Miata 1990-1997

Struts (MacPherson Struts)

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Performance Check



Specific to:

Mazda Miata 1990-1997

The simplest test of the struts is simply push down on one corner of the unladen vehicle and release it. Observe the motion of the body as it is released. In most cases, it will come up beyond it original rest position, dip back below it and settle quickly to rest. This shows that the damper is controlling the spring action. Any tendency to excessive pitch (up-and-down) motion or failure to return to rest within 2-3 cycles is a sign of poor function within the strut. Oil-filled struts may have a light film of oil around the seal, resulting from normal breathing and air exchange. This should NOT be taken as a sign of failure, but any sign of thick or running oil definitely indicates failure. Gas filled struts may also show some film at the shaft; if the gas has leaked out, the strut will have almost no resistance to motion.

While each strut can be replaced individually, it is recommended that they be changed as a pair (both front or both rear) to maintain equal response on both sides of the vehicle. Chances are quite good that if one has failed, its mate is weak also.

Removal & Installation



Specific to:

Mazda Miata 1990-1993



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Removal and installation of the strut

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  2.  
  3. Remove the engine undercover. Remove the band for the wheel speed sensor harness.
  4.  
  5. Remove the bolt and disconnect the stabilizer bar from the link.
  6.  
  7. Paint alignment marks on the upper strut mounting block and the strut tower, so the strut can be reinstalled in the same position.
  8.  
  9. Remove the cotter pin and the mounting nut for the upper ball joint.
  10.  
  11. Remove the nuts from the strut mounting block. Remove the lower strut mounting bolt and nut.
  12.  
  13. Loosen the lower control arm bolts and pull down on the hub/knuckle assembly. Remove the strut up through the upper control arm.
  14.  
  15. To remove the coil spring from the strut assembly:
    1. Safely secure the assembly in a vise. Loosen the piston rod upper nut several turns, but do not remove it.
    2.  
    3. Assemble special tools 49 G034 101, 102 and 103. Compress the coil spring using the tools.
    4.  
    5. Remove the upper nut, and remove the coil spring.
    6.  

  16.  

To install:

  1. Install the coil spring on the strut assembly using the same special tools used to remove it. Tighten the upper nut in a vice with a final torque of 24-33 ft. lbs. (32-46 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Position the strut and loosely install the lower bolt and nut.
  4.  
  5. Install the strut in the strut tower, making sure the paint marks made during removal are aligned, and loosely install the upper mounting lock nuts.
  6.  
  7. Install the upper ball joint to the knuckle. Use a new cotter pin and loosely install the nut.
  8.  
  9. Connect the stabilizer bar to the link and loosely tighten the bolt.
  10.  
  11. Tighten the lower control arm bolts and nuts to 83 ft. lbs. (113 Nm).
  12.  
  13. Install the engine undercover and the band for the wheel speed sensor harness. Install the wheel and tire assembly and lower the vehicle.
  14.  
  15. Tighten the lower strut bolt to 54-69 ft. lbs. (73-93 Nm). Tighten upper strut nuts to 22-27 ft. lbs. (30-36 Nm). Tighten the upper ball joint nut to 31-44 ft. lbs. (42-60 Nm). Tighten the stabilizer bolt to 27-40 ft. lbs. (37-54 Nm).
  16.  
  17. Check the front wheel alignment.
  18.  

Specific to:

Mazda Miata 1994-1997



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Removal and installation of the strut

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  2.  
  3. Remove the engine undercover. Remove the band for the wheel speed sensor harness.
  4.  
  5. Remove the bolt and disconnect the stabilizer bar from the link.
  6.  
  7. Paint alignment marks on the upper strut mounting block and the strut tower, so the strut can be reinstalled in the same position.
  8.  
  9. Remove the cotter pin and the mounting nut for the upper ball joint.
  10.  
  11. Remove the nuts from the strut mounting block. Remove the lower strut mounting bolt and nut.
  12.  
  13. Loosen the lower control arm bolts and pull down on the hub/knuckle assembly. Remove the strut up through the upper control arm.
  14.  
  15. To remove the coil spring from the strut assembly:
    1. Safely secure the assembly in a vise. Loosen the piston rod upper nut several turns, but do not remove it.
    2.  
    3. Assembly special tools 49 G034 101, 102 and 103. Compress the coil spring using the tools.
    4.  
    5. Remove the upper nut, and remove the coil spring.
    6.  

  16.  

To install:

  1. Install the coil spring on the strut assembly using the same special tools used to remove it. Tighten the upper nut in a vise with a final torque of 24-33 ft. lbs. (32-46 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Position the strut and loosely install the lower bolt and nut.
  4.  
  5. Install the strut in the strut tower, making sure the paint marks made during removal are aligned, and loosely install the upper mounting blocknuts.
  6.  
  7. Install the upper ball joint to the knuckle. Use a new cotter pin and loosely install the nut.
  8.  
  9. Connect the stabilizer bar to the link and loosely tighten the bolt.
  10.  
  11. Tighten the lower control arm bolts and nuts to 83 ft. lbs. (113 Nm).
  12.  
  13. Install the engine undercover and the band for the wheel speed sensor harness. Install the wheel and tire assembly and lower the vehicle.
  14.  
  15. Tighten the lower strut bolt to 54-69 ft. lbs. (73-93 Nm). Tighten upper strut nuts to 22-27 ft. lbs. (30-36 Nm). Tighten the upper ball joint nut to 31-44 ft. lbs. (42-60 Nm). Tighten the stabilizer bolt to 27-40 ft. lbs. (37-54 Nm).
  16.  
  17. Check the front wheel alignment.
  18.  

 
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