Updates to the 6…

Well, I guess it’s that time to share what’s new with my little travel vassel..the 6. With some fresh blog content coming up, I thought it would only be fair to explain myself on some of the changes you might have noticed.

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Overall, the 6 has been performing great and I couldn’t be happier with it. I achieved this cool mini-milestone the other day. With some planned trips coming up, I should be hitting 160,000 miles before summer!

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Okay, let’s get to it. Eagle-eyed viewers may have notice that in the last couple of posts the side moldings had been removed. This wasn’t a premeditated decision. Backing up in time a few months, I was on I-25 headed home from work and I started hearing this odd slapping noise on the passenger side. I couldn’t figure out what the heck it could be. I pulled off to investigate and discovered the passenger front molding was partially detached from the door. At this point, I decided the best fix was to just rip the whole thing off before it fell off somewhere unknown.

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I got home and was thinking… do I reattach this piece with 3M automotive mounting tape or take ALL the moldings off for consistency?

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As it was a rather chilly time of year and the 3M tape probably wouldn’t bond that well to cold metal anyway, I decided to try going naked.

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Results weren’t too bad. I figured if I end up not liking it, I can always reattach when the weather gets warmer. As of now, I think I’ll leave them off.

 Under the hood: 

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I’ve been performing small modifications here and there as well as general repairs and preventative maintenance. Under the hood, I did a full EGR valve re-route from the exhaust manifold to the intake. There is a very good reason for this (or at least I hope so): One of few weak points in the 2003-2005 Mazda 6 V6 motor is the pre-catalytic converters or “pre-cats.” Many owners have reported the material in the pre-cats disintegrating and the metallic particles being sucked up by the EGR valve (which has the suction pipe mounted really close to those pre-cats) into the engine. Thus, a new tagline for the Mazda 6 is born, “Zoom-Zoom-Boom.” The motor will basically eat away at itself and catastrophe will follow. Scary as hell to think about. Route causes for the bad pre-cats could be driving habits, poor maintenance, and sometimes just bad luck. Some fail at 50,000 miles or 300,000 miles. Either way, I’ve been lucky thus far and decided this is a mod to perform ASAP. It won’t prevent those ‘cats from failing, but it could potentially save my motor.

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Fairly simple. Pull out the EGR valve, chop off the copper tube leading to the exhaust manifold, cap the manifold opening, and then attach a heater hose from the intake to the valve. End result is clean, fresh air entering the engine.

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With over 155,000 original miles, some things are getting a tad fatigued and will require future repairs. I will soon need a new water pump, coolant lines (preventative) and a starter. Other issues that aren’t that urgent to me are a timing chain cover oil leak and a mildly worn passenger lower control arm. That could be just plain wear and tear or a result from the accident last year.

Cosmetic/functional Mods:

New shark fin to replace old broken “horsewhip” antenna:

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Paint correction:

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Not bad for 11 year old original paint!

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LED interior and license plate lights courtesy of superbrightleds.com

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New Personalized Plate!

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New upper dash cubby to replace broken one (used from eBay):

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Replacement OEM BOSE 6-CD player (used from eBay):

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Black trim restore: (rear trim restored compared to front)

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Headlight restore. I still have plans on replacing these, but this will suffice for now.

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New switchblade keys to replace OEM remotes that broke on me:

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And now the pièce de résistance: I have a major project coming up in the next few weeks given I have the time and energy. I managed to score a complete black leather interior from a 2003 Mazda 6 and it will be going in soon to replace my cloth. This will give me heated leather seats, full power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments, and leather-clad door panels. Here is when I picked up the parts, stuffed, shoved and folded to make ’em fit into my car. It all BARELY fit!

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All the pieces are sitting in my garage awaiting a full cleaning and conditioning before going in. The cloth will soon be out!

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What’s in the future? Well, I don’t necessarily have an organized plan, but over the coming months I will be adding the following depending on what mood I’m in:

  • Smoked side markers to replace amber colored ones.
  • New headlights with HID retrofit.
  • Move fog lights to lower bumper.
  • Refinish OEM wheels to either a gunmetal or more polished aluminum look.
  • Replace wheel well liners.
  • Add Homelink.
  • Upgrade tail lights to European/JDM version.

I know I said this was going to be a temporary car for a year or so, but who are we kidding? Thanks for checking in and happy trails!

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6 thoughts on “Updates to the 6…

  1. tysonhugie says:

    What in the world? Look at all these updates! Big thumbs up on all the stuff you’ve done so far. I’m going to have to google and see what those Japanese tails will look like. Glad you also got some critical EGR maintenance taken care of. I can’t wait to see how that interior turns out.

    • pawela says:

      Thanks, Tyson! The interior is going to be a slow process since I’m restoring the seats as best I can prior to installing. I also have a suspicion that the wiring won’t be a walk in the park. Either way, hope next time we meet you’ll get to test the leather out!

  2. Farid says:

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, these Mazda 6’s really have aged well! I still absolutely admire the looks of these! I almost want one!

    • pawela says:

      Thanks! I agree entirely (maybe I’m biased) that these aren’t obnoxiously dated. Regardless of motor, these 6’s are a lot of fun for not much money.

  3. Nate says:

    The 6 is looking pretty good for it’s age! Nice updates in store for it too.

    • pawela says:

      Thanks, Nate! She is coming along slowly, but I predict I should have it pretty close to where I want it by the end of the year.

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