HOME 1937 Pontiac 1949 MG TC 1951 Studebaker 1962 Centaurs
1962 Vespa 1963 Morris Minor 1978 MGB-GT   1993 EV Warrior

2002 Mazda B3000
Dual Sport P/U

Dependable Hauler
3.0 Liter V-6
Heavy-Duty Suspension
Tow Package

January 12, 2020 - I clipped the driver's mirror on an unseen trashcan while backing into a driveway a couple of weeks ago and broke the swivel point.  Duct tape held it on  until I could glue it back, but I ordered a replacement mirror immediately ($33 for a new power mirror assembly on eBay!).  While the mirror has been fine, 70+ degree weather encouraged me to get the new one installed.  Thanks to a You-Tube video (you can find almost anything there), the job was quick and easy.  I also ordered a new mirror switch for $19 to make a long-overdue fix - I haven't been able to move either mirror to the right since shortly after I bought the truck 19 years ago!  Since I am the only driver, it isn't really an issue, but I like to have everything working. The switch came in from Amazon and was installed in about 4 minutes.  I read several other comments online about the mirror switch failing the same way, so it must have been a defective part.  All working now!
January 8, 2020 - The 3rd brake light on the back of the cab is apparently a common leak point for the Ranger/Mazda pickups, and mine was no exception.  I fixed it about ten years ago with sealer, but it started leaking again recently.  The water runs along the back of the headliner and drips on the passenger seat back.  I replaced the old bulb-type with a new LED assembly tonight.  The LEDs are much brighter than the bulb, and it came with a new seal.  I did pay for my shortcut last time - it took about 20 minutes to get the old sealer off the truck!
August 19, 2019 - One of the accessories that the Mazda came with was a bed extender that has proven very useful for oversized loads and carrying things like yard waste.  After 18 years, however, it has suffered the loss of the pivot clips and one of the locking handles. I started looking for a replacement a few years ago but had no luck until tonight.  I found this one on Craigs List advertised as a generic mid-sized pickup bed extender.  The seller said it would fit a Ranger, but when I got there I discovered it was off a 2002 Mazda B3000 Dual Sport just like mine!  Better yet, the extender showed almost no use. 
April 14, 2019 - A slow leak developed in the right rear tire, which turned out to be a finishing nail in an area that the tire place did not want to patch.  The Michelin white-letter tires were not available in the same pattern, so I decided to replace all four.  After 40K miles they still had good tread so I replaced the original spare tire and also put one on a matching rim I picked up on the way to Charlotte for the auto fair.  The new tires are Falken Wildpeak A/T3W 235/75R15XL 109T radials with no white letters to match up.  They were very highly rated online by both commercial and owner reviews, and came to about $420 installed.  They ride quiet and smooth - now to see how long they last!
January 20, 2019 - The truck continues to be my daily driver, and the miles are starting to pile up.  Still, after going on 18 years, 140K is not all that bad.  I did a recent oil change and was flipping through my maintenance log I have kept up since the truck was new - one items was notably absent - spark plug wires!  The Mazda has been running fine on the originals, but i decided it would be a good idea to replace them.  The Motorcraft set came from Amazon, and when I opened them today I though I had been given someone's mismatches cast-offs!  some of the wires had gray ends, some had black, and one was orange.  I actually started to return them, but decided to check out the picture on the ad first.  Sure enough, it showed the mix of wire colors.  And when I pulled the old ones, they were a mix of gray and black - the orange indicated the #1 plug.  All of the plug wire loom clips came apart without breaking, and I was able to get the job done during a very brief bit of summer (69 degrees) before a front dropped temperatures 25 degrees in a couple of hours!  No difference in the running - I may get a boost in fuel mileage.
August 18, 2018 - Back about 1992 I took an A/C system certification course for mechanics on the new R134 air conditioning systems.  The purpose was to get my license so I could continue to buy R-12.  During the class, it was noted that Ford and GM would be using quick-release couplings that were sure to leak.  The Mazda is actually Ford Ranger and has the 'dreaded' quick couplings, and I can say that the warning was somewhat exaggerated.  I had noticed the A/C compressor cycling on and off and suspected that the R-134 level might be a tad low after nearly 17 years. Sure enough, I put about a third of a can of R-134 in the system.  The A/C is cooling better and I have not noticed the compressor cycling, so it did make a difference.  But anyone who wants to say the system was badly designed will have to show me any other 17 year-old vehicle with an A/C system as tight as this one has been!
August 3, 2018 - The center radio surround has taken a beating over the past 17 years, and is almost the only area of the interior showing its age.  Mazda chose to paint the surround a darker gray metallic, which is unusual since all the other trim is black.  I've been on the lookout for a good one in the junkyard, but have not been able to find the right one.  That's because the panel is unique to deluxe models with 2-wheel drive and the 4x4 suspension, with fog lights.  Happily, an NOS Ford Ranger panel showed up eBay in the factory box, and arrived at the house yesterday.  It looked like another easy job, and actually was!  You undo two 7mm bolts and then pop the assembly out.  Unhook wires, slide the radio out of the old panel and into the new one, and hook it all back up.  Maybe ten minutes total.  The new panel includes the vents and power outlets, and I like the Ford black better than the old gray one.  The truck also got an oil change - about 1/4 quart down after 5,000 miles!
May 9, 2018 - I took the truck out to Chesapeake last weekend to haul the Morris parts car engine and tranny back home, and saw the airbag warning light flashing on the way back.  It presented a code, flashing twice and then seven times, then repeating.  '2-7' is the code for the passenger airbag switch warning light (the dark spot just to the upper right of OFF on the console picture at left).  The entire switch assembly (old one shown highlighted in red) was $71 new, though there are some $5 repairs you can jury-rig.  I opted for the new unit which arrived today.  I replaced it in 15 minutes - undo the cup holder console by releasing two twist-clips, pull the gray cover off, undo three 7mm bolts, release the electrical connector, undo two Phillips head screws to swap out the switch unit, then reverse.  For once, a job that was supposed to be easy actually was!
April 29, 2018 - The trip to Charlotte went off without a hitch, and the EV Warrior got its award.  The truck was great, turning in about 21 mpg over the weekend.  Yesterday, however, I went out to find the right rear tire getting very low.  A roofing nail had found its way into the center of the tread, and I had to drop down the long-unseen spare tire.  This is the trucks original spare tire, about 17 years old, and it still has the 'hair' on the tread.  No cracking, no dry rot and though it was a bit low after many years of neglect, all it took was a quick boost from the compressor to get it back to full pressure.  It got a good cleanup before being stowed back in its cubby.
March 31, 2018 - I am using the truck to take the EV Warrior to the big show in Charlotte this week, so it was time for some maintenance.  Just over 5K miles on the oil, which still looked clean and was only down a half quart.  I also rotated the tires and cleaned the wheel backs.  The truck got new factory floor mats earlier this month - otherwise, it continues to run and drive great after nearly 17 years!
December 17, 2017 - More general maintenance for the truck.  Although it has not given me any issues, the battery was more than  7 years old.  Not the best plan with winter coming.  So I picked up a new one at Sam's Club this afternoon and swapped it out.
September 16, 2017 - The truck's mileage has been down some and I decided to install new spark plugs.  The last time was right at 60K miles back in 2008.  Nine years later the truck is just past 122K, so it was definitely due.  The electrodes were showing wear, but all were nice and clean.  I expect fuel efficiency will go up a little.  Anyway, it was an easy and inexpensive job - $21 for the NGK platinum plugs and about 30 minutes with a ratchet wrench and spark plug socket.

September 19, 2017 - Follow-up - My first tank of gas shows a marked improvement - from 18 MPG to 21 MPG!  Some of that is not getting stuck in traffic as much, but the new plugs still added a good 2 MPG.

June 16, 2017 - I took off today for my birthday and decided to give the truck a present - an oil change!  At 120,088 miles, it has gone 11,000 miles on the synthetic oil from last time, and used less than a half-quart.  The mileage is actually low for a truck I got in late 2001 - roughly 7,500 miles a year.  The original paint still shines and everything still works great.  The next item is likely to be a battery - no issues, but the one in the truck is seven years old, which is pushing the envelope a bit.  Then again, I got over nine years out of the original battery!
March 9, 2017 - One of the better accessories I have gotten for the Mazda is the tonneau roll-up bed cover - it keeps the inside of the bed clean and dry, and also provides easy access when I need to carry something large.  However, that much black vinyl tends to deteriorate over time, and while it functions well, it looked a little tired after more than ten years.  So I ordered a new cover off of eBay last week and it was waiting for me when I got back from a car show yesterday.  Installation was easy and it appears to fit well.  It also uses different fasteners that are much easier to work with.  The old one was still in good shape, and I sold it for $40 on the local Craig's List!
February 28, 2017 - The Mazda has had a puny-sounding horn for many years now - the low note quit working leaving just the tinny high note to signal with.  However, access to the horns was really tight.  The repair manual suggests removing the grille and headlight assembly to get to them.  I decided to order a set of horns off Amazon, and they came in today.  Then I struggled with getting my oversized hands down into tight places to get the old ones out.  The new horns are Fiamm, and as it turns out, the original Ford horns are also by Fiamm!  One complication turned out to be unique wiring plugs.  I ended up using the still-working high note and changed the low note connectors to spade push-on type.  Took some more juggling to get the assembly back in place, but the truck can now be rude and obnoxious with the best of them!
January 26, 2017 - After 16 years and over 115,000 miles, the Mazda finally needed a moderate repair.  When I took the truck in for inspection, one ball joint failed due to wear, and the other 3 no longer had their rubber boots protecting the joints from weather.  The factory items were 'lifetime' lubed with no provisions for greasing, and none of them would last another year.  I bit the bullet and had all four replaced by the garage - the lowers are press-fit and require a tool I do not have, and you have to disassemble the entire front end.  The uppers are an assembly with the A-arm, and all of the replacements have grease fittings.  The garage also replaced the front disk pads at no additional labor cost as they were close to failing.  Just under $600 for everything, and the truck was done the next day.  With rain, cold, and snow only occasionally broken by dry days above 40, I am glad I took the coward's way out!
July 10, 2016 - It's been a few months since I gave the truck a really good cleaning, so I took a couple of hours today and gave it a wash, compounded out some light scratches, scrubbed the bed, and shampooed the interior.  A fresh coat of wax is called for, but that has to wait for another day.  Even so, the truck hardly looks it's 15 years!  Still runs and drives like new with almost 110K miles.
June 5, 2016 - The Mazda has become my daily driver again, racking up 9K miles in the past year.  That is still not a lot, but I also drive the Sonata to work and often use the antiques on the weekends.  The mileage sorta crept up on me again, and I checked the logbook to discover that the oil has not been changed in nearly 9,000 miles!  Granted, that is all highway driving, but I need to pay closer attention.  The truck got something different this time - Quaker State 10w30 full synthetic.  Better for folks who forget oil changes.  The truck did not use any oil over the past 9K miles - it will be interesting to see how the synthetic holds up. 
May 7, 2016 - A large azalea bush on the side of my house has been an obstacle to getting in and out of the right side driveway space for years now, and I finally decided to cut it all the way back to the garden bed border. After I did that, I spotted a familiar logo - Mazda. This is a promo film camera that came with my Mazda pickup truck when I bought it in 2001 - it vanished shortly afterwards. My best guess is that I set it on top of the bush while I was cleaning the truck and it slipped into the branches and was forgotten. Fifteen years later it is still looks good despite the dirt, but as you might expect, the electronics inside are corroded away.  Still, it makes a neat item to stick back with the showroom sales folder and factory touch-up paint tube.  As for the truck itself, it is approaching 108K miles and continues to be a great vehicle.
November 11, 2015 - The Michelin radials I put on exactly 9 years ago today still had decent tread, but the inner sidewalls were all cracked and checked from dry rot.  Since I drive the truck mostly  on the Interstate, I decided it was smart to replace them.  This time the price was a pleasant surprise.  Thanks to a Grand Opening Special and some instant rebates, the tires that cost me $495.96 nearly a decade ago only cost $432.52!   The previous set lasted about 55K miles and 9 years, which is not too bad.  And the truck rode and handled well with them, so I am hoping to get the same service from this new set.
September 11, 2015 - Another victim of age, the cruise control switches on the steering wheel started to break apart.  This was a surprise, since I rarely use cruise control at all.   The sun had dried out the rubber cover.  I had a lot of trouble finding replacements on eBay until I did a parts number comparison and discovered that the Ford Ranger and Mazda B-series trucks use the same parts.   Curiously, the parts sellers do not seem to know that, and only show the Ranger applications.  I ordered a new set of Motorcraft switches and was pleasantly surprised at how easy the job went.  Maybe ten minutes from start to finish, and I don't have to look at cracked switches any more.  And yes, I did take the truck out and test operation to make sure they worked.  Safety note:  make sure you disconnect the battery before you take a modern steering wheel apart so there is no chance of accidentally setting off the air bag!
August 23, 2015 - After nearly 14 years, the Mazda has been suffering from the hazy headlight syndrome that plagues most older vehicles.  You can polish them up, but the results don't last.  I also had bits of amber paint in the side marker lights where the bulbs had shed their covering.  I bought new headlights off eBay a while back, but did not do the actual work until today.  I had to buy a special tool to undo some locking clips, but after that it was not too bad a job.  You can see the difference in the old and new headlights at right.  I cleaned out the side marker housings and installed new bulbs, and the headlights came with new bulbs installed.  There was a moment of concern when the new headlight mounting hardware did not fit, but I found that the factory hardware swapped over without any problems.  Even though I spent a few hours getting the job done, it wasn't as bad as expected.  Glad to have it done!
June 27, 2015 - The Mazda flipped over 100,000 miles this week!  Still low for a truck I bought nearly 14 years ago.  It was due for an oil change and tire rotation.  I had an Advance DriveWorks oil filter in stock from a sale last time, so I bought 5 quarts of Castrol 20/50 (yeah, thick for the 6 but it has served me well for 100K+ miles).  I did my usual drain hot and then replaced the filter and plug, added oil, and started her up with eyes on the oil gauge to make sure it got pressure.  It didn't.  I turned the engine off, started it again, and still no oil pressure.  A blip of the throttle to clear air blocks did nothing.  So I turned her off and then saw the pool of oil around my feet.  The oil filter gasket had fallen off the filter when I pushed it through the access flap!  Never had that happen with a filter before - it is my LAST DriveWorks product, for sure.  All five quarts came out, which meant an nasty mess to clean up.  However, a new filter and 5 MORE quarts of Castrol oil (Why can't I like the cheap stuff?) and all was well.  Oh, and 20 pounds of absorbent.  Anyway, the truck still runs like new and had not used a drop of oil since the last oil change.
February 25, 2015 - I've had an occasional squeaking from the drive belt pulleys over the years, but a few days ago one of them started protesting continuously.  Since the serpentine belt is original, I went ahead and replaced both pulleys and the belt this afternoon.  After almost 100K miles and more than 14 years, the old belt still looked fine, but I am glad I got a replacement.  Even better, the weather cooperated, giving be a sunny and relatively warm day between two winter storms (The white background in the picture is snow on the bed cover).  For once, an 'easy' job really was, and I got the whole thing knocked out in about 30 minutes, including time searching for tools.  And when I started the truck up, it was nice and quiet.
January 19, 2015 - The truck got inspected today with no issues - I also changed oil and filter, this time getting it done after 5K miles.  Still doing great and looking good.  I ordered new headlight assemblies even though I've kept the originals clear enough to pass inspection with no issue.  The slight clouding makes it look old.  Plus, the Mazda lights are harder to find, so I figured I'd get them while I can.
May 11, 2014 - While giving the truck a good cleanup today, I decided to check the maintenance log.  Good thing - the last time I changed oil was in 2012 when it had just turned 80K miles.  It just turned 90K miles!  BAD BOB!  The Mazda doesn't get used a lot normally, and I tend to take it for granted.  However, it was just down a half-quart after all that time and mileage, and it still looked good.  Whew.  I gave her an oil change this afternoon, plus checked all fluids.  Coming up on 13 years old!
December 18, 2013 - I decided to finally replace the truck's windshield after about a year of looking at a stone chip in the driver's line of sight.  There was also a rock chip on the bottom passenger side that has been there since one week after I had the windshield replaced ten years ago, plus a decade's worth of pitting.  The new windshield was only $186 installed, and made a huge difference.  Well, not so much to look at, but this morning as I drove into  the sun on the way to work, it made a huge difference to look out!  Oh, and I realized that the step rails were NOT supposed to be angled and swapped them around.  Nice and straight.  The rails had been mislabeled and I followed the directions - after two step rail sets that were mislabeled for the wrong body type, I should have learned. 
December 14, 2013 - The Mazda just celebrated its 12th birthday, and I decided to spruce it up a bit with some step rail bumpers.  That turned out to be easier said than done, as the first set I bought had missing parts, and the replacement set the vendor sent was for a 4-door.  I just got a third set from a different vendor yesterday which was both correct and had all the parts!  It installed quickly and easily, and looks good.  I've put just over 7,000 miles on the truck since August 2012.  Though it sits outside, it is still looks, runs, and drives pretty much as it did new!  I just ordered a serpentine belt to replace the original that still looks perfect - after 12 years, it's time to take precautions.
December 30, 2012 - I spent the past couple of weekends cleaning up the main garage - and filling up the back of the Mazda.  It continues to be a great vehicle.  Other than the fuel pump, it has needed nothing.  I am trying to drive it more, but it still sits in the driveway most of the time.  The Inspection is due next month, but I don't expect any issues.
August 7, 2012 - The Mazda rolled off the assembly line in mid-October 2001, so it is just shy of it's 11th birthday.  That noted, it just passed the 80,000 mile mark on the way to work this morning.  (Conveniently where I could stop and get a photo).  For a vehicle that has never seen the inside of a garage, it it holding up remarkably well.  I spent all last Saturday cleaning, shampooing, vacuuming, polishing, and waxing, and the truck looks pretty close to new.  The 2007 Sonata has actually accumulated more miles in the 5 years I have owned it, so I have started using the truck as a daily driver.  Everything, from the A/C and CD player to the cruise control and power windows works perfectly.
January 30, 2012 - OK, so I didn't wait.  A cold kept me home today, and this afternoon I called the shop just on the off chance they were not swamped.  Sure enough, they could take me right then, and I was there in 5 minutes (It's just across the street).  The truck sailed through inspection with flying colors.  So it should be good to go for another year.
January 29, 2012 - Finally!  Another reasonably warm and clear day gave me the chance to get the truck back together.  I used Chip's pump to transfer most of the gas into cans, which then got dumped into the Aspen and the MGB-GT.  It took a bit of maneuvering to get all of the wires and hoses set up the right way, but It all went back together without too much fuss.  I have to say it was a relief when the truck started up, though.  There was always the chance some obscure sensor or computer chip had gone bad.  Anyway, no leaks, drips, or other issues.  I took the truck over to get gas again - it was almost completely empty.  Looking at the picture, I'm impressed with the condition - that's a 10 year-old underside there!  Next step is to get the truck inspected.  I found out about the fuel pump the morning I was going to take it in for its Virginia State Inspection, and it's now almost February.  I'll wait until the end of the week - no point in fighting the masses with January inspections running out.  This was a lot of work, but I probably saved the cost of the Sonata's new tires putting the fuel pump and filter in myself!
January 17, 2012 - It's been a busy year so far, so I didn't really get anything done on the truck until today.  It's a workday, but with 69 degrees and mostly sunny skies in the middle of January, I took the day and got busy.  Multiple attempts to drain the tank have been thwarted by internal anti-siphon baffles, so I had to do it with a full tank.  Getting the tank out wasn't too bad, though the so-called quick-disconnects only released when I broke the ^%$#@! plastic locking tabs.  I also broke one fuel line end.  With the tank safely on the ground, I discovered the sending unit is held in by a large plastic locking ring that requires a special tool to remove.  Or a large C-clamp - I closed the clamp up until it fit between opposing slots and it turned off just fine.  I picked up a new fuel pump at Advance, along with a Dorman 800-053 clip replacement kit.  It seems I'm not the only one who breaks the clips.  That still left the broken fuel line.  Chip stopped by in the afternoon, and we went out to the local Pick N' Pull, a junkyard that lets you gets small parts yourself.  We searched the Ford products until we found some usable ends and an assortment of clips.  A big $2 plus tax later (Well, plus $2 each getting in), and I had everything I needed.  I have the pump installed, and the tank is ready to go back in.  The weather looks good for the weekend, so I'll plan on getting her back together then.
January 1, 2012 - Further troubleshooting has pretty much pinpointed the fuel pump.  It will be a somewhat difficult job thanks to the so-called -quick release' fittings that Ford saw fit to use on the gas lines.  Plus the gas tank is full.  I plan to attack the job next weekend while I have the empty space in the main garage.  (Wildflower will be off at the big car show).  I can't really begrudge the truck - this is the first real trouble I have had in over ten years of ownership!
December 29, 2011 - I went out this morning to take the truck over for state inspection, and for the first time in over ten years, it wouldn't start!  It cranks fine, just doesn't do anything else.  Either no spark or no gas - I suspect a bad fuel pump (naturally, since I just filled the gas tank, which is where the pump is).  I don't hear any sound of pump operation from the tank, and when I pressed the pressure relief valve on the fuel rail,. nothing happened even with the ignition on.  I'll have to do some more troubleshooting before buying a new pump. 
July 24, 2011 - I gave the truck a good cleaning today and checked fluids.  I was surprised to find the oil down more than half a quart.  At least, until I check the service log and discovered I had not changed the oil in almost 10,000 mile!  BAD BOB!  I use the truck so seldom I tend to forget service intervals.  I replaced the oil and filter, and also put in a new air filter and checked the other fluids.  Other than a top off of windshield washer fluid, she was fine. 
December 11, 2010 - I was checking over the truck today and noticed that the 'eye' on the original battery has gone from Green to Red.   A turn of the key confirmed the engine was cranking noticeably slower, thought she fired up quickly.  With winter knocking at the door and the original battery having lasted well over 9 years, I figured it was time to buy a new one. Advance had a 6-year warranty battery for about $100, so I drove over and traded away the faithful, but failing original.  I was lucky to catch it now instead of the next time I wanted to use the truck on a cold morning.
August 28, 2010 - Nine years old and over 70K miles - the Mazda has required nothing more than oil changes, one set of tires, a transmission oil change, one set of spark plugs, and front brake pads (didn't really need the plugs or pads).  It even has its original battery!  I decided to rotate the tires today.  That also gives me a chance to check out the underside (clean and solid) and scrub down the inside of the wheels and tires. 
April 18, 2010 - I put the truck to the test this weekend - a trailer, MGB-GT, and a mess of spare parts including a spare engine and tranny, all the way from Raleigh NC.  She worked a little on hills, but made the trip with no fuss, no overheating, and about 17 mpg!  Not bad for a V-6.
November 29, 2009 - The leak is definitely fixed - a lot of rain today, and the truck stayed dry.  After some disappointing results with expensive fabric cleaners, I was considering having the interior professionally cleaned.  Today, I picked up some Blue Coral carpet and upholstery cleaner from Advance Auto - I've used it before with great success - and had...  well, great success!   Woolite and Renuzit cleaners had done nothing, but the Blue Coral cleaned the seats right up like new.  I'll go ahead and get the truck cleaned and detailed,  and I am going to start keeping a cover on it.  After more than 8 years she's still hard to tell from a new one.
November 23, 2009 - Another year has come and gone and the Mazda soldiers on, now showing just of 66K miles.  Last year's trip to Hilton Head was uneventful.  The truck did great and also pulled the MG TC on a trailer up to a big antique import car show in Richmond, VA (about 100 miles away) in September.  The original battery shows no sign of getting tired after more than 8 years, and she still runs like new.  I was annoyed to see stains on the seat upholstery that didn't make sense.  I've kept them cleaned and vacuumed.  Then I found out they were water stains!  The first suspect was the sliding rear window seal, but putting sealer around that didn't help.  Then I took a closer look at the third brake light mounted on the back edge of the cab.  The leading edge had bowed from heat warping of the plastic body and had opened up a gap.  I pulled the light assembly and ran a bead of clear sealer all around.  It rained most of today and the inside stayed dry.  Now I have to figure out how to get the ^%##! water stains out!
October 17, 2008 - The Mazda has been flawless for seven years - she hasn't been driven too hard, given less than 60K on the odometer since 2001, but she's never so much as hiccupped.  She looks great too - the silver paint still shines like new, and the interior stays nice.  She'll be getting a workout in a couple of weeks, though.  I'm going to tow the 1929 Model A Ford pickup to the Hilton Head Concours d'Elegance.  That's 420 miles, but I am using a tow dolly and the Model A is pretty light.  Overall, it will be less strain than towing the 1973 MGB to Boston, and quite a bit less distance.  Still, I decided to go through the tuck and do some service.  She was due for an oil and filter, and I also replaced the air filter, plugs, front brake pads, and coolant, and rotated the tires.  The old spark plugs were still in great shape - for that matter, even the brake pads still had a lot of life left.  However, I'd rather go ahead and take care of things before they cause trouble.  The next item is likely to be the battery - it' still the factory original after 7 years. 
January 5, 2007 - The replacement cover showed up in short order, but weather and other activities kept me from getting it properly fit until today.  This frame has adjustable snaps which had to be repositioned for the new cover, but once I got them in place the cover fit very well.  Quite a bit better than the old cover, which I had to struggle to get on on a cool day and had to forget even trying if to put it back on if I took it off on a cold day.  We had an unusually nice day today - high 50s and sunny - so I also got the vehicles washed. 
December 10, 2007 - I'd let the truck go further than usual between changes - almost 7,000 miles (Bad Bob!), but the oil was still in good shape and right up to the level.  I got a new soft tonneau, but the cover was too small to snap - that's the issue I had with the 6+ year-old tonneau I am replacing!.  The company is sending me a new cover - if it doesn't fit, I'll have to send the whole kit back for a refund and try something else.
December 3, 2007 - The truck had an uneventful year.  The only thing I've done other than gas is replace the tailgate handle (for the second time) a couple of weeks ago, and tonight I had to replace the third brake light bulb.  Not bad for 56K miles and 6 years.  She still runs, drives, and looks like new.  With the house work and the Sonata currently in the body shop, the truck is getting a lot more use than usual.  She's due for state inspection this month, and an oil change.
January 24, 2007 - Nothing new to report, other than what appears to be a gain in mileage from the new tires.  I started driving the truck to work the past two weeks, and noted that the mixed driving number was just over 23 mpg!  That is surprising, given previous figures of 19 mpg.  In any case, the truck continues to be a great vehicle - reliable and nice to drive.
November 11, 2006 - I had an unpleasant surprise this past Sunday - I went into a store, and when I came out the left rear tire had gone flat.  Luckily, the spare (which I haven't checked since I bought the Mazda in 2001) was good, and I stopped by to have the tire fixed.  Turns out the Goodyear Wrangler, which has always had correct air pressure, never been overloaded, and had plenty of tread left, had dry-rotted and split open on the inside sidewall!  At least it popped in the parking lot, rather than the last time I used it - pulling the 1950 Jeepster back from North Carolina.  The next unpleasant surprise came when I found out how much a good 235/765 R 15 LT tire is.  So much for ordering Jeepster parts this month!  After the poor performance of the Goodyears, I opted to spend $20 per tire more and get Michelins.  The white letters look snazzy, and the truck rides and drives a little better.  When I wrote the tire purchase in the truck's service log, I noted that I've driven it only 4,000 since October 2005!   I plan to give her some more exercise this year.
April 3, 2006 - With well over a hundred cars in my past, this silver 2002 Mazda B3000 Dual Sport pickup truck is only the second one I purchased new.  The first was a dark green 2001 Mazda (below right) that lived less than 6 months and 5,000 miles before getting T-boned by a 1984 Buick going about 50 mph (below left).  The green truck was a 5-speed that I bought after a lot of hard looking and test drives.  Mazda trucks are Ford Rangers with slightly upscale trim.  Curiously, they sell for quite a bit less than the Ford version despite being identical except for grilles and taillights.  As an example, a 2001 Ranger with not quite as many options as the Mazda was $20,000, where the nicer Mazda was under $16,000!   The fit and finish are excellent, and it is very solid feeling. 

The solidity got tested by the afore-mentioned Buick in October of 2001 up on Skyline Drive.  Thanks to the 4x4 suspension, the truck sits higher than usual - I went airborne and did a full 360-degree rotation sideways, landing back on my wheels in a parking lot next to the road.  The glass blew out, air bags went off, and I wasn't sure if I was going to live.  Happily, I got out without a scratch, though there wasn't a straight body panel left on the truck.  The insurance company, no doubt grateful to be spared medical expenses, paid off the truck including my down payment and trade-in.  The dealership, Hampton Mazda, was terrific - I had bought the 2001 as part of a year-end-clearance deal, but they sold me the 2002 hot off the delivery truck for the same price.  And the 2002 had an automatic transmission and the bed extender! 

I have been very happy with the Mazda - it gets good mileage, rides comfortably on long trips, and I have towed an MGB from Virginia to Boston with it. It has about 46K miles on it now, and after a polish and wax, still looks brand new.  I have done nothing to it but change the oil and rotate the tires - can't ask for better service than that!

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