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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, thanks for looking.

My situation: My wife's 3 has about 106k on the clock and is starting to develop a nasty rattle in the front end suspension. Given the mileage I assume it's time for a rebuild. She doesn't care for a lower, tight handling car (ie, we live in Detroit, roads are sh!t), but would prefer something more stock. I don't think I even know what the stock set up is.

So my questions are many, here I go:
1. What is the stock set up?
2. What is the best reference manual to use when doing a suspension install? I have seen a few DIY on here, but I want to know how to cover my a$$ as I am more VW tutored (all hail the Bently manual!) and don't know as much about her Mazda. (edit: I found http://www.mazdaclub.net/mz3ws/, seems pretty good, any feedback)
3. Where is the best place to find a "stock set up", or close to it. ($an$ the dealership!)
4. What else should be replaced "while I'm in there"? I'm thinking ball joints, strut mount bushings?, etc....

Please don't flame this. I am something of a noob to Mazda as the car has been pretty good, it's just now time for some rebuilding. I have searched and found a ton of useful information, but it seems as though everyone wants the lowered, tighter handling car, which I can appreciate. However, I want to stay close to stock on this, if possible.

Thanks in advance for answering.
 

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1. Stock setup up front uses MacPherson struts w/ coil springs, as well as an anti-roll bar w/ endlinks. Likely sources of the noise are either the strut being worn out, the top mount being worn out, or the endlink(s) being loose. The rear uses independent tube shocks and coil springs, as well as a thicker anti-roll bar w/ smaller endlinks than the front. Those ones also may come loose over time and make noise.

2. The walkthroughs on here are really great for a DIY install of new suspension parts.

3. If you want new OEM struts, your best bet is one of our sponsors on here (i.e. the link above, or via going to the Rosenthal Mazda section here and asking them for their best price for members). Either that, or buy a used set in the buy/sell section here for really cheap. Lots of people who upgrade to coilovers quickly end up selling their OEM struts with < 10k miles on them for dirt cheap, and they'll last a long time more.

4. I wouldn't replace anything else if it's not broken. Just inspect the CV joints for wear, and lube up the sway bar bushings while you're under there. They may be making some noise, too.
 
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