“Hey Bro, what flares are those?” A common question asked, not that I blame anyone for their curiosity.
This is a very niche platform in the grand scheme of things. So we don’t really get lots of options when it comes to widebodies or flares etc. Those of us who have been crazy enough to chop into our ¼ panels had to trust what we think will look good, cross our fingers, and just send it. Some of us get lucky, some of us don’t. I wasn’t in it alone though, I had help from a few friends, and some inspiration. So, here’s the story on how I flared my Mazdaspeed 3.
My good friend Brian over at BMSPEC has a well-known Mazda 3, named “Circuit Heart” Which just recently has gone into retirement. He was one of the first to ever put flares on the Gen 2 Mazda 3 body, and for years I said I wanted that look. When He decided to let go of his old Volks, I had the opportunity to take possession. With his direction, I ordered fair lady Z flares from that were originally meant for a 240Z.
I asked my local Nator Buddy Aaron Maves if he was down to help me chop up my Mazda and lend me a spot in his garage. Ironically enough, he was a stoked to be a part of the project, probably more than me. Once my flares came in, I got them dropped off at the body shop to be paint matched and started hashing out a plan. Since I work all day long, and flares are a rather tedious process this was going to be a strictly after work job and it ended up taking quite some time to get done. But the wait, blood, sweat, and tears were worth it.
Here is a little step by step process we took to get it done. If you are looking to ever do this to your Mazda, it may either motivate you or deter you away.
Step 1. – Test Fitting
This part is very critical, and one of the most difficult. You have to Mock up the flare to be as perfect as possible. Usually, since the flares we try to use on our Mazda’s, they don’t exactly want to line up where we want, and we need to motivate them a bit to do so. Painters’ tape by itself will not be enough to hold it where you need. The way I got around this is by using 3M Double Sided VHB tape on the back of where the bolts will go, paired with the painter’s tape. Since these flares weren’t made for this Mazdaspeed3, I started out on my front driver side fender. Once I got it where I knew I wanted it, I opened up pandora’s box. I drilled my pilot holes into the fender, no going back now. That’s not even the worst part, because now I had to make all 4 corners symmetrical (No pressure or anything).
Matching every corner is not an easy task, and also something that is often messed up. All I can say is triple check everything, and then do it again. We had to find reference points on the Speed3 itself to measure from. The ground below could be slightly inconsistent. Not only because the floor may not be perfectly level, but because the floor jacks may be slightly different as well. Choose about 4 points to measure from so you can get an accurate X/Y axis measurement to link to the other side. You’ll want the fronts to be identical, and the rears to be identical.
Step 2 – Rivnuts
Now that we have drilled pilot holes in all 4 corners. We opened them up enough to accept the riv-nuts. This will be the threaded inserts that allow you to bolt the flare to the Mazda. We had to open the hole up slowly, stepping up the size of the bit each pass. Doing this prevents the thin metal from fraying and making sharp edges around the hole. You want the riv-nut to sit as flush as possible, so the flare sits close to the body.
In this particular case, I used ¼ – 20 sized bolts, so I opened op the flare with a ¼ hole and bolted the flare on for a final fitment check.
Step 3 – Cutting
The most intense part of the process now begins. My buddy Devin Sorter who is a fabricator/welder came through to help with this. He’s very skilled with a cut off wheel, and I knew I could trust him to make some solid cuts that are symmetrical and clean.
With the flares mounted up, we drew the line for the cuts. Remember you not only have to give yourself enough clearance for the bumps on top, but for steering in the front as well. During this process, part of the bumper clip will have to be removed as well. This isn’t a problem though since the flare itself acts as a support and keeps the bumper from sagging, even with the splitter on the front.
Step 4 – Sealing the rear ¼ Panels
Since the ¼ panels in the back aren’t just 1 layer like the front, when you cut into them there is now a gap between the layers that are left open. Even though my Mazdaspeed isn’t driven in the rain, it still leaves the car open and vulnerable to getting moisture in there and eventually causing corrosion. To prevent this, you need to stitch weld the panels together and then reseal it. Once the welding was complete, we used silicone to seal it all in and protect it from the elements. We also put some weather stripping on after the fact to prevent any harsh rubbing on the wheel in case the Mazda bottomed out or the tire somehow traveled up high enough.
At this point, the Mazdaspeed3 was done, and I bolted on the flares. The gasket you use between the flare and the body is up to you, there are lots of options out there.
Thanks for checking this out and stay tuned for part 5!
If you haven’t heard already, the CorkSport Dyno Day and Summer Event was a blast with food, friends, raffles, a Show-N-Shine, and the continuous string of dyno runs. The highlight of the dyno runs came when one of the CorkSport Engineers, Barett, put his car on the rollers. With a few minutes of warm up and anticipation building, it was finally time to see what the “CorkSport Speed” could do.
Getting past the ecstatic crowd to see the dyno screen showed an impressive 620whp/530wtq. Now, whether you were at the show or not, you may be wondering what Barett’s setup is to support these numbers. It’s not a short list but is simpler than you would expect.
In this blog, we are going to layout the WHOLE build to show you how your Mazdaspeed can make 600+whp.
The engine was built by CorkSport in preparation for setting up the Dankai Engine Program. It features Manley Connecting Rods and Platinum Pistons, head work very similar to the Dankai 2 Built Longblock, along with the CS BSD (balance shaft delete) and CorkSport Camshafts. Holding the block together are L19 head studs and ARP 2000 main studs.
To get the air in and out of the engine efficiently we have an assortment of bolt-on parts and some prototype parts because what kind of CorkSport R&D car wouldn’t have some prototype performance parts on it? To break this down in the simplest way possible we have laid out a full build list:
600hp Mazdaspeed Build List:
- CorkSport Built Engine:
- CS HPFP Internals
- Cobb Accessport
- CS Intake Manifold (Coming Soon!)
- CS 72mm Throttle Body
- CS 3.5” Intake
- CS FMIC w/Big Core
- CS GEN1 Crashbar
- CS Dual VTA BPV
- CS CBE Exhaust
- CS Prototype “Bigger” Big Turbo (Check out pics below!)
- XS Power Exhaust Manifold (Soon to be replaced with a CS Prototype Exhaust Manifold)
- Depo Racing Catless Downpipe
- Other Essentials:
Now, this isn’t the complete list, but it does lay out most of the essential parts to get your Mazdaspeed over 600whp. You might have picked out a couple “prototype” mentions in that list above…well we can share a bit on the new CorkSport Turbo. You’ve seen the power it can make…and it still has some more left in it up top, now check it out some sexy billet and massive turbine.
Lastly, none of this power would be possible without the fuel to support. As you may know already, the OE direct injection fuel system taps out around 380whp on an efficient build so how do we make another 240whp? Auxiliary fueling is the key my friends, and we recently posted a blog to help you explore Methanol Auxiliary Fueling that I invite you to read. To stay focused on Barett’s 600+whp build we have made an auxiliary fueling build list below:
Methanol Auxiliary Fueling 600hp Mazdaspeed Build List:
- AEM Boost Based Pump Controller
- Snow Performance 5 Gallon Cell Trunk Mounted w/CS Prototype Mounting Bracket
- AEM 80 micron in-line filter pre-pump
- ProMeth 220psi Pump (Essential for flowing this volume of methanol)
- Snow Performance Solenoid
- Devil’s Own 1in/4out distribution block
- 4x Devil’s Own 90degree nozzle holders
- 4x ProMeth Compact Check Valves (Essential for proper AFR control between shifts)
- 4x Devil’s Own D07 Nozzles (One per intake manifold runner; each flowing ~10gph)
Despite that this auxiliary fuel setup is providing the fuel required to support just over 600whp; it is at the ragged edge of what can be supported. Looking at the dyno graph further up you can see torque decline after 6000rpm and horsepower go flat. This is due to the auxiliary fuel system reaching its maximum fueling capacity and thus forcing us to reduce boost pressure as engine RPM goes past 6000rpm.
At this power level, true port injection auxiliary fueling is the correct step to take. Lucky for you guys and gals, we are currently exploring this path with our product R&D. We plan to give you guys and gals a full breakdown of our experience and how we built a full port injection auxiliary fuel system that can support over 600whp.
AND…I forgot to mention one very critical aspect of this entire build. Professional Tuning! This specific build was E-Tuned on the CorkSport in-house dyno by Dale Owen of Gem Tuning. E-Tuning is a great way to set up your car with the tuner that is the best suited for your platform and vehicle build because it doesn’t require the tuner and the vehicle to be in the same place at the same time.
Hang tight for more on the PI Auxiliary Fueling and thanks for tuning in with CorkSport Performance.
-Barett @ CS
Well guys, I am back with a part 3. I apologize in advance for the delayed release of the 3rd chapter, but the Mazda was out of commission for a bit getting some stuff reworked! That being said, we can now pick up where we left off in part 2!
As I started to settle into my new stake at CorkSport, I started adding on lots of new goodies. At the beginning of the new year of 2017, I got to throw on our prototype Stage II RMM and get rid of my old one for some testing and feedback. Not only did the vibes decrease substantially, it also held the powertrain better and was helping my wheel hop significantly. So while I was at it, I threw on a Lower Tie Bar to help even further, knowing I had plans in the very near future to make over 400 Whp.
It was now Feb. of 2017 and I knew I was wanting to reach my new power goal by Summer. So, I talked to my tuner, Erik with Drama Tune, and scheduled to fly him up here in March to dyno tune the car. I had every single piece needed to complete the 400+ Whp puzzle.
The last missing piece was fuel. At this point in time, I had two options, Port Injection or Methanol Injection. Given, that I only needed a little more fueling head room freed up I went with methanol for ease, and price. For those that are curious, I purchased the Snow Performance Stage 3 Kit.
I started installing the kit at the beginning of March 2017. Since I was going to be putting bungs into the FMIC piping, I got the kit powder coated as well. I installed one small nozzle right off the cold-pipe of the intercooler, and another large nozzle right before the throttle body. I left a couple inches to help the alcohol atomize. The total amount I was spraying between the two nozzles was approximately 1000 CC’s of 100% Meth as we were using it for Fuel.
So, with the car ready my Tuner flew up and we got my car on the Dyno! Keep in mind my car is a stock bottom end, so I knew I was going to be playing with fire a bit. The general rule of thumb here: If you are on a stock bottom end and want to push the car in this fashion, always have a backup plan ready in case the engine gives out.
By the end of the session, I had 3 maps from Erik:
Pump Gas: 340 Whp
E85 Blend (3 Gallons): 390 Whp
Methanol Injection: 430 Whp. (e85 still in the tank for added knock resistance and cooling)
The torque was kept down as much as possible at 380 Ft-lbs @ 4700 RPM. So, the stock rods definitely were not in danger. Ultimately if the block were to give out in this situation, it would more than likely be the piston rings. The stock Piston Rings do not like high heat or harsh temp changes. So, the best thing you can do pushing 400+ hp on the stock bottom end is to allow time between pulls for everything to re-stabilize. This will ultimately increase the time you have before it ‘Splodes. Because, if we are being honest with ourselves, at that power level, its always a matter of when, not if with the stock block.
So, this is how my MS3 has been for the last year or so power wise. Built block will be in the future soon. But on this next part, I’ll dive into some cosmetics details that I’m sure a lot of people wants to know.
*Hint* “Hey Bro what flares are those”
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!