BAMF HalfDork
10/6/13 6:27 p.m.

I've been having suspension troubles with my '07 Mazda 3 (74k miles, stick, maintained according to the manual).

To fix the suspension, I started with the struts. They were dead, and I knew they needed to go. So I put some Koni oranges on, got an alignment, and figured all would be well again. It hasn't all been well, although it's far better than prior to the strut replacement. After replacing the warped rotors and putting on some EBC green pads, I realized that my problems were far from cured.

The suspension feels a little crashy, like it's taking bumps in a very unusual manner. It felt that way when the OEM struts were bad, but not when the car was newer.

The car doesn't feel predictable either. It will respond to bumps, pavement changes, and other things, but not in a consistent way. The steering seems to follow road inputs like shallow ruts much more than it used to.

On cold, damp mornings, I also have a dull, low squeak on bumpy or undulating surfaces.

I also seem to have a lot of slop or torque steer when pulling away from a dead stop. That may just be the crappy engine mounts Mazda put in this car finally dying, but it might be relevant to my other issues.

So I'm basically trying to figure out a plan to go about finding the problem and actually resolving it. I don't want to just throw parts at it, because I really don't have the time or money right not to just replace everything. Any thoughts on what my problem is?

Sonic SuperDork
10/6/13 6:43 p.m.

It sounds like something isn't being located as well as it should. I'd start by checking anything rubber that is supposed to hold something in place. There is a huge bushing on the back of the F lower control arm that does a lot to control things, so assuming the front wheel bearings and ball joints are in OK shape, I'd look there. As for the engine motion, the motor mounts on these are known crap. We have the same car (07 3s hatch 5spd) and have replaced the pass side mount when it failed, and upgraded the lower mount with a CP-E piece. While under there, it wouldn't hurt to put a socket on the subframe mounting bolts to make sure they are all tight.

fanfoy HalfDork
10/6/13 6:44 p.m.

Mazda3 platform with squeaky, un-predictable suspension? Look at your rear control arm bushings. It's a very common problem on the 1rst gen 5's at around 30-40K. So 70K for a 3 seems likely. And it would explain your woes.

BAMF HalfDork
10/6/13 7:03 p.m.

Is there anything else that's known crap in the suspension? I've heard about people having trouble with sway bar end links, but mostly from people who have lowered their cars.

If I do replace the control arm bushing, is there anything else I should arbitrarily replace because I've already got it apart?

Any recommendations on a replacement bushing?

admc58 Reader
10/6/13 9:05 p.m.

Motor mounts.

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