by Andrew Williams
Date Added: Wednesday 09 February, 2005
Living with Polybushes.
I was a bit hard on my star rating on my first review. I was smarting from not being able to finish the job because of a problem with information regarding the rear bushes. Please read the review about fitting the rear bushes. All my previous comments hold true, forgetting my irritation about the above.
When I started, I did notice that the rear (rubber) anti-roll bar (D shaped) clamp bushes were pretty squashy, (under load the bar opened the hole SUBSTANCIALLY). I decided to order a set of harder (clamp) Polybush - they were easy to retro-fit (F & R), and not very expensive! (Scimitar, I think it would be a good idea to list the 4 clamp bushes as a stand-alone kit - it would introduce people to polybushes - at reasonable a price. Almost anyone could fit them - EASY! No need to remove wheels, or even raise the car!)
When I fitted new wishbone (Poly)bushes all around (Front and Rear), I set the alignment bolts to their central position, rather than where they were before. When I tested the rear wheel alignment, (see my previous review) I found that they were well within Mazda spec. (very reassuring!). It is also worth noting that on the front I was able to split the swivels using a careful application of a copper (/ hide) mallet (most tools - if they fit - destroy the rubber boots). This is worth knowing as it could save you £24 worth of boots. Another comment I'd like to make: The (15 year) old bushes did not appear to be very worn, though, on closer examination, a couple at the front had serious tears in the rubber.
Anyway, I have been running the car for a couple of weeks now, and would like to give feed-back on the car. First the handling and braking has improved substantially. Road noise is slightly higher, and the ride slightly firmer. It's winter, (cold) and the bushes stiff, on fitting, the front bushes occasionally creaked when hitting pot holes, or speed hump. This was obviously the bush going past it's elastic limit, and turning slightly in the wishbone (note make sure you clean any rust from the wishbone bush housing or it could cause wear). The creak seems to have entirely stopped over the last week, I guess it could be due to the lubrication (used during fitting) evaporating. Even so an occasional creak is far better than the regular clonking I had before!
I am still on the original (15 year old) road springs and shock absorbers. I'm very pleased with the improvement in suspension, to the point that I'm putting off replacing the shockers and road springs to a much later date. Replacing the bushes on a 15 year old car with 80,000 (gentle) miles on the clock, is worth doing. They may be (are!) expensive, but mustn't be overlooked.
Just as a final note, and for completeness, I don't think the anti-roll bar "link" bushes are worth considering, unless you are made of money, or you can see the old are shot! (they would be simple to do!). Also, I measured the standard road springs, shock absorbers, and ride height of the car, to decide which springs I should go for WHEN the time comes! If you are considering buying the adjustable Koni's, my advice (without doubt) would be to buy STANDARD height replacement springs, and use the adjustment on the shocker to lower the car. It appears to me that the highest setting of the Koni is ABOUT the same height as the stock set up. This means adjustment on the shockers will allow up to 30mm lower ride height - plenty for "the road!"
Good luck, and I hope this helps with decision, or at least was informative! Andrew Williams