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51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

More or less I'm keeping this as a progress for all the modifications I'm doing to my car. I got it in May of 2015, and it had 38,000 miles on it.

The obese, makeup slathered woman animal who owned my car before left an impressive mess all over the car. Luckily that helped to devalue the car so I got it for $10,500 when it was probably worth 3k more. I am still to this day finding new gems such as cigarette butts, cheap lipstick containers, and mcdonald stickers from under the cupholder panel (I removed it to install a GPS unit).

Anyway, onto my mods!

1) Installed blinker side mirrors: http://mazda3revolution.com/forums/...quential-turn-arrows-cars-without-wiring.html
My car had 0 mirror blinkers or blinker wiring. It was a complete hassle to do this mod, but after several hours, cuts on my fingers from being careless with the splicer, and many many curse words, I accomplished it. You can check out the link above to read thru my entire process of doing this mod.

2) Installed JBR rear sway bar (Tru-Torsion.125 Rear Sway Bar - Black [MS3RSB-BLK] - $195.00 : James Barone Racing, Aftermarket Performance)
I literally just installed this. If you do buy one, do not buy the MOOG end links from JBR, because they marked up the price 400%. Just buy it from rockauto for 23$ versus 85$ that JBR is charging. As for the sway bar and the Sub Tru-Torsion Brackets they seem to be pretty awesome. I have it on the stiffest setting and my car does seem much firmer around corners and roundabouts. It's nothing earth shattering, but it does feel like the car has correct steering response, where as before it felt like it was under steering, or, felt like I had to turn the wheel harder than I should when turning. Now it is much more firm, and feels like I have better control over my car when doing hard turns.
-- Yes it's dirty under my car, but you can see the new sway bar in all of its glory. It's amazing how much heavier it was than the wimpy stock bar.

3) Plastidipped emblems + wheels black, calipers red
This was the first thing I did to the car, literally within 2 hours of buying the car. The chrome emblems I very much disliked, they were way too boring and lame for my taste.

4) Removed plastidip wheels, painted with real black high gloss paint
For the wheels, I stupidly paid a shop to plastidip them. They charged a hefty couple hundred to plastidip my wheels black. They did everything right, they put on a coat before plastidipping which allows the plastidip to be removed easier, then they coated it several times, and then put a nice gloss coat on top. The problem is that the plastidip started to flake off around the edges of the rim as well as in the lug nut areas.
I decided that since I forever wanted to have black wheels on this car, why would I be using plastidip and not just paint them? So, I opted to get them painted. Best decision. They look amazing, high gloss, very durable, and for the same price I paid for plastidipping them so it didn't break the bank (250$ to paint all 4 wheels).

5) New performance rotors and brakes
Happy with my brake choice, I went with ceramic. The rotors I went with were slotted and drilled. I now realize that both slotted and drilled rotors are not only useless but the drilled rotors can make the rotor crack much easier. Next time I will just go with slotted (hey I think they look cool, dammit!)

6) Painted blue headlight housing
Everything was painted blue except for the high beams. The high beams I left unpainted because they are needed to properly reflect the halogen bulb, and if I did paint it then I may of had trouble passing inspection. Also I needed that tiny but of orange on the side to pass inspection, so it was left unpainted but I painted the rest of the orange reflector.

7) Drain and refill on transmission 3x, used Royal Purple MAX ATF. Replaced factory drain plugs with higher quality aftermarket ones
The OEM transmission fluid is garbage. If you own this car, please do yourself a favor and replace it ASAP to help extend the life of your transmission. Royal Purple Max ATF might be a little over the top but I wanted the best transmission fluid in the car since I've heard these transmission have a tendency to go out around 90k-130k if not properly taken care of. As for the drain plugs, I replaced the oil drain plug and the transmission oil drain plug. Both have bigger magnets and both are painted, which makes me happy to see every time I go under my car.

8 ) LED ultra bright reverse lights
Simple and cheap upgrade. I recommend everyone get this. This isn't rice, or annoying, and it is super easy to do, and most importantly it increases safety when you're backing up. Not only can other people see you better, but you can see everything else better when you're backing up (they're sort of like dim headlights for the rear of the car, they're that bright)
-- My camera does not handle headlight/backup light pictures well. They look a little different in person. They are more white (0 yellow at all) and obviously it doesn't look like a giant sun glare coming at you, but they are most definitely bright and beautiful!

9) Green LED dome light, Orange LED map lights
These add a very nice touch to my car at night. It feels relaxing and soothing when that green light comes on, and the orange map lights are not only brighter, but are not as harsh are the OEM lights. These are also very cheap upgrades, you can get these lights for just a few dollars off eBay. There is a HUGE selection of LED interior bulbs, so make sure you get high quality ones, they are usually only a couple dollars more than the dirt cheap ones.

10) Windows tinted, 20% all rear, 35% front, 70% windshield
All my window tint is legal thanks to the medical waiver I got from my doctor! I ran the same tints on a Toyota Yaris, as well as a Honda Civic and have never been hassled by the police for them. Even when being pulled over for speeding, I never hear anything about it. In case I do, I have my medical waiver handy.

11) Flashing 3rd light brake (strobes for 1.5 seconds, then stays on) -- allowed in all states per federal law, Virginia also passed a law to allow it for 5 seconds
This flashing module was fun to play with. It cost me about $10 and only had to splice a few wires in the back which were fairly easy to get to thru the inside of the trunk. You can set it to blink as many times as you want, as quickly as you want, and there are other various options and features for it to reduce possible annoyance during stop and go traffic. I see some people using these, and the way they are installed they are kind of annoying to see blink when I'm following. Mine are set to strobe much quicker (not a long pause between blinks) and it doesn't strobe for very long. I just wanted something to catch someone's eye if they weren't paying attention and were behind me.
YouTube link for how it looks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHFV6lg_Qa4

12) Installed smoked LED light bar for 3rd brake (instead of the 1 incandescent bulb that reflects across the light bar)
I recommend this mod to everyone. It is very cheap. I bought it off eBay, I think it was about 10, maybe 20$. Even though it is smoked, it is much brighter than the stock light. The stock 3rd light does not look good at all, and after I removed it I realized how cheap and overall gross looking it was.
>Side note: I also installed RED LED Rear Tail Lights, to replace the stock incandescent ones. They are definitely more red than the stock ones, since the stock bulbs are actually white, but they aren't quite as bright. They are still plenty bright for a brake light, so I kept them.
-- Again, thanks to my poor camera's ability, since the 3rd brake light is bright it looks like a huge glare in the first picture here. It is not that way in real life, I have a closeup of it that accurately shows how it looks in the 2nd picture. When it is not lit up, it blends in nicely with the black paint on my car.

13) Installed low profile spoiler
I went with a classy spoiler that didn't scream rice. Everyone has their own preference when it comes to spoilers, but I wanted something that looked natural but still gave the car a sporty look. This spoiler has it! Bought it from eBay, and it came pre-painted. I had to buff it out a bit, but after I was done it looks and matched my car with complete perfection. This mod I wanted to do myself, but didn't have the tools to drill into the trunk, so I had it installed at a small shop for $50. There was some flex in the spoiler when installing, but after tightening the scews into the trunk it snugged right up.

14) Installed HID low beams: http://www.ddmtuning.com/Products/DDM-HID-Kit-Slim-Ballast-35W-or-55W
This HID kit is the 35watt Raptor HID Kit from DDM Tuning. I choose the 4500k color because it is crystal white, with a tiny hint of blue. The pictures I took do not do it justice. From the picture, it looks very glared up and looks like the light is coming from the entire headlight housing. It does not look like this in person, it looks beautiful coming from the projector, but my phone camera just glares up when the light is shining at it. As you can see, I left the high beam unpainted, because the reflector is needed for the halogen highbeams to work properly, and I would probably have a hard time passing inspection if I did paint them. My car came with Halogen lights, but since I have projector housing it is legal to have HID bulbs. Everything is lined up perfectly and it does not blind oncoming drivers (I've done many tests to assure this). 55w HID's might blind oncoming drivers, so I would stick with 35w if you are going the HID route. I also got a relay kit which is wired directly to the battery so it doesn't strain the stock halogen wiring.

15) Vinyl wrapped interior trim
This was my first time vinyl wrapping. It is carbon blue vinyl wrap, and most of my pieces came out great. I had some trouble with the button controls on the steering wheel though, I will likely remove those and just leave it black. You can't really notice my mistakes very well at first glance, but since I drive it all the time I do :p

16) Painted engine and fusebox cover blue
I saw someone else do this, and it looked fun to do. Makes me happy to open up the hood of my car and see the color pop out! I could have done a better job with painting, when spraying it on some globs came out of the can and made it a bit blotchy. Still overall a nice look, I wasn't going for showroom quality just something that's a little different and a little nicer than every other car. If you're wondering what happened to my battery cover, well, I'm guessing the woman-creature who owned my car previously probably ate it and regurgitated it somewhere in her dark and musty den where she lives. I don't think I'm going to bother buying a new one, it doesn't seem to serve much purpose anyway.

17) Amber license plate lights
These are inexpensive and add a nice touch

18 ) Dash Cam
These are great for protecting yourself. You never know when someone is going to run across the road, get hit by you, then try to sue you. Car accidents also happen all the time, and if someone else hits you, you have undeniable proof that it was their fault. Obviously if it is your fault, then don't tell anyone you have a dash cam! Same goes for police activity, you can show yourself not running that red light, that you swore to the officer it was yellow. Well guess what, it's on camera and it will hold up in court and will save you from that ticket. I WISH I had this camera when I got hit a year ago. An old woman changed lanes right into my car, and pushed me off the road. At the scene, she claimed it was her fault, but when the insurance came around it was alllllll my fault. I ended up with a dented Honda civic for months since I only had liability insurance, and eventually sold it. A dash cam is a good investment, better than a lot of mods that many of you car lovers do, so get one!

19) Green cupholder LED lighting.
This is hardwired to run when you start the car. It is an inexpensive 10$ LED strip. You don't really notice it during the day, but at night it looks quite nice. Many times on long drives I previously had a hard time finding the blasted cupholder! Not anymore! ;)

20) GPS unit with SIM card installed
Sim card is $10 per 90 days. GPS unit was $40, bought it off amazon. Installed it myself. Easy, and now if someone steals my car, they will be caught quickly and my car returned to safety :) Also useful if you have people who borrow your car and you're a total snoop. The way this works is you call the SIM phone #, then it will text you back both GPS coordinates, as well as a link to google maps which pinpoints the location. It is extremely accurate in my testing. It also has a feature that will automatically send you a text every 3 minutes if your battery every dies or is unplugged. This is to alert you if someone is trying to disconnect your battery in order to hotwire or break into your car. The battery in the GPS will last for days, possibly a couple weeks, without the car battery.

21) Plastidipped gear shifter trim
The silver trim on this piece was worn off due to the hideous woman who previously owned this car. A few coats of black plastidip made it beautiful again, and I like it better than how the standard silver looked. Don't mind the dust and dirt all around my car. I don't keep it showroom clean, but it is still rather clean. The light on my camera makes all the dirt and dust really pop out lol
-- Also that little black pocket off to the side I got off eBay. I use it to place my phone in when I'm driving.

22) Painted underside of car black
I did this as a rust protectant. It makes the underside of my car look a lot nicer. For the muffler, I had to use a high heat paint.

23) Blue LED footwell lighting
This was pretty easy to do, and it looks great. I used cheap LED strips from eBay, and I had to use eletrical tape to tape off about half the lights because the strip ended up being so bright.

24) Replaced rear bumper reflectors
I replaced the stock bumper reflectors with blacked out LED ones. They turn on with the headlights, and they also turn bright with the brake lights. The biggest pain was getting the bumper off, then it was fairly simple to splice the wires into the brake lights as well as the license plate light.

25) Galaxy Headliner
I took out the headliner and put a Galaxy fabric on the ceiling

26) Velvet-like black fabric on the side pillars

To Do:
- Paint mirror covers blue, as well as fog light bezel blue, to match my headlights

Aspiring Mad Scientist
1,716 Posts
Wait, what's your definition of rice? lol...

51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Wait, what's your definition of rice? lol...
I think everyone has their own view on what is rice and what isn't. I'm sure a lot of people consider the green interior lights to be rice, but I like them so I put them in anyway!

I personally enjoy seeing different car mods on the road. No matter what car you drive there are always people who have a preference for something else. Some people like stock, some people like small mods, some like to go big and go all out xD

I'm just mostly sticking to small, simple mods but still admire other car builds

280 Posts
you should do a retrofit since you already had the headlights open before. it is a night and day difference to go OEM projectors from a hid kit in halogen projectors.
i loved it on my 3. will do it again once i get my next 3 soon
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