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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of you might remember my thread from a while back, looking for a reliable daily to put a lot of miles on over the next two years. I took your advice, and went a little crazy. I found this one owner 2008 Mazdaspeed 3 with 180,000 miles on it. I spent a little more than I would want to, but the carfax came back clean, it came with both sets of keys, and most of the parts to put it back to stock.

I'm missing the original wheels, so if anyone has a lead on a set, let me know.

First thing I did was remove the stupid aftermarket satellite radio setup that was stuffed in the dash.



I wanted a color other than the silver/beige/black world we live in. It's bright, that's for sure.





It's sitting on a set of Cobb lowering springs and the cheapest KYB struts/shocks money can buy.



Another thing I changed immediately, I replaced the Cobb "hot" air intake with the factory air box (came with the car).



First impressions?

- This is too much power for the FWD chassis. This thing has trouble getting traction in first/second/third.

- The test drive revealed a clunk in the rear. Turns out the rear Cobb sway bar...its mounting brackets sheared off the rear subframe. I have never seen that happen before. I'll replace that with the factory sway bar.

- It has a horrible shake at speeds over 60 mph. The struts are probably no good all around, but I think there might be more at play here. Motor mounts? I think it needs tires as well.

- I think it's consuming a little oil, but I have to drive it more to confirm that. Probably will need a new turbo eventually.

The good?

- No check engine light, airbag light, or TPMS illuminated.

- Interior is really clean.

- Timing chain/water pump were recently replaced.

- I couldn't find anything loose in the suspension other than the rear sway bar.

If it lasts 30k ~ 40k miles I will be happy.

Your thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can you handle modern technology?
Modern tech is annoying as heck. If it had a screen, I would not have bought it.

Automatic HID headlights with leveling motors, automatic windshield wipers, automatic climate control...it's not for me.

On the other hand, cruise control...now that's a concept. I might actually use that!

In general I do not foresee to enjoy working on it. That's a tightly packed engine bay.
 

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hey now, a satellite radio setup like that was the only thing that kept me sane for 15-20 years as I drove back and forth to the coast several times a year.

But to your question: looks good! You'll forget about the tight spaces when you're finished putting it all back together. If what you found is all that needs addressing, that's one great ride.
 

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Heck yes. I had a second generation version of this. Loved the ride and I think the looks on your first gen are better. It prob had an aftermarket rear motor mount. I did that to mine and it ruined NVH while it did put power better to the ground. Careful with boost loading at low RPMs as you'll learn about Zoom Zoom Boom. I think if you turn it back to stock and just maintain it, you'll have a blast. Damn, I miss mine.
 

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I love these, even though they have a reputation…yours looks to be a great example.

“Normal” 3s of this generation need motor and trans mounts replaced…they wear out, causing all sorts of drivability and shifting issues.
Not sure if the Mazdaspeed cars got better mounts?

Either way, it’s an easy driveway fix, as I recall.
Looking forward to following this thread!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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In general I do not foresee to enjoy working on it. That's a tightly packed engine bay.
That’s a clean pickup, and clean car.

I wouldn’t trip on all the tech. Here it’s likely an extra sensor connected to can bus. Nothing crazy. And FWD based cars generally suck to work on due to all the space constraints. Granted there’s exceptions like wide Vs and boxers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Me too. Enjoy it OP, I will say I was shocked to see this new of a car!
A first for me, a car from the current millennium!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That’s a clean pickup, and clean car.

I wouldn’t trip on all the tech. Here it’s likely an extra sensor connected to can bus. Nothing crazy. And FWD based cars generally suck to work on due to all the space constraints. Granted there’s exceptions like wide Vs and boxers.
Oh yes, that hardbody only gets original Nissan parts. It’s ‘high mileage’ now, 89k miles on it. Too nice to drive long distance on a daily basis.

Yes, I have a lot to learn about can bus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Congrats on the can bus ride. Do you have a scan tool?
I have a basic OBDII code scanner. If that’s not enough, is there something you’d recommend? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Heck yes. I had a second generation version of this. Loved the ride and I think the looks on your first gen are better. It prob had an aftermarket rear motor mount. I did that to mine and it ruined NVH while it did put power better to the ground. Careful with boost loading at low RPMs as you'll learn about Zoom Zoom Boom. I think if you turn it back to stock and just maintain it, you'll have a blast. Damn, I miss mine.
Yeah I plan to put it all back to stock. Except for the stereo I guess. It has a factory Bose setup with an amp that only has the right channel and blown speakers. I’ll have to do something about that if I want tunes.
 

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Not bad, Iroczgirl! I haven't driven one of these but as I understand it they're a handful with the throttle down. :)

I doubt most of the problem is the struts themselves, as KYB aren't high-end, but they're pretty solid and long lasting. Of course you don't know how long they've been in there, so there's that. Most don't change the strut tops and those are under load, so it's hard to feel when they're out unless you pull everything apart. A set of struts and strut bushings, along with fixing that rear sway bar mount should go a long way (maybe 100%!) towards fixing its ills.

I don't like screens either, but I can put up with early ones that use knobs/buttons. I suppose at some point I'll get used to the idea of touch screens, but I think they're terrible in cars both in concept and execution. My next car will likely have one, but I absolutely do not want one, and I will not buy a car that relies overly heavily on screens to operate secondary controls the way Tesla does.
 

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Love these cars. Nice find!

Also, KYB stuff is solid stuff. In terms of aftermarket non-performance suspension components, they're on the higher end.

They could've slapped some Monroes on there - or worse, some no-name house brand dampers.
 

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I doubt most of the problem is the struts themselves, as KYB aren't high-end, but they're pretty solid and long lasting. Of course you don't know how long they've been in there, so there's that. Most don't change the strut tops and those are under load, so it's hard to feel when they're out unless you pull everything apart. A set of struts and strut bushings, along with fixing that rear sway bar mount should go a long way (maybe 100%!) towards fixing its ills.
Also, regular struts+lowering springs is a pretty common combo that causes blown struts. But I agree, the shake probably isn't the struts, I'd put my money on bent wheel rims, and if not that, I'd start pulling on suspension parts to see what moves. In some cars, worn out bushings can cause a shake, in particular, that big compliance bushing at the rear of the control arm.

Anyways, one of my friends had one of these back when they were new, they're silly fun, driving it almost convinced me to get one. You could downshift into third on the highway and put your foot down then wait for BOOOOST and torque steer. So much fun.
 

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Honestly, the only people I've known who have had flawless MS3 ownership experiences into high mileage are those folks who bought them new and treated them right. Every MS3 that I've come across trying to buy used has been a beat up old thing, used hard and put away wet. Hopefully you're able to smooth out all the bumps and have a good ownership experience, but more of your particular car's faults are on the previous owner(s) than the car, IMO.
 
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