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· Registered
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

2008 Mazda 3 S 2.3L Hatchback MT. 131K miles. Car shakes when accelerating, braking, and when turning. There is always an underlying minor shake, but this is amplified during steering/accelerating/braking. If anyone can please help diagnose, or offer suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it. It is currently my daily driver/only car, and I perform all maintenance at home, properly and extensively.

Chronological order of happenings:

Replaced the below parts about 10,000 miles ago:
  • New front calipers, OEM replacement
  • New front rotors, Power Stop JBR1115XPR
  • New ceramic brakepads

Properly drove during break-in period after installation of above.

Replaced about 4000 miles ago:
- New rear shocks (KYB 551105)

Properly drove during break-in period after installation of above.

Replaced about 3000 miles ago:
  • New front struts (KYB SR4083, SR4084)
  • New front passenger axle (Import Direct MZ8149)
  • Rotated tires front-back (1 to 3, 2 to 4)

After this, I was unable to get an alignment performed due to a very sensitive emergency which prompted me to drive a few states away and back (~2500 miles). I drove this distance with no issues.

What seems like front-end shaking begins to happen after I returned home, about 500 miles ago. I originally took my car to get an alignment, but the shop said my passenger side outer tie rod end was causing the wheel to shake, which was true when I observed in shop. It was rusted and the castle nut/pin were very rusty. This prompted me to replace it, as below.

Replaced within the past 500 miles:
  • New front passenger outer tie rod end, OEM replacement (This is the only part replacement I've had to take my car into a shop for (not done at home since I couldn't get it off) aside from mounting new tires when I purchased the car.)
  • New rear rotors, OEM replacement

Two days after I got the outer tie rod end replaced at the shop, I took my car in to get an alignment because the shaking/wobbling was still happening. Slightly less, but still a significant issue. At the alignment shop, they said the jam nut for the outer tie rod end was not affixed tightly/properly. After adjustment, alignment was performed (this was last weekend, about 300 miles ago). The car still shakes.

The shaking still occurs when I drive, it is not noticable in first gear or anything under about 20 MPH, but in all other gears, at all speeds above that, there is noticable shaking/wobbling. When I let go of the steering wheel, it has a sort of micro-wobble. It does not feel like warped front rotors, since I have drove and replaced many other FWD vehicles's warped rotors - the shaking I'm currently facing is more intense and does not feel familiar.

Other notes:
  • Rotated tires about 3000 miles ago, no issues up until about 1000 miles ago.
  • Properly drove during break-in period of all parts, minus the emergency road trip.
  • All-Season 740AA tires still have plenty of tread left, replaced only about 15,000 miles ago. No bubbling/damage.
  • Steering pump is functioning properly, flush and replaced fluid about 15,000 miles ago.
  • During the alignment, I asked shop tech to check all the bushings. Shop tech reports all bushings are good and should not be causing any shaking.
  • Oil changes every 4000 miles.
  • All other fluids are proper.

I'm thinking that the below issues listed could be causing the problem:
  • Bad engine mounts? Would this cause as much shaking as I am experiencing?
  • New axle is defective, or old axle seems to be going right after replacing the other one. This seems unlikely, as I drove the roadtrip with no issues, but I could be wrong.
  • Front rotors are actually warped and I am misdiagnosing. This also seems unlikely, as they are high-er performance than OEM spec and replaced recently (10,000 miles ago, which is about 4 months ago) and as stated earlier it does not feel like warped rotors.
  • Bad steering rack?

Please let me know I should check/replace something else. I can't seem to figure it out. What would you check and which parts would you try to replace first?


· Registered
2006 Mazda 3 GT Hatch with 2014 Fusion 2.5 swap :)
702 Posts
Check the tire balance, maybe tread is separating ? Also wheel hub and bearings may be loose or failing? Passenger axle shaft bearings may be going( Bolts to back of block).

· Registered
631 Posts
I would check the tire balance first unless already done. I had pretty bad steering wheel vibration on my 3 that resolved with a tire change. I would have had the old ones balanced but they were due to be replaced anyway so I waited until then.
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