What does a 25-year-old do to treat a
premature mid-life crisis? He buys a sporty red car. Sure,
would prefer a Lamborghini Murcielago or even a modest Porsche 911 Twin
Turbo, but I'm going to need a lot more disposable income. So I
But not by much.
$20k flat buys the top-of-the-line 2.7L V6 with 6-speed transmission,
leather interior, sunroof (don't call it a moonroof unless you live at
one of the poles), 17" alloy wheels with 215/45 low-profile Michelin
Pilot Sports, sport-tuned suspension with MacPherson struts, 4-wheel
disc brakes, and styling in spades. They back it up with a 10yr /
100,000 mile powertrain and 5yr / 60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.
The 2003 Tiburon is a beautiful car. Hyundai did an amazing job
with the body style. A clean Tiburon with a coat of wax just
commands attention. Obviously, it's nowhere near the performance
caliber of the aforementioned supercars, but it gets just as many
crumpled-forehead stares. I get a kick out of people craning
necks at it when I go by. Others follow it with their eyes as
return to their car in the parking lot. And better still, some
veer off course, walk up to it, look in the window, walk around to the
back and then to the front, and finally give a puzzled look to their
I'm very happy with the car. In the two years I've owned it, the
issues I've had are a bad door lock motor and a bad window motor.
Altogether not too bad for a first production year car. But the
best part is, even after two years, I still enjoy climbing
behind the wheel. Before getting the Tiburon, I could not have
cared less about cars.
This page goes over some of the modifications I've done to the
car. Next on the list is a catback exhaust to free up a few more
All photos are clickable for a higher
Front View (1280x960, 536kB).
Clear corners, red bezels, silver flasher bulbs, Tuscani emblem, and
mesh grille. See ItaliaTib2k3's DIY for how to open up the
headlights to do the
clear corners and paint the
bezels. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, install angel eyes while you're in there.
don't want to have to open them up again.
Back View. Not much here
except the short antenna and Tuscani emblem. I've since painted
the amber part of the tail lights red. Check out Indafastln's DIY. It turned out better than
my expectations, and it doesn't attract dust like the vinyl covers many
people are using. He doesn't mention it, but there is a barbed
pressure fitting that retains the light assembly after the three nuts
have been removed. You can see the rubber boot from inside the
car. Insert a broad flat metal object such as a putty knife
between the light assembly and body and pull straight out. Pull
hard but do not pry against the body of the car or you may damage your
paint. And don't use a narrow object or you might crack the light
housing. Better safe than sorry.
Cold Air Intake (CAI) by Paul Haake
(pahaake) from the Newtiburon forums. Replaces the circuitous
stock air box and piping, and adds a dyno-proven 14-16whp. The
butt dyno agrees. The best performance mod both in terms of cost
and effort to install...a must-have. Gives a great sound from the
throttle body with the gas pushed to the floor; it sounds down-right
pissed off. I don't believe Paul is making them anymore, but you
can achieve the same kind of performance gains from other aftermarket
CAI's. I've converted a copy of Paul's
installation instructions to PDF format since the installation
are pretty universal, and his online copy has been known to go up and
Clutch Delay Valve Removal. Read about it here. Makes shifting
smoother and improves the feel of the clutch. Just see the
for a description and you'll understand. A very worthwhile
modification for anyone with a manual Tiburon.
Electroluminescent Gills. Here's how to do it. Soft accent
lighting behind the side gills. Tasteful without being
over-the-top. This is a work in progress but the writeup is
largely complete. I'll upload pictures of the finished
installation and perhaps expand a little as soon as it is finished.
Painted Brake Calipers. Here's how to do it. I used Plasti-Kote
high-temperature caliper spray paint. A lot of people swear by
more expensive epoxy paints such as G2. I've read that I would
soon regret using the "cheap" paint, but it is holding up great
after 1½ years. As with any paint job, surface
Interior Paint Job. What a
PITA. I spent all of a weekend on this number, but it really
break up the drab, all-black factory interior. Definitely worth
the effort. Big thanks to Johns03Tib's
I may go back and do a few more pieces such as the tray in front of the
shifter, the vents on the front of the dash, and the rear speaker
grilles. From what everyone says, it will be easier to install
headers than paint the dash vents.
Wheel Hubs. It's considered
normal and most cars do it, but I got sick and tired of seeing the rust
build up on the wheel hubs. Sanding, naval jelly, more sanding,
and rust-resistant paint took care of it.
Subwoofer. Read about
Major kudos to Quitlife, Sick Shift, and many other bright individuals
from the Newtiburon forums for finding and sharing a solution to the
factory subwoofer's poor performance. The culprit? The
subwoofer is wired in such a manner that puts it in opposite acoustical
phase to the rest of the loudspeakers. Reversing its polarity
makes a remarkable improvement. I thought it was simply another
lackluster factory sub and would never have dreamed to do this. A
very small percentage have expressed that it made no difference for
or made it worse. If the only evidence you have of a subwoofer
being installed in your Tiburon is its presence each time you open
the trunk, you owe it to yourself to try this quick and easy
about it. FAQ that answers some common questions about high
intensity discharge (HID) headlights. Improve your field of
at night, and give your car the look of more expensive makes such as
and Lexus. See also how to install an HID conversion kit into the
Hands-down the best place for information and discussions on the
better than the Newtiburon main site. Great bunch of people
sharing ideas, making improvements, and fixing problems.
The home of Jet Black Tiburons. All black, all the time, but
let's not discriminate against him just because he discriminates
the reds, whites, blues, and the occasional yellow.
I don't spend a lot of time here, but it is a place to check out from
time to time.
newtiburon.cafe24.com Good prices on Tiburon
parts and impressive service to boot. Really refreshing to see
this kind of service in this day and age. But don't take my word
for it, you can find plenty more satisfied customers in the forums.
Another store reportedly having solid reliable service. At the
time of this writing, they carry a wider variety of parts than
I had a bad experience with SharkRacing in which they charged my credit
card and didn't ship the goods for over 90 days. I cancelled the
order and reordered from newtiburon.cafe24.com, but SharkRacing shipped
it 11 days later anyway. Looking around, it seems I'm not the
one that has had problems. Caveat emptor.
Generation Motorsports Dispelling rumors the V6
Delta engine has poor power potential. A champion of, and a champion for the Tiburon community.
contributes a lot to the NewTiburon forums (as Nextgen03gt) and has
breaking new ground with the '03 Tiburon V6.