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Rally Racer
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently received a donated, new, Megane Racing H-Brace from a fellow member Sydtron and I thought I would post my impressions.

Installation is a 2/10 (and roughly 15min with hand tools)
Jack
Jack-stands
21mm deep socket (88-114 lb-ft)
15mm deep socket (69-93 lb-ft)
The bar only fits one way, just be sure it is sitting flush. The washers from the two nuts (21mm) will not be used and centering the bar, so it can be tightened, will have to be perfect or the clearance between the 21mm deep socket and the bar will not allow the nut to recess into the tool. Tighten by hand and make sure you can put the socket on both nuts before you proceed to torquing.

My vehicle currently has Racing Beat springs and is sitting 0.7in lower than stock in front and rear. This gives me a clearance height of about 5.5in on new 215/50R17 (stock S wheels)

The H-Brace lower my ground clearance to about 4.25in, costing me about 1.25in of center ground clearance. This means that I will have to put the new bar to use if there is anything in my lane, as I will likely contact all but the smallest 'flotsam'. The big question for me is how it will do in the snow.

Impressions:
First drive has me backing up my drive way and turning at lock to enter the alley. This always gives me a loud crack from the plastic dashboard as the vehicle crosses-up and drops of my driveway pad onto the gravel.
Megane H-Brace has completely eliminated this creak. In fact, I now hear no dashboard creaking at all traversing curb cuts or speed bumps/humps.
Turn-in is much crisper. I was skeptical about being able to feel anything but have to admit there is a noticeable difference in the solidity of the ride. This addition would be a real improvement for European models that see a lot of cobbles (provided they are not too tall)
I cannot say if this would really help the 06-08 models (series 2) as there were reportedly chassis upgrades that aided in rigidity but for the series 1 (03-05) the improvement is present.

Thanks again Sydtron!!

Happy Motoring


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I have the very same "snap!" From somewhere very high up in the dash when I get one front wheel up high such as entering a steep driveway cut. Good to know it might just be the way the car is built and not an issue with worn parts.
 

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Rally Racer
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Discussion Starter #3
I have the very same "snap!" From somewhere very high up in the dash when I get one front wheel up high such as entering a steep driveway cut. Good to know it might just be the way the car is built and not an issue with worn parts.
YES! and now it is gone! I have to say, I was really skeptical about this bar but there is no doubt regarding the difference. I am in a 2004 wagon and I DO NOT have a strut top bar... yet.

Generally these chassis bars have been a welcome aid to my old wagon.

___EDIT___
"Yet", has arrived. Steeda has the front strut bar for the Fusion on sale currently so I suppose now is the time. It has been ordered and is on the way. I'll add another post here about my impressions as we don't really need another thread about strut bars... Even if I believe much of what was written about the bars 'not being helping' was a result of the vehicles being 1-3 years old. My feeling is that after a decade plus of fatigue the bars are coming into their own.
 

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"Yet", has arrived. Steeda has the front strut bar for the Fusion on sale currently so I suppose now is the time. It has been ordered and is on the way. I'll add another post here about my impressions as we don't really need another thread about strut bars... Even if I believe much of what was written about the bars not helping was a result of the vehicles being 1-3 years old. I believe after a decade plus of fatigue the bars are coming into their own.
Not sure how it will help with already having the H-brace on, but it should tighten up the front noticeably - it definitely helped with solidity and predictability when I put the Steeda on mine. Just about anything will benefit from a strut bar, especially as you ratchet up spring and damper rates and tire grip - many high performance vehicle variants have them, they clearly are doing something (even if it's just NVH related - jinba ittai!).
 

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Rally Racer
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Discussion Starter #5
Not sure how it will help with already having the H-brace on, but it should tighten up the front noticeably - it definitely helped with solidity and predictability when I put the Steeda on mine. Just about anything will benefit from a strut bar, especially as you ratchet up spring and damper rates and tire grip - many high performance vehicle variants have them, they clearly are doing something (even if it's just NVH related - jinba ittai!).
I found it amusing to see the various build related posts you made and to realize that we independently built the same cars.. I added the Steeda front strut bar and it was a nice "little" improvement. Not the stellar jump of the H-brace but an addition all the same. I bet if I would have gone with the strut bar before the H-brace I would be saying the opposite.
Last would be the AutoEXE lower rear arm bar (brace) to help with the wagon rear. probably will never happen but it's always nice to daydream
.
 

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Love it!

Dr.,
You and I seem to have very similar goals suspension wise! I love the H-brace idea and ordered one. But they are fresh out and had to refund me until they get more in which is an unknown date.
I am pleased to know the RB springs only drop 3/4". I was looking for the mildest drop for my 3.0 HB and wasn't sure if those springs were ok given the extra weight out back. But if you used them on a wagon, I'm in!
Second, the interior cross brace concerns me only because I carry big bins around for work. It seems like the brace would be a big hindrance to sliding things in and out of the rear cargo area.
Lastly, DrFeelGood, thank you so much for these posts (including your comprehensive sway bar post.) They have helped me greatly and I really appreciate the time and detail you have put in.

Matthew
 

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Rally Racer
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Discussion Starter #7
Dr.,
You and I seem to have very similar goals suspension wise! I love the H-brace idea and ordered one. But they are fresh out and had to refund me until they get more in which is an unknown date.
I am pleased to know the RB springs only drop 3/4". I was looking for the mildest drop for my 3.0 HB and wasn't sure if those springs were ok given the extra weight out back. But if you used them on a wagon, I'm in!
Second, the interior cross brace concerns me only because I carry big bins around for work. It seems like the brace would be a big hindrance to sliding things in and out of the rear cargo area.
Lastly, DrFeelGood, thank you so much for these posts (including your comprehensive sway bar post.) They have helped me greatly and I really appreciate the time and detail you have put in.

Matthew
Sure Matthew, no problem. A few thing your should note before doing the springs. Spring rates are very similar according to Racing Beat but the spring is shorter.
http://forum.mazda6club.com/suspension-brakes/413577-wrong-racing-beat-springs-ordered.html#post4836465
Energy Suspension 6.6104 placed on top of the spring insulator raised it a bit. Since I have a wagon I used one on the top and a similar one on the bottom of the spring.


The amount of rear floor lift I experienced was minimal but it is there.
Check it out.
http://forum.mazda6club.com/suspension-brakes/417441-wagon-rear-floor-bar.html

All in all the car rides very nice. Everything is just tighter without being annoying.
 

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i have energy suspension isolators like that sitting at my house for my mustang, but the pad is thinner as to not change the ride height as much. i wonder if they'd fit the mazda? i left them out completely and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. only negative i've noticed is potholes sound 10x worse than they actually are.

bbk and a few other companies also make a different style now to replace the style above. the pad is thinner than the old design pictured above. you'll see this style more and more as time goes on.
 

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This is going to sound horrible, but I didn't even know about this thread. I've been curious about your "H" brace since I saw it in your sig Doc and I think this has now decided my next purchase after a subframe and springs.
 

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This is going to sound horrible, but I didn't even know about this thread. I've been curious about your "H" brace since I saw it in your sig Doc and I think this has now decided my next purchase after a subframe and springs.
Can't speak for @DrFeelGood, but the H-brace stiffens up the front similar to how a front tower brace does (expect the H-brace is harder to install and has potential clearance issues as it goes on the bottom of the car). Since you have a hatch and the rear body sheel is inherently less stiff, I would look doing a rear cross floor bar - I had a SURE RDS-06 on my Mazda6 and loved how it tightened up the rear over bumps. I just picked up the Speedline bar that DrFeelGood has for a 2006 Milan I have as a winter car - 02+ Mazda6 / 06+ Mazdaspeed6 Rear Cross Floor Bar - THESPEEDLINE ~ The Speedline nabobery - with the $30ish shipping it is about half the cost as the SURE RDS-06. Haven't installed it yet (broke the socket adapter in my kit I keep in my car trying to get the bolt out), but can give feedback when I do.
 

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Finally installed both the Speedline rear cross floor bar and the Steeda front shock tower brace. Even on the softer sprung Mercury Milan it is noticeably more solid, decreases "felt" roll a bit, but more important to me is that is helps the car take and recover from bumps better - not as big a difference as on my Mazda6 I had, but that was sprung waaay stiffer with a bigger rear sway bar. I think I feel more jittery small movements that don't flex the body shell though, which is interesting, but I'd chalk that up to a suspension that may not be perfectly aligned and the tires grabbing a little bit and that movement not getting eaten up by the bushings - I'd guess that "slop" used to just pass through the body shell flexing, that or I notice it more as other larger movements are quelled. Altogether glad I did them both and I wasn't out much at around $160 - if I get rid of the Milan as well I know a few CD3 owners or could sell them on here, so I wasn't concerned about "getting my money's worth".

To @bluedevil6 - if you can swing it, I would look at doing all 3 braces we talked about; the strut tower brace, H-brace, and rear cross floor brace. Another option instead of the H-brace would be Ultra Racing's front lower member brace - it connects to one of the points the H-brace does, but the other side connects further down the floorpan. Costs way more though. If you plan on keeping the car for a while they are definitely all worth, the sooner you do mods the longer you get to enjoy them!
 

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@Sydtron Thanks for the update glad to hear it really does make a difference. I do plan on doing all of them eventually I have my "want" purchases planned as follows lowering springs (hopefully ordering as soon as Eibach is open for orders again), H brace, strut tower bar, floor bar, upgraded front/rear sway bars
 

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@DrFeelGood all of the front suspension is in/will be in optimal shape I will be doing the passenger control arms when I take care of the frame as i already have them and it will be the optimal time to do the job. The rear is in decent shape shocks are new one upper arm is new the sway bar bushings and links are in great shape admittedly though some of the rear might not be in “top” shape but all is tight and last time I was under there none of the bushings showed any significant wear. I do like your order better it makes a little more sense to order by “bang for buck”.

I’m starting to think someone has a thing for wagons lol it is understandable my last two cars now have been hatchbacks and I love that I can barrel into corners and outrun most vehicles in a straight line as well as fold down the seats and haul just about anything I need to, the wagons even bigger, but doesn’t weigh too much more, so it makes even more sense.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I love that I can barrel into corners and outrun most vehicles in a straight line as well as fold down the seats and haul just about anything I need to, the wagons even bigger, but doesn’t weigh too much more, so it makes even more sense.
This is exactly why I'm a big fan of the wagon platform. It drives like a sedan, hauls like an SUV, and looks like a million bucks! You get it all: form and function.
 

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Having had a few more days driving around the Milan with the front & rear bars, they have definitely changed the character of the chassis response. Car feels more locked down with much less undamped "wallow", but it got a little dartier and little crashy - it was more of a comfy cruiser before. It feels to me like the suspension was tuned really well with the body shell, but now the loads and load paths have changed and it feels like the floorpan is not keeping up with the rest of the car. I can't say I felt this when I did the same mods to my 6 - it had already stiffer springs, Koni FSD shocks, and a stiffer rear anti-roll bar added when I did those though and was already feeling flexy through the body. The Koni FSD's digressive damping worked better the stiffer you made the body too, so it's a bit apples to oranges to directly compare. I'd have to drive it on some poor highway (ie I-96 between Lansing and Grand Rapids with its concrete wobble and ) to really suss out the details, but I'd definitely say I traded some comfort for a more direct driving experience. To contrast, my 6 got more comfortable and easier to control and read at the limit.

Anyway, food for thought. I'd change Dr's order to the following, skipping an upgraded front sway altogether (for traction and balance reasons):

1st: Rear floor cross bar (since you have a hatch)
2nd: Rear sway bar (probably wouldn't go any higher than Steeda's 22.5mm bar, unless you want to really change the handling balance and introduce some harshness)
3rd: Front H-brace or Ultra Racing front member brace
4th: Front shock tower brace
5th: Springs and shocks (or coilovers; regardless do at the same time along with any other control arm and busing changes).
6th: Autoexe 4 member brace set

and the super secret step:

7th: track down a used Steeda Fusion front subframe x-brace (should work on your '07, didn't on the '03-'05). Good luck!

Additionally I would get some thick anti-corrosion spray and spray down the underside after a good cleaning, both to keep the rust away and to reduce some noise. Also, just buy a bunch of Dynamat and start putting it everywhere under the carpet in the car - I'd definitely do this to my 6 if I still had it and it was my DD.
 
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