Beginner’s Dictionary to Mazda Mods

Mazda driving down a road.
Always street tune with a buddy for safety. (PC: renson_ms3)

Everyone was a beginner at some point. Whether you’re new to Mazda modding or you’ve been doing it since you first got behind the wheel, you’re bound to run into some terminology that goes over your head.

At Corksport, our customers are family, and we love learning from and educating our family when it comes to Mazdas. The more you know about your Mazda, the better it can be. This terminology cheat sheet of Mazda language will help you talk the talk as you work to reach your modding goals.

Mazda terminology you need to talk the talk

Axle Back Exhaust: An axle back exhaust starts from the area of the rear axle and extends to the rear bumper. An axle back exhaust replaces the muffler, tips, and a portion of piping that connects to the mid pipes. It has the least effect on performance and fuel economy of all exhaust mods.

Built Block: A built block is a term used when the engine internals are upgraded with higher performance variants over OEM. In most common cases a built block is referred when both the connecting rods and pistons have been upgraded for more strength.

Camber Kit: A camber kit usually consists of a rear camber arm and front camber plates. In addition to correcting wheel alignment on lowered vehicles, a camber kit provides camber adjustment for tracked vehicles which require a slightly negative camber. Correcting the camber is important for even tire wear and maximum traction.

Cat Back Exhaust: A cat back exhaust begins at the end of your catalytic converter and goes all the way back to your rear bumper. It is made up of a rear-pipe, resonator, and muffler. A cat back exhaust system can provide more power, increase fuel efficiency, and deliver distinct sound.

CorkSport cat back exhaust.
Mazda MX-5 with cat back exhaust. (PC: jdm.chris)

Cold Air Intake: A cold air intake essentially lets your engine breathe. Cold air intakes move the air filter outside of the engine compartment so cooler air can be sucked into the engine for combustion. Cooler air brings more oxygen into the combustion chamber and that means more power.

Dyno Tune: Dyno tuning is a systematic approach to engine tuning, allowing a high-quality precise tune-up. During a dyno tune, the vehicle is stationary in a controlled environment.

Front Mount Intercooler: A front mount intercooler cools the charge air from a turbo or supercharged car. Mounted on the front of a vehicle, this intercooler results in better airflow and a higher cooling efficiency. Hot air enters one side and cool air exits the other.

Front mount intercooler on Mazda.
Kyle Sousa’s Mazdaspeed3 with a front mount intercooler. (PC: Kyle Sousa)

Lowering Springs: Lowering springs improve the appearance and handling of a vehicle. By lowering the center of gravity on the car and winding the coils closer together, a lowering spring can make the car feel more connected to the road for better cornering. Lowering springs will also give a more aggressive-looking stance and reduce the vehicle’s fenderwell gap.

Mod: Mod is short for modification. Mods are usually performed to enhance the performance and appearance of a vehicle.

NATOR: NATOR is a group of Mazda enthusiasts who come together to share knowledge about their beloved cars. As the story goes, it all began when a few guys got together to work on their Mazdas while enjoying Wendy’s Baconators. BacoNATOR. We can’t make this stuff up.

Join a NATOR near you.
NATOR group doing their thing.

OEM: Original equipment manufacturer.

Oversteer: Oversteer happens when the rear tires reach their limit before the front tires while cornering, leading to the tail opening up.

Powertrain Control Module: A powertrain control module, commonly called a PCM, is the onboard computer of a car. Essentially the brains of the engine control system, it controls many components of a vehicle and is used for diagnostics.

Short Ram Intake: A short ram intake, also referred to as an SRI, is a mod for internal combustion engines. It consists of a short metal or silicone pipe and a conical air filter inside the engine bay. A short ram intake increases power by eliminating the resonator and filter box, giving the air a shorter travel distance.

Short Shifter: A short shifter changes the geometry of the shifter so the distance of the shift lever is reduced. It moves the pivot point higher up the shift rod causing you to move the shifter less distance, with a shorter throw, transforming the driving experience.

Street Tune: Just as it sounds, a street tune or road tune happens on the street. It should be done to maintain the driveability of the system after the top end has been addressed on the dyno.

Sway Bars: A sway bar, also called a roll bar, anti-sway bar, or stabilizer bar, is a part of the suspension that helps reduce the body roll of a vehicle during fast cornering or when driving over uneven road. It connects opposite wheels together through short lever arms linked by a torsion spring.

Understeer: Understeer is when traction is lost at the front wheels while cornering, forcing you wide on a bend despite applying the correct steering angle. If your car is understeering, your speed is not at its maximum and you’re missing the line.

Want to add to our lingo list? Hit us up on Facebook or Instagram and let’s hear it!

What’s That Sound? Suspension Troubleshooting

Good day, Mazda enthusiasts everywhere. Vincent here. In this tech blog, I want to share some tips with you guys and gals on how to diagnose suspension noise, and how to help pinpoint the source of your suspension problem.

It’s impossible for this blog to be the bible of suspension component noise, nor do I intend for it to be. The design, function, engineering, and workings of suspension could take several books to explain. The intention of this post is to help you ask the right questions and create a more methodical approach to diagnosing suspension noise. Hopefully by the end of this, you will have that much more of an understanding of what might be going on before you take it in for some work.

Continue reading “What’s That Sound? Suspension Troubleshooting”

You Asked, We Answered: Our 2nd CorkSport and Mazda Q&A

Corksport Q&A

In January, we wrote a post answering questions our fans asked. It went over so well we wanted to do it again. Here are the top 7 questions we found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter:

Question: Would you guys consider making a turbo kit for the SkyActiv engines? What challenges would you face with that engine compared to the MZR engine?Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.34.32 PM

  • Questioner: Michel Balk
  • Answer: There are a few key factors that would prove difficult to overcome when turbocharging a Skyactiv-G engine. First is the extremely high compression ratio of 13-14:1. High compression ratios and boost don’t mix well, and the supporting engine design to run that high of a compression ratio is very sensitive to major engine changes. For example: The exhaust manifold is a very well-engineered 4-2-1 design that is critical to running a high compression ratio on 87 octane fuel without pre-detonation. A typical turbo kit would replace the exhaust manifold which could cause many unknown issues. Second comes down to the overall design of the engine. Mazda has made it very clear they are chasing fuel economy, not white knuckle power. So, looking at that goal from a business standpoint, why would Mazda design the engine to handle 250+hp? That would only cost them more money. The engines are lightweight in every aspect: bearing size, connecting rods, pistons, crank…the list goes on. The SkyActiv-G engines are not built for power. Lastly, what good is a turbo kit if you can’t tune it correctly? As of right now there is not an effective method to tune the SkyActiv-powered vehicle. It’s unfortunate, but a turbo SkyActiv-G is a long shot.

Question: Give us all the info about the new CS turbo in production!

  • Questioner: Jeromy Williams
  • Answer: Well I can’t go and spill the beans, but I can give you a few tidbits of information. The goal of this turbocharger is not huge power numbers. Actually I would be in shock if anyone could get this to push 400whp with meth. The goal is to provide a turbocharger that cost only slightly more than a new K04 and is 100% bolt on. When I say bolt-on, I don’t mean “bolt-on” like BNR and ATP define it. This turbocharger requires no modifications to your current intake and exhaust systems; and no modifications need to be made to the oil and coolant lines. It’s like swapping in a new K04, but with much more power potential and no blue smoke. This effectively makes the turbocharger cheaper for the customer because none of the supporting sub-systems need to be upgraded or modified. As for some specs: Power is comparable to a BNR S3, and full spool is in the 3000-3200RPM range—depending on vehicle components. The current tune on my car is reaching 21PSI at 3200RPM with the CS EBCS running in bleed setup, and that’s on the prototype turbo without the billet compressor wheel.
Source: Autoblog
Source: Autoblog

Question: Will you be doing more products for Miata?

  • Questioner: Steve Linnehan
  • Answer: We are very excited about the new MX-5 Miata hitting our shores in the near future. The CorkSport sales manager is going to buy one as soon as possible. We plan to produce a respectable lineup of performance products for the new MX-5 Miata. From suspension to power, we will help you put some more pep in the Miata’s step, so stay tuned!


Mazda 3 Exhaust SystemQuestion: What do I need to put more HP on my 2012 Mazda 3 2.0i SkyActiv?

  • Questioner: Brayam Calo
  • Answer: CorkSport has a couple options for your dilemma, Brayam. Combining our SRI, Cold Air Box, and Power Series Catback Exhaust System showed impressive gains for the little 2.0. On our dyno, the stock 2.0 made 118hp/110lbft, but when we added the components above, we saw power increase to 135hp/123lbft. This is a respectable increase in power for a naturally aspirated engine.

Question: What is an approximated max horsepower output that can be produced in an MS3 without upgrading turbo back?

  • Questioner: Christopher DeCaro
  • Answer: This is a difficult question to answer accurately as there are so many factors that play into the maximum power of an engine. The OEM downpipe is extremely restrictive on the MS3 and is commonly recommended as one of the first upgrades. Our dyno testing showed a 50hp increase over stock with only a Stage 2 intake, downpipe and racepipe installed. So as you add more components and eventually go with a larger turbocharger, the loss in power from the OEM downpipe will only increase.

Question: Is there a way to have the engine RPM drop faster while shifting or revving from an idle?

  • Questioner: Matt Zoomin Brown
  • Answer: The rate at which an engine can rev up or down comes down to simple physics: “Force = Mass x Acceleration”. You often hear of people upgrading their flywheel from the OEM steel piece to a lightweight steel or aluminum/steel two-piece flywheel. By reducing the weight of the flywheel and the rest of the rotating mass of the engine, you effectively reduce the amount of energy needed to make the engine rev up. The opposite works for revving down. The greater the mass of the rotating assembly, the more resistance need to stop the rotation—or the longer it takes to spin down. This is a result of the “Moment of Inertia” of the rotating mass.

Question: I would like to turbo my 2010 2.5 N/A Mazda 3, what do I need to know?

  • Questioner: Cynthia Senger
  • Mazdaspeed 3 is the better turbo choiceAnswer: Like everyone else I’m going to recommend you sell your car and buy a car that was turbocharged from the factory, but for the sake of argument and fueling the fire I can point you in the right direction. The 2.5 N/A engine and the 2.3 turbo engine are very similar in design. I would start with buying a blown turbo engine, removing the exterior components, and then modifying them to work on your engine. Now the easy part is done… Next, you will need some way to tune the vehicle because turbocharging an engine that was not designed to be turbocharged is not a simple bolt-on affair. If you get past these two major hurdles, then bravo! Unfortunately, unless you improved the engine internals to handle this power, the engine will probably not live long with the added stress of its newfound power. Back to the first option: Buying a Mazdaspeed 3 makes a lot more sense in many aspects. Reliability, durability, and aftermarket support make big power much easier to achieve. Granted, a Mazdaspeed 3 may be more expensive to buy upfront, but I am almost certain it will be cheaper in the long run and will come with far fewer headaches and days without a car. I wish you the best of luck!

 

Thank you for your questions and keep them coming. We’ll have a Q&A every month for your Mazda performance questions.

#ZoomZoom

Barett Strecker-01

3 Myths About What’s Under the Hood of Your Mazdaspeed 3

3 Myths About What’s Under the Hood of Your Mazdaspeed 3 (Too be Taken Lightly…)

 

So you drive a Speed 3 eh? You probably think you are the shiz-at with your FoMoCo powered wagon…, but don’t worry bro I’m here to set a few myths straight.

Myth #1: “Elevendy” gears.

 

Blog pic #1

First, don’t be fooled by Mr. Diesel; you do not have “elevendy” gears begging to be double-clutched from stop light to stop light.

So give that lefty pedal a break and stick (pun intended) with 1st through 6th…throw a little R&R in there if you must.

Myth #2: The “black hole”.

 

Blog Pic #2

Second, there is not a black hole hiding under your hood sucking all your money away.  You may tell you girlfriend that, but come on seriously?

There’s a hunk of metal under there that you keep attaching more expensive hunks of metal to, but if your “black hole” excuse is working then you got yourself a real keeper… If not… check out financing.

Myth #3: Your “mating call emitter”.

 

Blog pic #3

Lastly, the hunk of metal (I mean black hole) does not have a “mating call emitter” attached to it, I promise.  Red lights are not the green light to shoot for the redline of your hunk of metal and it will not draw the attention of the potential mate, at least not the attention you are seeking.

BUT, if that does happen to attract a potential mate, then you already know the black hole excuse will work flawlessly.

Thats all for now.

Zoom-Zoom

-Barrett@Corksport.com

2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs: End of a Long Season

2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs

So, a few weeks back I attended the 2014 SCCA National Championship runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with aspirations of finishing on the podium in B-Spec with the CorkSport sponsored Mazda 2.

CorkSport Mazda 2

Day One:

The first day was a practice day in order to check out the car and review the changes we made, ensuring that everything was perfect for the three days of qualifying.  After the first test session, we made a few small changes and went back out for the afternoon session…

That’s where things got crazy.

The track was feeling greasy and the car was sliding around a bit, making corner 6 a handful since its taken flat out in a B-Spec car.  On the 7th lap the car drifted to the outside much faster than it had before so I steered into the drift and went off in the dirt. My plan was to ride it out and get back on the track towards the top of the hill.

Needless to say, things did not go as planned…

 

The video above is courtesy of a Spec Miata driver and friend at the track Steven Powers who (being directly behind me) got front row seats to witness the whole thing.

Rather than riding it out of the dirt, the front corner of the Mazda 2 made direct contact with a concrete wall… sideways (which  data showed being at 30mph). After playing 20 questions with the safety crew and getting the car loaded up, I was dropped off in my pit to evaluate the damage and make a plan on what to do next.  We got the car disassembled with help of fellow racers, slowly realizing just how bent up the car really was.  Besides the sheet metal, we had punched several holes in the engine block, broke a wheel, bent the right side control arm and front sub frame.

It took 2 hours to take the car from a crunched mess to the picture below.

 

The Aftermath

Day Two:

I chose to sleep on the decision to either rebuild or scrap the whole weekend race.  The next morning, with an optimistic attitude, we took inventory and made the choice to rebuild the car at the track. Mazdaspeed Motorsports lent a major hand as we started chasing down the parts we would need to replace, while I was hitting the phones looking for a body shop with an empty frame machine so we could get started on the car ASAP.  8 calls later, we had our shop and loaded the car up on a flatbed in order to get the repairs going for straightening the car and getting it ready for a frame rail and shock tower.

More Aftermath

Spectrum Auto Collision was a great help with the overall repair of the car. They got right on the job and loaded the car up on to the frame machine while their awesome technician started straightening the drives side rail. Arrangements were made to have the replacement frame parts arrive to the shop for the following day so they could continue the repairs non-stop, getting the car back together for Thursday’s qualifying session.

corksport racing

Day Three and Four:

Due to a mishap with UPS, we were out one critical part needed to not only start work that Wednesday morning but also have it completed by that afternoon. This complication pushed back the plan that included having the car assembled in time to post a qualifying time.  After a discussion with the race officials, they agreed to let me start at the back of the B-Spec field allowing me to race despite not having a qualifying time. Which was awesome of them.

That Thursday evening, my trusty friend was delivered right back to the track so that we could start the re-assembly process. With the help of my crew, we rebuilt the engine, reinstalled the whole front suspension and sheet metal, and reinstalled the rebuilt motor within two days.

Day Five:

Saturday evening, we fired up the car to make sure it would be ready to go for the race.  After a drive around the paddock, the car was feeling good and ready to race on Sunday.

RACE DAY:

Lucky for us, the B-Spec/T-4 race was the first event on Sunday, meaning the track would be in its best condition.

Since I was at the back of the field, I snagged an opportunity to pass up the stacked up cars on the inside of corner 2 and get passed 2 cars in the first lap. Several laps later I was able to get around one of the HPD Honda fits, putting me in 8th place. The leading Chevy sonic was brought to a stop due to a check engine light, moving him from 1st place to last place and me to 7th. During the race, the Mazda 2 felt really loose (the back of the car was sliding around) and like the tires were wearing out quickly.  This is not expected due to the brand new tires we just had put on the car for the race. BFGoodrich tires always hold up extremely well to the abuse of B-Spec cars.  I reported it to the crew over the radio and I got back an acknowledgement.

CorkSport Racing Accident

If you look at the picture above you can see smoke rolling out of the front wheel. 

Results:

At the end of the race (back in the pits) I saw the driver’s side of the car was coated in Redline MTL transmission fluid which had also been coating the front and rear wheels causing that loose feeling I was getting.

Imagine driving on and off ice whipping through corners at the fastest speed you can go. That is exactly how crazy the race felt driving with the transmission fluid everywhere.

Later I found out that the crew had actually seen the smoke but decided to keep quiet about it so as not to alarm me and keeping me from changing my driving style (which had already been working). I am incredibly thankful they made that call, because it would have changed my driving and possibly caused more problems.

The final result was 7th place, which doesn’t give any trophies from the SCCA but I got something even better from Mazdaspeed.  I was gifted a copy of the book Never Stop Challenging, which chronicles Mazda’s path to winning Le Mans and overcoming all of the challenges they went through.  I was told by a good friend at the track (who has experience in amateur and professional racing) that he had not seen a car with as much damage as we had, rebuilt and make it back onto the track before.

 

Mazdaspeed race

 

Appreciation:

Thank you so much to CorkSport, Monarch Inspections (for the season long logistics support), Mazda Motorsports Crew, John Doonan, Mike Allen, Scott Kaluza, David Cook, and Dean Case who were at the track for the parts sourcing and tech help and the best trophy a Mazda racer could get.

Big thanks to my Dad (aka the crew), Joey Jordan Motorsports (for the help rebuilding the motor and getting the alignment straight), James Wilson and Black Armor Helmets (for driving out to race his 2 from Texas), Brad Green and his crew (for help getting the car taken apart), Steven Powers (for the video) as well as all of the B-Spec racers who I got to compete against all season long.

Last but not least (in any way), I would like to say thank you to my wife Jessica and two daughters for being understanding of my pursuit in racing.

Zoom zoom.

– Derrick from CorkSport

Derrick_HEadshot

Derrick started working with cars when he was in high school.  A friend had a GLC which they tweaked a bit which then became a 323 then into RX-7s and it was all Mazda down hill from there. His current projects are a 1968 Mustang, The 1988 323 GTX (never ending project), 1986 Honda Shadow Motorcycle and a 1968 Silverline Rambler 16′boat. For motorsports activities he has previously participated in drag racing the CorkSport Protege Drag car and Rally Cross with the 323 GTX. Currently he is driving the CorkSport Mazda 2 B-Spec race car.

 

If you attend any events CorkSport is at Derrick will be the guy you will talk to at most of them, so stop by and say hello!