How to make 400WHP… a tried and true Method
The MZR DISI engine has been around for just over 10 years now, and CorkSport along with the community, racers, shops, and enthusiasts alike have learned quite a bit about these engines. We have learned what they like and what they don’t. How they react to certain mods, how to maintain them, and also some of their weak points.
Among the many things we have learned, we have developed a great understanding of what is needed to get these engines to make power. More specifically, with the right set of bolt-on parts and tuning one can easily and safely make 400WHP on a stock bottom end of your MS3 or MS6. The torque will just need to be kept under control of course.
It’s not a secret or rocket science on how to achieve this power level in a Mazdaspeed3 or Mazdaspeed6, and it is very much doable.
Today I want to share with you a simple blog on just one way of doing just that. If you would like more in-depth information on some of these parts after checking out this blog, I suggest picking up a copy of our Ultimate Mazda Performance Guide. This simple read is packed full of information for 2004+ NA and Mazdaspeed models and is a great place to start for guys that are new to aftermarket performance and modification game.
Disclaimer up front.
There are certainly many variables that can come into play when trying to achieve 400WHP safely such as health of your engine, quality of engine tune, octane rating of fuel, engine management software and more. This is by no means an all-inclusive guide and the only way of making this level of power. What this, however, is a tried and tested method of making good power safely and reliably coming from years of experience doing it ourselves and helping the community. We have spent years and years developing this platform and continue to do so on a daily basis. What I aim to do is educate you guys on how you can make the most of-of your MZR Engine.
Now before we get too ahead of ourselves, there are two modifications that are a must before going down the 400whp quest. Those are high-pressure fuel pump internals and a tuning solution such as those provided by COBB or Versatuner.
Now while inherently in themselves these parts do not increase hp and tq levels they are 100% necessary to achieve not only safe and reliable power with your Mazdaspeed, but give you the ability to make the most out of your hard part modifications. A high-quality tune is worth every penny, and when paired with things such as the intake and exhaust mentioned above you will not only have a reliable and smooth running car, but you can capitalize even more so your parts and net more horsepower.
The DISI MZR 2.3 T is not much different than any other gasoline direct injected engine that you would find on any modern automobile.
Air goes into your Mazdaspeed, it combines with the correct ratio of fuel, and the mixture gets compressed. From there, a spark event occurs that ignites a controlled burn, forcing the piston downwards. Exhaust gases then leave the Mazda, and the cycle repeats with new fresh air. So in an oversimplified matter that is all an internal combustion engine is just a glorified air pump with more bells and whistles. And one of the best ways to make a really effective air pump is to make it as efficient as possible in moving air in and out of the cylinders.
For that reason, it’s best to start at the front and back of our car to help give it a little breathing room.
It’s no secret that intake and exhaust systems are among the most popular first upgrades for any automobile and it’s for a good reason. Letting air in and out as easy as we can is a great first step to make power and free up restrictions, especially on a factory turbocharged vehicle. The OEM pieces are more concerned with emissions and pricing rather than performance.
So, stepping up to 3” or 3.5” intake for your Mazdaspeed, paired with a turbo-back exhaust will help to help free up some headroom in the exhaust system. Achieved by doing things such as: increasing our overall pipe diameter and either eliminating our catalytic converter or replacing it with a high flow race cat we reduce a lot of restriction, so the engine doesn’t do as much work. Since we are effectively making its job easier; we are now able to take more of that power stroke and translate it into much more power at the wheel, rather than having it consumed by products such as waste heat, noise, and vibration.
Those two mods alone can net you an easy 50+Whp (With the proper tuning) which is huge looking at your dollar per horsepower figures. Note the exhaust systems are different between the 1st and 2nd gen Mazdaspeed models. (Mazdaspeed3 has 2 generations that have slight differences, meaning not all parts are compatible across the two models)
Now another great way to make more power with your Mazdaspeed, and to get us closer to 400whp, is to increase the level of boost pressure that we start running through our engine. OEM boost levels are around the 14-15 PSI. But once we have our intake and exhaust installed on our Mazdaspeed, our tuning solution can allow us to start increasing that level into the 19-21 range.
But, of course, a natural byproduct of increasing the pressure within our system is a rise in intake air temperature. To be able to make the most of our increased boost levels, we must keep our temperatures in check. A great way of doing that is upgrading to a larger TMIC or go a step further and upgrade to a large FMIC core. By doing this, we create a way to get rid of excess heat which allows us to make more stable and efficient power. Not to mention that the stock TMIC is also a terrible bottleneck so this will free up the extra flow as well.
The intercoolers primary function is to act as a heat exchanger, and we know that heat is the #1 roadblock to any engine to make more power. The more efficiently we can remove heat from the system the better. Having less overall heat in the system allows us to make more power safely and reliably as ‘knock’ is also reduced.
Now that we have a good way of getting air into our MS3 or MS6, out, and keeping cool, we want to be able to make more of it. A nice and easy way to be able to do that is by dropping in a turbocharger upgrade into your Mazdaspeed. Doing this easily replaces your factory undersized unit and allows us the potential to make some serious power. We can generally do one of three things once this happens.
#1) we make the same power on less boost
#2) we make more power on the same boost
#3) we make way more power on WAY more boost!!!
If we are shooting for 400whp, then we generally like to choose door #3.
A quick note on a pair of other items that we highly suggest/need at this point. Those items being a 3.5 bar MAP sensor and an electronic boost control solenoid (or EBCS). Once we start to increase our boost pressures north of 21psi, the OEM electronics begin to lose resolution and can negatively affect our tuning if not addressed.
By upgrading our MAP sensor we are now allowing the PCM to be able to recognize and look up higher boost targets than those equipped from the OEM, the computer can basically now record and accurately look up these values. We also upgrade our EBCS to allow more fine tuning of our maps and boost targets. An OEM EBCS just won’t allow us as fine of control of our boost pressure and that can cause some headache as we start to approach these higher levels.
With the above combination of mods and proper tuning on a healthy engine, a medium frame turbo on pump gas can get you into the 330-340whp range.
If we go another step further and open up to some more breathing mods such as an intake manifold, taller lift camshafts, or a larger throttle body we can stretch into the 350-360hp range.
That being said without the help of e85 or aux fueling we can’t go any closer to our 400whp mark. We simply hit the limits of the Mazdaspeed factory fuel system and need to look into upgrading that system as well.
Making the switch over to e85 allows us to get in the 380 range, but we soon run out of fuel injector headroom in the Mazdaspeed at this point and max out our injector duty cycle. We then have to look at aux fueling (Meth or Port Injection) as a solution to get us to our 400whp mark safely. What’s unfortunate is that at this point we are also looking at upgrading our hard parts such as our in-tank fuel pump to keep up with demand if you plan to run PI. There are quite a few options for AUX fueling which are beyond the scope of this blog.
Now, as mentioned this is not the only way of making these power levels, but it could be said that it is one of the easiest and most popular. It’s important to remember that along way we supplement the engine with other supporting mods to ensure we are safe and can make full use of our power. Things like lower heat range spark plugs and a stage 2 rear engine mount can go a long way.
Thanks for following along and feel free to leave us a comment if you have any questions or want some more specific information on a product.