Mazda en­gine mounts

Classics Monthly - - Driver's Diary -

After get­ting on so well with the Mazda last month, I de­cided to delve deep into the en­gine bay and sort out the slightly wob­bly en­gine. Worn en­gine mounts tend to only show them­selves when the car is be­ing driven. Try­ing to rock the en­gine by hand to iden­tify the prob­lem rarely works – after all, they have the weight of the en­gine on them and grav­ity is go­ing to mask the prob­lem even if the mounts them­selves are worn to bits.

I sus­pect I’m like a lot of peo­ple these days in that be­fore I at­tempt any job, I have a quick search on the in­ter­net and see who’s tack­led it be­fore and if there are any com­mon is­sues. On the sub­ject of MX-5 en­gine mounts, com­ments fell into two dis­tinct camps. The first say­ing they never fail, the sec­ond say­ing they’re ter­ri­ble and quite lit­er­ally fall into pieces. Good to see a con­sen­sus on the sub­ject.

To see if I could iden­tify which of the en­gine mounts were worn, I placed a jack under the sump. Us­ing a piece of wood to spread the load, I care­fully lifted the en­gine a lit­tle, while shin­ing a torch into the en­gine bay and

I man­aged to gain ac­cess to the mount­ing bolts through the in­ner wing us­ing a mot­ley col­lec­tion of ex­ten­sion bars

see­ing what moved.

The mount on the near­side under the ex­haust man­i­fold showed no move­ment, but on the other side, the mount looked as if it was sep­a­rat­ing to such an ex­tent that I sus­pected the rub­ber com­po­nent had failed and bro­ken away from the steel plates – at least I knew which side looked to be caus­ing the prob­lem.

The big­gest prob­lem with re­plac­ing the mount is gain­ing ac­cess to it. So with the car jacked up, I started by re­mov­ing the off­side wheel. The en­gine was again care­fully sup­ported on the jack and I man­aged to gain ac­cess to the mount­ing bolts through the in­ner wing us­ing a mot­ley col­lec­tion of ex­ten­sion bars and a 14mm socket. There’s three bolts hold­ing the mount­ing plate to the en­gine block and on the top one, a bracket which sta­blilises the rear of the starter mo­tor needs to be re­moved by un­do­ing one 12mm bolt at the other end.

On the other side, you sim­ply undo a 14mm nut which sits in a re­cess in the chas­sis rail, just be­neath the lower sus­pen­sion arm. As with most jobs I’ve done on the Mazda, ev­ery­thing came apart eas­ily and log­i­cally. The en­gine was then jacked up fur­ther to cre­ate a lit­tle clear­ance and I man­aged to jig­gle it out through the in­ner wing.

De­spite the move­ment, the en­gine mount was still in one piece. But even though it still looked in fine fet­tle, com­par­ing it with the brand new, gen­uine Mazda re­place­ment showed that it had been com­pressed by at least 5 mm, so there’s a good chance that the ma­te­ri­als had started to break down.

It was also in­ter­est­ing to note that the mount isn’t sym­met­ri­cal, so I was care­ful to fit the new one ex­actly as the old one came off. All the bolts and the sin­gle nut were thread locked in place on re­assem­bly and I’m now look­ing for­ward to a lot less en­gine move­ment when the car re­turns to the road in the next month or so.

Last job on the list for the Mazda for now is to get the road wheels look­ing their best. I love the de­sign of the stan­dard MX-5 al­loys but they are now look­ing a lit­tle tired. Time to de­cide whether a deep clean will do or it’s time to give them a proper re­furb.

The Mazda is al­ways a plea­sure to work on. It’s well en­gi­neered and ev­ery­thing fits to­gether per­fectly.

The big­gest is­sue with re­plac­ing the en­gine mounts is ac­tu­ally get­ting to them as they’re buried deep in the en­gine bay.

Ac­cess was bet­ter with the road wheel re­moved and by un­do­ing the bolts us­ing a long ex­ten­sion bar through the in­ner wing.

Brand new, gen­uine Mazda en­gine mount was sur­pris­ingly af­ford­able.

New and old mounts side by side show how much the old unit had been com­pressed.

New mount fit­ted to the en­gine plate and chas­sis cup ready to go back onto the car.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.