Wild Weasel's Sunfire GT

Click on any of the pictures to see a larger, higher quality version.

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For a full list of my Sunfire modifications, see my registry entry on j-body.org where you'll find me in the forums as Wild Weasel.

I know a lot of you come here to check out my ride from the j-body.org message forum. If you're here, sign the guest book!!! :)

December 6th, 2014

She's really here!! Yesterday, Bruce drove Michelle and I to London to pick her up. The whole thing seems like a blur now. The entire day turned out better than I could possibly have hoped for when picking up a convertible in December.

After all the paperwork was done, Bruce used Google Maps to work out a route all the way home avoiding the highways and we went the entire way, in a bit under 4 hours, with the roof open. It was wonderful!

As proof of our top-down driving, you can see condensation in the picture of the Sport Chrono clock below. It was completely amazing!!

December 3rd, 2014

I can barely contain myself!!

Earlier this year, on July 28th, I ordered the replacement for the Sunfire and have been waiting with anticipation for her delivery ever since.

Monday, she showed up at the dealership. The plan right now is to go pick her up on Saturday. THREE MORE SLEEPS!!!

My sales associate was kind enough to take pictures on arrival, and after they'd mostly unwrapped her. So here she is, in pictures for the first time...

I present: The WM5!

 

October 18th, 2014

The end is nigh!!

I gave up trying to sell her fairly quickly as I didn't think I'd get enough to make me feel it was worth sending her off with a stranger to who knows what end. Instead, I've decided to keep it in the family with the hopes that my nieces and nephews will get to enjoy it for years to come. I'm also doing my part to ensure the next generation learns to drive a manual.

For now, my sister is going to store it until my nephew gets his license and is able to start driving it. From there, who knows. I'm just happy it'll still be around and when things go wrong, hopefully I'll get to have a hand in keeping 'er going.

I'm also curious to see what the kids will do with it. I know what I'd do if I were keeping it, but everyone's tastes are different.

For now, here's some final pics before she's on her way. I've put the Konig Tantrums back on, giving it a colour scheme the same as what my soon-to-arrive Boxster will have. As a bonus, these wheels are actually balanced which makes a world of difference on the highway.

I also took the time to do a round of coilover bearing maintenance. That should keep the creaking at bay for quite a while.

August 2nd, 2014

I'm in a bit of a bind these days. I've just put an order in for a new car, which will probably be delivered around the end of January. That means the Sunfire really has to go. I've put out ads on Craigslist and Kijiji and on a few Facebook groups and so far there's no takers at all.

Today I took her out and gave her a good wash. It breaks my heart to have to let her go. I know it's old, and I know it's a Sunfire, but she's just so beautiful! I can't believe nobody wants to buy this.

If you're looking at these pics because you're interested in buying it, know that they were all taken this afternoon and that I'm missing a screw for the 4th wheel cap. I have the cap, and will get a new screw soon.

April 27th, 2013

It's been a long time since I've posted new pics of the Sunfire. Today I installed an electric supercharger and took the time to wash it. If you're lauging at the e-blower, please check out my HowTo page to see what I'm up to. :)

So here she is all cleaned up for the first time in quite a while!

January 19th, 2013

Today was fun. I've been having an annoying ticking sound from my HVAC system for the past few weeks and it's been driving me nuts.

It sounded like there was a leaf or something stuck in the blower fan, which turned out to be exactly what it was. I'm happy it wasn't the fan itself going bad.

Holy hell though, was getting to it ever tough! I'd done some searching and figured that the hunt wouldn't be all that hard. It turns out that the Mazdaspeed3 is put together somewhat differently from the regular Mazda3.

As a bonus though, I now know how to change the interior air filters and it's WAY tougher than it should be. You need to take out the entire fuse panel and the bracket for it just to get to where you need to be!

In the end, after having the fuse panel out and the entire glovebox removed (which was surprisingly easy) I was finally able to see the blower fan and sure enough, there was a bit of a leaf in it.

Of course, seeing it is different from getting my fingers to it. :( To get to it I think I would have had to remove the whole motorized section that diverts the air from the recirculate mode to the fresh air mode.

I first tried with my reacher-grabber tool to snag the leaf, but couldn't get it. I then went with the SeeSnake with a little hook attachment on it. I managed to hook the leaf and move it out of the blades but then lost it somewhere on the outside of the blower blades. I put the fuse panel back in and tested it.

NO MORE NOISE! Yay! I'm hoping that if the leaf piece makes its way back to the fan that this time it just gets chopped to bits and is done with.

Then... since I was outside with tools out... I also fixed the fuel door opener lever on the floor near the drivers seat. It's been sticking for quite a long time now. When you pull it up to release the filler door, it doesn't go back down on its own so you need to manually press it back down or you won't be able to close the fuel door.

Fixing this would have been trivial, but back when it first happened, I tried to do it and the screw holding the cover over the whole thing wouldn't budge. I stripped the head pretty good and gave up.

So today, I got out the screw extractors and went to town. After quite a bit of effort, it finally came out and I was able to get the cover off. From there, I just used a good deal of oil on the rusty bits in there and all works perfectly now. I couldn't find another screw the same size, so I made do with the best I could find. It seems to be holding. I'll have to remember to replace it later.

Good times all around!

March 10th, 2012

There's not a whole lot going on these days in my car world. I'm really just posting this as an indication that I'm still alive and well. The MS3 has been a lot of fun. That's a good thing as if not for the fun, I probably wouldn't be as happy as I am with it. Over the years, I've had a few annoying issues with it such as the turbo going bad (for which they've extended the warranty to 7 years) and a headlight leaking water. I've also had some major issues, such as the rear shocks being absolute garbage. I went through two sets. The first were replaced under warranty after 2 years, and the 2nd went 2 years after that. I replaced the whole kit with Koni FSD dampers so that should never be an issue again. Now I'm pretty sure the sway bar bushings are shot so I've got constant clunking whenever I hit any sort of bumps. I checked that everything is bolted up tight to ensure it wasn't something dangerous, and now I'll just have to live with it until I can afford to upgrade. Maybe in the spring. Finally, for everyday driving, the ride is just too harsh. I would have thought of that as just the price of performance, but I read reviews about other performance cars, and it seems it's possible to get a certain degree of comfort along with crisp handling. It seems Mazda just didn't bother. I've damaged 3 wheels in the time I've had it without ever being able to pin it on any particular pothole or something. That just can't be normal.

Even with all that in mind though, the performance of the car still makes it a joy to drive on a regular basis. You just can't argue with the power on hand, and I don't for a moment regret buying it.

So what's next?

I feel like I spent my 20's learning about cars and building up the Sunfire. Then I guess I "matured" a bit and outgrew the Sunfire as a daily driver, so I got the MS3. Now I think I'm using my 30's to save up for my 40's and hope to get something truly fun. It'll be called a mid-life crisis car for sure, but hey... I'm a car guy. If I could afford a mid-life crisis car in my 20's I'd have got one. Such is life.

I'm still debating whether to bring the Sunfire out for one last hurrah before I get there, but only time will tell. I should really just sell it and close that chapter on my life, but I still look at it now and then and think about all the fun I've had and want to bring it out for a bit of fun. The cost of entry is a bit prohibitive, since I'll need new tires, a battery, an emissions test, plate registration and insurance, but it may just be worth it in a few years. It would really feel like I've missed out on something if I just let it go without having a final bit of fun with it.

April 1st, 2009

It's been ages since I've updated this page and I apologize for that. As to the smoking MS3, the issue was leaky seals in the turbo allowing oil into the intake to then burn and create the plumes of smoke. At least that's how I understood the explanation they gave. The turbo was replaced under warranty and there's been no issue since. I still love the car and highly recommend it to anyone as a daily driver.

On the Sunfire side of things, I'm still not driving it but I'm slowly picking up parts to try my hand at twin charging it. I've got the turbo header now and a wideband O2 kit. Next will be the HP Tuners kit and the turbo itself. After that, the rest of the bits and pieces should fairly easily fall into place. There's no real reason for any of this other than the novelty of it all. Really, I'm sure everything would be easier if I just remove the supercharger and focus on the turbo, but that wouldn't be as much fun. As it is, my goal will be to get around 300 hp out of it, hopefully without blowing it up. And really... if it blows up... how much are LD9 engines going for these days? Can't be much. I don't imagine there will be much to add on this in the near future as it's really a long term project. There's just too many other priorities in life these days and since I already have a fun car to drive, I really have to think twice before buying each new part. It will happen eventually though. Maybe next year. Maybe later. But some day, and when it does I expect it to feel faster than the MS3. Certainly it will be a lot more dramatic.

July 16th, 2008

We have a problem! Over the weekend, it seems the new car has decided to take up smoking. I just dropped her off for rehab and hopefully the news won't be too bad.

July 8th, 2008

I just found out a few days ago that Weathertech now makes a floor liner kit for the Mazda3, so here they are. I was always happy with the mats I had in the Sunfire so I figure I can't go wrong here. So far so good!

June 1st, 2008

Michelle and I rode 25 km this morning for the Becel Ride for Heart. Here's a few pics of the car loaded up with the bikes.

November 3rd, 2007

It's been quite a while since I've updated here, but there really hasn't been much to say. The MS3 is loads of fun to drive, but with all sorts of other priorities in life these days, modifying it really isn't in the plans.

There's a few little changes though. I've removed the plastic strips from the doors and tinted the windows. I've also picked up some 05-06 Mazda3 GT wheels to use over the winter. I'll be putting my Blizzaks on them soon and getting ready for the cold. Finally, though I haven't got anything to put on it yet, I picked up the OEM roof rack so I'll have it when I need it. I did a test fitting today so there's pics of that here too.

May 22nd, 2007

As mentioned, here are the new pics from today and yesterday.

May 22nd, 2007

It's been nearly a month since the BubBQ and I still haven't posted pics from it. I've taken a few more in the meantime, and I'll try to post those later tonight but for now, here's a few that Xerox was kind enough to let me use, along with a link to my complete gallery of pics from the event. Another huge thanks to Bubba for making it all happen!

Here's my gallery from the event, which includes some more pics of my own car along with many others. http://www.wildweasel.ca/images/cars/wm4/BubbaQ2007/

April 28th, 2007

Bubba1983 has been nice enough to host a season opening BBQ for the Toronto Mazda 3 Club, so I'll be heading to that tomorrow. I'm looking forward to attending my first event with the new car, and will cross the 1000 km barrier while doing so. I'll try to post some pics from it sometime soon. In the meantime, here are some pics I took last Sunday after waxing the car for the first time.

April 19th, 2007

It's here! We picked it up this evening and so far so good. Not much to say just yet, other than that it feels curiously larger than the Sunfire, even though I think it's actually a bit smaller. It seems like Michelle and I are sitting further apart and with it being a wagon, there's definitely a much more roomy feel to it. I'm still getting used to the clutch and working out my seating position. There will be lots of time to make myself comfortable during the break-in period before I get to find out what it can really do, besides hauling groceries and trees and stuff.

March 19th, 2007

New car arrived today! It's not the full sized version though. Mazda sent me a pint-sized (1:43 scale) model to keep me excited until the real one gets here in another month or so. For all the years I've wished I could have a model of a Sunfire, it's pretty cool to have one right up front for the new car.

Good thing it's got warnings on it. I'll be careful not to hurt myself.

January 19th, 2007

Last week was a big week in the Weasel garage. My wife and I put down a deposit on a new daily driver so the Sunfire will be going into storage when spring comes. There won't be much happening for now, but sometime down the road I'll bring it back out again, hopefully with a vengence. For now, I'll just be fixing up some rust spots that have been peeking out around the bottom of the doors and stuff and then prepping her for storage. Some of the goodies that haven't yet been installed such as the crank and alternator pullies will go on, and then she'll be gone for a while. It's just not practical anymore to use this car as a daily driver so I'm going to put it away to be used as the toy it's been built to be.

So then, I won't actually get the new car until the end of April or so, so all I've got is a stock Mazda pic. We just can't wait to get the keys!

Without further ado, I give you the WM4.

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