The Suspension: the final episode

Today, I decided to take a look at the Gaz rear suspension that I removed a few days shy of two months ago.

Mazda 323 GTX Gaz coilover

I know, it looks like shitty old suspension and maybe that's because it is. But this was a nice and rather expensive bit of kit in its day. Back in 2007, when my brother owned the car and had some intention to get it back on the road after a failed MOT, he replaced the rear shocks with two of the custom-made Gaz shocks seen here. These cost £250 for each shock absorber back then (about £300 inflation-adjusted).

Before the K-Sport "biting the bullet" episode, I had the idea that maybe I would also get Gaz to custom-make some front ones too. I decided not to; even at the non-inflation-adjusted price, that would have been £500, minus the desperately-needed new springs both front and rear. Each corner also needed new top mounts (which would have been another very expensive custom job) and even that would have left me unable to adjust preload and ride height separately as I can on the K-Sport setup, so they had to go.

That made me sad, because I knew these shocks, as old as they are, had maybe 100 miles of driving on them, if that, and that it was top-quality stuff in its day (and still is). So today, I decided to give them both a bit of a cleanup to see what they looked like. Top is before, bottom is after:

Mazda 323 GTX Gaz shocks, one of them cleaned up

Tools used: Brillo pads! I'm not kidding. If you need to remove tarnishing or crap from any metal, a slightly damp Brillo pad is your best friend. The steel wool is only slightly abrasive, and with the built-in soap and a bit of water they glide over whatever you are trying to make pretty. On top of that, I used some electrical contact cleaner (for when I needed to quickly blast away the soap residue to see where I was with the cleaning), paper towels, and a little WD40 to lubricate the threads on the shocks to make it easier to get the bottom nuts on.

It's a tribute to Gaz that even after 13 years of disuse and only a hundred miles of use that they are still in really rather good condition. There's a tiny bit of pitting on the shafts but otherwise these shocks are close to perfect and still feel great today!

I don't know if these will make any amount of money that is worth my time to list them on eBay. I am not worried if they don't. They're just too nice to go onto the scrap pile, and I would rather see these go on a car again rather than being recycled.

Onwards!