How to Replace Shocks & Springs
This tutorial will walk you through the process of changing the shocks and/or springs on the 124 Spider. Goodwin Racing was kind enough to sponsor me a set of RoadsterSport springs, which I'll have a review posted for in the next couple of weeks. Initial impressions are very positive. Note that these springs are only recommended with Koni adjustable shocks or the OEM Bilsteins. Check them out here: https://www.good-win-racing.com/Mazda-Performance-Part/61-1847R.html
- 1/2" and 3/8" ratchet with 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, and 21mm sockets
- 14mm & 17mm offset box end wrenches
- #1 or smaller flathead screwdriver
- Spring compressor (this can be rented at most auto stores)
- 5mm allen wrench or bit
- Utility knife
- Two jackstands & a jack
- Torque wrench (Available on Amazon.com)
A note regarding torque specs: Normally, I am a big stickler when using appropriate torque specs everywhere. However, I ran into two places here where following torque specs was just not feasible. These two locations are the forward strut nuts on the rear strut towers and the strut nuts. For the former, you simply have no space to fit a deep socket over there to tighten the nut and are limited to a standard wrench. For the latter, your only real option is to either find a specialized 14mm strut nut tool (I was unable to), or to hold the strut shaft with a bit/allen wrench and turn the nut with another standard wrench. If you thought of using a torque wrench on the bit and tightening the nut with a standard wrench, that may not be an option as many torque wrenches will not measure torque in reverse. In these cases, I will usually settle for muscle memory in tightening the nuts to the desired spec. Be careful not to over-tighten the nut on the strut shaft as you run the risk of stripping the allen head on the strut shaft.
A note regarding the bump stops: Elsewhere on the internet, Brian Goodwin recommended that the bump stops do not need to be trimmed with the RoadsterSport springs. However, he presented a okay/better/best scenario. Not trimming the bump stops is okay, but you might spend more time hitting bump stops due to the reduced suspension travel over large bumps. Trimming ~1 inch off the bump stops will give you more free suspension travel, and since the spring rate is higher than stock, you'll hit the bump stops less anyway. The best option is to get the GWR performance shorter bump stop kit: https://www.good-win-racing.com/Mazda-Performance-Part/61-0792ND.html
Part 1: Front Strut Removal:
1. Lift the front of the car on both sides and lower on jackstands.
2. Abarth Only: Remove the strut tower brace by removing the six bolts below:
3. Remove the nut holding the shock, and disconnect the sway bar end link. Note: you only need to disconnect the sway bar end link on one side of the front, not both. The shock bolt doesn't have to come out during this step.
4. Back in the engine bay, remove the 3 nuts holding the strut mount on both sides, and move the shock plates out of the way so the threads don't snag.
5. Remove the two bolts holding the brake line and wheel speed sensor brackets, then remove the two upper control arm bolts.
6. Once the control arm bolts are removed, you'll be able to pull the control arm forward as shown below. At this point, the strut is going to drop down out of the strut tower. Push the hub down a bit and angle the top of the strut toward you to remove it.
7. Repeat for the other side.
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