Brett’s Mazdaspeed 3 Build: Part 1, The Basic Beginnings

Brett’s Mazdaspeed 3 Build

It all started in Phoenix AZ, back in 2014 when I was graduating tech school. I was finally working enough to buy a car that I had wanted for a while. At this time, it probably would have been smart for me to just start saving, instead of taking on a hefty car payment. But, as a car enthusiast, I’m sure you understand the temptations we often face, and I went for it. Since then, I’ve never looked back.

 

I found my 2013 Mazdaspeed3 in the fall. Completely spotless, 6k miles on it, and bone stock. It was truly a blank canvas. At that time I was barely making enough to own the car and pay for insurance. So, modding wasn’t an option at the time. So, as I saved and Saved, I was introduced to Nator Arizona by Thomas Graham, who later became a good friend of mine. He got me involved in the community, and on the right track for learning. From that point on, everything changed, and I loved it.

 

At the time, I was nothing more than a technician, fresh out of school and stuck on the lube rack for a bit. So, as you can imagine when I finally had enough to get my Accessport and Fuel Pump internals for the MS3, I was STOKED. I caught the modding bug, and before I knew it, I had bigger aspirations for the car than ever thought I would have had. The next year was filled with countless Nator garage days, fun drives, Mexico pulls, and slowly adding parts when I could afford them.

 

 

 

By mid-2015, my time in AZ was coming to a close. At this point, I had all the basic bolt-ons offered for the Mazdaspeed 3. Rear motor mount, short ram intake, upgraded BPV,  upgraded TMIC, and turbo back exhaust. The car otherwise looked completely stock, just MUCH louder!  The icing on the cake was the pro-tune 320 WHP on Stock turbo with some e85. A couple days later I departed AZ for my next chapter and got the MS3 on the trailer.

 

 

 

Funny looking back now, how I thought I was done with my Mazdaspeed, and that was enough power to keep me happy. Not even close! The next couple years would be the catalyst that started to shape my MS3 into what it looks like now. Stay tuned for Part 2!

 

Regards,
Brett@CorkSport

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.

 

How to Clean your EGR System

Cleaning Your EGR System

The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR for short) system present in all Mazdaspeed 3 and Mazdaspeed 6 vehicles is known to have some issues. It is present from the factory to help with NOx emissions and likes to clog, throwing a check engine light in the process. The common solution to this is to do a full EGR delete, and use an AccessPort to clear the CEL.

While likely the best solution, it is not possible for all people to do, especially if you live in an area with extensive emissions testing. If this sounds familiar, read on as I explain what the EGR system does, how to clean it, and how to ensure you will pass emissions afterward.
The EGR system does exactly what the name says; it recirculates some of the exhaust gasses back into the intake system.

Through some fancy chemistry, this reduces the total amount of NOx that comes out of your exhaust pipe. In Mazdaspeeds the system consists primarily of the EGR valve and the tube that connects the valve back to the intake manifold. Over time, the carbon present in the exhaust builds up, causing issues for the system. If the valve cannot open/close all the way or the tube gets clogged, your car will likely throw a P0401 code, for insufficient EGR flow. Aside from being another pesky CEL, a clogged system can cause rough idling, poor MPG, and slow startups.

Tools and Products Needed:

  • Degreaser/Carbon Cleaner – This will really help break up the stubborn carbon, making it easier to clean the EGR valve/tube. B-12 Chemtool works the best, but regular brake parts cleaner or other strong degreasers will work as well.
  • Picks/Scrapers – The cleaner will get the carbon softened but you will need something to scrape at it and get the pieces out.
  • Flexible Round Brush – The EGR tube can be cleaned by just soaking in the degreaser and picking out the big chunks but a round brush works even better. I used a straight brush but I think this flexible one will work better.
  • Coolant – The EGR valve has a coolant passage so you will lose most if not all of the coolant in your overflow tank. Be sure to buy OEM Mazda coolant or at least coolant with phosphate organic acids to keep your cooling system healthy.
  • Assorted Tools – You will need a regular assortment of sockets and hand tools for this job. The only irregular tools are a 22mm wrench (you can use an adjustable wrench) and some small needle nose pliers.
  • OBDII Code Reader – Okay you don’t NEED this for EGR cleaning but who doesn’t love new toys? This one is great for reading any CEL codes and seeing when you’re ready for emissions (more on that later).

Now let’s get started!

  1. Start by removing the OE battery, battery box/tray, top mount intercooler, airbox lid, and turbo inlet pipe. Getting to the EGR valve is really the hardest part of this entire process. If you’re new to your Mazdaspeed and need some help removing any of these parts, MazdaSpeed Forums has a lot of resources if you just search for them. Be very careful when removing the small vacuum line on your turbo inlet pipe. The plastic barb likes to break off, causing all sorts of headaches down the road.

  2. Locate & remove the EGR valve. It is the small aluminum piece with a round plastic top. Loosen the clamp on the black rubber hose and drain the coolant that will come out. You will lose about what is present in your overflow tank, catching it with a cup prevents a mess in your engine bay. Remove the electrical connector and the two bolts that hold the EGR valve to the engine and the whole valve will come free. Be sure to keep track of the gasket between it and the engine.            

  3. Remove the throttle body. You must first remove the two coolant lines that run to the TB. Clamp them closed to prevent any extra coolant leakage. Remove the four bolts, and the throttle body will come free. Once again keep track of the gasket.

  4. Remove the EGR tube. There are two bolts located by where the EGR valve was removed. Another gasket located here. Trace the metal tube back to the front of the engine and remove the large 22mm nut. You may need some penetrating fluid to help loosen this nut. The EGR tube then pulls out of the intake manifold.              
  5. Start cleaning by using a pick to remove some of the carbon from where you removed the EGR tube. There’s a bunch of gunk in there but it’s not easy to clean so do what you can.

  6. Spray some of your degreaser inside the EGR tube and let sit while to start loosening up the carbon buildup while you clean the EGR valve.

  7. Disassemble the EGR valve. Remove the four screws from the plastic section. The two halves should separate. These screws strip extremely easily, use care to not damage them and be sure to keep track of the gasket.
  8. You will now have access to a plunger. This is what opens and closes the EGR valve. Push it to help you clean around the valve. Use the picks, degreaser, and whatever else you need to remove as much carbon as you can. Focus especially on the areas around the valve. Ensure it has smooth operation and can fully open and close. Take your time here.          

  9. Using the round brush, degreaser, and picks, clean the EGR tube as best as you can. I found the majority of the carbon was located toward the end with the 22mm nut. Take your time, once again, you don’t want to have to redo this.

  10. Reassemble everything. Ensure you reconnect all hoses, reconnect all electrical connectors, use all gaskets, and tighten all bolts. Add coolant to your reservoir until you reach the max line.

You should now have a squeaky clean EGR system! Start up the car and check for any leaks or strange noises.

Now if you’re like me and had to clean the EGR system for emissions, you will need to complete a “drive cycle” to pass. All the sensors for the emissions system have to run tests to ensure that they are operating correctly. Since you had the battery unplugged, the sensors have basically reset and need to run all of the tests again. In most states, there is a limit to how many sensors can read “not ready” and still pass emissions. Guidelines to reset most if not all of the sensors are as follows (sourced from MSF):

  1. Before you start to be sure you have: no CELs, fuel level between 15-85%, all accessories off, cold engine.
  2. Start and idle for 5 minutes.
  3. Rev engine in neutral to 2300-2700 RPM for 15 seconds.
  4. Rev engine in neutral to 3800-4200 RPM for 15 seconds.
  5. Idle engine for 20 seconds.
  6. Accelerate to 52-55 MPH, maintain speed in 6th gear for 1.5 minutes.
  7. Decelerate to 15 MPH, drive for 13 minutes at speeds between 15 and 35 MPH.
  8. Drive at 25MPH for 50 seconds.

This order of steps activated all but one of my sensors, meaning that in Washington State I was able to pass emissions in my 2007 Mazdaspeed 6.

Hopefully, this will help out a few of you that are stuck with an EGR system. This procedure saves a few hundred dollars over replacing the valve, making that next modification happen just a little bit sooner!

If you have any additional tips or tricks be sure to share them in the comments, we’d love to hear your experiences!

 

Daniel

CorkSport Engineer

New Year, New Gains

As the New Year rolls around, most people are looking for a change for the better in their lives.

At CorkSport we think one of the best changes you can make is more power for your Mazdaspeed. We have all the parts you need to liven up your Mazdaspeed3 or Mazdaspeed6 in 2018.

Safety First

One of the first things to consider when modifying your Speed is the health of its engine. Performing maintenance is very important but it only gets you so far. When adding power, one of the first modifications on your list should be the CorkSport Max Flow Fuel Pump Internals.

These pump internals allow you to maximize your stock fuel system for optimum power capabilities and safer than OE A/R ratios. This means you can add the power you want and have peace of mind that your engine will get the fuel it needs.

Put the Power Down

Like the CS fuel pump internals, the CorkSport Stage 2 RMM for Mazdaspeed 3 will not directly increase the power levels of your car; however, it helps you put all that hard-earned power down. By decreasing the amount the engine can rotate, the Rear Motor Mount allows for reduced wheel hop and torque steer while providing faster throttle response and crisper shift feel.

Even we are surprised how much this engine mount changes how a Mazdaspeed 3 feels. Don’t worry Mazdaspeed 6 guys and gals, we have an RMM for you too.

 

Improving Airflow

Engines in an extremely simple sense are air pumps; so the faster you can get air in and out of the system, the better. That being said, some of the simplest and easiest power gains you can get from your Mazdaspeed are from upgrading the intake and exhaust. We have seen peak gains of 25ft-lbs and 33WHP from only the CorkSport Stage 2 Intake and a CorkSport Racepipe.

Checkout the dyno sheet below.

Power and torque levels will be further increased if you install a full CorkSport Turbo Back Exhaust instead of just the race pipe section.

The catback exhaust section has proven to gain up to 14WHP while the downpipe section alone has proven to gain up to 21WHP. In the dyno graph below, the downpipe car had a CorkSport Intake installed at the same time as the downpipe (hence the 50hp gain).

If that wasn’t enough flow for you, we also offer 3” and 3.5” intakes for even more airflow into your turbo. Keep in mind though, once you get into those you will need to use a new tune to ensure your car runs optimally. But check out the extra flow you get!

Turbo Upgrade

The CorkSport Drop-In Turbo is a fantastic upgrade to the stock K04 turbo that allows your car to make more power on an equivalent boost pressure. It will work with any mods you already had on your OE turbo as the CS turbo is truly a drop in upgrade. With supplemental tuning, fueling, and supporting parts, you can push your Speed to its limits.

The Next Level

CorkSport also manufactures parts that can take your Speed beyond the parts discussed above. A short list of the parts with the best power gains can be seen below:

  • CorkSport Intake Manifold: A higher flowing IM can support much more power than the relatively restrictive OE unit. Best when paired with a larger throttle body.
  • CorkSport Camshafts: Replacement cams with extra lift to provide increased power and torque across the entire RPM range.
  • Bigger CorkSport Turbo? Yes, there is one in development. See this blog post for details.

No matter what your goals are for 2018, CorkSport is here to help you achieve them. Whether you just picked up a Mazdaspeed and are unsure where to start, or have been driving one for years and want the excitement you once had back, CorkSport has a part for you.

 

Daniel

CorkSport Engineer

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!

Cheers,
Luke