Sneak Peek at an Upcoming Transmission Motor Mount

Here is a treat for GEN3 (2014+) Mazda 3 owners!

We are in the process of designing and producing a CorkSport Transmission Motor Mount, (TMM), to reduce the excessive engine movement present from the factory. Buckle up as we go through a sneak peek at some features and go through the design process and decisions that all serve to give you a better mount in the end.


When approaching this project we sought out to improve the performance of the GEN3 Mazda 3 without sacrificing drivability or OEM fitment. Stiffer motor mounts are a great way to improve throttle response, improve shift feel, and reduce wheel hop by reducing the total amount of engine movement but they can hugely increase NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness). As such, there is a balancing act between finding an acceptable level of NVH for the performance gains you get.

In a typical front wheel drive car the engine is mounted in a transverse matter, that is, the engine is parallel to the axle centerline. So when the engine tries to turn the wheels, the force to do so tries to make the engine rotate in the opposite direction. Motor mounts resist this motion of the engine.

Initially, we wanted to change the orientation of the factory mount for the Mazda3 to use the polyurethane bushings in the most optimal way possible as the bushings function best when they are parallel to the axis of rotation. Doing so proved to be difficult as we were effectively creating a new pivot point in the system.

Going through this design, we also realized that overall size was becoming a problem as different transmissions have varying heights. Since this mount sits right above the transmission, this was a vital thing to keep in mind. So for our 2.5L manual Mazda 3, we had a good amount of room below the mount, but it needed to go on a serious diet to fit an automatic model. This meant moving to a drastically smaller bushing which likely would have increased NVH, only using the mount for manual models, or using a custom bracket for each different transmission & model. Check out down below for one of the early (and ugly) designs.

So we went back to the drawing board. We decided to move forward with a design similar to the OE design. Doing so allowed for a smaller mount, easier manufacturing, and a significantly wider applicable model range. This includes all 2014-2016 Mazda 3, all 2014-2016 Mazda 6, and 2013-2016 CX-5 (we have not confirmed the 2017+ models years yet, but there’s a good chance this will be compatible).

Even though we went to a similar design to OE do not assume it’s the same thing. The CorkSport mount has the same diameter bushing as the OE mount; however, the OE mount does not utilize all the available space. This means that in addition to the stiffer polyurethane material, there is simply more material to resist the engine’s movement.

The CorkSport TMM utilizes billet aluminum for the main body of the mount with stainless steel plates for the washers and the angled section of the mount. This provides a more attractive and lighter mount than the OE offering while retaining the same strength and fitment of OE. Check out the picture down below for a look at one of our 3D printed prototype test fits.

We just received our first functional prototypes for further fitment and testing since 3D printed plastic parts don’t support an engine & transmission very well. With these samples, we can determine exactly how stiff to make the polyurethane and finalize the best possible design for you. During our test fit, we even noticed some deterioration of the OE mount.

This OE mount came off of the CorkSport Mazda 3 racecar. While it does not have many miles, they have all been racing miles that are very hard on all vehicle components. Check out the image down below to see a comparison between the used mount (left), a new mount (center), and the CorkSport prototype TMM (right). It’s interesting that Mazda has made some changes to their OE mount in the last few years. What you can’t see very well is that the racecar’s mount has areas where the rubber is starting to separate from the metal center section of the mount. There are even a few small tears forming on some of the inner bushing surfaces.

These signs of wear are encouraging to us at CS since this means we are helping to solve a potential problem facing 2014+ Mazda3 owners. As such we could not wait to get the TMM on a car for testing. Fitment is great so far, and we were even able to overcome some minor manufacturing errors. The first test for the mount was with the CorkSport Mazda 3 racecar at the 25 hours of Thunderhill. This event is an endurance race that runs for 25 hours straight.

The Mazda3 completed 613 laps during this time covering over 1800 hard miles. This is a torture test for any part, and I’m happy to report that the CorkSport TMM passed with flying colors. The drivers liked the mount and Derrick (who owns the car) reported greatly reduced slop in the transmission when shifting. Here is what the mount looked like after the 25-hour long race:

Aside from being very dirty and having a few scratches where it was bolted down, the mount had no issues and was still in good working condition. It already has a new home in a daily driven Mazda 3 to get even more testing done. Initial impressions are good, but we will look to decrease NVH as much as possible before any of you get your hands on it. Look for the CorkSport 2014+ Mazda 3 Transmission Motor Mount in the next few months.

25 hours of Thunderhill

25 hours of 69

For many people across the USA, the days after Thanksgiving means one thing. To them, it’s the start of the Christmas season. The beginning of holiday shopping, pumpkin spice lattes, and the best home cooked meals you can’t wait to dive into.

However, for a small select few group of individuals and teams, it’s a time for something completely different. It’s a time to see what you are made of, a time to put it all out on the table. A time where you know if the past year of planning, testing, and preparation are about to reward you greatly or tear you down completely. It’s the time where you hope to be able to stand up on a Sunday at noon and can say proudly “I survived the 25.”

For those lucky few (some call them crazy or stupid) the weekend after the Thanksgiving Holiday is what you might call a different type of holiday.

For the past 15 years, the 1st weekend of December is when some of the worlds best pro and amateur drivers descend upon a small city in Northern California known as Willows. Just on the outskirts of this quaint little city lies a little well-known road course titled merely “Thunderhill.” Now what makes Thunderhill so unique, well it’s probably the fact that this venue host the longest and most extreme endurance race in all of North America. For 25 hours straight; teams, coaches, drivers, and fans endure the rain, cold, dark, lack of sleep and more to try and make a name for themselves, and this year CorkSport did just that. Made History…

 

 

While attending the 25 Hours of Thunderhill is nothing new for CorkSport as we have spent the past several years supporting Mazda North America and their racing efforts with logistics, crew, and parts. This year was the first year where we entered a new team ourselves and brought our car, crew, trailer, and everything else you need to try and survive 25 hours of racing.

Sadly MNAO did not attend this year so it was up to us to make sure that the brand and name would make a forceful showing at the event and that is precisely what we did.

 

 

To start this whole thing off, we brought out our 2016 Mazda 3 GT. You guys are more than familiar with this car as Co-owner, and founder of CS Derrick Ambrose has been piloting this ride for two race seasons now in SCCA racing. We spent several weeks leading up to the event preparing the CorkSport Mazda3 for this daunting task.

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We got extra safety equipment installed, upgraded our data acquisition package, optimized and engine tune for the  2.5L engine, and even installed some upgrade prototype pieces to have the car suited for the race.

Some of the CS goodies that were on the car during the run where our SRI, Cat-back exhaust, RMM, sway bar, and some prototype pieces like our aluminum skid tray and upgraded transmission engine mount. We needed the best parts we could get in there if we wanted to be competitive and make history.

No one has ever raced the 3rd generation Mazda 3 for this long in any endurance race. This car started off just like any other Mazda 3 and still retained a full OEM chassis, transmission, and engine. The engine internals where untouched and the transmission received a CorkSport LSD.

 

The team showed up on a brisk and cold Thursday morning, and we went to work. We immediately set up and got the drivers briefed. We got some practice in on Thursday followed with some qualifying on Friday all to be prepared to push this car to the limit for 25 hours. The team grabbed the pole position, and we were 1.5 seconds ahead of the next car which was fantastic. It showed we had the pace and ultimately the faster car. Fast forward to Saturday, and the flag drops green.

We had a great start and excellent drivers in the car. We struggled a bit through the night with consuming tires at a rate faster than we had anticipated and also had a few issues with how quickly we could get fuel into the car, despite the problems the team and the car pushed through the night. With just a brake change and tweak to the exhaust through the night, we maintained a good pace that ultimately got unwound due to the fuel issue mentioned above.
There was a Miata in our class that could get better fuel economy and tire consumption and slowly crawled there way up to lead during the night.

As the sunlight begins to break through, we are in a healthy 2nd place but a bit far off the leader, however, it does not worry us too much as we still have a shot at a win. Things were looking good till right about hour 22. One of our driver’s radio’s in and let us know he lost 2nd gear (that’s not good). None the less we keep pushing knowing we have a spare transmission should we need to swap.

 

Now at hour 23 we get another message. “I lost 4th gear” The transmission has now lost two gears, and we get a bit nervous. The car is still going and driving strong but our lap times do suffer from not being able to use all of the gears. After a quick powwow with the team, the decision is made to leave the car out on track and finish the race between 3rd and 5th gear.

With only 2.5 hours to go swapping out the transmission did not make sense as we were very secured in 2nd place. So we did just that and pushed on through, and you know what happened? We did it. While we didn’t get the P1 spot like we had wanted we did what no other SKYACTIV-G Mazda3 had done before.

We survived the 25. We proved the chassis and the platform, we pushed harder, longer, and further than absolutely anyone else has. The car was relatively unscathed, and minus the transmission, the vehicle performed excellently. All of the CorkSport parts did precisely what they needed to and outperformed all expectations.

We took the 3rd gen platform and solidified it has a competitive car and chassis that can be used and used well at all levels of motorsports.

So, what happens next?

The Mazda 3 made it back home and now lay dormant inside of HQ. We will be spending the next few weeks going through a ton of data and running through the car with a fine tooth comb.

We’ll take the transmission apart and see what her demise was. We’ll likely strip the SKYACTIV 2.5L down as well to check out what two years of racing looks like on her. The oil is already out of the car and on its way to the lab so be sure to stick around and see what we find out there.

Now one of the great things about this is what our success brings to the community. Everything we learned here can and will be applied to all of our parts and products moving forward. When we win, you guys all win. So, celebrate our accolades with us and wish us luck as we begin to prepare for the 2018 race season.

 

Do we tackle the 25 hours again next year? Do we show up with a turbocharger and more aero? And do we fight our ways to a P1 finish? You better believe I am going to try.

 

-Vincent  

Diagnosing Lean Air/Fuel Mixture Codes

What Does It Mean?

At CorkSport we are glad to be a source for help with those that have questions about their Mazda. I personally enjoy helping with drivability problems or Check Engine Lights! P2187 is a good example of a common code in the Mazda world. Especially those with Mazdaspeeds. “System too lean at idle.” Now you may be asking, what does this mean, and how is it fixed?

There are other lean codes all of this could apply to; this is a typical example.

It’s quite easy to figure out yourself, and I’ll be walking you through the simple procedure to track down the cause! Using my Mazdaspeed 3, we will go through some of the diagnostic steps of Boost Leak testing, and touch on some other common causes of a lean at idle code.

Let’s get started!

AFR/Fuel Trims

AFR – Measured by your primary 02, your air-fuel ratio is vital to watch and monitor if you are modding or trying to make more power.  Your Mazdaspeed is tuned to hit certain AFR targets, and relies on the 02 sensor and the MAF Sensor (Mass Air Flow) to adjust fuel delivery accordingly. However, there are things that can interfere with how these sensors communicate with the ECU, and if this happens, it will throw your system out of whack.

Examples are vacuum leaks, boost leaks, leaking nozzles/injectors, exhaust leaks, etc.

Fuel Trims – The measurement of how much your ECU needs to adjust fuel delivery. There are two kinds of fuel trims.

Short Term Fuel Trim (STFT) – Cars immediate Reaction To AFR Fluctuations, and responsible for keeping LTFT in check. This is constantly switching around. At Idle you should see close to 0 once it settles. Meaning that the RPMs are not fluctuating, and its steady.

Long Term Fuel Trim (LTFT) – Cars long-term reaction, which will change over time-based off how the short terms are doing. When you get a custom tune, your tuner will do what’s called a MAF calibration, to get this number as close to +/- 0 as possible. The less your ECU has to correct its fuel delivery the better.

Anything (-) means it’s taking away fuel, so the AFR’s its seeing are slightly richer than what it thought they would be.

Anything (+) means its adding fuel, so the AFR’s are slightly leaner than it should be. If you are seeing high or pegged STFT, the ECU is trying it’s very best to correct AFR to target.

How To Fix

Now that you have the basic understanding of what these mean, it will be easier to read the Accessport and see just what is going on. You will be able to watch how the computer is compensating for whatever the problem is, and be able to make a more educated decision on how to track it down.

Assuming the issue isn’t caused by something on the exhaust side, the most popular method would be the boost leak test. Creative name, right?

You can make one of these testers yourself, and it only costs a few bucks. All it consists of is a properly sized (And closed off) PVC section that you clamp onto your intake using a silicone coupler. It looks a little something like this.

 

Notice that there is a Schrader valve on top (Tire valve) This allows you to pressurize the system with air. You can use a bike pump or an air compressor. Obviously, the air compressor will be a bit easier as you can fill it up much faster.
Pinch off the line running from your intake to your valve cover or oil catch can, you don’t want to be forcing air directly into your crank case.

Attach the coupler to your intake, and start filling it up. Take small intervals to listen for any air escaping. You will want to ensure that the pressure your system holds is above or equal to your boost target.

If you hear air coming from the seal for your VVT solenoid on your valve cover, this is normal.

Once you start hearing excess air escaping, or your gauge on the air chuck is not showing that it’s holding steady pressure, then you know you have a leak. The best way to visibly spot the leak is by spraying the suspect area with soapy water. It will reveal the leak as shown.

In this case, it was an FMIC coupler. However, these leaks can originate from a bad vacuum line, stuck open BOV, bad gasket. This method will expose any of these things.

What If It’s Not This?

If you have tested your system and found no source of a leak, then the next obvious things would be to inspect your MAF sensor, O2 Sensor, EVAP Solenoid, and exhaust system.

MAF – Sometimes these sensors fail, or get dirty. Cleaning them can sometimes render results but not always. Take it out and inspect it for grim or build up on the wire. MAF cleaner can be purchased at your local parts store.

O2 Sensor – Sometimes O2’s can get sleepy or go bad. Typically, when they do go bad, the readings are a bit more all over the place, or extreme. But it does happen sometimes.

The one responsible for AFR is an expensive Wideband sensor, so unless you’ve tried everything else, don’t throw money at a new one unless you’ve eliminated other variables.

EVAP Solenoid – This is responsible for allowing gas fumes from your EVAP system to be purged into your induction system to be burned off. However, the solenoid can sometimes be stuck open, and allow unmetered air in at the wrong times. Check to see if air passes through, or swap on a friend’s and see if it fixes the problem!

Exhaust – Cracks in the manifold, or downpipe before the 02 can trip up the sensor, thinking there is more air in the mixture than there is. The stream of the exhaust can pull in air from outside and confuse it. Look closely and listen for an exhaust leak. It’s typically easy to distinguish the sound.

 

Check out our latest CorkSport youtube video to catch a little more detail on this subject!

If all else fails, our staff at CorkSport is here to assist you over the phone the best we can for any of your Mazda or Mazdaspeed needs. Give us a call anytime for quality technical support at 360 260 2675.

Regards,

Brett@CS

 

Mazda 3 TCR

Mazda 3 TCR

An interesting article popped up a few days ago in which a John Dagy a journalist with Sportscar365 was discussing the TCR class of car with John Doonan who is the head of Mazda Motorsports program.

I have been following the TCR series for a while now with some interest in it as the car Mazda offers which fits best is the Mazda 3, and I enjoy the time I have had racing CorkSport’s Gen3 Mazda3.

What is nice about the series it is meant to race four-door saloons, all with a 2.0 turbo motor and a price capped ceiling of 135,000.  Most people would freak out a bit with that price but what you are getting is a fully developed car with a spec sheet.  Each manufacturer designates a builder whether it be themselves or a shop to assemble the cars and provide support.

Mazda is in an interesting spot, they have their successful Global MX5 cup series and the IMSA Prototypes with Joest, but there is a middle ground hole that has been filled with the older NC Miatas.  With the NCs not being a current production model, it makes sense to get something in there to fill in the blanks.

 In the past, Mazda had used the Mazdaspeed 3 as the basis, and it did well capturing the championships in PWC and IMSA ST class, but the lack of a turbo model makes this a challenge.

One option out there would be to use one of our upcoming 2.5 Skyactiv Mazda 3 turbo kits and bridge the gap so to speak to have a powerplant.  Granted the turbo kit is for the 2.5 but with enough encouragement and feedback from people, the 2.0 kit is looking likely.

 

Work on some aero and really good suspension, and you would be set.  Maybe I am just daydreaming too much at work again….

-Derrick

 

How to make 400 WHP…

How to make 400WHP… a tried and true Method

The MZR DISI engine has been around for just over 10 years now, and CorkSport along with the community, racers, shops, and enthusiasts alike have learned quite a bit about these engines. We have learned what they like and what they don’t. How they react to certain mods, how to maintain them, and also some of their weak points.

Among the many things we have learned, we have developed a great understanding of what is needed to get these engines to make power. More specifically, with the right set of bolt-on parts and tuning one can easily and safely make 400WHP on a stock bottom end of your MS3 or MS6. The torque will just need to be kept under control of course.

It’s not a secret or rocket science on how to achieve this power level in a Mazdaspeed3 or Mazdaspeed6, and it is very much doable.

Today I want to share with you a simple blog on just one way of doing just that. If you would like more in-depth information on some of these parts after checking out this blog, I suggest picking up a copy of our Ultimate Mazda Performance Guide. This simple read is packed full of information for 2004+ NA and Mazdaspeed models and is a great place to start for guys that are new to aftermarket performance and modification game.

Disclaimer up front.

There are certainly many variables that can come into play when trying to achieve 400WHP safely such as health of your engine, quality of engine tune, octane rating of fuel, engine management software and more. This is by no means an all-inclusive guide and the only way of making this level of power. What this, however, is a tried and tested method of making good power safely and reliably coming from years of experience doing it ourselves and helping the community. We have spent years and years developing this platform and continue to do so on a daily basis. What I aim to do is educate you guys on how you can make the most of-of your MZR Engine.

Now before we get too ahead of ourselves, there are two modifications that are a must before going down the 400whp quest. Those are high-pressure fuel pump internals and a tuning solution such as those provided by COBB or Versatuner.

Now while inherently in themselves these parts do not increase hp and tq levels they are 100% necessary to achieve not only safe and reliable power with your Mazdaspeed, but give you the ability to make the most out of your hard part modifications. A high-quality tune is worth every penny, and when paired with things such as the intake and exhaust mentioned above you will not only have a reliable and smooth running car, but you can capitalize even more so your parts and net more horsepower.

The DISI MZR 2.3 T is not much different than any other gasoline direct injected engine that you would find on any modern automobile.

Air goes into your Mazdaspeed, it combines with the correct ratio of fuel, and the mixture gets compressed. From there, a spark event occurs that ignites a controlled burn, forcing the piston downwards. Exhaust gases then leave the Mazda, and the cycle repeats with new fresh air. So in an oversimplified matter that is all an internal combustion engine is just a glorified air pump with more bells and whistles. And one of the best ways to make a really effective air pump is to make it as efficient as possible in moving air in and out of the cylinders.

For that reason, it’s best to start at the front and back of our car to help give it a little breathing room.

It’s no secret that intake and exhaust systems are among the most popular first upgrades for any automobile and it’s for a good reason. Letting air in and out as easy as we can is a great first step to make power and free up restrictions, especially on a factory turbocharged vehicle. The OEM pieces are more concerned with emissions and pricing rather than performance.

So, stepping up to 3” or 3.5” intake for your Mazdaspeed, paired with a turbo-back exhaust will help to help free up some headroom in the exhaust system. Achieved by doing things such as: increasing our overall pipe diameter and either eliminating our catalytic converter or replacing it with a high flow race cat we reduce a lot of restriction, so the engine doesn’t do as much work. Since we are effectively making its job easier; we are now able to take more of that power stroke and translate it into much more power at the wheel, rather than having it consumed by products such as waste heat, noise, and vibration.

Those two mods alone can net you an easy 50+Whp (With the proper tuning) which is huge looking at your dollar per horsepower figures. Note the exhaust systems are different between the 1st and 2nd gen Mazdaspeed models.  (Mazdaspeed3 has 2 generations that have slight differences, meaning not all parts are compatible across the two models)

Now another great way to make more power with your Mazdaspeed, and to get us closer to 400whp, is to increase the level of boost pressure that we start running through our engine. OEM boost levels are around the 14-15 PSI. But once we have our intake and exhaust installed on our Mazdaspeed, our tuning solution can allow us to start increasing that level into the 19-21 range.

But, of course, a natural byproduct of increasing the pressure within our system is a rise in intake air temperature. To be able to make the most of our increased boost levels, we must keep our temperatures in check. A great way of doing that is upgrading to a larger TMIC or go a step further and upgrade to a large FMIC core. By doing this, we create a way to get rid of excess heat which allows us to make more stable and efficient power. Not to mention that the stock TMIC is also a terrible bottleneck so this will free up the extra flow as well.

The intercoolers primary function is to act as a heat exchanger, and we know that heat is the #1 roadblock to any engine to make more power. The more efficiently we can remove heat from the system the better. Having less overall heat in the system allows us to make more power safely and reliably as ‘knock’ is also reduced.

Now that we have a good way of getting air into our MS3 or MS6, out, and keeping cool, we want to be able to make more of it. A nice and easy way to be able to do that is by dropping in a turbocharger upgrade into your Mazdaspeed. Doing this easily replaces your factory undersized unit and allows us the potential to make some serious power. We can generally do one of three things once this happens.

#1) we make the same power on less boost
#2) we make more power on the same boost
#3) we make way more power on WAY more boost!!!

If we are shooting for 400whp, then we generally like to choose door #3.

A quick note on a pair of other items that we highly suggest/need at this point. Those items being a 3.5 bar MAP sensor and an electronic boost control solenoid (or EBCS). Once we start to increase our boost pressures north of 21psi, the OEM electronics begin to lose resolution and can negatively affect our tuning if not addressed.

By upgrading our MAP sensor we are now allowing the PCM to be able to recognize and look up higher boost targets than those equipped from the OEM, the computer can basically now record and accurately look up these values. We also upgrade our EBCS to allow more fine tuning of our maps and boost targets. An OEM EBCS just won’t allow us as fine of control of our boost pressure and that can cause some headache as we start to approach these higher levels.

With the above combination of mods and proper tuning on a healthy engine, a medium frame turbo on pump gas can get you into the 330-340whp range.

If we go another step further and open up to some more breathing mods such as an intake manifold, taller lift camshafts, or a larger throttle body we can stretch into the 350-360hp range.

That being said without the help of e85 or aux fueling we can’t go any closer to our 400whp mark. We simply hit the limits of the Mazdaspeed factory fuel system and need to look into upgrading that system as well.

Making the switch over to e85 allows us to get in the 380 range, but we soon run out of fuel injector headroom in the Mazdaspeed at this point and max out our injector duty cycle. We then have to look at aux fueling (Meth or Port Injection) as a solution to get us to our 400whp mark safely. What’s unfortunate is that at this point we are also looking at upgrading our hard parts such as our in-tank fuel pump to keep up with demand if you plan to run PI. There are quite a few options for AUX fueling which are beyond the scope of this blog.

Now, as mentioned this is not the only way of making these power levels, but it could be said that it is one of the easiest and most popular. It’s important to remember that along way we supplement the engine with other supporting mods to ensure we are safe and can make full use of our power. Things like lower heat range spark plugs and a stage 2 rear engine mount can go a long way.

Thanks for following along and feel free to leave us a comment if you have any questions or want some more specific information on a product.