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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!

About 4 months ago I decided to buy a 2015 Mazda 3 sGT hatchback manual for a daily driver. I got a deal that I couldn't refuse! The dealership had problems moving the car due to the 6 speed I think. Also, it has 80k on the clock but it was garaged and is in good shape.

My wife has a 2017 Mazda 3 sport in Soul red. It's pretty, has had no problems, but is a bit boring to drive.

Since buying this car, I have parted out my track miata and am looking to do some basic suspension upgrades to the 3 because I need lateral Gs again lol. I know this car will never handle like a miata, but it could use some more grip.

Let me know if you guys have any suggestions. I'm thinking the car needs new struts, maybe a set of lowering springs, and possibly sway bars. Getting a performance alignment should help a lot, regardless of the modifications, but I'm not sure what suspension values are adjustable from the factory.
 

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Welcome @Dustin ! There's pretty good information on these forums regarding suspension mods. Take a look around and hopefully others will chime in with their .02 cents and help you with choosing what setup to run in your car!
 

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Hey everyone!

About 4 months ago I decided to buy a 2015 Mazda 3 sGT hatchback manual for a daily driver. I got a deal that I couldn't refuse! The dealership had problems moving the car due to the 6 speed I think. Also, it has 80k on the clock but it was garaged and is in good shape.

My wife has a 2017 Mazda 3 sport in Soul red. It's pretty, has had no problems, but is a bit boring to drive.

Since buying this car, I have parted out my track miata and am looking to do some basic suspension upgrades to the 3 because I need lateral Gs again lol. I know this car will never handle like a miata, but it could use some more grip.

Let me know if you guys have any suggestions. I'm thinking the car needs new struts, maybe a set of lowering springs, and possibly sway bars. Getting a performance alignment should help a lot, regardless of the modifications, but I'm not sure what suspension values are adjustable from the factory.
If its just a DD, a good starting place would be a rear sway bar. The Progress bar seems to be pretty popular and works well. Unless you intend to track the car and really push it, a bigger front bar is not really needed.
New tires go a long way. Performance summer tires like the Conti ECS can make a significant difference. Lighter rims with 40-45mm offset don't hurt either....
There are several decent spring sets out there, shocks will depend on what you are looking to do with the car. Springs such as H&R, Eibach, Racing Beat or Vogtland usually yield pretty good results. Koni FSDs or the new Koni Special Active dampers might be worth a look for a DD street car.
Chassis bracing is available for lower front, center and rear as is upper strut mount bracing.
The rear alignment is a compromise between camber and toe, there is one adjustment for both. Adjustable camber and toe arms are available to utilize better alignment numbers.
The front, being a Macpherson strut, isn't readily adjustable. Camber plates and / or bolts can get you some needed camber up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies!

I'm thinking of doing a rear sway bar and some struts at a minimum.

Speaking of struts, I like Koni products but when I use their online application tool they say they only have the yellow sports or the red Special Active. Was thinking about buying the special actives, but the only retailers I have found are in Europe...maybe I'm doing something wrong lol.

Tried emailing OVTuning...not really impressed with the guy's answer to my questions. Heard mixed reviews about it. If the tuning was $300, I'd do it because I always run premium 93 octane.
 

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Not sure if the new Konis are available here just yet although they do appear on some vendor websites. The FSDs that the Reds replaced are probably still in stock in many places.
 

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First year of the manual 2.5 gen3! Your car is the car that made me decide "OK i'm probably getting one of those now that they offered up the manual" - 2016 3s 6MT for me - still love it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm happy with the car, its just not exactly exhilarating to drive (yet). 1st and second gear is fine. It becomes apparent the car needs more power in 3rd gear lol. Problem is, more power is expensive, and I don't trust any parts that aren't dyno proven and verified by customers. Even when things are "dyno proven" by a manufacturer, they often jack with dyno settings to fudge bigger gains. I'll probably stick to suspension mods for now.

Side note - the motor seems like the mounts are either way too soft or maybe worn out.
 

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The mounts are a bit soft. Corksport makes a rear mount that a lot stiffer but its been said by many to really increase the NVH levels to an annoying point. This one is said to work well without being so harsh.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The company name "Hardrace" sounds like an ebay special lol. I'll have to do some searching that the mount will actually fit my car, according to that page, it doesn't.

I'm looking around, trying to put together a nice suspension setup that's fairly basic. Can't seem to find any springs that meet my performance objectives. Coming from a miata, I've got some pretty strong opinions that may or may not be accurate lol.

I'm trying to find some springs that'll get me 1-1.5" drop, but increase the rate maybe 30%. I want linear springs, progressive springs are silly in my opinion. A given damper setting will prefer a relatively small window of spring rates. So when the spring rate is constantly changing as the weight transfers, the damper is going to be outside its happy zone at some point, no matter what.
 

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The company name "Hardrace" sounds like an ebay special lol. I'll have to do some searching that the mount will actually fit my car, according to that page, it doesn't.

I'm looking around, trying to put together a nice suspension setup that's fairly basic. Can't seem to find any springs that meet my performance objectives. Coming from a miata, I've got some pretty strong opinions that may or may not be accurate lol.

I'm trying to find some springs that'll get me 1-1.5" drop, but increase the rate maybe 30%. I want linear springs, progressive springs are silly in my opinion. A given damper setting will prefer a relatively small window of spring rates. So when the spring rate is constantly changing as the weight transfers, the damper is going to be outside its happy zone at some point, no matter what.
It fits. The page says it fits the CX-5, it doesn't say it won't fit other cars. Same engine, same mount works in more than one car. If you take a look at CorkSports site, you'll see that the same mount fits the 2014+ Mazda 3 and 6 and the 2013+ CX-5.
Progressive rates seem to work well on this car, especially when paired with dampers like the Koni FSDs that change on the fly. Miatas are somewhat different....
 

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The company name "Hardrace" sounds like an ebay special lol. I'll have to do some searching that the mount will actually fit my car, according to that page, it doesn't.

I'm looking around, trying to put together a nice suspension setup that's fairly basic. Can't seem to find any springs that meet my performance objectives. Coming from a miata, I've got some pretty strong opinions that may or may not be accurate lol.

I'm trying to find some springs that'll get me 1-1.5" drop, but increase the rate maybe 30%. I want linear springs, progressive springs are silly in my opinion. A given damper setting will prefer a relatively small window of spring rates. So when the spring rate is constantly changing as the weight transfers, the damper is going to be outside its happy zone at some point, no matter what.
Most HardRace & Megan products are produced under 1 roof in Taiwan. Racing Beat has linear ones that don't give the amount of drop you're wishing. JBR currently has their BM/BN coilies on sale @$750 w/ front camber plates.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
 

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Hardrace makes quality stuff.

I can at least, attest to the quality of the endlinks I bought of theirs. They were very strong and well designed HardRace USA
CK
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Update!

I've basically done nothing with my car since these last posts. We bought a house and had a baby boy, so priorities change.

I've had a set of H&R springs on my shelf for like a year now. I ordered Koni Special Active reds about a month ago but they are on backorder so I'll receive them around February. I would not recommend ordering anything through Summit Racing to anyone at this point. Their communication has been horrendous, and they don't think they are responsible for providing their customers with order shipping or status updates. I guess they are used to the 60 year old fellows ordering crap by phone or mail and getting it months later. Not acceptable to me.

Given the drop from the H&R springs, what other parts do I need to get a good alignment? I do not want excessive or inadequate camber on the front or the rear...and I want to be able to hit decent toe specs.

I also want to get a rear stabilizer bar but it's low on my priority list, mainly because when you add in end-links things can get expensive. I wish Whiteline made ball-joint endlinks for this car. Honestly if I do a RSB I may do a custom setup with a tubular speedway bar and aluminum arms, and maybe Whiteline has some good endlinks that are for a different application that will work with the car lowered, I may have to call them and speak to an application specialist or something. Ideally I want ball joint endlinks with an adjustable aluminum turnbuckle so I don't have to disconnect the ends to zero out the preload. Yes, I'm picky.

For a good off-the-shelf sway bar, does anyone prefer the JBR RSB?
 

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Given the drop from the H&R springs, what other parts do I need to get a good alignment? I do not want excessive or inadequate camber on the front or the rear...and I want to be able to hit decent toe specs.
When ever you lower a car, you change the suspension geometry. In this case, you should use adjustable end links to restore the original position of the sway bars in relation to the chassis. You'll need to get the alignment checked after you lower the car. If the numbers are within factory specs, which are pretty broad and not necessarily real good, you might be ok. However, if you want a real good alignment thats outside of OEM specs, such as less rear toe, a bit more camber etc, you need adjustable camber and toe arms in the rear and a camber kit of some sort for the front struts, either camber plates for the upper mounts or eccentric bolts on the lower strut mount.

I also want to get a rear stabilizer bar but it's low on my priority list, mainly because when you add in end-links things can get expensive. I wish Whiteline made ball-joint endlinks for this car. Honestly if I do a RSB I may do a custom setup with a tubular speedway bar and aluminum arms, and maybe Whiteline has some good endlinks that are for a different application that will work with the car lowered, I may have to call them and speak to an application specialist or something. Ideally I want ball joint endlinks with an adjustable aluminum turnbuckle so I don't have to disconnect the ends to zero out the preload. Yes, I'm picky.

For a good off-the-shelf sway bar, does anyone prefer the JBR RSB?
For a rear bar, Progress makes a good one that many here use and like. There have been issues with Corksport bars, JBR is ok but have not heard much about their rear bars.
As for end links, once you upgrade the rear bar you need stronger rear adjustable end links. There is an ebay vendor by the name of GermanRacingParts that makes very stout adjustable links that fit almost anything. They can be tricky to install but once you get them right they work fine. There are others but they are quite a bit more expensive.

 

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OP, that is a rare combination. I only found one within 750 miles of me when i was shopping over about 2-3 months.
It was abused, but i still was interested. I even put an offer but the dealer was treating it like a limited edition super car.
I settled on a sTouring hatch auto.
Have fun with it!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
When ever you lower a car, you change the suspension geometry. In this case, you should use adjustable end links to restore the original position of the sway bars in relation to the chassis. You'll need to get the alignment checked after you lower the car. If the numbers are within factory specs, which are pretty broad and not necessarily real good, you might be ok. However, if you want a real good alignment thats outside of OEM specs, such as less rear toe, a bit more camber etc, you need adjustable camber and toe arms in the rear and a camber kit of some sort for the front struts, either camber plates for the upper mounts or eccentric bolts on the lower strut mount.
Yeah, ideally I should get new endlinks just because I'm lowering the car. Honestly just don't really feel like it because I don't see any that really tickle my fancy. Will I run into any binding or parts clashing with the stock endlinks and H&R springs? I know the geometry will be off, and therefore will introduce more load into the endlinks, but honestly the stock bars are so weak I don't think it will cause any issues strength-wise. Maybe I'm wrong, though, and should get new endlinks now.
For a rear bar, Progress makes a good one that many here use and like. There have been issues with Corksport bars, JBR is ok but have not heard much about their rear bars.
As for end links, once you upgrade the rear bar you need stronger rear adjustable end links. There is an ebay vendor by the name of GermanRacingParts that makes very stout adjustable links that fit almost anything. They can be tricky to install but once you get them right they work fine. There are others but they are quite a bit more expensive.
Do you happen to know if the Progress bar is tubular? I like tubular bars because they are lighter than solid bar with about the same stiffness.
OP, that is a rare combination. I only found one within 750 miles of me when i was shopping over about 2-3 months.
It was abused, but i still was interested. I even put an offer but the dealer was treating it like a limited edition super car.
I settled on a sTouring hatch auto.
Have fun with it!
I bought this car on a really good deal...it popped up when I was debating parting out my track Miata and helped make the decision easy. Honestly this car just kinda magically appeared the first day I decided to be a more responsible husband and stop throwing money at the Miata. It was a lot of money. I could be driving a very nice, slightly used Porsche 718 Cayman if I would have been realistic and not sank so much money into that car and then parted it out and then bought this car. You live and learn, I regret it a bit but it doesn't leave a bitter taste in my mouth, either. Long term, I rather be a Mazda guy, anyway.

Truth be told, I'm getting a little tired of this car, as this car is getting a bit tired. Haha maybe it is a bit tired of me. It has about 105k miles now, and it is starting to feel like it. I am hoping new springs and shocks will help this out a lot. The car just feels heavy...kinda hard to explain. With the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ tires, this car gained a decent amount of grip but now feels like it has way too much body roll. I believe these tires are probably the best high Performance all season on the market in terms of dry grip. I liked them so much, I also got them for my wife's Mazda 3. Never know when better grip can save your life or at least avoid an accident.

Before I go back to work I really should give it a good wash and interior cleaning...I am not super nice to this car and it is not clean or babied in any way. At this point it has lots of paint chips and I don't really wash it until it looks BAD lol. This poor 2.5L hits redline almost every time I drive it, after it's warmed up of course, but still. Sometimes I feel bad for this car lol.
 
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