Last Saturday I poked around at a local pick-a-part junkyard across the river in IL, looking for anything interesting (fun pictures to follow later), hoping to find a late-model Mazda5 like mine so I can finally have a proper shift bezel. I didn’t find any Mazda5s, but I did find a couple of things of interest.

First was a new shift knob from a Mitsubishi Eclipse. Nothing fancy, and a little worn (unlike the one in the picture below), but nicer than the plastic one I currently have (Mazda treats manual transmission buyers as cheapskates and doesn’t give us the leather steering wheel, shift knob or handbrake handle like they do in almost every other market...)

It’s a little heavier than stock and fits nicely in the hand. I really don’t care about the shift pattern on it, which is almost worn off anyway, and figure it might work as more of a theft deterrent should anyone try to drive the car and follow its instructions. When I went to check out, the cashier said just to take it - no charge; I guess I got my money’s worth out of that $2 yard admission fee, double what I pay at the closer yard. I’ve got a nice shift boot from an E34 525i (another $2 find at another wrecking yard), so if I can find the shifter bezel I can probably cobble together something quite nice to replace my current missing shifter bezel/boot assembly. On the bright side, I can probably use one from an automatic equipped car and just trim it to fit the BMW boot. Most places online want to sell either the entire center console assembly or the whole shifter assembly, but I just need the damned bezel, and I don’t want to pay Mazda (or anyone else, for that matter) $120+ for that one missing part.

The second thing I found was a set of wheels and tires from a 2006 Mazda6. They’re 17" with 205/50R17s, with a fair amount of tread left. The wheels are a little dinged up, but I was contemplating something like Bondo and Plasti Dip to sharpen them up. These are a little bigger than the 16" units I currently have on the car, but are the same diameter as the wheels and tires on the more deluxe versions of the Mazda5 (205/50R17 as opposed to 205/55R16), the ones that you can only get with the autotragic in the Grand Sport and Grand Touring models here in the US.


The wheel specs are almost identical between the 2006 Mazda6 and the 2012 Mazda5: bolt pattern is 5x114.3, the threads are both M12 x 1.5, the center bores are both 67.1mm. The only difference I can see is the wheel offset, although since both cars are FWD, the offsets are quite close; on the 5 the offset is listed as 52.5mm, whereas on the 6 it ranges from 45 to 50mm (I don’t know the exact specs on these particular 17s). Will these work OK on my car, even if there is a difference of 2.5 to 7.5mm?

What do you think? Black out these 17s and pop them on the 5, or just get another set of 16" tires and use the stock rims. The cost will be about the same, about $250.


It’ll look something along the lines of the above image, but with the wheels shown earlier. What do you think? Maybe not black; I could see doing aluminum or anthracite coating instead. I wouldn’t mind black with a silver rim, but I think that this would be too hard to mask off with these particular wheels as there really isn’t a defined rim surface that could be taped off. I’m trying to do this on the cheap, so the idea of paying a professional to repaint the wheels is off the table.