Mazda3 Forums banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was bored, had a caliper handy, so I took some quick measurements. I took off MZ3 specific Eibach pro kits from my car, and I just got the MS3 specific versions today. I've wanted these for a LONG time, I even contemplated buying them from Australia where they were available way before they were in the US because I wanted them so bad. The MZ3 versions I've had on were just plain too soft, screwed up the handling, lowered the car too much, and messed up my alignment even after getting it aligned to where the inner edges of my front tires are wearing way faster than the rest of the tire.

The only measurement I can't get is the spring rate. What I could find for MS3 pro kits running a search on here says 160lbs-239lbs for the fronts, 148lbs-228lbs for the rears, part number 5549.140. Mazda3 pro kits appear to be 160lbs for the front and 171lbs for the rear, linear rate, part number 5545.140.


Fronts:

MZ3 - Coil Width: .525"
MS3 - Coil Width: .560"

MZ3 - Coil spacing: Linear
MS3 - Coil spacing: Progressive

MZ3 - Overall height: 10.8"
MS3 - Overall height: 10.5"

MZ3 - Overall diameter - 5.19"
MS3 - Overall diameter - 5.34"



Rears:

MZ3 - Coil width - .455"
MS3 - Coil width - .455"

MZ3 - Coil spacing - 1.1" linear
MS3 - Coil spacing - 1.30", progressive (last ~3 coils are sandwiched closer together)

MZ3 - Overall height - 11.5"
MS3 - Overall height - 11.5"

MZ3 - Overall diameter - 3.35"
MS3 - Overall diameter - 3.35"



Kinda cool. The new springs are definitely thicker and definitely progressive, unlike the mz3 pro kits. I won't be installing them for a few days until the weather warms up, and I won't get a good idea of how they work until I take the car out of hibernation in a few months.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here are some photos showing the difference between the two types of springs. You can really see the difference between linear and progressive styles here, and the thickness between the two.

This first photo shows the MS3 spring on the right, MZ3 on the left.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rear springs. Progressive (MS3) on the left, linear on the right (MZ3).
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thickness difference of the front springs. MS3 left, MZ3 right.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
425 Posts
Glad to see you finally got the MS3-specific ones.

While I still don't like the rates they chose for the MS3 specific parts or the fact that we lack a really good option for upgrading the dampers, I think you're definitely going to benefit from the change. Do you plan to upgrade to at least "more appropriate" dampers like Koni Yellows or FSDs when you put them in?

Also, I have a question about your above-mentioned alignment problems:

What were your toe settings when you were experiencing the accelerated inner tread wear?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
[quote author=Nliiitend1 link=topic=135435.msg2917661#msg2917661 date=1233944917]
Glad to see you finally got the MS3-specific ones.

While I still don't like the rates they chose for the MS3 specific parts or the fact that we lack a really good option for upgrading the dampers, I think you're definitely going to benefit from the change. Do you plan to upgrade to at least "more appropriate" dampers like Koni Yellows or FSDs when you put them in?

Also, I have a question about your above-mentioned alignment problems:

What were you toe settings when you were experiencing the accelerated inner tread wear?


[/quote]

For now I'm going to stick with the stock dampers, I want to see how it rides as is. I do plan on getting the FSD's later this year.

As for the alignment - it's whatever they set it to when I had it done at Sears where I usually get it done. I have the printout at home from when they were finished, I'll try and remember to post up the info from it later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
425 Posts
Cool, let me know when you get a chance.

I have a sneaking suspicion that your toe settings were more likely the cause of your improper wear than the springs, as the springs are only really going to dictate increased negative camber. The toe can be adjusted for. You should be able to run even more negative camber than those MZ3-specific springs would dictate without experiencing improper wear, as long as the toe is set correctly.

I'm just bringing it up since I don't want you getting a screwy alignment again (if that was indeed your problem) with your new springs. ;)

Of course, I also want to say that I don't agree with using the MS3-specific springs with the stock dampers at all, since it's my belief that they lack the firmness in their valving that even the stock springs require, but I don't want to muck up your thread with that whole argument, so I'll leave it at that (especially since your desire to run FSDs leads me to believe that you aren't in the dark on the matter).

:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
[quote author=Nliiitend1 link=topic=135435.msg2917720#msg2917720 date=1233946059]
Cool, let me know when you get a chance.

I have a sneaking suspicion that your toe settings were more likely the cause of your improper wear than the springs, as the springs are only really going to dictate increased negative camber. The toe can be adjusted for. You should be able to run even more negative camber than those MZ3-specific springs would dictate without experiencing improper wear, as long as the toe is set correctly.

I'm just bringing it up since I don't want you getting a screwy alignment again (if that was indeed your problem) with your new springs. ;)

Of course, I also want to say that I don't agree with using the MS3-specific springs with the stock dampers at all, since it's my belief that they lack the firmness in their valving that even the stock springs require, but I don't want to muck up your thread with that whole argument, so I'll leave it at that (especially since your desire to run FSDs leads me to believe that you aren't in the dark on the matter).

:)
[/quote]

Oh no, trust me, I know the stockers aren't the greatest in the world, in fact they're pretty terrible. But, for now I could live with it until I come across some more $$ later this year (just had to dump some cash into a vacation trip).


And I only said that about the springs being the possible problem because of how often the car was bouncing down way below static ride height going down the road, so I think the alignment was going way off every time the car would go down and then back up. Basically I think it spent enough time traveling at such a low ride height because of the soft springs that it thus spent a lot of time out of alignment (toed out) compared to it being IN alignment at static ride height. Because I always go to the same guy at Sears for the past ~6 years and he always does a perfect job, never had a problem with tire wear on my other lowered cars (an avenger, two probe gt's and a mustang gt).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here are the specs from the alignment that I had done on 4/5/08:

Front: Left

Camber:
Actual: -1.4*
Before: -1.5*

Toe:
Actual: .01*
Before: .16*


Front: Right

Camber:
Actual: -1.5*
Before: -1.4*

Toe:
Actual: .08*
Before: 2.6*


Rear: Left

Camber:
Actual: -1.5*
Before: -1.5*

Toe:
Actual: .21*
Before: .21*


Rear: Right

Camber:
Actual: -1.5*
Before: -1.6*

Toe:
Actual: .14*
Before: .13*
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
425 Posts
Your toe settings should ALWAYS be equal, left-to-right, and you appear to have too much static rear toe.

Are your toe settings really represented in degrees on your printout? They are more typically represented with hundredths of an inch on today's modern alignment racks...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
[quote author=Nliiitend1 link=topic=135435.msg2919874#msg2919874 date=1234034162]
Your toe settings should ALWAYS be equal, left-to-right, and you appear to have too much static rear toe.

Are your toe settings really represented in degrees on your printout? They are more typically represented with hundredths of an inch on today's modern alignment racks...
[/quote]

I don't believe you can adjust rear toe, can you?

And yes they're degrees, I was using the asterix (*) as a degree sign, and yes they're in 100ths of a degree, ie, .14* is 14 hundreths of a degree.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
425 Posts
Well, depending on what measurements your guy's alignment rack uses for calculating those angles (whether it uses wheel diameter or tire diameter), those numbers could mean different things in terms of inches...

Rear toe is quite adjustable on this car. You just can't adjust rear camber (without using aftermarket solutions) independently, but it will change slightly with toe adjustments.

To adjust the toe, they should be using the eccentric bolts where the rear lower control arms attach to the rear subframe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
[quote author=Nliiitend1 link=topic=135435.msg2919984#msg2919984 date=1234038611]
Well, depending on what measurements your guy's alignment rack uses for calculating those angles (whether it uses wheel diameter or tire diameter), those numbers could mean different things in terms of inches...

Rear toe is quite adjustable on this car. You just can't adjust rear camber (without using aftermarket solutions) independently, but it will change slightly with toe adjustments.

To adjust the toe, they should be using the eccentric bolts where the rear lower control arms attach to the rear subframe.
[/quote]


Well in any case, I've never had a problem with them for quite a while so I trust him. I think it was just the soft springs (and semi-soft tires).

Oh yea I forgot about the bolts. I was looking right at them today, too, haha. I was installing the new pro kits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
425 Posts
Well, I just want you to be aware that there really isn't any reason for your front and rear toe settings to AT LEAST be equal from left-to-right. When the steering wheel is at dead, center, the values for left and right should be equal.

Also, I suggest asking him to set the rear toe at zero (with about 1/16th" total toe IN - that's 1/32" per side - being the MAX amount of rear toe).

I personally prefer having the front toed OUT slightly (about 1/16" to 1/8" at most) for bettter turn-in feel, but zero front toe is what a lot of guys around here prefer to run, from what I've seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
476 Posts
It hasn't been mentioned yet so I thought I'd chime in.

Neutral toe static settings will result in a toe out condition at roads speeds, thanks to tire drag, and bushing deflection. Even with FWD cars, most high performance tires will usually try to pull themselves outward at higher speeds. For a daily driver I would stay pretty close to the factory toe-in settings because they take that into account.

If all you care about is track performance, all bets are off. But if you don't like things like jumpy steering response, harsh ride, and excessive tire wear on your drive to work, stay with the stock settings.

I've been very consistent with my utter disdain for the stock dampers that come with the MS3. They suck, so I'm changing them. But alignment specs are very well considered - the MS3 has a different spec for the MZ3, for example. I'd like to think that was the result of extensive testing that OEM cars go through, but I'm willing at accept that I'm wrong, especially considering a spring change to MS3-specific Pro Kits. Or especially Mazdaspeed coilovers, which come with links to keep the rear end geometry correct. There's a reason for all that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
425 Posts
IIRC, the factory specified toe-in settings are very mild.

kwsmithphoto, what you say about static neutral toe settings is generally true on typical MacPherson strut-type rear suspensions on FWD cars, but is not nearly as much of an issue with the SLA "Control Blade" setup used on the Mazda3. The long trailing-arm-esque "control blade" keeps longitudinal deflection to a minimum. There is very little deflection resulting in toe changes at road speeds, and dynamic rear toe is way more dependent on suspension compression than anything else.

With the type of suspension used on these cars, there is actually a form of passive rear steering at work. When a rear wheel's suspension is under compression, the two upper lateral suspension links fight each others' movement through their respective arcs, and the longitudinal "control blade" link flexes, as the frontmost upper lateral link pulls the front of the wheel in (creating a toe-in effect on that corner - probably just enough to overcome the tire's slip angle). This effectively makes the car rotate better in the turn. Having too much static rear toe-in eggagerates this effect, and can actually make the car feel a bit squirrelly (in addition to the accelerated tire wear it can cause) and create unsettling rear-end "bumpsteer".

I think it's good to use a very small amount of static rear toe-in, as it can keep things from approaching a toe-out situation under heavy braking that can cause stability problems if coupled with an abrupt steering input, but I prefer to run closer to zero rear static toe. I've found it gives me the best combination of predictability/stability and rotation, while not adversely affecting tire wear.

This is after having tracked cars with the same type of rear suspension setup (I had 2 Ford Focuses before the MS3, which had the same basic type of rear suspension) for roughly 7 or 8 years, and from trying different alignment variations. For the street, I don't think there's anything wrong with the factory recommended settings, but one of the problems with that method is that the "factory recommended settings" vary from alignment machine to alignment machine, and you pretty much have to know the numbers you want going in (and can't always rely on what the machine tells you is the correct value).

Just my $.02

:)
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top