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GT_FE3

1997 Capella S/W with Mazdaspeed goodness

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While this is not going to be a project car in the sense of massive engineering transformation, I figured I'd make a build thread showcasing how to make a reasonably nice tidy condition car really stand out and show that, yes you can do stuff to your family car not just the project car and also to prevent this car mingling with my TX5's thread. I needed a car with 7 seats for family duties - a mini van or 4x4 is not happening - I love corners and they don't, top heavy with boat like handling characteristics, no thanks.

Having thought I found one which ended up being a dud - overheated and then it got hit while broke down on the side of the road, I started the search again and found this one. I was very pleasantly surprised when I won the auction at $1,250 as these tend to fetch a fair bit my by almost double the price. This is a 1997 GW Mazda Capella wagon, apparently with Mazda Speed springs and body kit, Jasma rear muffler with a massive tip - surprisingly its very quiet this is what I dreamed about doing but may not have done. I have 140 hp of FS-DE power which could be useful if it was a 5 speed - since my wife drives it it had to be auto.

So here it is, reasonably tidy for an almost 20 year old car with 144,000 kms. One family owned it since it came from Japan in 2005. The interior is very tidy and honestly it still smells like a new car. Exterior needed a wash and a quick hand polish would have helped but its me and I did far more than that. First thing I did was change the oil and filter - easy same location as the TX5. The oil was very dark and overdue by 8 months with 10w40 Penrite semi-synthetic - because FS engines don't like full synthetic so I've heard.

The first pics are from the seller before I got the car. Generally no big dents or catastrophic paint damage - paint is quite dull as you can see its not hard to bring it back. Sure the bumpers have some scrapes - I will touch up and re-clear them too I also need foglamps from a SP20 - or Protege and some monsoon shields for the rear doors. First up is a full cut and polish.

 

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I gave it a wash with dish washing liquid over regular car wash. Car washes usually have wax and because I'm cutting back the paint it will make the job harder, plus dish washing liquid strips any previous wax applied so you have a nice blank canvas and can use any polish system - Turtle wax, Mothers, Mequiars etc without having any reactions - not all brands get on with each other - that said I've mixed and matched before with no real problems - paint is the one you don't want to experiment with since its so expensive. I used wash and wax on the TX5. It also needs a proper color sand and a buff, not nearly as baldy as the Mazda though as you can see the reflections. I've buffed it quickly once since I painted it 10 years ago. I do apply wax to it as needed.

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All in all besides the fade the paint was good. I thought I'd have to color sand the entire car with 2000 grit paper. I used it on the scratches. There are 10 big ones on the whole car in total. 4 are down to primer, 2 are very noticeable the rest are there and present themselves in certain lights. Can't find the picture I have of clay bar and wet sanding. I will edit this once I find them.

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This is after color sanding some areas and about 4 hours of buffing, with the exception of the bumpers and end caps - I will repaint them. I still need to add scratch and swirl remover and wax - this will happen tomorrow. Before and after:

 

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dumb pictures, had rotated them before posting

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This is after Turtlewax scratch and swirl and a Carnauba wax.  I used Meguiars ultimate compound with a dual action polisher for the initial polish, I didn't have any scratch and swirl remover and Meguiars wasn't in stock. For almost 20 year old factory paint it came up amazing. Some stuff coming for it soon.

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Repainted the front bumper. Should have taken it off but way too many bolts and some clips were mangled it looked like a hassle so I left it. Since its a solid color I just blended the color and sprayed 2k clear coat over the whole thing 4 times. Way better no big scratch marks now. Stupid pics again - had them right way around. Lost my prep and primer pics. Will make sure I have them when I do the rear bumper. Also put on my Mazda Speed badge on the grille.

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Looks rather tidy. I love the body kit, makes the GF we got in Australia look rather boring in comparison. The Japanese get all the good stuff.

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7 hours ago, madaz said:

Looks rather tidy. I love the body kit, makes the GF we got in Australia look rather boring in comparison. The Japanese get all the good stuff.

Yeah they seem to, some are all wheel drive and few have KLDE's in them. NZ new ones are pretty bland too unless its a limited but even then all you get is alloys and foglights.

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Got another Mazdaspeed badge for the boot today - because 10 bucks! There's 2 of these at pick a part - I'm going to hopefully get a power window master switch and 2 rear weather shields and a Mazda symbol to cover the unsightly holes on the boot next week. Today I dipped the spokes semi gloss back. The alloy is average, maybe a 205/50/15 tyre once these wear 195 is a bit thin for my liking. I managed to polish the drivers wheel a bit, now its starting to rain. Smoked lights - still bright enough for the reflector and light to shine.

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Nice score on the Mazdaspeed badge, also like the rims, they suit the car.

I always thought that the GFs that we got seem meh at best compared to the GE. In Australia the GE was marketed (and priced) towards the same sort of people who bought Calais and Fairmonts. The GF on the other hand, was targeted at people who bought Camrys and Magnas. The lower end GF's in Australia didn't even have cruise control. And I don't think we got the third row seat either.

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10 hours ago, madaz said:

Nice score on the Mazdaspeed badge, also like the rims, they suit the car.

I always thought that the GFs that we got seem meh at best compared to the GE. In Australia the GE was marketed (and priced) towards the same sort of people who bought Calais and Fairmonts. The GF on the other hand, was targeted at people who bought Camrys and Magnas. The lower end GF's in Australia didn't even have cruise control. And I don't think we got the third row seat either.

Same here pretty much cruise is an option in a GF/W unless its a limited which is hard to come by I guess back then no one wanted to pay over $40 grand for an intermediate mid size car in its day I guess. Mazda seems to add $7-8,000 for top of the range models - or well they did when I worked at a dealer when the Mazda 2,3 and 6 launched. This one doesn't have cruise, it does have dual electronic climate control, ABS, traction control - pointless with an auto as it needs heaps of effort to break traction, but manual I have seen an FS get an impressive amount of tire smoke. Third row seats are optioned and never were a local assembled optioned so I knew I had to go J- spec. GE's seemed to have far more stuff going for it.

 

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The seller did say there was a little smoke at start up. And true, there is. Its getting heavier though. Luck of the draw - it might not smoke at all. Sometimes there are massive clouds billowing out. Does this for maybe 30 seconds on start up. I figured maybe valve stem seals. I'm noticing it likes the 10-40 oil a bit though. 400ml used since I changed it the second day I had it. It hasn't even got 150,000 - let alone 145,000 km's yet either - wtf. TX5 smokes but nothing as bad as this one does and it uses that same amount of oil over the entire service interval which is around 5,000 km's - to be expected since it has more than double the mileage and is older.

I've serviced it - PCV valve cleaned and  checked, TB not gummed up. Still I will do a compression test before I condemn it.

Curse the cardboard oil-ringed and paper-mache'd valve stem seals on the FS! Not angry - astonished how this low km engine seems so worn.

 I am about to finish my automotive engineering course which I've been studying and enjoying. I've done a rebuild on a Mazda B5 Dohc. Sure the torque settings and clearances on this FS will be different. I know what to look for and I feel quite competent doing it.

I'd like to do a quick freshen up - new valve stem seals, rings and bearings. I really think most of it is worn valve seals and oil rings. Hopefully the cylinder bores are not to bad and if need be I can get away with a quick drill hone and that everything is within spec, so it costs me just a gasket set, rings and bearings and oil pump and no massive machining. This is going to be done to factory spec, the TX5 gets some added custom bits thrown in for its build.

Sure I could just bang in another FS. But It will more than likely be in a similar state and there's less fun just putting an engine in.

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