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

:
'17 CX-5 GT AWD
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?
I’m rusty on my manual transmission knowledge (and haven’t driven one in a while), but clutch engaging near the floor doesn’t seem like a sign of a bad clutch (clutch engaging high can be), but may be a bad/worn out slave or master cylinder. Hopefully someone else will chime in. Hard to tell if it’s a problem without having had the car since newer to see if anything has changed.
 
:
South Carolina
:
12 MZ5 13 CX-5
Yeah, the 3 rows is amazing and honestly unheard of in a minivan of this class. You generally have to go to a "full size" minivan (now there's an oxymoron for you!) like a Honda Odyssey for that.
 
:
2008 Mazda5 GT
I’m rusty on my manual transmission knowledge (and haven’t driven one in a while), but clutch engaging near the floor doesn’t seem like a sign of a bad clutch (clutch engaging high can be), but may be a bad/worn out slave or master cylinder. Hopefully someone else will chime in. Hard to tell if it’s a problem without having had the car since newer to see if anything has changed.
+1.
The "engages much closer to the floor" comment leads me to believe it is the slave.

Given the car's age/mileage, I would replace (complete change and pressure bleed) the brake and clutch fluid first. Unless the 2nd gen changed (highly doubt), it uses a shared fluid system for both brakes and clutch.
 
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
So I guess this might as well turn into something of a build thread. Pics may be spotty but hopefully I can offer something worthwhile.

It's been an interesting first couple of weeks. I've done a great deal of learning, often having to correct for hasty decisions.

Ordinarily I'd have educated myself much more on the car before buying it: common problems, what parts to select, parts sources and costs, etc. That would have been part of the calculus in deciding what car to buy, for obvious reasons.

This time, there was no such calculus. We wanted more than 5 seats and more than 2 pedals, so it was always going to be a Mazda5 6MT. All we really needed to know was whether we could likely afford it, and it seemed we could. Given that and an unexpectedly busy work schedule, I ended up skipping a lot of the detailed research until after the purchase – which predictably led to some less-than-optimal decisions. Hope at least some of those make for good stories!
 
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
One of the first tasks was an engine oil change. Here's the drain plug as it came to me:

Drain plug from PO.jpeg

Fortunately it came right out, and a stock-replacement one went right in. Kind of blows my mind how someone could do this kind of damage without over-torquing or stripping the threads. Either way, I'll take the win.

For the engine oil, I went with Liqui Moly Special Tec AA 0W-20 from FCP Euro, purely to take advantage of their lifetime replacement. I had strongly considered just going with Mobil 1 EP 0W-20 or something and foregoing the lifetime replacement; it's cheap and would save me the trouble of packing the old oil up etc. However, I already do at least 1 FCP Euro return yearly for my M3, so this doesn't add much. I'm also happy to keep stuff around for a while until I have a bunch to return, which saves further on shipping.

For the oil filter, I went with a Mobil 1 Extended Performance oil filter from Rock Auto, my parts source for basically everything non-OE that I couldn't get from FCP Euro. But that decision had been made before you guys pointed me toward good online retailers for Mazda OE parts. I think I'll go with Mazda oil filters from the next oil change onward. Happy to have any feedback on that.
 
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
Shocks and struts were another early job. I was super excited for Koni Special Actives, having experienced the old FSDs on a friend's E46 3-Series. It rode spectacularly, and the only complaint I ever heard was weird limit handling. Seemed like a completely fair tradeoff for a FWD family hauler.

The front Special Actives are shared with Volvos, which means they’re available on FCP Euro. Not much of a value add as they are already warrantied for life through Koni; the main benefit of FCP Euro’s warranty is that it’s basically unconditional.

To aid the job, I had this tool from working on my M3, which also has MacPherson struts with clamps up front. You stick the tool in the gap vertically, put a wrench on it, crank it 90º, and it spreads the clamp. Made it much easier to get the struts out.

Strut clamp expander tool.jpeg

Wasn't enough to get the new ones in, though – but it helped. For final assembly, I used a big flat-head screwdriver that happened to have a 10mm hex shaft. With a jack pushing up on the spindle, I stuck the screwdriver head in the gap, put a 10mm open-ended wrench on the shaft, and cranked until the strut popped into place.

Installed pics:
IMG_5652.jpeg IMG_5654.jpeg

Thought it was weird that the PS strut has that nice fin on the back but the DS one doesn't. Made the DS one more annoying to line up. Nothing a Sharpie and some fiddling couldn't fix, though.

I originally went with Sachs from Rock Auto for the strut mounts. Figured that if the stock ones were keyed for LH/RH, I should probably stick with ones that were also keyed that way. So, I ordered the pair...
IMG_5570.jpeg


...but inside the box for the PS mount (left), there was another DS mount!
IMG_5571.jpeg


Wanting to get the car back on the road in short order, I overnighted another Sachs PS mount from Autozone. I got yet another box with the correct part number printed on the outside but the wrong part inside. 🤬

Figured it had to be a warehouse issue or something, and that I'd need to look elsewhere. The only decent-quality replacement I could easily get my hands on was a KYB – which doesn't have the locating pin, so can be used on either side. An Autozone near me had one, so I could get it same-day. So, now I have one Sachs and one KYB strut mount. #ShrugLife

The one functional part I neglected to replace was the front bump stops. The ones that were in there looked okay so I thought nothing of it. Hope that wasn't a mistake.

Forgot to take pics of the rears, sadly. Easy AF though, and I'm sure y'all know what they'd look like. Special Actives, KYB shock mounts, VW MkIV Golf bump stops (because FCP Euro), and whatever boots the car came to me with.

Initially, ride quality was... interesting. Nice and smooth over most roads, but crashy as heck on big bumps. Turns out a lot of the crashiness was due to some combination of:

- Completely shot front LCA bushings,
- Worn ARB end links, and
- Worn ARB bushings.

I say this because, after replacing all of those, it got much better. I went OE Mazda for the front LCAs and ARB bushings, and Lemförder for the ARB end links (FCP Euro again).

The ARB bushings were a massive PITA! I could not for the life of me get the brackets on. Factory procedure is to pull the subframe so the bar can be worked on off the car, and then press the brackets on with a vise. I used silicone spray to get the brackets most of the way on – enough to get the bolts in – and then used the bolts to push the brackets the rest of the way on. If this was a mistake, I’m sure I’ll find out in due time!

More detailed discussion on front struts and ride quality here: Koni Special Actives installed. Smooth but crashy?

...But, suffice it to say I'm now happy enough with how the car rides that I'm not in a hurry to re-do anything. The overall ride is buttery smooth, body control is quite good, feedback and feel are great (all in the context of this kind of vehicle, of course). And it'll only get better after I complete a refresh of the rear suspension, which will hopefully be in the next week or two (we'll see).
 
Last edited:
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
The eagle eyed among you will have noticed the cruddy looking headlights in the first pic I posted. I refinished them using the relatively simple method in this video as a reference: The PROPER Way to Refinish Headlights: E39 M5

Before:
IMG_5766.jpeg

During:
IMG_5768.jpeg IMG_5769.jpeg

After:
IMG_5780.jpeg

Looks good in pics, but the orange peel is real:
IMG_5781.jpeg

...maybe because I didn't quite apply the clearcoat right.

Also, I know I didn't get all the fuzziness out because some of it is still there.

...But I kind of don't care. Does that make me a scrub? 😬
 
:
2008 Mazda5 GT
One of the first tasks was an engine oil change. Here's the drain plug as it came to me:

View attachment 313074

Fortunately it came right out, and a stock-replacement one went right in. Kind of blows my mind how someone could do this kind of damage without over-torquing or stripping the threads. Either way, I'll take the win.

For the engine oil, I went with Liqui Moly Special Tec AA 0W-20 from FCP Euro, purely to take advantage of their lifetime replacement. I had strongly considered just going with Mobil 1 EP 0W-20 or something and foregoing the lifetime replacement; it's cheap and would save me the trouble of packing the old oil up etc. However, I already do at least 1 FCP Euro return yearly for my M3, so this doesn't add much. I'm also happy to keep stuff around for a while until I have a bunch to return, which saves further on shipping.

For the oil filter, I went with a Mobil 1 Extended Performance oil filter from Rock Auto, my parts source for basically everything non-OE that I couldn't get from FCP Euro. But that decision had been made before you guys pointed me toward good online retailers for Mazda OE parts. I think I'll go with Mazda oil filters from the next oil change onward. Happy to have any feedback on that.
Futmoto Valve (aka Quickdrain valve) with the nipple extension to replace the drain bolt. +4" trans hose and you can drain hot oil right into catch pan or 5qt jug. There are a few imitation brands now but I believe Futmoto is still made in Japan but cost a little more.

Ford Motorcraft oils and filters are generally very well reviewed on BITOG and readily available/cheap at Walmart, just ignore the 'Ford' label. One might even say it IS the OEM filter ;)
Std -> bigger (both fit and clear spacing)
FL910S -> FL400s


You can DIY the knuckle spreader tool buy using a scrap hex head bolt (larger diameter barrel) and grinding the tip to an oblong shape with flat ends. IF needed, use 2nd bolt to ensure it stays apart while you are working/jerking. Another member intro an easier method to simply insert the knuckle bolt in reverse and use a scrap piece of metal to act at the block to spread the knuckle -rock solid stability.


FSB bushing is a PITA but with the right combo of swivel head adapter, it can be done without dropping the F.subframe. This reminds me to redo mine. It's been a few years and started knocking again.
 
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
The parts source journey has been an interesting one.

I had become convinced over the years that OE is always the way to go unless there's a compelling reason to do otherwise (money doesn't count except in dire situations). I had become a passionate follower of this strategy, to the point that I'd often go with BMW-branded stuff for certain critical parts on my M3 even when the (supposedly) exact same part was available without the BMW logo for much less money.

When I got the 5, though, I was initially enchanted by the idea of getting good-enough quality parts for a fraction the price of OE. For some reason I figured the differences between high quality aftermarket (e.g. Sachs, Moog, etc.) and genuine Mazda wouldn't matter as much on this car. So, I did a lot of Rock Auto hunting.

Now, just a couple of weeks later, I think I'm back to my previous ways. It's not that I've been burned yet or anything; it's that I've had to spend so much time under this car that I'm putting a much higher value on not having to repeat anything, and that means I'm no longer interested in less-than-max-quality parts. As the suspension refresh job has expanded in scope (I now realize I need tie rods and want to refresh every bushing in the rear suspension), I've dismissed everything I've seen on Rock Auto and will be going OE for almost everything.

As of now, and I think for the foreseeable future, my parts sources in order of priority are

1. FCP Euro where possible, for the lifetime replacement guarantee
2. Mazda OE
3. Others only when necessary for some reason
 
Last edited:
:
South Carolina
:
12 MZ5 13 CX-5
Moog is straight garbage on Mazda. DO NOT even half entertain going that route. Same goes for Monroe shocks.

Ask me how I know...
 
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
Moog is straight garbage on Mazda. DO NOT even half entertain going that route. Same goes for Monroe shocks.

Ask me how I know...
Not surprised about Monroe. I figured they were the "I don't know anything about suspension" option. Though I now realize that's a bit unfair as they do make at least some high-end stuff.

Pretty surprised about Moog, though. They get rave reviews on other platforms. Don't think I've ever used their stuff myself, though.
 
:
South Carolina
:
12 MZ5 13 CX-5
Moog is straight up fantastic on older American cars and trucks. But the crap they make for Japanese makes is just trash. I thought I was alone, but my experiences with Moog on foreign cars are exactly the same as EricTheCarGuy's. When he made this video, I just yelled "YES!" at the screen.


 
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
Chatted with a shop yesterday about maybe doing some of the suspension work I still have to do. Wanted to bring them mostly Mazda OE parts and have them just do the install, if the price was right.

Dude went on a mini rant about the fact that they don't want to use customer-supplied parts because of concerns with quality, fitment, etc. And also because selling parts is part of how they make money. So I asked him what parts he'd use.

He said.... Moog. 😬
 
:
2008 Mazda5 GT
Interesting ETCG is ranting on an 'adjustable' arm with zerk fitting, which is not an OEM equivalent part. He'll likely have less issue if he'd just use an OEM equivalent non-adjustable part for comparison. He acknowledges there are no other options that fit his criteria and the mod (cutting turnbuckle shorter) is not a big deal to make the only avail part work for his needs. I do agree it would be great if the part would 'just fit' as advertised but then again he is using a non-equivalent part, which are more generic by design due to their adjustability.

Not an excuse but the other side of the debate is could be catalog issue. OEMs are constantly updating parts (TSB/revision/change supplier), and slight variations in trim (ex. Mazda X GT is sportier b/c .6" lower) means the control arms and end links will be ever so slightly different length from base trim. Then there's parts sharing (think GM) and co-partnerships that use mix part bins. Ultimately, it rests on the aftermarket QC to catch this but it would be difficult. Also be aware that some aftermarket parts may have different tiers too!

Moog is absolutely not perfect (really crappy surface coating for one) but out of the avail aftermarket options I'm glad they are around and still one of my top picks esp. since there aren't many alternatives. I would suggest that after you find a part number on RockAuto or Moog's catalog, google the part number itself for user reviews (other online vendors, but review not always reliable) to get a sense if it works for the intended car. Forums come in handy too. Post the exact part and part number you are having issue with and share you experience so folks are aware.

I'm using Moog LCA, end links (missing zerks, surface rust easily), outer rod (have inner), bushings -ok so far. I use OEM on critical components, esp anything relate to the engine, but OEM is the best route to go if you can accept the cost.


Edit: good read and be sure to read comments also.
 
Last edited:
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
Kenwood DMX907S installed:
IMG_5897.jpeg


First thing on this car that I've had done by professionals when I could have DIYed. Not a fan of the money I spent, but a big fan of the results and time saved.

Already miss the volume knob. :ROFLMAO: So worth it for CarPlay, though.

Bonus: The radio tuner is better than the stock one, and of course so is the sound quality.
 
Last edited:
:
South Carolina
:
12 MZ5 13 CX-5
Those Kenwoods really are nice. That's what I run in my cars as well. Did you go with the Maestro RR for the steering wheel interface?
 
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
Those Kenwoods really are nice. That's what I run in my cars as well. Did you go with the Maestro RR for the steering wheel interface?
I did not, unfortunately. Wanted to go with what my installer was familiar with, and to control costs as this mod was already way more expensive than what I had hoped for (less expensive wireless CarPlay touchscreens were all out of stock).
 
:
'17 CX-5 GT AWD
Haven’t run aftermarket stereo in recent years, but kenwood excelon used to be my go-to deck. Good power and sound with lots of adjustments and settings. Are you planning to upgrade the speakers?
 
:
BMW M3 / Mazda5
Are you planning to upgrade the speakers?
I'd love to, but there are a lot of other priorities now and in the near future. This car is taking more than I had anticipated to bring it up to my standards, and I'm planning a nice but large project of maintenance and mild upgrades on the M3 next year.

We'll see. Maybe I'll blow the stock speakers and use that as an excuse. :ROFLMAO: