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  #1  
Unread 04-11-2009, 06:53 PM
rodslinger rodslinger is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Project Minivan on rails....



Haven't decided if this is a good idea or not yet. The problem is I'm married with two kids BUT I still want something enjoyable (and cheap) to drive while hauling my DNA and their toys. So here it goes...

The vehicle is my 2008 Mazda5. It is the sport model with a 5-speed manual. Since it is based and shares a lot with the 3 it is already a decent handler for what it is.

So part one was completed a few months back. Off came the stocker 17" wheels and on when a set of 18" Mazdaspeed wheels with a set of Sumitomo HTR Z III in a 225-45R18. Nice improvement right from the start and still appears Mazda stock. As it is now it is holding it's own fairly well against other mundane family haulers on back roads and long 270 degree exit ramps. Put in on a straight section though and this thing isn't going anywhere quickly.




Part two is a new rear dogbone style motor mount to replace the OEM mush that is in there now. I just get WAY too much slop when coming on and off the throttle or slow speed driving with the ac cycling on and off. Have alredy ordered one of those and expect to install about Tuesday.

Part three is a rear anti-sway bar from Tri-Point Engineering. They run a trio of Mazda6 sedans in the Speed World Challenge and do a damn fine job at it. They also make parts for Mazda vehicles. Fortunately most of their stuff for the 3 is a direct bolt on to the 5....


It is an adjustable piece. The stock bar spec is 230lbs per inch. The Tri-Point unit is 750 lbs/in on the lowest setting, 825 lbs/in on medium and 1000 lbs/in on the highest setting. Should really help as this van is a bit more top heavy than the 3. It expect they will begin production on these this week so hopefully it won't be long.

Will update with pics after the swaybar comes in. Will probably start looking at a set of coilovers and shocks next. Would like to improve the handlng further yet keep it reasonably close to stock ride height. Figure a set of adjustable coilovers would let me do that.
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  #2  
Unread 04-12-2009, 07:49 AM
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BeerBurner BeerBurner is offline
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Location: Sterling, Virginia
It does seem odd to do this to a mini-minivan. But then, I'd probably do it, too.

BB.
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  #3  
Unread 04-12-2009, 08:51 AM
angryrobots angryrobots is offline
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Location: South Carolina
Hell, it doesn't matter what you make go fast. You gonna auto-x it or something?

Personally, I'm partial to fast wagons, but whatever blows your hair back.
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  #4  
Unread 04-12-2009, 09:15 AM
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Edaw 0 Edaw 0 is offline
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Location: Arlington, VA
If I coulda* turned my Astro into a handling monster I woulda, so dude go for it.


*can't afford to give up my body parts like that.
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  #5  
Unread 04-12-2009, 11:26 AM
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DiRF DiRF is offline
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Location: Central Florida
Always been a fan of the Mazda5, neat to see someone actually making it sporty enough to match the front-facia looks.
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  #6  
Unread 04-12-2009, 01:19 PM
rodslinger rodslinger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angryrobots View Post
Hell, it doesn't matter what you make go fast. You gonna auto-x it or something?

Personally, I'm partial to fast wagons, but whatever blows your hair back.
It would be interesting to get a real comparision to other vehicles. But I bet they wouldn't allow it on course. They would probably classify it as unstable due to higher center of gravity and narrow track typical of vehicles of SUV and minivan classes.
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  #7  
Unread 04-12-2009, 07:09 PM
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AchTTung AchTTung is offline
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Location: WV
Cool project.
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  #8  
Unread 05-20-2009, 10:31 PM
rodslinger rodslinger is offline
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Swaybar has finally shipped. It is coming from California though so it probably won't be here by the weekend.
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  #9  
Unread 05-20-2009, 10:48 PM
fordtacomaz fordtacomaz is offline
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Location: Fife, WA
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodslinger
Part two is a new rear dogbone style motor mount to replace the OEM mush that is in there now. I just get WAY too much slop when coming on and off the throttle or slow speed driving with the ac cycling on and off
Dude, no fucking joke there. My Mazdaspeed6 is the same way. Seriously thinking about getting some new motor mounts. It's God AWFUL.
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  #10  
Unread 05-31-2009, 08:08 PM
rodslinger rodslinger is offline
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Well the bar came and I installed it yesterday morning. I bet it took 10 minutes tops. Didn't even have to jack the rear and still got my fat ass under there to wrench it out.

So far I am very pleased. The biggest improvement I have found so far is it has almost eliminated spinning the inside front tire when pulling off a turn. The 5 is much more top heavy that a 3 and easily unloads the inside front tire enough to start spinning even coming off a turn in second gear.

You can also feel the increased roll stiffness from the rear. When driving on irregular pavement the front just glides right through any irregularities while the rear follows very closely any dips in the road.

It's helped cornering quite a bit too. There is a 270 degree exit ramp I take on the way home. It is a slow and tight radius turn. It would usually go though about 45mph and start spinnig the inside tire exiting the ramp. Now it hugs it about 50 to 52 pretty easily and keeps traction when accelerating off the end.

Now it's time to find some decent shocks/springs. I think I'd like to use adjustable coilovers. I don't want to slam it like it seems most spring kits do. I'd like to keep the ride height close to stock. At least within 1/2 inch or so. Stealth is key.....



Last edited by rodslinger : 05-31-2009 at 08:12 PM.
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