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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! First and fore most, “THANK YOU!!!” Thank you for the information you all have amassed. It’s incredibly wonderful to have such a vibrant community with this level of breadth and depth of knowledge. This is my first post, yes, but I’ve been scouring the forum for a few weeks now researching my current problem, and so far, you guys are awesome.

My wife purchased her new daily driver in 2012. At the time she was working 50 miles from home 5 days a week and our priority was fuel milage. We had looked around for almost a year to find the best fit, but nothing really felt right. On a whim one day I mentioned that as a kid, my first vehicle was a Mazda B2000 pickup and that I’d loved it. So we poked around the Mazda website, saw the “3” and decided it was worth a trip to the closest Mazda dealership to check it out. We both absolutely fell in love with it and wound up signing the paperwork 2 days later.

5 years, and 120,000 miles later, the suspension is starting to go. Our country driveway is over a third of a mile and not at all smooth; so I consider the factory suspension to have done quite well to last that long. When we noticed the suspension problem, I checked with one of the better local shops that do suspension and tires and was quoted $1500 to replace the OEM equipment with equivalent OEM parts. After gasping, coughing, spluttering, and trying not to laugh, all at the same time while trying to maintain my composure and pleasant demeanor, I politely thanked them for the quote and their time, then promptly went home.

And so the research began. Side note, a buddy of mine took me to autocross for the first time last month. Now I know what the excitement is all about...

I work on things pretty regular. I’ve replaced the transmission and rear springs on a ’95 Z71, fixed several motorcycles and ATV’s, torn apart and repaired a tractor, successfully fixed death wobble (among several other problems) and replaced brake calipers on a jeep, etc., etc... I’m no stranger to turning wrench and it usually works better when I’m done. So after a few hours watching videos of how this all works on the 3’s, I’m more than confident I can do it all myself without problem; I’m even fairly sure I could even do the front sway bar without issue, but I’m gonna hold off on that for a little while.

Now that you have the background, here’s the meat of my question: Would you please look at the list of equipment and goals below and give me feed back about
1) will it meet my stated goals?
2) is it the best bang for the buck?
3) is there anything I’m missing: parts, pieces, adapters, special tools, bushings, knowledge, etc?
4) what (and why) would you do differently to meet the stated goals?
5) is there a better/cheaper place to purchase these parts from? Or better/cheaper parts to meet these goals?

Vehicle in question:
2012 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring 5-Door Hatchback 2.0L 6-speed Automatic w/SKYACTIV-G

Goals: This is primarily a comfortable daily driver car that wants to have some occasional serious fun.
A) As cheaply as possible, preferably within or very close to the $1500 budget
B) Improve handling performance over stock without any negative impacts or unexpected quirks (like snap oversteering).
C) Provide a comfortable, smooth, and predictable ride that is easy to handle for a non-aggressive driver. I don’t want it jarring her teeth out and having her complain “WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY CAR?!?! IT’S HORRIBLE!!!”
D) Maintain as close to stock ride height as possible. Very unsmooth driveway, ground clearance is important, and neither of us likes the super slammed look; also maintains options for wheel and tire sizes.
E) Improve occasional spirited street driving sessions for an aggressive driver.
F) Maximizes fun for monthly autocross events.
G) Minimize body roll in hard cornering.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know tires are going to be one of the biggest points in handling performance. I'll get to that soon. I’ve already picked up a new to me set of rims that surprisingly came with some good rubber on them. My plan is to run out both the current set on the car and the set on the new rims. By then, it’ll be justifiable to put new tires on: “Look hon, your tires are kinda worn out, its time to replace them.” without hearing “But we just put so much money in to it already!!” By then, the budget’ll have recovered and I’ll put good quality grippy daily drivers that’ll last a while on the stock rims, and performance stickies on the new rims for autocross events only.


It’s a fairly short list

Koni FSD Shock Absorbers 2100-4039 2012 MAZDA 3
summitracing
$617

Racing Beat Sway Bar - Rear 2010-13 Mazda 3 2.5L/2.0L
racingbeat
$170

Racing Beat Suspension Spring Set 2012-13 2.0L SKYACTIV
racingbeat
$213

Moog Rear Sway Bar End Links (stock are probably worn, would like something beefier)
rockauto
$26 x2
$52

Doorman Strut Bearing (might as well replace them, they’re cheep)
rockauto
$22 x2
$44

Coil Spring Compressors (only tools I’m lacking for the job)
amazon
$37

Spline Drive Lug Nuts (for the new autoX rims)
amazon
$21


Suspension Total
$1,154



Also looking for recommendations on break pads. Probably about due for a set and figured while I’ve got the wheels off... I’m currently considering EBC RedSuff. Don’t care about break dust, my driveway is a almost a half mile dirt road so brake dust is going to be the least noticeable dirtiness. Most important factors are stopping power, longevity of pad and rotor, daily driver friendly so no warm up requirements, and fade resistance for occasional lap and cool type autocross sessions. Has EBC fixed that backplate separation problem yet? Any other suggestions (that might be a little cheaper)? EBC is expensive. I don’t mind “pay to play” and all, just wanna make sure I get my money’s worth.

EBC Red Stuff
Front
summitracing
$117 x2
$234

Rear
summitracing
$108 x2
$216

EBC Total
$450


Grand Total
$1,604 (plus a little for tax and shipping)


Still a few unanswered questions tho, so if anybody has info on these, please chime in.

1) The RB springs are the closest to stock height I can find with on only 0.5 inch drop. While I’m planning to get an alignment immediately after installing everything, am I going to run into any issues with non adjustable camber on the rear or should I be looking at the adjustable camber arms too?

2) Whats the diameter of the holes on the RB RSB vs the moog end links? Am I going to need bushings? Does the RB RSB come with those bushings if I do need them?

3) CorkSport only offers a MazdaSpeed 3 RSB (2 positions for 119% and 180% of stock), I assume it will fit a non-Speed 3, but judging by the posts on the forum it seems like the Racing Beat RSB is the better fit, even though the current version is nonadjustable.

4) Just to verify, the RB springs (which are within 1 inch of stock height) should work fine with the Koni FSD’s right? I know FSD's are "not for use with lowering springs."


Thoughts? Opinions? Advice? I’m all ears. Thank you in advance.
 

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Super Moderator
Joined
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6,401 Posts
Before you do anything-

If you are going to autocross at all, read the classing rules. Some of those changes will put you in a higher class that will make your car totally noncompetitive.

Read between the lines so to speak:smile2:-

And so the research began. Side note, a buddy of mine took me to autocross for the first time last month. Now I know what the excitement is all about...

I’m even fairly sure I could even do the front sway bar without issue, but I’m gonna hold off on that for a little while.

Now that you have the background, here’s the meat of my question: Would you please look at the list of equipment and goals below and give me feed back about
1) will it meet my stated goals?
2) is it the best bang for the buck?
3) is there anything I’m missing: parts, pieces, adapters, special tools, bushings, knowledge, etc?
4) what (and why) would you do differently to meet the stated goals?
5) is there a better/cheaper place to purchase these parts from? Or better/cheaper parts to meet these goals?

Vehicle in question:
2012 Mazda 3 i Grand Touring 5-Door Hatchback 2.0L 6-speed Automatic w/SKYACTIV-G

Goals: This is primarily a comfortable daily driver car that wants to have some occasional serious fun.
A) As cheaply as possible, preferably within or very close to the $1500 budget
B) Improve handling performance over stock without any negative impacts or unexpected quirks (like snap oversteering).
C) Provide a comfortable, smooth, and predictable ride that is easy to handle for a non-aggressive driver. I don’t want it jarring her teeth out and having her complain “WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY CAR?!?! IT’S HORRIBLE!!!”
D) Maintain as close to stock ride height as possible. Very unsmooth driveway, ground clearance is important, and neither of us likes the super slammed look; also maintains options for wheel and tire sizes.
E) Improve occasional spirited street driving sessions for an aggressive driver.
F) Maximizes fun for monthly autocross events.
G) Minimize body roll in hard cornering.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know tires are going to be one of the biggest points in handling performance. I'll get to that soon. I’ve already picked up a new to me set of rims that surprisingly came with some good rubber on them. My plan is to run out both the current set on the car and the set on the new rims. By then, it’ll be justifiable to put new tires on: “Look hon, your tires are kinda worn out, its time to replace them.” without hearing “But we just put so much money in to it already!!” By then, the budget’ll have recovered and I’ll put good quality grippy daily drivers that’ll last a while on the stock rims, and performance stickies on the new rims for autocross events only.


It’s a fairly short list

Koni FSD Shock Absorbers 2100-4039 2012 MAZDA 3
summitracing
$617
Good choice there

Racing Beat Sway Bar - Rear 2010-13 Mazda 3 2.5L/2.0L
racingbeat
$170
Thats ok too.

Racing Beat Suspension Spring Set 2012-13 2.0L SKYACTIV
racingbeat
$213
Those are fine


Moog Rear Sway Bar End Links (stock are probably worn, would like something beefier)
rockauto
$26 x2
$52
Might be ok with these, but when lowering you should use adjustable endlinks to keep the sway bar geometry correct.

Doorman Strut Bearing (might as well replace them, they’re cheep)
rockauto
$22 x2
$44
Good choice. Always replace the mounts when replacing the struts.

Coil Spring Compressors (only tools I’m lacking for the job)
amazon
$37
They are cheaper at Harbor Freight.:smile2:

Spline Drive Lug Nuts (for the new autoX rims)
amazon
$21
Ok, but they will gall up the rims a bit when you torque them. The McGard splines have a 2 piece lug with a floating seat that doesn't do that.
What rims? And what tires for Autocross? That is important.

Suspension Total
$1,154



Also looking for recommendations on break pads. Probably about due for a set and figured while I’ve got the wheels off... I’m currently considering EBC RedSuff. Don’t care about break dust, my driveway is a almost a half mile dirt road so brake dust is going to be the least noticeable dirtiness. Most important factors are stopping power, longevity of pad and rotor, daily driver friendly so no warm up requirements, and fade resistance for occasional lap and cool type autocross sessions. Has EBC fixed that backplate separation problem yet? Any other suggestions (that might be a little cheaper)? EBC is expensive. I don’t mind “pay to play” and all, just wanna make sure I get my money’s worth.

EBC Red Stuff
Front
summitracing
$117 x2
$234

Rear
summitracing
$108 x2
$216

EBC Total
$450
I have EBC greens on my Miata and they work fine. Not a lot of dust either.

Grand Total
$1,604 (plus a little for tax and shipping)


Still a few unanswered questions tho, so if anybody has info on these, please chime in.

1) The RB springs are the closest to stock height I can find with on only 0.5 inch drop. While I’m planning to get an alignment immediately after installing everything, am I going to run into any issues with non adjustable camber on the rear or should I be looking at the adjustable camber arms too?
Not enough drop to worry about with these springs.

2) Whats the diameter of the holes on the RB RSB vs the moog end links? Am I going to need bushings? Does the RB RSB come with those bushings if I do need them?
They will work ok.

3) CorkSport only offers a MazdaSpeed 3 RSB (2 positions for 119% and 180% of stock), I assume it will fit a non-Speed 3, but judging by the posts on the forum it seems like the Racing Beat RSB is the better fit, even though the current version is nonadjustable.
Progress and Whiteline make excellent rear bars that are adjustable.


4) Just to verify, the RB springs (which are within 1 inch of stock height) should work fine with the Koni FSD’s right? I know FSD's are "not for use with lowering springs."
Not true. I have FSDs and my car is lowered 45mm in the rear and 30mm in front and they work just fine.

Thoughts? Opinions? Advice? I’m all ears. Thank you in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply. I'm aware of the classing issue and it's not really a big deal to me. I'm going to have some fun and be a better driver. I don't remember off hand what the rims are, my brother found em for me for free. I'll look again when I get back home and post it. Are u sure about the lug it's galling? I don't understand what u mean by "2 piece lug with floating seat". I've never heard or seen this before. Can u link me some info?

I've read a couple places that the Green stuff wears out pretty quick.

I can't find a meaningful difference between strut mount and strut bearing. What was in the post was the bearing. I can change mounts too if it's a good idea.

Thank you for the point by point, exactly what I was looking for.
 

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Super Moderator
Joined
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6,401 Posts
Thanks for the quick reply. I'm aware of the classing issue and it's not really a big deal to me. I'm going to have some fun and be a better driver. I don't remember off hand what the rims are, my brother found em for me for free. I'll look again when I get back home and post it. Are u sure about the lug it's galling? I don't understand what u mean by "2 piece lug with floating seat". I've never heard or seen this before. Can u link me some info?

I've read a couple places that the Green stuff wears out pretty quick.

I can't find a meaningful difference between strut mount and strut bearing. What was in the post was the bearing. I can change mounts too if it's a good idea.

Thank you for the point by point, exactly what I was looking for.
The seat, or the part that is actually in contact with the wheel, moves freely and independently from the rest of the lug.
I'm going on 2 years now on my Green stuff pads, about 3k miles and they are barely worn. However, high friction pads and long pad life are mutually exclusive for the most part.
The strut bearings you are talking about are almost certainly the upper strut mounts.
 
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