Mazda engine mounts
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.