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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have started working on my 1988 Mazda 666.

Getting the struts on the car is proving a pain in the ass.


There are 3 cars:

-1988 666 (new body). Has random factory GT and DX struts and coils on it.

-1988 626 GT(old body). Has Tokico rear struts, Stagg 2nd gen fronts and rusty Eibach coils.

-1988 626 GT touring sedan. KYB struts and newer Eibach coils.

12 struts to remove, 8 struts to reassemble and 12 struts to reinstall.
The underlined parts are going on the 666, along with random mounts that are in better shape, new rubber spring seats and cleaned and greased bearings.


One of the rear Tokico strut is shot, it's dead but never leaked, these struts where purchased recently, they where used on the "old body" for a year and a half before it got parked.

The first set of tokico struts I bought was in 2000, the car they where on crashed the two fronts where destroyed the rears where bent. I used the bent rears and two KYB's on my 1989MX6 GT for many years, then transfered them to my 1992 mx6 GT for 4 years and then to the "donor body" 1988 626GT. The front KYB's both died, I ordered 2 second gen front staggs and decided to swap the bent and twisted rear struts so I ordered 2 rear Tokico struts, they only found one in inventory and shipped it, found a second on ebay but they wouldn't ship to canada, it cost 200$us to purchase and ship twice...

Pulled the bent and twisted Tokico's out of the storage cube van and they both function like new WTF?

I drilled the mounting holes larger on the least bent strut and used the dead strut and some really long bolts to line up the strut holes and make sure the strut shaft sits in the same position (Had to hone the lower hole more). I installed it and the spindle sits in the right position.

The front Stagg struts are both still good.

My 1988MX6 GT has 4 new Tokico Blue struts and Eibachs and I have a set of unusable D2 Racing coil overs for the 89MX6 GT, coil overs are street legal but they cant be adjustable, I knew this when I bought them and was willing to take my chances. What I didn't know is they come with warning labels that state "Do not use below 5* Celsius" this was not posted on their website so I contacted D2 Racing to clarify this, they say the seals shrink in cold weather and the struts will leak, even if the car is just parked in a cold garage on jack stands the struts will leak. Either I would have to store the car in a heated garage or remove the coilovers every fall...

A local kid with a 90 MX6 GT bough a set of D2 Racing coil overs last fall and they no longer have cold weather issues, so I called D2 Racing again to see if I could get mine rebuilt with new seals but the least friendly customer support guy said "We don't rebuild them, the new struts wont fit the old bases or springs and all the threading is different". The good news guy also said "the struts you have are going to leak if you try to use them after sitting in the box for so long". I asked if there was an other phone number for the main office, he said "No", I replied -so I spent over 1000$ on something that I couldn't use because of the weather where I live, a small detail you kept hidden on your website, now that you've solved that problem I call to see if there is anything that can be done with the set I couldn't use, you tell me no, I ask if there is any one else I can talk to, you tell me no and tell me I can't even use what I bough under the right weather conditions and I wasted 1000$ + shipping on your product. He said "Yep, Goodbye" .
ASSSSSHOLE.

I could buy new Ksport or Yanaka or D2 Racing coil overs if I had no other options but because they are adjustable if the police notice them I would be forced to remove them and they will pull over my car over every time they see it to make sure I haven't reinstalled them.

Tokico no longer make struts, Stagg stopped making 2nd gen struts and only a few rear sets are still available.

The slightly bent Tokico I put on the car was the only usable replacement strut I had short of downgrading to the KYB Gr-2's on the touring sedan or factory adjustable struts which will require installing 4 strut motors set to sport just to keep the struts in adjustment ...

Looking into replacement options didn't yield any promising results.
This is the info I have gathered so far:
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The twin tube design is the most common one in use on cars, light trucks, SUV’s and vans. It’s a cost effective unit that provides excellent handling & control characteristics for most driving conditions. The monotube design offers additional performance and can have a more aggressive ride.


Sachs Super touring twin tube strut:
Front- 030 623
Rear- 030 624

TRW
Front- JGM4074S
Rear- JGM4076S

KYB Excel-G Twin-Tube strut:
Front right- 235046
Front left- 235047
Rear- 235048

KYB strut dimensions:
Front :
Extended length 19.33"
Compressed length 13.11"
Stroke length 6.22"
Upper mount thread m14 X 1.50
Length 20.179"
Width 7.48"
Weight 9.78 Lbs

Rear:
Extended length 22.64"
Compressed length 15.35"
Stroke length 7.28"
Upper mount thread m14 X 1.50
Length 20.179"
Width 7.48"
Weight 10.63 Lbs

2nd gen front:
Stroke length: 5.59"
Compressed length 12.32"
Extended length 17.91"

2nd gen rear:
Stroke length: 6.46"
Compressed length 15.08"
Extended length 21.54"




Monroe OESpectrum strut:
Front right-
Front left-
Rear- 71838

Monroe Monro-Matic Plus strut:
Front- 801837

Monroe Sensa-Trac
Rear- 71838ST

Gabriel Ultra strut:
Front- G55600

Front- G55670
Front- G55671
Rear- G55672

Gabriel
- G67600

Ebay australia
Ultima Ultima GT gas shock absorbers
Front - FYE019132

Webco Shock Absorbers ST series
2nd Gen MX6
Front - WebcoSM - C1805625 - LC015

Ultima front shocks - U65238A

Gabriel Ultra Cartridges G44000 Series


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I learned 2 things:
-There are no performance replacement options available for these cars (including 2nd gens).
-Monotube Struts are better than twin tube struts. This I did not know, I would have though twin tube design was higher performance. (Never sacrifice performance for comfort).

I have dozens of 88-92 F2 struts, I can cut spring seats and hubb mounts off the factory struts and weld them to a strut cartridge or shock of any body diameter. Yes you can weld to a shock or strut, all but the area being welded must be submerged in water and the weld must be cooled with a wet rag after a few seconds of welding, the area cleaned dried and the welding continues...
-There is the option of using factory strut body's with aftermarket inserts similar to Gavin's installation :
Koni insert installation

-A third option is to weld the factory coil perch and hubb mount to a metal cylinder and making my own cartridge insert container. The easiest way would be to use threaded black iron pipe and threaded cap. Drill the center of the cap larger than the strut shaft, install the cap on the pipe, insert the strut cartridge and mark the end on the black iron pipe, cut the pipe, weld the bottom end closed, weld the coil perch and hubb mount to the pipe. Paint the ghetto strut body and cap, install the strut cartridge and plumbing cap, the bump stop, cover the black Iron pipe threads and plumbing cap with the strut bellow, install the spring and mount.
If the black iron pipe is sanded smooth, the welds are clean and in factory locations, everything is painted properly it would be impossible to tell the struts have been customized without removing the spring and raising the strut bellow.

The advantage of custom tube strut body's is they would allow for larger body strut insert cartridges, because the insert is held in place by a threaded cap the tube can be shimmed for shorter inserts. The coil perch could be welded at a bit higher on the assembly to accommodate larger tires without spacers. Because the Eibach sports kit coils are progressive and softer at the bottom and just sit collapsed on strut preload with 6inch or less front shaft travel and 7inch or less rear strut travel, they can be cold cut safely at the bottom without affecting how they sit in the strut perch or function throughout the struts travel on the car as long as the appropriate amount is removed verses the amount the perch is raised .

Another way to run inserts would be to empty a factory strut and weld a threaded sleeve over the end or to the end that a retaining cap can screw onto.

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Mounts.

All the front strut mounts and coil seats I'm working with a very rusty, some of the mounts on my other cars are still in good shape but I am sick of pulling and rebuilding strut assembly's. I pulled a set of front AAS struts out of parts storage that are slightly less bad and sand blasted the mounts and seats (had to use a carbide burr on a die grinder to get the rust scale off before sand blasting).
Yes strut mounts and seats are still available but I am running AAS seats and bearings which are a cross between auto seats and 5speed non AAS seats. auto coil seats have a rubber center, manual seats are solid. Auto seats have a lip in the center that the bearing sits over, manual non AAS seats the bearing sits upside down in the seat. The AAS seat uses the same bearing and mounting as the auto but are solid like the manual seat.
Because I cut up a set of rusty AAS 5speed seats to modify those going on the car (which were in much better shape than those I will be running) and rebuilt front mount bearings I have to stick with AAS mounts and 5speed AAS seats are not available through rock auto, kyb, moog...

The front mounts are much thicker steel and in better shape than the seats, but at the bottom where the rubber meets the metal there is a 1/4" thick layer of rust scale, I have chiseled most of it out, it needs to be filed clean, sand blasted, cleaned with solvent. I will then fill the area between the rubber and metal with industrial construction adhesive and hose clamp the rubber to the adhesive while it cures.

Then paint all 4 front mount pieces in polyurethane rust paint and reassemble the front struts. Yes it's a lot of work but even with new parts, I would have to sand blast and paint them if i don't want them to rust right away. The cheap black paint on new trailing axle arms, control arms, strut mounts... is no match for the salt and liquid sodium the government wastes our tax dollars covering the roads with in an effort to corrode, rot out, rust away all road vehicles in order to increase automotive sales and receive more sales tax. With the added bonus of liquefying snow and ice so it seeps under the pavement, eventually freezes, expands causing, cracks, bumps and potholes everywhere. So much better than using sand and gravel.

The suspension was supposed to be the easier part of this build.

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Anyone know of any performance strut options for the 1st or 2nd gen MX6/626 ?
Any good quality, reliable, reasonably priced performance insert cartridge strut brands ?
 
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