CorkSport’s Favorite Part of the Week: Week Two

Mazda 6 Power Series Exhaust

Hello again, CorkSport family! Let’s start the second week of our new blog series, “CorkSport’s Favorite Part of the Week,” off strong by talking about the new Mazda 6 2014+ Power Series Exhaust.  

Mazda 6 Power Series Exhaust

Are any of you Mazda 6 owners looking to add more power to your 2014+ Mazda 6? In the market for better sound? Look no further! We’re very happy to introduce you to this top-notch exhaust system. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider purchasing the Cat-Back Exhaust:

  • Direct bolt on
  • High quality stainless steel
  • Increased power
  • Better exhaust sound
  • Less weight

When it comes to power, we saw a 3whp increase over stock on an un-tuned Engine Control Unit (ECU). That doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you take the car and tune it with the exhaust installed, you’ll notice larger gains.

When it comes to sound, one reason why CorkSport loves this exhaust is that the sound is very subtle when cruising on the highway. However, when you give the car some throttle, you do get an increased exhaust note.

CorkSport does offer the option of selling the mid-pipes for this kit separately. Any customers that would like to purchase the mid-pipes to complete their Axle-Back Exhaust would need to call us at 360-260-2675 to get pricing and availability.

The Power Series Exhaust comes with a price tag of $799.99 before shipping. Please keep in mind that it helps to make an account when you order from us — we offer rewards points when you have a registered account. If you save those points, they can get you a nice discount on the purchase of this exhaust.

Cheers,

Luke @ CS

CorkSport’s Favorite Part of the Week: Week One

Mazda 3 Rear Sway Bar

Good day, CorkSport family! I’m proud to announce our new blog series: “Favorite Part of the Week.” I’ll be talking about my favorite parts weekly until I have nothing left to talk about! Also, I want to say thank you to all of the people who follow our blogs and continue to be dedicated CorkSport customers. We appreciate the business and we’re happy to have such a great group of people in our corner — you guys make our days great!

Mazda 3 Rear Sway Bar

Let’s get down to business. To kick off this series of sweet blog posts, I want to start by highlighting our 2014+ Mazda 3 Rear Sway Bar. As we all know, increased handling on the car is a must. There’s nothing better than going into a turn on a curvy road and being able to hit the APEX with more confidence and speed than ever before. If that’s how you like to drive, then this sway bar is a must. Unfortunately, the stock rear sway bar on the Mazda 3 doesn’t properly control body roll in corners. Fortunately, with CorkSport’s adjustable sway bar, you have the ability to stiffen up the rear suspension to decrease body roll in corners. By decreasing the body roll of the car, you’re able to hit corners at a faster speed and still feel like the car is hugging the road.

A few of the bar’s features:

  • Two different stiffness settings: 130 percent stiffer and 220 percent stiffer than stock.
  • Single piece design: No need to worry about welds breaking with this bar.
  • Billet aluminum brackets: Peace-of-mind knowing your brackets can take any abuse and not break. [Note: Brackets are normally $79.99 by themselves, but we include them with the bar — a great value!]

Mazda 3 Rear Sway Bar Brackets

The 2014+ Mazda 3 Rear Sway Bar is priced at $219.99 and, at CorkSport, we believe you’re getting the most out of your dollar with this bar and brackets. Whether or not you autocross or just drive aggressively, it’s a must to increase your vehicle’s handling. Pair this with the lowering springs and you can change the entire experience of driving your new Mazda 3. We highly recommend this as one of your first suspension upgrades!

Keep an eye on our blog; the lowering springs post will be coming to you at a later date.

Cheers,

Luke @ CS

Feel like a Mazda Pilot in the new Shinshi Concept

Mazda Shinshi Concept front-end

From the Batmobile to Knight Rider’s KITT, futuristic supercars have captured adult and adolescent imagination alike for generations. You may be more a fan of the souped-up vehicles of “Death Race 2000” or the more grounded tricked out rides of the “The Fast and The Furious” franchise, but we guarantee some Hollywood-style car has caught your eye and affixed itself permanently in your brain. You might be focused on the here and now of your car and it’s modification or issues, but fueling the imagination never hurts.

For those of you in our CorkSport community who always thought Speed Racer’s powerful Mach 5 was dope, you’re going to love this new concept Mazda: the Mazda Shinshi.

The Mazda of the Future?

Mazda Shinshi Concept front-end

Designed by Barcelona’s Miguel Angel Bahri, the Mazda Shinshi looks ready for the mean streets of “Akira’s” Neo-Tokyo. “After the initial thoughts, the challenge was to develop a concept inspired by the Japanese culture,” Nahri explains. “Taking, also, influence from nature and the ocean, with the stingray and the samurai’s DNA serving as a bridge to connect the SHINSHI proposal with Mazda’s design philosophy.” You can delve into all his influences and design process more deeply, from fighter pilots to James Franco, but we think he’s delivered on his inspiration in spades.

With 4 in-wheel electric motors and integrated systems, Bahri didn’t just look at a sleek exterior, he put some attention to performance, as well. The wheel systems are fed by a graphene-optimized supercapacitor and a rotary bio-fueled engine boost that main battery for a clean energy car that might make you scoff, until you see his specs have it max out at 310 kph (192 mph) — still some good race track fun to be had from this environmentally-conscious concept car!

Get ready to Top Gun this ride, Maverick!

Mazda Shinshi concept steering wheel

The feature that really makes this design feel futuristic, though, is the flight control-like steering wheel.

How a wheel like this really functions on the road is pure speculation, but you’ve got to admire the design sense. “Blade Runner”-style flying cars might be many years away, and — let’s be honest — would probably take the fun out of curve-hugging road driving, but a Mazda that makes you feel like a test pilot would be worth a test drive, at least.

What do you think of the Mazda Shinshi concept? Too high tech? Just right? Let us know in the comments below. And keep following the CorkSport blog for more modification advice and tips, Mazda lifestyle talk, and — as the arise — speculation on far out Mazda concepts.

How to Diagnose a Misfire

Diagnosing a Misfire

It’s safe to say that most of us who are into modifying cars have seen this delightful CEL pop up on our dash. The P0300 (random/multiple cylinder misfire) can be one of the most annoying codes when it comes to drivability.

Diagnosing a Misfire

Sometimes a P0300 is very simple to sort out. Other times, it may take all day to track down. That said, here’s a user-friendly guide for those modders who are learning and would like to figure out the problem themselves.

Break down of combustion

In order to properly function, an internal combustion engine has four basic requirements:

  1. Air (O2)
  2. Fuel
  3. Compression
  4. Spark (or ignition)

Loss of one or more of these will cause a misfire. Understanding these requirements will better allow you to diagnose a problem and make an educated decision about what the problem might be — rather than just throwing parts at the car.

Types of misfire codes

There are two types of misfire codes. The first, P0300, means the misfire is happening on more than one cylinder (and/or happening randomly) and the powertrain control module (PCM) isn’t able to find where the misfire is originating from. The other type of misfire code is anything above P0300: P0301, P0302, etc. The last digit indicates the cylinder number that the misfire is occurring on. This means that there is a clear pattern for a misfire occurring on that specific cylinder. These codes are much nicer — and simplify diagnosis of your misfire without a doubt.

Misfires from cylinders

Let’s go ahead and start with the easier type of code.

One day, you’re driving down the road. The car feels a little bit rougher than normal, then your CEL comes on, and the P0304 code comes up on the Accessport/Scan Tool. This means that cylinder number four is having a misfire. Here are a couple steps to figuring out the culprit.

We already know what the four basic combustion requirements. Typically, the easiest and first thing to check would be your ignition system. So we’ll start the diagnosis with the spark plugs and coil packs.

  1. Since the code was for the number four sensor, you’ll start on that cylinder. Number one is on the side where your drive belts are and, in this case, they progress from left to right.
  2. There are two components that could cause an ignition failure, assuming that your PCM is in good working order. These components would be your spark plugs and coil packs. It’s as simple as playing some musical chairs with them to see which one is the culprit.
  3. Take your number four spark plug and swap it over to your number one cylinder. Now take your number four coil pack and put it on your number three cylinder.
  4. If the misfire jumps to the number one cylinder, you know it’s your plug. If it follows to number three, then we know it’s your coil pack. If it stays on number four, then we’ve eliminated the ignition system and can proceed to the next step.

Now your remaining options are either a problem with your fueling or a problem with the compression of your specific cylinder. To check this, perform a compression and a leak down test to verify the health of the motor, which will give you some peace of mind. However, if you find that the compression is low, or your leak down was excessive, you’ll have your answer right there. Typically, low compression and excessive leak down can be a result of valves not seating correctly, warped cylinder walls, bad piston rings, or other similar issues.

If you’ve done these two tests and everything has come back good, then we can cross that off the list (phew!) and move on to what’s next!

Fuel pressure

If you have an AccessPort, or readily available scan tool, checking your fuel pressure in regard to a misfire will be very easy. If your car is not direct injected you probably won’t be able to monitor it on your electronic control unit (ECU). So, you’ll more than likely need to hook up an inline fuel gauge to make sure you’re getting adequate pressure.

In this case, with our Mazdaspeed3, we’re able to see the PSI of our high-pressure system which makes diagnostics on this easier. Pressure, at idle, should be somewhere in the range of 400+ PSI for this vehicle. If you’re seeing a PSI under 100, then the pump is not creating any pressure and it’s just flowing through from the in-tank pump. If you’re seeing a PSI in the 200s, then your pressure relief valve may need to be replaced.

Monitoring your fuel pressure can give you lots of good information that can potentially tell you what’s causing a misfire. These issues aren’t as common, but they do still happen. If the pressures and fuel pump check out, then you’re on to the next step!

Injector seals

Injector seals are a very important part that often gets overlooked. On higher mileage cars, or cars creating more power, the injector seals are a contributor to misfires and loss of performance.

As you can see in the image, the upgraded injector seal on the left has a much more rigid design. These seals have a proven design that, believe it or not, don’t have a single reported failure! You can find those injector seals here.

While you’re working on this area, it’s a good time to clean out any carbon build-up in the ports and on the tips of the injectors. Carbon that builds up on the tips can keep the fuel from properly atomizing, so clean them as best you can. Make sure the seals, as well as the seats for the seals, are very clean so they can adequately seal.

The chance of an injector failing is very small on this platform, but it’s still possible. If you have a cylinder-specific misfire code, and you’ve eliminated all other possibilities, it’s time for a new injector.

Air (O2)

Back in the good old days, your engine used carburetors to moderate fuel/air intake. The engine would suck in air, and in turn, use the Venturi effect to draw in fuel. The more air that got drawn into the engine, the more the fuel would automatically get sucked in. Although this method works, it’s inefficient and not as reliable. When the weather changes, it may not always work or need to be adjusted.

Today, a car’s ECU uses sensors to monitor how much air comes into the engine. Once it knows how much air is coming in, it can appropriately choose how much fuel to inject to achieve the targeted air/fuel ratio (AFR) in the ECU’s mapping. If this monitoring system is not working correctly, the car will run poorly and probably sputter when you apply any throttle.

In Mazdas, the vehicle uses the mass air flow (MAF) sensor to detect how much air is entering the motor. The ECU reads this on a scale of 0–5 volts. The higher the number, the more air. This sensor also works in conjunction with the manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor. This sensor tells the ECU what boost/vacuum reading is for the air entering the motor. If either of these is not operating correctly, misfire codes are very possible.
You can tell when these sensors are giving improper readings by using your AccessPort or scan tool to monitor MAF grams/sec or the MAP readings. If they are sporadic, or not within specifications, then you know you have an issue.

Air-related issues, such as vacuum leaks or sensor-related problems, are more prone to causing a P0300 code — they affect more than just one cylinder. So, if you have a P0300 instead of a specific cylinder code, it wouldn’t hurt to start checking here!

I hope this helps you have a better understanding of why misfire codes happen and how you can find a resolution. If you ever have any technical questions, please you guys give us a ring at 360-260-2675! We’re always happy to help!

Until next time,
Brett

New Third Generation Shocks and Struts

CorkSport Third Generation Shocks and Struts

This post goes out to all of our awesome third generation fans, we haven’t forgotten you. In fact, we love you! And so, we’ve created a new, rad product to take your Mazda 3 to the next level. Your older sibling, the Mazdaspeed 3, has loved these beauties for years, so we thought it was about time to share the love with the third generation rides.

Introducing performance adjustable struts and shocks for the 2014+ Mazda 3! And Mazda 6 fans, you just hold on …

Why struts and shocks matter

CorkSport Third Generation Shocks and Struts Installation

Before we get into all the awesome details of these new performance struts for your Mazda 3, let’s talk about why performance struts and shocks are so critical to your vehicle.

Everything you do with your Mazda happens through the tires. Whether it’s commuting, canyon carving, driving at an autocross event, or showing up to your favorite car meet, it all happens through your tires. That said, we can’t give the tires all the glory, because everything they communicate gets translated through your suspension. This comes in many forms classified as handling performance: accelerating, decelerating (braking), cornering, and steering response are the key aspects. All of these characteristics work great (albeit soft and numb) in OE form, and they do all work together as designed, buy we can do better than that. You’re an auto enthusiast now, so you install those awesome CorkSport lowering springs and really start to push your car past its OE limits. It feels great initially, but you quickly hit the limits of the OE struts and shocks damping range, which means it’s time to upgrade.

When you lower your Mazda with higher rate springs you push the OE struts/shocks out of their effective damping range. This can directly affect the characteristics I mentioned above.  Increasing the damping to better match the higher spring rates will put the suspension back to its balanced design, but with more emphasis on performance. The sacrifices you made for the lower and stiffer suspension are now less of a compromise and an even greater benefit. It’s a win-win folks.

Time to upgrade those shocks and struts

CorkSport Third Generation Shocks and Struts

You now understand why you need performance struts and shocks, but why do you want CorkSport performance struts and shocks? First off, they fit like OE. There is nothing more frustrating than being mid-install under your Mazda and the part just won’t fit. Not with CorkSport parts, folks! We wouldn’t do that to you because we know how much it sucks. Second, we designed the damping range to have a great flexibility depending on your setup. The softest setting will allow you to basically match the OE damping rate, if you’re still rocking OE springs and comfort is your highest goal. However, if you like to push you Mazda to the limits then turn up the damping to up to 70 percent stiffer than OE, or anywhere in-between, with 15 positions to choose from. You really can setup your Mazda just how you want.

Lastly, it is so easy to make adjustments with these shocks and struts. If you like a softer ride during your commutes, but want to push the car on the weekends, just pop your hood to adjust the front and reach into your wheel well to adjust the rears. Don’t wait any longer my fellow Mazda enthusiast, take your Mazda 3 to the next level.