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Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 6:38 p.m.

Hey all. I bought this clean 92 Mazda MX3 as a project car, but time and funds never seemed to be available at the same time too often. Did manage to source a low mileage KLZE, had it installed with a new Centerforce Stage II clutch, and put the thing up on jack stands. That was five years ago.

With a helpful little kick in the pants from my SO (who I'm convinced bought his recent project car to spur me into action on my own), I've actually started resurrecting this beast.

Wish I hadn't done things ass-backwards, sure would have been easier with an empty engine bay. Wheels and some of the suspension bits are off, plan is to remove subframes as well. Anything in decent shape is being bead-blasted (which is satisfying up to a point; then it's rather like watching cement set...), and either sent out to be plated, or painted with POR-15. The best part of the process is after the cleaning and degreasing, I discovered that it's in really good shape under a quarter century of built-up filth.

<img src="1 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr" />

3 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

2 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

4 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

5 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

6 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

JtspellS SuperDork
2/2/16 6:46 p.m.

Subbed for potential inspiration for the P5...

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 6:46 p.m.

And the removal of ugly crap begins...

7 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

8 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

sethmeister4 SuperDork
2/2/16 6:47 p.m.

Sweet! How much power does a stock KLZE make (assuming yours is stock)? Any weird stuff involved in that swap? I'll be watching this for sure... always had a soft spot for these cars.

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 6:51 p.m.

Removed the left front mudflap to discover a secret - but it doesn't bother at all. That's a common rust spot for these cars - the space tends to gather leaves and water. Looks like all the rust has been removed and the fibreglass will be hidden beneath the plastic mudguards.

9 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

Strut towers clean as a whistle!

10 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

11 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 6:54 p.m.

Much cleaner. Will remove brackets, clips, hardware for plating.

12 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

Stock seats are in great shape, but I've never liked the colour. Always wanted leather, but the original ones are ultra rare, and aftermarket runs about $1200 for a set. Uh uh.

13 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 6:57 p.m.


14 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

Finally found a leather interior at a great price. Thank you Kijiji! They're just in here for placement, going to bead blast and paint the rails before installing.

17 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

18 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 6:58 p.m.

Frame rails, before and after.

15 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

16 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 7:00 p.m.

I hung on to the wheels from my first (rotten) MX3, but they're in nasty shape. Lots of corrosion and years of built up filth. Tried Armour All Wheel Cleaner - hah, might as well have spit on them.

Sonax is the cleaner equivalent of a BFH. Takes elbow grease, but that E36 M3 works.

19 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

20 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/2/16 7:11 p.m.

Outstanding project! Great engine, great chassis. I must search out this Sonax, as that wheel sure looks good.

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 7:33 p.m.

Seth, the stock 1.8L V6 had 135hp. The KLZE has 200hp. Feels perfect.

Angry - that stuff is da bomb. It turns purple when it encounters rust or corrosion, and with enough scrubbing, removes most of it. Lot of work, but worth it as you can see.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
2/2/16 7:43 p.m.

I was eye humping one of these at a gas station today. Green and tan. Gorgeous lines.

And Leslie, nice to see you back around.

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 7:45 p.m.

Thanks! It feels great to actually be wrenching, instead of just talking about it :-)

captdownshift GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/2/16 7:45 p.m.

I hope that the suspension leads provided make their way onto it Great start, love the chassis and engine selection and doing everything down to the blasting

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 8:02 p.m.

Thanks so much. That link was great- some beautiful pieces on there that I wouldn't mind having.

Having a great time, learning a lot. Bead blasting is cool. We added aluminum oxide to the beads to give it more bite on some of the harder rust and paint. I've also learned to wear coveralls instead of holey old jeans. One of my kneecaps is POR-15'd, and it looks like it's not coming off any time soon.

Claff Reader
2/2/16 8:15 p.m.

I had one of these bought used in '96 I think. Got rid of it in 2004. Never see them around anymore but when I do they really turn my head. Good luck with yours.

Lesley PowerDork
2/2/16 8:18 p.m.

Thanks. I like that it's something a little different. When it's all done, a new spoiler and front lip will go on, and it'll go for a paint job.

ssswitch HalfDork
2/2/16 10:16 p.m.

I've seen a few KLZE-swapped MX3s around here and it seems like such a natural combination.

You seem to have a pretty awesome place to work and a nice shell to start with.

HunterBenz New Reader
2/2/16 11:03 p.m.

Where are you rebuilding this an alien space ship. It is so white with perfect lighting! So very nice!!!

Lesley PowerDork
2/3/16 7:27 a.m.

Yeah, it's lovely. My sweetie owns an aviation business, they design and build custom parts. My car is in the hangar, his is in the attached shop. Every tool you could possibly imagine, and then some.

HunterBenz New Reader
2/3/16 7:54 a.m.

Wow. That is awesome.

Ironsides New Reader
2/3/16 9:52 a.m.

Nice project, Always liked the mx3's

Lesley PowerDork
2/24/16 10:15 p.m.

Busy lately, but got in a little bit of time on the MX-3.

Nasty old steering knuckles:

IMG_5070 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

And after:

IMG_5071 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

It needs a little bit more blasting, and a soak in rust remover before getting painted.

Lesley PowerDork
2/24/16 10:17 p.m.

All the various original hardware, after we de-greased and bead blasted it, and sent it off for cadmium plating:

IMG_5062 by Leadfoot Lesley, on Flickr

The_Jed PowerDork
2/24/16 10:55 p.m.

Sweet restoration!

There's one of these for sale at a local dealership. The interior is 50% cigarettes. Also there were a few grocery bags in the back and what looked like a jug of 2014 vintage chocolate milk.

I still kind of wanted it since it has a row-your-own gearbox.

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