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mazdeuce New Reader
3/12/12 2:58 p.m.

The ebay camber bolts came on Thursday and my fancy schmancy alignment tools came on Friday. I measured stuff to see where I was stock and put the bolts in on Friday afternoon. Just as I was starting to get set up to adjust the toe it started raining and it kept raining until late on Sunday. It finally dried out enough for me to go set the toe Monday. That was a longer job than it should have been.
Stock measurements:
Camber : LF -0.5, RF -0.7 LR -1.7 RR -1.5
Toe: in 1/16 in front, never did measure the rear because there's no adjustment and I forgot.
The camber bolts got me to LF -2.5 and RF -2.7. That might be more than I need, we'll see. They also got me to a toe in of 1 1/8 inches. Oi. Lesson here about the relationship between camber and toe. An hour of careful measuring got me back to right at zero toe. We'll see how all of this feels when Mrs. Deuce gets home and I can go for a test drive. Bad form to leave the kids napping while I go see if everything works. This is my first time actually measuring when messing with suspension stuff. That sounds idiotic, but if it looked and felt good then I left it alone, if something was bad then I took it to someone with lasers and such. It probably was idiotic. I'm happy to be doing it right.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/13/12 1:29 p.m.

Kids are home for spring break and I'm going a little batty. Decided to pull out and weigh the drivers seat in the deuce. Why? STF says that I can change seats so long as the one I put back in weighs at least 25 lbs. I figured that with as light as the car is I'd pull out the seat and see that it weighted something like 23 lbs. Getting all of the wiring unhooked was the biggest deal. Even with the battery unhooked I was just a little nervous about the airbag in the seat going off. I didn't want to explain it to my wife. I was thrilled to see that there were speed holes in the bottom of the seat. It must be light! Wrong, it weighs 42.5 pounds. It must be that with all of that airbag stuff they want the seat to not disintegrate when it goes off. Or something. The passenger seat should be close to the same, all it's missing from the drivers seat is the up and down mechanism. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 pounds of seats in there. Something to think about anyway.

singleslammer Reader
3/13/12 2:50 p.m.

Dang that is much heavier than I thought they would be.

poopshovel PowerDork
3/13/12 4:16 p.m.
singleslammer wrote: Dang that is much heavier than I thought they would be.

Easy place to remove lots of weight!!!

Capt Slow
Capt Slow Dork
3/13/12 4:32 p.m.

I love this thread, keep the updates comming!

mazdeuce New Reader
3/18/12 4:14 p.m.

About every second day I've been poking my head under the deuce and thinking about suspension and stuff. I finally decided that I needed to put it up on ramps and take some pictures so I can look at them instead of poking my head under the car when I want to think about things.

First things first is the lack of any sort of under tray or splash shield. Interesting. The oil filter is nice and out of the way but still accessible, just like a good woman. The oil pan is steel which looks like a great idea with it waving in the breeze like that. Dents are better than cracks.
Your normal run of the mill strut suspension. The front bushing is nice and horizontal and proper and the rear one is one of those flexy puck thingies. You can also see the rubber doughnut on the drivers side shaft that must reduce vibrations somehow.

The passenger side has one of those nifty intermediate shafts that allow for equal length shafts to reduce that nasty torque steer. This was pretty trick in the 80's on those turbo Chrysler products, pretty sure that's just the way it's done now even though the idea of torque steer on this car makes me giggle.

The subframe is connected with these fancy subframe connectors. There is also a connector back farther in the picture that attaches to both sides of the tunnel. This must do something important, but I'm scratching my head to figure out what.

Last picture of the front. This is where the fog lights are plugged in. Except I don't have fog lights. They molded in places to plug in the wiring just to hold in in place. I thought that was pretty cool and will save me any searching if I want to plug bright shiny things in there later.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/18/12 4:26 p.m.

On to the back of the car.

Twist beam rear suspension which is all the rage on these tiny cars. I wish I could be excited about this, but I can't.
Along the beam there are a few sets of holes. All of the currently available 'sway bar' solutions involve bolting various lengths and thicknesses of metal to these. It's simple and works.
The beam attaches to the body at these brackets which are at a wonky angle. Again, I'm sure there must be a reason for this but what it means is that you need some sort of squishy rubber stuff in there to deflect when in moves. The little bolt on brace is stamped prominently with Mazda, which is interesting because...

The axle itself, as well as the drums are stamped FoMoCo. Everyone knows the Mazda2 and the Fiesta were developed together and share suspension, but they really do share suspension.
Last thing, the rear shock. You're not getting coilovers on the rear without cutting. There's just not room between the body and the tire for much else besides that loooong shock. It's just shy of 24 inches long at ride height. It's long.
That's everything on the underside of the car. I'm not sure that I really learned anything poking around under there, but it was fun.

amg_rx7 HalfDork
3/18/12 9:40 p.m.

Nice pics.

Needs a front undertray and rear diffuser. That should actually help aero and mpg on this car.

jrw1621 PowerDork
3/19/12 9:18 a.m.

I like the pictures and commentary. I would like to see more of this kind of detail in new car reviews.

nocones HalfDork
3/19/12 9:21 a.m.

Tell me about left foot braking? Does the car freak out if you brake/gas @ the same time. I may be looking for a fun to drive 4 seated to replace the MR2 spyder in the not to distant future.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/19/12 9:59 a.m.

I haven't been LFB yet. I'll give it a go tomorrow and let you know what I think. After a few weeks the throttle definitely blips and hangs a bit when you shift. It's got to be some emissions thing dealing with slamming the throttle shut. Seems that pretty much all modern cars have this. Not cool.
amg_rx7 - now I'm spending way too much time searching for how to build an undertray. Lots of stuff out there that's pretty interesting. I need to spend some more time under the car and see if I can figure out a way to mount it securely an still be able to pop it off for autocross and oil changes and the like.

singleslammer Reader
3/19/12 10:16 a.m.

In reply to nocones:

I just did exactly that. My Spyder is now a project weekend car and the 2 is doing DD duty. It is about as entertaining as I have found in the cheap econobox category. I test drove all sorts of stuff manufactured in the last 5 years and have to say that the Mazda2 is about as fun and nimble as it gets in the 30+ mpg, 4 seater category. No LFB yet either though. I am not really that aggressive yet .

jrw1621 PowerDork
3/19/12 10:27 a.m.

Does the Fiesta offer an undertray in any of the trim levels (like the high mpg version)?
Seeing the shared design it may fit or adapt.

failboat Dork
3/19/12 10:38 a.m.

A lot of coilovers for these lil cars have the height adjustment perch over by the spring, and you just put in a replacement shock with the kit.

That said, there are still a number of coilover kits that appear to have the spring wrapped around the shock for this application, unless they are just using some stock photo, not of the actual product. I am pretty sure this car has been out in japan as the Mazda Demio for a little while longer than it has here, so there are a lot of aftermarket parts out there.


mazdeuce New Reader
3/19/12 10:45 a.m.

I can't find any that actually have a true coilover in the rear. Sure, they show pictures of a coilover, but either the fine print or further searching shows that the rear uses an adjustable perch in the stock location. There still might be an exception, but I've learned not to believe in the picture you see on a venders site unless it's a picture of something installed on the car. It's odd now few JDM parts I can find for the 2. There are some, but not as many as I would have thought.
As far as adapting a fiesta undertray, my initial searching says that the mk7 fiesta is undertrayless as well.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/19/12 11:30 a.m.

I did more searching on the Fiesta super green economy package. It's mostly tires and grill block offs and these things. (image stolen from a thread on Fiesta Faction)

There is no front tray, just those long plastic things alongside the triangle muffler. They went through all the work to design and test and install those, but didn't put an undertray on. I'm wondering if that should tell me something.

singleslammer Reader
3/19/12 12:58 p.m.

I would be up for a GB on some decent aero panels for the 2. I think that some CNCed aluminum sheet panels would be perfect.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/21/12 1:02 p.m.

Poking around on Andy Hollis's Facebook page and reading about the shocks he had on his ST civic. Waaaaayyy at the bottom he alludes to the fact that he's planning on getting AST to build him some autocross shocks for his STF two. Now, I'm not the kind of guy that would make it worthwhile for someone like AST to develop a set of shocks for, but if they had already built a set for someone else...... and all they had to do was make another set.....
I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't even want the valving that Andy is looking for as I'd like something more all around than hardcore autocross focused so I wouldn't be wanting to steal any of the knowledge that he's sure to amass with his testing. Just, you know, they'd already have all of the info they'd need to make everything fit. That would be awesome.
Just throwing that out there. There's not much available for the duece right now, and nothing high end like AST. Maybe soon.

singleslammer Reader
3/21/12 1:11 p.m.

Cork sport is developing some adjustable Shocks that should be good.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/21/12 1:40 p.m.

Yea, I saw that. I need to see how that works out. It sounded like a shorter body shock that would use stock, or shorter but still stock style springs. If I'm going to stay in HS then I'd like a stock length body, if I'm going to go to STF then I'd like the adjustability of threaded perches and standard sized springs. They should at least be affordable and I'm betting they'll work great for what they are.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/21/12 1:47 p.m.
nocones wrote: Tell me about left foot braking? Does the car freak out if you brake/gas @ the same time. I may be looking for a fun to drive 4 seated to replace the MR2 spyder in the not to distant future.

Oh, and nocones, LFB kills the throttle after about two seconds. You can stab the brakes while you have a foot on the gas and you're ok, but that's about it. When I was playing with it I needed very little brake pressure to kill the throttle. This has led me to question whether it's the brake pressure that trips the throttle kill or it's the brake switch itself. I'm very tempted to wrap a rubber band around the brake switch to keep it in all the time and see what happens. I'll let you know.

Edit to add that I put a rubber band around the brake switch to hold it in, and the stupid brain on the car still killed the throttle. I figured it would, but there was a small chance that some engineer somewhere had been lazy and I could easily defeat him. No such luck.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/23/12 3:34 p.m.

During the second run of my last autocross it occurred to me that my seat felt more like a slip and slide than a seat. I had used a second hand four point belt on my Focus years ago and I liked it. I did a bunch of searching online for thoughts and products and came to two schools of thought. The first was to buy a Schroth Rallye belt and go for it, I'd be fine and well strapped in. The second school of thought was that a four point belt in a stock uncaged car would cause me to die a horrible death when I inevitably flipped it over so I should only run stock belts because factory engineers are super awesome at their jobs. I was stuck not wanting to slide around with my stock belts but not wanting to die a horrible death. What to do. Then I stumbled across a few comments about a couple of autocrossers that only run the lap belt part of a harness at autocrosses. Now, they seem to do it because they like to be strapped in tight, but also like to be able to move their upper body around and see out the side windows and such. Interesting. I bet I could run a lap belt to strap me tight, then click my stock belt over it to protect me properly during my inevitable roll over. This would work autocrossing and when I finally get to a HPDE. Brilliant! I looked at all the usual suspects for belts, then I looked elsewhere and finally ended up at Wesco Performance. They make LOTS of belts. What I focused on were their old school flappy latch belts. I love belts like that. It's my favorite part of flying. Perfect.
Four days later this came. I got it in orange so that someday when an emergency crew is cutting me out of the car after my inevitable roll over they can see it better. Just trying to help out.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/23/12 3:44 p.m.

Installing the belt was pretty easy on the deuce. On the left side of the seat you have your traditional floor bolt with the spacer to allow it to rotate properly.
I just slid the belt end on and buttoned it all back up.
The right side of the seat is a little trickier because the console is in the way. You need to unbolt the seat and prop the side up to get access to the bolt.

This bolt is different, no spacer to clear the carpet. Still enough thread that I feel comfortable just sliding the new belt on there with everything else and tightening it all back up.

I buttoned everything back up and strapped myself in. I can get myself uncomfortably tight if I really yank on it, and it holds me in place very well. I can still put my stock belt on and all of the factory engineered air bags and what not can work properly to save my life. I won't be wearing this on the road, but for autocross and probably some track stuff, I think I've got a solution for the time being.

jrw1621 PowerDork
3/23/12 4:31 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: I did a bunch of searching online for thoughts and products and came to two schools of thought. The first was to buy a Schroth Rallye belt and go for it, I'd be fine and well strapped in. The second school of thought was that a four point belt in a stock uncaged car would cause me to die a horrible death when I inevitably flipped it over so I should only run stock belts because factory engineers are super awesome at their jobs. I was stuck not wanting to slide around with my stock belts but not wanting to die a horrible death. What to do.

In this dilemma, had you considered a "Dick Strap"?
Named after Dick Turner who taught autox and marketed the strap, it is a latching belt that goes under your arm pits and around the entire seat as added upper body restraint.
Cheap, effective, non-permanent.


If your car has seat mounted side airbags then this is not a good idea.

mazdeuce New Reader
3/23/12 4:44 p.m.

Yea, the deuce has seat mounted air bags. But I did think about it anyway. I also thought about the CG lock but the belt I got cost me half that and in the end the belt is easier to use and can be snugged tighter.

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