The Top Five Things YOU NEED to Know Before You Buy a Mazdaspeed

The Mazdaspeed 3 and Mazdaspeed 6 are some of the most unique, exhilarating, and frustrating sport-compacts out on the market today. If you’re reading this, then it’s because you are in the market for a Mazdaspeed or you have one already and are looking for a good laugh. For you are newbies to the Mazdaspeed game…listen up; we’ve got some words of advice and things to check as you are shopping around.  

First, let’s start with the top two must do inspections when shopping around.  

One: Has the car been modified?  If so then what parts are on the car and has it been properly tuned for the parts.  This also means the car should have some type of tuning tool such as the Cobb Accessport or Versatune Tuning Solution.  

Two: You MUST check the engine compression!  This is the easiest way to get the overall health of the engine and know if you are getting a solid Mazdaspeed to start your journey with or a Speed on it’s last leg.  Most auto parts stores can loan an engine compression tool for a small deposit then only basic hand tools are need to do the test.

Now let’s get the top five things you should know before buying a Mazdaspeed.  

Maintenance is KEY, but that’s really not special to just the Mazdaspeed, all performance engines/vehicles, especially turbocharged and direct injected ones, will require a higher level of care and cost when it comes to routine maintenance.  This means better quality oils, oil filters, premium grade fuel, and an acute awareness of the vehicle itself; if you’re ready for that than let’s move on.

Next up are the three “not if it happens, but when it happens” about the Mazdaspeed engine.  

The variable valve timing (aka VVT) system is prone to failure from the factory so this should be on your radar for an upcoming replacement.  You may get lucky and find a car that has had the VVT system replaced, but I wouldn’t plan out. It’s a medium difficulty project that can be done over a weekend and cost around $400 in parts. If you are not mechanically inclined, it is going to be expensive to have a shop perform the work.

The poor little OEM K04 turbocharger just never had a chance on the 2.3L DISI MZR engine!  Sadly, the OEM turbocharger is an honest to gosh ticking time bomb. The OE turbo will fail at some point and need to be replaced.  Fortunately there are a lot of exciting options on the market to take you and your Speed to the next level. For example check out the CorkSport Drop-In Turbocharger.  It bolt’s in like OE, but packs a punch in the performance department, supporting up to 450 horsepower. Note: Updating your turbo requires tuning.

Lastly for the Mazdaspeed quirks; the high pressure fuel pump internals (HPFP).  Like the name states, these parts provide an upgrade for the camshaft driven high pressure fuel pump so your engine does not experience fuel starvation during wide open throttle (WOT). These are absolutely required if you plan to make in modifications to the engine that would increase power and for any performance tuning.  Honestly, we recommend the HPFP internals for 100% stock Mazdaspeed as well because the drop in fuel pressure is even an issue for stock cars.

So you read all that and you’re probably thinking “damn I’m not buying a Speed, sounds like a total PITA”.  Well hold on, I didn’t mean to shine a poor light on the Mazdaspeed platform, but it does have its quirks to overcome.  However, after those few concerns are taken care of the platform is A LOT of fun and probably one of the best bang-for-the-buck sport compacts available.  Just a few thousand dollars can net you a Mazdaspeed around 350whp and more smiles than you’ll know what to do with.

The last thing you need to know before you buy a Mazdaspeed…jump straight in and don’t look back because you won’t regret it.  From the late nights in the garage installing the latest performance parts, to the early mornings at the car show, and then the midnight highway pulls making V8s owners second guess their purchase. The community, the journey of building YOUR car, and of course the car itself is so awesome.  

-Barett

Oil Filter Changes Made easy for your 2007-2009 Mazdaspeed 3 and 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed 6

The GEN2 Mazdaspeed 3 has a lot in common with the Mazdaspeed 6 and the GEN1 Mazdaspeed 3 when referencing the engine and transmission.  However, there were a few things that Mazda did change and improve when they gave the Mazdaspeed 3 a facelift in 2010.

Some of these changes include the valve cover, the gear ratios in the transmission, the power steering system, and the oil filter assembly.  This last one is the one I want to talk about today.

Perhaps you just ran across this blog while googling how to change the oil in your Mazdaspeed for the first time or maybe you’ve already done a handful of oil changes.  Either way, you can benefit from this info, unless you already have a 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3 you lucky bas****. All you Mazdaspeed6 and GEN1 Mazdaspeed3 owners listen up.

This is what you’ll find on your pre-2010 Mazdaspeed 3 and all Mazdaspeed 6; it sucks.  This design uses an internal filter element only which is fine, but the OE housing cap is a real PITA to remove from the car which makes a simple oil change a much more frustrating process than it should be.  

Along with the difficult disassembly, there is a limited number of filter options compared to the modern canister design.   Luckily, the oil filter housing found on the 2010-2013 MS3 utilizes a modern canister oil filter and is a simple bolt-on affair.  

Mazda part # L311-14-311A is the part you’re looking for and can be found online or at your local Mazda dealership.  It’s also wise to get a new gasket for the installation; nobody wants to do a job twice. This is Mazda part # LF02-14-342.

Once you get your parts and all your oil and new modern oil filter, you’re ready for the big install.  It’s actually really simple, only adding about 30 minutes to your oil filter change. Remove the fluid-to-fluid heat exchanger (the black thing on top with the coolant ports), then pull the housing off the engine and swap over the sensor.  Back on the car with the new gasket and you’re good to go.

Another great benefit of the modern oil filter canister is the ability to use an oil filter plate to provide sensor ports for gauges such as oil pressure and oil temperature.

This sums up the oil filter housing swap; it’s really just that simple.  So if you have an oil change coming up and aren’t one of the lucky ones with the GEN2 Mazdaspeed 3, then consider this before you get started.  I promise you won’t regret it.

-Barett @ CorkSport

Performance Turbo Exhaust Manifolds – Tubular or Cast?

If you have been in the car scene for a while, you have probably seen or heard of performance exhaust manifolds.  Like any other component on the engine that affects flow, performance exhaust manifolds can have a significant improvement to the engine’s peak performance and power under the curve amongst other aspects that the exhaust manifold can affect.  

You have also probably asked the question. “What type of exhaust manifold do I need?” In this blog, we at CorkSport would like to help you better understand the differences between cast and tubular so you can make the best decision for your Mazdaspeed.  

There are two main styles on performance exhaust manifolds; tubular and cast. Both have their pros and cons to consider as an end user (that’s you the enthusiast) and as the designer/manufacturer (that’s us at CorkSport).   

First, let’s look at tubular as it’s the most common in the performance industry.  Tubular is the most popular option because of it manufacturing flexibility.  Unlike casting, tubular does not require expensive molds to develop even a single prototype. Not needing expensive molds allow great flexibility in design and manufacturing, which lends the tubular manifold as an exceptional option for one-off builds.  

To fabricate a tubular exhaust manifold you need just the raw components: flanges, tubular sections, collector and fabrication supplies, and of course the expertise to fabricate the manifold.  Let me emphasize the necessity of fabrication skills here. To produce a reliable and performance proven tubular exhaust manifold takes the correct skills, tools, and patience…it’s honestly a work of art.  

With this work of art does come some compromises.  To create the necessary runner routing, many tubular sections will need to be welded together.  This increases the chance for weld impurities and slag which can later result in cracking and poor performance.  Any reputable fabricator should be able to avoid this, but it does come at a premium due to the many man hours that must go into each and every manifold.  

Next up is cast.  Manufacturing via casting provides a different set of opportunities and difficulties to overcome.  The process of casting alone has restrictions that must be considered; such as mold design and molten flow in the casting.  Assuming these issues are overcome casting can provide unique opportunities for the design to improve reliability, performance, and packaging.  

A well-designed cast exhaust manifold can have great reliability due to its one-piece design.  There are no welded joints that can crack or fail and casting typically has a higher threshold to heat before issues arise.  The wall thickness of the casting can also be defined for the application which can improve strength if the exhaust manifold is the only part supporting the weight of the turbocharger.  

Overall performance can also be affected due to the casting design flexibility with each runner.  Unlike tubular, a cast is not restricted to standard tubular elbows and straits. The runners can bend and change profile as desired to aid in performance and packaging.  

Speaking of packaging, casting can really change the game here.  Since each runner does not have to be accessible for welding, the entire design and each runner can be tightly packaged together to reduce the overall size of the exhaust manifold and better retain heat which aids with turbocharger response.  

Lastly, comes the cost to you the enthusiast.  Although the upfront cost of a cast manifold can be high, typically the unit cost and necessary man-hours are low which helps keep cost down for you.  

As a designer and manufacturer of performance parts for you Mazdaspeed, these are all things we have to consider providing you with the best parts possible.  We’ve explored both and are happy to stick with casting as we feel it provides the best balance reliability, cost, and performance. Keep a look out for future projects and updates!

Thanks for tuning in with CorkSport.

-Barett @ CS

Alcantara for Your Mazda

Yes, I said the “A” word, but before we dig into the detail let’s talk steering wheels in general.  

The steering wheel in your Mazda (and most all other cars) is probably one of the most used yet disregarded parts of the vehicle.  Its round, it has buttons for controls and the horn, and in modern cars and airbag which could save your life one day. More or less we don’t notice because it just works, but what if we could make that a much more exciting part of your Mazda?  

There are few, if not any, other components that you interface with more than the steering wheel so why not give it the attention it needs without sacrifice?  At CorkSport we did just that.

Every CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel is designed with you, The Driver, in mind.  We want you to be connected to your car and the experience it can provide you every single day.  The performance design is inspired by race only steering wheels without the sacrifice. Thick grips with countered thumb grooves provide a secure and comfortable control surface.  High quality smooth and perforated leather is used for durability and breathability in tense driving situations. These all come together without compromise, retaining your OEM controls, horn, and most importantly the airbag.  

Now back to that “A” word…

A few years ago we introduced the CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel for the 2nd Generation Mazdaspeed 3.  We were super excited to bring such an awesome performance part to the community and even more stoked by how much love that steering wheel has received over the years.  Today we are happy to announce that a select few of the CorkSport Performance Steering Wheels are getting some extra awesomeness real soon.

Say it with me…Alcantara…

That’s right; we’ve heard you and we’re calling you out.  In a very short time, we will be launching the Alcantara Leather option for the 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3, 2016+ MX-5, and 2014-2016 Mazda 3.  

If you’ve been on the edge about a CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel; well the wait is over.  I can’t say enough what a change a steering wheel makes to the driving experience. It really is like getting a whole new car and now it can be even better with Alcantara.  

Don’t wait or it might be too late!

 

The Slippery Slope of Modding

The Slippery Slope of Modding…

If the title doesn’t tell the story then you must still be at the top of the hill; good luck with that as it won’t last long.  Now let me tell you my story.

Even before I got my Mazdaspeed3 I was a tinkerer; I wouldn’t call it modding because there were no off-the-shelf parts for my vehicle at the time.  I was 16 years old with my first truck; I quickly made it loud and obnoxious among many other things.

Flash forward to my later years, and you’ll find that I haven’t changed; things have just gotten more expensive… ya, you know what I’m talking about.  We don’t grow up; our toys just get more expensive.

So I got my 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 in 2014 with a fresh Mazda Motorsports short block, a CorkSport SRI, and Race Pipe.  Oh, don’t let me forget the CS Fuel Pump Internals and Cobb AP… I don’t want to get roasted on my blog. Anyway, that setup was short lived.  

Within two weeks’ time, just long enough to break-in the engine, there was a prototype CorkSport Mazdaspeed turbo on my car along with an assortment of other goodies such as a Downpipe, Cat-Back Exhaust, and a few suspension goodies.  Two weeks! That’s all it took!

 

Over the next year, the car had new parts on it every month…perks of the job you could say.  I tried the Mazdaspeed3 TMIC setup, and then like everyone else moved to an FMIC setup, new CS Struts and Springs got set up, went to a 3.5” intake, got the engine all mounted up and then various other engine power products like the CorkSport Intake Manifold and Camshafts.  Oh! I almost forgot the MS3 Big Brake Kit up front! Damn I have to say going fast is fun, but “throwing out the parachute” as you dive into a corner is just as exhilarating.

Like any seasoned Mazdaspeed owner knows, the OE short block was not long for the world.  18K miles later the infamous friction washers got me with a silent death. All… yes, I mean ALL…of the valves were bent, and the head was looking a bit rough, but luckily I didn’t vent the block.  

At that point, my beloved Mazdaspeed and I were not seeing eye-to-eye (I think we have all had this feeling with our project cars right?  You debate pushing it off a cliff?) so she sat for a good nine months before I decided I was ready to build the engine.

Wait. What? Remember that slippery slope I told you about? Well, when you are already this deep into the car the slope is covered in gear oil and damn near vertical…so I went deeper into the darkness known as project cars.  

A month later I had a built engine (and significantly less money) that was ready to take on 600+ HP and more than eager to continue eating away at my bank account.  A built engine wasn’t enough though. I cut up the front of the car for the custom CS Crashbar with/Big Core Intercooler so I could support my new power goal of 500wHP.  I have the engine, so I might as well use it, right? (Note: This is the kind of logic that continues to cost you lots of money) To do this, I go the car setup with a larger turbocharger and an AEM Methanol Injection System.  

The single 16 GPH nozzle was quickly at its power capacity so without even considering the cost I moved to a port meth injection system that is getting set up as I write this.  

Anyways…why does my story matter to you? Well because it’s not just my story, it’s the story of damn near every guy and gal that gets into modding their Mazda.  Maybe power isn’t your goal like mine is, but if you’re a motoring enthusiast, then it doesn’t matter. There are so many awesome ways to slide down the proverbial hill.  

For all of you at the top still… this is your warning.  Enjoy the ride with its bumps and bruises, but most importantly appreciate the experiences and friends you gain along the way.

-Barett