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Thread: '03 P5 suspension upgrades (Coilovers, or not to coilovers? That is the question)

  1. #1
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    '03 P5 suspension upgrades (Coilovers, or not to coilovers? That is the question)

    Hey All! I've owned my P5 for a little over a year now, and have absolutely loved it. However, the old suspension is tired, and could use a rebuild. My final goal is to KL-ZE swap her, so I'm holding off on any engine mods in favor of suspension for the time being. However, I'm running into a little bit of a snag. It appears that I have gotten into P5 tuning about a decade late (as per usual it seems) and many of the performance suspension upgrades have been discontinued, and ebay searches have thus far proven unfruitful.

    So far I have been able to find:

    22mm Rear Sway Bar - http://cr3motorsports.com/Protege/Pr...?product_id=70
    It is my understanding that AWR used to make a rear sway bar for the protege, but it seems to have been discontinued, and aside from grabbing a RacingBeat off of a Speed, I don't know what other options I have.

    Front Strut Tower Bar - https://www.andysautosport.com/produ...20540%20a.html
    Haven't found any others; yet, that is.

    Endlinks and various bushings - http://store.awrracing.com/mazdaspee...eatured&page=1

    Now, I've seen some members around with some GT Spec suspension components for the P5. I've not been able to locate these anywhere, as it appears they have been discontinued. Are there substitutes available, or would they have to be custom fabricated?

    Now, when it comes to the coils and springs, I'd like some input on what the best course of action would be. I understand that many coilovers have a stiffer ride, therefore decreasing ride comfort. How bad is it? I do still plan on dailying my P5, even after the upgrades. I'm trying to push it as far as possible without making it impractical as a daily.

    The cost of a good set of lowering springs and shocks runs very close to the same price as a set of COs
    (Springs - https://eibach.com/us/i-1709-pro-kit...4-springs.html || Shocks - http://www.racingbeat.com/Protege/Shocks/74022.html)
    (COs - http://cr3motorsports.com/Protege/Pr...-Mazda-Protege)
    Tokico makes two sets, a blue and a white. The white is touted as higher performance, but is it enough to justify the extra $$$?
    As for the BC's, are there better options for the money? What are the Pro's - Con's of a coil-over system?



    As a side question, what are some of the best ways to improve the P5s handling?

  2. #2
    Banned GJ-Molestor's Avatar

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    I wouldnt bother with the strut tower bar personally. Can't go wrong with any of the suspension you mentioned, I think it just goes down to which one has the most positive reviews. I would personally go with BC racing. it's very important that you have the coilovers tuned and adjusted by someone who knows what they are doing for best results.

    make sure to inspect your control arms and ensure they don't need replacing as well when refreshing your suspension.

    some other good handling mods would be a front sway bar (along with the rear), camber plates, and a limited slip differential (LSD)

  3. #3
    Comp Engineering Student Riot_Polizei's Avatar

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    Man, a LSD in the P5 would be mad. Did the J-spec SP20 have one? I can't remember, but if it did, that'll speak a lot about the accessibility of the mod.

    Furthermore, to add on to Molester's list of recommended mods, I'd find a rear strut tower bar. It's stiffened up my car's (rear-half) chassis nicely, and greatly reduced the oscillating play in the rear struts under harder cornering. It'll reduce body roll, but not by a massive amount.
    2002 Mazda Protege5
    ■ Sunburst Yellow ■ Black Rear Valence ■ Injen Cold Air Intake ■ Racing Beat Catback Exhaust ■ Moog Front Endlinks
    ■ Megan Racing Rear Strut Tower Bar ■ Racing Beat Rear Sway Bar ■ Mazda6 Front Big Brakes ■ Foglight Deletes
    ■ OBX Short Shifter ■ OBX 4-1 Headers


    ______________________________

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    I've heard good things about the BC's so I'll probably go with those.

    Since I'm planning a KL-ZE swap I'll wait on the LSD till after the swap, since I'll be changing the transmission as well, but a LSD is definitely on the list.

    My biggest enemy right now is the fact that many performance parts for the P5 have been discontinued. Guess I'll just have to get more creative.

    Are there specific camber plates for the P5, or are the generic? I imagine strut towers are fairly similar.

    What's a good wheel size for the Protege5? I've heard 17s are a good balance of handling and drive-ability. Any particular brands that stand out?

    I apologize for the ignorant questions, but the tuning scene is still new to me haha.

  5. #5
    Registered Member Corphish's Avatar

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    If anyone wanted to know more about the options that are/were out there.

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    I haven't slapped my Eibach springs, are those numbers based on oe struts?

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    Banned GJ-Molestor's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Verseus View Post
    I've heard good things about the BC's so I'll probably go with those.

    Since I'm planning a KL-ZE swap I'll wait on the LSD till after the swap, since I'll be changing the transmission as well, but a LSD is definitely on the list.

    My biggest enemy right now is the fact that many performance parts for the P5 have been discontinued. Guess I'll just have to get more creative.

    Are there specific camber plates for the P5, or are the generic? I imagine strut towers are fairly similar.

    What's a good wheel size for the Protege5? I've heard 17s are a good balance of handling and drive-ability. Any particular brands that stand out?

    I apologize for the ignorant questions, but the tuning scene is still new to me haha.
    I don’t know, but I’m sure you can find camber plates for your car. The concept in terms of installation might be a little similar to a strut tower (do you mean strut brace?) but they are two different things. The single most effective mod you can do is going to be the LSD. It will put down power far better around corners and off the line.

    As for rims, personally I think that 17’s are a little too big for the protege and looks obscene unless the car is lowered. I think I’d stick to 16’s. It doesn’t matter what sort of rims you go for, just get as lightweight as possible or at least lighter than whatever you have on the car now.

    I don’t see anything “ignorant” about your posts. You’re still learning yet you already know more than most people. If you want ignorant head over to the BMW forums where you have people claiming their single turbo BMW is twin-turbo, trying to modify their car without having any sort of mechanical knowledge, or at least an idea of what they actually want with their car other than “making it go fast.” as if 300 ft/lb of torque from barely above idle isn’t enough. My point is - overall driving potential/ability , otherwise known as driver mod Is always the first place to start with any vehicle. You should know how to and be comfortable with pushing your car to the limit round corners before you do anything to it.

  8. #8
    Registered Member 323's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by stormkyori View Post
    I haven't slapped my Eibach springs, are those numbers based on oe struts?
    Spring rate doesn’t factor in a specific strut.
    03 MSP, 03 P5

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    Quote Originally Posted by GJ-Molestor View Post
    I don’t know, but I’m sure you can find camber plates for your car. The concept in terms of installation might be a little similar to a strut tower (do you mean strut brace?) but they are two different things. The single most effective mod you can do is going to be the LSD. It will put down power far better around corners and off the line.

    As for rims, personally I think that 17’s are a little too big for the protege and looks obscene unless the car is lowered. I think I’d stick to 16’s. It doesn’t matter what sort of rims you go for, just get as lightweight as possible or at least lighter than whatever you have on the car now.

    I don’t see anything “ignorant” about your posts. You’re still learning yet you already know more than most people. If you want ignorant head over to the BMW forums where you have people claiming their single turbo BMW is twin-turbo, trying to modify their car without having any sort of mechanical knowledge, or at least an idea of what they actually want with their car other than “making it go fast.” as if 300 ft/lb of torque from barely above idle isn’t enough. My point is - overall driving potential/ability , otherwise known as driver mod Is always the first place to start with any vehicle. You should know how to and be comfortable with pushing your car to the limit round corners before you do anything to it.
    Once I drop in the new engine and transmission, I'll be adding a LSD before bolting it all back up. At the moment though, I've not been able to find a genuine KL-ZE. I have been able to find a local 626 and MX-6 for cheap with almost all of the parts I need- The concession being a KL-DE over a KL-ZE. A ~40HP loss. However, with the price difference I might be able to add a turbo to help compensate.

    Specific protege camber plates were produced a few years ago, but every manufacturer seems to have discontinued them. My comment about strut towers being similar to each other was made because it appeared that there were only a few variations in the bolt patterns on the top of the strut tower- in hopes of camber plates not being vehicle specific, but rather bolt patter specific. However, it appears it isn't quite that simple. I may be able to find some camber plates for another mazda that are similar enough to be modified to fit, but we shall see.

    I am planning on lowering the car. Not slamming it, but enough to get some performance benefit (and some aesthetic benefit, too). I'm not in any hurry to pay for a new set of wheels and tires, though.

  10. #10
    Banned GJ-Molestor's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Verseus View Post
    Once I drop in the new engine and transmission, I'll be adding a LSD before bolting it all back up. At the moment though, I've not been able to find a genuine KL-ZE. I have been able to find a local 626 and MX-6 for cheap with almost all of the parts I need- The concession being a KL-DE over a KL-ZE. A ~40HP loss. However, with the price difference I might be able to add a turbo to help compensate.

    Specific protege camber plates were produced a few years ago, but every manufacturer seems to have discontinued them. My comment about strut towers being similar to each other was made because it appeared that there were only a few variations in the bolt patterns on the top of the strut tower- in hopes of camber plates not being vehicle specific, but rather bolt patter specific. However, it appears it isn't quite that simple. I may be able to find some camber plates for another mazda that are similar enough to be modified to fit, but we shall see.

    I am planning on lowering the car. Not slamming it, but enough to get some performance benefit (and some aesthetic benefit, too). I'm not in any hurry to pay for a new set of wheels and tires, though.
    good plan.

    Mazda K engine? that is a small displacement V6. has anyone ever done this swap? even if the engine does fit which it should, I would be a little concerned about the weight distribution getting upset, but then again that isnt going to weigh much more than a simple turbocharged 4 cylinder. I have no doubt that a protege with handling mods can deal with the extra power, but I think I would go for a similar displacement 4 cylinder instead (2.3, 2.5L)

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    Yes, swapping a KL series V6 into a protege is very well documented. It was pretty popular years ago, and still is being done pretty frequently. Ive not heard of anyone having issues with weight distribution on their cars after the swap. The only other 4 cyl that springs to mind is the FS-ZE which pumps out (150-170hp?) but is pretty much the same cost as importing a KL-ZE. However, I have fortunately come across a parts car (MX-6) that has already been KL-ZE swapped, for a very reasonable price. Much cheaper than importing an engine, so it looks like the engine swap might actually be happening first.

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    Banned GJ-Molestor's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Verseus View Post
    Yes, swapping a KL series V6 into a protege is very well documented. It was pretty popular years ago, and still is being done pretty frequently. Ive not heard of anyone having issues with weight distribution on their cars after the swap. The only other 4 cyl that springs to mind is the FS-ZE which pumps out (150-170hp?) but is pretty much the same cost as importing a KL-ZE. However, I have fortunately come across a parts car (MX-6) that has already been KL-ZE swapped, for a very reasonable price. Much cheaper than importing an engine, so it looks like the engine swap might actually be happening first.
    Nice! So which transmission and final drive ratio do you plan to use?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Verseus View Post
    Yes, swapping a KL series V6 into a protege is very well documented. It was pretty popular years ago, and still is being done pretty frequently. Ive not heard of anyone having issues with weight distribution on their cars after the swap. The only other 4 cyl that springs to mind is the FS-ZE which pumps out (150-170hp?) but is pretty much the same cost as importing a KL-ZE. However, I have fortunately come across a parts car (MX-6) that has already been KL-ZE swapped, for a very reasonable price. Much cheaper than importing an engine, so it looks like the engine swap might actually be happening first.
    I would find a Probe GT/MX6 with a good powertrain and go with that personally. If I remember correctly from the days when I had a Probe GT (keep in mind this was ~20 years ago so please forgive me if my memory is foggy) the only real advantage of the KLZE was that they were low mileage from the JDM (30-40k) and most of the used motors you found here in the states were well over 100k. But you had to swap over the old KLDE intake manifold to make it run right. The ZE manifold had different runners or butterflies or something that were controlled by the ZE computer so it was a considerable amount of work to make it run right. There were power gains to be had over the DE but it's not a 40hp difference, maybe 20hp at most. If you're going for power, a small turbo setup pushing 9-10psi would still be reliable and make tons more power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GJ-Molestor View Post
    Nice! So which transmission and final drive ratio do you plan to use?
    Currently undecided- the probe tranny has shorter gears for better acceleration, but I do worry about the decreased fuel economy. This is still going to be my daily, so that is something I want to keep in mind. There is also an impact on my top speed, but with the MX-6's top speed being 150mph, I highly doubt I would be impacted (fuel economy aside) by that.

    Quote Originally Posted by pb4ugotobed View Post
    I would find a Probe GT/MX6 with a good powertrain and go with that personally. If I remember correctly from the days when I had a Probe GT (keep in mind this was ~20 years ago so please forgive me if my memory is foggy) the only real advantage of the KLZE was that they were low mileage from the JDM (30-40k) and most of the used motors you found here in the states were well over 100k. But you had to swap over the old KLDE intake manifold to make it run right. The ZE manifold had different runners or butterflies or something that were controlled by the ZE computer so it was a considerable amount of work to make it run right. There were power gains to be had over the DE but it's not a 40hp difference, maybe 20hp at most. If you're going for power, a small turbo setup pushing 9-10psi would still be reliable and make tons more power.
    The KL-ZE's intake is actually one of the best parts. It flows much much more freely. It will fit in a protege, however, you have to relocate your battery. Small concession, at least for me. The MX-6 parts car I'm purchasing already has the proper ZE ECU, so I'm quite fortunate in that regard. The car has had 25k put on it since the swap, so it is reasonable to assume that everything was set up properly. The engine has been sitting for about a year, but still runs. To be honest, its cheaper getting this ZE swapped MX6 than buying a DE and putting a turbo on it.

    The MX6 still has a clean title, so depending on what it needs, I may just fix it and drive it for awhile.
    I know or needs a clutch slave cylinder, clutch, and rear caliper. Could also use a new driver seat.

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