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Exactly! lol. Heck at this point, I'm ready for someone else to come and rear end me too so I can make more money :lol: But if that doesn't happen, yeah I'll just button it back up. Still looking for a new blue trunk w/ spoiler and cheap JDM bumper.



NO airbags or anything serious, the police came and wrote a report without any tickets. Then I drove back to work and continued on my day lol. It could have been worse, everything can always be worse! So I'm thankful for sure. With how many years I've been driving and how many miles, I'm glad this was the first and only time this has happened. I've definitely seen worse.

So far, no desire to part it out. I did look for another one, and I found one local, but I waited and it was taken. Thing was clean and cheap too. Ah well. I still want to keep mine, it just seems like a waste to get rid of a car that still works, even if it's banged up. But knowing me, I'll have it looking back to normal again :lol:
Theres a guy on FB's SXE10 Midwest Group that was putting out feelers just this morning. Black (SUPER CLEAN) IS.
- I am sure he's on here somewhere!

Perhaps worth checking it out!
 

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Mr. Roo
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Discussion Starter #1,223
Well, it seems my efforts to keep this thread going and updated keep falling short! But after months of free time, I finally got my pictures all sorted on 3 Flickr accounts.

Continuing where I left off on the previous page, I had just posted about getting rear-ended at a red light in December 2018.

With the insurance, they originally said it was fixable, but then the shops said it was totalled. After working out a deal with the insurance company, I was able to keep the car without it being totalled or a salvage title, receiving a payout of just under the totalled value. It only came out to about $2300. These cars aren't worth much unfortunately. But, it meant I got a nice check to do whatever I wanted with, and I got to keep my car.

I decided to try and put it back together and see how good I could get it, to get a better idea of how much work I'd have to do, and if it was worth it.

The main problem was the trunk not able to close/latch anymore. I tried a few things, but in the end, I simply removed the latch from the inside of the trunk, and attached it to the outside/backside of the metal frame with some long screws just to hold it in place. Surprisingly, it worked perfectly.

Here's how the latch is now lol:






As you can see, now it lines up perfectly. I had to make some adjustments to get the angles all right, but in the end, it's flawless and has held up perfectly. Obviously, pulling the trunk out would be a more ideal solution, but whatever.




With the bumper back in place, the gap is still there, but the trunk latch still works:






With the trunk closed, it does all work well enough, but the gaps are pretty big:




Next, I worked to try and get the tail lights to line up better. Unfortunately, there was no way to fit them well, as the curves and geometry of the car are entirely messed up completely.

Still sticks out on the side:




Nothing here lines up smoothly or flat:








A new trunk lid would probably help though, it lines up on the left, but is pushed in on the right:




Nothing here will ever line up again lol, no amount of Bondo will make this look good (the body shop messed up the bondo somehow)






These pictures show how I had to custom mount the tail lights to get them to fit even this "good". I've got plenty of things holding them in, but also a lot of spacers to help hold them out to try and line up with stuff. You can sort of make it out in these pics:










And, here's everything back together, as good as it gets:








So, while it's pretty horrible, it's not THAT bad. Everything works and holds together just fine. It's not worth getting rid of the car for, but also not worth trying to fix. Good enough for me lol, I'm getting too old for this stuff
 

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Mr. Roo
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Discussion Starter #1,224 (Edited)
Continuing on!

Earlier in 2018 (in April or so I believe), I had actually added a nifty little device to my rear brake lights to give them programmable options for flashing. Ironically, the idea was to help avoid/prevent being rear ended. lol.

With this device, I set it up so that all of my brake lights did a very quick double-flash (sort of like some firetrucks/ambulances do) when I first press the brake, and then they'll flash 8 times quickly under harder braking, and then 16 times fast under extreme braking. So it's perfect for traffic, or hard stop situations, when you really want the person behind you to understand what you're doing. A lot of newer cars have this "hard brake flash" feature, usually on the third brake light or some extra brake lights, but I wanted it on ALL of my lights. And it's even better than stock, so it was a perfect new technology upgrade.

So here we are, in the back of the trunk with all the carpets removed, at the wires where that pesky red box is to cut the wire to disable the gauge cluster "brake light out" bulb when using LED brake lights. I figured this was the easiest place to attach the flasher module, considering the mounting constraints:




You can see the red box, everything is pulled out for easy access, and the flasher module attaches by using ground, and brake in and brake out. Very simple. I wired the connections so that I could very easily remove the flasher and put things back to normal without needing to do any rewiring, and so that I could never wire things up backwards.


Here, everything is mounted back in place:




I took this picture to better be able to show the stock location of that pesky red box:




and here is a close-up showing the way I mounted the flasher:




The white capped wires are for programming (you touch them together to adjust the complicated settings, barely shown in the 2nd pic up there), and then the flasher itself has to be mounted perfectly level and in a certain direction, which I set up here.

Unfortunately, this flasher doesn't seem to be available anymore, but there are many like it available easily.

And also unfortunately, the way I programmed this didn't help avoid the accident, since the person who rear-ended me had already stopped just fine, and my brake lights were on when he decided to just start going again. So, I updated a setting later, but I'll put that in the next post (this is all I have time for for now haha)
 

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Mr. Roo
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Discussion Starter #1,225 (Edited)
After getting rear ended by the huge truck at the stop light, I realized it was because all of the brake lights on this car are on the back, and are low. This car doesn't have a window brake light, since it's on the spoiler. And the tail lights are low, even moreso with the lowering suspension. So in a big truck, you can't even see the lights past the truck hood.

I wanted to solve this problem by adding some lights up at the very top of the rear window windshield. I wanted some brake lights, but also some extra turn signals that would act as extra hazard flashers when needed, and also give extra visibility to the side for changing lanes. A small car like this really needs all the help it can get to be seen, especially in heavy traffic, and the way I like to drive lol.

After weeks of souring the internet and brainstorming options of lights that would work, and buying, trying, and returning several different lights, including professional ones, I settled on these from Amazon:



I liked these due to the cheap cost, SUPER bright light with a good viewing angle, and good colors (the red wasn't too deep, but more orange like the brake lights, and the yellow color matched my signals). Plus, the way the wiring for these works, they can be customized to my needs. And, they don't have any delay when starting up, like the professional ones I tried did. Nothing stupider than a delay on a brake or signal light.

I also got a mounting bracket that worked perfectly to hold both lights together, so I could attach them to the ceiling:


~~~

The first thing I did to the lights when they arrived was grind off the extra lip around the edges, so that they'd have a smaller footprint on the bracket, mount closer together, and fit in a smaller area in the window:




And since I wasn't going to use the housings or brackets, I covered the sides of the clear lenses with electrical tape to help darken/hide the lights and prevent light leak into the cabin:




Next, I re-wired the lights, which ended up being SUPER easy. They come with a flasher unit installed in-line with the lights, so I simply desoldered and resoldered things so that the lights could receive direct power and be controlled by the car instead. The harness was ideal, I was able to wire all 4 lights together to a single 3-wire pigtail (left signal, right signal, brake) and then ground them all together to a single loop connector that would ground to the car body. The lights have plenty of wire in between them, with quick disconnects for easy work:




I fed the other end of the wire harness down through the C-pillar and connected them to the same place I had installed the brake light flasher in the trunk. It was very easy using some snap connectors, one on the car's brake light wire, and one on each signal wire:




I applied 3M double-sided tape to the lights to stick them to the brackets and run the wires through, and I then screwed them in place for added security:




Here, you can see the completed product, all wired and mounted together and ready to install:




Here, you can see where the wire harness I connected in the trunk feeds through the C-pillar, where I could clip in the rest of the wiring for the lights (the light just slipped in the headliner temporarily). You can see the screw I added at the top to ground the lights:




I ended up mounting them pretty simply, just with two self-tappers drilled into the roof through the headliner. Both lights are perfectly aligned with each other in the same position, angle, level, etc:






From the outside:




It ended up being incredibly bright! Even with only 35% of the light making it through the window tint, these are still brighter than the rest of the tail lights. I'm very happy with them.




I ended up putting the yellow turn signal LEDs on the top, so that they could be seen from the side angle better, the lower position was tucked more behind the C-pillar inside than I liked. They compliment the lower signals perfectly:




And they do work all at the same time, fully independent. I love how this turned out. It might be unique, but it sure is functional, and I sure hope I'm not smashed into again:




At the same time I did this, I re-configured the LED brake light flasher to automatically re-flash the lights every 4 seconds, so that should help....


Someone captured a rolling-shot of the turn signals in action and called me out on Facebook lol:

 

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Mr. Roo
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Discussion Starter #1,227
Sorry, if someone does not see the factory location brake lights. Even in a truck. They are not paying attention or way to close.
That is the very sad reality of a lot of drivers these days. It's pretty pathetic, but what can you do, except for silly mods like this. The guy was not paying attention at all, but something like this seems like it would help. If not, well. I'm out of ideas lol. I figure, it's "free insurance", well minus the $50 for the lights.
 

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If I were incline to do something like that. I might look at doing LED strips the whole width of the window. Then attach it to some plastic strip and tuck the edge into the headliner. That way it does not protrude so much into the line of sight.
 

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Hows the reflection against the back window at night?

High level brake lights usually have a shroud of some kind to stop the reflection, i would imagine with these super bright lights at your eye level they would almost blind you in the front o_O
 

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Mr. Roo
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Discussion Starter #1,230
Hows the reflection against the back window at night?

High level brake lights usually have a shroud of some kind to stop the reflection, i would imagine with these super bright lights at your eye level they would almost blind you in the front o_O
It's actually not too bad. I did try a type with a shield at first, but those didn't work for my purpose. Yeah, plenty of the light does reflect back out, but it's not bothering at all. In fact, I like being able to know that my lights are working. I can only see them if I'm looking for them in the back.

Neither of the lights are visible in the rear view mirror unless I move my head to see them, so they don't hinder visibility. During the day, they aren't noticeable at all, and at night, they aren't any worse than the turn signal indicators in the gauge cluster. These lights are not on while "driving", only when stopped or turning, so it's not an issue for me.
 

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Mr. Roo
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Discussion Starter #1,231
4 years ago when I wrecked the front end of the car into a guardrail during a hydroplane, I had the auto shop do the timing belt maintenance on the car by replacing the timing belt, waterpump, etc, as well as installing BC264 camshafts. Well, I'm not sure if they messed something up in the process, or just general age from being almost 200k miles, but the front of the engine was leaking oil, getting worse over time. After much looking around and deliberation, I figured that it was time to replace the front camshaft and crankshaft seals. And since the timing belt was covered in oil, it should be replaced as well.

I had been putting off doing the job, until the exhaust cam gear skipped a tooth on the belt, making for a knocking sound:




Fortunately, I had the adjustable cam gear on there, so I just adjusted the gear back to normal:




But, I was out of adjustment after that, so I couldn't afford another skipped tooth. Time to just bite the bullet, suck it up, and learn how to replace the timing belt myself! It ended up being really easy and straightforward with the right parts, so I highly recommend this as a careful DIY. There are several write ups and youtube videos on the entire process, making it very easy to do with confidence.

(I took the pictures kinda in reverse order, as I put it back together, so ignore that I've already got a new belt on lol)

Step one was to drain and remove the radiator, remove the accessory belt, and then open up the engine covers:




Once I had gotten to this step, I realized I needed some special tool to help hold the engine in place while removing the huge lower bolt. Fortunately, this SCH64300 tool by Schley on Amazon works perfectly. It's expensive, but oh well:



I installed that on the pulley using the two bolts that came with the tool, and my breaker bar against the ground. Then, an extension pole on my wrench made very easy and short work of removing the bolt:




With the bolt loosened, I used a pulley tool to pull the pulley off slowly, with the help of the loosened bolt:




With the pulley removed, the lower engine cover can be removed, exposing the rest of the belt:




Normally, this would be the finish point for replacing the timing belt, and then putting it all back together. That was the easy part lol.

Timing belt removed for replacement:




The crankshaft pulley gear thing can be pulled off with the puller tool, AFTER removing that pesky gold retainer clip thing:




With all of the gears out of the way, all of the seals are exposed and ready for replacement:




Seals removed:




Engine cleaned nicely with brake cleaner:




I got some PVC pipe couplings from Home Depot / Lowes to help me hammer/insert the brand new OEM seals back in evenly:




New seals installed in the proper direction, making sure they all have their tiny retaining springs inside:




Cams and sprocket reinstalled (adjustable cam set back to zero because I didn't like having the effect of the adjustment):




New Gates Racing timing belt installed after marking the new timing belt carefully with the old one to get it lined up in place:




Then I installed a new tensioner, double checked it was all good to go, and then followed the steps above in reverse to put it all back together. It's been 6 months so far, and no more oil leaks anywhere! Finally lol.

All nice and purring nicely, almost 200k:




So that feels really nice to be able to do myself, a huge boost in confidence, and weight off my shoulder. God willing, I'll be doing this timing belt service on this car again!
 

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Nice work! I need to do mine over our summer as well, not really looking forward to it. Did you change the water pump and belt tensioner bearing as well?
 

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Mr. Roo
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Discussion Starter #1,233
Nice work! I need to do mine over our summer as well, not really looking forward to it. Did you change the water pump and belt tensioner bearing as well?
The waterpump was done a few years ago, so I didn't bother with that. I changed everything back then, but the rest I did go ahead and refresh with new parts, because why not. It was overall very easy tbh
 

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IMHO they can be either easy and I dont know why i was so worried, or they can be such a PITA and i swear i will just pay someone next time lol.

All the ones i have done have been FWD though so the engine was pointing the other way, the front rear layout on this has me not so worried.

Did you grease the seals and shaft or use oil on them when fitting the new seals?
 

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Mr. Roo
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Discussion Starter #1,235
This year, I finally got the motivation to revamp the interior in an attempt to bring it more up to date and fresh feeling.

I've been meaning to swap the dashboard out since 2014 when I got it, and it sat for 4.5 years. I wasn't sure if I'd paint it all black or dual tone, but I decided to just leave it be.

I also finally followed up on my remin dashboard kit from carID after deciding to go with a subtle zebra wood pattern all over.

I also updated all of the LEDs, mostly to blue, and replaced a couple of interior parts back to new, and did general cleaning all over.


Here is a picture of the LEDs inside of the climate control. 2 for the clock, 3 for the knobs, and one red for the flasher button. Surprisingly, the clock actually looks perfectly even in person, but it shows up more spotty in the pics.




Here are all of the center console parts with the fresh "zebra wood" pattern applied to the front of them. I went with the pattern to match the OEM grays and blacks, and to do something different than the usual carbon fiber. I'm very happy with how it turned out, and the high gloss shine is very nice. I ended up buying a new climate control unit just for the face, so that it would be in perfect shape underneath of the wood look sticker:




I bought new window switches so I could use fresh gray panels under the wood pattern here, and removed the carbon fiber overlay I had on the map light since it didn't fit very well, and the wood kit had a piece for it:






All 4 of the leather door card panels got the wood-pattern treatment:




I ordered an extra part from the wood dash kit so that I could cut out my own custom piece for the double-din stereo surround, and it turned out pretty nicely:






~~~


With all of that done, it was time to get into the meat of the dashboard swap itself.

When I got the 2001 dashboard, it was covered in all kinds of grime, and then 4.5 years of dust from the attic. So I spent a day taking it all apart and cleaning every piece completely back to new. Here is everything I got from the donor 2001 car, all cleaned:




I didn't bother worrying about painting anything, and instead embraced the dark gray from the 2001 interior. So then I applied the wood grain to the 2001 dashboard parts:




Removing the old dashboard was actually very easy, especially compared to my previous car lol. With all of the individual parts and panels removed, it's only just a couple of nuts and bolts here and there. There are plenty of instructions and DIYs online, making this job very easy to do with confidence. I did drop the steering wheel for ease of movement of the dashboard in and out.






With all of the old parts out, I went ahead and did a thorough deep clean on all of these parts too, so that I could decide which ones I wanted to keep from the 2002 interior vs the 2001 interior. For example, I kept the taller 2002 armrest on the 2001 floor console. I was able to get the sticky black junk off of the A-pillars, but jeez this thing was a mess.




Now that I had the entire dashboard out of the car for the first time ever, I was able to tidy up all of my wiring that you can see was a huge mess up there. I've got wires running all over the place, thanks to the LED turn signal power folding mirrors, stereo needs, lighting, switches, etc. But now, it's all been rewired, extended, loomed, and zip-tied so that it's out of the way, secure, and clean. Even if it's never seen, it's still like this that matters to me lol



 

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Mr. Roo
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And the finished result! With everything back together and cleaned, I'm really happy with how it all turned out. I wiped everything nice and clean with Meguiar's wipes to give a nice deep dark shine to everything, and it really looked new. The new dashboard, zebra wood kit, and LEDs really make me happy with the inside of the car again.































 

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Mr. Roo
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Discussion Starter #1,237
Did you grease the seals and shaft or use oil on them when fitting the new seals?
I did not use any sort of grease or oil on anything, nor did I see it recommended anywhere in the manual, videos, or DIYs. The only place any sort of extra grease is needed is on the upper valve cover gaskets, with the 4 dabs of RTV in the corners.
 
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