1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Chassis Stiffness

May 21, 2013

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

I decided to rotate the tires on Project Miata recently, and in doing so was reminded just how much chassis stiffness is afforded by its 6-point GT3 roll bar by Blackbird Fabworx. See that? In the picture above, there's a scissor jack supporting the front jacking point, and that's it. Both the front and rear tires are dangling in space.

Do the same exercise with a stock first-gen Miata and the front tire will come clear off the ground while the rear tire remains touching the pavement.

Door bars, my friends, door bars.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor


  • doss1 doss1 Posts:

    It makes a huge difference when the suspension is doing all of the work in the twisty stuff as oppose to your chassis.

  • huisj huisj Posts:

    How much of that is also due to suspension travel and stiffness too though? Seems like that would be at least as significant as chassis flex in this case.

  • moar_revs moar_revs Posts:

    I'd account that to the suspension travel. My Civic does the same thing and all it has is mild suspension mods (springs/shocks); no extra sway/strut bars, door bars, or any sort of chassis stiffness mods.

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    You'd have to have a car made of soft cheese to not see that with short suspension travel. And at some point all cars will do that or tip over.

  • jkavanagh jkavanagh Posts:

    You guys would be appalled by how flimsy a totally stock NA Miata is. For real, when you jack the front corner the rear tire won't lift off the ground. I've done it many times. Also, the coilovers (FCM Bilsteins) on Project Miata have the same travel as stock, and it wears a stock rear stabilizer bar...

  • doss1 doss1 Posts:

    And I do recall IL mentioning how much better the suspension compliance was after the upgrade.

  • kyolml kyolml Posts:

    i do think the coilovers do have an affect on it since you have softer helper springs than stock and harder main springs than stock, so the side on the ground doesn't go down as much and wheel in the air doesn't push down as much... best way to proof is to disconnect your sway bar.

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