CorkSport Mazdaspeed 3 Coilovers are back and ready for your street and track Mazdaspeed 3 and Mazda 3! Taking the feedback from the previous generation of CS Coilovers and applying those to the new hotness has created a design that best balances performance for the street and track.
No longer using an inverted design, we opted for a more conventional, but performance-oriented monotube design with a pressure chamber. A monotube design was used for its superior damping response and precision vs a twin tube design. With that, we have increased the resolution of damping control from a 15-click range to a 30-click range giving you more fine-tuning control.
Next, the fronts now have independent spring load and ride height adjustability. This gives you the ultimate control in spring setup and ride height without affecting each other to do so. This helps to keep suspension travel optimized within the damper and makes adjusting ride height simpler.
Lastly, you may have noticed there are two different colored springs. We are offering two options for springs; CorkSport Red Coilover springs and Swift Spring upgrade. Even though there is no spring rate change for Swift, we still wanted to offer the option for those who swear by them. We suggest the daily driver opt for red springs and save money for some other goodies like Camber Arms, Toes Arms, or a Rear Swaybar. If you are wanting to push your car on the track, you may notice the Swift spring upgrade. Either way, you get to decide!
Talking about springs, we did “soften” the overall spring rates slightly per the requests of the community. For the balance of comfort and performance, we are using 6k fronts and 7k rear springs.
Now to the things that you already loved about the Mazdaspeed 3 Coilovers just get better! Included with the front strut assemblies are camber adjustable upper mounts so you can dial in your camber, wheels speed wiring harness brackets for OEM like installation and of course the needed rear hardware and adjustment wrenches.
Now let’s chat about ride heights. While the CS coilovers are designed around handling, we can’t ignore the great visual boost that comes with lowering a car. The CS coilovers offer a large range of height adjustability. In the front, you can adjust the height from ~0.5” higher than OEM all the way down to ~2.0” lower than OEM (+0.5” to -2.0”). For the rear, you can go from ~0.25” higher than OEM all the way down to ~2.0” lower than OEM (+0.25” to -2.0”). This is 2.5” of total adjustability in the front and 2.25” of total adjustability in the rear.
This is a great balance that allows for proper suspension function at low heights for those who want a stance look while also offering an OEM+ look for those that prefer a more subtle appearance. Don’t worry though, wherever you end up on the height range, the lowering does come with handling benefits as well, such as a lower center of gravity, decreased body roll, and improved driver confidence!
For years, you’ve asked for them, and they’re finally coming!
Introducing the CorkSport Aluminum Coolant and Power Steering Fluid Tank for the First Generation Mazdaspeed3 (2007-2009). Although we’ve had a 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3 coolant tank, it’s about time we added these tanks to line up.
Let’s face it, the first-gen Mazdaspeed3 platform is aging, and with that age comes ugly, yellow plastic tanks. We’ve even seen tanks crack and fail, causing coolant leaks, headaches, and eye sores for owners. It’s time we changed that.
CorkSport has developed a solution in the form of an aluminum replacement for these tired plastic tanks that fit and function just like OEM! Our tanks also come coated in a beautiful black powder coat that will look right at home with any color in any engine bay. Our tanks are robust and will stand the test of time for years to come.
But why aluminum? Why do we even have a tank, to begin with? What does it do?Let’s start by going over how a cooling system works.
TW: It’s about to get a little nerdy!
Understanding Heat Transfer in Cooling Systems
Think about a hot summer’s day. You’re sweating from a hard day of wrenching on the Mazda in the garage and desperately need a cool down, so you place a cold, wet, refreshing towel around your neck. Initially, when you place that cool towel around your neck, you only feel the cold in one place: around your neck. But pretty soon, you feel the cold spread throughout your body and begin cooling down.
This feeling, however, is misleading as there is no such thing as “cold.” There is only heat and a lack of heat. What’s happening is the heat that you feel on your body is being transferred into the cool towel, and the blood that passes through your neck is cooled as a result. As this blood with less heat (i.e., “cooled”) circulates around your body, you feel the effect of that towel all throughout until all of your blood is cooled, and you begin to feel better! You’ll notice after some time that the towel is no longer cool because it has absorbed the heat from your body and the surrounding air. Remember: heat moves from hot to cold and wants to spread until an equilibrium is met.
How Automotive Cooling Systems Work
Automotive cooling systems work on the same principle. Replace that towel with a radiator, your blood with automotive coolant, and the engine as a heat source, and now you have an automotive cooling system! As the cold coolant passes through the engine, it absorbs the heat generated by the combustion cycle and friction in the cylinders. Some of this hot coolant is then passed through your HVAC system, where some of this heat can be used to heat the cabin (this is how your heater works), and the rest is passed to the radiator for cooling. Once cooled by moving air, it is then passed again into the engine, where it works to cool it down. Then the cycle continues. This is the same basis of how Turbo front mount intercoolers operate. For more information on these systems, check out our Front Mount Intercoolers.
So where does the tank come in?
Naturally, as things heat up, they expand. Coolant is no exception to this rule, and this is usually combated with an expansion tank to capture any excess volume. What makes the MazdaSpeed 3 cooling system unique is that the expansion tank is incorporated into the main flow path of the coolant, with the expansion volume built into the reservoir design. This design of combining the expansion tank with a reservoir simplifies the system without the need for additional tanks or hoses. This can also be compared visually with the fill point of the cooling system. On most vehicles, it is located on top of the radiator, but on the Speed3, it is located on the tank directly. This means that the tank itself is pressurized when the system is hot, which introduces a challenge with material selection.
Mazdaspeed’s Need For A Better Tank
Since the OEM tank is made of plastic, it is more vulnerable to degradation over time. Once the tank has deteriorated enough, it cannot withstand the pressure changes and high-temperature cycles of the coolant system. It will eventually fail, leading to cracks and leaks that many owners complain of. The TIG welded aluminum construction and powder coating of our tanks mean that they are substantially more resilient than the OEM tanks and will last for years to come.
Power Steering Tank
The power steering tank is much simpler as its only function is to hold fluid, and the system is only slightly pressurized, meaning no expansion volume has to be built into the tank design and the temperatures are much lower. However, the OEM tank is still made of the same ugly plastic as the coolant tank and has the same disadvantages. While this tank does not see the same failure rate as the coolant tank, we decided to take the opportunity anyway to fully complete the look of the engine bay and provide our customers with a comprehensive solution to replace all of the aging plastic tanks to vastly improve the appearance of the engine bay.
Fitment and Design
We understand that universal tanks are such a pain. We have experienced this with some of our cars and have had to design and fabricate custom brackets to make them fit. This is a headache, not to mention having to cut or move OEM hoses or custom-make our own. Retaining OEM fit and function is the easiest and most effective design for installation, and that is exactly what we have done for our tanks!
If you are interested in purchasing one (or both) of our Aluminum Tanks for your Mazdaspeed 3, we’ll be releasing it in the near future. So stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!
Welcome to part 4 of the Mazdaspeed3 AWD Swap! If you missed the previous posts, you can catch the Intro, (Part 2), and Part 3. This blog will cover the rear suspension design, specifically the rocker arms, and how we came to the size, shape, and overall design. This will get technical with numbers, angles, and CAD models.
Before we get into the technical jargon, let’s cover the “what” with rocker arm suspension.
Let’s break down this diagram as it is 100% not OEM for the Mazdaspeed 3:
Rocker Arm: This is the keystone of the suspension design and does all the work. The rocker arm connects the push rod and the damper to transfer suspension force at a different angle. The rocker arms can also go by a few names: rocker arm, bell crank, cantilever, and pivot arm, to name a few.
Push Rod: This is a simple rod with spherical rod ends on each end. This connects the OEM suspension to the rocker arm. The push rod is in a similar location as the OEM suspension.
Suspension Mounting Bracket: This is the mounting point for the push rod to the OEM suspension trailing arm. This must be added because the OEM damper mount is below the now-new axle shaft.
Coilover/Damper: This is an off-the-shelf damper that can have a coil spring installed on it. It features independent rebound and compression damping adjustability.
Cross Member: This is the cross member that is welded between the chassis shock towers in the car to support the new rocker arm suspension.
Here you can see the design tack welded in the car. This should help you understand how the design fits and is used in the car itself.
Now that we have a basic understanding of this rocker arm-style suspension let’s get into some more details!
First, let’s talk about suspension and the forces they deal with. Gravity pushes you and your car down to the ground, and road imperfections (bumps, potholes, unlevel surfaces) try to push you and your car up/down/all around while driving. If vehicles did not have suspension and instead the wheels were rigidly attached to the vehicle chassis, we would have all sorts of issues. Comfort, control, and tractions are the big concerns, amongst many others.
The suspension’s job is to soak up and move with many road imperfections like bumps, potholes, and unlevel surfaces. Every time your tire goes over a bump or pothole, it moves up or down, resulting in a force transferred into the suspension.
Check out this quick illustration to see the rocker arm suspension in motion:
As the tire moves up/down, you can see that the rocker arm pivots and transfers that motion into the coilover/damper.
Now let’s break down those forces a bit more. The rocker arm allows us to change the angle of the forces transferred to a new angle that is easier for us to deal with. Instead of being required to have a coilover/damper in a vertical suspension down around the tire (like OEM), I can now change the angle so I can put the coilover/damper in a position that is much easier to deal with.
The rocker arm has two major features about it.
The angle change of transferred forces, as we just discussed. This is mainly to help with “positioning” the suspension components.
The rocker arm lengths allow us to define the “motion ratio” of the suspension. Looking at the diagram, you can see a blue line and a green line. These effective rocker arm lengths affect the suspension and result in a motion ratio.
The resulting ratio is 1:0.7 meaning the damper compresses 70% of the amount that the wheel moves up/down.
The wheel/tire has a maximum range of 5.55 inches of travel, while the damper has a maximum travel of 3.875 inches.
Designing the rocker arm with this 1:0.7 motion ratio allowed me to use a smaller, lighter damper design with limited travel and still get the desired wheel suspension travel I needed. We use a stiffer spring to compensate for the extra leverage of the motion ratio.
Motion ratios in suspension are common. For example, the Mazdaspeed 3 suspension has a unique motion ratio in the front (1:0.98) and rear (1:0.71) from our calculations. These numbers are typical of the style of suspension found in many commuter cars these days.
Now that we understand the forces and the intent with the rocker am…we have to design its shape and size to do the job. Angles are the tricky parts of the rocker arm design. Defining the angles (and thus shape) comes down to understanding the push rod input angles and the desired damper output angles while in motion.
When we say “angles,” we are talking about the red arrows in the above diagram. These red arrows are the angles between the rocker arm and the push rod, as well as the rocker arm and the damper. Ideally, these angles are always 90 degrees through the entire motion you see in the GIF, but that is not physically possible, so we had to find the correct balance of angles while in motion.
A whole lot of math encompasses this, but the upcoming diagrams will help break it down to a very understandable level for everyone! We are breaking it down to the three major suspension travel points: droop, bump and ride height.
First, we are going to look at the angles for the push rod in Bump, Ride Height, and Droop.
Bump is when the suspension is fully compressed.
Ride Height is when the car is sitting stationary (static).
Droop is when the suspension is fully decompressed. Image your car sitting on jack stands with the tires hanging in the air.
In full bump, the push rod angle to the rocker arm decreases to 67 degrees which is 23 degrees off the “ideal” 90.
Then looking at ride height as the suspension moves downward from full bump. The damper-to-rocker arm angle decreases to 82 degrees which is 8 degrees off the “ideal” 90.
Lastly, with the suspension traveling to full droop. The push rod to rocker arm angle increases to 117.5 degrees which is 27.5 degrees off the “ideal” 90.
What does this mean? This is great, actually! Ride height is where the suspension will function most of the time, and that is only 5 degrees off the ideal 90-degree angle. When the car is launched in a drag race, the suspension is going to compress, and that angle will decrease, passing through the ideal 90-degree angle and further. This is precisely the balance we are looking for with the rocker arm design. To keep it functioning most of the time as close to 90 degrees as possible.
Ok, let’s look at the angles from the damper side of the rocker arm.
In full bump, the damper angle to the rocker arm increases to 111.5 degrees which is 21.5 degrees off the “ideal” 90.
Then looking at ride height as the suspension moves downward from the full bump. The damper-to-rocker arm angle decreases to 82 degrees which is 8 degrees off the “ideal” 90.
With the suspension traveling to full droop, the damper-to-rocker arm angle decreases to 62 degrees which is 28 degrees off the “ideal” 90.
Again we have the damper near the “ideal” 90-degree angle at ride height and then pass through the 90-degree angle zone when the suspension compresses at launch. Again, the balanced angles we are trying to design for so the suspension function in the “ideal” angle range most of the time.
Why are the angles so important? The further you get from the “ideal” 90-degree angle, the more non-linear the suspension acts. When the suspension acts in a linear function, it is tunable and predictable to drive. If it is non-linear, then it makes tuning and use much more difficult…this results in inconsistent launching and driving, which is not good in a racing environment.
Welcome to part 3 of the Mazdaspeed3 AWD Swap! If you missed part 1 and part 2 blog posts, then catch up by visiting these links. Lots of images in this blog as I get the CX7 rear subframe installed and figure out the correct control arms to use for the rear suspension.
Typically when I mention the AWD swap Mazdaspeed 3 to a fellow Mazdaspeed enthusiast, they assume I am using the rear subframe from a Mazdaspeed 6. While I understand their logic, incorporating one would require extensive fabrication.
Here’s why: the Mazdaspeed 6 has a very different chassis architecture vs the Mazdaspeed 3. It is important to note because it directly affects the subframe and chassis interface.
If it’s not the speed6 then what do I use? Good news! The Mazdaspeed 3 uses a chassis design based on a Ford global chassis used with various models in Mazda, Ford, and Volvo. Enter the Mazda CX7.
So I went hunting for a Turbo AWD CX7 model year 2006-2007…this is a great time to bring your buddies along for some junkyard fun!
Luckily I found one in a local junkyard that was still complete enough. Not knowing exactly what I needed from the rear-end suspension and drivetrain, I opted to take everything; driveshaft to differential, plus the ENTIRE rear subframe and suspension.
$380 later, we are driving home with our newfound treasure and ready to take on the swap! I was eager to see how this would bolt into the Mazdaspeed 3, so we went straight to the shop.
We wasted no time removing the speed3 rear subframe… literally six bolts and removing the brake calipers is all that is required.
Knowing the OEM fuel tank is in the way of the mid-driveshaft, we opted to just remove it right then as well. A handful of bolts and some fighting of the fuel tank filler and it’s out also. At this point, we are maybe 1.5 hours into this and the car is ready to accept its fate.
With both the MS3 and CX7 rear subframes out and sitting side-by-side, we took the opportunity to compare them. Checking the most important things first, we looked at the mounting points for the subframe to chassis. These all checked out visually and again after measuring to be the same…but this is where the similarities ended.
The trailing arm/hub assembly is very different between the two models. The CX7 appears to be much heavier duty and more complex. Doing some research, we found that the CX7 uses a different style of parking brake. The parking brake is actually a drum brake inside the rotor hat of the disc. Either way, the CX7 suspension looks heavy…which is not ideal for Racecar. The width also appears to be wider by a few inches.
The last noticeable difference is the addition of a rear differential – which is the whole goal of the project – so that is a good thing! That said, the OEM spare tire location in the MS3 will interfere with the fitment of the differential.
Not an issue for Racecar and my Sawzall! I cut the entire spare tire tub out since my new fuel cell will be going there.
We are ready to mock up the complete CX7 rear suspension with the spare tire tub removed. Knowing that the mounting points are the same, we installed the entire CX7 system to see how it fit.
The six mounting points lined up perfectly, confirming our initial measurements – it’s almost as if it was meant to be! Next, we tried to get the trailing arm forward mounting points bolted in but fought them, eventually giving up. We are confident the springs were fighting us, and the trailing arms would have bolted in had we removed the springs.
Moving on, we wanted to see how the track width looked before spending any more time on the trailing arms.
As we suspected, the setup was too wide – unless you want wider – which I did not want for a high-speed straight-line drag racer.
From the side view, the wheel’s centerline looks good, and the meaty 255/50R16 looks badass, but the CX7 springs obviously do not play nice. The monster truck ride height won’t work.
We planned a “hybrid” of CX7 and MS3 suspension parts, as advised by a friend, @junkiebuilt, that did a GEN1 AWD swap using a Honda drivetrain. We will use the CX7 subframe only and the MS3 trailing arm/bearing hub and control arms.
This combo was the ticket! The Mazdaspeed 3 control arms bolted into the CX7 subframe without issue, allowing me to retain my CorkSport Camber Arms and CorkSport Toe Arms, as well as the lower OEM control arm. Along with that, I get to keep the Mazdaspeed 3 trailing arm, which is not nearly as heavy or complex.
This setup also retains the OEM parking brake, my Mazda 5 rotor, and my MS3 calipers. Ultimately this is looking like a very straightforward swap with no fabrication. Don’t mind @farvaspeed6 looking at, um, something.
With the hybrid CX7/MS3 setup on the car, we wanted to see how things were lining up. The meats went back on!
Ah, much better this time. The wider stance is gone, and the wheel tire looks right at home. Surprisingly the tire tucks under the fender with just a tad amount of rubbing.
With the day of excitement winding down, I wanted to check on the last thing to see if this truly was a direct bolt-on swap. Unfortunately, the OEM MS3 rear wheel bearing is not the same as the CX7 wheel bearing. Being FWD, the MS3 wheel bearing does not have splines for an axle…duh. So I have to use CX7 wheel bearings on the MS3 trailing arm/hub assembly.
This is where my luck ended.
With the MS3 wheel bearing removed and the CX7 wheel bearing set next to the trailing arms…things look good. But they are ever so slightly different.
The CX7 wheel bearing has a slightly larger bore size, and the bolt pattern is somewhat different. I will never understand why Mazda went through the effort to make these so close but not the same. Either way, this was not a job a hand drill and grinder could fix. This needed proper measurements and machining.
I reverse-engineered the CX7 bolt pattern and hub bore. 3DP printed that to verify then off to the machine shop to get the one-off work done.
The existing bolt holes were welded closed, the ground flat, and the new holes were drilled following my measurements. The hub bore was also enlarged to match the CX7 wheel bearing.
With that one and only fab job complete, we had actually finished the CX7 to MS3 rear swap.
Minus the machining for the wheel bearings, the rear subframe, and the suspension swap was actually very easy and straightforward. This is great news because it could have been the death (or very expensive aspect) of the swap. Ultimately this part of the swap being so easy makes it a much more viable project for the average enthusiast.
Alright, that wraps up the rear subframe swap, a huge milestone for the build. There are plenty more milestones to overcome and those are coming up in this multi-part blog series!
I hope you are enjoying this series about the AWD Swap Mazdaspeed 3, stay tuned for more blogs to come!
Hey everyone, this is Daniel, one of the engineers at CS. In case you don’t know me (I’m quiet on socials, but I’m working on that!) I’ve been with CorkSport since the middle of 2017, so I’ve probably had my hands on any product released in the last five years. For example, the exhaust manifold for the Mazdaspeeds was my baby for a while, and I’m still super proud of how it turned out. In this blog I’ll be going through my Speed 6 build. It has been a long time coming, but it is finally getting close to how I want it!
I got my MS6 back in January of 2018. It was a bone stock 2007 Sport with ~68k miles, but I got a decent deal due to some scratches/dings from the previous owner’s kids. I was familiar with the Speed6 because a high school buddy bought one shortly after we graduated, so I had been looking off and on since I started at CS. Since we didn’t have one in the fleet at CS then, and I wanted the AWD, it was an excellent fit for me. In typical speed fashion, I got a check engine light on the ~2-hour drive home from where I bought it! Clearing the CEL would require an EGR cleaning before I could register it, but I was still in love, despite the stock wheels & monster truck ride height.
Just before the 1-year of ownership, my stock K04 turbo began smoking as expected. Being the only Mazdaspeed 6 at CS meant my car was in the shop off and on for R&D, so I took advantage of one of the early exhaust manifold test fits to throw in a CST4 Mazdaspeed Turbo (still known as the “CS 18G turbo” back then), a 3.5” intake (with a custom & very early prototype of the Mazdaspeed 51R battery box), a few other supporting mods, and some special sauce from Erik @ Dramatuned. So just before my car’sbirthday, it was FBO minus manifolds. Somewhere in there, I was also the guinea pig for the CorkSport 330mm Big Brake Kit on the MS6 (still one of my favorite mods to date) and some wheel spacers to clear.
2019 was a bunch more R&D for the Mazdaspeed 6 platform. I spent a few months driving around without a front bumper during the MS6 Front Mount Intercooler development! Then came some even more fun stuff. I was able to snag some early production run intake manifold and exhaust manifold along with an EWG setup (Exhaust Manifold, Tial, and Dumptube). Finally, I was “full bolt-on” and completed tuning. While its v-dyno was a little overestimated, here’s an idea of power to expect for a similar setup on pump gas (red line) and on a couple of E mixes (the blue line was E30, green was E25). Ethanol is worth it!
After having gone through most of the CorkSport catalog for power mods, I began to do a few aesthetic mods, which is where the “SPDBOAT” plate came in, a simple play on Mazdaspeed and how heavy and “boaty” the cars can feel at times. It’s dumb, but I love it! Also came some miscellaneous mods. An upgraded rear sway bar, diff mount, as well as the transfer case, and rebuild with billet bearing caps all were added.
By birthday number two, a long-awaited wheel setup was introduced. Initially, I ordered a set of Gram Lights that would’ve fit without too much effort. However, after many issues and shipping delays, I canceled that order and went something much more aggressive. I settled on 18×9.5 Enkei GTC01RR wheels on a 255/40 tire. I was going for meaty with this setup, and it looks great. After a fender roll all around, camber, and spacers in the front to clear brakes, final offsets are +35 front, +42 rear with ~2.5 degrees of negative camber. There’s only so much wheel and tire you can fit without more intense modifications, but the handling boost was amazing!
I ran the car on this setup for another year. This configuration was a great “all-rounder,” and I loved it. Not perfect at any specific thing, but a great daily that’s fun in the corners, decent enough to go to a show, and with enough power to do well on the occasional trip to “Mexico.” But then, it started consuming oil. Just after my third year with the car (early 2021 for those keeping track), I found cylinder four down about 40psi of compression and cylinder 1 with about 20% leak down. Still working fine, but eating about of quart of oil every ~600 miles meant it was time for a rebuild.
While I hate to leave on a cliffhanger, that’s the end of part 1. Stay tuned for part 2, where things get spicy, including a built motor, a bigger turbo, and a broken bone…?
I hope you enjoyed my tale, and please let me know if you have any questions. By now, I know more than I need to about the MazdaSpeed 6!