IamFODI's 2012 Mazda5 6MT: Intro, plans, questions, and build

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BMW M3 / Mazda5
Hi, all! Just bought a 2012 Mazda5 6MT. She needs some work but I'm pretty stoked.

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She’ll be joining our BMW E90 M3 6MT sedan:
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Living in a city, we never needed more than one car. The M3 did everything: school runs to track days, road trips and weekend fun drives, all weather including snow and salt.

Only a matter of time before kids changed the calculus. The M3 sedan was great for the first few years, but it's coming time for something more tailor-made for everyday driving. Since I insist on manual transmissions, and we wanted 3 rows, the 5 was really the only option. Thankfully it's a good vehicle.
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Even looking nationwide, there were so few gen-2 Mazda5 6MTs for sale that I basically had to pick rust, accidents, or miles. I chose miles. This car came to me with over 157k, but apparently most of that was in central Texas. Hope that was the right call.

Over the next month or so, the 5 will be getting:

- Koni Special Active dampers
- Kenwood DMX907S for wireless CarPlay
- Volvo brake pads
- All three powertrain mounts
- LED headlight bulbs
- Spark plugs
- All operating fluids

Also a few fixes like headlight housing restoration, rear window motors, and a new antenna.

Leather-wrapped steering wheel coming at some point. Fluid Film or similar underbody coating in winter. Lighter wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport AS4 tires coming in spring. The stock wheels will become the winter set.

Overall, the plan is to keep the car stock or OE+.

Plenty of cosmetic blemishes but I’m likely to let most of those be. I was never one to spend time or effort making sure my car was pretty.

Hope you all will indulge some noob questions, plus at least one potentially unusual one for this platform. I’ve searched a lot of this stuff but maybe I haven’t looked hard enough. Apologies in advance if I’ve missed anything obvious.
  1. What’s a good service manual just to have as a reference? Hard to find anything specific to the gen-2 US cars. I’ve found some pretty comprehensive materials for the 1.8 and 2.0 engine versions, and of course some gen-1 stuff, but nothing for gen-2 2.5.
  2. Has anyone made a list of parts shared with Volvos? I know of a few (strut/shock mounts, front struts, brake pads, etc.) and am building my own list, but I have to imagine someone has compiled one somewhere.
  3. If clutch pedal effort is higher than normal, does that suggest a very new or very old clutch? Or something else like a worn slave cylinder? I’m not sure if clutch pedal effort is higher than normal on this car, but it’s higher than in my M3, so I’m weighing potential preemptive fixes.
  4. Is there any chassis bracing for this car that’s actually worthwhile and available in the US? I see packages from Hardrace, Ultra Racing, etc., but a lot of it looks like it does nothing, and it’s all either NLA, RHD-specific, or shipped from potentially sketchy vendors.
Thanks to everyone who read this far. Hope to have some good updates soon!
 
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Antoine

Administrator
Welcome, nice find and great intro! You've come to the right place, the Mazda5 crew here is very helpful and knowledgeable. Looking forward to your updates! 😁
 
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2010 Mazda 5 Sport
The Factory Service Manual is the only good one. I find them as downloadable pdfs on ebay for cheap.

Not sure why you'd need chassis bracing. There isn't enough HP on these cars to flex anything. Best mod is probably the Mazda 3 rear sway bar. It's noticeably beefier. I swapped that in and my son said it felt better in the corners.

Mine is a Manual Transmission car...can't comment on the clutch. It works. Don't know how I can tell what's normal or not since I have nothing to compare it to.
 
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BMW M3 / Mazda5
The Factory Service Manual is the only good one. I find them as downloadable pdfs on ebay for cheap.
Saw those as well but some of the reviews of the sellers scared me off (buyers talking about some docs being incomplete etc.). Are you aware of one in particular that's reliable? Or should I just take the plunge?


Not sure why you'd need chassis bracing. There isn't enough HP on these cars to flex anything. Best mod is probably the Mazda 3 rear sway bar. It's noticeably beefier. I swapped that in and my son said it felt better in the corners.
Fair enough. Like you said, it's not a need; I'm just a big fan of the benefits of a stiff unibody. Not springs and sway bars so much as strut tower and subframe braces. If that's not a thing for this car, no biggie. Already looking forward to how it's going to ride with 16s and fresh dampers. :]
 
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South Carolina
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12 MZ5 13 CX-5
We also have a 2012.
A couple of things to note:

#1: when you get your Kenwood, use the iDataLink Maestro RR for the interface. With that unit, not only do you keep your steering wheel controls, you also get full gauges, right on the radio! It's about the best interface you can get, no lie.

#2: there is exactly zero sound deadening in the car. It's really pathetic. I did a triple layer of sound proofing in ours, a layer of KillMat, a layer of Noico closed cell foam, topped with a layer of mass loaded vinyl. I did all 5 doors, the side panels, and the floor. It made a tremendous difference in the enjoyment of the car, no lie. Well, well worth the effort. I made a post on how I did it.

#3: the best performance upgrade you can do for the van is fitting the front brake rotors, pads, and calipers from a Mazdaspeed3. It's a straight bolt on affair, except that the factory wheels won't clear the calipers. But that's okay, just grab the wheels off of a Mazda3, Mazdaspeed3, or RX-8! Those wheels look better anyway!

#4: Change your transmission fluid! Use Redline MT-90, and only Redline MT-90. You'll need about 3 quarts to do the job, and it's super easy. Just do it the next oil change when you already have it up in the air.

#5: mind the engine mounts. They will break. Seems like that's a feature, not a bug! And because you have the very rare manual transmission, when you change your rear engine mount, get a Ford Focus Electric mount. Not the regular Focus, you need the Focus Electric mount. It rides as smoothly as the factory Mazda mount, but firms up your shifts, big time. You'll also need the Ford bolt, because the threads are different from Mazda. But it does mount right up with no modifications at all. Avoid aftermarket mounts unless you have a good dental plan, because even the "softest" aftermarket mounts will rattle your teeth out of your head.

#6: mind your rear shock mounts. They will break, guaranteed. Just grab some OEM shocks when they go, they already come with the mounts, and the prices are very competitive vs aftermarket.

#7: about the LEDs: nope, don't do it! It's a waste of money compared to using 9011's in place of 9005's in your high beams, and H9's in place of your H11's in yoru low beams. I'm telling you, with inexpensive Standard Philips 9011/H9 combo in place of the crappy factory 9005/H11, you'll be blown away at the difference in lighting output, for such little money. The bulbs are only about $10 each! You'll have to very slightly modify the tabs, but a pair of side cutters makes quick work of that.

#8: when you do your spark plugs, spend the money, get the NGK OE Laser Iridium plugs. Not even the NGK Iridium IX's, get the Lasers. They are the correct plug for the motor, and yes, there's a difference.
 
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#8: when you do your spark plugs, spend the money, get the NGK OE Laser Iridium plugs. Not even the NGK Iridium IX's, get the Lasers. They are the correct plug for the motor, and yes, there's a difference.
Thanks for the long post!
What's the part # for those?
Spark plugs: NGK 90083 LTR5BI-13 Laser Iridium Spark Plug
Interestingly, I put them in my other mazda5, but fell for IXs in my primary mazda5!
 
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BMW M3 / Mazda5
Further question: Where do you guys buy your genuine Mazda parts? My previous favorite vendor (from years ago) seems way less responsive than when I last bought from them, and I'd really prefer to shop elsewhere.
 
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BMW M3 / Mazda5
So a member of our extended family has a 2010 5MT. We compared clutch pedal feel between the two cars. Ours is significantly heavier and engages much closer to the floor. Anyone think we should start feeling out clutch replacement?
 
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'17 CX-5 GT AWD
Looks to be a very nice ride and a great find. Also love the plans you have for it. Wish I knew more about this model. It reminds me of the tall hatchback things they have overseas. Forget what they call them.:giggle:
 
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BMW M3 / Mazda5
Looks to be a very nice ride and a great find. Also love the plans you have for it. Wish I knew more about this model. It reminds me of the tall hatchback things they have overseas. Forget what they call them.:giggle:
Thanks! It's basically a Mazda3 with a big bubbly body up top. Also the only way to get 3 rows with 3 pedals in the US, outside of some very old vans. The stick was only available with the lowest trim level, so this one's pretty no-frills. Manual seats, no sunroof, etc. etc. But that also makes it lighter, which I like. :]
 
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'17 CX-5 GT AWD
Thanks! It's basically a Mazda3 with a big bubbly body up top. Also the only way to get 3 rows with 3 pedals in the US, outside of some very old vans. The stick was only available with the lowest trim level, so this one's pretty no-frills. Manual seats, no sunroof, etc. etc. But that also makes it lighter, which I like. :]
wow, not sure why i didn't realize about it having 3 rows (duh) and being based on the 3 (also duh). i assume it came with the 2 litre engine?