Mazdaspeed Roll Cage Painting, a Necessary Evil

Safety first right?  As much as I want to survive an unfortunate incident while racing my 650+whp Mazdaspeed3…I have a bone to pick with safety.  Sometimes it’s a real pain in the A**.  

Let me explain…and hopefully help you learn from my experience. 

Mazdaspeed3 Drag Racing

Today we are talking about how to paint a roll cage, specifically one that has been custom built to fit tightly inside the cab of a GEN1 Mazdaspeed 3.  How does this relate to safety?  Well…a cage is made from raw steel in “mild” or “chromoly” materials.  Both of these metals will corrode/rust over time. Not only will this result in a very ugly cage inside your car, but it could eventually affect the structural integrity of the roll cage, and that would defeat the whole purpose of it.  

With that I decided to paint the roll cage in my Mazdaspeed 3.  I daily drive and race the car AND I live in the PNW which has lots of rain and moisture.  In fact, in the couple weeks that I did drive the car with the raw cage, I was already getting surface rust build up…gross. 

Mazdaspeed Roll Cage Prep

To add to the difficulty, the cage in my Mazdaspeed was custom built from scratch vs a kit so it was very tight fitting and I have extra “X-bracing” added for increased roll over protection.  This just added to the amount of surface area to paint and the number of locations with bars very close to each other.   

The roll cage/hoop in my #halfmilespeed3 is technically a 8-point cage with an added X-brace in the main hoop and between the rear strut braces.  The X-bracing is what helps with high speed roll over protection, but with a weight penalty.  Go look at any modern rally car and you’ll see X-bracing plus lots more. 

Mazdaspeed Roll Cage Prep

Ok, time to get our hands dirty.  Here are the major items you will need to paint your cage:

  1. Paint – I used a rust-oleum paint & Primer Combo.  Make sure it works with a metal surface.  2-3 cans will be needed to complete the job and I’d suggest a high gloss enamel finish.  It will be much easier to clean.
  2. Safety Equipment – Goggles, Face Mask (a real one with a rating for fine dust), Bunny Suit (because you will get paint ALL over you), Gloves
  3. Scotch Brite Pads – You will need this so you can remove any rust build up (assuming it is minor, if you have a heavily rusting and rough cage then you will need to get far more aggressive)
  4. Cleaner and Rags – Gotta clean the cage after the scotch brite process
  5. Plastic Wrap – This is like industrial size cling wrap.  Easily found at Home Depot or other hardware shops in the painting isle.
     
  6. Blue Tape – A few rolls of the 1.5” will do. 

Step 1: Remove everything you can from the interior (which may not actually be much if you have a cage.  Take your seats out, carpet (what’s left), center console, …etc

When I had the cage installed I decided I wanted to keep the front two seats as factory as possible.  With that I have kept my carpet, center console, dash, door cards, roof upholstery…other than the door bars from the cage, you would have no idea the car has a cage when sitting in the front seats. 

Step 2: Scotch Brite Time!  Grab a pad and start giving your cage a nice rub down. You need to go over all surfaces of the cage if you want good adhesion of the paint to the metal surface.  Once done, do a quick check and I bet you find some missed spots.  Get those also…

Step 3: Clean up time! Grab some clean rags and a cleaner that does not leave any residue.  Clean all the cage surfaces to remove any dust and/or oil.  This is equally as important for good paint adhesion.   

Mazdaspeed Roll Cage Prep

Step 4: Time to seal up the car.  My number one advice here is avoid wind if possible.  This plastic sheet loves to blow away in the wind…it can be very frustrating.  If you have a friend that can help, that would be a great idea. 

You basically want to cover all exposed surfaces inside the car and a lot of the outside of the car.  While you are spray painting, you will be creating a lot of overspray mist floating in the air.  This will settle on all surfaces inside and out.  

I completely wrapped my doors and door edges, inside and outside of the car a bit. 

Mazdaspeed Roll Cage Prep

I completely covered my dash and shifter assembly. 

Mazdaspeed Roll Cage Prep

For the roof upholstery I did not use the plastic wrap, I actually used a piece of cardboard to act like a shield.  I held the cardboard with one hand, shielding the roof while I sprayed the upper sections of the cage.  It was effective and much easier than plastic wrap for that area.  

Step 5: Time to actually paint.  First you need to get into your bunny suit, get your gloves on, your face mask and goggles.  Be proud of how ridiculous you look!

Before you start spraying, make sure you are in a well ventilated area and do not have any other cars or items in close proximity; they will get paint on them. 

Actually Painting: I would advise starting with the hard to reach arrears first.  You are essentially painting inside a jungle gym so get to the hard to reach areas first so you don’t have to worry about touching wet paint later.  I started in the center and top of the cage because I had to be in the car to do so.  Then was able to get to the more outer parts of the cage while outside of the cage.  

Applying the paint is a bit of an art.  You want to apply smooth and consistent layers.  Your hand is always moving side to side as you spray.  Don’t point and shoot or you will get runs in the paint. 

Do a first coat that mostly covers all the surface area, then let it tach up for about an hour or reference the instructions on the can.  Then apply another coat of paint.  Trust me you will find thin or missed spots.  

Mazdaspeed Roll Cage Prep

Step 6: Get out of the bunny suit.  Hahaha ya this can be a process

Anyways, I pushed my car back into the garage and let the paint cure overnight before removing the plastic wrap.  I didn’t want to risk the plastic wrap touching/sticking to the fresh paint.  You may not have that luxury and if you don’t I would at least give the paint a couple hours to cure before removing the plastic. 

Other takeaways – this was an ALL DAY PROJECT.  I thought I could get it done in half a day, but with the concerns about keeping the still installed interior looking good, I was extra cautious with the plastic wrap which added time.  I also did not want to do this again later so I was extra detailed with the painting process.  Checking for missed spots and thin areas after each coat.  

However, the result was well worth the work and I have no regrets about painting the cage.  I can now drive my car without worry of the cage getting ugly or losing strength due to corrosion.  I highly recommend that you take the day or so to make this happen in your car.  

CorkSport Shift S3ctor

I hope you enjoyed this blog and thank you for following along with the @halfmilespeed3. Stay connected (instagram, blog & “Built With Barett” video series) as we share more and more about the @halfmilespeed3 build…engine, seats, roll-cage, and power!  Rolling into the Shift Sector 2021 season we will have more great content to share!

-Barett @ CS

Mazda 3 Wiper Delete

Sometimes Form is more important than Function…and sometimes we find features in a vehicle that are not that useful to us.  One of those features happens to be the rear wiper assembly.  We felt this way and many in the community have informed us of this as well.  

With that, we now have Rear Wiper Delete Kits for the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Generation Mazda 3 hatchbacks.  

Mazdaspeed 3/Mazda 3 Wiper Delete for 2010-2013

If you happen to live in one of the fortunate states that don’t get a lot of rain or find yourself not using your rear wiper very often, this is the kit for you.  The CorkSport Rear Wiper Delete Kit completely removes the wiper arm and the motor assembly.  This shaves weight (about 2 pounds) from your car and gets rid of the unsightly rear wiper arm.  

Mazda Hatchback wiper delete

The delete “plug” in the kit is manufactured from 6061-T6 aluminum and finished with a black anodized coating then laser engraved with a sleek CS logo.  While this is a subtle mod for your Mazda, we are always shocked at how much better the rear end looks afterwards.  

2014-2018 Mazda 3 Rear Wiper Delete

2nd Gen 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3/Mazda 3 check out your kit here: Click me!

3rd Gen 2014-2018 Mazda 3 Hatchback check out your kit here: Click me!

4th Gen 2019+ Mazda 3 Hatchback check out your kit here: Click me!

2019+ Mazda 3 Rear Wiper Delete

Thanks for checking out the CorkSport Rear Wiper Deletes!  For all the Gen1 Guys and Gals, we are working on a kit currently, we will have a kit ready mid summer!

-Barett @ CS

MS3 Aux Fuel Tank

Looking to take the next step on your MS3 journey and move beyond the limits of stock fueling?

Look no further than the CorkSport Auxiliary Fuel Tank for Mazdaspeed 3. We incorporated a ton of features into an aux fuel tank that sits in front of the driver’s side front tire. By using rotomolded construction, we were able to maximize the volume and ease of use to really make a fantastic starting point for your fuel system. Be sure to read on for more info and check out the product listing for full details!

Mazdaspeed 3 Fender Mounted Auxiliary Fuel Cell

The main focus of the CS aux fuel tank is to maximize capacity without compromising usability and features. We chose rotomolded cross-link HDPE construction to do this. Manufacturing the tanks with this method removes a lot of the restriction that comes with sheet metal tanks so we could keep the tanks cheaper for you while incorporating extra features.

Adjustable mounting brackets

We were able to maximize the tank to approximately 2.6 gallons for both the GEN1 and GEN2 while retaining great fitment. We even incorporated adjustment into all of the mounting brackets to account for manufacturing and setup variances from one car to another. 

Mazdaspeed 3 Fender Mounted Auxiliary Fuel Cell

Along with fitment comes the flexibility to make the tank work best for your fuel system. We have incorporated mounting locations for both methanol pumps and a standard 044 style mounting bracket. This means you can run a basic single nozzle meth setup while on stock block, then move to a full PI setup once you build your engine, all while using the same tank.

Mazdaspeed 3 Fender Mounted Auxiliary Fuel Cell

The CorkSport MS3 aux fuel tank also incorporates a bunch of other great features:

  • An included low level sensor and warning LED that will trigger with ~0.8 gallons remaining in the tank. This gives you plenty of warning before running your aux fuel system dry.
  • A sump is molded into the bottom of the tank for the fuel pump feed. This prevents fuel starvation from fuel slosh during hard cornering.
  • A fuel return port is present for use with full port injection setups. If running methanol, this port can be easily plugged.

Warning light, anti-leak, easy refueling, and more!

  • A billet aluminum cap keeps the tank sealed. Dual O-rings are used to keep the cap in position and prevent any leaks, even if the tank is upside-down.
  • The tank fill neck was carefully sized to fit with most gas can nozzles and funnels for easy refueling.
  • An included vent tube keeps tank pressure in check.
Mazdaspeed 3 Fender Mounted Auxiliary Fuel Cell

The CS aux tank is made from rotomolded 0.19” thick HDPE. This is the same material that most racing gas cans are made from, so you know it will be safe no matter the fuel you use. Each mounting bracket is laser cut and precision formed 304 stainless steel for strength, a great look, and corrosion resistance. 

Mazdaspeed 3 Fender Mounted Auxiliary Fuel Cell

Each cap is made from black anodized billet aluminum for reliable and easy use while being stealthy in your engine bay. Finally, each tank comes with full color installation instructions and CS customer support so you can be sure you will be in a good spot for the rest of your fuel system.

Be sure to give us a call with any questions you have on the CorkSport Auxiliary Fuel Tank!

The Steering Wheel Your Mazda 3 Deserves

Every time you drive your Mazda you directly interface with four critical controls; seat, pedals, shifter, and the steering wheel.  These control interfaces give you tactile feedback of your driving experience, so why not get the best feedback possible?

Take your driving experience to the next level

We introduce to you the racing inspired and genuine leather clad performance steering wheel from CorkSport Mazda Performance.  We are so excited to bring this option to the community, to give you the opportunity to take your driving experience to the next level. 

This performance steering wheel is designed for the facelift 2017 – 2018 Mazda 3, 2017+ Mazda CX-5 and 2018+ Mazda CX-3.  

2017-18 Mazda 3, 2017+ CX-5, 2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

When we set out to develop a performance steering wheel for the facelift 3rd GEN Mazda 3 we had to define the major attributes needed: Performance, Style, Fitment.  Without these what is the point?  

2017-18 Mazda 3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel
View all Steering Wheels

Performance: While the OEM Mazda wheel has a nice shape to it we wanted to push this further with a more aggressive racing inspired style, deep thumb grooves, and the option for genuine leather or alcantara inserts.  This gives you the choice to fit your style and the confidence on the track, autoX, or back roads.  Sweaty palms? Don’t worry, the high contact area uses perforated genuine leather to help your hands breathe…we got you Fam.

2017+ CX-5 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel
View all Steering Wheels

Style: We’ll say this again, Mazda did a pretty good job on the higher trim level wheels, but if you have a lower trim level with the vinyl/plastic wheel it just looks MEH.  You know what we mean.  Step up your game with the CorkSport Leather Steering Wheel.  It looks so good through the window, even better right in your face, and feels fantastic in your hands. 

Genuine leather and/or alcantara, aggressive thumb grooves, and red stitching just bring the whole interior together and to the next level. 

2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

Fitment: This one is a BIG DEAL for two reasons.

EASY

When a part fits correctly it installs easily.  We don’t want you to fight with the install or have to come up with some disconnecting hub or whatnot like other “racing” wheels.  This is a 100% new casting that retains all the OEM connections and fitment. 

SAFETY

While we do use true racing steering wheels with the quick disconnect hubs; these are only on our dedicated track cars with tons of other safety equipment.  Your car is your daily and your weekend toy.  We will not compromise your safety so we designed a performance steering wheel that retains all the controls and airbag like the OEM steering wheel.

2017-18 Mazda 3, 2017+ CX-5, 2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

Alright, let’s pull these three back together.  Racing inspired performance steering wheel that uses genuine leather and gives you the option for alcantara inserts, form follows function because it looks great from the driver’s point of view or any point of view, and you get this without compromising your safety or losing your quick access features on the steering wheel.  

Hold on…there is one thing…

If you have a heated steering wheel from the factory you will lose that feature.  We investigated adding this feature (and we still can if there is enough demand), but damn it is really expensive.  Let us know in the comments and drop us some info in this link if you really want a heated option.  I WANT A HEATED STEERING WHEEL

2017-18 Mazda 3, 2017+ CX-5, 2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

Lastly, we want to mention this; this is can be a tuff performance modification to justify trust me, but once you lay your hands on the wheel and take your first apex you will be sold and wished your Mazda came with it from the factory.  It’s such a visceral feeling that it’s hard to explain.  

With that we will leave you with the obvious decision to make.  Do the right thing for you and your Mazda.

2017-18 Mazda 3, 2017+ CX-5, 2018+ CX-3 Leather/Alcantara Steering Wheel

-CorkSport

MS6/MZ6 Rear Camber Arms

CorkSport is pleased to reintroduce the the 1st Gen Mazda 6 and Mazdaspeed 6 Adjustable Rear Camber Arms to complement the return of the CorkSport Adjustable Front Upper Control Arms for Mazdaspeed 6!

By replacing the stock camber arms with the CorkSport Adjustable Camber Arms, you can adjust your suspension to accommodate for lowering springs or coilovers and fine tune your Mazda 6 or Mazdaspeed 6 to the appropriate camber setting needed to balance uneven tire wear and improve cornering performance.

Mazda 6 and Mazdaspeed 6 Adjustable Rear Camber Arms

Our design offers +OEM to – 4.5 degrees of adjustability along with cross camber adjustment allowing drivers the ability to align their suspension to match their enthusiastic driving style on and off the track.

Unlike other adjustable camber arm options on the market, our unique design includes spherical bearings that replace the soft rubber bushings on the OEM camber arms, providing a true attachment to the suspension of the vehicle for improved handling and road feel.

Mazda 6 and Mazdaspeed 6 Adjustable Rear Camber Arms

The ease of adjustability on the vehicle and the unique nature of the spherical bearings will provide you with improved cornering control that can’t be matched by any other options on the market today.

The CorkSport Adjustable Rear Camber Arms are also available for all Mazdaspeed 3 and Mazda 3 vehicles and back for Mazdaspeed 6 and 2004-2008 Mazda 6 vehicles. They come as a set for just $199.00.

Mazda 6 and Mazdaspeed 6 Adjustable Rear Camber Arms

The CorkSport Advantage:

  • Superior Design: Spherical bearings replace the soft rubber bushings used in OEM and other aftermarket camber arms. This will truly attach the camber arm to the suspension of the vehicle for more control and added road feel
  • Made from reinforced high strength extruded bent steel tubing: Stronger less brittle and more durable than aluminum
  • Fine Tuned Adjustability: +OEM to – 4.5 degrees of camber adjustment and cross camber adjustability for fine tuning of your suspension
  • Full Adjustment: Can be adjusted on-car with a wrench while still installed in the vehicle
  • Sold as a Set: We know you need two so we simplified the math for you by selling them as a set
Mazda 6 and Mazdaspeed 6 Adjustable Rear Camber Arms

For more information about the CorkSport Adjustable Rear Camber Arms, check the listing here!