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My 2014 3i 50k miles has a leaky left rear shock and worn rear brake pads per the dealership. I wiped my finger on the shock and a small amount of dirt/grease came off, but did not feel wet. The car is not bouncing like crazy over bumps, and I do not know how else to test this shock.

I want to get the shocks myself and have someone else install to cut costs, but am lost with all the brands out there. I've searched the forums, RockAuto/CARid, onlinemazdaparts.com. I really do not know what to get. I've seen coilover kits as well, and would like to lower, but if this costs extra or compromises ride quality, i'd probably not do it.

My goal is to have a list of "performance" to "OEM" shocks, and choose a set based on my intended use: some spirited driving and 70% highway use.

I've found:
OEM (onlinemazdaparts.com)
Monroe (poor quality?)
Bilstein (B6? B8?)
Koni (FSD? Yellow?)​

For Brakes:
OEM (onlinemazdaparts.com)
Centric
Powerstop
EBC Redstuff
Autozone Duralast Gold(for life)​

Are there any other good brands to get/consider?
Should I replace the fronts with the rears, if the fronts are still OK?
I'm also replacing rear brakes at this time. MAYBE a (progress) rear sway bar. If there are any tips/advice, that is greatly appreciated!
 

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IMO - If your going to lower do it now and the same with a rear sway bar. Spend the money up front now and you'll save yourself a lot of hassle and money having to do it again later.

As for recommendations.

Shocks;
Koni FSD and Eibach pro-kit is a nice setup - replace your end links as well (I use energy suspension for that). Its a marginally stiffer ride but that will happen with any product when you lower the car. It certainly not awful, its something you would have to decide on.

Bilstein will be even more stiff as it typically a more performance oriented shock.

Brakes.
EBC is a good choice. I would do pads with standard rotors (EBC make OEM style rotors too). I wouldn't mess around with drilled and slotted unless your really driving the car hard in an autocross/track style environment. Typically your brakes don't heat up enough for it to be beneficial, and can actually be detrimental in some applications.

Hope that helps.
 

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EBC is a good choice. I would do pads with standard rotors (EBC make OEM style rotors too). I wouldn't mess around with drilled and slotted unless your really driving the car hard in an autocross/track style environment. Typically your brakes don't heat up enough for it to be beneficial, and can actually be detrimental in some applications.
Nothing wrong with drilled / slotted rotors for street use. I have had EBC Greens with drilled / slotted rotors on my MX5 for 2 years with no issues.
Drilled and slotted rotors (the good ones) can be quite beneficial for street and autox though. They heat the pads quicker and disperse heat faster, so you can use higher heat range pads more effectively. They make a bit of noise though, sort of a whoosh sound as the holes go around under the pads. Not loud but you can hear it sometimes.
For extended track use however they can crack between the holes and frequently do, especially the cheaper ones.
What you do want to avoid is pads that are designed for track use, ie high heat range pads that needs to be hot to work. They won't work on a street car.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nothing wrong with drilled / slotted rotors for street use. I have had EBC Greens with drilled / slotted rotors on my MX5 for 2 years with no issues.
Drilled and slotted rotors (the good ones) can be quite beneficial for street and autox though. They heat the pads quicker and disperse heat faster, so you can use higher heat range pads more effectively. They make a bit of noise though, sort of a whoosh sound as the holes go around under the pads. Not loud but you can hear it sometimes.
For extended track use however they can crack between the holes and frequently do, especially the cheaper ones.
What you do want to avoid is pads that are designed for track use, ie high heat range pads that needs to be hot to work. They won't work on a street car.
My rotors are still good and was hoping to keep them, maybe to get blanks or slotted when they wear out. There won't be any track use. I'm really just confused if OEM brakes are superior to the cheaper ones found on CarID. I think there's just too many brands out there in the aftermarket that I can't really rank or rate. Sounds like I might just have to try one and see how I like them, and if they're terrible, try another when they wear out?

I'm really torn on shocks. OEM is super cheap, but I was hoping to up the ride quality a little bit.
 

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Nothing wrong with drilled / slotted rotors for street use. I have had EBC Greens with drilled / slotted rotors on my MX5 for 2 years with no issues.
Sure no issues, but no real benefits either. In a street application the temp variance won't have that big of an impact vs. blank rotors, so it really comes down to looks. OP doesn't sound like their tracking their car so unless they like the look, there is no point. Just an added expense - better to put the money into the pads.

For extended track use however they can crack between the holes and frequently do, especially the cheaper ones.
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Agreed, which is why I said they can be detrimental in some applications. Slotted rotters are IMO are the best application with least likely failure. They cause you to go thru pads like crazy but work in a track application as intended, but that's not what the OP is after.
 

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Sure no issues, but no real benefits either. In a street application the temp variance won't have that big of an impact vs. blank rotors, so it really comes down to looks. OP doesn't sound like their tracking their car so unless they like the look, there is no point. Just an added expense - better to put the money into the pads.
That depends on what you call benefits. Better pads can be used so the car will stop better. That is pretty significant. No sense in spending a lot of money on expensive pads if they don't work as well as they could. J-slotted rotors are most likely the best way to go with something like this.

Agreed, which is why I said they can be detrimental in some applications. Slotted rotters are IMO are the best application with least likely failure. They cause you to go thru pads like crazy but work in a track application as intended, but that's not what the OP is after.
They aren't detrimental at all unless you use cheap poorly engineered rotors. There are guys out there who have won SCCA national championships on drilled rotors. As for going through pads, it depends on what you use. Many high friction OEM pads don't last long either. The Audi Q7 for instance needs new brakes about once a year at several hundred bucks a pop just for the pad set .:surprise:
I have about 4k on the EBCs now, and they are barely worn.
And track application? Most everything on your car was originally either developed for racing or tested in a race environment. Just look at your wheels for instance. Wide low profile tires were originally for racing, as were light weight alloy wheels. Now every car has them. Why? Because they are for the most part better than balloon tires on tiny steel wheels. More expensive but still better. Just like drilled or slotted rotors.
 

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My rotors are still good and was hoping to keep them, maybe to get blanks or slotted when they wear out. There won't be any track use. I'm really just confused if OEM brakes are superior to the cheaper ones found on CarID. I think there's just too many brands out there in the aftermarket that I can't really rank or rate. Sounds like I might just have to try one and see how I like them, and if they're terrible, try another when they wear out?

I'm really torn on shocks. OEM is super cheap, but I was hoping to up the ride quality a little bit.
At 50k its time for new rotors. Just because they look good doesn't mean they are not worn out. Rotors should be changed when you get new pads. They are throw away parts these days.
OEM Mazda brake pads are for the most part pretty good.
Koni FSDs will ride noticeable better than OEM.
 

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I think we are talking the same thing, just on different terms. Perhaps I should have gave a more details response - just didn't think it was relevant to OPs post.

That depends on what you call benefits. Better pads can be used so the car will stop better. That is pretty significant. No sense in spending a lot of money on expensive pads if they don't work as well as they could. J-slotted rotors are most likely the best way to go with something like this.
Agreed but my point was if you going to spend the money on one or the other, Pad will yield you results, slapping drilled/slotted rotors with OEM pads would do nothing in terms of stopping power. Absolutely its best to do everything but people aren't usually up for spending all the money. Which leads to the next part.

They aren't detrimental at all unless you use cheap poorly engineered rotors.
Usually when people are questions brake upgrades of a daily driver they are not going looking for the top end spectrum of rotors & pads, some might, but people will just buy something comparable to the OEM price point which could hurt them. Thus the potential of stress crack.

There are guys out there who have won SCCA national championships on drilled rotors. As for going through pads, it depends on what you use. Many high friction OEM pads don't last long either. The Audi Q7 for instance needs new brakes about once a year at several hundred bucks a pop just for the pad set .:surprise:
I'm not disagreeing that drilled/slotted rotors are bad in any way for track applications, unless like you've said you cheap out. Some of the higher end rotors are designed to cut into the pad more to increase stopping power, thus leading to excessive wear. If that's what the OP is into, then by all means it would be beneficial - just be prepared for the extra costs that's all.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
At 50k its time for new rotors. Just because they look good doesn't mean they are not worn out. Rotors should be changed when you get new pads. They are throw away parts these days.
OEM Mazda brake pads are for the most part pretty good.
Koni FSDs will ride noticeable better than OEM.
OK, I think this is starting to come together. Thank you for all your input, by the way. Let me know if you think I'm on the right track.

I like the idea of new rotors anyways, because I read they should be resurfaced if you put new pads on, and that just sounds like a hot mess. I think my car just likes to eat the rear pads anyways since the fronts are good, so now I'm looking at PowerStop z23 brake pads, and Wagner/or/Centric blank rotors. I could get EBC greens, if you guys think they will still have stopping power without having to be warmed up, and won't make much noise. I could be open to them, definitely. I couldn't find slotted rotors though.


It was also recommended to upgrade all shocks+struts if I'm choosing an aftermarket application versus OEM, but I think I'm going to just do the rears for now due to costs, and the fronts are way more expensive.
I'm thinking Bilstein B8's in the rear, or Koni yellow 8040's (because they have a $50 rebate going on right now).
 

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I like the idea of new rotors anyways, because I read they should be resurfaced if you put new pads on, and that just sounds like a hot mess. I think my car just likes to eat the rear pads anyways since the fronts are good, so now I'm looking at PowerStop z23 brake pads, and Wagner/or/Centric blank rotors. I could get EBC greens, if you guys think they will still have stopping power without having to be warmed up, and won't make much noise. I could be open to them, definitely. I couldn't find slotted rotors though.
Resurfacing rotors with 50k on them is probably a waste of time. They are most likely close to being out of spec now, and cutting them will put them below minimum thickness.
If your car is going through rear pads, there is a problem. Sticking brakes is a known and documented issue and a TSB has been out for it since 2014.
EBC greens are fine. They stop well and function better than OEM even cold. Also, they don't seem to make as much dust either.
It was also recommended to upgrade all shocks+struts if I'm choosing an aftermarket application versus OEM, but I think I'm going to just do the rears for now due to costs, and the fronts are way more expensive.
I'm thinking Bilstein B8's in the rear, or Koni yellow 8040's (because they have a $50 rebate going on right now).
Yes, if you are going to upgrade you should do all four or the car will ride and handle poorly. Koni yellows are not really recommended as they are more for track than street and most who use them report that they ride pretty stiff. FSDs are the way to go.
 

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I'm not disagreeing that drilled/slotted rotors are bad in any way for track applications, unless like you've said you cheap out. Some of the higher end rotors are designed to cut into the pad more to increase stopping power, thus leading to excessive wear. If that's what the OP is into, then by all means it would be beneficial - just be prepared for the extra costs that's all.
Actually, the rotors don't eat the pads, the pad material is very soft and abrasive so they eat rotors and wear quickly. Many high performance pads are well known for this. This fast wearing high friction material is also why they make lots of noise and dust.
 

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Check out Raybestos' EHT3 (Enhanced Hybrid Technology) line of pads. I run them on our 3 cars and they are really great for a daily driver but are capable in a heavy-brake setting. I've run them in really hot stop and go highway traffic with minimal fade, cold wet situations with great inital bite and, being in Canada, they held up to winter. To top it off, minimal brake dust. I don't know why more people don't talk about them as they are a GG rated pad that is suitable for all situations...maybe I'm crazy...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Check out Raybestos' EHT3 (Enhanced Hybrid Technology) line of pads. I run them on our 3 cars and they are really great for a daily driver but are capable in a heavy-brake setting. I've run them in really hot stop and go highway traffic with minimal fade, cold wet situations with great inital bite and, being in Canada, they held up to winter. To top it off, minimal brake dust. I don't know why more people don't talk about them as they are a GG rated pad that is suitable for all situations...maybe I'm crazy...
I think those are on the Premium section of RockAuto...but I hadn't seen any feedback on them so I steered clear. I will check them out. I ended up getting Centric blanks and z23 pads, hoping this combination fits together.
 

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As for the shocks. I would not recommend the B8s as they going to be too stiff for this car and might ruin the ride quality. (unless you prefer the stiffness and/or frequently visiting track days). Based on my personal experience B6s are brilliant. Perfectly balanced for everyday use. I had them on the front on my Volvo V70R and I loved them. Laser precise cornering, adequate stiffness and they really shine on the rough roads with speed.
The car felt very well planted on the road in every situation.
The B8 is basically the shortened (aprox 30mm - travel) version of the B6 and recommended to be used with lowering spring.
The B12 is the next step which is basically a B8 with the Eibach's.

I would highly recommend to use the same type of shocks in all 4 corners.

Brakes:
I have no experience with EBC personally, but most people recommend them with good feedback.
Stoptech rotors & pads have a very good feedback too. Worth a look IMHO.

My car is brand new to me, however one thing I can tell for sure: the factory brake feels spongy and underpowered.
 
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