Why no AWD?

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.


CorkSport Versatune

We are excited to announce a powerful and unique release to the CorkSport Product catalog.

Starting off 2018 with a bang; CorkSport is now an official distributor and reseller of Versatune Tuning Software.

If you are unfamiliar with what Versatune is, then have a quick read and check out what it is, how it works, some of the unique features, and why you should consider purchasing it for your daily driven or high-performance Mazda.

Versatune is a powerful engine tuning solution featuring a modern and easy to use interface. With just a simple few mouse clicks, you can unlock the full potential of your Mazda using the intuitive wizard guided install and ECU flashing process.

Versatune software makes engine calibrations as easy as 1, 2, and 3. Backed by an online tune database that provides easy access to free pre-built tunes for typical configurations of performance parts VT makes it easy to get power from recent upgrades on your car. Installing of the pre-built tunes are as simple as selecting the desired tune from the online tune database and following the flashing wizard. No tuning skills or extensive knowledge is required.

If custom tuning is more your style or you need to get into the finer details of calibration maps, then the Versatune software will work for you as well. VT software also includes a powerful tune editor that exposes the critical performance and drivability related tables in the ECU. You can custom tune your car to accommodate your specific modifications and tuning goals. 3D visualizations, table descriptions, and data manipulation tools help speed up the custom tuning process.

The best part is even if you are requiring a custom tune but don’t feel comfortable performing it yourself, Versatune has a growing network of professional tuners and e-tuners that can provide custom tuning services to help you meet your specific needs.

Over the past few months, CorkSport has had the opportunity to work closely with Versatune to further develop and grow the support for several vehicles in the Mazda lineup. Including but not limited to the 3rd gen Mazda 3, 2nd gen RX-8, and the new 4th gen ND chassis Miata.

With each of these Mazdas, we have spent countless hours on the dyno, street, and race track to fine tune calibrations and settings in this easy to use software. Each Mazda has shown consistent and reliable gains across the rev range all while still retaining OEM like drivability.

We are working on packages with the CorkSport parts you love, a custom tune to make the most of them, and a bit of a discount to get you rolling.

You can expect to see a few packages for 2016+ Mx5 in the next few weeks.


Keeping Your Mazda Clean During This Winter Season

CorkSport Recommendations for Keeping Your Mazda Clean During The Winter Season

How many of our CorkSport family members have more product for their paint jobs on their Mazda’s than their own bodies? I know that we at CorkSport have more product than we can count with all of our fingers and toes. We enjoy having that smooth paint job with no imperfections and a paint job that beads up water with ease.

So how do we keep our cars paint baby butt smooth with all of the Pacific Northwest rain, and snow?

We make sure to do preventative paint correction so when the weather breaks, and the sun shines, we know our cars will look above anyone else. I wanted to take a little bit of time to make sure that CorkSport family members could see what we do to make sure our cars stay clean during the nasty winter seasons.

Before working for CorkSport, I managed a full-service car wash/detail shop for about eight years. There is always a common misconception that at least keeping the car clean will keep the paint looking good for long periods of time.

However, that is not correct. A car’s paint has polymers which over time dry out and lead to fading of the paint. This is why I recommend that if you are going to use a self-serve car wash, or an auto car wash, to make sure you use triple foam polish. The triple foam will re-condition the paint, and it will also leave a nice shine behind after the car has been dried. Also, any person who uses triple foam polish on their car will notice that dirt and grime come off the car easier the next time you clean it. Keeping the clear coat nice and fresh will result in less time cleaning and a much cleaner car over time. If you love your Mazda, make sure to use triple foam when you can!

Adding triple foam to your car wash procedure is a start, but it doesn’t stop there. I recommend to at least hand-wax your car twice a year. Waxing the car will remove things like tree sap, bird poop, light water spotting, and any other imperfections that may be seen while daily driving. It is very important to remove those imperfections because the longer they sit on the paint, the faster the clear coat starts to break down. As you can imagine, the chemicals put down on the road during winter can have a dramatic effect on the luster of the car, and before you know it you have fading paint.

As most of you know, mud flaps are normally associated with a rally car. I think we can all agree that a lot of Mazda owners also use them. I decided to use mud flaps not because I wanted to go tear up the dirt, but because I knew that it would keep my side skirts, and rear hatch much cleaner. After having the mud flaps installed, and moving to Washington where it rains eight months out of the year, I realized that mud flaps do in fact make a huge difference in keeping the car clean.

Additionally, the side skirts will see less wear and tear from junk on the roads keeping the side of the car in much better condition. When looking at getting mud flaps, make sure you get ones made out of poly, so they don’t bend over time.

THE most important thing to have when owning a dope ride would be to have a garage to park her in. I know it might be a struggle, but get that garage organized, make some room, and fit your baby inside a closed building during the winter. The last thing you want is falling leaves, bird poop, tree sap, etc. to fall onto the car and sit on the paint for multiple months. Also, having that garage means you can now spend countless hours working on the car without having to go anywhere! Plus we all know that when you tell the significant other it will only take four hours to complete an install, we all know that it will take eight!

The cleaner you keep the car, the easier it is to correct the paint when the weather breaks. The end goal is to pull into the car wash, put the soap on the car, and watch the dirt melt off the car. If you have achieved this level of luster, then you have done a very good job at keeping the car well-kept during the nasty winter season!


Ceramic Coating: Hype or Reality?

Ceramic coating has been an up and coming thing for the past few years now.

By now I’m sure most of you have heard of it a time or two. Car enthusiasts have been utilizing it more and more as it has grown in popularity. Most professional detail shops offer this service now, but it doesn’t come cheap.

You may be asking yourself:

Why is this so expensive?

Why is it better than Wax?

Does it work that well?

I was skeptical at first too. I figured it was just the next curved TV. The next fad that’s taking over. However, I have a close friend here in the PNW that does professional detailing, and he convinced me to give it a shot. Afterwards, all I can say is, the hype is very real, and this stuff is amazing! My Mazdaspeed3 looks amazing! I used C-Quartz, but there are lots of different brands and options out there.

I’m going to walk you guys through the process it takes to do the ceramic coat, and you can decide for yourself if it’s truly worth it for you and your Mazda.

So what is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic Coating is essentially a new achievement in car paint coating.

It chemically bonds to the paint surface allowing for a “Permanent” paint seal. Protecting it from dust, dirt, oxidation, chemicals, or anything that can compromise the paint. Unlike wax, it won’t break down or wash away in a few months. Depending on how many coats you have of ceramic, it can last from months to years.

That’s right… Years.

For those that want to keep their paint sealed and protected for a long time, even after rough winters, this will be the best way to do it. Water, dust, grime, anything that normally sticks to your paint, will have a much tougher time staying in your car due to the properties of the ceramic.

It has fantastic UV protection, and cleaning your car will take half the time. Not only because it prevents as much dirt from staying on your car, but because the water beads off and drying is so much faster! You can even do it on wheels and calipers to prevent dust from sticking as bad, making it much easier to keep clean and looking nice.

The Process

Even for an excellent detailer, this is still a day-long process, if not more. It takes great attention to detail, and some elbow grease to fully prep the car for the ceramic coating. Think of it like painting anything, the better the prep work, the better the final product will be.

It all starts with a car wash/ bath for your Mazda. Remove all the big stuff. Bugs, dirt, grime, etc.

Next comes a full paint correction. They need to get it as smooth and free of defects as possible. In this picture, you can clearly see the difference between left and right sides.

A clay bar is now put to work. Removing any bonded contaminants to the paint. Any bumps that can be felt with your fingers, will be removed, causing the paint to feel smooth like glass again. Quick spray wax is typically used as a lubricant to prevent scratching.

The amazing thing about a clay bar is that it reveals on the contaminants you can’t typically see as well.

After this, the time now comes for the polish! The clear coat is essentially “Rearranged” by heat generated from the polish and the buffing pad. Making it even smoother and glossy again. It takes a lot of practice to know when it’s just right, and not go too far. Otherwise, it will burn the paint.

Now that the swirl Marks are gone, we use what’s called an IPA (Not the 5’Oclock somewhere kind of IPA) This is an isopropyl alcohol and water mixture that will get rid any polish and oil from the paint and lift dust to be removed. Creating a perfect bonding surface to apply the ceramic. This will allow for a stronger chemical bond to the paint.

Now comes the time we have all been waiting for; the application process.

A small applicator that involves a foam block and a suede microfiber cloth is used. Ceramic is applied to the cloth, and then its wiped onto the paint. The method is like wax, in the regard that it must harden a bit before it is buffed off. They go panel by panel and apply it, then wipe off. It is important that the cloth is monitored for hardness too.

The ceramic in the cloth will eventually harden, and then it becomes unusable. The number of coats they do depends typically on how much you pay for. The more coats, the longer it will last.

After the coat, its good to give the ceramic about a day to harden. Then this silica sealant can be applied. This preserves and maintains the ceramic. Every few months apply this to the car like a spray wax to keep it glossy and shiny.

The best part is finally being able to do the first wash (Give it about a week or so before the first wash) and seeing how well it repels the water. It practically jumps off the car. But the crazy part is, it will continue to do this for months, or even years. A normal wax coating to protect your paint Is no longer necessary. Just can sit back and relax knowing the paint is protected.

For anyone who loves their car and maintaining the paint. You will truly enjoy the outcome of this. Professional shops charge quite a bit. But I know plenty of DIY guys like myself that enjoy putting in the elbow grease. Either way, I believe its worth it, no matter the Mazda or Mazdaspeed you’re driving, and I thought I would share my experience with the Mazda Family!

Thanks for checking in,


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.