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Thread: 2009 Mazda 5 - steering and suspension repairs

  1. #1
    Registered Member

    2009 Mazda 5 GT - 5-speed MT

    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
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    6

    2009 Mazda 5 - steering and suspension repairs

    Hello all - Newbie here with a first post. We bought our '09 Mazda 5 in May of 2013 with a low 52K km on the clock. It's been a good vehicle for us over the five years since, and is now at 148K km.

    I went through quite a spate of suspension and steering repairs in 2017, and thought I'd post about them here in case my experience can help others.

    My wife usually drives the 5, so I hadn't driven it in several weeks when I did the seasonal tire changeover in April 2017. I always grab the tire and try to move it side-to-side to check for outer tie-rod end problems, and noticed a bit of play and clunking on the driver's side. Even though the passenger side was tight, I figured I'd replace both sides as the car would need an alignment afterwards.

    I've had mixed experiences with aftermarket parts, and so bought the tie-rod ends from the dealer. They weren't too bad - about C$50 each. While driving to and from the dealership, I noticed some 'floatiness' in the road feel of the car - something wasn't right, and it didn't feel like just tie-rod ends to me.

    I installed them, but noticed that there was still some clunking on the driver's side. A bit more investigation turned up a bad ball joint. Back to the dealer (in our other vehicle) where I ordered lower control arms (LCAs) for both sides. Removing the LCA on the driver's side turned into a bit of an undertaking. In my haste to remove the bolt that acts as a pin to secure the ball joint shaft, I didn't remove the brake caliper. That meant the socket was not square to the bolt head, and I rounded off the head.
    (gah)

    As a result, I had to remove the steering knuckle to have access to drive out the bolt. Unfortunately, the splined axle shaft was seized into the hub. I eventually got that out with a specialty tool. Oh, the joys of living in the rust belt.

    I was glad it was necessary to change out the entire LCA; the rubber bushing was very worn anyway.

    Anyway, with new LCAs and outer tie-rod ends, the vehicle drove fine, but there was still some clunking. (Of course I put everything back together with liberal amounts of anti-seize compound.) On the basis of what I'd read on this forum, I next changed out the front stabilizer bar bushings. Per the factory service manual, one is supposed to drop the steering rack, etc., for access. No way! I'm glad to be able to say that it is possible, albeit challenging, to replace the bushings without doing so. I'm glad I did them when I did and not later - I was barely able to get the bolts started. They're all anti-seized now as well.

    The clunking persisted! GRRRR! What was left? (I'd previously changed out the stabilizer-bar end links, so knew they were OK.) There did seem to be some noise coming from the front passenger-side strut. I changed it out with a dealer part. The strut may have been on the way out, or may have been OK - it's hard to know because there was confounding factor - the plastic bearing thingy onto top of the strut was broken, so I replaced it as well.

    Now the clunking was greatly diminished, but still present in certain situations. At this point I'm wondering 'what's left?'. After a bit more reading, I decided to check the motor mounts. BINGO. The one on the passenger side ('front') end of the engine had failed - the rubber bladder containing silicone had leaked, and the rubber disintegrated when I touched it. That was an easy fix, and the clunking was then gone!

    It turned out that in removing the steering knuckle I'd beaten up the wheel bearing badly, and it started to make noise about 5000 km later. It was fairly easy to replace - the hub was easy to remove the 2nd time.

    The following year has been good. I've done one upgrade since; I didn't like the feel of the 50-series 3-season tires on 17" rims, and always thought they looked low even when they weren't. I also figured that the suspension had taken a beating from the combination of rubber-band tires and our atrocious roads, and that was why the LCA had failed prematurely. Anyway, I bought four 16" Mazda alloy wheels and had them fitted with 55-series Pirelli tires. The ride is now superb, and I'd say the noise level is lower too.

    So, that's the news from the 'Peg. I'll post about fun with the rear suspension another time. If you've read this far you deserve a prize.

  2. #2
    Registered Member

    2006 Mazda 6 - auto

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    325

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by #35 View Post
    ... If you've read this far you deserve a prize.
    So whats my prize? Anyway good post, someone will benefit.

  3. #3
    Registered Member

    2009 Mazda 5 GT - 5-speed MT

    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6

    Your prize!

    Quote Originally Posted by kw_da View Post
    So whats my prize? Anyway good post, someone will benefit.
    Your prize was that you didn't have to change the cabin filter in my 5 yesterday evening.

    I did so, for the first time in five years of ownership, and wow, what a job. It took me about 45 minutes of contortions, and was well overdue. Took out lots and lots of old leaves. There are two sections to the filter assembly, which are stacked vertically to provide complete coverage. The opening is too short to accommodate the height of the complete assembly, so the two sections have to be installed one at a time.

    Anyway, now I know how to do it I think I could do the next one in about 20 minutes.

  4. #4
    Registered Member

    Mazda 5

    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3
    I am in the same boat now.

    Front suspension is clunky over speed bumps.

    I replaced the passenger side motor mount which was toast and just did the sway bar bushings.

    It is still clunking.

    i am going to try the sway bar end-links next, but I don't think thats the issue.

  5. #5
    Registered Member

    Mazda 5

    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3
    So, going over speed bumps dead straight the car does not really make the clunking sound.

    Going at a slight angle the car makes the clunking sound.

    I took off the top bolt on one of the end-links and gave it a shake and there is play.

    Here is my plan of attack:

    1) Check / replace passenger side motor mount (done)
    2) Replace front sway bar bushings (done, I used Moog)
    3) Take top bolt off the end-links, give it a wiggle, see if there is play (replace if needed)
    4) Replace lower control arm assembly
    5) Replace complete strut assembly

    Other than that I don't think there is anything else to replace.

    I am also going to check the subframe bolts and make-sure those are tight.

  6. #6
    Booga Booga? phunky.buddha's Avatar

    2009 Mazda5 Sport

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    DFW Metro, TX
    Posts
    1,531
    Yup, lots of clunk-prone areas on this car. Glad you got it all fixed... mine's going up on the chopping block as soon as I get it all vacuumed out, for anyone that wants a 2009 manual.

    FYI, you can fit 26" diameter tires into the wheel wells with the stock suspension without issue. I'm running 225/50-17 right now. 215/50-17 gives you dead nuts speedometer vs actual speed, so 225/50 shows just a hair slow. Not a big deal to me. You could run 225/55-16 or 215/60-16 if you want the ultimate cushy ride with max sidewall.

  7. #7
    Registered Member

    Mazda 5

    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3
    The clunking/ratteling was so bad I thought surely it was more than just the motor-mount, front end-links, and front sway bar bushings.

    The clunking/rattling was so bad I thought it was the ball joints or top hats as well, but thankfully it was not.

    This was what I replaced and all my problems are gone:

    1) 1x ANCHOR 3103 Passenger Side Motor Mount ($10 on Rock Auto, need a bench vise)
    2) 1x MOOG Front Sway Bar Bushing: K200624 ($5 on Rock Auto)
    3) 2x MOOG Front Sway Bar Endlink: K80235 ($25 each on Rock Auto)

    I'm not sure how long the ANCHOR mount will last, but I will probably go OEM when it fails.

    The MOOG endlinks are very beefy and have zerk fittings for greasing. MUCH better quality than OEM.

    The car feels much tighter and planted up front.

    Thanks for all the help.

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