Our tips and pics.
1) Jackup the front using factory jack points
2) Remove front wheels
3) Pop the hood and remove shock tower brace.
4). Disconnect front sway bar links from the lower A arms.
5) On the lower control arm remove the 17mm bolt that holds the base of the shock on.
6) Remove the two upper control arm 14mm bolts--this is the key to the front!! No spring compressor is necessary if you do this! Note in this picture that you may need to remove retaining bolt that holds a brake line to remove the upper control arm bolts.
7) Remove the 3 upper hat 14mm nuts, after this the shock/spring assembly should drop down a bit and you should be able to angle it out (top first) by moving the control arms toward the rear. Note the thin plastic looking film on the top mounts...carefully remove and put this item on the JIC...it prevents squeaks.
I made the front OHLIN and JIC assemblies exactly 2 inches shorter than the factory assemblies before installing and this made later height adjustments minor and installation super easy. Note that both makers include locking nuts for the assemblies that have integrated lock washers. This is unfortunate because they cannot be easily installed without an air gun (the shock rods just spin and spin and you can't easily drive the nylon lock nuts down tight). My STRONG SUGGESTION is make your life easier and invest a dollar at your local parts store to purchase standard separate lock washers and metric nuts to finish the job.
NOTE: if you want to install sways it can be done easily with the shocks removed because you can then slide the front sway bar out through the sides!
9) The reinstallation is the opposite of the removal, first slide the strut assembly back through the upper control arm and under the fender
10) Screw on the 3 14mm bolts for the upper hat.
11) Reinstall the 17mm bolt through the base of the strut
12) Screw in the two 14mm upper control arm bolts but do not tighten them all the way just yet.
TORQUE TIME....use LOCK-Tite or similar on the threads.
# Torque each lower shock bolt to 65 lb-ft.
# Torque each side end-link connection to 35 lb-ft.
# Torque each upper link bolt to 45 lb-ft.
# From the trunk, torque the upper shock mount nuts to 30 lb-ft and torque the upper (center) shock nut to 25 lb-ft, torque the single retaining bolt that comes up from the underside to 20 lb-ft.
# Lower the car back onto the jack stands.
# Reinstall the tires and lower the car to the floor.
# Torque all lug nuts to 80-85 lb-ft.
13) After both sides are complete reconnect factory sway bars...or the new sway bars you just installed.
14) Reinstall the wheels
15) Lower the car down and let the car settle on the front suspension, I took a quick drive around the block
16) Rotate the wheels so you can tighten the upper control arm bolts.
17) Enjoy your new coilovers. Have some FUN playing with heights! The joy of coilovers is that you can make a setup....and then change your mind and try higher or lower. Experiment a little to find the height and damping settings that work best for YOU. If during this process you find you get a CLANG noise while driving then it likely means you need a little more pre-load on springs at the front or back. Usually about a quarter inch of pre-load is enough to prevent them from unloading and clanging around over bumps in the road (be careful not to go much more than about this amount of pre-load). The car needs a good 100 miles to settle to final heights after heights are adjusted......and then you should go back and double check that all lock washers are tight. Then do alignment.
The rear install is the similar except you are disconnecting the two upper links. Also, note that each upper factory hat mount has TWO nuts in the trunk and ONE bolt that comes up from underneath. Note that the Ohlins, JIC, and other coilovers require you to reuse your upper aluminum hat mounts. That means that if you do not order a second set of those factory items from your local Mazda dealer, or from Mazda MotorSports, you will need a spring compressor to disassemble the factory setup. So, if you want to avoid use of a spring compressor, order those factory top mounts ahead of time. Also useful in the rear to have your factory jack for raising the new assembly into place long enough for you to thread the two nuts in the trunk and the one retaining bolt that comes up from the underside.
WARNING...you do NOT adjust height on the Ohlins or JIC by cranking the spring perches up against the spring tension and doing so can DAMAGE YOUR COILOVERS!!! Instead, with the JIC you undo the lock perches and spin/twist the entire shock BODY into and out of the base coupler of the shock and then follow by spinning the perches up to put just light tension on the springs...just enough to keep them from banging around when the suspension unloads. With the OHLINS rear you spin the lock rings away from the GOLD center sleeve so that you can turn that sleeve....in one direction to make assembly shorter, and in the other to make assembly longer (and raise heights), but notice that there is a min overlap of that sleeve on the shock body and when you get to the missing thread you have reached that min and should back it up a bit....and reset spring tension to about a quarter inch of tension after you get the length adjusted. With the Ohlins front the adjustment is very easy as the spring tension is already set and you just spin the entire assembly into/out of the base coupler as done on the JIC.
WARNING 2. If you use our RACE kit with Delrin converters you MUST space out bottom shock where it attaches the shock to the car by at least a quarter inch. You use washers or any suitable spacer (some will machine their own from aluminum), and you need to replace the bolt with a longer bolt...the added length equal to the thickness of your spacers/washers. This is prevent the the shock from rubbing the standard diameter race springs during the arc of travel of the shock (which is why standard rear coilovers like the base Ohlins and JIC kits use the high clearance rear springs shown in picture above). This is standard for any race coilover in the NC and RX8 when standard diameter race springs are used in the rear (spacers come standard with the Sachs coilovers used in the Playboy MX5 Cup Series, and Motons on Grand Am RX8s, etc).
If you can't get the bottom jam nut loose....it may be too much spring pre-load. Get the springs looser by lowering jam nut below spring perch first...then the spring perch. You only need about a quarter inch preload on those springs and any more will prevent you from unlocking the bottom jam nuts/adjusters!
Once you have the bottom adjuster loose...spin it up the shock as much as you want to lower the car...and then grab entire shock/spring combo and spin the shock down into the bottom coupler.