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Discussion Starter #1
Looks like I am getting that clunk that many reported. I can easily replicate it by turning the wheel to almost full left, move forward then brake, clunk! Then keep the steering wheel at the same position, shift to reverse, move backward, clunk! at the exact moving distance without having to brake.

I checked all nuts and bolts that I had worked on to install koni/rb spring, rb front sway bar, including regreasing the bushings. Also checked steering rack bolts. The only things I didn’t check were tire rods and control arms because I didn’t touch them and the car is fairly new. This clunk happened after 2 yrs I bought the car brand new and about 20 mos after all the upgrades.

Today I installed the spring protector sleeves as strongly recommended, the clunk is still there. Thing is, I think the RB springs are fatter than stocks so the sleeves didn’t cover the coil all way and leave a good section on the outside open. My question is, what parts hit each other to cause the clunk, if this is the case. And why didn’t it happen at the beginning. I might have to use a vinyl hose instead.

Please share your ideas. I want to hear them before opening up everything again.

Thx
 

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I read a post here not long ago saying that filling the bearing assemblies in upper shock mounts with grease took away that clunk. I do not remember what type of grease they used specifically, but it is a very thick grease that probably holds onto the bearings so they don't shift around as much. Do a little searching to see if you can find that thread. It was specific to the 3rd gen 3. If you look at the top of the upper shock bearing assembly, you will see a couple of square-ish holes in the pressed metal collar in the assembly. The user originally opened up the whole assembly to grease it, but later found you can inject the grease through those holes. Please do not quote me on this as I am recalling what can remember. If you can find the actual thread, read up on it to know for sure. Hope this helps.

-CR
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I read that post from the op of that thread, too. I just couldn’t imagine a solid clunk sound would be caused by dry bearings but I opened up and inspected anyway. It was fine and loaded with grease. It was tricky to snap them back though. And also from the same poster, whatever you put in those rectangle holes will go straight down to strut body 🙂

Now that I remember, one of the strut has a lot of white grease sitting at the top of the boot, not the same grease as in the bearings. I think there was white grease on the strut piston when I got them. Can’t imagine a strut failed after 10 kmiles.

I forgot to mention that beside the clunks there is no sign of bad handling. Since the noise just started to happen without any work being done recently to the car, it has to be something being worn. I want to think it’s the end links since they are still stock but I disconnected them from the struts and swivel around with no noise.
 

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sounds like you may have found your clunk issue by process of elimination. If not the end links, at least it likely seems that it has something to do with the sway bar. Check torque on the sway bar mounts as well. If that doesn't solve it when you reconnect the end links, then replace the end links with some Moog units or something adjustable if necessary. Good to see someone doing some physical troubleshooting instead of relying on everyone else to solve the problem for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thx for encouraging. I really needed it 🙂. I have been tackling this issue for a week now. Lots of readings, twice on every single post of the 8 pages long of that thread. And it was a not a good feeling as there is no solid fix. And my car is still under warranty 🙂. With all the after market upgrades and reading how many people reported the tsb didn’t fix it, I’d rather doing this myself until I give up. Looks like other Mazda models suffer this problem, too.

Today I drove the car on the same spot that caused the clunk with the end links disconnected and nothing changed. After the struts removed, banging and shaking the sway bar with the end links disconnected didn’t make a sound. Neither did the arms and tie rods. I’d checked the bar’s brackets and retorque them too. I also had someone drive making the sound and while I wasn’t sure if the sound came from the strut tower, I felt slight vibration. But that still doesn’t tell me much since vibrations travel to all connected parts.

I also checked all bolts under the cowl since the last work was done on the car was the wipers motor recall by the dealer. (also suggested by someone) I did find one loose bolt on top of the left strut tower. I don’t think the dealer needed to remove it to do the job though. It just came loose or straight from factory.

The idea of a dried out bearings and cause slip-stick (between the coil and the bearings) sounds very reasonable but it has to be really dead stuck to do that. Mine was ok and I can turn it by hand after assembled. I’ll will switch side to see if the clunk move to the other side.

My car is a type b and according to the latest tsb, doesn’t need the protector but just the new bump stop. This is correct because with the protector on, the spring opening doesn’t fit onto the bearings right, very tight.

So now I’m just waiting for the new bump stop for probably the last attempt. This very strange as the car was dead quiet for more than 1 1/2 yrs after all the suspension upgrades.

Thx
 

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Check the tie rod ends. Some Mazda 3 model years had an issue with the swivel joints sticking and releasing, making a clunking sound. I think there was a TSB for this at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Check the tie rod ends. Some Mazda 3 model years had an issue with the swivel joints sticking and releasing, making a clunking sound. I think there was a TSB for this at some point.
Is there a particular way to check this? Do I need to disconnect from the knuckle? I did hold the knuckle (strut disconnected) and move it around and check for noise from the arm and tie rod.

Thx

Why do I keep doing double posting (from IPad). Please remove them, thx.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thx. I looked over the tbs and it seems to apply for early cars. My noise doesn’t fit the description either.

So I installed the new bump stops and nothing changed. The new bump (B45G34111A) stop looks exactly like my existing one (B45G34111) but about 3/16 taller. The label on package has the A but not on the actual part. See pic.

When I compress the installed strut assembly with a floor jack, 50% of the time I heard a pop that seemed to come from the bearings area but couldn’t figure out why. But turning the steering wheel while the strut being compressed made no noise.

I need a break from this for now. Anyone got it fixed and stay fixed please chime in.

Thx
140FF407-7B87-4F7F-AC13-8D4D2909BCAF.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
So after some more reading about suspension noise in general, I was somewhat convinced my problem is the strut bearing. Before running down to the dealer to pick up the parts I decided to pull the strut assembly and add grease to the bearing to see if it does anything. Before assembling everything back, I noticed a long black mark (see pic) on the top of the spring where the protector sleeve is supposed to be. That looks like where the spring hits the bearing. I had installed it earlier but removed since it didn’t do any good. Plus it seems the diameter was too small for my RB springs (just a tiny bit larger than stock) and the according to the TSB my car doesn’t need one. I decided to wrap it with electrical tape. Installed everything back and tested the car on the same spot where it made the clunk. The noise is still there, but it’s not as loud, especially it’s no longer sound like metal to metal. Looks like the problem is not the bearing but the spring hitting the bearing and the electrical tape buffer 60% of the noise. It still makes no sense to me as why it happened now after 12 kmiles and only on the right. Maybe it’s the failing bearing that causes the spring hitting it or the noise is actually within the bearing. And I still think the protector is just bandaids and is way too small for stock springs and that’s why some people still get the noise after having the tsb done. Was it even designed for the 3s ?

Eventually i’ll get new bearings or wait to better aftermarket . See the pics below.

7752FF81-FBBC-4657-B6B5-306F580DA9DD.jpeg
A45ED83F-85C1-46E4-A6F0-F71BA595DCCA.jpeg
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2C15DC2F-442D-4A0C-B685-7260E00222D3.jpeg
DE305388-8E71-419A-860C-4A6E73917FF2.jpeg
 

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So after some more reading about suspension noise in general, I was somewhat convinced my problem is the strut bearing. Before running down to the dealer to pick up the parts I decided to pull the strut assembly and add grease to the bearing to see if it does anything. Before assembling everything back, I noticed a long black mark (see pic) on the top of the spring where the protector sleeve is supposed to be. That looks like where the spring hits the bearing. I had installed it earlier but removed since it didn’t do any good. Plus it seems the diameter was too small for my RB springs (just a tiny bit larger than stock) and the according to the TSB my car doesn’t need one. I decided to wrap it with electrical tape. Installed everything back and tested the car on the same spot where it made the clunk. The noise is still there, but it’s not as loud, especially it’s no longer sound like metal to metal. Looks like the problem is not the bearing but the spring hitting the bearing and the electrical tape buffer 60% of the noise. It still makes no sense to me as why it happened now after 12 kmiles and only on the right. Maybe it’s the failing bearing that causes the spring hitting it or the noise is actually within the bearing. And I still think the protector is just bandaids and is way too small for stock springs and that’s why some people still get the noise after having the tsb done. Was it even designed for the 3s ?

Eventually i’ll get new bearings or wait to better aftermarket . See the pics below.

View attachment 273950 View attachment 273951 View attachment 273952 View attachment 273953 View attachment 273954
Try this.....
Tein got em, too....
Tape won't work.


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It still makes no sense to me as why it happened now after 12 kmiles and only on the right. Maybe it’s the failing bearing that causes the spring hitting it or the noise is actually within the bearing. And I still think the protector is just bandaids and is way too small for stock springs and that’s why some people still get the noise after having the tsb done. Was it even designed for the 3s ?
Makes perfect sense. The car has 12k miles on it. Parts are starting to wear. A good guess would be dampers that are starting to weaken. OEM Mazda dampers don't usually last more than 40k anyhow.
The protector is not a band-aid. It works when properly installed. Lots of cars have them, not just the Mazda 3. Stop trying to second guess the automotive engineers that actually designed the car. They know a lot more about this stuff than most people........
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The protector is common used but in this case is a bandaid for an unforeseen problem and I am not saying it’s not a fix. Obviously they didn’t think the car needs it. However you want to look at it, if they knew perfectly what they were doing then there wouldn’t be recalls or tsb in general.

Anyway, I just want to find out the root cause of the problem. What makes no sense to me is how the spring hits the bearing at rolling speed with such force to cause a loud clunk when everything is secured. The spring is already sitting on the bearing and when compressed slowly it should just roll more onto the bearing with no new contact. And it can’t be the design since it worked flawlessly at the beginning. So it has to be something is wearing like you said. The parts that involve in this area that could be worn are the bearing and the strut. The noise happened when the strut being heavily compressed so even it it’s worn i don’t know how it can let the spring move to make noise. So that’s why I want to think the bearing is ultimately the root cause.

There is a little play in the spring that you can pull away from the bearing for about 1/8 in when unloaded. I am not sure if that is normal or because my spring is a little shorter than stock so not compressed as tight.
 

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The protector is common used but in this case is a bandaid for an unforeseen problem and I am not saying it’s not a fix. Obviously they didn’t think the car needs it. However you want to look at it, if they knew perfectly what they were doing then there wouldn’t be recalls or tsb in general.

Anyway, I just want to find out the root cause of the problem. What makes no sense to me is how the spring hits the bearing at rolling speed with such force to cause a loud clunk when everything is secured. The spring is already sitting on the bearing and when compressed slowly it should just roll more onto the bearing with no new contact. And it can’t be the design since it worked flawlessly at the beginning. So it has to be something is wearing like you said. The parts that involve in this area that could be worn are the bearing and the strut. The noise happened when the strut being heavily compressed so even it it’s worn i don’t know how it can let the spring move to make noise. So that’s why I want to think the bearing is ultimately the root cause.

There is a little play in the spring that you can pull away from the bearing for about 1/8 in when unloaded. I am not sure if that is normal or because my spring is a little shorter than stock so not compressed as tight.
Mazda opted for rigid strutmounts that last longer than the more silent rubber ones that other makes like BMW use. Spring production will have a range of tolerances. Spring protectors have proven to take care of that. The clunk has since been silent.

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Mazda opted for rigid strutmounts that last longer than the more silent rubber ones that other makes like BMW use. Spring production will have a range of tolerances. Spring protectors have proven to take care of that. The clunk has since been silent.

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I think the spring hits the bearing, not the mount but Yes, that was the first thing I did but it didn’t do much. Maybe because my RB springs are just bit thicker than stocks so the sleeve still shows a lot of metal. I later found out my car (type b) doesn’t need them and removed them when replacing the bump stops with updated ones as in the tsb. Nothing was changed still. But now I know if the tape helps, a proper protector should work. I wonder why type b cars don’t need one. I know even on my stock springs, the sleeve still seem to be too skinny.
 

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I think the spring hits the bearing, not the mount but Yes, that was the first thing I did but it didn’t do much. Maybe because my RB springs are just bit thicker than stocks so the sleeve still shows a lot of metal. I later found out my car (type b) doesn’t need them and removed them when replacing the bump stops with updated ones as in the tsb. Nothing was changed still. But now I know if the tape helps, a proper protector should work. I wonder why type b cars don’t need one. I know even on my stock springs, the sleeve still seem to be too skinny.
The strutmount assembly/casing has the bearings inside. That's what I meant. Some favor rubber ones....silence at the expense of keeping alignment w/in spec longer. Having had those 2 types, I'd favor Mazda's. Below is a sample of what Bimmers have. Rubber. Bearings inside.


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Discussion Starter #18
I see what’s you are saying, performance and noise go hand in hand and that’s is quite acceptable. I’ll just have to find the correct solution and in this case, a correct protector for my springs.

Thx
 

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I see what’s you are saying, performance and noise go hand in hand and that’s is quite acceptable. I’ll just have to find the correct solution and in this case, a correct protector for my springs.

Thx
The OE one should work fine. I've used em even on other cars, various springs.

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Makes perfect sense. The car has 12k miles on it. Parts are starting to wear. A good guess would be dampers that are starting to weaken.
Your guess might be the answer here. So I ordered 2 new bearings and did the installation today. Looking at both assemblies off the car, the right one (problem one) has a 3/4 inch long tear on the electrical tape I put on. The left one has some light scratches. This tell me the right spring hits the bearing harder than the left, thus the noise. After disassembled everything, I push the right strut piston down and it just stayed down. Wasn’t sure if it was normal, I did the same with the left strut, it rebounded with decent speed. Both still have decent resistance when pushing down and pulling up but the right one require less force pushing down. After did some reading, seems as it quite normal for non-gas charged strut to not rebound and still function. But if compared to the left which still rebounds, the right one probably lost some of the damping power and allow the spring to move more freely during light compression. The hard plastic bearing doesn’t help absorb the noise. So I think that is what happening. I don’t think the new bearings do anything.

Anyway, with new bearings and the spring isolators put back on, I am not getting the clunk anymore but several light popping noise.

I might add more isolator later if I can think of something. Pics below show the strut rod stay down and how the isolator still show a lot of metal.

853ADA84-821B-4018-957E-B26171CD8B10.jpeg
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