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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I randomly searched "mazda 323" on Kijiji the other day and found a $100 FWD BG and a $450 323GT. Yeah, a GT for $450. Needless to say, I pounced on it!

  • Current status: on jackstands. 143HP, 138lbs/ft
  • rear passenger strut tower ripped apart from body, refitted & being welded back
  • Trunk floor being torn out and replaced with fresh metal

    A little info:
  • 1000 323GTs imported to North America available in 88-89. Probably only a couple hundred still around.
  • FWD, unlike its rally big brother GTX (full time 4WD hatch, same engine)
  • Electronically adjustable suspension
  • B6T 1.6L DOHC turbo: 143 hp, 138 lbs/ft @ 7PSI stock
  • With an ECU reflash and a boost controller (EBC or MBC) the B6T will handle 16PSI and make about 185hp
  • Net weight with full tank of gas and a passenger: 2300lbs.

    Things I noticed about this car
  • There's f*cking rust everywhere except the frame rail and engine bay
  • Master brake Cylinder appears to be leaking
  • Lower fins on rad are squished
  • Electronic suspension uninstalled due to replacement after market struts
  • The car is burning a bit of oil, there's oil in the intake pipes, suspect the turbo because there's oil droplets in the J-pipe (charge pipe attached to

    throttle body)
  • Slow leak in rear tires, front tires are now bald
  • New brake pads, rotors in good condition
  • Rear speaker connector broken
  • Mint interior (but a bit dirty)
  • Hood release doesn't fully retract when not open. Need to use a coin to jam it into place.
  • Timing belt replaced last year but not the water pump :(
  • Don't know the last time the distributer was rebuilt

    Things to do
  • Install my spare EBC (Electronic Boost Controller)
  • Install chipped ECU from RocketMan, good until 18PSI
  • Build a VJ14 ex / VJ11 in hybrid turbo (Ford Probe GT/Mazda MX-6 GT turbo) so I can boost at 18PSI to redline
  • Port internal wastegate to avoid boost spikes
  • Finish welding rear passenger side strut tower back in place
  • Replace rear fenders (fiberglass & weld new metal)
  • Replace front driver fender
  • Fix hood release
  • Check/replace fluids
  • Get alignment done (reattached a strut tower)
  • Get inspection done
  • Insure & register the car
  • Fix/Replace master cylinder or brake booster if needed
  • Upgrade to the Probe GT/MX-6 GT side-mount intercooler
  • Rotate tires, grab cheap rubber for the rears for the winter
  • Replace turn signal in front bumper (Paul, you said you had a spare?)
At the time of sale

Brought it over to Jovanne's house to begin the fun job of de-rustifying the car. First order of business: The rear passenger side strut tower was hanging by

a piece of metal one inches wide. Pictures better describe the situation:

The only piece of metal holding the strut/strut tower to the body:

So after a lot of hammering, we get the strut tower back in its place (for the most part) and start to weld it:

We called it a night after that. Welding of the strut tower will resume on Saturday. Until then... more pieces of the puzzle :)

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
The same corner of the car also had major cancer of the wheel well and trunk. It will all need to be cut out. The wheel well will be fiberglassed, the trunk

floor will get new metal welded in.

I'll retake the blurry picture on the weekend. You're looking at a hole in the floor of the trunk just behind the wheel well.

Oh look, the other side has the same problem! *gasp* More fiberglass and welding to do...

And the front driver's side...

And the front passenger side... wait... WAT??? No work to be done here :D (coffee time)

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
And now for the random rust pics:
Front passenger lock

Front passenger fender bottom, metal still usuable just need to clean it

Windshield trim

Sunroof (to be replaced with a moonroof from a 94 protege--successor to the 323 sedan chillin in my garage). Lucky me, it doesn't leak, uncommon for BF 323s!


Driver's side turn signal

Driver's side door base

Exhaust snapped at the flange past the cat. Plan to replace with 2 1/4" SS turbo-back

I'm thinking of snagging this front bumper from an Isuzu Stylus from PaP if it's still there:

North America got shafted in the bumpers department. I wish I hadn't included my 323GTR replica bumper when I sold my GTX, then again I didn't think I'd get

another BF 323 after buying a BG 323GTR. If that Stylus bumper looks fugly, which I'm afraid it probably will, I'll chuck it.

Anyways, more progress to come this weekend. I'll be installing the EBC and doing some fluid changes and filter changes in between welding sessions. Until the next update...

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Finished reshaping the strut tower

The outside of the car needs to move closer to the strut tower.

We pushed the strut tower closer to the outside after hitting the outside closer to where it should be.

A little extra reinforcement

At the same time my friend Andrew came over and helped with the surface rust. He started on the hood today:

I finished installing the electronic boost controller solenoid valve:

Plumbed the boost gauge and EBC vacuum lines, covered the EBC solenoid valve wires with split loom, cut the grommet to size and stuck it back in the firewall

Made room for the EBC in the car. That deck is going out, can barely see the screen.

Boost gauge location

Worked on the front driver side fender. I didn't replace the whole fender because I want to preserver the sweet pinstripe 8)

Driver's side dog leg; four fiberglass sessions required to preserve the body lines. This one isn't going to be fun AT ALL....

Andrew will finish the hood tomorrow and I'll get him to start fixing the rust on the doors.
Jovanne will finish welding a chunk of sheet metal to the bottom of the passenger side trunk
Eric will grind down the rest of the welds that Jovanne skipped and help prep the passenger dog leg
I'll prep the rear passenger dog leg and start fiberglassing the front fender and both rear dog legs tomorrow

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Good to know about the wheels... maybe on a BG then? I thought they were still 114.3... I should just use them as an all season, they are all terrain tires and really beefy. Yeah I'll keep my skinnies on for winter... didn't think that one through hahaha

Updates! Nobody was able to give a hand today, so I just did a little more prep work. Jovanne said he'll have time to do some more welding tomorrow, but we're only going to work on it for about two hours before I gotta go host a wing night and he has choir.

Going to weld some new metal to patch up the inside part of the wheel well

I cut off another decent chunk of metal.

Started grinding the paint and old bondo and rust to get to bare metal. After I wore down another flapper disc I called it a night

A couple of pics of the passenger side of the trunk. Cut out all the rusted metal and tacked on a chunk of sheet metal that Jovanne will work on tomorrow.


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I only had about a half hour to work on the car before I had to dash... today will be a big push with four of us working on the car, five if I can get Nischay to help out too, six if Paul sticks around after he picks up my broken Pakfeifer BG front bumper and new BG Pakfeifer sideskirts for $150.

Jovanne make good headway welding that plate to the passenger side of the trunk, forgot to take a picture though.

There's a couple of things I can't figure out. First, there's what appears to be a ground pin attached to the loom leading to the ignition coil that was hanging loose. What does it do and should it be connected?

Second, I found a random bracket secured to the rear windshield. Maybe for a wing?

Who can guess what I'm going to get one of the guys to finish tomorrow while I fiberglass :D

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Worked on the (true) cold air intake, got everything mocked up and ready for fiberglass reinforcement (so the piping doesn't implode on itself when the turbo starts sucking).

I didn't take enough pictures yesterday. The piping is all hooked up, save for two clamps, which I will install after the fiberglass reinforcement. I will also fiberglass a box around the outside of the piping to help with weather damage, water pickup, and cut an extra hole in the front bumper to make the intake even more efficient.

Meanwhile, Jovanne finished patching the passenger side of the trunk. He then cut out the bad metal from the rear of the wheel well and we plan on tackling that today.

Andrew came buy and sanded down the hood and sprayed a coat of primer. He needs to sand it down and do another layer. I forgot to take pics.

Eric grinded down the part of the dog legs under the rear doors so I can fiberglass onto clean metal.

Ran out of welding gas last night, gotta refill the bottle before we can continue today. Afterwards, Andrew and I hit up PaP and grabbed a few parts.

Replacement turn signal

Grabbed an arm rest from a 626, couldn't tell the color in the dark though! :(


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Progress was halted because we ran out of welding gas and I had no moneys, oh noes! Anyways, problem solved and with three of us today we got a lot of work done.

I decided to borrow some more parts from the 323GTR... this time the SSQV black edition was selected.

Picked up some galvanized pipe (I know, not SS, Jovane's TIG welder was down >.<)

Mocked up the parts, making sure the SSQV clears the TPS and that the reducers meet up with the molded piece from the intercooler

Moved the SSQV flange, the IAC nipple, and the wastegate vacuum nipple from the GTR charge pipe to the newly ghetto-fabbed GT charge pipe

B6T charge pipe vs ghetto-fabbed SSQV charge pipe


Deleted the OEM recirc valve piping from the charge pipe to the valve, removed the vac line so it'd stay shut. This is a temporary solution until I can find a plug to shove in there. I don't trust the OEM valve to hold 16psi.

I had to heat the throttle body coupler and the IC tube with a heat gun in order to fit them over the new piping. They won't come off, even without the clamps.

I couldn't get the stupid c-clip back on the SSQV, needed an extra set of hands to help for that. That's the only thing holding back the installation of the new charge pipe.

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Jovanne worked on the rear passenger corner of the car some more. The floor was all patched up except for one corner by the wheel arch, I ended up fiberglassing it for ease.

This corner of the trunk is now patched up.

Fiberglass patch

2nd layer, patched from the inside this time

Once that section was done, I had him work on the dog leg. He cut out even more metal and patched it up. It's just missing a lip to seat the weather stripping. The door closes with ease.


29 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Finally, I started working with fiberglass. The first strip was simple; a small little piece by the rear driver's side wheel arch in order to maintain the body line.

No noticeable protrusions from the piece

Next, I did a big strip on the rear driver's side wheel arch & dog leg. The piece will be cut to length & shape, fortified, then finished with body filler, primer, and paint.

Started constructing the underside of the dog leg

Then I moved to the front driver's side fender. This one turned out mint, I'm VERY please with the result :)

I then dabbed the CAI piping in whatever leftover resin I had. A trip to the local store for more supplies followed :D

A second round of resin after I returned

After two and a half hours (an hour more than needed) at ~23C, I did a few second layers and continued building a fiberglass base. This was at around hour 10 of the continuous push. I took quick pics and left right after... I'm a little worried about how the glass is going to set. Anyways, first some mock-up pictures.

Flattening the outside patch for the passenger trunk hole.

Front driver's side fender

Building up the rear driver's side quarter panel

And now, pictures of the freshly soaked pieces in place

Front driver's fender

Rear driver's side quarter panel

Underneath the rear driver's side dog leg

I started building the outer lip (so the door's outer weather stripped can seal) on the rear passenger side dog leg

I need to do another big push to finish fiberglassing on Thursday and getting a jump on the body filler/sanding if I plan to prime the spots and drive the car on Friday in time for the car meet.

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Did some more glass work, started on the body filler. I kinda cheated and used a grinder with a flapper wheel on it, they don't have a sander here and Andrew was busy.

Front driver's side fender progression

Rear passenger side wheel arch + dog leg

You can see the door sits flush on the inside, but the fiberglass doesn't yet have the shape of the door. I'll use another piece of glass with a spacer to push it out instead of filling it with body filler.

Driver's side dog leg underside

Rear driver's side wheel arch & quarter panel

I used part of a pizza box to push out the fiberglass, then ripped off whatever excess I could.

Pretty good shape, won't need much work to complete

Passenger side to compare the shape

Primed the charge pipe, plan to paint it matte black like the SSQV. I could only find white galvanized metal primer :(

The plan for today is to finish the glass work, smear body filler where needed, and reassemble the car to drive to the meet tonight. Lots of work ahead of me, toodles!

29 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Well, I've been taking advantage of the freaky +15 weather in Edmonton (Should normally be like -5 to -15 around now) by driving with the sunroof wide open, which means little progress to the car. All that's really left to do is to replace the turbo and finish the bodywork (trim, door surface rust, fiberglass, driver's side trunk floor).

Putting back on the caliper

The boot is a little torn, but still glides smoothly

I had some gold paint lying around...

Some tune-up parts

Look at what came to PaP on Friday... and it still has working adjustable suspension!

ANNND VJ14/VJ11 hybrid turbo coming soon courtesy of a MX6 turbo


191 Posts
HUH? what do you mean impounded? how can you be in the middle of the build then on the same day it's impounded? me too confused.:shrug:
this thread brings back memories of my 88 323GT. i had sooo much fun in this car. but like the one you had, rust just ate it all up. then my wife who was my girlfriend at the time, got into an accident with it. after that too many problems with it that I couldn't really keep it running properly anymore, so we got rid of it.

btw that random bracket you saw on the rear windshield was probably for a cellular antenna for a permanently fixed car phone. whether it was real or just a fake plastic replica depends if it had a module stuck exactly inline on the inside of the window. back in the late 80's and early 90s, it was a craze to have a cellular antenna and most were just sticking the fake replicas on their windows. this was also back when mobile phones were huge and bulky so no one carried them in a pants pocket like we do now.

177 Posts
I think what happened he got the car impounded last year and then put up the build pics a year later just to throw them up .
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