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Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed this becoming more apparent now than when I first got the car. I'm not sure if I'm becoming more sensitive or if the shocks are degrading. I've noticed, I wince when going over dips as the car doesn't take those too well and transmit more of the impact into my body than I like.

I cross some railroad tracks on my commute everyday. There is a big dip in one of them that always feels jarring to cross at the speed limit (45-50). Then there are roads that have a series of small bumps that also seem to make me feel quite uneasy. I am on the stock 18" Dunlops and do remember they are less comfy than the 16"ers on the 2.0 model.

But I don't remember my car being this jarring when it was new. It has 18k miles now. I'm wondering if anyone else experiences this...

I've had koni yellow shocks in one of my old cars with low profile tires that had both performance and good ability to deal with the impact of potholes so I'm not entirely sure that the ride I'm experiencing now has to be the way it is...
 

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99% of the time it comes down to tires; and being on heavy 18s... makes a difference.

Wheel+tire weight has a huge impact on jarriness that a ride gives, of course old mileage does as well, and of course a larger profile tire will always be more comfortable, but depending on sidewall stiffness tire to tire can have an impact. Not all tires are made equal!
 

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Honestly, I think impact over anything but deep potholes is great. It's vibration and jitter over 50 mph that I'm not enjoying. Makes me think I'm driving an econobox at times. I'd really like it to be a bit smoother on the highway.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Honestly, I think impact over anything but deep potholes is great. It's vibration and jitter over 50 mph that I'm not enjoying. Makes me think I'm driving an econobox at times. I'd really like it to be a bit smoother on the highway.
You must drive on some bumpy highways. I do get how the stock tires make a lot of noise over broken pavement. First thing to be replaced will be the stock tires after they are worn out. Probably going with re970 for the noise and ride + handling.

Around 60k I am going to replace the shocks with koni yellows since i have had good experience with them on my old car. At full soft my old sportscar rode better than a camry and the interior plastics stopped buzzing due to how smooth the ride was. i also remember how big potholes became easy to go over and stopped jarring me. The range of adjustment on tjose was quite large and i could stiffen them up quite a bit to sharpen the steering response.
 

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I've already had the tires road force balanced by the dealer I bought the car from, and while some of the vibrations are gone, I still think the tires are either badly balanced or out of round. I'm going to take it to an indy shop soon and pay to get it done right. Dealer would not show me the print out from the balancing, so I'm wondering if the tires may actually have failed.
 

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I find that I really feel the small cracks and such, but the big bumps and potholes get canceled out rather nicely. It's kind of counter-intuitive.
Check your air-pressure, make sure you aren't too high. More air pressure gives longer tire life and better fuel economy but a harder ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Last couple days I havent winced when going over rail road tracks. Its a strange improvement in my perception for no reason. Maybe being tired has something to do with it.
 

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The mazda3 itself has a pretty stiff suspension already, compared to most compact cars out there. I do notice there are days when the ride feels smoother than others, even when going over railroad tracks. Outside temperature might have something to do with it since I notice it's more jarring on cooler days. I've already changed out my tires a month after getting the car and even though it's smoother than stock tires, it's still jarring at times over deep potholes.

I would like to get some adjustable shocks for this car, using it with the stock springs. Maybe I can dial it to the softest setting and see if it'll give a smoother ride. The only time I had a really smooth ride on this car is when one of the rear sway bar bracket broke and the bar was not really connected to the car. I would go over pot holes and railroad tracks with little discomfort. On turns it felt like I was driving a boat tho lol
 

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I know that my car handles bumps better when my winter 16" snow tires 205/60R16 are on vs my 225/45R17 used for the rest of the year. I suspect that 18" would transmit more road imperfections being less air cushion over 16".
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would like to get some adjustable shocks for this car, using it with the stock springs. Maybe I can dial it to the softest setting and see if it'll give a smoother ride. The only time I had a really smooth ride on this car is when one of the rear sway bar bracket broke and the bar was not really connected to the car. I would go over pot holes and railroad tracks with little discomfort. On turns it felt like I was driving a boat tho lol
Did you have an aftermarket sway bar? That can contribute to a worse ride for sure especially with stock shocks. I wouldn't think the stock rear sway is strong enough to break a bracket.

Now that I've thoughts about it a bit more, it seems like the worst ride is when my car is loaded with 3 people and lots of stuff in the trunk. That probably lowers the ride height quite a bit and causes the bumpstops to engage easier.

Aren't the stock springs soft like 150lb/in front and even softer in the rear? So 150lb per corner additional weight would weight the car down 1" and affect bump travel. hm...
 

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Did you have an aftermarket sway bar? That can contribute to a worse ride for sure especially with stock shocks. I wouldn't think the stock rear sway is strong enough to break a bracket.

Now that I've thoughts about it a bit more, it seems like the worst ride is when my car is loaded with 3 people and lots of stuff in the trunk. That probably lowers the ride height quite a bit and causes the bumpstops to engage easier.

Aren't the stock springs soft like 150lb/in front and even softer in the rear? So 150lb per corner additional weight would weight the car down 1" and affect bump travel. hm...
I do have an aftermarket sway bar, JBR ones. Ride is a bit stiffer over uneven roads compared to the stock sway bars but I'm happy with the way it handles. I actually experienced the opposite as you. When I have a car full of people or heavy loads, it rides smoother overall. My previous car was very stiff and jarring over uneven roads even with stock suspension so I'm okay with the stiffness of this car. It's stiff but not harsh, it's like a good stiff.
 

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So I have a new to me '14 sT, and I like the way it handles, but I don't like the way it responds to larger bumps. I don't know jack about suspensions, but it seems "bouncy". I can feel the strut rebounding. I test drove a few TSX's that handle about the same and have a rather stiff suspension, but they seemed to handle larger bumps a lot better.

Now, I would like to lower the ride a bit, is there any chance of improving the ride at all? I know there aren't many options out there yet for aftermarket shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My previous experience suggests some Koni sport yellow shocks will improve the ride significantly when set to soft. They will also improve handling when adjusted appropriately. If you care about the ride, don't lower the car too much or it will be engaging the bump stops more often and be harsher.
 

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I am experiencing the same thing. My '15 3S GT only has 5,500 miles and the ride is quite a bit more harsh than when when I bought it new 10-11 months ago (I have 2 other cars that I use). It is more so when it's cooler/cold out but it still worse when it's warm going over uneven surfaces, cracks, bump stops, railroad tracks, etc. The car is not as composed and is transfering more vibrations into the cabin. I always check and adjust the cold pressure in the Dunlops to 34-35psi all around when the outside temps drop or rise. I am very vigilant with that.

So I am pretty confident it's the control arm and other suspension bushings, as well as the shocks that are deteriorating fast in our cars. My 3's handling and stability at hwy speeds is quickly worsening, so I don't drive it that much any more. Hopefully the dealer can fix some of this issues next week.

Does anyone make shocks for the 3 yet? I 'd love to put some Konis on it.

Harry
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Glad I'm not the only one. Yesterday morning, I winced going over some broken pavement even though it wasn't a big pothole or bump but the impact was sharp and it did jar my back. This kind of tells me the shocks are not damping well.

I had this same experience in a lexus ls400 that had 90k miles on it. It is a very plush ride on smooth roads compared to my MR2 but when going over some dips in the parking lot, I always winced in it unconsciously. But when I drove my MR2 which is usually not plush at all when the koni shocks dialed to fairly firm, surprisingly, it handles those dips much better than the old lexus and I don't wince at all.

Well, more reason to upgrade the shocks and perhaps springs as well. I'm planning to go to bilstein PSS so I can do what I've always wanted with a FWD car - no front sway bar street setup for a supple fully independent front suspension that grips and takes potholes like a champ. :laugh2:
 

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I installed a set of Koni FSD shocks. They really absorb sharp single-hit bumps well. They are marketed as really controlling body roll well while still sucking up high-frequency events, and they do just that. Don't expect them to stop all body roll because no shock can do that.

The car feels much more composed with them - a higher-quality ride if you will. Not stiff at all. If you love the typical JDM coilovers with way-too-much damping, you'll hate the FSDs.

I don't think they would be a good fit with very stiff springs. Maybe softer lowering springs. I'm using them with stock springs as I need/want the higher ride height for snow and gravel roads.
 

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...It is a very plush ride on smooth roads compared to my MR2...
I had a sweet 93 NA with Tokico Illuminas and Tanabe GF210s (linear rate) and it was the perfect blend of comfort and aggression. Sadly, I haven't found Illuminas for our cars.
 

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I installed a set of Koni FSD shocks. They really absorb sharp single-hit bumps well. They are marketed as really controlling body roll well while still sucking up high-frequency events, and they do just that. Don't expect them to stop all body roll because no shock can do that.

The car feels much more composed with them - a higher-quality ride if you will. Not stiff at all. If you love the typical JDM coilovers with way-too-much damping, you'll hate the FSDs.

I don't think they would be a good fit with very stiff springs. Maybe softer lowering springs. I'm using them with stock springs as I need/want the higher ride height for snow and gravel roads.
Thanks for the info on the FSD shocks! I actually wasn't aware that Koni yellows and the FSD's were available for our car now until now. Come summer I might try the FSD's with Eibach Pro Kit springs.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
After getting into a rental Jetta TSI for 3 days last weekend and coming back to my 3, I was shocked at the difference between the two cars. The Jetta is like an old sofa in many ways - very comfy seats, tall sidewall 16" tires and very soft suspension with a lot of play at the center of the steering position. It had much quieter tires than the 18" stock Dunlops so the music sounded much better in it at speed. It might be the better speakers as well because everything sounded more clear.

I find I actually like to feel the little imperfections on the road the way the 3 communicates it. I'm afraid if I get too good of a damper, it will filter all that out and take away the connected feel that I enjoy. From my previous experience with the Koni sport yellows, I think they are not the best option because they do ride very smooth and filter out the small imperfections. Given the FSDs are even smoother than the sport yellows, I would probably prefer to try bilsteins which I've never had on any car.

I don't think being able to feel the small bumps necessarily affects how the shock handles the bigger bumps and dips. It might be this thing called stiction where the shock doesn't start to work until a large enough force is applied to overcome the static friction of the seals. who knows... I do like a "busy" ride I guess, just not jarring
 

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Given the FSDs are even smoother than the sport yellows, I would probably prefer to try bilsteins which I've never had on any car.
Not so fast!

From a Koni FSD review I read recently; written by an owner of a BMW equipped with OEM "sport" shocks:

"I was initially worried that, despite the promises, they would make the car ride like an old Buick: soft, mushy and floaty. That is definitely not the case. When I drove away from the shop that did the install, my immediate impression was that they were significantly stiffer than the stock shocks. The car feels tighter, lower to the ground (even though it isn't), and just more stable and controlled in general. The difference is especially noticeable when cornering and changing lanes - the FSDs allow a lot less initial body roll than the stock sport shocks.

But the improvements in handling are absolutely nothing compared to how these things handle bumps. For most irregularities where the pavement is unbroken (dips, rises, gentle lumps, etc.) the car still feels stiff. But anything more abrupt (usually anything that breaks the pavement - potholes, expansion joints, sudden surface elevation changes) just gets soaked up. I'd say it takes anywhere from 50% to 80% of the edge off.

It's really almost surreal, because at no point does the suspension feel soft. Yet somehow, the same bumps that used to feel and sound like driving over exploding grenades just turn into muffled thumps.

The difference is especially noticeable when driving over a patch of rough pavement that has multiple bumps and abrupt ridges in succession. There's a stretch of southbound Route 1 just north of Boston that's like that, and it's a fairly sharp curve as well (just before the Mystic River bridge, for anyone in the Boston area). Going over it before used to be miserable: I'd feel the wheels hopping around, and the rear of the car sort of squirming as they lost contact with the road and then regained it. The night after I had the FSDs installed, I drove over it, and I actually first thought that the DOT had repaired the pavement. Even in a corner, the FSDs remain stiff with respect to the motion of the car, while simultaneously handling the bumps.

These things are so good, I think I actually got a flat tire by being a little too carefree about what I drove over."

Hope this helps.
 
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