Derrick’s Mazda Odyssey – How it All Began – Part 2

Continuing from the last blog post about my Mazda odyssey:

I was mentioning my impending transmission swap after I had destroyed the B6T AWD transmission, there where a few more bugs with the transmission swap and I worked them out over the next couple of weeks. The first time I took the 323 around a corner at high speed the car tried to trade ends. A quick counter steer and full throttle put the car into a very manageable slide. This is the way the car should have been delivered I remember thinking as I straightened the car out before the next corner. The 90-94 AWD transmission was setup to put more of the percentage of power to the rear wheels vs. the fronts.

I picked up some second hand Silverstone rally tires from the Tabor Rally Team to mount on an extra set of rims and try my luck at rally cross. The one thing you don’t expect to hear on an AWD car is “I didn’t have enough grip”. The combination of a small turbo which made instant boost which translates into instant torque and a 2600lb car made for lots of wheel spin even with rally tires.

Dori Derrick

As you can see in the picture above, the results were great! I think I exported about 60 lbs of dirt from the Hillsboro fairgrounds back home to Vancouver, WA after that event. It took forever to get the dirt and grass off the bottom of the car. I didn’t exactly set any record times driving that way but after a season of racing it was good enough for 3rd place in open class with the Oregon Rally Group.

There was another rally cross event which sticks with me due to the strange nature of the event. I showed up to the event with some shaved Toyo T1S tires on the 323. I didn’t have a chance to mount the rally wheels for the event. It was a good thing to, as the water truck was a no show. That meant no water to keep the dust down and make the course a muddy mess. My run group was in the afternoon so I got to watch the cars run in the first half of the day. After a while you could see black on the dirt from tires leaving rubber on the course. This was advantage for me with my Toyo tires. My first run out was one of the fastest on the dry grass/hard pack dirt and I placed fairly high overall for the day.

Dori Derrick
Special Thanks to Wayne Flynn at pdxsports.com for the great picture above

Around that time I was thinking, you know I could always use more power. So trying out different combos of parts like ECUs and air flow meters I finally settled on running an odd mix of parts. To get rid of the factory airflow meter I went with an HKS F-CON Pro unit that was not made for the 323GTX. This setup uses a pressure sensor connected directly to the intake manifold. It allows the removal the clunky air flow meter and allows you to run vent to atmosphere bypass valves. It also allows you to use a standard BP turbo ECU to run the other basic functions for the engine. A set of 550cc injectors are used with the system for when I decide to get something different for a turbocharger or I decide to go crazy with the power.

I was happy with the 323 until I ran across a set of Advan RC rally rims for sale in Japan. After several months waiting of them at arrive from Japan they showed up at my door. The bolt pattern was supposed to be 5×114.3 which was great. A set of Familia GTR 5 bolt hubs and brakes would do the trick for installation. It turns out the wheels I had received were 5×100 Subaru wheels. In the end this may have been for the better, Familia GTR 5 bolt knuckles and brakes are heavy. After weighing the units they are almost double the weight of the 4 bolt AWD knuckles. For a car that will see rally cross more often than high speed track events light weight rotating assemblies really make a difference. So what am I doing with a fancy set of seemingly useless Advan wheels now? I don’t let too many things get in my way that I want in regards to the 323. I have chased down a set of second hand hubs and I am going to drill them to 5×100 along with a set of rotors. I get to have my wheels and keep the lighter brakes.

Sweet JDM Wheels

This sums up my odyssey with my 323GTX. One thing that has remained constant through all of this is the BF chassis 323 shell. My car is now mid-way through the 200,000 mile mark. It has been in a few accidents, parked in a ditch by someone who didn’t know how to drive an AWD car, rally crossed, taken out on track days, drifted into curbs, and loved like a 323GTX should be.

-Derrick

2010 CorkSport MazdaSpeed 3 Part II

MS3

I was originally going to finish up the rest of the 323GTX adventure but driving the Mazdaspeed 3 made me change my mind.  I decided to do a comparison of the Mazda turbo hatchbacks.  Driving the Mazdaspeed 3 for a week the car is really making me consider getting rid of the other cars I own.  As I drove my 323 GTX to work today for a change, getting into an older car really makes you appreciate the refinement Mazda has put into the new Mazdaspeed 3.

Consider the following, in late1987 when the 323 GTX was new Mazda sold the car for around 16k.  Back in 1988 that was a lot of money for a sporty hatchback.  The 323 GTX was the most advanced hatchback you could purchase at the time from Mazda.  Jump forward 20 years and Mazda decided to go all in on the hotrod hatch market again with the Mazdaspeed 3.  Granted the 2010 model is the refined version and so was the 323GTX when it was introduced to North America.  Little known to some people the 323 GTX had gone through a facelift and revisions from the 1986-87 models to the version we received in 1988.  20 years is a long time in car production so now I will get to the comparison.

Note:  the 323GTX used in this comparison has been modified in about every way possible.  The modifications of the 323 give it a chance against the Mazdaspeed 3 in terms of power and handling despite the 20 year gap in production.

The 323GTX is very coarse in all aspects of the engine.  The boost hits very fast with lots of exhaust noise and the Greddy BOV venting between shifts.  The shifts come up fast too, as the gearing is very short in the transmission.  The Mazdaspeed 3 in comparison the power comes up fast but it is much smoother.  I can give the car some throttle and not worry about the exhaust volume or the venting BOV waking up the neighbors on the way to work at 6am. (I like my neighbors so I short shift it and keep the rpm low.  If you don’t like your neighbors ask me to take the long way to work some morning through your neighborhood)

The Mazdas are pretty close in terms of acceleration.  The 323GTX would take the Mazdaspeed 3 off the line due to the AWD advantage and lighter weight but once you are moving the Mazdaspeed 3 is faster with a higher top speed.

Handling is really close in terms of grip but the Mazdaspeed 3 handles with less steering effort.  I took some local customers for a ride in the car and we left the off ramp on the merge lane to I205 about 10 miles an hour faster than I feel comfortable doing in my 323 with just me in the car.  I had an uneven load of weight in the Mazdaspeed 3 and the car still felt more secure with the extra 175lbs on the driver’s side in the back seat.

The brakes are really no comparison.  The 323GTX did not get the brakes a car like that needed.  The Mazdaspeed 3 on the other hand has massive brakes.
You can tell Mazda spent some time on the interiors of both cars.  The 323 GTX had some of the best production seats ever made in terms of support and comfort.  The Mazdaspeed 3 seats are just as good but will be more durable with leather bolsters.  The Mazdaspeed 3 really shines in terms of how quiet the interior is.  You can drive the car fast and not drown out the screams of the passengers crying “I’m gonna die” in an effort to get you to slow down or not take the next corner as fast.  The layout of the new dash and all of the switch gear placed better and more intuitive compared to the 20 year old 323GTX.

Style of the cars is debatable as well.  The 323 GTX is more of a classic car now so you do not find people being critical of its styling these days.  I am sure back in 1988 there were comments about the two wings on the back hatch and the look of the car from people.  Looking at the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 the styling is edgy and very forward thinking.  It has some great styling elements which are throw backs to other Mazda vehicles of the past.  The body line on the sides of the car matches the J curve of the door on the 93 Rx7 and the Mx-3.  The hood scoop gives a bit of a nod back to the FC turbo Rx7.  The hatch wing is a tribute to the 323 GTX.  Below is a comparison between the FD Rx7 and the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 with the J curve highlighted.

MS3

FD

To answer the question of would I really sell off my other cars for the Mazdaspeed 3, this is the first car I have driven that I would trade in my 323 GTX on. Thankfully in this case I didn’t have to make that choice, I get to keep both.

Derrick

Catalysts for All!

Now I know what you may be thinking – WHAT? We don’t need no steenking catalysts. But ya see, that’s the rub – those track days at the ‘ring are lots of fun, but you’re not fooling anyone when the people in the lunch line at Laguna Seca can smell your exhaust. I’ll be the first to say that catalysts serve a great purpose and beyond the evils of over-restrictive cats on stock vehicles, can be a great addition to any performance vehicle.

At CorkSport we have been listening to you, our customers, and there seems to be an interest to have the performance of a racepipe without the foul, eye-scorching smell of fuel every time you cold start the vehicle. Well, you’re in luck – we’ve recently found a source for high quality metallic substrate catalysts in a compact yet high flowing 410 stainless steel package and we plan on offering a range of products that provide these catalysts as a configurable option with our current line of racepipes.

Catalysts: How they work and their failure modes.

A catalytic converter is a device resembles a muffler or resonator – basically an enlarged section of your exhaust system that has a honeycomb structure held inside of it. The honeycomb is then coated with a substrate that creates a chemical reaction based on heat and any unburnt fuel in your exhaust system. Anyone who has used a propane space heater – the kind that glow and don’t really give off any tangible flame – has seen a catalyst at work. Substrate and brick/insert design is relatively straightforward – the more surface area you have, the more efficient the catalyst is at burning unburnt fuel. In the search for more surface area, the density of the honeycomb increases – as does restriction of the system.

This honeycomb comes in two forms – a metallic stainless foil version and a ceramic version. Based on the manufacturing process, the ceramic version must be retained in the canister with a fiberglass or vermiculite packing material around the circumference of the ceramic ‘brick’. In rotary and turbocharged applications, this material often deteriorates from excess heat and pressure allowing the ceramic substrate to rotate and/or crack.

Our catalysts

Our catalysts utilize a 200 cell metallic substrate design and have the honeycomb material all the way to the wall of the canister without any additional packing material that may deteriorate. The metallic spiral is held in place mechanically from either end to prevent movement. The canisters and tubing are made of 410 Stainless Steel and all carry a 5 year manufacturers warranty.

New products

To start with we will be offering the RX-8 Power Series Racepipe in a single resonator/single 65mm catalyst configuration (as well as a single or dual resonator configuration). We’re in the process of doing the first production run on these and hope to have them out in the next two or three weeks.

The next product we will be working with is the Mazdaspeed3 Racepipe with 80mm high flow catalyst, this should be available in the next month in production quantities.

Finally, we are also working on Mazdaspeed6 Racepipe with 80mm high flow catalyst.

Drop me an email if you’re interested in getting in on these products hot off the mandrel – we’ll have a handful of pre-tested prototypes and then full production runs of all of these products within the coming months.

Jason

Introducing the Corksport 2010 MazdaSpeed 3

I have to admit at first glance the Mazdaspeed 3 looked a little “off” with the smile in the front bumper.  After spending quite a few hours with the car I can tell you with a straight face, you don’t even notice it. This may be different on a Mazdaspeed 3 that is not Black Mica like ours, where there is a bigger contrast in color between the car body and the bumper insert.

What I can tell you for sure is that cleaning the front bumper is not a lot of fun.  Bugs get wedged in the strakes inside the insert quite easily and at weird angles. You have to get down low to get them all out of there. The wheels are not bad to clean nor is the rest of the body. The rear wing is an interesting design, it is basically a smaller wing with another wing over it.

Driving the car is great. The car seems to be planted better on the road compared to the older Mazdaspeed 3. I had a chance to go through some decent corners and get on the throttle a bit.  You can feel the differential really pushing the outside tire to get you through the corner.  It is quite a rewarding feeling having the car urging you to go faster. The car almost begs you to take a corner as fast as you can.  The only two initial changes I would make to the handling are to make the Mazdaspeed 3 a little flatter in corners with some larger sway bars, and lower it around an inch or so to close up the wheel gap. The Dunlop SP 2050 tires seem decent but I have not had a chance to really push them to the limit to see what happens.

The exhaust note is very subtle and is quieter than the older Mazdaspeed 3 stock exhaust.  You get a a small hint of the flat exhaust note but not a lot. The dual tips are also much nicer than what the pre-release pictures showed. The angle of the tips matching the bumper contour was a nice design touch as well.

There are a few items I wish Mazda would have given the North American market. Being that the sport model is the only version available we were not able to get the HID headlights and LED tail lights with the car. We’ll have to wait and see what kinds of options become available and see about changing the lights out with something better.  On the plus side this is the first car I have had to actually “speak” with the car to setup the Bluetooth, and for making phone calls.  The navigation works well from the limited places I have driven so far. I really love the boost gauge. It is a nice throwback to the old style of the turbine boost light from the 323 turbo.

So now that we have the car what are we going to do with it? Maybe a better question is what we are not going to do with it. We have quite a few projects planned for the new car.  If you want to follow along with updates to this project and other CorkSport products be sure to sign up and follow us on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/corksport or click the “Twitter” buttons above and below.

Derrick

First Look: RX8 – Power Series Dual-Resonated Racepipe

RX8 Racepipe

The last week has been a lot of fun here at Corksport. We have been working on developing a cure for High Decibel Situational Tourettes Syndrome, which effects a certain percentage of enthusiasts who run a non resonated racepipe in their RX-8.

Our latest solution is a dual resonated Power Series Racepipe for the ’04-’10 RX-8. Incorporating a 140mm primary resonator and a 100mm secondary resonator with 61mm exhaust tubing, the resonated racepipe improves exhaust flow dramatically while keeping the decibels at a level reasonable enough to avoid spontaneous profanity from drivers and spectators alike. Think your racepipe is too loud? Check out this video clip of the Power Series Dual Resonated Racepipe and with Power Series Cat-Back Exhaust on our ’04 RX-8 and let us know what you think:

Like all of our Power Series exhaust products, the Dual Resonated Racepipe for the RX-8 incorporates only the highest quality materials and manufacturing methods.  Featuring T304 stainless mandrel bent tubing, stainless oxygen sensor fittings (one for the stock oxygen sensor and a secondary unit for the use of a Wideband O2 monitoring & datalogging system), T304 resonators and flanges. All connections are TIG welded with 308 stainless rod to ensure good weld penetration and attractive finish on the weld bead.
We’re hoping to get a handful of these systems out on the street in the next month and we’ll keep you posted as soon as they’re available to the public.

We’re also entertaining the possibility of incorporating a high flow catalyst into the system to keep emissions to a minimum.  This will be a 108mm spun metallic substrate catalyst replacing the secondary resonator.  If this is something that would interest you, let me know by dropping me an email.

Next week: Short Ram Intake Cold Air Box Performance Results & Analysis for the Mazdaspeed 3 and 6.

Jason