Category Archives: Mechanical Things

Roca Engine mounts for Mazda 5 and Mazda 3

Our family car is a Mazda 5.  It’s a cool little mini-minivan that seats 6 and has a manual transmission.  It has about 90k miles on it now, and it’s needed basic maintenance, and has returned us with solid, reliable transport.

There are a few Achilles heels to this car, but I learned about them before purchasing – and it didn’t deter me from buying:

  • Rear shocks would go bad
  • Sway bar end links would rattle
  • Tire alignment is critical
  • Weak rear engine mount

I’ve addressed the issues as the parts failed, and I’ve upgraded along the way; Koni Shocks, Moog links, etc.

the entire center section is split…

Our rear mount had broken and I found the Roca brand mounts were suggested on the various Mazda 3 message boards (Mazda 5 people don’t seem to exist?).   I bought a kit with all 3 engine mounts and replaced them.  They worked fine.

…you could just lift it right out!

Less than a 10 months after installing them, the rear mount failed AGAIN.  Roca was quick to warranty these, but really, I’m not going to replace engine mounts every year from now on…

I did more research and found the CPE rear engine mount.  Not only does this thing look like the Starship Enterprise, it functions fantastically. There is little discernible movement from the engine, even with an aggressive (mini-van aggressive) clutch engagement.  Wheel spin, not wheel hop is the outcome; and that’s a good thing.

NCC-1701D? Make it so!

We went with the EPDM 60A durometer – I wanted as little dash vibration as possible.  At cold idle, with the AC on, you’ll get just a little.  It’s fine.

Maybe I’ll take pics of our Mazda5 and put them on the site, but it’s just… a car. 😉

Scirocco 16v Lower ‘K bar’

kbar2A popular upgrade for the MK1 VW chassis is the lower ‘K Bar’ found on the 16v Sciroccos.  The forward-most control arm mounts are abandoned waaaaay forward of any body structure and flex quite a bit under heavy cornering.

This upgrade is an easy install:

  • 2 forward control arm bolts through the front holes
  • drill 2 holes where the upper bar mounts lie on the chassis webbing
  • bolt the bar to those holes.

The difference is dramatic, and it’s a great OEM upgrade.

Found this on the web; it shows the install well.


Trailer test run

IMG_0958The Mazda5 needed some tires mounted and balanced before we head off for a weekend at Big Bear (we selectively travel TO the snow here!)… time to test the little trailer! (trailerette?)

I pulled the deck off and I was able to get 4 wheels/ tires & 4 tires on the trailer.  They’re wedged between the rails – they fit like it was designed for this.  These are 215/50/17’s, and they just fit nice and snug.  My 225’s on 9″ wheels aren’t going to fit like that, though…

IMG_0959As an aside, I buy Continental tires for our daily drivers.  They are great tires; but really, the reason I stick with them is because of their involvement as a major sponsor in road racing.  The Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge series is fantastic.  Lately, the TV coverage has been thin, but I’m able to see all the races.  I used to go to NJMP to see them in person – I would have really liked to see them at WGI.   The closest they get to me now is at Mazda/ Laguna Seca, but I have not had the chance to attend yet.

TLDR; I support companies that support the racing I enjoy.

Anyway, the trailer pulled just fine.  The springs are a little stiff – I may experiment with removing a leaf.  It would be nice to get rid of the rattly ‘slipper’ springs and put some springs with dual eyelets on  instead.   Seems like an expensive fix to a small problem, though.

I try to reverse up the driveway... the trailer says no.
I try to reverse up the driveway… the trailer says no.

Backing up is a bit of a joke with such a short tongue.  It just wants to turn 90degrees to the vehicle.  It’d be cool to replace the tongue with a 2″ square tube that was a few feet longer: it would be easier to maneuver and it could provide a receiver in the back for a bike rack.  This might happen.

I’m gonna need a spare.  I’ll bolt it underneath and hope I never need it.  Some message board posts suggest getting a hub and bearing, too.  I’ll have to kick that one around a bit.

Great Success!