Oil Catch Can Kit for 2016+ SkyActiv Turbo 2.5L

Skyactiv Turbo OCC Kit

When you think of a performance aftermarket component you typically think of a part that increases the vehicle’s power, but some performance parts don’t. Instead they have a more critical purpose, increasing the reliability of your performance engine and components.  The CorkSport Oil Catch Can Kit (OCC Kit) is just that type of component(s). 

CNC machined Mazda Oil Catch Can

Why is an Oil Catch Can Kit critical for your Mazda?  Despite the huge advancement Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) technology there are still some downfalls.  Compared to the more conventional port injection fuel systems, GDI is much more prone to engine oil fuel dilution.  This is primarily due GDI injecting directly into the cylinder; in low speed operation and cold starts the fuel simply does not have enough time to fully atomize into a gas before ignition.  This results in some excess fuel seeping past the piston rings into the oil along with any combustion chamber blow by the pistons.  This is fuel dilution. 

OCC catch all the nasty build up from entering your Mazda Skyactiv engine

Here you can see the results of a CorkSport OCC installed for ~3000 miles on a 2018 Mazda 6 2.5T.  This engine only has 500 miles and has an average commute of 15 miles & 20 minutes of mixed traffic and speeds. 

Mazda’s OE design attempts to resolve some of this with a valve cover breather that vents directly into the turbocharger compressor inlet and a PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve in the engine block that vents to the intake manifold. 

How the Mazda OCC works

Mazda’s setup depends on the fuel and water vapor inside the crankcase being drawn into the intake manifold and intake system to then be re-ingested by the engine.  This has two major flaws:

  1. The direct crankcase ventilation via the PCV valve only works while cruising (no boost).  Combustion gas blow by will occur most often while in boost under high throttle application when the PCV valve is closed.
  2. This forces the engine to re-ingest dirty air that carries contaminants in the form of fuel and water vapor along with carbon debris.  These containments then build up on the inside of the intake manifold, cylinder head runners, and the intake valves slowly degrading performance over time. 
Carbon build up on a Mazda engine without the catch can

The CorkSport OCC Kit provides you with two major features:

  1. Both the valve cover vent and the PCV valve are drawn from the turbo inlet directly ahead of the turbocharger compressor. Thus both the valve cover and PCV valve have constant vacuum in all driving conditions, both cruising and high throttle application.
  2. The oil catch can itself acts as a “filter” for the vapor and debris that would normally be directly ingested by the engine. The drawn crankcase vapor and debris is separates and collects in the catch can for easy removal during normal oil changes. 

As you saw above, there is a significant amount of vapor and fine debris that is being filtered out of the crankcase air that would have normally been ingested.  As you continue down the path of modifying and demanding more form your Mazda, the need for a OCC System only becomes more and more critical. 

Bolt on Mazda Cx5, Cx9, and Mazda 6 turbo

Mazdaspeed EWGs Made Easy!

We’ve talked a lot about external wastegates with our recent CST6 development but today we are happy to announce the standalone CorkSport External Wastegate Housings for the CST4 and CST5. Available right now as an update for your existing IWG CST4 or CST5, the CS EWG housings make it easy to get the best in boost control for your Mazdaspeed 3, Mazdaspeed 6, or Mazda CX-7 Turbo.

Bolton upgrade to go external wastegate with your Mazdaspeed

While the CST6 will only come with an EWG housing, the external wastegate (EWG for short) is a new concept for the CST4 and CST5. Both of these turbos originally hit the market with an internal wastegate (IWG) only option that has a small flapper valve on the inside of the turbine housing to let off excess exhaust gases. Instead, the CorkSport EWG housings use an offshoot from the turbine scroll that has a v-band flange on the end. This flange allows for the fitment of an external wastegate for improved boost control. To run an EWG on an original CST4 or CST5 previously, you needed an EWG capable exhaust manifold and some sort of block off for the IWG port.


Mazdaspeed 3 turbo internal and external wastegate housings

The new CS EWG housings make running an EWG on your Mazdaspeed3 easier than ever. Each housing comes with the elbow and clamp needed for great fitment. We even offer a dump tube/screamer pipe that works for both MS3 and MS6 as an add-on option. If you pick up the screamer pipe to go with your housing, all you need to supply is the EWG itself. 

Mazdaspeed external wastegate installation kit includes everything but the Tial wastegate

We strongly recommend a Tial MV-R 44mm wastegate as all design work and testing used this specific wastegate. Other wastegates may require modification for use. The 44mm size is a great fit for the Mazdaspeed engines, whether you are running an upgraded turbo on the stock block or fully built one that you intend to push to the limits.


Tial wastegates are a proven turbo commodity for the Mazdaspeed 3

So why would you want an EWG? For starters, EWGs truly offer the best boost control setup for any turbocharged car. Because the wastegate is separate from the turbocharger itself, it is easier to place for optimum boost control, plus, the design of the actuator itself can be optimized. As a result you get a wastegate that hits boost targets more accurately and responds quicker to changes in boost. This means no more boost spikes right when the boost hits (a common problem with poor quality IWG setups), and a near-flat boost curve. The isolated actuator also makes for faster and easier spring changes should you need to service or change your wastegate preload. For more info on the design behind the CS EWG housing, check out the full blog HERE.

A direct flow path for the exhaust gas on the Mazdaspeed 3

One of the best parts of EWG over IWG is the sounds that come with a screamer pipe! While only intended for off-road use, a screamer pipe dumps the exhaust from the EWG directly to the air. This allows for a fantastic noise during a WOT pull, that sounds truly unique. It’s not all just noise though, by venting the EWG to the atmosphere instead of venting the IWG in your downpipe, you are decreasing exhaust turbulence right after the turbine wheel, reducing backpressure. On very high horsepower setups, this often generates some extra power as the turbine housing can be used more efficiently. Check out the product video below for some great EWG sounds from Barett’s MS3.

There’s one final benefit of the CS EWG housings: housing design itself. Without having the IWG in the way to worry about, we were able to do some optimizing on the scroll and A/R. For CST4 owners, this means an increase in A/R from 0.66 to 0.82. Typically an A/R change like this will cause a slight decrease in spool time but an increase in max power potential. CST5 owners have this 0.82 A/R even with the IWG setup but there’s another benefit: greater swallowing capacity. This refers to the amount of volume in the turbine scroll. By increasing the swallowing capacity the turbine can ingest air more efficiently at the peak, which is especially important if you have an upgraded exhaust manifold or high flowing head. After all, an engine is an air pump – what good is shoving more air in if you can’t get it out?

Easy bolt up external wastegate upgrade for your Mazdaspeed 3

If you’re in the market for a change on your Mazdaspeed, check out the CorkSport EWG housings for the CST4 and CST5 turbochargers. Better boost control, a more efficient housing, and best of all, a great new sound. Be sure to check out the listing for even more images and don’t be shy to ask questions we’ll be happy to help!

Testing & Validation: CorkSport 2.5L SkyActiv Race Header

mazda 6 exhaust header

Over the past few months, we’ve been teasing you with tidbits of info on the CorkSport Race Header for the Mazda 3 2.5L SkyActiv-G in the GEN3’s. Today’s blog is a big one as we go through the testing we performed on the header and share some results, including power! Before we get too deep though, be sure to get up to speed with a breakdown of the OEM header and our design goals for the CS header.

mazda 3 skyactiv header
2014+ Mazda 3 Header Installed

Addressing Underhood Heat

In our previous blog, some of you keen-eyed individuals were asking about underhood temperatures with the ram-horn style CorkSport header. Well, we went through testing to ensure everything will function as before when the new header is added. We’re happy to let you know that we saw very similar under the hood temperatures as the OEM header. As a double check, we applied some temperature sensitive stickers to some areas near to the CS header, as shown below. These stickers will fill in with color if a temperature listed is reached. While these ended up reaching higher temps than with the OEM header, no areas are at risk of damage or malfunction. Furthermore, both the CorkSport racecar and our beta tester have run the 2014+ Mazda 3 race header at the track with no issues with overheating, power losses, or engine bay damage!

2.5l SkyActive Race Header testing
2.5l SkyActive Race Header testing with temperature sensitive stickers

How Does The Header Sound?

Before we get into the really good stuff, let’s go through a side effect of freeing up the headers on any engine: volume. We tested the Mazda 3 SkyActiv race header with multiple different setups: OEM cat back, CS 60mm cat back, CS 80mm cat back, and straight pipe. The race header on an OEM cat back is something that will not likely be used often (who runs a racecar with a stock exhaust?) but offers some nice growl and extra volume over the OEM exhaust. Both the CS 60mm and 80mm exhausts sound fantastic, with the 80mm being louder and having higher power potential than the 60mm. Even so, the 80mm is not uncomfortably loud and could be daily driven if full catalytic converter deletes are street legal in your area. We cannot recommend the straight pipe though. It is extremely loud and very uncomfortable. If you want a tease of sound with the 80mm cat back, check out our feature on our beta tester’s car in the video below.

80mm Cat Back with the 2014+ Mazda 3 Header!

The SkyActiv-G Race Header Adds Power

Full Race Header for the Mazda 2.5l SkyActiv Engine
Full Race Header for the 2.5l SkyActiv Engine

Alright, I’ve kept you waiting long enough, let’s talk power. The 4-2-1 design is very evident in our tests, as we did not see huge gains at peak WHP/WTQ. We did see very good gains throughout the midrange. From 2000RPM or lower all the way up to about 5300RPM we made 4-8WHP and 5-15WTQ. On our beta tester’s car with a good tune and supporting mods, this meant 194WHP and 226WTQ on 91 octane pump gas. The graph below shows a direct comparison of a 2016 Mazda 6 with a CS short ram intake, CS 60mm exhaust, and the same tune with and without the race header. Keep in mind, there is more optimization to be had with tuning with the header installed, and greater gains with an 80mm exhaust. The midrange gain may not seem like much but is extremely noticeable when driving the car.

Mazda 6 Race Header Dynograph
Comparison of a 2016 Mazda 6 with a CS short ram intake, CS 60mm exhaust, and the same tune with and without the race header.

That’s about it for our testing and validation blog. Next time you’ll hear about the CorkSport Race Header for the 2014+ Mazda 3, it will be released! Be sure to stay tuned to all the CS channels if you’re interested in being one of the first to pick one up.

-Barett @ CorkSport

P.S. We noticed a lot of you asking if this header will fit the auto transmission or 2.0L. The automatic transmission is 2-3” larger right where the lower section of the header sits, so for optimum pipe routing, we had to do away with automatic fitment. The 2.0L has a different bolt pattern and exhaust port spacing on the engine, so the 2.0L will not work with the CS race header either.

Please
submit a product idea here if you would like to see automatic fitment, 2.0L fitment, or any other product for your car. The more submissions, the more likely we are to produce one so tell your car buddies!

CorkSport CST4 vs. OEM K04

For the last four years, we’ve been asked countless times if the CST4 is a direct replacement for the OEM K04. With the number of cars experiencing their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th owner, this question is being asked more frequently.  While CorkSport’s intent is to freely share information across the Mazda community, we cannot be everywhere all at once, and we will most likely miss the exact moment the debate explodes on your favorite Facebook page. For that reason…

Today, we’re setting the record straight: The CST4 is a drop-in UPGRADE from the ground up, and by no means is it an apples to apples comparison with the asthmatic K04.

How Does It Work?

Before we dive into the dirty details, you might be craving more details on how a turbo works? You are in luck! Check out our white paper on the CST4 and what makes up the anatomy of a turbocharger, bone up on the importance of a “bolt-on” vs a “drop-in” turbocharger, learn the difference between an internal vs external wastegate and finally why the turbine wheel design/materials make a difference. Now let’s get back to what this means for the CST4 and K04.

CST4

Is The CST4 Reliable?

The CST4 continues to prove itself as one of the best bolt-on options coupled with the needed reliability to withstand the additional demands of chasing 400 WHP  – something the KO4 cannot accomplish. This is due to an upgraded center housing rotating assembly (CHRA) which has a larger center shaft and larger bearings than the OEM turbo. The CorkSport turbo also sports a performance journal bearing with a full 360° thrust collar, which is what allows the turbine shaft and compressor to spin freely. The OEM K04 turbo comes standard with a limited 270° thrust collar.

Does The CST4 Have Increased Airflow Over The K04?

CST4 specs vs. k04 specs

Next comes wheels, which is where the CST4 really shines. Shown in the image above, we have the CST4 on the left and the OEM K04 on the right. The CST4 is 12% larger on the compressor inducer, and 21% larger on the exducer than the OEM K04. Combined with the use of a taller wheel (green line), every revolution of the CST4 not only brings in a greater quantity of air into the compressor, but has a higher airflow capacity, thus moving a greater volume of air. For those of you that need a few more key specific numbers; The OEM K04 uses a 45mm inducer; 56.25mm exducer cast compressor wheel, while the CST4 uses a 50.5mm inducer and 68.1mm exducer forged billet compressor wheel.

On the turbine side, the OEM K04 uses a 50.1mm inducer and a 44.5mm exducer 12-blade cast wheel. The CST4 uses a 56.2mm inducer and 49mm exducer high-flow 9-blade design. Again, the CST4 outshines the K04 with the turbine inducer being 12% larger and the exducer 10% larger. The 9-blade design has two key benefits: more peak exhaust flow as there is less material in the way of flow, and 21% lighter for a faster spool time.

CST4 Side View

The final component is the compressor and turbine housings. The K04 uses restrictive housings that cannot keep up at higher RPMs, and especially at higher boost levels. You can feel this as your stock turbo “runs out of steam” up above ~5200RPM. The CST4 housings may fit exactly in the OEM locations and use the OEM hook up points but that is where the similarities end.

Both the compressor and turbine housings were increased in size, increased in A/R, and optimized for the stock inlet and outlet sizes to provide better top end capabilities. The compressor ended up at a 0.53 A/R while the turbine ended up at a 0.66 A/R. This combo of housing and wheels keeps power all the way to redline, and in initial testing showed a 50WHP gain at the same boost pressure.

How Much Power Does The CST4 Make?

So what does all of this mean in terms of power? We’ve seen the OEM K04 pushed way out of its comfort zone and make in the 350-360WHP range with the right supporting mods. This is far out of the efficiency range of the little K04, and it’s a ticking time bomb when running at this power level. The CST4, on the other hand, is perfectly happy running in the 400WHP range all day, again, with the right supporting mods. We’ve even seen it pushed to its limit in the 450-460 range.

For those of you more interested in boost pressures, the K04 can hit a max of ~24-25psi in the midrange before it’s out of its efficiency range and starts producing just heat.  At redline, the K04 is typically at a max of about 17-18psi. What you feel as your car seems to stop accelerating after ~5200RPM on the stock turbo. The CST4 does a lot better, hitting a max of ~29-30psi in the midrange but carries the high pressure into higher RPMs, with peak boost pressure at redline of ~26-27psi. This keeps you pushed into your seat with a smile on your face!

CST4 Mounting Point

How Quickly Does The CST4 Spool?

We get a lot of questions on how fast this turbo spools, so let’s take a moment to discuss both. The OEM K04 spools very quickly since its housings and wheels are so small. If tuned incorrectly it can spool almost instantly and kill blocks with an extremely low-RPM torque spike. The CST4 also spools quick, making full boost by approximately 3300RPM on most cars. The big difference is that the CST4 carries power out to redline instead of falling off as the K04 does. To be clear, you still have to be careful with the CST4 as it too can kill a stock block with too aggressive of a tune.

Is The CST4 A Drop-In?

So bringing things full circle, the “drop-in” aspect of the CST4 means you can run it with almost no other supporting parts, only a HPFP upgrade, access port, and a tune are required. It also means that it hooks up directly to the OEM inlet and outlet flanges so that there is no excessive modification required to make the turbo fit. We even include new studs, lock nuts, gaskets, a custom upper coolant line, new coolant and oil crush washers, and the correct oil feed banjo bolt so there is no hassle of finding replacement hardware, gaskets, or lines to make your turbo function. We do strongly recommend picking up a CorkSport EBCS to best control boost on your CST4. We have also found that the stock intake size will be maxed out at around 18-19psi on the CST4. To get more power from there, a 3 inch or 3.5-inch intake will be needed.

By no means is the CST4 a K04 though as it’s larger and has much higher horsepower capabilities. For those of you more familiar with Garett turbos, the CST4 is just a smidge bigger than a GTX2867.

If you want even more info on what makes the CST4 tick be sure to check out the white paper on the subject HERE. As a final afterthought, remember that the CST4 is getting an EWG housing option in the coming months, for added features (and noise!) that just don’t come with the K04. Stay tuned for that, and be sure to ask any questions you may have.

The Design – 2.5L SkyActiv-G Exhaust Header

CorkSport 2.5L SkyActiv Header

A few months ago we broke down the complicated design of the exhaust manifold found on the 2014-2018 Mazda 3 & 6 2.5L SkyActiv.  Mazda put extensive R&D into the design and packaging of the OEM header to optimize the exhaust gas pulses and overlap.  

In this blog we are going to explain some of the design features in the CorkSport 4-2-1 header and why those features are important.  

Below is a diagram showing the primary, secondary and collector routing of the OE header.  

Mazda 2.5L SkyActive Header
The OEM header for the 2.5L SkyActiv engine has a 4-2-1 design.

When designing a performance header we have to ask ourselves, “what is the goal with this performance part?” and then fulfill that goal.  With the performance header for the 2.5L SkyActiv our goal was to increase mid-range torque, retain good fitment and user installation, and improve the sound output of the exhaust system.  

CorkSport Aftermarket Exhaust Header
CorkSport 2.5L SkyActiv header design.

Immediately you’ll notice a significant difference in the design of the OEM header and the CorkSport Header.  There are three major differences:

  1. Primary, secondary, and collector diameters have been increased to promote better exhaust gas flow.
  2. Primary and secondary runner lengths have been increased to optimize power/torque lower in the RPM range.
  3. The design is two-piece to drastically improve the installation process.  

The primary runners (these are the runners that mate directly to the engine) have been increased in diameter from 1.55” to 1.75” and the secondary runners (these are the runners that combine only two cylinders before the collector) have been increased in diameter from 1.87” to 2.00”.  Both of these changes improve peak flow per cylinder throughout the RPM range. Lastly, the collector has been increased from 2.00” to 3.00” to be paired with the CorkSport 60.5mm or 80mm Cat-Back Exhaust Systems.

CorkSport Exhaust Header Installed
CorkSport Header Installed.

Here’s where things got a bit tricky.  Increasing the length of the primary and secondary runners forced us to be a bit creative in routing all the piping.  In order to achieve the primary runner length we wanted, we had to route the piping upward first (as you can see below) then back down between the engine and firewall.  The results were better than we expected with a “Medusa” style header peeking out of the engine bay and the lengths we wanted.

It makes us grin every time we pop the hood open, we hope you love it as much as we do.  

CorkSport 2.5L Exhaust Header broken down for install.
The final design of the CorkSport 2.5L header is installed in two pieces.

However, the complicated CorkSport design did create a new problem.  Installation! We always try to create a performance part that can be installed by the average enthusiast in their garage and this was no exception.  In a one-piece design, the header was nearly impossible to install. We went to the drawing board and realized that separating the upper and lower halves of the header was the best option.

We considered a conventional flange, gasket and hardware setup, but realized it to was far too complex in the close quarters behind the engine.  We then moved to a v-band connection that proved to be the best setup for installation, weight, and sealing ability.

That wraps up the design, next we’ll breakdown the testing and results! Let us know if you have any questions or thoughts down below.

-Barett @ CorkSport