
– transmission filter and new tranny fluid
– thermostat
– cooling system flush
– spark plugs
– oil filter and new oil
– air filter
– all light bulbs, both fore and aft
– water pump (this has failed at some point in every car Hubby or I have ever owned and I was starting to hear that tell-tale squeak which often presages a water pump failure)

I’m sure I’m forgetting something which, when I remember it, I’ll let you know about in a new post!

The photos below are what my baby looked like this past Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm.  This morning when I went to work (leaving Hubby at home to continue working on it after calling in “I have no idea what” to work), it looked pretty much the same, but had lots more new parts on it than when these photos were taken.

Last night when the work was over and it was dinner time, Hubby said most of the “big-tool” jobs were done.  You know, the ones where power tools are used and/or something needs to be bashed on (which feel a bit risky with nothing but 4 little jacks holding up my baby – but those jacks ROCK!  Seriously, they’re Extremely Stable and took all the bashing Hubby had to do with brake work and shock work and all.  I’m just more comfortable being there overseeing the jobs that could get Hubby or the car hurt).  The only other “big-tool” job is reconnecting a belt after installation of the air conditioning compressor.  Everything else is what he calls detail work – tedious, but no big forces required.

He said if he worked on it another day, he thought it would be “drivable.”  Well, not so I can drive it to work since some of my lights won’t be here ’til Wednesday and we’re not putting the whole front end back together just to take part of it off again to replace light bulbs – but drivable enough so he could wander out to test drive the suspension and engine component repairs for safety and bedding in.

So I have no idea what it’ll look like when I come home tonight, but this was from Saturday afternoon (and still substantially looked the same this morning):

2013-04-06 16.03.12

2013-04-06 16.04.21

2013-04-06 16.04.16

2013-04-06 16.03.57

2013-04-06 16.03.22

2013-04-06 16.03.31

2013-04-06 16.03.44

2013-04-06 16.03.54

*****

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