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jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/19/20 10:49 p.m.

Starting a build thread on this one to tap the brain trust here at GRM, provide some entertainment, and who knows - there might be some useful info for future reference by another 3 enthusiast.  Here 'tis:

Back in 2011 I bought a new 2.5L sedan, pretty much the same car as this, and liked it a lot.  We autocrossed it - took it to Nationals and paddocked a couple of spots down from some guy in a new gen VW bug that wrote for some obscure car mag.  (Takes all types I guess.).  With suspension and brakes it was pretty competent on the track, and aside from the truck-like ride was a pretty nice daily.

Bought this car from a dealer as-is, and of course, paid too much, but it's exactly the car I wanted - a 3 hatch with the 2.5, a manual, and even better, no sunroof.  85K miles and pretty clean, but it unfortunately has seen midwestern winters.  I  have a bunch of left over parts from the previous 3 - Koni DAs, wheels, brakes, exhaust that I figured I could use for this one.  The ideal is to tighten up the suspension and fix the brakes, both of which need fixing ASAP.  Then maybe an intake, exhaust (does anyone make a header for these?), and maybe an improved/modern audio system.

I've been working on the car on and off for a couple of weeks and have the back of the car mostly done, now I'm hung up on the front brakes.  Next post...

 

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/19/20 10:59 p.m.

I got the springs shocks and brakes on the back (mostly, but that's another post), and moved to the front springs/struts/brakes today and almost immediately got stuck.  I can't get the damn rotors off.

The rotors are pretty crusty, and I'm almost sure they are the ones that came on the car.  The PO must have just dropped new pads on crappy rotors.  One of the back rotors had 3 radial cracks through it.  So I can't get either rotor to budge.  This isn't my first rodeo on brakes.  PB blasted them, let them sit, picked up the rotor with a jack while I whacked the crap out of it with BFH.  Hit the rotor with a propane torch and my little Oxy/MAPP torch at the same time - no go.  Tried the bolts through the caliper pad trick (below), then the hammer - no go.

 

Looking for ideas.  Drill through the rotor and tap it so it has a release bolt like the Mazda OEM rotors?  Get the huge sledge out and figure I'll need to replace the hubs?  Any suggestions appreciated.

 

CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/20/20 12:33 a.m.

Nuke it from space. 
 

Honestly, I have no idea how you guys deal with cars this rusty. 

FatMongo
FatMongo New Reader
4/20/20 7:42 a.m.

So I know you said this isn't your first rodeo with brakes, but there's really only two ways to approach this. 1.) You need a bigger hammer: I have a long handled 10lb sledge that I use for this type of task. 2.) You need better chemicals. I am a big fan of Kroil for situations like this. Soak the rotor/hub with Kroil for a couple of days and bang the heck out of it with the sledge and I bet it'll come right off. 
 

I had a buddy who had a similar year Mazda 3, his was a Pennsylvania car, and I ran into a stuck rotor just like you. I pounded the heck out of it, till the rotor broke off in pieces. Sometimes you just got to break the rotor (lol). Don't be afraid to smack it like you eat meat once or twice a week.

 

 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/20/20 7:49 a.m.

Needs more map gas

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/20/20 11:11 a.m.

With FM's encouragement and some caffeine induced determination, I went back at the rotors this morning.  Rotor meet really BFH.  Pass side fractured, but it came off. 

On to the drivers side.  After pounding the crap out of it - getting into the anaerobic zone:

I do not think this is good,  The rotor is totally fractured and the hat is still glued to the hub. Retreating from the garage for a while to contemplate my options...

While I do that, I'm thinking that it might be time for new hubs.  The pass side feels sort of "serrated" when you turn it.  Guessing all that hammering didn't do the bearing any good.  Rock has timken hubs for $87 and skf for $115.  Ouch.  I'm already feeling wounded by blowing over the budget, but in for a penny...

Prof - agree that more mapp gas would probably help, but all I've got is one of the toy bernzomatic oxy/mapp setups.  A real torch may be in the future.

CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/20/20 11:17 a.m.

What about using an air hammer? Impact guns work on rusty hardware, maybe using an air hammer will work for the stuck hubs. 
 

If it were my car I'd just replace the hubs at this point. Especially if the bearings feel gritty now. 

CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/20/20 11:21 a.m.

BTW: I think we paid $6800 for my son's one owner 2010 with 115k on it. 

Edit: It looks like we paid $6000 for it.

FatMongo
FatMongo New Reader
4/20/20 11:41 a.m.

You're almost there. Now hit whats left of the rotor with some more flame - get as much heat and vibration on it as you can and it will come off. 

Dont assume the bearings are bad. Get the rotor off and take her for a drive and you'll know if the bearings are bad. Confirm before spending any more money on iyt.

 

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/20/20 12:18 p.m.

The air chisel idea seemed a bit out in left field and I would not have thought of it, but what the hell...  And it did break some of the outside of the rotor hat away with a bit of help from an angle grinder.  Which gave me a clean shot at the rotor/hat joint with a cold chisel.  Never seen rotors like this and don't want to ever again.

and it's off -

It's time to ante up for new bearings.  I made a point of feeling the drivers side bearing before and after beating the crap out of the rotor and it's not the same now.  The pass side is worse.

Thanks for the help and motivation, it made me keep going back out into the garage until they were off.  On to the struts and springs.  Wonder what delights and surprises will be waiting there?

 

 

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/20/20 12:22 p.m.

BTW, this one was $6500 with 85K but needed shocks and brakes.  (and a header, intake, sway bar, wheels, killer stereo, etc.)

FatMongo
FatMongo New Reader
4/20/20 1:47 p.m.

Well done! 

CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand Reader
4/20/20 2:07 p.m.
jwagner (Forum Supporter) said:

The air chisel idea seemed a bit out in left field and I would not have thought of it, but what the hell...  And it did break some of the outside of the rotor hat away with a bit of help from an angle grinder. 

Alright! Well folks, I've used up my one good idea for the day. I think I should retire now before I break something...   :^)

BoxsterSteve
BoxsterSteve None
4/20/20 4:09 p.m.

In reply to jwagner (Forum Supporter) :

Good on you for getting that nasty thing apart, and hello from a new member. 
Thankfully I've never had to fight with a car that crusty... yet.

My wife thought I was a little soft in the head taking apart her brand new CR-V to apply silver anti seize goop to the hubs and rotor screws.  
I'll find out when I do the brakes for the first time if I'm too OCD. 
 

Bill Mesker
Bill Mesker Reader
4/21/20 12:16 a.m.

Hello fellow Mazda 3 owner! Hopefully I don't have to go through the same E36 M3 when I do my brakes lol

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
4/21/20 8:49 a.m.

My wife's old 2010 3's rotors also came off in chunks. Just like yours, they didn't want to come off. The BFH and lots of penetrating oil eventually worked. Never had this issue with my 2012. Her car seemed to have a lot more undercarriage rust than mine ever did.

Looking forward to seeing what you do with it. My 2012 S Touring hatch with the 2.5L/6MT is still kicking with 183k+ on it. 

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/21/20 1:50 p.m.

All the other Mazdas I've worked on have had threaded release holes that you can screw a bolt into and pry the rotor off.  Why not this one?  Is this a Ford cost savings idea?  Most of the brake and suspension parts on the car seem to be marked FoMoCo.

Took a look at replacing the hubs which requires pulling the ball joint out of the steering knuckle to remove the knuckle so it fits in a press and ....  Tried loosening the ball joint it last night and the shaft from the ball joint into the knuckle is rusted in place and I couldn't get it out.  I'm going to skip the hubs for now and just take it somewhere if and when the bearings fail.  It doesn't look like that's something I want to tackle. 

Back onto the struts and springs tomorrow after work.

Tony, the previous 3 was a silver '12 2.5 S Touring.  I liked it enough to buy this one.

Bill Mesker
Bill Mesker Reader
4/21/20 11:24 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

MIne crossed 219k miles the other day. Next oil change is due at 221k.

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/23/20 10:07 a.m.

Went out to the garage last night with about an hour to kill so I figured I'd at least get an idea of what it would take to get the strut out.  40 minutes later:

This was a surprise.  The end link didn't require the involvement of an angle grinder and the bottom of the strut came free pretty quickly with the encouragement of the 10lb sledge.  Then I took the thing apart with the help of a Harbor Freight Suicide Spring Tool.  The compressor on one side migrated toward the other, making the spring bulge out the uncompressed side.  I hid behind a box full of suspension parts to get the compressors off.  Then realized it was a total waste of time since I don't need any of the old parts.  Duh.

t

The new strut parts are the (used) Koni DAs which have about 12K on them, KYB mount and bumpstop/sleeve, Racing Beat springs.  Went with the RBs since they don't drop the car much and are something like 20% stiffer so they should be very streetable.

And since you guys are talking about your 3s, here's my '08 which the new car is replacing. 

124K miles, 2.3L Grand Touring with 3 pedals and the Blackstone oil analysis just came back with all good news.

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/24/20 9:37 p.m.

And them something strange happened...

I had to pull this strut after installing it and clean out the steering knuckle better since I couldn't get it seated down far enough.  The second time it went in fully with some pounding on the knuckle and a jack pushing the knuckle up.  Then a flood of oil out of the bottom of the strut.  Das ist nicht gut.  (german strut). Pulled the strut yet again:

The lower adjuster unscrewed.   ???   Wondering if I can refill the shock and screw the adjuster back in?  Wonder if I lost any parts?  I suppose the car is stuck up on the jackstands for at least the weekend now unless we go back to the old strut/spring on one side.  Argh.  I was planning on a test drive tonight.  Ideas appreciated, but I think at this point I need to call Koni Monday.

 

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/17/20 10:48 p.m.

Time for an update on this stale thread.  On the last post my shock valve came unscrewed and dumped all the oil out.  It took two weeks to send the shock in to the Koni rebuild guys in Ohio and get them back.  Glad I had the red 3 since this one was up on jackstands.  On their recommendation I sent both fronts in and had them dyno'd to make sure they matched.  It cost more to ship them there and back than for the reassembly and dyno.

Once the front end was back together, went after the back end.  Rust sucks.  The passenger side alignment bolt is stuck solid.  No amount of coercing is gonna break it free.  I put the nut back on and left it as is.  The sway bar didn't fit.  Called Progress and I'm not sure exactly why the bar was a little too narrow, but they sent another that was perfect.  Took a while since it wasn't in stock and they had to bend and powdercoat it.  I really like working with vendors that answer their phone and have people that know what they're doing and can answer questions.  Koni, Progress, Truechoice, Eibach, Ground Control and more have all been there to help when I picked up the phone.

Anyway, the car finally has a decent suspension.  Now if I just had somewhere to drive it... I've had the car since March and have put 1100 miles on it.  I like it.  Ride is hard but not punishing and it really does handle pretty well, even on the middling Conti tires.  Next steps on the suspension are some adjustable camber arms - it's at about 2.8 degrees with the spring drop, a new RR control arm and alignment bolt, and some real tires.  In the meantime, the speakers are shot so it's time to start looking at modern stereo setups.

@fatmongo - After I looked at what it was going to take to put in new hubs and bearings, I just left the old ones in.  There's something subtle but "growly" going on up front, mostly noticeable as you roll to a stop.  I'm guessing it's probably a bearing, but it's OK until it gets worse.

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
12/17/21 12:58 a.m.

Time for an update on both the thread and shortly, the car.  The 3 has become the commuter car for the Traveling Nurse since her Pathfinder V8 likes premium gas and gets lousy gas mileage and driving it 90 miles round trip to work adds up.  On the last oil change I found this:

The front motor mount is leaking which I guess isn't unusual on these.  I'm hoping to see some track time on this thing and got the brilliant idea of using Speed3 motor mounts, which I'm thinking should be stiffer, right?  The trans mount is different on the Speed3, so that will be standard OEM.  Speed3 engine mounts are on order and shipped, we'll see if my theory is right.

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
12/17/21 1:05 a.m.

Also thinking about a cat back and intake which seem to make a difference on these cars.  Ideally, would like a real header and tune too, but I haven't found a header for the 2.5. 

Already have a set of Enkei 17x8 racing wheels and trying to figure out what the right tires are.  Need something track compatible that will survive a round trip to California and 3 months of driving, plus track and maybe some autocross.  I think 225/45 should fit.  RS-4s?  Conti Extreme Contact? 

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
12/17/21 1:12 a.m.

The speakers were toast.  Pioneer TS-A682F 6x8 speakers were a direct fit and included the spacers that a Mazda3 needs to clear the windows.  Took a lot of digging to find these since 6 1/2" with adapters was what everybody was recommending.

paul_s0
paul_s0 Reader
12/17/21 9:31 a.m.

I believe the speed 3 passenger mount fits if you take off the extra bit (balance weight/harmonic balancer) which inteferes with the expansion tank...

I've got the Conti ECS  on the front of mine, happy enough with them as a spirited daily driver.

 

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