Tools Every Mazda Owner Needs in their Garage

Tools Every Mazda Owner Needs

Whether you only change your oil or have done multiple engine swaps in your garage, its necessary to have the right tools for the job. Since we do everything from engine builds to big brake kits here at CorkSport, we definitely spent a lot of time wrenching, and have discovered a few “must have” tools along the way.

The basics are a necessity! While you can take apart just about everything on a Mazda with only an 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, and 21mm socket/wrench, it’s important to have a good mix to make your life that much easier. Short and deep well sockets, multiple drive sizes, lots of extensions, breaker bars, and so on can all help you remove that awkwardly placed bolt.

A few other must-have basics I find myself using in the CS shop:

  • Small 1/4″ drive ratchet-perfect for the 8, 10, and 12mm bolts in tight spaces
  • Ratcheting wrenches-for when a socket just won’t fit. Flex head ones for even more versatility.

 

  • Crows foot wrenches-you won’t use them often but they’re a lifesaver that one time you need them.
  • Impact gun-cordless or pneumatic, these can speed up any install.
  • Wheel safe lug nut socket-the plastic outer sleeve prevents any scratches to your wheels.

 

Developing exhausts for the Mazda lineup means repeated installs/removal of full exhaust systems and Oxygen sensors. This is helped immensely by a proper Oxygen sensor socket and some penetrating fluid. If you’re planning on upgrading your exhaust, I would definitely recommend getting an O2 sensor socket to get it done right.

 

 

One of the more recent tools we have acquired at CS is a set of exhaust hanger pliers. When coupled with some lubrication, these make removing those pesky rubber hangers so much easier.

 

 

While elbow-deep in the engine bay, it is so much easier if you can actually see around the turbo! We are a little spoiled at CS with how well lit the shop is, but for those less lucky, find yourself an under hood light.

 

 

Still having trouble seeing? Pick up a telescoping mirror that you can angle around to try and locate that hard to see nut or bolt. These are also extremely handy if you cannot find a socket or piece of hardware you dropped in the engine bay. Pick up a kit that includes an extendable magnet as well and recovers anything you may drop.

 

I always try to be prepared when performing maintenance or doing an install. Having a factory service manual really helps with this. Torque specifications recommended disassembly procedures, and fastener locations are all laid out in the FSM.

I also try to look for any unusual tools that may be needed for an install as not having the right Allen head socket or external Torx socket can derail an install. Check online for the FSM for your car, most can be found with a little hunting. Certain installs are also made easier with custom vehicle specific tools available from aftermarket companies (the CorkSport Injector Puller for Instance).

 

Last but not least is having a friend to help you with the install. While you cannot keep this very special “tool” in your garage all the time, it can be invaluable to simply have another set of hands around.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, however; I hope it helps out some of you when attempting a difficult install. Have any other special tools you find yourself using when working on your car? Let us know down below!

-Daniel

Mazda Nostalgia – 323 GTX

Nostalgia

I recently got a good dose of nostalgia when I agreed to help my dad pick up his new (to him) car, a 323 GTX.  A longtime friend of mine had one sitting in his driveway looking pretty sad and I had mentioned it in passing to my dad that he was looking to sell it.  

Like most GTXs you find for under $1000 they need some love and this car was no exception and it needed to be towed home.

After spending an hour looking the car over once it was home I realized home much I still remembered about these cars.  Honestly, it has been 7 years since I looked at a GTX in person and the floodgates in my mind popped open with piles of information on what we needed to check out first in the car.  

As we continued to look over the car, answers to why things were not working just came right out. A good example is why does the cooling fan turn on when you crank over the engine? I didn’t even have to look, I knew there are several sensors which the car looks at to #1 turn the fan on and #2 what speed to run it at based on temperature, the A/C is turned on, etc.  Turns out the car didn’t have either of the two temp sensors plugged in or they are broken.

As we went over the car I was listing off items we need to check or replace to get this car back up and running as it should be a funny feeling came over me.  I really felt good to be working on one of these cars again. This time the money pit isn’t mine thankfully, but if I ever want to get that “good old days” feeling from my early twenties all I have to do is go over to my dad’s house and pick up a wrench as there is almost certainly something which will need to be fixed.

The fun part of this adventure is the answer to why did he buy it.  Like most 323 GTXs they are meant to be raced and this is no exception as it will be run in the Gambler 500.  Never heard of the Gambler 500 before? Well, it is like chump car or Lemons racing, you can prep a cheap car and go rally racing with it.  Having a $500 car survive the weekend of navigating GPS and not breaking down in the middle of nowhere is the challenge.

Some of you remember my old GTX which was sold to another local GTX aficionado sitting in the normal position of being broken and needing time and money thrown at it to get it back on the road again.  If you haven’t seen the car before here is a few pictures of it in it’s natural habitat which I have dug up.

If any of you decide to pick up a GTX, remember it doesn’t take much to get your 323 to do this and not leave the transmission in pieces….

-Derrick

Garage Organization Tips and Tricks

Making Working in the Garage Easier Starts with Organization!

While we often discuss what’s best for your Mazda and how to make it more fun, we rarely talk about where you spend all your time while working on your Mazda: the garage!

Having a nice organized space to store and work on your ride will keep your Mazda’s exterior in better shape and help you get those CorkSport parts installed faster. After all, we all know someone who has a garage, but their Mazdaspeed lives outside because of how disorganized their garage is. Using the tips that follow should help you avoid being that friend.

Tool Organization

Tools are a vital part of any install, but they don’t do much good if they cannot be found and easily accessed. Below are some tips for keeping your tools neat and tidy.

Have a good quality toolbox that is big enough for all of your tools. Toolboxes exist in all shapes and sizes, finding one that fits your tool collection and suits your preferences will help keep you organized.

Organize your toolbox logically. Sort your tools by type but be sure you don’t have to dig to find the tool you need. I also like to put my most used tools in the drawers that are easiest to access.

Upgrade your organizers. The basic metal or plastic socket organizers work fine, but for a few bucks more, you can get well labeled, magnetic organizers that will keep your sockets in place. The ones below have the bonus of being magnetic on the bottom for even more versatility. Similar organizers exist for wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers.

Pegboard is your friend. Using pegboard and assorted hooks for the large or otherwise awkward tools will help keep your toolbox easy to access. If you’re not into sifting through drawers, a large pegboard wall can even replace your toolbox!

Storage

Having a place to store extra parts, jacks, and other miscellaneous garage stuff will ensure your garage stays a clean and comfortable work environment.

Just having a place for everything can transform the feel and organization of your space. It may seem obvious but having a designated area for everything in your garage and ensuring it returns to its place removes a lot of the risk for a cluttered, unusable garage.

Keep things off the floor as much as possible. Anything left on the floor will be awkward to work around and will make your garage feel messy. Simple shelving units and cabinets to get things out of the way can make a huge difference.

Utilize your walls and ceiling as much as possible. Moving storage to the walls and ceiling allows you to maximize your usable floor space. Old kitchen cabinets can be repurposed to hang high up and out of the way until you need something. There’s a ton of ceiling storage solutions out there, be creative and finds what works best in your garage. If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, storage above the garage door works fantastic.

Making Working on a Project Easier

Whether working on your Mazda, it can be easy to get distracted and messy, leaving you wondering where the extra bolts came from after you get everything put back together. It’s especially important to stay organized if your Mazdaspeed will be out of commission for a little while.

Keep track of your hardware! We’ve said it before but merely using plastic bags and a sharpie to label where each bolt and nut came from makes it way easier when it’s time to put everything back together.

For a more short-term solution, we also use small plastic bins to keep parts and hardware together. If you have a pegboard, be sure to find some bins that will hang on the pegboard! Lastly, a fishing tackle box can be useful to neatly store extra hardware rather than having a random bolt drawer.

 

 

Give yourself a good work surface. Whether you’re cleaning parts, swapping some studs over to a new turbo, or putting together the head on an engine build, having a nice surface to work on will make your life easier. To kill two birds with one stone, some larger tool boxes come with a great workbench top already installed. Short on space? Buy or make a workbench that can fold out of the way when not in use.

Set up your parts in order of removal. This makes it easy to retrace your steps if you have to remove a bunch of different parts to get to whatever you’re working on. It’s extremely simple, but it’s saved me from having to retrace my steps because I forgot to install something.

Keep your tools in a tool tray. We’ve all lost that 10mm socket while rolling around under a car. A simple tool tray will keep all your sockets and wrenches in one place and easily accessible.

Miscellaneous Garage Improvements

While not possible for every garage, these are ideal improvements that take your garage to the next level.

Upgrade your lighting. Most home garages have a few dim light bulbs that work well enough but make it can be really hard to see when deep in an engine bay. LED shop lights can help you see what you’re working on, even after the sun goes down. Extra tip, strong zip ties can offer a temporary hanging solution if you’re unsure what locations will work best.

Epoxy the floor. While it can be expensive to apply, nothing beats the look of a high-quality epoxy coated garage floor. It also makes spills easier to clean up, and you won’t have to worry about staining the concrete. You can even match it to your ride with the colors you choose!

 

 

Install a garage fridge! Cold refreshments make any install that little bit easier. Plus, a garage fridge gives you a place to put all of your extra stickers!

Please share any other tips and tricks you may have down below; we are always looking for ways to improve our experiences in the garage. We’d also love to see what spaces you guys and gals are working with!

 

Cheers,

Daniel

 

 

CorkSport Extras

Have you ever felt the love?!

Here at CorkSport, we are known for paying attention to the little things when it comes to our customers. Often, you’ll see we send out some extras like the following, to pass just a little bit of extra joy to our customers!

We do Little things, like notes, cards, drawings, and candies. Who doesn’t need a little extra fuel during the install?

We do Big things, like Christmas Packages for Deployed Soldiers, unexpected gifts for customers going through life changes, and surprise drop-offs when we’re in your town. Always looking for a way to give our thanks for your support!

We do Baby Things… to welcome the newest members of the CorkSport Family to the world, not to mention that little T-shirts are just plain awesome!

And Holiday Things, to spread joy, cheer, and love when the season is just right. Not just Christmas, we’ve been known to hit Valentine’s day too, (warning here that sometimes Girlfriends get jealous if they see the valentines we send out)

Sometimes there are silly things, like drawings, games, and toys. Of course, having a signed autograph from Derrick may be silly to some, but SOLID GOLD for others.

Really, we just love doing all the things. No matter what you get or see as an ‘extra WOW’ in your packages, just know we did it out of love and thanks.

That is Why we do it.

To bring that extra bit of joy to your day, as if receiving CorkSport parts wasn’t enough. It’s our favorite. Surpassing customer expectations and seeing their joy come right back to us via social media. As you can see our customers share the love right back when they post our simple little tokens of gratitude.

Have you been one of the lucky few to receive a bit of Corksport WOW in your life? We’d love to see you post it up with #CorkSport or tag us with @CorkSport.

Nothing satisfies the CorkSport Team more than seeing happy, satisfied customers!
  • Kim

 

5 Tracks every Mazda Owner Must Hit

5 Tracks every Mazda owner must hit in the US.

Hey guys, Vincent here and I’m currently sitting behind my desk waiting for the long summer days to return so that I can go lay out in the sun with my Mazda. 

Living on the west coast, we are pretty fortunate to have access to quite a few cool road race tracks up and down the I5. There is a good handful right in our backyard of Washington State a few in Oregon State and even one that is a city track and is all of 4 miles away. Yes that one kind of spoils us as Derrick himself has worked, drove there during lunch in his racecar, qualified for a race, and then drove back all in a matter of 45 minutes. I don’t care who you are that’s just bad ass.

As I was building some engines the other night, I got to thinking about all the cool tracks that I got to visit last year in 2017 and how many other cool ones I want to check out in 2018.

So, I decided to throw up my list of the top 5 tracks that I think every Mazda owner should drive in their lifetime. These tracks are not presented in any particular order, and I have only actually been to half of them. No right or wrong answers here but what follows is my list of 5 tracks I think you guys should all hit up. So strap in and let’s go racing.

I’ll start with the obvious here, and that’s the one that has our favorite manufacture in the title. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This track resides in the landscape of central California and has been around since the late 50’s. Known best for its infamous Corkscrew section this 11 turn race track is world famous, and you can’t play any racing video game or simulator without this track being one of the featured races. I haven’t done this one yet, but you better believe it’s on my bucket list. Fun fact, or perhaps sad fact, depending on how you look at it; Mazda will not be renewing its sponsorship this year with the world-famous race track. So that means starting in April that Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will simply be known as Laguna Seca.

Next up is Road America. This one is a big one. Spanning over 4 miles long this is one of the longest road race courses across the World. The long straight that crosses the start-finish lets you put the pedal to the medal. I have seen many of cars run out of gearing on this long straight. That coupled with the fact that you have to go uphill first to start will really but that full load on your engine, but man is it fun.

For my next pick, I chose Hallett Motor Racing Circuit. Reason for that is I found it to be one of the most challenging circuits that I have ever driven on. And by challenging I mean it eats brakes. Granted I was always in a car that was not particularly suited for this track I did always find this to be a tough course. It was always challenging to lay down a clean lap, but I learned a lot from having driven on this one. I recommend this one to anyone that wants to get some good experience and refine their skill.

This next one has some really cool history and an even cooler track surface. Opening up just a few years after the end of World War Sebring International Raceway is actually built on a converted airport. The track used to be what was called Hendricks Field and was an airbase used to train B-17 combat crews. What’s even cooler is that part of this track still uses some of the original airport runways and makes for the craziest ride over the last corner.  Combining a mix of concrete and asphalt this track is sure to punish even the best of drivers. I’m a bit far from this one but would love to get on it someday soon.

Last but not least I decided to go with Circuit of the Americas mostly because of two reasons. One it brought back Formula 1 to the United States, and I think that is super important for the sport and will help grow its fan base in the USA. 2nd because the track is new, modern, and cutting edge. Having only opened in 2012 this track is still but a baby. But like most children with time and patience, this track will be one of the worlds greatest I feel like.    

There you have it. My short and sweet lists of 5 tracks in the USA that I think are worth visiting. Maybe I will see you at one of them this year? Maybe we can trade a little paint too if you are up to it. Let me know what you think of this list in the comments below or share some of your favorites with us.

‘Til next time.

Vincent