Good-Win Racing Mazda Performance Parts

Technical Bulletin


Mazda Miata Shock Absorber and Spring Installation

    Installing front and rear shocks on a Miata isn't all that difficult, and thanks to Robert JT (Bob) Holland and the San Diego Miata Club, his San Diego Method makes it even easier.
    You'll need the following equipment and tools:

    Text Box:    Figure 1    Equipment and tools:

    •  14 mm and 17 mm wrenches
    •  14 and 17 mm short sockets
    •  14 and 17 mm short sockets
    •  Torque wrench rated to 85 lb-ft
    •  Spring compressor
    •  4 jack stands
    •  2 floor jacks
    •  Various length socket extensions
    •  4 new Miata shock dust boots
    •  2 long, flat-blade screwdrivers

     

    1. Text Box:    Figure 2: Removing the old shocks    Front Shock Replacement

    A. Remove the Old Shocks

    1. Loosen (but don't remove) the lug nuts on all four tires and place your Mazda on jack stands.
    2. Remove the lug nuts and all four tires.
    3. From the engine compartment, loosen the outer shock nuts (14 mm) and loosen the top shock nut (14 or 17 mm).
    4. From underneath, remove the upper end-link bolts that attach the end-link to the anti-roll bar from both sides of the bar (Figure 1).
    5. Remove the 17 mm bolt that runs through the bottom of the shock located on the lower A-arm (where the bottom of the shock sits) from each side (Figure 2).
    6. Push down on the hub so that the lower A-arm drops away from the bottom of the shock and push a screwdriver through the bolthole. When the hub releases, the bottom of the shock should sit on the screwdriver blade.
    7. Remove the vertical 17mm bolt from the lower A-arm space where the bottom of the shock was attached. This bolt holds the tongue from the hub carrier into the lower A-arm.
    8. Push down on the hub, remove the screwdriver, and let the bottom of the shock swing into the lower A-arm.
    9. Remove the horizontal 17 mm bolt holding the hub carrier to the lower A-arm (closer to you than the lower shock bolt).
    10. Pull the hub away from the lower A-arm. Both the upper and lower A-arms should be separate and you should be able to see the tongue on the hub carrier.
    11. From the engine compartment, remove the two 14 mm outer nuts by sliding a breaker bar into the space where the hub carrier tongue comes out of the lower A-arm.
    12. Step on the breaker bar to add leverage to lower the A-arm.
    13. Push down on the upper A-arm and lift the shock assembly up and away from the lower A-arm.
    14. Caution: To prevent the top of the shock assembly from hitting the fender or you, press down on the upper A-arm firmly and swing the upper part of the shock assembly toward you and out of the wheel well.
    15. Using the spring compressor (Figure 3), compress each side of the spring a little at a time to prevent binding.
      Caution: Always use the safetys while using the spring compressor to prevent potentially hazardous accidents.
    16. While the spring is compressed, remove the top shock nut and lift off the top shock mount (be sure to save the nylon gasket).

    17. Lift the spring away from the shock.
      Text Box:    Figure 3 Using the Spring Compressor


















    B. Reassembly

    1. Put a new dust boot on new shock, spring on the shock, and place the top shock mount on top of the shock/spring. If you have adjustable shocks, you will need to drill the top shock mount and new dust boot ring so the larger diameter shock shaft will fit.
    2. Place the top shock nut on the shock just snugly enough to hold the assembly together.
    3. Put the nylon gasket back on top of the top shock mount.
    4. Carefully remove the spring compressor.
    C. Install the New Shocks

    With the shock assembly in place:

    1. Place the two 14 mm nuts on top of the assembly to hold the top shock mount in place.
    2. Text Box:    Figure 4: Seat the shocks back into the lower A-arm    Slide the tongue on the hub carrier back into the lower A-arm and replace the 17 mm bolt (long horizontal) that holds it in place and tighten it down fingertight.
    3. Push down on the hub enough so that you can slide the screwdriver back into the lower A-arm shock hole so that the bottom of the shock sits on top of the blade when you release the hub.
    4. Using a flat-blade screwdriver placed just underneath the bottom of the tongue, lever the tongue upward and insert the 17 mm (vertical, short) bolt into place.
    5. Tighten the torque bolt with a torque wrench to 65 lb-ft.
    6. Remove the screwdriver and seat the bottom of the shock back into the lower A-arm (Figure 4).
    7. Replace the 17 mm bolt (horizontal) holding the shock to the lower A-arm.
    8. Repeat Steps 1-7 of this procedure with the opposite side of the car.
    9. Reattach the upper end-links to the anti-roll bar using the 14 mm nuts and bolts on both sides of the car.
    10. Using a floor jack under each of the lower A-arms, Be sure to place the jack near the edge only, and not on the edge to prevent damage. Compress each shock assembly by raising each A-arm so that the car rises no more than 1 inch off of the front floor jacks.
    11. Torque each side lower shock bolt to 65 lb-ft (horizontal).
    12. Torque each side lower hub carrier bolt to 65 lb-ft (horizontal).
    13. Torque each side upper end-link bolt to 35 lb-ft.
    14. From the engine compartment:

    15. Torque each side outer shock mount nut to 30 lb-ft.
    16. Torque the upper shock nut (center) to 25 lb-ft.
      Note: If you are installing adjustable shocks and had to drill out the upper shock mount, the shock shaft might spin, making it very difficult to reach 25lb-ft torque. Try to get at least 15 lb-ft.
    17. Release the floor jacks and lower the car to the floor.

    2. Rear Shock Replacement

      Text Box:    Figure 5    A. Remove the Old Shocks

      From the trunk:

      1. Locate and remove the metal plate from the driver's side to expose the upper shock mount nuts.
      2. Remove the upper (outer) shock mount nuts.
      3. Loosen the upper (center) shock nuts. Fuel filter hoses may block easy access on the driver's side, so keep a socket extension handy.
      4. Remove the 14 mm bolts from the upper end-links.
      5. Remove the 17 mm bolt holding the bottom of the shock to the lower A-arm.
      6. Step on the hub studs to lower the A-arm assembly and pull out the shock assembly. It can be very difficult to get the A-arms down far enough to get the shock assembly out, so it might be a good idea to have someone assist you with this task.
      7. Repeat steps a-f for the opposite side. Be sure to replace the nylon gasket before replacing the shock assembly .

    B. Reassembly

      1. Put a new dust boot on new shock, spring on the shock, and place the top shock mount on top of the shock/spring. If you have adjustable shocks, drill the top shock mount and new dust boot ring so the larger diameter shock shaft will fit.
      2. Place the top shock nut on the shock just snugly enough to hold the assembly together.
      3. Put the nylon gasket back on top of the top shock mount.
      4. Carefully remove the spring compressor.

        C. Install the New Shocks

        With the shocks in place (Figure 4):

      1. Replace the upper shock mount nuts (14 mm) on both sides.
      2. Replace the 17 mm lower A-arm bolts on both sides.
      3. Replace the 14 mm upper end-link bolts using the floor jacks under each lower A-arm to compress and raise the car 1 inch off of the rear floor jacks.
      4. Torque each side lower shock bolt to 65 lb-ft.
      5. Torque each side upper end-links to 35 lb-ft.
      6. From the trunk, torque the upper (outer) shock mount nuts to 30 lb-ft and torque the upper (center) shock nut to 25 lb-ft.
      7. Lower the car back onto the jack stands.
      8. Reinstall the tires and lower the car to the floor.
      9. Torque all lug nuts to 80-85 lb-ft.

    Go for a test drive!

REVIEWS

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-- Paul Young

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