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

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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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

2017+ Mazda CX-5 Turbo Lowering Springs are Here!

We are proud to announce the Sport Lowering Springs for 2017+ Mazda CX-5 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 CX-5 looks great, but a functional drop gives it just what it needs to look even better. 

Shop all 2017+ CX-5 Parts

Let’s get right to the point…ride height. The CX-5 looks great but it needs a drop and dropped it we did. Being an SUV, the factory ride height is pretty high up so we were able to make a significant drop while still keeping your SUV functional and practical for a daily driver.  

These springs offer a drop of about 2.1 inches front & rear. We chose this height as it offers a great new look without sacrificing any of the daily drivability of the Mazda CX-5. 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. 

Driver + Rear Passenger

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 (Haha we know it’s an SUV). Also, we stiffened the rear springs more than the fronts, reducing understeer. By number, this meant 3.4K front springs (17% stiffer than OEM) and 7.0K rear springs (32% stiffer than OEM). 

CorkSport

While this may sound like a big jump, they ride very similar to the OEM springs. We used natural frequency analysis and referenced our spring designs from earlier CX5 models to ensure we achieved comfortable characteristics over bumps. The spring rates we chose fit well with the stock shocks and struts to prevent any bounciness, plus, the 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. 

2017+ Mazda CX-5 Lowering Springs – FWD & AWD

Lastly, the CS Sport Lowering Springs are made from high tensile strength spring steel and come with pre-installed spring isolators to eliminate any unwanted noises common with lowering springs. With that, we are introducing our new CorkSport Blue powder coat 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. 

Thanks for checking out the new lowering springs for the facelift 2017+ CX-5. Check out our product listing for more details and images!

  • Barett @ CS

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.

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.

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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! 

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

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

4th GEN Mazda 3 SRI

4th Gen Mazda 3 Power

We are proud to announce our first product specifically for the 4th GEN (2019+) Mazda 3: the CorkSport Short Ram Intake. Gain horsepower, torque, and some much needed sound from your 2.5L SkyActiv-G in only about 30 short minutes. Features include an AEM dry-flow filter, a billet machined MAF housing, a custom designed reinforced silicone coupler, and stainless steel T-bolt clamps that combine to be a great and simple upgrade for your new MZ3. Read on for more details!

Increase horsepower in your 2019+ Mazda 3 with the easy to install Intake
CS Short Ram Intake

We’ll admit this intake has been a bit of a challenge since Mazda has switched to a new style of MAF sensor that is very sensitive to changing the intake. We’re happy to report that we’ve figured everything out and have had 5 cars successfully testing the intake for hundreds of miles with no issues. Now, onto the fun stuff!

Let’s jump right into the fun stuff: power! By removing the restrictive factory intake and filter, and replacing them with the CorkSport SRI, we were able to pick up 5-7WHP and 5-7WTQ when tested back to back on our dyno. This was tested within an hour or so of each other, with no tuning changes, and with the only change being the intake swap. Check out the dynograph down below! For both intakes, the only other mod on the test car was a prototype CS axle back exhaust (coming soon!). This will not affect power gain from the intake as it was installed for both tests.

Dyno proven power gains for your 4th Gen Mazda 3
CorkSport

Power is not the only benefit though. The CS short ram intake offers a great visual boost to your engine bay. You can even personalize your intake as you can select between red, blue, and black silicone and filter as well as polished or black clamps. Appearance is not even the best part-the CorkSport intake adds some much needed growl to the engine to give some more excitement when you get on the gas. It’s not obnoxious, but noticeable and definitely enjoyable.

The CorkSport Gen 4 Mazda 3 SRI installs in 30 minutes
Check our 4th Gen parts selection

To make the power and great noise, each component in the CS SRI has been optimized for performance. Starting at the filter, an AEM Dry-Flow is used for fantastic air flow capacity without compromising filtration. A non-oiled filter is used specifically to prevent issues with the MAF sensor.

Next comes the billet MAF housing. We use a precision machined MAF sensor housing to ensure the diameter of the intake near the MAF sensor is an exact match to the OEM diameter. This keeps fuel trims in check and keeps the check engine light off. A billet MAF housing has the added benefit of looking great, especially when finished off with an attractive laser etched logo.

We have 3 color options available for the 2019+ Mazda 3 intake
CorkSport Short Ram Intake

The MAF housing connects to the throttle body with a custom designed and reinforced silicone coupler. It is a perfect fit with the OEM throttle body and valve cover vent hose while the four layers of nylon braiding keep the silicone strong for years to come. This piece of silicone has the added benefit of being completely smooth on the inside versus the accordion OEM rubber piece. This helps promote flow into your engine.

Finally, all of the components are tied together with stainless steel T-bolt clamps. These clamps offer superior sealing characteristics over a traditional worm gear clamp and are not prone to stripping like a worm gear clamp.

Mazda3 Gen 4 Performance Air Intake System
CorkSport SRI

The CorkSport GEN4 Mazda 3 Short Ram Intake is finally here and it’s a great upgrade to start getting your 2019+ 3 to perform as good as it looks. Be sure to check out the product listing and video and don’t hesitate to give us a call with any questions!

Skyactiv 2.5T Intake Heat Shield

OEM Look and solid performance power gains for the Mazda 6 Turbo

We’re back with another product for SkyActiv 2.5T owners that a lot of you have requested after getting your CorkSport SRI. Introducing the CorkSport Heat Shield for 2018+ Mazda 6 Turbo, 2019+ Mazda CX-5 Turbo, and 2016+ Mazda CX-9! Cool down your intake air temps in two ways: by blocking heat from the engine bay and by using the OEM ducting to draw in fresh air. This allows your turbo system to breathe just a bit easier, especially during hot days or if you’re stuck sitting in traffic. Plus, it makes the CS SRI look like a factory option performance part!

Read on for full details and be sure to give us a call if you have any questions!

Isolates heat from the Mazda 6 turbo SRI

We really focused on keeping cool air around the filter with the CorkSport SkyActiv 2.5T heat shield. The shield was carefully designed to seal the intake off from as much engine bay heat as possible. This meant a complicated 2 piece design that is riveted together. We also designed the shield to work with the OEM air ducting. This directs cool outside air to the filter, further reducing intake air temps. The shield is also left open to the area in front of the tire, underneath the headlight. We found that this area gets some fresh air during driving as well, further keeping air temps down.

Cx9 Turbo cold air intake heat shield
CorkSport Heatshield

Now what benefits does cooler air offer? The basic generalization is that since cooler air is denser than warmer air, your engine can ingest more air per cycle, and make more power. When a car is turbocharged though, this gets a little more complicated as you have a turbo that compresses and heats up your intake air and then an intercooler that cools down the boosted air before even getting to the engine. What that means is that the “colder air will make more power” generalization may not hold true, especially with how advanced modern turbocharged vehicles have become. What colder intake air does offer you is a less stress on your turbo system. Colder air means your turbo does not have to work as hard to flow the same amount of air at the same boost pressure. In addition, colder intake air can translate to slightly cooler air exiting your turbo and heading to your intercooler, taking some stress off the intercooler as well.

Cx5 Skyactiv 2.5T Performance airbox
See the video

Enough theory, let’s talk results! In both daily driving testing and in torture testing on the dyno, we found decreased intake air temps with the CorkSport Heat Shield installed. When cruising or when it’s cold outside, we were actually surprised at the low intake temps of the CS SRI alone—there’s actually a surprising amount of fresh air that gets into the engine bay. Where the heat shield really comes into its own is when sitting stationary or driving on a very hot day. That’s when we saw our biggest improvements in intake air temp.

While we did not see any notable changes to horsepower, our torture testing on the dyno really shows what a worst case scenario would look like for intake temps. Check out the graph below that compares the CS SRI alone vs. the CS SRI and heat shield combo. This is a little exaggerated due to decreased airflow on the dyno but is similar to what your engine could see when sitting in traffic on a hot day, then accelerating back up to speed.

Performance Skyactiv 2.5T air temp data
CorkSport

The CorkSport Heat Shield is made from laser cut and precision formed carbon steel. We chose carbon steel for great strength and lower heat transfer than aluminum. For corrosion resistance, the heat shield is finished off with wrinkle black powdercoating. This coating also gives the heatshield a great look that helps it blend in with the rest of the engine bay and make the intake system look like a factory performance part! The two sections of the shield are attached together using stainless steel rivets for a great look and long lasting strength. Lastly we include rubber edge seal to keep as much heat out as possible, and to prevent any vibration or unwanted noise.

Mazda Cx5 Turbo Short Ram Intake OEM Look
CS Heatshield

If you’re looking for the next mod your Sky 2.5T or have been holding off on the CS SRI until there was some heat protection, check out the new CorkSport Heat Shield. We are even offering a package deal! If you purchase the heatshield and SRI together you will save $20.

For early adopters of the CS SRI, we have not forgotten about you! We are also offering the same $20 discount on the heatshield for a short time. When placing your order, enter coupon code heatshield20, and in the customer notes, enter your original SRI order number. BAM – $20 Savings!

Finally, we’ve got some new silicone colors coming for the CS SRI! They aren’t quite here yet but if you’re looking to add a splash of color in your engine bay, wait just a bit longer! That’s all for now, be sure to check out the product listing for more images of the heat shield and give us a call if you have questions!