Suspension Swap Guide - Protege / 323 / MX-3 / US Esc/ZX2

  • Shamelessly stolen from from that very nice 'mazdaracer' fellow.


    This guide covers the various suspension parts that interchange between the following models:

    • 1991-present Ford Escort
    • 1997-present Ford ZX2
    • 1991-present Mercury Tracer
    • 1990-1994 Mazda Protege
    • 1990-1994 Mazda 323
    • 1992-1996 Mazda MX3

    First of all….the 1990-1994 Protege and 323 are basically the same car, using the same chassis and unibody. The 1991-1996 Escorts and the 1997-present escorts and ZX2's use the SAME chassis as the Protege/323 (known as the BG chassis). Thus most every suspension part will interchange with a few minor exceptions. The Mazda MX-3 uses the same unibody as the Protege/323/ZX2/Escort/Tracer hence why so many suspension parts interchange. The MX-3, however uses a different chassis known as the "EC" chassis. The main differences between this chassis and the BG chassis is the different swaybar design that uses droplinks instead of endlinks. The control arms and trailing arms are of a different design and the rear disc brakes on GS models use different style calipers.

    Strut Tower Bars-
    It is easiest to find MX3 strut tower bars on ebay or online. All MX3 strut tower bars fit the 90-94 Protege, 2nd gen escort, 323, and the 3rd gen Escort and ZX2. The 3rd gens may require some re-location of various brackets as there are more systems (like ABS) and stuff. The rear bar does fit, but require trimming of your trunk interior to fit in the 97+ Escort sedan or ZX2 hatchback.

    Tie Bars-
    Front Tie bars will fit all models listed, with the exception of the MX3. The MX3 rear tie bar fits all models listed, with the exception of the 97+ Escort/ZX2. The rear control arm links are ~2.5" shorter on the 97+ Escort/ZX2. However, there are rear tie bars for the 97+ Escort/ZX2, so all models are covered for rear tie bars.

    All front swaybars interchange between the Protege/323/Escort/ZX2, as do the rear bars. The MX3's bars WILL NOT fit any of these models. This is because they utilize horizontally mounted droplinks rather than the vertically mounted endlinks found on BG chassis cars.

    Control arm, Trailing arm, and swaybar frame/endlink kits will interchange between the Protege/323/Escort/ZX2, and possibly the MX-3 (no one has tested them). Shift stabilizer bushings are the same between all Protege's, 323's, MX3's and 2nd gen Escorts and Tracers (1991-1996). The 97+ Escort and ZX2 use larger in diameter bushings which will not fit.

    Motor Mounts-
    The engine mounts for the Protege, 323, 1991-1996 Escort & Tracer, and 4 cylinder MX-3 RS are the same. The 97+ Escort and ZX2 may use the same mounts, but no one has yet to test this. The #1 and #2 lower transmission mounts for the ZX2 will interchange as the Protege/323/2nd gen Escort&Tracer and MX-3 RS however. (this has been tested). Since the MX-3 GS uses a V6, none of the enigne mounts are the same and will not interchange with the exception of the #4 mount located under the battery tray (upper transmission mount).

    All MX3, Protege, 323, ZX2, and Escort struts will fit one another, but the ZX2 SR (and all 3rd gens) use a larger diameter strut shaft (20mm vs 22mm)So you will need to use ZX2 thrust bearings (also known as strut bearings) if you want to use the ZX2 SR Tokicos. These are easiy modified into the MX3, Protege, 323 or 2nd gen Escorts upper perch (by Dremelling the perch out!) Although, to avoid any modifications, get a set of any 97+ Escort/ZX2 upper perches for this mod. Please note that the ZX2 SR struts are .5" shorter in legnth.
    The bearing you want for the ZX2 is Ford/Motorcraft AD980. But, aftermarket strut mounts tend to come with bearings. e.g. MX-3 front = Monroe 902936MM, ZX2 front is same with bigger bearing = Monroe 904913MM - Venari

    Springs & Coilovers-
    All springs will interchange but each spring is designed with the cars weight in mind. The MX3 and Zx2 are close to each other in curb weight, but are heavier than the Protege/323/EGT.

    Coilovers seem to fit, but Let it be known that most won't fit the ZX2 SR Tokico struts without having to mill or bore out the top hats to fit down over the larger SR shaft (which is too fat to slip the sleeve over). All other struts will accept the coilovers fine.

    Strut Mounts-
    All strut mounts are identical for all of the forementioned cars (Protege, 323, Tracer, Escort, ZX2 and MX3).
    As mentioned, aftermarket strut mounts tend to come with bearings. e.g. MX-3 front = Monroe 902936MM, ZX2 front = same with bigger bearing = Monroe 904913MM - Venari

    All of the forementioned cars use the same 4x100mm bolt pattern and use similar offsets. All of their wheels will interchange. All of these models tire and rims sizes are listed below:

    1990-1991 Mazda Protege 4WD: 185/65R14
    1990-1994 Mazda Protege SE/DX: 175/70R13
    1990-1994 Mazda Protege LX: 185/60R14
    1992-1995 Mazda MX-3 RS: 185/65R14
    1992-1994 Mazda MX-3 GS: 205/55R15
    1991-1993 Ford Escort Pony, LX and Wagon: P175/70r13
    1994-1996 Ford Escort Base, LX and Wagon: P175/65r14
    1991-1993 Mercury Tracer Base and Wagon: P175/70r13
    1994-1996 Mercury Tracer Base and Wagon: P175/65r14
    1991-1996 Tracer LTS: P185/60r14
    1991-1996 Escort GT: P185/60r15
    1991-1993 Ford Escort LX-E: P185/60r15
    1997-2003 Ford Escort & some ZX2's: 185/65R14
    1997-2004 Ford ZX2 w/wheel option: 185/60R15
    1997-1999 Ford ZX2 SR: 205/55ZR15 with a unique wheel style

    Hubs, Rotors and Calipers-
    here are two different diameters of drive-axles used in the BG and EC chassis cars. There is the F-series transmission and G-series transmission found in these vehicles. All of these cars have identical wheel bearings, hubs and brake calipers and rotors/drums, and use the same brakepads and shoes. I will break down the cars in terms of which use F-series transmission and which use G-series transmissions:

    F-Series transmissions:

    1990-1994 Mazda Protege DX and Mazda 323
    1991-1996 Ford Escort Pony, LX 3 and 5 door hatchbacks and 4-door sedans and Mercury Tracer (base)
    1992-1996 Mazda MX-3 RS

    G-Series Transmissions:

    1990-1994 Mazda Protege LX
    1991-1996 Ford Escort GT, LX-E and Mercury Tracer LTS and Ford Escort Wagon
    1992-1994 Mazda MX-3 GS
    1997-2003 Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer with 2.0 SPI engine
    1997-2004 Ford ZX2

    ZX2 Strut Installation Guide


    This is not my guide, i just added to it a little and made some corrections. Uh, me too. - Venari

    Feel free to add corrections or add information. Keep the discussion to a non existant minimum or start a new thread, want to keep this thread clean with just the facts.


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