Gen4 Mazda 3 Turbo Performance Lowering Springs

Putting a turbocharged engine in the GEN4 Mazda 3 was a step in the right direction for Mazda but it still misses the mark of a “hot hatch”. Well that’s where we come in! Introducing the CorkSport Lowering Springs for 2021+ Mazda 3 Turbo. We took what we learned from the naturally aspirated 3 and applied it to the slightly heftier turbo models. This resulted in a great new ride height and improved handling to push the GEN4 closer to a hot hatch, without ruining the daily driving comfort. Read on for full details and images of the great new look!

Let’s start off with what everyone wants to know: ride height! With only one driveline & transmission option, we could really dial in the ride height for both turbo hatchback and sedan models. The CS lowering springs for the turbo models offer a similar ride height drop to the N/A models. For the turbo hatchback, this means a ride height drop of approximately 1.5” in the front and 1.8” in the rear. For the slightly heavier turbo sedan, expect a drop of 1.5” in the front and 1.9” in the rear. While the sedan is a slightly larger drop in the rear than the hatchback, it still sits level and looks great!

This ride height is low enough to look great yet not too low to cause you issues on your daily commute. We found that this ride height can clear most driveways and speed bumps no problem. On really steep driveways, taking it slow and at an angle will help you keep your front bumper safe. We haven’t really found a driveway that was an issue though! One final note: we did test our regular, non-turbo Mazda 3 springs on a turbo car. While they fit, the extra weight from the turbo system had the car sitting way too low in the front & looking ugly. We would not recommend doing this!

Moving on to the next best benefit from lowering springs: handling! The CorkSport lowering springs offer some much needed sharpness to the MZ3-T. By lowering the ride height, you lower the center of gravity of the vehicle. Combining this with stiffer than OEM spring rates, body roll is reduced, which greatly helps driver confidence through the twisties. We carefully chose our upgraded spring rates to also help reduce understeer when at the limit of traction. By increasing the rear spring rate more than the front, your turbo 3 gets better turn in and more neutral handling.

The final spring rate numbers for the Mazda 3 2.5T lowering springs actually surprised us. We tested a few different spring rate combinations to find the best balance of ride and handling. Ultimately, the same spring rates as the naturally aspirated Mazda 3 won out (this was due to both cars using the same suspension design). A 3.4K front spring and a 5.9K rear spring offered a compliant ride for daily driving, yet great handling characteristics on a backroad. The OEM dampers on the turbo models are just a hair stiffer as well, so the increase in spring rate fits fantastic with no bouncy ride!

Each set of CorkSport lowering springs for Mazda 3 turbo are made specifically to fit directly in place of the OEM springs. The only small modification that is needed is to trim the bump stops to allow for correct suspension travel before the bump stop is contacted at the new lower ride height. The springs are all made from high tensile strength spring steel. This ensures a consistently performing spring that will stand the test of time and will not settle. We finish off each spring with a powdercoated red finish. We chose red instead of the typical CS blue to help the turbo models stand out and because red things are proven to go faster! We even include a spring silencer on the rear springs to prevent any noises.

That about wraps up the launch of the CorkSport Lowering Springs for Mazda 3 Turbo. Check out the product listing at the link below for more pictures. Be sure to give us a call with any questions you have, we’re happy to help!

P.S. The car in the above images is riding on Advan GT wheels in 19×8.5 +38 size, wrapped in Kumho 235/35 R19 summer tires.

Vinyl Wrap With a Split Personality

Stickers are worth 5hp right?…So it was only logical to wrap the whole car in a GIANT sticker!  Anyways, on a real note we knew that the @Halfmilespeed3 couldn’t just be fast, it had to look good and what Car Guy or Gal doesn’t want their car to look good?

We have a plan at CorkSport to wrap all of our R&D Shop Cars with an awesome blue that aligns with our “CorkSport Blue”, but we want each car to have a little unique character to it.  Thinking about the halfmilespeed3 build and goal we had the brilliant idea of a split wrap…seems fitting right? Half and Half…

So what did the car look like before the wrap?

2007-2009 Mazdaspeed 3
2007-2009 Mazdaspeed 3

Metro Grey Mica is the color name and its pretty bland in my opinion.   I added the white roof and hood accents along with white wheels to help brighten up the car, which it did, but it was time for change.  Oh yeah; white wheels and track spec brake pads don’t mix, just an FYI. 

So what is like to get your car wrapped?  What’s the process?  I can’t personally give you details as I did not do the wrap myself, but I was close to the action and watched it all come together.  Respect to those that take this on themselves and to the professionals out there.  It is a tedious process that requires attention to detail to get a great final result.  

Mazdaspeed Vinyl Wrap

A local friend is a professional and was open to doing the work in the CS shop since the Speed was not in a running and driving state at the time.  

Mazdaspeed Vinyl Wrap

Saul S. (@saulywood) did the work over a few weeks’ time in evenings and weekends.  He kicked a** on a project that turned out to be a bit more difficult than expected.  

Installing a wrap is a process of pulling, stretching, heating, cutting…lots of different skills and abilities to get the job done.  All this has to happen without damaging the vehicle you are wrapping.  It’s quite a feat.  

Mazdaspeed Vinyl Wrap

Going through the process the build kind of evolved if you will.  Luckily Saul was very open-minded to it and even a bit eager to try some new things. 

Probably my favorite aspect of the wrap is the unique and new wrap from 3M.  Called “Shadow Black” this wrap has a slight texture to it that depicts patterns sort of like camouflage.  

Mazdaspeed Vinyl Wrap

We used this on the roof and in a narrow strip over the seam between Satin Black and Blue Gloss; it really added a unique aspect to the look and style and brought the two colors together.  Pictures just do not give it justice nor can you feel the texture.  

Halfmilespeed3 build
Halfmilespeed3 build

So let’s wrap this up (see what I did there?) with some finished images.  

Halfmilespeed3 build
Halfmilespeed3 build
Halfmilespeed3 build

I have to admit I’ve fallen in love with my car again.  The exterior of my car was pretty beat up and neglected with rock chips, scuffs, and just generally not well taken care of paint.  With the new wrap there is a whole new rush of pride and enthusiasm to keep it looking amazing. 

Lastly, and this is bit cheesy, I requested Saul to match my helmet to the car…

Halfmilespeed3 build

Why not right?  It’s not just another black helmet and I love it.  

With that I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into wrapping a Mazdaspeed.  Stay connected as we share more and more about the @halfmilespeed3 build…engine, seats, roll-cage, and power!  At some point this season an event will open and we can actually race!

-Barett @ CS

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

Red Baron Speed of Newberg

My Name is Symon Powlison and this is my journey of how I got my Mazdaspeed3 and the Mazda community that became my family. 

Let’s head back in time a bit, I was a broke high school student and I had just bought a 1997 dodge avenger, while my friends had all dabbled with modifying their cars at the time, I had not, but I knew I wanted to. The avenger came with an exhaust that sounded ok and some wheels and that’s about it.

When I showed my new car to my best friend Barett (yes Corksport Barett) and talked about build aspirations that never happened, we decided that we both wanted new stereo and subs, 2007-2008 was the time for loud music and lots of bass lol, “Darude Sandstorm” anyone? 

I had a lot of fun with that car but long story short the car was towed away late in the night for having a flat tire in a parking lot. Now with little to no money and my little avenger was never to be seen again. All is not lost though because those early years with that car started me on a slow trek of building my own “Racecar” later in life it was the catalyst that started it all. 

Fast forward to the year 2012, I’m a bit more established now and I’m getting ready to deploy at the first of the year for 10 months, when my Co-Worker decides to buy a BMW 335i, I made the brash decision to follow suit and I purchased a 2004 Audi S4, my wife was needing a new car anyway so I gave her the Kia Optima I had purchased a few months back. 

Everybody was happy because I got my car and my wife got a brand new Kia! My Audi came with Tien lower springs, a nice fender roll job, and a Magna-flow exhaust. The roar of the V8 through the exhaust was great, it had quick get up and go and it looked amazing in the brilliant red paint. This was my first experience with a “quick” car and I was hooked, but with Audi’s, I had no idea how to even begin to work on it if it had problems, and neither did anybody close to me. This is when I knew this wouldn’t last but I thoroughly enjoyed it when I had it. 

Symon Powlison CorkSport Mazdaspeed3
Symon Powlison

During deployment, I would leave my Audi in the hands of Barett, and return to resume driving bliss with the car, until I left again except this time it would be for nearly 3 years. My wife and I left for Korea in the middle of 2014. My car was out of my possession longer than in my possession and thus while my time away I grew apart from my Audi and wanted something new, different, I wanted a hatchback. 

I always liked the way hatches look, the bodylines, the mildly flared fenders, the base stance of the hatchback drew me in. I spent countless hours looking at every model of hot hatches, tirelessly and sometimes redundantly, maybe I could afford this or maybe I should buy. I decided to call Barett from Korea and told him I was coming home and I wanted to sell the Audi and get something I truly desired. 

He mentioned getting a Mazdaspeed3, I had seen some videos about them but I was rather set on an all-wheel-drive hatch to drive in the snow, but that was dumb because I hate driving in the snow lol. I decided to give the Speed a deep dive look and man I was impressed, not to mention I had an endless resource if I needed any help. 

I was sold, the price was right, the whole car package was right, it checked all my boxes, I wanted a turbo 4cyl with good base stats, something reliable to a degree, and something that I could learn to modify and have help if anything breaks. 

I arrived home in the spring of 2017, and scoured the interwebz and found the speed of my dreams, a velocity red 2013 tech package mazdaspeed3 with 69k on the dash. With what money I had left in savings, a small income, and an Audi for a deposit. I marched down to the dealership and literally, 6 hours later I walked out of there with my dream car. 

Symon Powlison CorkSport Mazdaspeed3
Shop all 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed3 Parts

Funny side note here, when I took the MS3 for a test drive I was by myself, I never drove a 6-speed manual car before and didn’t know how to put the car in reverse, so here I am sitting in somebody’s driveway (huge facepalm) trying to figure out how to put the car in reverse when the homeowner comes out and asks if I need help. I tell him the story he laughs and gives me a push to send me on my way back to the dealer. 

That test drive officially sold me on the car, I can still remember the first time starting that car and the first time I hit 15psi of boost, it was amazing and probably the coolest feeling ever while driving. I couldn’t wait to show my wife, I ripped the speed all the way home, and it was nothing but smiles per gallon. I couldn’t have been happier. I am honored to have such a loving wife who was just as excited for me to have a car I desired so much. This was my very first and only turbo car I’ve ever owned and every time the car plants my back to the seat I can help but grin from ear to ear. 

I kept the car stock for a year on the dot before I started modifying it, if you’re keeping track it’s now April 2018. I purchased all the necessary supporting mods to keep it from going ZZB. I bought an Access port, HPFP Internals, intake, and pro tune and man did that little K04 come alive, a few other supporting mods like exhaust and rear sway bar brought the Mazdaspeed to a different level. 

Symon Powlison CorkSport Mazdaspeed3
Shop all 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3 Categories

The Speed had no changes for another year or less (early spring 2019), finally, it was time for power mods, big turbo, big FMIC, lots of little bits like injector seals, short shifter, motor mounts, and getting a tune from Purple Drank. The car became a monster, smiles turned to white knuckles gripping the wheel from torque steer, turbo noises for days, and a singing bypass valve that subtly lets you know it’s there on any occasion. 

That kept me satisfied for another year till now, this plan is to do both manifolds, cams, and EWG. *Hurray for race car noises*. The transformation of my Speed over the last 3 years has been a rewarding experience, providing me with knowledge and experience and confidence to be able to tackle any problems or situations previously I would have avoided or paid an overpriced shop to fix.

This is the best part of the community I joined when I bought my speed, all the experiences and knowledge that has been shared with me have been nothing short of amazing and I’m truly grateful for the speed community. My wife and I don’t take a lot of vacations, but the two events that come up in the year that you can’t miss are Mazda events. 

Symon Powlison CorkSport Mazdaspeed3
Shop Gen 1 and Gen 2 Mazdaspeed 3

I didn’t know that I could miss Idaho as much as I would when I have to leave Papa Keith’s Mazda Takeover event in Boise after a 4-day party. The big bear puts on an amazing event yearly and when it wraps up the withdrawals of it kick in. Those pains are subsided though just two months later when we all get to catch up for CorkSport’s Dyno Day’s! The event that the CorkSport crew puts together is a blast, its high tempo 2-day event that brings our Mazda community together in the Pacific Northwest, I have seen people from British Columbia to Utah come all the way to Vancouver, WA for this event. 

These two trips are something that flows into my DNA and I can’t imagine my life without experiencing them or the people I’ve met along the way. My wife and I look forward to these weekends as I’m sure anyone who has gone to them at least once will, we love spending time with our extended Mazda family and I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

In closing, to say that a car would change my life would be an understatement, but it did and I wouldn’t want it any other way, so if you see the Red Baron Speed of Newberg out and about, come up and say hi and chat for a minute. I hope to see you all at future events, keep hitting that Boost, and stay safe. See you all on the road.

  • Symon

Mazdaslow to Mazdaspeed

Let me take you to an extraordinarily dull time in my life, the last time I started my car when it was still stock.

September 14th, 2018 was a beautiful September day in Washington. I started my car at 6:45 am, just like every other weekday. The car burbled to life, but it was relatively quiet, flat, and a bit uninteresting. No one knew I was leaving for work – I wasn’t shaking any windows, but that was going to change.

CorkSport mod budget. Employee incentive.
At CorkSport

Once I arrived at work and spread some Friday cheer, I settled in. Almost immediately, I could feel the pile of parts in the corner behind my desk, glaring at the back of my head. I thought to myself, “Don’t turn around – focus damn it!” The day had finally come – install day. Thankfully with our awesome half-day Fridays, I was out of the office and on my way to Brett’s house before 12:30 pm. 

After we loaded up Brett’s Rodeo with a load of parts, we set sail to our destination, a place where many tears have been shed, knuckles have been busted, and where dreams have come true; Brett’s garage. Every tool you’ve ever needed and gadgets you didn’t know existed. There were even a few specialty items present, that if he didn’t have quite frankly, this couldn’t have happened.

CorkSport employee mazdas.
Shop all Mazdaspeed 3 Parts

We started with thorough degreasing of the engine bay and setting up the essential supplies- because what is an install day without beer and snacks! Once the car has cooled down, I started with taking out the battery box, intake, and intercooler; and then the fun really started. I’ve read the horror stories, I’ve watched the videos, and I thought I spent enough time mentally preparing myself for what was about to come – I was wrong.

The Downpipe

We all know about the Mazdaspeed downpipe on our cars. The devil engineered the placement of this thing, and he had his minions tighten the bolts. There isn’t enough PB blaster in the world to help the corrosion and excessive heat that these bolts withstand. We got the first one out with little to no issue, but it just got progressively harder from there. It was only a matter of time before rounding off the edges of that last bolt. Thankfully Brett has an extractor tool that we hammered on there, and with the small act of god, it was successfully extracted.

My experience with removing the downpipe from the exhaust, as is everyone’s experience, was different. Mine was influenced by the previous owner adding a 2.5″ resonated exhaust on it from the second cat back. The downpipe didn’t want to come out until I wiggled a pry bar in between the flange and put Brett’s Caliper spreader in there (again tools I didn’t even know I needed) and applied sheer grunt force. I got the flange to bend, and after learning a few new choice words, we got it out. By this time, it was 11:30 pm, and we still had a few other things to unbolt before the exhaust came out. Instead of using power tools and waking every neighbor up in a two-block radius, we called it a night.

The Morning After

After some much-needed coffee, we made it back from the hardware store (replaced the downpipe nut from hell) it’s time to party. We started with sliding in my new downpipe with the High flow Cat what a breeze compared to taking it out. Next came my intake, I went with the 3.5″ so I don’t have to buy another one when I finally go with our CorkSport CST4 turbo. Still might go with the new CST5. Then I put in my ECU Relocation Box, and I have to say, what a clean looking piece to have in your engine bay! 

CorkSport TMIC
Mazdaspeed 3 TMIC Top Mount Intercooler

We changed out the OEM spark plugs for some NGK 6510 gapped to .026 and started to put on my new TMIC that is rated up to 450WHP after we got the TMIC it was time to put on my shiny new boost tubes Engine bay= Complete.

Now time to get underneath and put on my highly anticipated Non-Resonated Cat-Back exhaust and my Stage II RMM. Goodbye, torque steer! Once we had the exhaust mostly in place, I realized if I didn’t have the CS exhaust hangers I would have been in trouble. The person before me had his exhaust welded quite poorly in place of the hangers, and I didn’t have an option to use my OEM ones. 

Moment of Truth

After everything was double-checked and rechecked, it was time for the moment of truth. I hooked up my battery, I flashed my new tune from Erik Bjork at Drama Tune, and now it was Go Time! I will say hearing my car make those sweet sounds was one of the best moments of my life. I’ve been waiting for this moment since I purchased my car, and it was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had.

We let the car run for a few minutes and checked to make sure I didn’t have any leaks, and then we headed out for a test drive.

In the immortal words of George Takei “Oh My!”

That was my thought, EVEN on just a base map. My car felt and sounded 1000% different than before. The intake was amplifying fun new mechanical noises – like I was hearing my turbo and BOV dance for the first time. The crackle from the exhaust on a hard 2nd to 3rd upshift was intoxicating, all the while my RMM putting in work to make sure I don’t torque steer into someone’s front lawn. What an experience! I would even call this life-changing for me. The funny part of the story is that I wasn’t planning on buying all these items at once – true intentions of a foolish car enthusiast. Thankfully for me, I have a fantastic career within CorkSport and have a great friend that helped me make my dreams come true. Who wants a stock car when you work for the number one place in the world for Mazda Performance, not this guy.

Zach from CorkSport
Zach from CorkSport

Keep an eye out for my turbo blog, because it’s only a matter of time until the mod bug bites me again.