Tools Every Mazda Owner Needs in their Garage

Tools Every Mazda Owner Needs

Whether you only change your oil or have done multiple engine swaps in your garage, its necessary to have the right tools for the job. Since we do everything from engine builds to big brake kits here at CorkSport, we definitely spent a lot of time wrenching, and have discovered a few “must have” tools along the way.

The basics are a necessity! While you can take apart just about everything on a Mazda with only an 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, and 21mm socket/wrench, it’s important to have a good mix to make your life that much easier. Short and deep well sockets, multiple drive sizes, lots of extensions, breaker bars, and so on can all help you remove that awkwardly placed bolt.

A few other must-have basics I find myself using in the CS shop:

  • Small 1/4″ drive ratchet-perfect for the 8, 10, and 12mm bolts in tight spaces
  • Ratcheting wrenches-for when a socket just won’t fit. Flex head ones for even more versatility.

 

  • Crows foot wrenches-you won’t use them often but they’re a lifesaver that one time you need them.
  • Impact gun-cordless or pneumatic, these can speed up any install.
  • Wheel safe lug nut socket-the plastic outer sleeve prevents any scratches to your wheels.

 

Developing exhausts for the Mazda lineup means repeated installs/removal of full exhaust systems and Oxygen sensors. This is helped immensely by a proper Oxygen sensor socket and some penetrating fluid. If you’re planning on upgrading your exhaust, I would definitely recommend getting an O2 sensor socket to get it done right.

 

 

One of the more recent tools we have acquired at CS is a set of exhaust hanger pliers. When coupled with some lubrication, these make removing those pesky rubber hangers so much easier.

 

 

While elbow-deep in the engine bay, it is so much easier if you can actually see around the turbo! We are a little spoiled at CS with how well lit the shop is, but for those less lucky, find yourself an under hood light.

 

 

Still having trouble seeing? Pick up a telescoping mirror that you can angle around to try and locate that hard to see nut or bolt. These are also extremely handy if you cannot find a socket or piece of hardware you dropped in the engine bay. Pick up a kit that includes an extendable magnet as well and recovers anything you may drop.

 

I always try to be prepared when performing maintenance or doing an install. Having a factory service manual really helps with this. Torque specifications recommended disassembly procedures, and fastener locations are all laid out in the FSM.

I also try to look for any unusual tools that may be needed for an install as not having the right Allen head socket or external Torx socket can derail an install. Check online for the FSM for your car, most can be found with a little hunting. Certain installs are also made easier with custom vehicle specific tools available from aftermarket companies (the CorkSport Injector Puller for Instance).

 

Last but not least is having a friend to help you with the install. While you cannot keep this very special “tool” in your garage all the time, it can be invaluable to simply have another set of hands around.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, however; I hope it helps out some of you when attempting a difficult install. Have any other special tools you find yourself using when working on your car? Let us know down below!

-Daniel

Mazda Motor Oil

There are always lots of opinions on motor oil flying around the internet these days.  I normally skip chiming in on any of the conversations as someone, in the end, goes away with hurt feelings but not today!

Back in December, we ran our 2015 Mazda 3 2.5 Skyactiv at the 25-hours of Thunderhill race which like the title says is a 25-hour non-stop race.  In the spirit of doing things which are a bit, insane CorkSport entered our Mazda 3 which no one had done before in this long of an endurance race.  

For an event like the 25-hour, the internet says you should run a bit thicker oil due to the high rpm and non-stop abuse on the track. I am more at the end of the arena of doing what the engineers at Mazda designed the car to use so we ran 0W20 oil in the car.  We did use a great product, Motul 0w20 racing oil to prove a point that with modern engines and oils you don’t need to up the viscosity.

After 25 hours of non-stop racing the car to the redline and never giving the car a break, we drained the oil and sent it off to Blackstone laboratories to get an analysis done on the oil.

Based on the internet knowing everything we would expect to see the oil viscosity wiped out from the non-stop running and heat as well as there being lots of impurities found in the oil from the same.  In reality, the comments from the report are pretty boring really. They mentioned the lead found in the oil which was from race gas we burned up in the car during testing as this motor is completely stock so there is no lead in the engine bearings.  There really isn’t anything else to say about it.

So the next time someone tries to tell you that you need to change to a non-stock weight of motor oil in your Mazda send them to this blog and run what the engine is supposed to have with a good quality oil.

Happy Mazda Motoring!

-Derrick

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Barett

Garage Organization Tips and Tricks

Making Working in the Garage Easier Starts with Organization!

While we often discuss what’s best for your Mazda and how to make it more fun, we rarely talk about where you spend all your time while working on your Mazda: the garage!

Having a nice organized space to store and work on your ride will keep your Mazda’s exterior in better shape and help you get those CorkSport parts installed faster. After all, we all know someone who has a garage, but their Mazdaspeed lives outside because of how disorganized their garage is. Using the tips that follow should help you avoid being that friend.

Tool Organization

Tools are a vital part of any install, but they don’t do much good if they cannot be found and easily accessed. Below are some tips for keeping your tools neat and tidy.

Have a good quality toolbox that is big enough for all of your tools. Toolboxes exist in all shapes and sizes, finding one that fits your tool collection and suits your preferences will help keep you organized.

Organize your toolbox logically. Sort your tools by type but be sure you don’t have to dig to find the tool you need. I also like to put my most used tools in the drawers that are easiest to access.

Upgrade your organizers. The basic metal or plastic socket organizers work fine, but for a few bucks more, you can get well labeled, magnetic organizers that will keep your sockets in place. The ones below have the bonus of being magnetic on the bottom for even more versatility. Similar organizers exist for wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers.

Pegboard is your friend. Using pegboard and assorted hooks for the large or otherwise awkward tools will help keep your toolbox easy to access. If you’re not into sifting through drawers, a large pegboard wall can even replace your toolbox!

Storage

Having a place to store extra parts, jacks, and other miscellaneous garage stuff will ensure your garage stays a clean and comfortable work environment.

Just having a place for everything can transform the feel and organization of your space. It may seem obvious but having a designated area for everything in your garage and ensuring it returns to its place removes a lot of the risk for a cluttered, unusable garage.

Keep things off the floor as much as possible. Anything left on the floor will be awkward to work around and will make your garage feel messy. Simple shelving units and cabinets to get things out of the way can make a huge difference.

Utilize your walls and ceiling as much as possible. Moving storage to the walls and ceiling allows you to maximize your usable floor space. Old kitchen cabinets can be repurposed to hang high up and out of the way until you need something. There’s a ton of ceiling storage solutions out there, be creative and finds what works best in your garage. If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, storage above the garage door works fantastic.

Making Working on a Project Easier

Whether working on your Mazda, it can be easy to get distracted and messy, leaving you wondering where the extra bolts came from after you get everything put back together. It’s especially important to stay organized if your Mazdaspeed will be out of commission for a little while.

Keep track of your hardware! We’ve said it before but merely using plastic bags and a sharpie to label where each bolt and nut came from makes it way easier when it’s time to put everything back together.

For a more short-term solution, we also use small plastic bins to keep parts and hardware together. If you have a pegboard, be sure to find some bins that will hang on the pegboard! Lastly, a fishing tackle box can be useful to neatly store extra hardware rather than having a random bolt drawer.

 

 

Give yourself a good work surface. Whether you’re cleaning parts, swapping some studs over to a new turbo, or putting together the head on an engine build, having a nice surface to work on will make your life easier. To kill two birds with one stone, some larger tool boxes come with a great workbench top already installed. Short on space? Buy or make a workbench that can fold out of the way when not in use.

Set up your parts in order of removal. This makes it easy to retrace your steps if you have to remove a bunch of different parts to get to whatever you’re working on. It’s extremely simple, but it’s saved me from having to retrace my steps because I forgot to install something.

Keep your tools in a tool tray. We’ve all lost that 10mm socket while rolling around under a car. A simple tool tray will keep all your sockets and wrenches in one place and easily accessible.

Miscellaneous Garage Improvements

While not possible for every garage, these are ideal improvements that take your garage to the next level.

Upgrade your lighting. Most home garages have a few dim light bulbs that work well enough but make it can be really hard to see when deep in an engine bay. LED shop lights can help you see what you’re working on, even after the sun goes down. Extra tip, strong zip ties can offer a temporary hanging solution if you’re unsure what locations will work best.

Epoxy the floor. While it can be expensive to apply, nothing beats the look of a high-quality epoxy coated garage floor. It also makes spills easier to clean up, and you won’t have to worry about staining the concrete. You can even match it to your ride with the colors you choose!

 

 

Install a garage fridge! Cold refreshments make any install that little bit easier. Plus, a garage fridge gives you a place to put all of your extra stickers!

Please share any other tips and tricks you may have down below; we are always looking for ways to improve our experiences in the garage. We’d also love to see what spaces you guys and gals are working with!

 

Cheers,

Daniel

 

 

Mazdaspeed3 Build Part 2

Brett’s Car Part 2

Let’s pick up where we left off with part 1! The year 2015, I made my way back to the Golden State from Arizona. At this point in time, I was content with the power, but my Mazdaspeed 3 looked otherwise stock on the outside, so that was my next plan of attack.

After a couple months settling in, I hashed out my plan. My buddy back in Arizona, Travis was selling his Evo 10 wheels. They were freshly powder coated, and he had the ability to ship them from his work. He was nice enough to make that happen for me. Since I was getting new wheels on the way, I knew it was time to drop it, so I purchased lowering springs. Since my Mazdaspeed3 only had 15k on it at the time, I opted to keep the OEM shocks and struts, knowing Coil-overs were down the road. But, it is advised to use the upgraded shocks and struts with lowering springs, especially on older suspension.

After it was all said and done, I was happy with this look. It stayed like this for a few months until I got bored again. The mod bug started to itch, so, I decided it was time to upgrade to a 3.5” intake and get a port and polished manifold to see what this KO4 could do. With the 3.5” intake it also needed a battery relocation kit.

Knowing that Big Turbo was down the road, I thought towards the future and where I could save potential dollars. We got it up to about 325-330 WHP on the K04 with some e85. For California’s terrible 91 Octane fuel, I was satisfied. I also threw on boost and oil pressure gauges to monitor more in the Mazdaspeed. Oil pressure was the key!

I got more acquainted with the local Mazda community in Nor Cal and ended up meeting one of the largest influencers for my build this way. Brian of BMSPEC. During this time, BMSPEC was just a side project for him as we worked full time as an Engineer in the cooperate world. He ended up taking me under his wing (No pun intended) and taught me a thing or two. In return, I helped him out after work to make Aero Parts like wing extensions and splitters. I assisted where I could with the dirty work, and my car was one of the beta testers. So, for those of you that wonder where my extension and splitter came from, there is your answer!

Brian guided me on the right path to take for setting up my coil-overs and getting my Mazdaspeed 3 to not only handle as well as possible but also look good while doing it. It was awesome for me to be able to represent his parts and start to make my car stand out. I am very fortunate to have had that opportunity and be able to call him my friend.

In early 2016, I was driving behind a semi-truck on the freeway which resulted in pretty a chipped-up bumper. Working closely with my body shop, we got my MS3 fully repainted (Minus the hatch.) I requested that the mirrors be painted black, Roof black, fog bezels black, and the rear valence black. It took several months for them to finish, as I gave them permission to take their time. But they did an incredible job, and the paint has held up phenomenally.  

A few months before my move to Washington, I finally hopped on a big turbo upgrade. Paired with this was an upgraded EBCS, and MAP sensor. The Mazda Intercooler was also upgraded from a TMIC to an FMIC. She was starting to turn into the car I had aspired to build. But, as all us car guys know, this just means the bar gets raised higher and our aspirations grow further! An upgraded intake manifold was also added to even out air flow between runners even more.

The time is now late 2016. I got offered a job with CorkSport right after Thanksgiving. So I packed up, said goodbye to all my close friends to set out on a venture in the PNW. Things were beginning to get more interesting, and the journey for my Mazdaspeed3 would continue.  Stay tuned for part 3!

 

 

Regards,

Brett@CorkSport