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Well, as usual I am a little late to the party.
But I can offer some personal input regarding a "friction-fit" steering wheel cover.
I put this on the wheel of my 2015 M3 shortly after picking it up in September of 2015.
Been on ever since:
 

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Discussion Starter · #244 · (Edited)
Color me initially very happy, for the FMS steering wheel cover (size 15M in black genuine leather @ $23.79, with purchase link below) arrived today. Unlike many of its competitors in its price range which come all folded up in an envelope sized package, with buyers complaining about subsequent wrinkles, mine arrived inside of a perfect-sized, large cardboard box, with a 1" diameter white foam shipping tube inside of it to keep it circular.

I was next pleased with its uniform stitching and its leather. Is it Ferrari quality, of course not, but very nice, in fact excellent for its price.

Prior to installing it, I it onto a flat, black plastic board and let it sit in the sunshine for 20 minutes, then was flipped and rotated 180 degrees for another 20 minutes.

It went on in less than a minute (best install DIY I saw is linked below). And IMO, it feels good -- just the diameter that Mazda should have made it. As it is lined, some might think it is a touch too big. I do not, really liking its diameter. Is it a visual improvement? Hell no. I hope it is temporary, with someone later making a great-looking wheel to fit a 2017 with the heated wheel option.




https://www.amazon.com/FMS-Universa...1-30-spons&keywords=steering+wheel+cover&th=1

https://youtu.be/anWzHWfasXA
 

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Discussion Starter · #245 ·
FMS steering wheel cover driving report:

Driving with the FMS steering wheel cover on curvy roads, out in the middle of nowhere, has demonstrated some of its considerable positives (compared to the OEM wheel). Before getting into its strengths, it is important to realize the obvious, that the cover increases the rim diameter, and for those whose glove size is "small," you probably will not like it. My wife has smaller hands than I (her gardening gloves are mens' size "medium") , and I will post her "driving report" in a few days. Even with my medium length fingers (size "large" gloves), I wish the steering wheel with its cover were just the tinniest bit touch thinner. Yes, I am laughing at myself, for my going from the wheel being too small by a good amount with the OEM wheel, to now, with the steering wheel cover on, being a "tiny touch" larger in diameter than would be perfect for me.

Overall however, with the steering wheel cover installed, it is a major improvement to me in important other ways as follows:

I never before felt comfortable in driving with one hand (and before anyone gets upset, I live in the middle of nowhere and on my 20 mile test drive, I did not come up upon anyone in front of me, nor did anyone come up behind me). Now, I feel very comfortable in driving with one hand. And my taking very tight corners in a very spirited manner with two hands on the wheel, is more of a joy!

The material/texture of the SW cover is excellent, better than OEM. It has just enough texture so unlike before, I no longer feel the wheel is slippery. Consequently, also for the first time, I was able to safely and comfortably rest my right elbow on the center console and drive down the road, totally relaxed, with only my right hand on the wheel (in the 5:00 position).

And contrary to my concerns before I bought it, the SW cover's edges do not dig into any part of my hands, especially not any part of my fingers, as the edges of the cover transition into wonderfully into the OEM wheel. In fact, that transition already feels very natural and comfortable.

Because the cover has IMO the perfect texture, I find my hands on the wheel 1000% relaxed (as compared to before where I felt the need to apply some hand pressure into the wheel rim when I was taking corners in order to insure I was adequately controlling the wheel).

So at this time, it was $23.79 well spent. I am interested in my wife's reaction when she drives it next week, and will post back what she says.
 

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Discussion Starter · #246 · (Edited)
With just a few days left on my temporary license tags, time to install the 2017 front license plate relocator (thanks to @minsanity for teaching me about this). I live in a required front plate state. As always, I want my front plate mounted as low as possible and along the centerline of the car (just my personal preference). So with that in mind, I bought this system, had it as my first mod part in my house, about two months before my car even arrived at the dealership.

As most know, this system allows one to install the plate in such a way that, for example, if it is sold to an out of state buyer or the owner moves to the lucky 30+ states which do not require a front place, all evidence of its ever being mounted, totally disappears. Here are the parts that make it up this front LP system.

From the front (which of course is hidden by the plate itself):



From the underside (showing this so all can see its provided two-sided, mounting tape which is a nice redundancy -- but secure even without it):



Top view:

This shows the "backing plate" which is behind your lower grille, the two long, front-to-back bolts which secure/lock it all together, and the main mounting block:



Initial step for installation (at least the way I did it); this temporary tape allows one person to place the behind-the-grille backing plate so that one person can do the job easily. Apologies for the lousy tape job, for all I wanted to do was to hold it in place until I installed the mounting block in the front of the grille and ran the long bolts through all into the back plate. I fished out the temp tape after all was totally secured):



Note: This Bell License Mounting Plate was/is recommended for this system (now [email protected] Auto Parts); however, I am willing to bet all auto parts stores have something identical by another manufacturer; and, I know you can get one at Amazon too, though made by "Flagline"):



The terrific thing about using the Bell or Flagline or equivalent mounting plate, is that you can move your license plate itself up and down and even make angle adjustments when using it (e.g., by drilling extra holes, adding washers on the bottom mounting means between the plate itself and the plate frame, etc). I choose to have the top edge of mine angle back, and to have it mounted as low as I could without reducing my front ground clearance.

To mount the plate itself to the plastic mounting plate, I always use stainless steel nuts, bolts, washer, locker washers, and "Nylac" locking nuts. Here is a kit I started with from Amazon, and supplemented it with a few left over stainless parts from previous LP mountings.

https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Li...501295128&sr=8-4&keywords=License+Plate+Bolts

And here is what I ended up with:



Thank you again @minsanity for developing this front plate mounting system! The plate is on so sturdy, and it is just where I wanted it.
 

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Thank you, @Road Trip sir. I look forward to each & every update of your build. Detailed & articulate thru each & every mod. WOW!!! You, among those who find joy in sharing, are a blessing to M3R. Keep modding, please.:)
 

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^What @minsanity said! I love the updates! Inspiration and ideas into my own builds!
 
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:grin2::grin2::grin2:
 
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Discussion Starter · #250 · (Edited)
Very little additional is planned (just the surprise one that will not take place for around a month, but predictable in a way), and getting my winter tires (Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8's) mounted onto my now "Ultra Black Chrome" powder-coated, silver OEM's 18".

However, all know who have the mod addiction, as soon as something strikes me, it will become the next mod. (In the last month did two more to my WRX that "I couldn't live without." ) I check our two large, long running mod threads pretty much daily -- looking for new ones.

And of course, I am still on the hunt for a complete new heated steering wheel that would work for a 2017.

I have some really long road trips planned before the year is out, for while I love modding, I love being on the road much more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #251 · (Edited)
As I knew the possibility of my going into it, my very-short-term steering wheel cover is no more. No sign that it was ever on the steering wheel (whew!). Just too big of a diameter. Have realigned where I place my hands on the wheel slightly, so that my thumbs are not exactly where the 10:00 and 2:00 steering wheel bumps are, wiith the wheel being larger in diameter there and having some stitching, finding the grip I was looking for when my hands are exactly in those places.

Ideal solution? Far from it, for we all want to sometimes move our hands and hold the wheel in different places, but best solution for me to date.

If someone wears size XL gloves and has long fingers, having your read the above posts #'s 244 & 245, just PM me, and if you live in the U.S., I will send it to you for free, including its shipping. Hopefully it would work well for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #252 · (Edited)
The more I thought about all your advice, even though the Progress RSB Engineer said he was comfortable with the OEM links when his sway bar was in the firmer postion..., the more I began to question things.

So even knowing the 2017 endlinks are supposedly upgraded, I climbed back under the car and looked at them. They sure did not look that strong to me, so, again with thanks for all your advice, I just ordered the German Racing Product (GRP) adjustable ones many of you have had great success with.

And so while last week ended with no new mods planned in the next month or two, that sure did not last...
They should arrive and be installed next week. Then with them and the RSB changed to the firmer setting, no more understeer, no more body roll.
 

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Discussion Starter · #253 ·
Been waiting and waiting (over 6 weeks) for a OEM part. It has just arrived (was not one in the country, had to come from Japan). It now goes to be custom modified, then about August 20th, will be installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #254 ·
Installed GRP (German Racing Parts), much stronger than OEM, rear sway bar endlinks. "Moved" the connection location of my Progress sway bar to their "firmest" setting.

Purchase info/link/pricing is in the first post of this thread, sub-section # 36.

Ride review: This is a great upgrade for those who like a firmly sprung ride, with almost no body roll/lean, and understeer is now gone as a consequence.

Conversely, for those who are looking for a "more cushy" ride, stick with my previous factory OEM endlink and the Progress sway bar on its softer setting. You will still have some body roll, but significantly less than OEM, and some understeer, but again less than OEM.

I am glad I made this second-stage suspension upgrade. I especially thank @arathol for months ago laying out how this combination would work, and he was "spot on."
 

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Conversely, for those who are looking for a "more cushy" ride, stick with my previous factory OEM endlink and the Progress sway bar on its softer setting. You will still have some body roll, but significantly less than OEM, and some understeer, but again less than OEM.

I am glad I made this second-stage suspension upgrade. I especially thank @arathol for months ago laying out how this combination would work, and he was "spot on."
:laugh2::thumbup 1:

One thing though - the endlinks themselves don't have any effect on ride quality. The larger endlinks are needed because the bigger bar has a greater effective spring rate which is above what the OEM links can handle safely under maximum load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #257 · (Edited)
I have not. That subject is of interest and knowledge to many of our members. I would suggest starting a new thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #258 · (Edited)
Finally, the mod I tried to months ago is now done, a real leather shift boot cover!

I have always been very pleased with the interior of our car, though IMO there was one thing that distracted I quickly noticed in my original test drive, i.e., I came away from that experience feeling that the one interior piece I thought looked low-budget was the vinyl shift boot cover (it was just not up the class of the rest of its interior).

Some may remember that I first ordered a leather shift boot from RedlineGoods, and while even its owner assured me on the phone that it would fit, and it also stated on their website, it did not.

Here is the OEM "before" picture:



What it now looks like:



Jason's [email protected] is outstanding (I have six different items of his on my '17 WRX). While he previously only did his leather word on Subaru items, I sent him a pattern for the 2014+ Mazda 3 manual trans, shift boot cover. If you are interested, full contact information for him is in post #1, sub section # 37 of this thread.

http://mazda3revolution.com/forums/usertag.php?do=list&action=hash&hash=1
 

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Discussion Starter · #260 ·
Jason does top notch work. My favorite piece of all for my WRX is the intrument trim surround, changing the OEM dull/flat plastic to this:
 

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