In my continuing quest to address some of the issues with my Miata, I finally decided it was time to take a long look at the suspension. Since buying it, the little roadster that could, has slowly begun to find itself my sunny day daily driver, I still drive my Mazdaspeed 3 (but it is going to need a tune soon) and I ride the Honda once in a while.
But if the sun is out, I usually have the top off (or down) and I am livin’ la vida roadster. As much as I enjoy driving the ‘Yata, that sense of enjoyment begins to fade anytime I drove over a bump in the road. Or a pavement seam. Up or down the driveway. You get the idea. I tried to not think about it, then after one hard bump I decided to take a look at the suspension. Jacking the car up, I realized it was the original suspension and looked like it had never been touched in the 22 years since the car was new. As well the rear bump stops (absolutely vital to making the rear of the car ride properly) had passed on into the automotive afterlife long ago, and the rear shocks were basically bottoming out every time I went over a large bump. This was a problem that needed immediate attention.
I did a lot of research, and for the NA Miata there are lots of choices. I could go with rehabbing the stock coilovers with new shocks/springs/NB mounts, the ever popular Koni yellows with Flyin Miata springs, Xidas (out of my budget), TEIN, I could go on and on. After weighing my options for a couple of days (and finding a great deal from Pro Import Tuners.com) I ordered up a set of EZ Street II adjustable coilovers from Megan Racing. After looking into the other options these offered something that the others didn’t, they are fully adjustable, not only for dampening, but for ride height as well. The EZ Street II’s also offer a stiffer set of springs than TEIN and others, which should help with the ride quality.
Installation was a basic remove and replace, with the exception that the stock coilovers are longer than these, so the removal part can be a bit of work. I found that removing the upper control arm on the front suspension made removing the stock coilover a breeze. I also highly recommend disconnecting both the front and rear swaybar links to get enough downward play in the lower control arms to get the stock setup removed. Make sure you have some cans of PB Blaster on hand as well as an impact gun. Breaking loose 22-year-old nuts and bolts is far easier using the both of those than just hand tools.
I measured the length of the stock coilovers and got my Megan Racing set to almost match and bolted everything together. I used my floor jack to compress the suspension on each corner when I went to torque everything down, if you don’t, when you lower the car off jack stands it will sit very high. The suspension will settle after a couple of days, so if you haven’t dialed in your ride height just right, you will have the opportunity to do so.
Initial impressions were immediate, the car handled far better than it did! It soaked up bumps with ease, some of the shimmy in the rear end was gone, and I began to enjoy driving the car more. I am now looking into more suspension changes to improve the ride: sway bars, chassis bracing, adjustable endlinks, adjustable camber arms. But for now, this has been the best improvement I have made to the car so far. Matter of fact, I am going to go take it for spin right now!