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!

The CorkSport CST5 is HERE!

We are happy to release the new “medium big” brother to the tried and true CST4, the new CorkSport CST5 Turbocharger for the DISI MZR engine found in the Mazdaspeed 3, Mazdaspeed 6, and Mazda CX-7 Turbo. Finding a middle ground between response and top end power is always difficult when selecting a turbo, yet we believe we have nailed it with the CST5. You get the response of a smaller turbocharger yet retain high horsepower capabilities of a big turbo.

CorkSport CST5 Turbo Front
CST5

Before we get into power, let’s first discuss what makes the CST5 tick. It’s all started with a proven MHI journal bearing center section. These offer great cooling capabilities and fantastic reliability, especially when combined with our high performance journal bearings and 360° high performance thrust bearing. The CST5 can seriously take a beating, and does it in a package that fits perfect in the OEM location.

CST5 Billet Compressor
CST5 Billet Compressor

Attached to this center section is a compressor and turbine wheel combo that is a little unconventional. Creating boost is a tried and true GTX71 billet compressor wheel that is rated at 56lb/min. The turbine that drives the CST5 is where things get a little interesting. Instead of a standard GT30 10 blade wheel, we chose a MHI TF06 9 blade design. This offers a number of benefits that make the CST5 outshine a comparable 3071 setup. One less blade means lighter weight for faster spool times and higher maximum flow capacity. The TF06 design is also slightly larger than a GT30, yielding a better wheel size ratio for more efficient turbocharger and engine function. For full info on the wheels and what they mean for your Mazdaspeed, check out our design blog HERE.

CST5 Turbine
CST5 Turbine

The new wheels are wrapped in new housings. On the compressor side, there is a 4” inlet that includes anti-surge ports for optimum compressor operation and longevity. This large size also maximizes efficiency for 3.5” and 4” intakes. The turbine side is where there are the most differences from the CST4. The A/R has been increased from 0.66 to 0.82 which provides more top end power to match the rest of its big turbo characteristics.

CST5 Internal Wastgate
CST5 Internal Wastegate

Now, what does all of this tech mean for you and your car? If you have a stock block you can easily max out power (~400WHP) and stay safe on your rods. Due to the bigger size, the CST5 peak torque is slightly later than the CST4, keeping you safer even before tuning is considered. Having a built block is where things really get interesting. The CST5 will make~450WHP all day on a “calm” boost level of 25-26psi. If you really want to push it though, the CST5 has made ~520WHP on ~30-31psi. This versatility allows the turbo to grow with your build. So even if you are stock block now, the CST5 can carry you even after you build your block.

The wheel and housing options delivers great response as well as great power. When pushed to its limits on a built block, 20psi was hit at 3400-3500RPM with 30psi hitting by a surprising 3700-3800RPM. Obviously this isn’t stable for a stock block but is possible on fully built cars with full bolt-ons and a high flowing head.

CST5 Dynograph Comparison
CST5 Internal Wastegate vs. External Wastegate

The versatility continues as the CST5 is offered with internal wastegate or external wastegate turbine housing options. The internal wastegate setup is the best if you want an easy drop-in fitment with great boost control. The external wastegate setup if you’re willing to take a little bit more time for fitment and spend a little bit more money on the external wastegate itself for the best in boost control. The EWG setup offers some great new sounds from a screamer pipe as well. As for power, they are very comparable, as shown in the graph above. The EWG setup makes just a tiny bit more up at the peak, but that is likely due to small variances in tuning. While only the IWG setup is offered at the time of writing, the EWG is coming very soon! Lastly, if you must have a CST5 now, don’t worry, the EWG housing will be sold separately if you want to upgrade down the road.

Both the IWG and EWG options come with a full hardware kit that includes everything you need for install. This means all coolant/oil lines, new gaskets, new crush washers, and even new studs and crimp nuts for both the turbine and downpipe flanges. The EWG setup includes a custom designed elbow for great EWG actuator fitment on MS3 and MS6, and the correct clamp to attach it to the housing. More info to come later on an add-on screamer pipe option.

CST5 Included Hardware Kit

CST5 Hardware Kit – Included!

Each CST5 also comes with full CorkSport support, including full-color install instructions, a 1-year warranty, and assistance with any questions you may have. We are extremely excited for you all to get your hands on the CST5 and start making even more power so please check out the product listing for full details and to place to order.

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Mazda 6 Turbo Lowering Springs Release!

2018+ Mazda 6 Lowering Springs

We at CorkSport are happy to introduce the Sport Lowering Springs for 2018+ Mazda 6 equipped with the 2.5L turbocharged engine. In our last post, we talked about the height, handling, and quality of our new springs. If you haven’t seen it, check it out HERE. Today we’ll cover how we tested the ride quality and go a step further to talk about damping and natural frequency. I’m going to warn you now; this gets a little bit complicated, but we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Spring Damping

Let’s start with a basic example–your car hits a bump which compresses the spring. It “springs” back to its normal length. In a perfect world with no friction or damping, the springs in your suspension would keep bouncing up and down forever, this is called oscillation. Add back in dampening and friction, and the spring will settle out to its normal length pretty quickly. How different strengths of damping affect the “oscillation” can be seen in the graph below.

Spring damping graph
Spring damping example.

The car has hit the bump at the bottom left of the graph. As time goes by, you can see the spring expand and compress and so on. The Greek letter is not important but what is important is the numbers. When it is 0 (black line) the spring compresses and expands over and over to the same height. As the number increases, you can see that the spring returns to its normal length faster until it gets too large and overpowers the spring (dark blue line). For a car, the 0.4 to 1 range is ideal as there is minimal “bouncing” without having too high of damping.

What does all this mean though? Let’s say from the factory the car is in the 0.7 range (orange line). If we went to a drastically stiffer spring, but kept the OEM dampers, we may end up in the 0.2 range (light blue line), which would be uncomfortable due to all the bouncing every time you hit a bump. The CorkSport front and rear spring rates chosen are small enough of a change to fit well with the OEM damping, ensuring no bouncing.

Stock 2018 Mazda 6 and CorkSport Modified Mazda 6
Stock height vs. CorkSport Springs

Natural Frequency Analysis

To go along with this, we did some natural frequency analysis. Natural frequency simplified is how quickly the suspension responds to a bump. Higher the natural frequency, the harsher the ride in a car is. Most “regular” production cars sit in a 1.0-1.6 Hertz (Hz) range for a comfortable ride. Sports cars are usually in the 1.6-2.3Hz range. Full race cars are usually 2.3-3.0 or even higher. An average person will start thinking a ride is stiff/harsh at around 2.0-2.2Hz. Using a special app that ties into the accelerometers of a cell phone we can approximately measure the frequency of a specific suspension setup. With stock suspension on the Mazda 6 2.5T, this yielded ~1.4Hz front and ~1.7Hz rear.

With a stiffer spring, these frequencies will increase, but we wanted to be sure to only increase them slightly, to not severely affect comfort. We went through a few different combinations to get our ideal result. Our final setup ended up at ~1.5Hz front and ~1.85Hz rear. This is enough to notice the suspension feels “sportier” without riding harsh.

2018+ Mazda 6 Roller Shot

There is one other big thing to highlight with frequency. Notice that both the OEM and CorkSport springs have a higher rear natural frequency than front. If your natural frequency front to back is close to equal, the car has a tendency to “pitch” front to back over bumps. Since your rear tires hit the bump slightly later than the fronts, to have a comfortable ride the rear suspension has to “catch up” to the fronts to prevent this pitching back and forth. If a frequency is too much higher in the rear, it can be too fast for the fronts and cause the same pitching issue.

Natural frequency was always on our minds when designing the CS springs and we tested a bunch of different combinations to determine the optimum balance of ride and handling.


That about does it for the Mazda 6 2.5T Sport Lowering Springs. Be sure to let us know if you have any questions-suspension is hard, even for us! Lastly, be sure to share your MZ6T with us by using #CorkSport.

-Daniel @ CorkSport

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2018+ Mazda 6 Turbo Lowering Springs

2018 Mazda 6 on CorkSport Lowering Springs

We at CorkSport are happy to introduce the Sport Lowering Springs for 2018+ Mazda 6 equipped with the 2.5L turbocharged engine. We took a fresh approach to spring design to offer you the best combination of style, ride quality, and handling in a package that fits just like OEM. The new Mazda 6 looks great, but a functional drop gives it just what it needs to look even better. Combine this with the new handling characteristics and your MZ6 2.5T transforms from a fun grocery getter to something you can actually enjoy on backroads.

Mazda 6 2.5T CorkSport Lowering Springs
2018+ Mazda 6 2.5T CorkSport Lowering Springs

Ride Height

Let’s start off with the big one: ride height changes. These springs offer a conservative drop from the stock springs with about 1 inch lower in the front and about 0.75 inches lower in the rear. We chose this height as it offers a great new look without sacrificing any of the daily drivability of the Mazda6. This height clears the typical driveway with no issues, and retains plenty of suspension travel, even when fully loaded with 5 adults and weight in the trunk. Check out the image below for a direct comparison to a fully stock MZ6.

Lowered 2018 Mazda 6 vs. Stock Mazda 6
Black: Stock Springs Red: CorkSport Lowering Springs

Handling

The height drop will be noticed when you’re outside the car, but the handling improvements will be apparent when driving. By lowering the center of gravity and stiffening the springs, body roll is reduced in corners, giving you extra confidence when attacking that backroad. In addition, we stiffened the rear springs more than the fronts, reducing understeer. By number, this meant 3.8K front springs (25% stiffer than OEM) and 7.3K rear springs (45% stiffer than OEM). Derrick, our resident racecar driver and MZ6T owner, loves the new setup.

2018 Mazda 6 on CorkSport Springs

While this may sound like a big jump, they ride similarly to the OEM springs. We used a natural frequency analysis to ensure we achieved comfortable characteristics over bumps. Read the last half of this blog for more info on what that means (it’s complicated but awesome). Part of the great ride is the OEM dampers (shocks and struts). The spring rates we chose fit well with the stock shocks and struts to prevent any bounciness, plus, the conservative drop ensures you are in the normal operating range of the dampers. This means no prematurely worn shocks/struts due to springs that are too low.

Lowered MZ6T

Material Quality

Last but not least, the CS Sport Lowering Springs are made from high tensile strength spring steel and come powder coated in an OEM style black for long-lasting quality and corrosion resistance. They install just like stock, reusing all your OEM components. The only permanent modification is trimming the bump stops to match OEM suspension travel.

Be sure to check out the product listing for more images, a product video with more comparisons to OEM, and pricing. Make your new Mazda 6 yours with just the right styling and handling boost from CorkSport.


That about does it for the Mazda 6 2.5T Sport Lowering Springs. Be sure to let us know if you have any questions-suspension is hard, even for us! Lastly, be sure to share your MZ6T with us by using #CorkSport.

-Daniel @ CorkSport

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CorkSport CST6

Testing & Validation of the CorkSport CST6

As we get closer and closer to announcing the launch of the new CorkSport Turbo Line-Up we want to share the testing and validation we put our turbos through.  You may not realize it, but we’ve already shared a lot about the CST6 without really saying so, check out Barett’s Built Gen1 Here.  

So we’ve talked a bit about the design intent behind the CST6; defining the wheel sizes, wheel size ratio, and the ball bearing CHRA.   If you’ve seen the teaser listing then you’ve already seen the 633 whp dyno graph, so we’ll look at the data to support it!

The First Look at the CST6 Performance

CorkSport CST6 dyno at 28psi
CST6 running at 28PSI

First let’s look at the CST6 at a more moderate boost pressure.  Above are the results of back-to-back testing comparing the XS-Power V3 Exhaust Manifold and the upcoming CorkSport Cast Exhaust Manifold.  All dyno runs were performed with the same 28 psi peak pressure tune.

So the exhaust manifold testing is exciting, but it’s not what we’re here to discuss.   What I want you to know is that the CST6 is fully capable of providing mid-500 whp power at 28 psi.   While we have and will continue to push the CST6 to its max ability, the 27-30 psi range has proven to be a sweet and efficient spot for the CST6.

Testing the Limits on the CST6

CorkSport CST6 Dyno Graph running 34psi
CST6 running at 34PSI

Searching for the limits with the current fuel system we can easily push past the 600 whp mark plus some.   The efficiency of the CST6 at this power level is still very strong and the turbo continues to pull through the RPM range.   What really makes the CST6 shine is the power under the curve. This is a BIG turbo and will respond like one, but the loss of early spool is easily compensated for with the abundant power curve and power that carries past 7500 rpm.  

It’s important to note that testing for the CST6 is not finished because we are currently limited by the fuel system on the vehicle.   The current fuel system is OE DI injectors paired with a boost based methanol system flowing 40 gph peak. In the near future, we will continue finding the limits of the CST6 with a true port injection system and Split-Second controller flowing E85.   This will give us headroom for 8000+ rpm and boost levels past 34 psi (let’s see what 40 psi give us!).

Looking at the CST6 Data Log

CorkSport CST6 Data Log
MAF Voltage and Actual AFR of the CST6

This is a datalog form the 633 whp dyno run and was recorded on the chassis dyno.   Because of that, it is not a perfect example of street driving… let me explain why. The dyno dynamics chassis CorkSport uses can control load and thus the rate at which the engine can rev through the RPM range.   In order for us to dyno a vehicle at this power level safely, we need to find the right ramp rate for low RPM and high RPM. The biggest factor this affects is the spool RPM of the turbo.

On the graph I marked ~200 rpm shifted to the left for the boost curve.   On the street, the CST6 spools about 200 rpm sooner due to the higher load on the street vs the dyno.   This puts the CST6 @ 20 psi around 3800-3900 rpm.

Also shown on the graph are MAF voltage and actual AFR.   Both of these are important because they provide real data about how the vehicle is being tuned.

Target AFR is set for 11.76 which is neither rich nor aggressive for this setup.  The slight up and down of the AFR curve from 3500-4000 rpm is due to the very high amount of auxiliary methanol starting to spray along with the DI injectors.

Looking at MAF voltage you can see us get well past 4.50v.  Actually, we are consistently seeing MAF Voltage around 4.65-4.70v using the CorkSport 3.5” Intake which has a true ID of 3.50”.  This is just further validation that the CST6 is flowing enough air to support 600+ whp.

There’s more to come from the new CorkSport turbo lineup so stay tuned for more info on the CST5, CST6, and EWG housings.

-Barett @ CorkSport