Performance Parts for the SkyActiv-G Turbo 2.5L

About a year and a half ago we launched our first performance part for the highly anticipated turbocharger 2.5L SkyActiv-G; the Short Ram Intake. This being the first factory turbocharged engine in a Mazda since the long-missed Mazdaspeed 3 in 2013. We were eager to start developing new and exciting products for the Turbo SkyActiv…and trust me that passion has not slowed down.

Today we are going to give you a sneak peek of what’s to come for the Sky Turbo 2.5L through 2020.

2018+ Mazda 6 Turbo 2.5L – Sport Lowering Springs

First up is not necessarily a new product for your Mazda 6, but is an iteration in response to the feedback we’ve received. The current CorkSport Sport Lowering Springs for the 2018+ Mazda 6 (shown above) are sporty, comfortable, and provide a balanced drop of 1.0” Front and 0.75” Rear. While many have praised the springs in their current iteration, some have asked for a more aggressive feel and stance.

We’ve heard you and we are taking action. We are currently developing more aggressive sport springs that will drop the ride height further and bump up the springs rates a bit; we are calling these the “LowLow” springs. Since we are still in development we have not finalized the ride heights and springs rates, but we have a target drop of approximately 1.5” Front and 1.65” Rear.

2018+ Mazda 6 Turbo 2.5L Short Ram Intake

Next up is a new product and one that many of you are asking for. While the Short Ram Intake does increase performance and looks great riding solo in the engine bay, we’ve decided to develop a heat shield kit to further compliment the SRI. We are in the final testing and validation stages, seeing great results with cooler intake air temperatures.

We will be launching the heat shield kit as a solo option so you can upgrade your current SRI system and in a bundle deal if you are looking for a complete kit for your Turbocharged Mazda 6, CX-5 or CX-9.

CorkSport

Next up is a completely new option for the SkyActiv turbo platform…high-performance turbo inlet pipe. This is the first turbo inlet pipe option and is designed to install with the OEM battery, but why is this important or exciting? Just like the Short Ram Intake, improvements inflow in and out of the engine increase efficiency and thus overall power potential.

Turbo inlet pipes are a common upgrade for the Mazdaspeed platform as performance requirements increase. While most of those turbo inlet pipes are manufactured from aluminum pipe or silicone, the SkyActiv-G Turbo Inlet Pipe will be manufactured from cast aluminum. This allowed us to maximize space with a unique shape and still maintain OEM like fitment. Stay tuned for more info on this project.

Did you notice that there is a blue and red silicone coupler on the intake system? In the very near future, we will be providing silicone color options for the Short Ram Intake: Black, Red, Blue so you can choose a style that fits your car best.

CorkSport

Lastly is the other side of the engine. To complement the CorkSport 80mm Cat-Back Exhaust, we are developing a High-Performance Downpipe in two setups. Race Only Non-Catted and Street Catted setups.

A first for CorkSport, we are designing the downpipe in a “modular” design that will drastically reduce the difficulty in installation and improve durability. The upper section directly bolted to the turbocharger is a cast 304 stainless steel with included heat shield and the lower section is thick-walled 80mm stainless steel piping. They connect via a v-band clamp for a simple install process vs wrestling the entire downpipe into the car and onto the turbo.

Wow, that was a lot, and trust me there is more we are investigating, but we can’t let ALL the secrets out yet. We would love to know what products you would like CorkSport to develop for the 2018+ Mazda 6 SkyActiv Turbo platform, you can do so right here by Submitting a Product Idea.

Thanks for tuning in with CorkSport. We hope you are as excited about the 4th Gen SkyActiv Turbo platform as we are!

-Barett @ CS

2019 Mazda 3 – What’s new with the suspension?

With the introduction of the 4th generation Mazda 3 there are many questions around the new chassis, engine, interior, and many other components. Here we are going to start investigating the suspension as we move through the process of developing sport lowering springs for the 4th Gen Mazda 3.

View all Mazda 3 Parts

If you didn’t know already, we recently purchased a 2019 Mazda 3 Premium with the 6 manual transmission and Snowflake white paint. Right out of the box the 2019 has impressed us with its intuitive driver feedback through the steering wheel, pedals, and gear shifter. The interior is phenomenal and the exterior is…growing on us.

BUT enough of the chatter lets throw the car on the lift and take a look at the suspension.

CorkSport

At the front of the car, we have a pretty typical McPherson strut assembly with a lower control arm. This type of suspension is very common in modern passenger cars because it is simple, durable, and cost-effective. There are tons of aftermarket support for this type of suspension because it is so common, but from a purely performance standpoint, it does leave something to be desired.

Comparing the 2019 to our inhouse 2018 3rd Gen you can see one major difference. The connection from the steering knuckle to the strut body is now a simple clamp collar vs the two-bolt connection on the 3rd gens. We imagine this was purely a cost-cutting design change. For you, the result is just a slightly more difficult installation.

View all of our Lowering Springs

At the rear of the car, things are drastically different. Instead of the more standard multi-link trailing arm suspension, we have a torsion beam style suspension. Mazda says this was “to reduce unwanted movement in the suspension and increase driver comfort”, but sadly we believe this is straight-up cost cutting at the sacrifice of performance.

Check our 3rd Gen Suspension options

We could go into a bunch of nerdy details here, but in a nutshell, going from multi-link trailing arm to torsion beam takes away our ability to adjust and control camber, toe, and rear roll stiffness because all of these major suspension dynamics are integrated (or discarded) with the torsion beam design. Never fear, the Team at CorkSport Mazda Performance is working on solutions to this, but it will be a challenge.

Now specifically looking at the rear springs, you can see that the spring is very short. This caused some difficulty in design, but we have successfully overcome this hurdle.

View all of our current lowering springs

We’ve tested the OEM springs rates and WOW are they soft. We developed prototypes to validate our target springs rates and have been driving on those for about a few months now. Happily, from this testing, we’ve found that the OE struts/dampers damping rate is more than sufficient for proper sport lowering springs. With that complete, we’ve designed multiple sets of lowering springs with various ride height targets and our tested springs rates.

Lastly, we tested various final prototypes to get our final ride height just right. Ladies and Gentlemen, these will be LOW and will work with Sedan, Hatch, AWD, and FWD!

We are excited to release final production units to the public in #twoweeks. It is important to note, CorkSport 7th Gear Members will have an opportunity to purchase these springs a week before the general release and they will receive free shipping (in the lower 48 states), as part of their membership benefits!

If you have not seen what the future holds for your 4th Gen Mazda 3, see our product pipeline blog here. If you have ideas or feedback, please let us know. We are listening, we want to hear from you!

-Barett @ CS

2018+ Mazda6 Performance Exhaust for the 2018-up 2.5T

Mazda did a great job bringing a turbocharged engine back to the Mazda 6 (Mazda 3 next please?), but may have done too good of a job of keeping it quiet. Say hello to the CorkSport 80mm Cat Back Exhaust and Axle Back Exhaust for 2018+ Mazda6 equipped with the turbocharged 2.5L engine. If you’re interested in waking up your SkyActiv-T in both excitement and power, read on as we breakdown the newest CS exhaust.

As with all CorkSport exhausts, the goal of the MZ6 2.5T exhaust is to improve power and sound by improving the flow of the OEM exhaust. We started by increasing the size of the piping from 60mm to 80mm. That is an increase of over three-quarters of an inch to really help your turbocharger breathe better. In addition, the CS exhaust system eliminates the crushed areas present in the OEM exhaust and replaces the restrictive muffler sections with pass-through resonators. These resonators control volume and drone without affecting power output.

All that extra flow does mean a power increase. In our in-house dyno testing, we saw an increase in 5-6WHP just by bolting on the CorkSport  Cat Back Exhaust. Check out the dyno sheet down below to see. This increase came with no tuning changes, no check engine lights, and the only other mod being the CorkSport Short Ram Intake, which was installed for both tests. With the 80mm piping size, this exhaust is ready to support future modifications and would likely show more power gains with proper tuning.

The CorkSport MZ6T exhaust is more than just function. We went through multiple iterations and designs to ensure the best sounding exhaust for your 6. The finished product ups the volume without being annoying to daily drive yet still sounds great when in hard acceleration. We strongly recommend you watch the video below to hear what to expect from this exhaust.

If you feel the video below gives you too much volume for the daily, then check out the Axle Back Only Exhaust.  Recently added to the CorkSport line-up, the Axle Back alone adds a mellower, but still noticeable tone to the exhaust.  This is a great middle ground between the CorkSport Cat Back and the stock exhaust.

To give a great looking, long-lasting finish to each exhaust, they are manufactured from fully polished 304 stainless steel. To ensure a high quality fitment, all components are precision TIG welded together on jigs made from OEM exhaust components. Lastly as a finishing touch, we use 100mm dual wall exhaust tips. They fill out the bumper cutouts and are extended slightly to give a classy look and enhance the new Mazda 6’s styling.

The CS Mazda 6 Turbo Exhaust comes with all the hardware and gaskets you need for installation, high quality instructions, and CorkSport support for any questions you may have. Pick up a CorkSport MZ6 2.5T Exhaust today and liven up that daily commute.

Let’s Get Chilly: CorkSport Intercooler for SkyActiv 2.5T

It’s time to break down our design for the CorkSport Performance Intercooler Upgrade for the Mazda 6 2.5T. We have covered both the OEM intercooler and piping, and our design plan for the upcoming Sky-T intercooler piping upgrade in previous blogs, but today’s focus is the intercooler itself. Intercoolers are a delicate balancing act between size, cooling efficiency, and pressure drop so naturally things can get a little complicated. Buckle up and stay with us, and be sure to drop any questions you may have down below.

Taking a look at the stock intercooler mounted on the Mazda 6 (shown above) shows us quickly where our size constraints lie. With the large crash bar, we cannot go too much larger in height without trimming the crash bar, bumper, or both. However, there is a ton of room for added thickness and better end-tank design that can really help increase the width of the intercooler. The stock intercooler core is 24.5” wide, 5.5” tall, and 2.625” thick. Our plan is to fit a 27” wide, 6” tall, and 3.5” core without any trimming. This sizing combined with a low-pressure drop will be good for 400WHP with no issues! Because the Mazda 6 comes with just around 200WHP from the factory, this sized core provides plenty of room for upgrading down the road without causing excessive boost lag that can occur if an intercooler is simply too big. Check out a prototype CorkSport intercooler mounted on the car below.

Now that size is taken care of, let’s move on to cooling efficiency and pressure drop of the CorkSport intercooler for the SkyActiv 2.5T. These are tied closely together as getting extremely high cooling efficiency usually means high pressure drop and vice versa. Just so we’re on the same page, cooling efficiency is how well the intercooler cools off the pressurized air that passes through it. So a highly efficient intercooler will be able to bring the boost temperatures down similar to the ambient air temperature. Pressure drop is exactly what it sounds like, a loss in pressure from the inlet to the outlet of the intercooler which can be caused by a number of things: poor end-tank design, too many intercooler fins, or simply poor flow distribution in the intercooler. Too large of a pressure drop means lower boost pressures reaching your engine and/or your turbocharger working harder to achieve the same boost levels.

Pressure drop and cooling efficiency are influenced primarily by two things: fin density and end-tank design. Fin density is basically how many fins the boosted air must pass over when traversing the intercooler. More fins = better cooling efficiency, but also more pressure drop. To choose the best core for the SkyActiv 2.5T we plan to use multiple different fin densities and test each for power, cooling efficiency, and pressure drop. While we can get pretty close based on our work from the CS Mazdaspeed Intercoolers, it’s always best to test and identify the best one for each platform. With this extensive testing, we can reach our goal of improved cooling efficiency, lower pressure drop, more power, and no CELs.

End-tank design is critical as it determines how the air reaches the core of the intercooler. Sharp bends, poor air distribution, and small inlet/outlet size all adversely affect the performance of the intercooler. To fit the core size we want, we had to do away with the plastic inlet and outlet pipes of the stock intercooler. This was advantageous as it gave us more room to have a smooth flowing end-tank that distributes air well to all the runners and does away with the sharp corners present in the OEM end-tanks. In addition, we were able to increase the inlet and outlet size of the intercooler to 2.5”. This is a fairly standard size that has shown to work well for the Mazdaspeeds with stock power and without choking flow way up to Barett’s 600+ WHP.

Those of you with a keen eye have realized that the connection between the CorkSport front mount intercooler (FMIC) and the OEM Intercooler is not the same. As shown in the CAD rendering above, each intercooler kit will come with the silicone and custom adapters that are needed to work with the OEM piping. If you decide to upgrade to the CS intercooler piping kit, later on, the CorkSport Intercooler for SkyActiv 2.5T will not need to be removed, and you will only need to change some silicone parts.

We will have more info on this kit coming soon, with the next blog covering our testing of the different core designs using a few new toys from AEM Electronics. Be sure to check out the product listing for more info, and to be notified when the intercooler is available. Last but not least, CX-9 Turbo and CX-5 Turbo owners, we are 99% sure this kit will also work on your rides but we plan on validating fitment before release!

-Daniel @ CorkSport

Mazda 6 2.5T Stock Spring Evaluation

Today we’re taking another dive into OEM Mazda parts to better understand how they function. Specifically, OEM suspension springs, since there are CorkSport Lowering Springs coming soon for the 2018+ Mazda 6 2.5T. While a simple concept, springs are very important to the handling, appearance, and comfort of your vehicle.

The new Mazda6 Turbo uses a lot of the same components as the GEN3 Mazda3 and Mazda6, however the suspension has been optimized for the new “premium” feel and to deal with the extra weight that comes when adding a turbo. The SkyActiv chassis has largely remained the same though, with the same MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension shown below.

Now, onto the springs themselves; both the front and rear suspension of the Mazda 6 use standard compression springs. The springs job is to support the weight of the vehicle when at rest and adsorb impacts when hitting bumps or going quickly around a corner. That’s it. Seems simple enough right? Since the springs are the parts of the suspension that “suspends” the vehicle though, their characteristics and how they interact with the rest of the suspension system are critical.

There are two main characteristics that define a spring: rate and free length. Both are pretty easy to understand. Free length is simply the length of the spring with no weight or force acting on it. So set a spring by itself on a table, measure how tall it is, there’s your free length.

Spring rate is a little more complex, as it is the measure of how much weight it takes to compress a spring a given distance. So, if you have the same weight and put it on two different springs the one with the higher rate will compress less. The rate is usually measured in kg/mm (often shortened to K) or lbs/in.

For example, if you had a 2K spring and a 4K spring and applied 100kg to each, the 2K would compress 50mm and the 4K would only compress 25mm.

What do these measures mean for your car though? If we keep the rate the same but only change free length, the shorter the spring, the lower the car. For a given car, a spring can be too short, causing poor ride (sitting on the bump stops all the time), or the risk of a spring coming out of place, causing noises or at worst, the spring falling out of the vehicle.

If we change the spring rate and leave the free length the same, things are a little more complicated. The higher the rate, the stiffer the ride is, plus your ride height will increase. Since the weight of the car is not changing, the higher rate spring will now compress less when the car sits on it, meaning your car sits higher at rest. Too large of a rate and your OEM shocks cannot keep up causing a bouncy ride, and vice-versa if too soft you are hitting bump stops over the smallest bump. Obviously there is a balancing act to get the spring rate and free length correct for the application for the best in appearance, handling, and comfort.

Now that the basics are covered, let’s look specifically at the Mazda 6 2.5T. The OEM springs give a good ride as to be expected (likely very soft spring rates) as this can be a huge issue for potential customers if the car ride quality is harsh. Handling is decent overall but has a few quirks. When going around a corner quickly, the car rolls over onto the rear springs excessively before settling, and getting through the corner. When at the limit of traction, the car understeers severely, like most cars sold today.

Finally the ride height is pretty high, likely to prevent any issue with driveways saying hello to the new front fascia. Interestingly, the MZ6T sits a little higher in the rear; we think to ensure enough suspension travel in case there’s a full load of passengers and a full trunk.

For further analysis we also had the OEM springs tested for rate and ended up with the following: 3.05K front, 5.05K rear. While these numbers are fairly arbitrary right now, they are a necessary data point to have when designing lowering springs. These rates also contradict a very common misconception. Many people think that because there is less weight in the rear of a front wheel drive car, the spring rates must be softer in the rear for a good ride & handling. This is simply not true in most cases, after all why would Mazda do the opposite? Due to the design of the rear suspension, the spring is basically being pushed on by a lever. This means the spring needs to be stiffer in order to support the same amount of weight as if the lever wasn’t there.

So overall, the OEM springs are good, but have plenty of room for improvement. I just touched the surface of suspension design and as we go through more of this project we’ll get into dampers, natural frequency, and much more. Stay tuned for more info and if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

-Daniel @ CorkSport