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Thread: General questions and discussion - '87 323 SL

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    General questions and discussion - '87 323 SL

    I thought I'd rather create a single thread where I can ask questions about my car. I already have a log on another site (not viewable by people who are not registered though), but people there don't really have much knowledge about the 323.

    Anyway, as a first question, can someone shed some light on the pinstriping, preferably for the South African SL? I do know when my mother bought the car used in '89 it had 2mm black/red/black stripes on the sides, and I've since put the red back in. I'm not sure if it should be like that, but the SL does appear to be a sport model (E5 engine, rev counter, red stripes in seats), and someone else also told me that it's a sport model. I'm also trying to figure out if the pinstriping should also be on the hatch, but so far I've been unable to get much info on that. I did find an article/ad about a GTX which had wrap-around pinstriping, but that's all I could find.

    Also, regarding the badges, should the SL (next to the MAZDA323) be chrome? I've been told by some people that it should be red, but others said chrome.

    And finally, here's a picture from a recent show:

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    '87 Mazda 323 SL - daily driver, backup show car (being restored as I get time)
    '82 BMW 518i (E12/8) with 32/34 Weber and Simota cone - old show car (stolen)
    '70 VW 411L Auto - show/restoration project to replace 518i - sold
    '99 BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster - show project

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    More pictures:




    Should I try to get those red stripes put in the leather front seats (stitching, and also rear when I get that done)? Or should I stick to plain vinyl? Also, I noticed that some 323s have a Mazda badge on the dashboard. Did some models come from the factory like that, or were those badges added later? On that note, I also have a nice rear Mazda badge that I bought to replace the old one, but then I noticed the new one is small, while my car has the larger variant. So I suppose I'll have to keep looking.

    Oh, and I do have that speaker cover, it just didn't fit over the speaker so it's lying in a box (the left one fits perfectly though).
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    '87 Mazda 323 SL - daily driver, backup show car (being restored as I get time)
    '82 BMW 518i (E12/8) with 32/34 Weber and Simota cone - old show car (stolen)
    '70 VW 411L Auto - show/restoration project to replace 518i - sold
    '99 BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster - show project

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    Name:  IMG_1450.jpg
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    '87 Mazda 323 SL - daily driver, backup show car (being restored as I get time)
    '82 BMW 518i (E12/8) with 32/34 Weber and Simota cone - old show car (stolen)
    '70 VW 411L Auto - show/restoration project to replace 518i - sold
    '99 BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster - show project

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    I noticed that I haven't received answers on the previous questions, is it due to a lack of knowledge on the SL?

    Anyway, I have another question in case somebody can give some insight. I'm planning to paint the bumpers soon, since the current paint is peeling badly in places, and now I'm wondering. Should I use plastic primer, or something else? The issue is I'm not sure what these old pre-facelift bumpers are made of, but I'm assuming it's just a hard plastic.

    And regarding my previous questions, I phoned the nearest dealer today, and only got a photo of a generic '85 Familia/323 poster (poor quality, but it's a 2-door with a large sticker where the rear door would've been, and a bottom spoiler). So no luck there. Then I phoned the customer service number of Mazda South Africa, and got an email address of someone who might be able to help. So now I have to wait for an answer.

    EDIT: Not a Mazda, but this is what I'm doing with rattle cans:

    Last edited by JKuhn; 05-24-2017 at 05:22 PM. Reason: Added a picture
    '87 Mazda 323 SL - daily driver, backup show car (being restored as I get time)
    '82 BMW 518i (E12/8) with 32/34 Weber and Simota cone - old show car (stolen)
    '70 VW 411L Auto - show/restoration project to replace 518i - sold
    '99 BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster - show project

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    I'm not an expert at reading plugs, can someone perhaps look at this?

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    I would have pulled all 4, but it looks like that cylinder is cross-threaded and I didn't want to take chances on the others (the car runs fine now though).
    '87 Mazda 323 SL - daily driver, backup show car (being restored as I get time)
    '82 BMW 518i (E12/8) with 32/34 Weber and Simota cone - old show car (stolen)
    '70 VW 411L Auto - show/restoration project to replace 518i - sold
    '99 BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster - show project

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    suspension mods intheworks FE3-323's Avatar
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    if the plugs didn't have oil surrounding them from the top when you pulled them,then you have oil consumption issues on that cylinder. and could also serve to lean it out a bit
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    Thanks. I'm aware that the car slowly loses oil (normal loss should be one 500ml bottle every few thousand km, sometimes it'll lose almost all the oil on the dipstick between petrol refills, still trying to figure that part out). There's a slight leak at the distributor, but that's it. And no oil outside around that plug. I've been told that the rings might be a bit tired, but with those plug holes I'd rather not try to stick a compression tester in (I wanted to do it).

    Do you have any idea how severe it is, going by that plug? Regarding the reason for pulling the plug, I've been getting vibration recently and I'm trying to find the cause.

    EDIT: It does have 293k km on the clock though, almost all of it short distances.
    Last edited by JKuhn; 06-16-2017 at 02:54 PM.
    '87 Mazda 323 SL - daily driver, backup show car (being restored as I get time)
    '82 BMW 518i (E12/8) with 32/34 Weber and Simota cone - old show car (stolen)
    '70 VW 411L Auto - show/restoration project to replace 518i - sold
    '99 BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster - show project

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    It's time to ask for some opinions again.

    Since the valve cover gasket on the 323 is busted anyway (and the tappets have been a bit vocal for several years at least), I figured it's time to adjust them. According to this thread, the clearance should be .25 and .3 hot (intake and exhaust, respectively). One person said he ran at .1 all-round (I do recall someone telling me to go for .1), but I'm told not to go too close. Can anybody here give an opinion? Also, in what order should they be done?
    '87 Mazda 323 SL - daily driver, backup show car (being restored as I get time)
    '82 BMW 518i (E12/8) with 32/34 Weber and Simota cone - old show car (stolen)
    '70 VW 411L Auto - show/restoration project to replace 518i - sold
    '99 BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster - show project

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    Too loose is hard on lifters, too tight is not all that great either. It ain't all that important what order you do em especially on a 4banger but I'always started at #1 tdc (well right where the ex valve starts to open) and go round in the firing order so you only have to turn the engine over once.
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    Thanks.
    '87 Mazda 323 SL - daily driver, backup show car (being restored as I get time)
    '82 BMW 518i (E12/8) with 32/34 Weber and Simota cone - old show car (stolen)
    '70 VW 411L Auto - show/restoration project to replace 518i - sold
    '99 BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster - show project

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    Quote Originally Posted by JKuhn View Post
    It's time to ask for some opinions again.

    Since the valve cover gasket on the 323 is busted anyway (and the tappets have been a bit vocal for several years at least), I figured it's time to adjust them. According to this thread, the clearance should be .25 and .3 hot (intake and exhaust, respectively). One person said he ran at .1 all-round (I do recall someone telling me to go for .1), but I'm told not to go too close. Can anybody here give an opinion? Also, in what order should they be done?
    It's an E5 engine and they rattle. You may spend a lot of time fettling and be disappointed. If they are all about the same clearance now I'd be tempted to leave them alone.

    Regards your plugs, what makes you think it was "cross threaded"? I don't think reading plugs is simply about unscrewing and looking at them. What was the engine doing when you turned it off - idling, running round town, sitting on the choke or going flat out down the motorway?

    I think you should replace the rings and put a turbo on it!

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    Thanks for the reply.

    As I said, I need to do the valve cover gasket anyway (I wanted to do it already but didn't get around to it, and it's not leaking bad enough to warrant parking the car). I do supect I can get a bit extra power from the valves though, considering that the current gasket is in such a bad condition. It kind of speaks volumes about how long ago the valve clearances were checked.

    On the plugs, I can't remember exactly, but I it was probably just running around town. I suspect the thread was damaged at some point due to how hard it was to get that plug out. I could put it in by hand, but removing it was frustrating to put it mildly. It would go maybe 1/4 turn, then stick. Then a bit more, and then it would stick. And every time it was basically as hard as starting a fully tightened plug.

    Regarding the turbo idea, I've read that a turbo on a carb E5 can cause reliability issues. Plus I'm a bit of a NA fan myself. And if it's pushing 60kW (vs 54 stock) with just a 46mm exhaust and advanced-by-feel timing, can the rings really be bad enough to warrant replacing them?
    '87 Mazda 323 SL - daily driver, backup show car (being restored as I get time)
    '82 BMW 518i (E12/8) with 32/34 Weber and Simota cone - old show car (stolen)
    '70 VW 411L Auto - show/restoration project to replace 518i - sold
    '99 BMW Z3 2.8 Roadster - show project

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