Can alignment (camber) affect ride quality if the car drives straight? - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum


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Old 04-26-2009, 07:44 AM   #1
LucidDreams
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Default Can alignment (camber) affect ride quality if the car drives straight?

I purchased my Mazda 3 GT 5 door in Dec. and have had nothing but problems with the quality of the ride. Don't get me wrong, I know the car is suppose to ride rough - I own a 1990 Miata and had a Protege 5 (got flooded). Long story short, the original problem I had was that the tires were not balanced and even when they were balanced the tires developed flat spotting and would also become wobbly after 45 minutes of driving at 65mph. Mazda replaced the tires with Dunlop SP Sport Signature tires which gave the car a more comfortable ride but there's still a lot of action in the rear that kind of comes and goes depending on the road and speed. It doesn't feel like the tires are not balanced good but something else. When the dealership service place balanced the tires I had them check the alignment and they said it was in "spec" (stupid me didn't get a print out). But after looking at the factory specs. there's a pretty wide margin allowed.

The million dollar question is this....can the alignment, even if it's in "spec" cause the kind of issue I'm experiencing? Like I said, I'm use to a rough ride but this car should ride on rails like the Miata and Protege 5 did, no? Instead, it seems I feel more then just the road - like an over active rear for no reason. And what makes it hard to place is that it only occurs on some roads/speeds. So I'm wondering if the rear camber is within spec. but different between the two rear tires. Heck, factory spec. allows for a -.3 degree to -2.3 degree camber...so one tire could be -.3 camber and the other at -2.3 camber. I have no idea how the ride would feel if that was the case. Not to mention, the effect if the front camber is off just as much and not similar to what the rear is dialed into.

Any advice would be appreciated and if possible let me know what alignment settings would be best for regular driving with a bit of "sport/spirit" in handling. Unfortunately, I'll most likely need to get an aftermarket camber kit so that the rear camber can be adjusted to my likings which is an added expense - thank you Mazda for thinking that the car would always be in spec. and never need adjustment. But I'm unsure if I'll need a camber kit for the front as well - don't know if that's adjustable or not.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:58 AM   #2
him
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Default Re: Can alignment (camber) affect ride quality if the car drives straight?

When i had too much camber on the rear of my sedan it felt like a top about to spin out of control. I replaced the rear camber plates got an angle finder and dialed in 1.0 degrees in the rear. The ride was less harsh and it didn't feel like i was about to loose control on streets with grooves in them.
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Old 04-26-2009, 12:05 PM   #3
BoostThat3
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Default Re: Can alignment (camber) affect ride quality if the car drives straight?

If the alignment is in spec you shouldn't have a problem... Also, the protege (especially the miata) that you had is a lot smaller than the 3 (I'm not sure of the protege's weight, but I've seen 1700 lbs to 2400 lbs to 2700 lbs on the web..) so they will handle better than the 3. Even if the protege is the same weight as the 3, it will handle differently just because it's a different platform and it's smaller. If you bought the car new and no mods are done to the car, you are probably just expcting a lot more out of the car for what it is. I lowered my car and later on took the springs out and it felt like I was driving a boat just because I wasn't used to th soft suspension.

If you are worried about the car handling like it's on "rails"... I would suggest you invest in coilovers, adjustible camber plates, and a front and rear sway bar.
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Old 04-26-2009, 12:49 PM   #4
LucidDreams
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Default Re: Can alignment (camber) affect ride quality if the car drives straight?

[quote author=HIm link=topic=143177.msg3084999#msg3084999 date=1240757934]
When i had too much camber on the rear of my sedan it felt like a top about to spin out of control. I replaced the rear camber plates got an angle finder and dialed in 1.0 degrees in the rear. The ride was less harsh and it didn't feel like i was about to loose control on streets with grooves in them.
[/quote]
Sometimes it feels as if the rear has a mind of it's own. Not like it's directionally not in sync with the front but rather that it feels the road differently then the front. Btw, what do you mean by "got an angle finder"? Is that a device that allows you to set the camber yourself or something else you added when you replaced the rear camber plates.

But since the rear camber can't be adjusted, if it's off and within spec. then would it feel whacky if it was off at the extreme ends but yet within spec.?
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Old 04-26-2009, 01:05 PM   #5
LucidDreams
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Default Re: Can alignment (camber) affect ride quality if the car drives straight?

[quote author=BoostThat3 link=topic=143177.msg3085087#msg3085087 date=1240761950]
Also, the protege (especially the miata) that you had is a lot smaller than the 3 (I'm not sure of the protege's weight, but I've seen 1700 lbs to 2400 lbs to 2700 lbs on the web..) so they will handle better than the 3. Even if the protege is the same weight as the 3, it will handle differently just because it's a different platform and it's smaller.[/quote]

When I meant that it should ride on rails I was referring to the car being more "stable" when even driving in a straight line (less feedback from the tires on a road that's pretty level, esp. from the rear). I would think if the car weight was higher that it would give you a better ride, just worse handling (turning, steering, etc.). All I know is the ride quality of the Mazda 3 is worse than my Miata and Protege 5. Sure those other cars give a rougher ride but I didn't feel other things in the ride like I am with the Mazda 3. Sometimes the car will ride fine and then others it seems the ass of the car is all wobbly for no reason - the front doesn't feel that way so the back shouldn't.

I'm just totally disappointed with this car's ride. If I can't find something to make it more feel more consistent ride quality wise then I'm going to have to trade it in before the end of the year. I'm not looking forward to that since I'm sure I'll take a killing on the car price, even though I paid less then invoice for it. It just sucks, since I really don't want to put more money into the car without knowing if the ride quality will be improved. Otherwise I'm just throwing money out the door.

Yes - this is a new 2009 Mazda 3 GT 5 door (Stormy Blue) with bose/moon roof. Everything is "stock" except now the tires are Dunlop SP Sport Signatures. Btw, the Dunlop's have a hell of a lot more zoom zoom feel when starting from zero. Feels like they grab a lot more road and sling you forward which is something the RSA's never gave me. And that's part of the zoom zoom feel that was missing. But the RSA's had better turn performance then the Dunlop's. I also had to inflate the Dunlops to 35 psi in the front and 34 psi in the rear (at night time cold tire temps. which should be higher psi during the day when the temp. is 20+ degrees higher) to get the tires to have similar steering performance.
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Old 04-26-2009, 01:31 PM   #6
him
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Default Re: Can alignment (camber) affect ride quality if the car drives straight?

This is basically what i have. I believe i got it at my local home depot or Lows.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002YQR3S?...p;linkCode=asn
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