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Hey guys, new owner here! Got a screamin deal on a 2004 2.3l hatch with low miles. It's a little rough around the edges though, and I wanted some experienced users recommendations on a few things.

1. Shift knob is all torn up, wanted to put a new one of those on. Any recommendations on something that feels nice, doesn't look too ostentatious (I'm not into the anodized aluminum everything stuff) and isn't too expensive?

2. Tail lights: I think a previous owner might have slightly tinted them which I don't love. Is it common that this is done with a replacement part, or is it more likely that they might have just sprayed it, and it's something I could clean off? Also, one of them had a glass cracked, is this something that is replaceable, or do you have to just buy a whole new tail light harness?

3. Headlights: I have one bulb out, and I'm thinking about maybe going with an HID kit instead of just replacing the bulb. I found this one for a good price:

headlightexperts.com/d2s-bi-xenon-hid-kit?2004-Mazda-3?&gclid=CjwKCAiAtdDTBRArEiwAPT4y-3XbIIKlZlOl21YJ_8s4pb7qlKcMCW7dC7e5ornBVSH-xJ_F4v64UBoCFPQQAvD_BwE]D2S]D2S Bi-Xenon HID Headlight Conversion Kit

Does anybody have experience with this?

4. Painted Rims: They murdered out the rims, but it's not a great job. And I still haven't decided if I want to fix the old job, or just remove it altogether and just go back to stock look. thoughts?

I'm at work right now, but I'll post pictures later.

Thanks!
 

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Hey guys, new owner here! Got a screamin deal on a 2004 2.3l hatch with low miles. It's a little rough around the edges though, and I wanted some experienced users recommendations on a few things.

1. Shift knob is all torn up, wanted to put a new one of those on. Any recommendations on something that feels nice, doesn't look too ostentatious (I'm not into the anodized aluminum everything stuff) and isn't too expensive?
There are literally thousands of different knobs out there. Look around, see if you find one you like. Don't get a generic knob with set screws though. Most Mazdas have a 10x1.25 thread on the shifter. Thats what you should be looking for.

2. Tail lights: I think a previous owner might have slightly tinted them which I don't love. Is it common that this is done with a replacement part, or is it more likely that they might have just sprayed it, and it's something I could clean off? Also, one of them had a glass cracked, is this something that is replaceable, or do you have to just buy a whole new tail light harness?
Hard to say what is going on without pictures here. Yes, it is common to spray tint, and sometimes the light box is opened and tinted on the inside to prevent damage to the tint. Does it come off at all? Some aftermarket parts are made with tinted lenses also. Chances are if one is broken you'll need to replace both to match. You don't need a whole harness, just the light boxes.

3. Headlights: I have one bulb out, and I'm thinking about maybe going with an HID kit instead of just replacing the bulb. I found this one for a good price:

headlightexperts.com/d2s-bi-xenon-hid-kit?2004-Mazda-3?&gclid=CjwKCAiAtdDTBRArEiwAPT4y-3XbIIKlZlOl21YJ_8s4pb7qlKcMCW7dC7e5ornBVSH-xJ_F4v64UBoCFPQQAvD_BwE]D2S]D2S Bi-Xenon HID Headlight Conversion Kit

Does anybody have experience with this?
You might want to stay away from HID conversion kits that are just bulbs and drivers. HID bulbs produce a great deal of UV energy. This can burn the reflective surfaces off the inside of a light box designed for halogen bulbs, reducing output severely. Damage can occur in a matter of months if you install 55w bulbs or greater.
For now just replace with a good quality halogen.


4. Painted Rims: They murdered out the rims, but it's not a great job. And I still haven't decided if I want to fix the old job, or just remove it altogether and just go back to stock look. thoughts?

I'm at work right now, but I'll post pictures later.

Thanks!
Any idea what sort of paint, or is it plastidip spray? The latter is easy to remove, paint not so much. You won't really know if the rims look good underneath until you get them stripped.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for all that good info! This is really helpful. I've got another minute, so I thought I'd post some of my progress. The tint turns out to be a film of some kind applied to the exterior of the glass. I tried to peel it up at the edges a bit to see if it would come up all at once. It was surprisingly "crusty" and didn't seem to want to easily budge. Any tips for getting this off?

The rims are a plasti dip. I think I'll plan on stripping them and if the rims are in good shape probably leaving it, but if they're not I might re-coat it, just do a better job of it.

Noted on the headlights. I think I'll take your advice.
 

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Thanks for all that good info! This is really helpful. I've got another minute, so I thought I'd post some of my progress. The tint turns out to be a film of some kind applied to the exterior of the glass. I tried to peel it up at the edges a bit to see if it would come up all at once. It was surprisingly "crusty" and didn't seem to want to easily budge. Any tips for getting this off?.
Not sure if I'm too late but using a hairdryer or heat gun over the tint (if it is indeed tint film) will melt the adhesive and should peel off easier and less messy, to remove leftover adhesive try goo gone or another degreaser then wash it and its back to oem.
 
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