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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This thread would be worthless without pics soooo here's the install of just the front koni struts. I've had the prokits installed for three months already. Next month I'll have the rear koni's. Car rides nice. Low speed handling is better. I'm still testing the different settings for cornering. Suspension also feels more solid going over speed bumps.
The piston travel on the koni is about an 1 1/2" longer than the oem's. The oem dust boot is therfore a little shorter. A zip tie around the bottom of it holds it in position perfectly and looks ok. The paint on the lower part of the koni strut is thicker so it has to be sanded down a bit to make it fit into the lower control arm easier. Other than that there is no difference than installing an oem strut. TIP: Unclip the bottom of the dust boot before you try to pull the stock spring off the strut. You won't loose the bearings that way. TIP: Putting the strut back into the lower control arm hole is the biggest problem. Sand the bottom paint on the strut then wipe grease on it. Place it on the hole and line up the fin on the strut with the slot in the hole then put a jack under the contol arm and jack it up till the spring is compressed a little bit. The strut will only go in when it is perfectly lined up and perpendicular with the hole (not easyto do). Take a rubber mallet and tap the strut lightly all the way around. When the strut is exactly perpendicular to the hole it will snap in with authority (boom). There will be no doubt that it is fully seated.TIP: Check the brake dust guard after the install (especially the bottom part) they will rub and make noise in turns if they are even close to the rotors. They are thin metal so just bend them away.
Note: Disregard torque settings in the pics; the following are the correct settings

Torque settings Front:
14mm upper mount bolts 25 lbs
17mm upper mount nut 40-50 lbs (If you don't have a crows foot socket to torque it just tighten it firmly with loctite.)
14mm endlink nut 40 lbs
17mm lower control arm bolt 55 lbs

Torque settings rear:
17mm lower control arm bolt 55 lbs
14mm endlink nuts 40 lbs

It's best to finger tighten bolts and then torque in increments with a load on them. So what I mean is to place a jack under the control arm and jack up a little then torque the bolts. Same goes for swaybars. Your install will be tight and clunk free. Oh yeah, use Loctite or Permatex blue on everything.
My install went perfectly and I've had no problems.


















 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Each quarter turn of the knob increases the stiffness by 10%. The stiffer you set them the slower the springs uncompress after hitting a bump. Around town 60% works nicely keeping the car smooth with the Prokits. If I did most of my driving on a smooth interstate or I had stiffer springs (I might buy Road Magnets) I would probably up the settings to about 80%. If I tracked the car I'd just crank them all the way up. The compression rate is non adjustable and seems to be about the same or a tiny bit more than the stock struts. When you hit bumps there is no hard jolt. The extra 1.5" of travel compensates for the 1.5" you lose when you put the prokits in and insures that you won't bottom out. It feels like I'm driving a more expensive car with an A-arm suspension. They also sound better when your going over bumps. They have more of a dull sounding thump. So far they have exceded my expectations and with addition of the rear shocks and camber links it will only get better. This is where I bought them from: http://www.streetunit.com/Struts_s/89.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Did you think about getting one of the coil over kits they offered?
I think the Koni's are a better deal for the price. They have the damping adjustability of the the coilovers plus you have the option of putting any aftermarket springs that you want on. That means that I can pick my drop and also the stiffness. With coilovers you can adjust the drop but you are stuck with the springs that they give you. Plus the $500 I saved I can put into other mods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
@Warlord

just a quick question.. did you consider on the FSDs?
you probably did your research before getting the yellows.. so the yellows is better cause of the adjustable knob?
I read on other forums that the yellows were better for lowered cars. When I recieved them I saw why. They have 1.5" more travel than the oem's. IDK how much travel the FSD's have? I'm just not a fan of one size fits all products that are supposed to be all things to all people. Also seems that alot of the hardcore crowd over on M3F have yellows more so than FSD's. The biggest reason I bought them was that I like to tinker with things! Adjusting them is easy and you can really feel the difference between settings. You can crank them down so you can feel every ripple in the road or loosen em up and feel like your driving a hoovercraft. I have them dialed in so sweet right now. The FSD's may be great for all I know. Someone should chime in that has them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Later I'll turn them all the way soft and try it. I'll let you know!

EDIT: Well I tried it and the car drives like a marshmallow. Kinda like driving an old luxury car with about 100,000 miles on the shocks. If you want a mind numbing drive going back and forth to work this would be the way to go. No road feel or quick steering response. Turning them to full stiff is just as bad. It feels like you have four flat tires. The prokits don't have a high enough spring rate to rebound fully before the next bump. On a really smooth road they might be alright. On really bumpy roads I'd say it would be entirely possible to jackhammer them into full compression and run out of suspension travel. If you want to run the koni's on full stiff you'd have to up the spring rates. That being said I'm running them at 60% which works great with the prokits. Prokits=160lb spring rate / Racing Beat=150lb / Tein-H160lb / Progress=150lb / Roadmagnet=330lb / Megan Racing=250lb / Most coilovers are between 300-500lb
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Yes, 09 model 3. Our suspension is 100% compatible. Although the fittment of an 09 front swaybar is still unknown. H&R springs is supposed to release 2010 specific springs next month.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Didn't get them yet. UPS deivery is tomorrow. :clap:
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
Dumb question: I'm new to doing suspension mods especially on newer cars, but are the Koni's needed? Can the pro kit be used without changing the shocks and struts and what's the difference? I know tunability with the Koni's, but will the oem shocks and struts run fine with the pro kits? Thanks and great pics and write-up!
They'll run fine as long as you don't hit big potholes. the stock struts have like 4" of travel. When you lower on prokits you lose 1.5". Now you only have 2.5" of travel left. If you don't watch the road conditions you can bottom out. Keep doing it and the oem struts won't last. The koni have 1.5" more travel than oem. So your back to 4" of full travel. Also the oem struts are tuned to work with the mild oem spring rates. The prokits have higher spring rates. They uncompress harder and faster than oem springs. The oem struts let the prokits uncompress too fast. That's why people complain that they are a little bouncy. This fast bouncing action is what prematurely wears out the valving on the oem struts. The higher you set the valving adjustment on the koni's the slower they let the springs uncompress. This makes for a smoother better handling car.
A more settled car is easier and more comfortable to drive.
 
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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
This quote from Racing Beat sums it all up. Read the last sentence. If their new swaybar will work with older gen mazdas then why wouldn't first gen stuff work with ours.


Quote:
Mazda has made significant changes to the rear bar on the later M3 models, I have a new design for the 2009+ currently underdevelopment. The shape of this bar is fairly simple, our tube bending shop should be able to have samples within the next two weeks. We’re trying two different diameters, once we decide on the final size we should have bars soon thereafter. We’re hopeful that this new bar might be backward compatible with ALL earlier applications as well.

Best Regards,

Jim Langer
Racing Beat, Inc.
714-779-8679
Racing Beat - Mazda Performance Specialists
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
If they are so significantly different then how could it possibly work with the first gen? Huh. :mellow 1: You know what, if it works better than the one I have, fuck it. I'll buy it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
True. We just need to wait and see if the new stuff is better than the old stuff.

 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
The race roots (Hotchkis) bar is equal to the Tripoint on it's stiffest setting. I'm sure you know that though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Yes I installed the rear shocks. To install the rear shocks you unbolt everything from the outside of the car. It's a very easy install that takes only about 20 minutes per side. It will solve your problem. My car is very smooth with the prokits now.
 
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Discussion Starter · #44 · (Edited)
Thank you very much.

I couldn't find that info anyhere :mellow 1:

If possible, could you please tell me, on the rear shocks how can I tune the rebound? On the front shocks you have access to the knob inside the engine compartment, but on the rear shocks...??

Thanks again.

Hugo.
The shocks have to be off the car to adjust them. Compress the shock fully then twist to the desired firmness. Then install.
Where did you get the torque specs for these?
The upper mounts I couldn't torque. Wrench won't fit. When you get your koni's they have a sheet of paper that gives torque values for an assortment of different size bolts.
 
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Discussion Starter · #52 · (Edited)
I'm pretty sure those are all tightened to spec, but I'll check again in the morning. I'm almost positive the spring is where it's supposed to be, but I'll check on that too... Thanks for the input!
What did you touque each of the bolts to?


How does the car respond with the pro-kit installed?

Also, can you intstall Koni's with the stock springs? Or are there aftermarket springs that retain factory ride height? I want to improve handling but keep my clearance for driveways, gravel/ dirt roads, etc.

Matthew
Racing Beat are the closest to stock height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
I found out what the problem was, the front sway endlink on the driver's side was loose, where it bolts to the shock... Just tightened that badboy up, and no more clunking noises. =)
Torque it to 40 lbs with a drop of loctite and you'll never worry about it again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
Original post has been updated with accurate torque settings and a few install tips.
 
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Discussion Starter · #58 · (Edited)
So I got a question, since I am doing this hopefully this weekend.

When you remove the strut, the center bolt at the top keeps the top and the spring and everything together, right?Yep, then loosen the center nut a half turn before you do anything else. It's alot easier then doing it after you get the strut out. It's tight and you have better leverage while it's in the car. So when I get it loosened from the lower arm mounting point and remove the 3 upper bolts I will then use the compressors to shrink the spring then undo the center nut, unclip the dust bootfrom the bottom otherwise you'll loose the bearings. and pull that whole thing up with the boot and top to not separate the bearings right?As long as the bottom of the boot is unclipped fist you won't loose the bearings when. Then take the spring off, uncompress it, compress the new one and line it up with the bottom perch on the strut. Do I need to align anything for the top?Yes, the upper tip of the spring aligns with a nub on the elliptical upper mount(you'll see it). Take note of where the tip of the oem is. You do the same with the Road Magnet. The upper mount swivels so you can always get the top to align with the nub and the bottom to sit square in the lower perch at the same time.

Then I'll replace the top, reclip the dust boot,The bottom of the dust boot doesn't clip to the koni, you have to use a zip tie. install the nut in the center and tighten it down,Use blue loctite on the center nut. then I can uncompress and replace it, right?Yes. Also there's another nub on the top inside of the mount. That faces inward in the engine bay. Otherwise the three 14mm bolts won't line up. The 14mm bolts only get 20-25lbs of torque. Don't over tighten them or you'll warp the top mount..
Sorry.... for some reason everyone in Charlotte and surrounding areas wants $500.00 w/o alignment.... no thank you.Yea, screw that. Pm me and I'll give you my cel #. You can call if you get stuck on some part of the install. The front springs want to twist when you lower the car. Make sure the bottom tip of the front spring is solidly in the lower perch when the car is sittling on the ground with all it's weight. If it isn't turn the wheel, jack up the car slightly and twist it by hand till it is otherwise you'll get clunking.

And I know this is for the fronts but.... For the rear springs I need to do what exactly? Undo the end links and drop the arm slowly or? I read the rear koni install but wasn't sure about the springs part.
The end links nuts are easy to strip. The easiest way to do springs is to remove the four 14mm bracket bolts that hold the sway to the frame. Just let the sway bar hang from the end links. Then remove the 17mm bolt from the lower control arm that holds the spring in. Grab the spring with one hand and then tap the lower arm with a mallet till it separates.The spring is under a little pressure so that's why you have a hand on it so it doesn't snap at you. You could also place a jack under the control arm and lower it little by little as you tap the control arm. Either way don't get hit by the spring. It won't kill you but it would hurt. Put the rubber cap on the new spring and install it lining up the the lower tip of the spring with the notch in the lower arm. Jack up the control arm while making sure the bottom tip is still in the notch. the spring naturally wants to twist as it compresses. Put the 17mmm bolt in and torque to 55 lb and the bracket bolts to 35 lb. If I missed anything let me know. Oh yea, the closely spaced coils face upwards on the rear springs. You'll be done in 4-5 hours if you work carefully and methodically. Torque and Loctite every bolt and nut.

After the install you may hear the front springs twang a few times and the suspension may make a few noises that you didn't have before the install. It's normal and part of the suspension settling in with all the new parts that have to mate together. It happened every time I disassembled the suspension and installed new springs. In a few weeks the noises will all go away and if you did the install carefully the car will be quieter and feel more solid over bumps than it ever was stock.
 
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