Why no AWD?

Mazda has recently said they would like to have AWD in most models, but the current generation has some space/packaging constraints. I was scratching my head over this statement trying to figure out why the existing model Mazda 6 is offered in AWD in Europe with the Skyactiv diesel engine and Mazda is saying they cannot get it to fit.

I think I may have stumbled onto the answer after having a conversation with a friend recently. It is no secret Mazda is working on offering the diesel Cx5 to the US market, but it has been held up in government regulations with the EPA courtesy of VW and FIAT cheating on their engine mapping and emissions. Mazda has the setup which will pass and get the power they want to offer but here lies the problem.

Say you were going to offer a Mazda 6 diesel model that now meets the US emissions with the urea injection. Where are you going to put the tank to hold in the car? In the Cx5, which has more space to put something like a urea tank, it is not as much of a problem with packaging to find a spot. The Mazda 6 doesn’t sit off the ground as high and allow you a space to get everything to work out and be able to still fit the transfer case, drive shaft, and rear differential.

Why doesn’t Mazda offer both? This is a question I wish I could sort out. It wouldn’t be the first time Mazda would have models with different floor plans. Mazda has done this in the past with the 323s and Protégé, so I don’t think this is the reason why. This could be a possible play on the overall strategy with North America and only offer the AWD as a diesel model. This goes against what we have already with the Cx5 2.5 gas engine and the Cx9 gas 2.5 turbo motor, so I don’t think this is it which leaves this question for me to puzzle over a bit longer.

With the announcement of the Mazda/Toyota plant in Alabama and the statement by the chief of Mazda saying Mazda is going to build something different, this could be the queue that they will find a way to give us AWD turbo fun again. If anything the announcement of the new plant will finally get the EPA to give the green light to the Skyactiv diesel engine.

Overall Mazda desire to give us AWD still has me hopeful for the 2.5 Skyactiv gas turbo with all-wheel drive, but all the current signs say nope. Please Mazda, I don’t mind being wrong on this one.

-Derrick

2007-2009 Mazdaspeed3 Crashbar

Mazdaspeed 3 FMIC

Want Big Power from your GEN1, but your Intercooler is holding you back?

This was the case for our Engineering Manager Barett and his Mazdaspeed3, so he created his crash bar for a big front mount intercooler; we liked his setup so much we made it for everyone.

Introducing the CorkSport Crash Bar for 2007-2009 Mazdaspeed3; constructed of high-quality laser cut steel with a durable powder coated finish, it can stand the test of time while giving you room for the big front mount you want.

Now let me start off by saying this is not a typical CorkSport part. It is not an easy bolt-in install like most of our other parts.

There is no easy way to remove the OE crash bar without cutting it off. As a result, this install is extensive and more or less permanent. Don’t let all of that scare you off though; this is still a CorkSport part. That means the same great quality and customer service that you’ve all grown accustomed to.

We have made this as easy as we possibly can. Once the OE crash bar is cut off and some trimming done to the headlight surrounds, the bar is located in the correct position based on the OE hood latch support. Then holes are drilled in the OE crash bar support rails to securely mount the CorkSport Crash Bar. No welding required for install.

Now I know what all of you are asking, what about a big FMIC to fit the bar?

Well, we are offering the crash bar by itself and with our 23 ½” x 11” x 3” intercooler that’s been proven on a 550whp car. Since the CorkSport Mazdaspeed3 crash bar was designed to fit this FMIC, brackets come pre-welded in the correct locations to mount to the top of the FMIC.

Also, stainless steel side brackets are included to attach the IC’s lower mounting locations to existing holes on the radiator core support for added stability.

This entire package fits well behind the OE bumper with little to no trimming or modification. OE fog lights stay functional, and you even can utilize the OE toe hook location as it is retained with the CorkSport crash bar.

If you’ve been looking for that final component to complete your GEN1 big power build and have been trying to avoid the headaches of creating your custom crash bar, the CorkSport Crash Bar is for you.

Protect your Mazda 3 with the CorkSport Skid Tray

Extra Protection for your 2014-2016 Mazda 3

That’s right folks; CorkSport’s favorite skid trays have made their way to the GEN3 Mazda 3. Whether you have a broken OE plastic skid tray or are just looking for some extra protection for the winter months, please welcome the CorkSport 2014-2016 Mazda3 Skid Tray. Made from laser cut, 0.090” thick aluminum formed to a perfect fit, this skid tray is a direct upgrade from the OE Mazda3.

From the factory, the GEN3 Mazdas come with a flimsy plastic under tray that can crack and break with the smallest of impacts.
It exists primarily to smooth the airflow traveling under your car and act as a splash shield for the engine compartment while driving in the rain but offers no real protection for your oil pan. We felt compelled to remedy this issue, and thus, the CorkSport Mazda3 Skid Tray was born.

The 0.090” thick aluminum protects your Mazda 3 from road debris, rocks, and damage to vital engine components while adding minimal weight to your car. This aluminum is the same material as our Mazdaspeed 3 skidplate, and it has proven itself to take plenty of punishment. We even torture tested one of our prototype skid trays during the 25 Hours of Thunderhill on the CorkSport Mazda 3 Race Car and had no issues.

As always, we sought out to make the installation as painless as possible while retaining all OE features. The CorkSport skid tray only uses the OE mounting locations without having to drill or trim anything. The CorkSport Mazda3 skid tray is a two-piece design that allows for a more straightforward install. Each piece is more manageable to move around for installation than the traditional one-piece design. As a bonus, it also makes the shipping is cheaper! We retained The oil and filter access panel so you can easily perform maintenance without having to remove the Mazda3 skid tray.

By extending the front of the skid tray above the bottom of the front bumper like OE, the CorkSport Skid Tray retains the smooth transition from bumper to skid tray to ensure smooth airflow under your car. You can even run the CorkSport Skidplate with the Mazda OE front lip with no issues.

If you’re worried about your oil pan or can’t seem to keep an OE skid tray in one piece, let the CorkSport Skid Plate for 2014-2016 Mazda 3 alleviate your issues.

P.S. Our two-piece design allows us to develop fitments for other models. If you’re interested in a skid plate for your car, let us know, and we might start work on one for you!

 

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.

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