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Thread: DIY Maintenance - Suspension, Chassis, Body, etc.

  1. #1
    Resident barbarian ColoradoDriver's Avatar
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    DIY Maintenance - Suspension, Chassis, Body, etc.

    Hey guys,

    This has been on my mind for a while. So I have things down like changing oil, ATF, spark plugs, air filters, light bulbs, battery, etc. for normal maintenance. But something I was a little less sure about were the items in the Chassis and Body section of the maintenance schedule.



    Specifically, the following:

    • Front and rear suspension, ball joints and wheel bearing axial play (Inspect)
    • Driveshaft Dust Boots (Inspect)
    • Bolts and Nuts on chassis and body (Tighten)
    • Exhaust system and heat shields (Inspect)


    I don't know what bolts and nuts I'm supposed to apparently be tightening. What am I inspecting for exhaust and heat shields? I don't know what a driveshaft dust boot is, and same for what I am apparently supposed to be inspecting for front/rear suspension, ball joints, bearing axial play. I don't know what any of that means.

    Can anyone help me? I suppose you could call this the next step of me learning about my car and more DIY.

    Thanks,
    CD
    Last edited by ColoradoDriver; 06-13-2019 at 12:43 AM.
    2014 CX-5 Touring AWD 2.5L | Jet Black Mica - 82k miles
    01/2013 build | 4/20/2013 delivery

  2. #2
    Work in Progress sm1ke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoDriver View Post
    • Front and rear suspension, ball joints and wheel bearing axial play (Inspect)
    • Driveshaft Dust Boots (Inspect)
    • Bolts and Nuts on chassis and body (Tighten)
    • Exhaust system and heat shields (Inspect)


    I don't know what bolts and nuts I'm supposed to apparently be tightening. What am I inspecting for exhaust and heat shields? I don't know what a driveshaft dust boot is, and same for what I am apparently supposed to be inspecting for front/rear suspension, ball joints, bearing axial play. I don't know what any of that means.

    Can anyone help me? I suppose you could call this the next step of me learning about my car and more DIY.

    Thanks,
    CD
    For front and rear suspension, I believe you're just inspecting for leaks, and making sure that all of the bolts are torqued to spec. In some cases, the strut tower nuts in the engine bay are only hand tightened.

    For ball joints, jack the car up, put your hands at the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions and try to push the wheel in towards the center of the car. If there is play (i.e. movement when you push the wheel in), you'll want to get the ball joints replaced. Here's a great video for reference. This guy also has a lot of other very helpful videos on his channel.

    For wheel bearings, all I know is that if there is a humming sound/vibration coming from one of the wheels while driving, that's a symptom of a wheel bearing on it's way out.

    Driveshaft dust boots: http://www.mcx5.org/front_drive_shaf...ction-979.html

    For the exhaust system and heat shields, I'd just check to see if there are any exhaust leaks and make sure all of the nuts and bolts are tight. Heat shields should be secure, metal exhaust hangers should still be intact (they can break off due to rust sometimes). To check for leaks, I'd take a wet, soapy rag and run it along the exhaust piping while the car is idling (preferably from a cold start to avoid dealing with hot piping). If you see any bubbles from the soapy water, you have a minor leak. These usually originate at the exhaust flanges and can be fixed by replacing the exhaust gasket. Bigger leaks are more obvious, in that the exhaust note will be much louder.

  3. #3
    Resident barbarian ColoradoDriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sm1ke View Post
    For front and rear suspension, I believe you're just inspecting for leaks, and making sure that all of the bolts are torqued to spec. In some cases, the strut tower nuts in the engine bay are only hand tightened.

    For ball joints, jack the car up, put your hands at the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions and try to push the wheel in towards the center of the car. If there is play (i.e. movement when you push the wheel in), you'll want to get the ball joints replaced. Here's a great video for reference. This guy also has a lot of other very helpful videos on his channel.

    For wheel bearings, all I know is that if there is a humming sound/vibration coming from one of the wheels while driving, that's a symptom of a wheel bearing on it's way out.

    Driveshaft dust boots: http://www.mcx5.org/front_drive_shaf...ction-979.html

    For the exhaust system and heat shields, I'd just check to see if there are any exhaust leaks and make sure all of the nuts and bolts are tight. Heat shields should be secure, metal exhaust hangers should still be intact (they can break off due to rust sometimes). To check for leaks, I'd take a wet, soapy rag and run it along the exhaust piping while the car is idling (preferably from a cold start to avoid dealing with hot piping). If you see any bubbles from the soapy water, you have a minor leak. These usually originate at the exhaust flanges and can be fixed by replacing the exhaust gasket. Bigger leaks are more obvious, in that the exhaust note will be much louder.
    This is extremely helpful. I will be taking a look at all these links.

    Thank you very much!
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sm1ke View Post
    For front and rear suspension, I believe you're just inspecting for leaks, and making sure that all of the bolts are torqued to spec. In some cases, the strut tower nuts in the engine bay are only hand tightened.

    For ball joints, jack the car up, put your hands at the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions and try to push the wheel in towards the center of the car. If there is play (i.e. movement when you push the wheel in), you'll want to get the ball joints replaced. Here's a great video for reference. This guy also has a lot of other very helpful videos on his channel.

    For wheel bearings, all I know is that if there is a humming sound/vibration coming from one of the wheels while driving, that's a symptom of a wheel bearing on it's way out.

    Driveshaft dust boots: http://www.mcx5.org/front_drive_shaf...ction-979.html

    For the exhaust system and heat shields, I'd just check to see if there are any exhaust leaks and make sure all of the nuts and bolts are tight. Heat shields should be secure, metal exhaust hangers should still be intact (they can break off due to rust sometimes). To check for leaks, I'd take a wet, soapy rag and run it along the exhaust piping while the car is idling (preferably from a cold start to avoid dealing with hot piping). If you see any bubbles from the soapy water, you have a minor leak. These usually originate at the exhaust flanges and can be fixed by replacing the exhaust gasket. Bigger leaks are more obvious, in that the exhaust note will be much louder.
    That was a very to the point and helpful response. I too wonder about these loose bolts that are supposed to be tightened. One would spend a long time to look up every torque spec and systematically go through and tighten them. I'm certain that the Mazda techs don't do that.

    You mentioned the strut tower nuts. I wonder if there is a list somewhere of the important ones with torque values.

  5. #5
    Resident barbarian ColoradoDriver's Avatar
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    Thinking service manual ought to have the torque specs.
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  6. #6
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    the critical fasteners to check the torque on are the ones for the wheels, suspension, & brakes

    the suspension mounts to the body, which may be why they have "body" in the instructions

    things like the engine & CV joints won't kill you tho your wallet could take a big hit if the half-shaft comes loose and flails around smashing things...

    finding the torque values in the service manual will be better than using a typical value based on the fastener size

    * checking the torque wrench calibration is a good idea too

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