Public Service Announcement: grease your sway bar bushings Miata owners… I remember Miata.net forums light up when most of the US was experiencing freezing temps including Southern states like Georgia, the Carolina’s and Texas where owners started complaining about loud squeaking and creaking noises coming from their suspension even on basically brand new / late model NC MX-5’s of the 2015 vintage. I had experienced those noises every winter time including when I first bought my car. I was convinced that was the result of the bump stops being worn out like I saw on the forums. But boy was I wrong. I discovered I was wrong when we replaced my stock suspension with a set of Bilsteins from a newer Miata GT PRHT. I figured it was not possible for the bump stops to get work out on such a low mileage car. But it turns out the bump stops have nothing to do with this squeak.
The problem was much simpler and much easier to fix. The front and back bushings on the sway bars get squeaky with wear and age. And it only takes a little bit of synthetic grease to lubricate them to make the car sound like new again. If you don’t think my claim is reasonable, consider the fact that the PRHT top squeaks and creaks when the two pins that go into the area above the windshield isn’t lubricated. When you experience the squeaks even a brand new car feels like a worn out horse buggy. And with just a little lubrication it feels like a different car, a brand new car!
Special thanks to my buddy Chris for doing the work for me in his garage. It is greatly appreciated! Some pix:
Thanks to Stephen from Ohio for sending me his used RX-8 sway bar end link to help me diagnose a possible issue with clicking which appeared after we did the Bilstein install. Unfortunately this wasn’t the problem, but I’m glad we eliminated that possibility.
There are only four bolts, two on each side, front and rear to loosen the sway bar. It helps to remove one of the bolts on the sway bar end links to release the tension on the bar. I also took the opportunity to swap out one of the end links for a used unit one of the fellow owners from Miata.net sent me from Ohio to help me diagnose a clicking problem that appeared after the Bilsteins install. His was an RX-8 sway bar end link that is identical (part number the same) to the MX-5 model. Unfortunately the end link didn’t seem to be the problem to my clicking noise. But I’m happy with this replacement.