Topic: Mazda5 Suspension: stock or upgrade?

We're at 130K-ish miles on our 07 Mazda5 minivan daily driver we've had since new. We fit a lot of the common problems: Front rotors warped right away. turning them lasted about 3 weeks. Finally replaced them. Rear brakes have massive squeal in the morning when cold especially wen backing up. I "custom random-slotted" the rear rotors with a flap disc on an angle grinder. The stock thermostat stuck so we fixed that. Transmission had wrong fluid put in at a valvoline oil change place so it judders while idling at traffic lights when D engaged. Sliding door latch doesn't always want to work so we stopped using one of the sliding doors. Rear strut (or both) were replaced while under warranty at dealer because of faulty weld blob or something like that mentioned in a TSB that some mechanic at the stealership finally remembered after the Service Manager berated my wife for "hauling hay bales" in it or "your husband must be carrying bricks" after the replacement strut also broke (we'd parked ONCE in a grass field at a Halloween pumpkin patch and apparently a blade of straw was pinched in the suspension when it went to the dealer for recurring suspension noise). Massive uneven rear tire wear (on the inside). Even with a new alignment on this last set of tires, it's gobbling up the rubber. I've rotated and now had the tires flipped on the rims and we're under 30K miles on them, probably under 20K. Oh, there's also lots of spring noise in the rear but we've figured out that's just crappy design and the rubber pads aren't doing their job any more and the tires are cupping so the dampening is gone.

I did a quick search and it seems that the rear suspension is same-ish as the mazda3 and there are adjustable aftermarket camber arms we can put on. So, if I go that route and we're needing to replace the dampeners, should I go with some custom suspension, maybe something a (dare I say) little sporty?  I'm definitely not modern car literate, but I am willing to learn but slow to put out the effort to learn.

Can anyone hit the EASY Button for me and say something like, "Buy these front struts, rear dampeners and these camber arms"? Or narrow down my area of focus/consideration?

(FWIW, we're possibly one good insurance claim away from this maybe turning into a LeMons car in the next 5 years)

Re: Mazda5 Suspension: stock or upgrade?

Hydrolastic is the solution of course.

Re: Mazda5 Suspension: stock or upgrade?

Were I dealing with a car so dissatisfied with its station in life, I'd say that a "good enough insurance claim" wouldn't leave enough bits to make a Lemons car.

Offhandedly, I'd say that adding camber adjustment to the rear would help your tire wear issue. If you're bent on keeping such a disagreeable car/truck/van shaped object, that is.

BEing berated for "hauling hay bales" for having a sprig of straw on board?

I wonder what they'd say if my Mrs. Brought the work Jeep Wrangler in (from back in her days as archaeologist)... The one that I diagnosed vibration on. Cause: 100 pounds of Adobe baked into the frame crossmember/trans mount/driveshaft/transfer case area... Fixed that one with a shovel and a big dustpan.

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Judges Choice and Regional Award winner! Chuckwalla '12, Buttonwillow '13, BFE GP '15, Miller '14 & '15, Sonoma '13,'14,'15. Inde '16. Finisher of the inaugural LeMons Rally, in the black Jag.... and IOE in the Super Snipe back in '12...look for the #820 Audi back on a track near you in 2017!!

4 (edited by Spank 2017-03-08 11:19 PM)

Re: Mazda5 Suspension: stock or upgrade?

As odd as it sounds, I actually like the car. I look forward to driving it into the ground. And even with the problems, I'd buy another one all over again.

Re: Mazda5 Suspension: stock or upgrade?

I love my little minivan, got 120K on my 2010 Mazda 5 that I bought new as a leftover in 2011. Mine is the 5-speed "Sport" model. I really don't want to drive anything else as a DD. I can fill it with kids and dogs, an engine block for the Duff car, lumber, or whatever. I put the Inno roof rack on it because it bolts to the factory mount points, and with a car top carrier it has plenty of room for family road trips to Wisconsin so my wife can visit her sister. Until someone starts making a good cheap station wagon in the US again (I would love a new Buick Roadmaster), I'm keeping it.

Warped rotors: My new ones from Mazda were crap and warped constantly. I kept turning them until they got too thin. I bought a decent aftermarket set with new pads and haven't had that problem since.

Weird rear tire wear: Had this on my Mazda 5 and my wife's  Mazda 3. Both times it was weak rear shocks. It happened on my wife's 3 with only a few thousand miles on it. KYB Gas-a-Just is a decent monotube replacement for the rear shocks.

Front struts: I haven't tried a good strut that I like for this. Koni makes a Yellow for it, but I really don't like those. Given that the Sachs front struts are part numbers 313415 and 313411 for the Mazda 3 and the Mazda 5, I'm guessing that stuff for the Mazda 3 should fit. If you look at Mazda 3 parts, then you can get some Bilstein B6's, which are not cheap, but are great shocks. Of course for that kind of money I can just about buy a complete Ksport coilover setup for the 5, which would give me a pretty good street suspension, and would add a lot of blingtasticness to my ride, 'cuz guys in their 50's who drive minivans are all about the bling bling.

Other stuff: My front sway bar bushings got loose almost immediately, causing weird clunking sounds and feeling like something up front was very loose, but only when the car was cold. I replaced them and the problem has not returned. The stock 17" wheels were fragile. After a few years they were all dented and lumpy, causing ride and tire wear issues. It wasn't obvious until I looked at them on a tire balancing machine, and then I could see the lumpiness. Now when I balance them, I rest a thin wooden skewer on the inside edge of the wheel to check for bumps. My wife's stock 16" wheels on her 2010 Mazda 3 are nowhere near as delicate as the wheels on my 5 were. They seem to be holding up well to our daily abuses.

I think that's mostly it. I can easily see myself happily putting another 100K on this car.

Everybody grab your brooms, it's shenanigans!