Dec. 4, 2013 4:50 p.m.

I've got an '84 GSL-SE with just under 300,000 miles that turned 30 years old on Sunday. Needless to say, the original bushings are dry, cracked, and flaking away. The car is currently 100% stock, and in excellent condition. I'd like to keep it this way, but I'm willing to get aftermarket bushings.

I've heard lots of people talking about how the rear suspension binds on the first gen 7s, and that poly bushings just make the issue worse. I was looking at new OEM links and watts links for the rear end, but they are quite pricey. I was also looking at Whiteline bushings for the sway bars and the front end, and the Moog steering idler arm replacement.

Can anyone offer some insight into what my best course of action is? I'm not looking to autocross or track the car - I just want to replace the aged bushings with new ones, and if I can upgrade them at the same time, thats great.

wae Reader
Dec. 4, 2013 6:17 p.m.

I did Energy Suspension bushings all the way around on my '85 GSL-SE. I, too, wasn't necessarily looking for competition-stiff suspension, but I wanted something that would last as absolutely long as possible. I think the only part that I went back to rubber for was the Watts linkage bushings, and it's been fine ever since.

Knurled PowerDork
Dec. 4, 2013 6:50 p.m.

Front control arms and rear Watts bushings, poly.

Tension rod bushings, stock rubber. Rear links leave alone unless they're physically damaged.

Poly bushings do not last as long as stock rubber ones. They are plastic and work by sliding instead of flexing, and they will develop play sooner than rubber ones. So, bear that in mind.

MazdaAugustus New Reader
Dec. 4, 2013 6:56 p.m.
Knurled wrote: Front control arms and rear Watts bushings, poly. Tension rod bushings, stock rubber. Rear links leave alone unless they're physically damaged. Poly bushings do not last as long as stock rubber ones. They are plastic and work by sliding instead of flexing, and they will develop play sooner than rubber ones. So, bear that in mind.

Would you describe dry rotted with visible surface cracks as damaged?

Also, Whiteline claims they have a different formula for their bushings - Do the typical rules of thumb for wear apply to them as well?

And Wae - Did the poly cause issues for you in the watts linkage?

Knurled PowerDork
Dec. 4, 2013 7:09 p.m.

If the bushings are not molded/bonded to the inner and outer sleeves, they will wear out. Moving surfaces always wear one or the other.

I would not classify cracking as failed. I'd classify being torn with play as failed.

MazdaAugustus New Reader
Dec. 5, 2013 10:50 a.m.
Knurled wrote: If the bushings are not molded/bonded to the inner and outer sleeves, they will wear out. Moving surfaces always wear one or the other. I would not classify cracking as failed. I'd classify being torn with play as failed.

Thanks for all the info.

One last question - Do you recommend rubber bushings for the tension rods due to the potential risk of the rod bending with poly ones, or is there another reason?

Knurled PowerDork
Dec. 5, 2013 12:19 p.m.

Poly bushings won't make the rod bend, but they will keep the suspension from wanting to move much.

MazdaAugustus New Reader
Dec. 5, 2013 1:23 p.m.
Knurled wrote: Poly bushings won't make the rod bend, but they will keep the suspension from wanting to move much.

Thanks. I think I'll follow your recommendation and do poly for the sway bars, front control arms, and watts linkages. I'll leave the rear bars alone unless they have play.

From your experience, there is no downside to poly in the watts linkages?

Curmudgeon MegaDork
Dec. 5, 2013 8:19 p.m.

For a seldom driven street car there is no real downside to polys on the rear (remarked a 1st gen previous owner and all around RX7 nut). For anything even faintly competition oriented they aren't a real great idea. Even the stock rear bushings have too much bind and cause weirdness.

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