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2001 Mazda 323F Sport - For Sale! £525

Mr Lobster

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By any rational persons reasoning I have absolutely no need for this. We have two nice, modern reliable dailies and one classic staying in the garage until Spring. But, as you do on a cold Sunday I was browsing eBay. Nothing new here so far.

It was at teatime on Sunday when Mrs_Lobster said the immortal words.....

"I saw that Mazda you were looking at on eBay, that would make a nice summer toy / project" and from that point there was only one likely outcome wasn't there. That bidding finished a lot lower than I expected both amazed and slightly surprised me but there you go.

So today we collected it. 'It' being a 2001 323F Sport.

Plans? Well the idea is mainly to tidy it up and run it for a few months before selling it at (hopefully) a small profit. That way I can save a few miles on my Dacia which is accumulating mileage rather too quickly and gives us something a bit more fun for a few months.

So what needs doing then? Very little really. One of the rear arches it a bit scabby but nothing too serious, it needs an 02 sensor and would stand a couple of front tyres. It's MOT'd until September so we'll stick it through a test then and see how it goes but so far there's nothing of any concern. Ultimately, the MOT will determine its fate from there - a pass and it will probably get sold, a significant fail means probably the end of the road as it was cheap enough to scrap and call it quits although as it's so nice that'd be a shame.

First impressions are amazingly good though. Drives really well and is reasonably quick, everything works and A/C blows nice and cold. Has a horrible 'Ripspeed' stereo though. Body is good so we'll crack out the mop and get it shiny and then use it for a few months.

Here's your obligatory petrol station shot....


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How sporty is Sport? Is it solid underneath?


These are certainly getting scarce now.

 Its a 2.0 16V, 130 bhp so its 'warm' rather than 'hot' but seems to go alright.


Surprisingly solid, yes. Wheel arches are a bit flaky but easy enough to sort and theres a bit on one wing but its pretty solid as far as I can tell so far. Need to get under it properly which I will do this weekend.

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I recommended one of these to my mate,after one came up on a Twatbook selling group for about £300, to replace an absolutely rotten snot green Almera. Really liked it but it turned out to have a few snags. It lasted the full year of it's fresh ticket but after that he chopped it in for a Seat Toledo that apparently had a turbo but was slower than a week in prison. If he actually liked cars, he'd be right at home on here.

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How much oil does it drink? If you say none I will be very jealous. These are good motors.


Seller reckons it doesn't - he seemed genuine and the sort you'd like to buy a car off - decent bloke and big house in what looked like a nice part of town.



I've had an hour or so to go over it today. Paint comes up nicely with the buffer and it looks all ok underneath. Oil is clean and upto mark, everything seems to work so far.  The only rust I can really find is a bit on both rear arches and they are very much sortable for not much other than a bit of time and paint.


Given it a bit of a blat round now and it handles really well - not pushed it to see how fast it'll go but its rapid enough.


Hopefully I can spend a bit of time on it this weekend but so far I'm really chuffed with it. 

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With a weekend with not much planned I had the chance to crack on with this.

So out with the G3 and buffer and it's now pretty shiny. Next job is to go round it and see what's what.

It does seem remarkably solid. Sills look good, rear arches are a bit crispy but not too bad and easily enough sortable. Other than that, front bumper is a bit droopy and there's a headlight out.


And it's the headlight that's got me...

Changed bulbs but I feel like there's a bad earth somewhere. O/S high beam bulb glows dimly when headlights are on and when you flash the headlights the o/s headlight goes out and the high beam doesn't illuminate although on the other side everything works as it should. Bulbs all seem ok but obviously something is wrong somewhere.


I just don't know where.... anyone got any ideas?


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  • 5 months later...

Well. When I say 'Inspector' I actually mean 'MOT man' and when I say 'calls' I probably mean 'taken to his place of inspection' but whatever, I like the title and we've not had an update on this in ages so here goes.


After six months and 3.5k miles theres surprisingly little to report. Only expense has been a couple of tyres but otherwise it continues doing its thing. Its been completely reliable if slightly thirsty in the way that a 2.0 petrol Mazda will be but otherwise its been a nice thing to drive and looks respectable enough.


But with the end of August brings drawing in of the nights, falling leaves and the expiring of the MOT. So in it went...


And it's not too bad. Tiny bit of welding on one sill, couple of bulbs need replacing and both front shock absorbers are leaking. The reality is that this will cost more than the thing cost in the first place or is really worth but its too nice and useful to scrap for what are only minor bits so its getting fixed and then set for some more (hopefully) uneventful motoring.

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  • 1 month later...

A month or so on from the MOT and we've managed about 1500 miles in this frankly impressive old bus. 


Well, up until Friday anyway. Sat in traffic on my way home on Friday I got the distinct feeling that somewhere around it the breaks were sticking on as it seemed to not roll as it should. And upon returning home, the considerable amount of smoke emanating from the o/s/f wheel does indeed suggest a slight issue.


I'm presuming that the caliper is sticking / seized although have done nothing whatsoever to investigate as yet. I don't really want the probably considerable expense of a new caliper if it can be avoided. Is it worth taking it out on my local test track* and giving the brakes a good old standing on to see if that my free them up or do I need to just accept that,as with so many things in life, its just going to cost money?

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Surely you can just strip the caliper off and fettle it?


Clean and grease the sliding pins, if it has them. Pull back the rubber foreskins on the caliper pistons, clean out the gunk and wash out with brake cleaner and brake fluid.


Did same on my Mazda Bongo a couple of months ago and works fine now, although it was binding like a good 'un before.


An Italian tune up isn't likely to improve them, IMO.


Screwfix do pretty cheap cans of brake cleaner, if you're anywhere near one:



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  • 3 months later...

Well, by way of a sort of conclusion to the above, in the end I bit the bullet and decided to sort the brakes properly and splashed out on a new caliper and since then everything has been A OK.

And obviously a fully operational car with no issues isn't something that should be tolerated so despite of some misgivings on my part, its for sale (as much as I like it, I really want a Twingo and I should probably do that before the border closes and DVLA don't try and do me for bringing immigrant cars in or something)

So heres the gen...

2001 Mazda 323F 2.0 Sport
MOT'd August 2019
125k miles

Drives absolutely spot on and everything works!

Good stuff -

New o/s/f brake caliper, front anti roll bar bushes, front shock absorbers. New rear tyres (decent ones too, Firestones iirc), fronts are MichelinM&S with about 3mm of tread. Cambelt due approx at 145k. Had a tiny amount of welding for MOT last August but all good otherwise. Two keys, tow bar, sunroof that both works and doesn't leak etc etc. Set of roofbars in the boot in case you need to move ladders, drainpipes and severed giraffe head and necks.

Less good stuff -

Been a Cat N write off - old dear backed into it in a car park, lightly denting n/s doors which was enough to write it off. Hardly visible in reality.
Crunches into 3rd gear sometimes, especially if rushed. Not caused any issue for me and previous owner said its been like that since 55k with no ill effects.

Normal amount of chips, scratches that you'd expect but not a rusty typical Mazda.

I'm reckoning that I'll bang it on eBay this weekend at £575 but shiters price is £525. More pictures this weekend once it stops raining.

Located in Burnley, close to junction 12 of M65. Station collection if you fancy getting the train here.

PM here or O785O 656633.



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Now with added pictures...


Last two pictures show the slightly dented n/s doors - enough to write it off but otherwise no problem and the o/s/r wheelarch which is a bit bubbly but my no means anything more than superficial.   It'd be an easy job to sort once the weather improves.








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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks!  Lap belt, I think.


However, its sold now. I'm somewhat sad really as I actually really liked it and its been a cracking car so I'm going to miss it a bit.  Onwards and upwards though!

Is it staying in the fold or going elsewhere ?

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