Skip to main content
Menu
0 items

Haynes On Demand sales are currently limited to residents of the United Kingdom only.

Brakes, suspension & tyres Mazda MX-5 1989 - 2005 Petrol 1.6

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Mazda MX-5 1989 - 2005  | 1.6 Brakes, suspension & tyres

  • time 20 minutes
  • difficulty 3
Start with the front wheels
With the wheel off the ground, check for wear in the wheel hub bearings by grasping the wheel and trying to rock it. Very slight play is OK, but if the movement is appreciable, you should seek further advice
Now remove the wheel
Check condition of brake discs. Some light scoring is normal on the area in contact with the brake pads, but if heavy scoring and/or cracks found on the disc or around the wheel bolt holes, the disc must be renewed. ALWAYS replace both front discs and pads
Now locate the brake pads, there are two, one on each side of the disc. Locate the brake pad wearing surface
Using a ruler, measure the approximate thickness of the remaining wear material on the brake pad. If it is less than 2.0mm, all front pads need to be replaced
- Close + Open

Front brake pads replacement

Warning: Renew both sets of front brake pads at the same time – never renew the pads on only one wheel, as uneven braking may result. Note that the dust created by wear of the pads may contain asbestos, which is a health hazard. Never blow it out with compressed air, and do not inhale any of it. An approved filtering mask should be worn when working on the brakes. DO NOT use petrol or petroleum-based solvents to clean brake parts; use brake cleaner or methylated spirit only.
1 Apply the handbrake, then loosen the front roadwheel nuts. Jack up the front of the vehicle and support it securely on axle stands. Remove both front roadwheels.
2 Follow the accompanying photos for the pad renewal procedure. Be sure to stay in order and read the caption under each illustration.
Some models are fitted with wire springs between the pads …
… squeeze the sides and remove them
If there’s a wear lip on the edge of the disc, you may need to lever between the disc and caliper body to force the piston back into the caliper a little
Undo the lower guide pin bolt (arrowed) …
… pivot the caliper upwards …
… and secure it to the spring to prevent straining the fluid hose
Remove the outer pad …
… followed by the inner pad
Remove the lower shims …
… and the upper shims
On models with wire springs, remove the upper shim …
… and lower shim
Clean the pad mounting surfaces using aerosol brake cleaner and a soft brush
Measure the thickness of the pad friction material – renew all 4 pads if it’s less than 2.0 mm (Sports suspension) or 1.0 mm (Except sports suspension)
Apply a thin smear of high-temperature anti-seize grease (Copperslip) to the pad backplate where it contact the caliper mounting bracket
Fit the anti-rattle plate to the new pad backing plate
Refit the lower shim (wire spring type shown) …
… and upper shim
Fit the outer pad – ensure the friction material is against the disc ...
… followed by the inner pad
If new pads have been fitted, push the piston back into the caliper using a retraction tool. Keep an eye on the fluid level in the reservoir
Lower the caliper into place and refit the lower guide pin bolt …
… and tighten it to the specified torque
Guide pin bolts:
  All except 270 mm diameter discs 50 Nm (37 Ibf ft)
  270 mm diameter discs 26 Nm (19 Ibf ft)
Refit the upper wire spring (where applicable) …
… and the lower wire spring
3 Depress the brake pedal repeatedly, until the pads are pressed into firm contact with the brake disc, and normal (non-assisted) pedal pressure is restored.
4 Repeat the above procedure on the remaining front brake caliper.
5 Refit the roadwheels, then lower the vehicle to the ground and tighten the roadwheel nuts to 110 Nm (81 Ibf ft).
6 Check the hydraulic fluid level.
Caution: New pads will not give full braking efficiency until they have bedded-in. Be prepared for this, and avoid hard braking as far as possible for the first hundred miles or so after pad renewal.
TIP - Virtually all cars have this inspection window in the brake caliper body, you can usually see the brake pad thickness from here
Now quickly check all the brake pipes for condition, check for any leaks, also inspect the rubber gaitors for integrity. Replace the wheel and repeat on the other side
- Close + Open

Front suspension strut replacement

Removal

1 Chock the rear wheels, apply the handbrake, then jack up the front of the car and support on axle stands. Remove the appropriate roadwheel.
2 Undo the fasteners and remove the engine undershield (where fitted).
3 If the strut is to be refitted, mark the spring with paint so the assembly can be refitted with the correct orientation (see illustration) .
Paint alignment marks (arrowed) to aid refitting
4 Undo the nuts and detach the anti-roll bar from the link rod on the lower wishbone on each side of the vehicle (see illustration) . Use an Allen key to counterhold the link rod balljoint shank.
Use an Allen key to counterhold the anti-roll bar link rod balljoint whilst slackening the nut
5 Remove the shock absorber’s lower bolt and nut, then undo the bolt securing the ABS wheel speed sensor wiring harness bracket (where fitted) to the shock absorber (see illustrations) .
Shock absorber lower mounting bolt (arrowed)
ABS sensor wiring harness bracket retaining bolt (arrowed)
6 Undo the bolt securing the ABS wheel speed sensor wiring harness (where fitted) to the upper wishbone, then undo the nut, recover the washer and slide the upper wishbone/arm pivot bolt forward, releasing the arm from the subframe (see illustration) .
Undo the bolt (arrowed) securing the ABS sensor harness to the underside of the upper wishbone
Undo the nut and slide the pivot bolt forwards to release the wishbone (arrowed)
7 Working in the engine compartment, remove the shock absorber’s upper mounting nuts (see illustration) . Lever down on the lower wishbone/arm, lower the shock absorber/coil spring assembly free of the wheelarch/wing and remove it from the vehicle.
Shock absorber upper mounting nuts (arrowed)
8 Check the shock absorber body for leaking fluid, dents, cracks and other obvious damage which would warrant renewal.
9 Check the coil spring for chips or cracks in the spring coating (this will cause premature spring failure due to corrosion). Inspect the spring seat for cuts and general deterioration.

Refitting

10 Refitting is a reversal of removal, noting the following points:
  1. Tighten all fasteners to their specified torque where given.
  2. Don’t forget to fit the plastic gasket between the upper mounting plate and the vehicle body (see illustration)
  3. We recommend the front wheel alignment is checked at the earliest opportunity.
Fit the plastic gasket between the mounting plate the vehicle body
Anti-roll bar link rod nuts 50 Nm (37 Ibf ft)
Strut mounting-to-body nuts 34 Nm (25 Ibf ft)
Strut-to-wishbone/arm 90 Nm (66 Ibf ft)
As with the fronts, check for wear in the rear wheel hub bearings by grasping the wheel and trying to rock it. Very slight play is OK, but if the movement is appreciable, you should seek further advice
Check condition of the rear brake discs
Locate rear brake pads
Measure brake pad wear thickness. If it is less than 2.0mm, all rear pads need to be replaced
- Close + Open

Rear brake pads replacement

Warning: Renew BOTH sets of rear brake pads at the same time – NEVER renew the pads on only one wheel, as uneven braking may result. Note that the dust created by wear of the pads may contain asbestos, which is a health hazard. Never blow it out with compressed air, and don’t inhale any of it. An approved filtering mask should be worn when working on the brakes. DO NOT use petroleum-based solvents to clean brake parts – use brake cleaner or methylated spirit only.
1 Apply the handbrake, then loosen the rear roadwheel nuts. Jack up the rear of the vehicle and support it securely on axle stands. Remove both rear roadwheels.
2 Follow the accompanying photos for the pad renewal procedure. Be sure to stay in order and read the caption under each illustration.
Undo the adjustment gear cap (arrowed) on the inside face of the caliper …
… and use an Allen key to rotate the adjustment gear fully anti-clockwise to retract the piston into the caliper body
Pull off the rubber cap (arrowed) …
… and unscrew the lower guide pin
Pivot the caliper upwards and secure it to the suspension spring using wire/string, etc
Remove the outer pad …
… followed by the inner pad
Remove the upper shim …
… and lower shim
Clean the pad contact surfaces on the mounting bracket using aerosol brake cleaner and a soft brush
Refit the lower shim …
… and upper shim
Measure the thickness of the pad friction material – renew all 4 pads if it’s less than 2.0 mm (Sports suspension) or 1.0 mm (except Sport suspension)
Apply a thin smear of high-temperature anti-seize grease (Copperslip) to the pad backplate where it contact the caliper mounting bracket
Fit the outer pad – ensure the friction material is against the disc ...
… followed by the inner pad
Lower the caliper into position over the pads …
… refit the lower guide pin …
… tighten it to 50 Nm (37 Ibf ft) …
… and refit the plastic cap
Using an Allen key, rotate the adjusting gear clockwise until the pad contacts the disc, then 1/3rd of a turn anti-clockwise …
… and refit the cap
3 Depress the brake pedal repeatedly, until the pads are pressed into firm contact with the brake disc, and normal (non-assisted) pedal pressure is restored.
4 Repeat the above procedure on the remaining rear brake caliper.
5 Refit the roadwheels, then lower the vehicle to the ground and tighten the roadwheel nuts to 110 Nm (81 Ibf ft).
6 Check the hydraulic fluid level.
Caution: New pads will not give full braking efficiency until they have bedded-in. Be prepared for this, and avoid hard braking as far as possible for the first hundred miles or so after pad renewal.
Take a good look around the brake system and the suspension arm, checking for any leaks. Seek advice should you any detect leakage and/or serious damage to the components
- Close + Open

Rear suspension strut replacement

Removal

1 Chock the front wheels, then jack up the rear of the car and support on axle stands. Remove the rear roadwheels.
2 Support the lower wishbone/arm from below, then detach the anti-roll bar link rod from the wishbone/arm, and remove the support so it can drop below its normal position.
Caution: Don’t let the lower arm strain the brake hose when it drops.
3 If you’re working on the left side of the vehicle, remove the protection shield for the fuel tank filler pipe from within the luggage compartment (see illustration) .
Undo the bolts (arrowed) and remove the protection shield
4 Remove the shock absorber’s lower bolt and nut (see illustration) .
Rear shock absorber lower mounting bolt (arrowed)
5 Working in the luggage compartment, remove the upper mounting nuts (see illustration) . Lower the shock absorber from place and manoeuvre it from under the vehicle. If necessary, use a lever bar to lower the suspension arm.
Shock absorber upper mounting bolts (arrowed)

Refitting

6 Refitting is the reverse of removal. Tighten all fasteners to their specified torque. Tighten the anti-roll bar lower link rod bolt and roadwheel nuts loosely, then lower the vehicle and tighten them to their specified torque.
Roadwheel nuts 110 Nm (81 Ibf ft)
Strut lower mounting bolt 90 Nm (66 Ibf ft)
Strut mounting-to-body 34 Nm (25 Ibf ft)
Check rubber exhaust mountings
Before refitting the wheels, take a look at the tyre tread, there is a UK legal requirement to have a minimum of 1.6mm remaining tread depth. Also check sidewalls for any kerb damage
Finally, check the condition of the spare wheel / emergency tyre repair system