Front suspension work - What to replace?

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
That's a grease nipple. You need a grease gun to pump the grease in.

You can get one for about $25 or maybe a friend or a trip to a shop for a few squirts of grease.





I'm pretty sure you use chassis grease but I just use whatever grease I have.

It sucks to buy a grease gun and grease for just two end links.
I bought a grease needle for my grease gun so I can fill all my rubber boots with grease so there is no place for water to go and it keeps things from rusting.

You poke the needle through the boot and pump in the grease.







This is helpful, thank you. I had seen that those things existed and I figured it was likely what I needed. I see Harbor Freight has grease guns and grease so that should be suitable.

I'll post up when I get things installed and working.
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
They've closed all the hardware stores here in Ontario but we can order things online or over the phone and they have curbside pickup.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
They've closed all the hardware stores here in Ontario but we can order things online or over the phone and they have curbside pickup.
My local Harbor Freight in the states is still open. I had to go there to grab some calipers for school and it was actually quite busy. I'm trying to stay home as much as I can of course.
 
:
2003 Mazda Protege5
If you have a Harbor Freight near you, this is what I got.
And used this.
Problem is now I have a grease gun full of grease and nowhere to store it lol.
Edit: I didn't see your previous post, whoops.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
If you have a Harbor Freight near you, this is what I got.
And used this.
Problem is now I have a grease gun full of grease and nowhere to store it lol.
Good good, I have a Harbor Freight near me and that was the grease gun i was looking at specifically. Harbor Freight also carries a similar tube of grease for about $5 as well, so i'll probably grab that so I don't have to go anywhere else. I'm such a sucker for cheap Chinese made junk, but if it works it works. My question is 'where am I gonna use the rest of the tube of grease after i'm done with the end links??' I've forgotten if the LCAs I ordered are grease-able.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Easy! Just buy another car.
I've got a Jeep that's probably in need of some grease.
Well Dang! That's it!

It's actually kind of a shame. A clean Mazdaspeed Protege with a blown motor recently came up for sale and sold. It was listed for pretty cheap and was just a few minutes away. It had some really nice aftermarket wheels, some nice interior modifications, an aftermarket exhaust and a roof rack. Really wish I had the money and space to buy it and put a motor in it or swap the turbo kit over to my car. Oh well, maybe some day.

IMG_20200105_083856138.jpg
 
:
2003 Mazda Protege5
I tried to buy my friends 02 protege for the entire year in between selling my P5 and buying it back lol.
He says the CEL comes on every time he hits a bump :LOL:
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
... My question is 'where am I gonna use the rest of the tube of grease after i'm done with the end links??' I've forgotten if the LCAs I ordered are grease-able.
That's where I use the grease needle.
My LCA's aren't greaseable so I poke the needle through the boot and fill it until the grease oozes out the sides.
My ball joint boots are packed with grease.

The hole from the needle closes back up on itself and doesn't let water in.
 

i12drivemyMP5

___ 323F ___
Contributor
Those strut "bearings" on top of the fronts are just a nylon or delrin disc inside a cap with a bit of grease, Cleaned mine out and dabbed a bit of Mobil1 syn axel grease in them and didn't use the new ones I bought because they were aftermarket and weren't as smooth as the oem ones cleaned up.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Here's an update.

I ordered the following parts:
  • Moog outer tie rod ends (46A0729A)
  • Delphi lower control arms (TC2523, TC2524)
  • Moog stabilizer bar links (K750385)
  • Energy Suspension polyurethane stabilizer bar bushings (9.5127R)
I installing everything except the bushings, as I couldn't find any way to easily get to the rear bolts on the brackets with enough leverage to break them loose. Went ahead and returned them, but they were the correct size (23mm) for my stock bar, so I suppose I would recommend them.

The work went okay but there was lots of carnage getting the old OEM end links off and tie rod end nuts loose. Mostly just issues because of lack of experience and stuck bolts. My car isn't rusty but it looked like things hadn't been touched in a while. Old parts:
IMG_20200522_161354941.jpg
IMG_20200522_161405641_HDR.jpg


I was very particular about getting the torque specs perfect based on the OEM service manual, and I greased everything the best I could (ended up being a mess with a cheap grease gun), but I'm still nervous that something is going to fall apart on the highway. The car should get an alignment as the toe is certainly off, but surprisingly it felt almost the same as it did originally, minus some slop in the steering. Drives dead straight and steering wheel is centered.

I did however have a noise when cranking the wheel before, and it hasn't gone away which is making me nervous. I cannot help but notice it every time I crank the wheel to it's hard limit, and it doesn't sound like it normally should (a 'dull thud' so to speak). It sounds more metal-on-metal than I feel like it should, and it's inconsistent. I did not replace the inner tie rod ends but I did check for play in them and the rack and there did not appear to be any. I may try to record some audio clips to post.

One other thing I've noticed is what appears to be a difference in front camber. I swear it looks like the front wheels are negatively cambered slightly, but this could just be paranoid me, and it's challenging to show in a photo (also lower offset wheels don't help). I'd like my camber to be stock to match my stock suspension, and I don't know of a way to adjust it on a protege without aftermarket modifications. Can I check camber and try to adjust it on my own, or just leave it to the pros at a shop to do it? I'd rather have everything sorted before I do an alignment if possible.
IMG_20200601_182808759_HDR.jpg


I've put probably 30 miles on the car so far without an alignment (my tires are a trash brand that came on the car, so I don't care about them much) and I'm going to get under there before I get an alignment to check all the bolts and make sure all looks good.

Total parts cost: $192.00
Labor cost: Free because I did it myself. Took the better of two days to get everything done, but I've also never done this before.
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
One other thing I've noticed is what appears to be a difference in front camber. I swear it looks like the front wheels are negatively cambered slightly,...

The stock struts have four positions to allow for caster/camber adjustments.






The nut in the middle isn't quite centered so you can remove the four nuts and spin the strut and reinstall it in a different position to adjust your caster/camber.

Judging your caster and camber by eye isn't really possible and it doesn't make a whole heap of difference.

If your car is tracking straight then your caster and camber are probably OK but it takes a proper alignment to find out for sure.

Toe-in/out is the most important one so that you don't scrub out your tires.

I do my own toe-in adjustment with a wooden tool I built and some guys use string stretched out beside their car.



I remember one guy bought aftermarket struts and the center nut was exactly centered at the top of the strut so he couldn't get any caster/camber adjustment.
The shop had to oval out the holes in the body to be able to adjust the caster and camber.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
The stock struts have four positions to allow for caster/camber adjustments.






The nut in the middle isn't quite centered so you can remove the four nuts and spin the strut and reinstall it in a different position to adjust your caster/camber.

Judging your caster and camber by eye isn't really possible and it doesn't make a whole heap of difference.

If your car is tracking straight then your caster and camber are probably OK but it takes a proper alignment to find out for sure.

Toe-in/out is the most important one so that you don't scrub out your tires.

I do my own toe-in adjustment with a wooden tool I built and some guys use string stretched out beside their car.



I remember one guy bought aftermarket struts and the center nut was exactly centered at the top of the strut so he couldn't get any caster/camber adjustment.
The shop had to oval out the holes in the body to be able to adjust the caster and camber.
Very cool, I had heard mention of that somewhere but didn't know how it worked. I will keep it in mind.

I believe my toe is probably way wrong based on the difference in size between the Moog and OEM outer tie rod ends, but I got it close enough by just counting the rotations onto the inner tie rod. I can pretty safely drive it to a shop to have them align it.

My car oversteers a TON, and in the rain especially, it's scary how easily it loses traction up front at even low speeds. I'd like to think it's an alignment issue that's causing me to have less grip up front, but in reality it's probably the absolutely terrible, cheap a/s tires that the previous owner put on the car. I guess I'll see what it's like after the alignment.
 
.. I believe my toe is probably way wrong based on the difference in size between the Moog and OEM outer tie rod ends, but I got it close enough by just counting the rotations onto the inner tie rod. I can pretty safely drive it to a shop to have them align it.
Real easy way of checking/adjusting your toe, takes about 20 minute.

Jack up front of car. Take can of white spray paint and while spinning tire spray a line in the center of the tire, all it has to be is about an inch wide. Repeat on other tire. Then scribe a line in the still wet paint somewhere in a flat section of the thread, as close to center as possible. Repeat on other tire.

Let dry for a bit.

Now, using a tape measure measure the distance between marks in the front of the tire. Note it. Then measure the distance at the back of the tire. The difference is how close or far off your toe is. That should get you almost as close as a professional alignment.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
If your front tires are way off, they are half skidding across the road. It doesn't take much more to skid them out.
Okay so you're saying that incorrect toe will greatly reduce grip? This was my logical assumption, but I have no reason to assume that the car was misaligned before I did the work. To be fair though, could the car still drive straight and have too much toe in or out? The front tires do have way more wear on them than the rears, probably mostly because I didn't rotate them and I drive the car pretty hard.

In the wet, I can predict a corner and slow down to drive on the threshold of traction if I want, but what's dangerous are the occasional quick emergency swerves on the highway, and the ease with which I can lock up the brakes and go sliding. Dry grip is way better and I have none of these issues.

When winter comes again or my tires need replacing (whichever comes first), I'm going to try and get myself some better tires. I'm aware of how big of a role they play in a car's driving dynamics.
Right now I have my eyes on the BFGoodrich g-force comp2 a/s, as Costso sells them and has a good deal sometimes. Also considered the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ if I can afford them and the General GMAX AS-05. I'll have to look into it more when the time rolls around.

Real easy way of checking/adjusting your toe, takes about 20 minute.

Jack up front of car. Take can of white spray paint and while spinning tire spray a line in the center of the tire, all it has to be is about an inch wide. Repeat on other tire. Then scribe a line in the still wet paint somewhere in a flat section of the thread, as close to center as possible. Repeat on other tire.

Let dry for a bit.

Now, using a tape measure measure the distance between marks in the front of the tire. Note it. Then measure the distance at the back of the tire. The difference is how close or far off your toe is. That should get you almost as close as a professional alignment.
Good to know, thanks. I've seen some similar ways of doing this using the same general ideas. I still want to get it professionally aligned but when I get under there to check everything, I might give it a shot to get things a little closer to correct spec.
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
Jack up front of car. Take can of white spray paint and while spinning tire spray a line in the center of the tire, all it has to be is about an inch wide. Repeat on other tire. Then scribe a line in the still wet paint somewhere in a flat section of the thread, as close to center as possible. Repeat on other tire.

That's almost what I did but I just ran a magic marker around the tread.
Luckily, my summer tires have a solid bead of rubber in the middle of the tire.




Now, using a tape measure measure the distance between marks in the front of the tire. Note it. Then measure the distance at the back of the tire. The difference is how close or far off your toe is. That should get you almost as close as a professional alignment.

I don't think that works for our car.
The car has to be set down to take the measurements.

The wheels don't drop square when the car is lifted.
(perhaps a double-wishbone suspension would drop square?)

I remember a mechanic doing that to my 85' 626.
It was all even with the wheels dangling but when I went to drive away from the shop, my alignment was so off that the tires were squealing on the pavement.


I set my wheels down on two pieces of Crazy Carpet with oil in between them so they can settle in and pivot.
 
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That's right... I keep forgetting these cars have struts instead of real suspensions.... Two pieces of cardboard with a plastic bag in between works too.
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
Okay so you're saying that incorrect toe will greatly reduce grip?
Yes, because the tires are kinda skidding to begin with.
Scrubbing sideways down the road.



To be fair though, could the car still drive straight and have too much toe in or out?

Yes, if everything is balanced, your could be riding on your inner or outer tread.

It can still track straight.




The front tires do have way more wear on them than the rears, probably mostly because I didn't rotate them and I drive the car pretty hard.

Rotate your tires.
The rears probably have more tread depth that can help with channeling water when it rains.
 
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