A car club by any other name is just a group of enthusiasts getting together to celebrate their gains, reach out for support, gather advice and inspiration, and ultimately find a reason to connect.
With Mazda clubs, specifically Nator Clubs, there is a LOT more to it than just the benefit to you as a single person.
We recently sent Kim out to the Epic Nator Meet in Robbinsville, NC, to ride the trail of the dragon, reach out to the Mazda community, and just generally bring her personality to ignite the shenanigans at the event. If you’ve ever had the “pleasure” of meeting or hanging out with Kim, you know what we’re talking about. You never know what will be said, how loud it will get, or how late into the night the event will go… especially if there’s a campfire.
She came back with some good info, great shots, and some awesome stories that reignite our LOVE of the NATOR MAZDASPEED CLUB and the Mazda community as a whole!
From the moment she started to plan her drive from Richmond, VA, she was able to connect with a fellow west coast transplant, and make the drive in her rental following the Mazdaspeed booty. Stopping for coffees, food, and to refuel it was an awesome drive all the way to Robbinsville, NC.
Pulling in, the hotel parking lot was already full of Mazda’s, and what a sight for sore eyes it was! Good friends from Canada, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Maryland, and so many other places! For those who had come in during the week, running the Tail of the Dragon had still not gotten old, and Mazdaspeeds were coming back from mid-day runs for dinner.
Nights filled with good friends, talk of cars, and connecting to just catch up were the basis of the meet, and hopping from one car to the next to get feedback and different set-ups and parts was awesome! No need to drive the Dragon in a rental when there are so many built Mazdas around!
We got reports of the spirit of the Nator Mazda community still being alive! With part swaps and repairs in the parking lot – all hands on deck, pickups on trailers for those with bigger issues, and unfortunately we saw the spirit of Nator in having one another’s backs as people as well! From fender benders to a hospital run to keep our squad safe and healthy!
There is nothing, and we mean it, absolutely nothing better than seeing what the Mazdaspeed Nator club is capable of when it comes to supporting one another, donating to a cause or raffle, and just genuinely having a great time!
Keep an eye out, as we will be sharing about our trip to the Mazda Takeover Event in Idaho very soon, and hosting our own event at the end of summer. There is very little that tops the feeling of being connected to a core group of Mazda enthusiasts, and from West coast to East coast, we do our best to stay connected and keep the spirit of the Mazda Community running deep!
Until next time, stay safe, stay fast, and stay happy my friends!
WHY GET INVOLVED IN THE MAZDA COMMUNITY?! June 14th, 2018CorkSport
Ever sat in your garage looking at your Mazda and starting thinking about what a different color, a new wheel choice, or even some colorful accents would look like on your ride?
Without Photoshop skills, this is usually simply daydreaming without being able to see it in the flesh. Plasti dip can change that by giving you a cheap and easily reversible method to try out a new look on your car. I thought I would share my experiences with plasti dip, and give you all some tips and tricks to help you personalize your ride.
In case you haven’t heard of plasti dip, it started out as a thick paint-like coating that tools were dipped into to provide a rubberized handle for better grip. Eventually, it was put into spray paint cans to make it easier to apply to larger areas. Because it has a rubber-like quality, once it is applied and fully dried, it offers good protection but can also be easily peeled off when the original color or finish is desired.
Check out the wheel below in the middle of getting dip removed – it almost comes off like a vinyl wrap.
Plasti dip comes in a ton of colors so it makes it really easy to get exactly what you want. All the “base” colors come out as a matte finish, however, there are top coats that can give a gloss, metallic, or even a pearlescent color changing appearance so you can usually find exactly what you are looking for.
From my experience, the horror stories you hear about plasti dip are from those who are not using the product correctly. To help you avoid these headaches, below are some tips and tricks that have really helped me during my dipping ventures.
If it’s easy to remove; remove it! For wheels especially this makes it so much easier to make sure you get in all the nooks and crannies. Plus, you have to do a lot less masking. For any Mazda that has the front emblem recessed into the grill, remove it-masking is a pain and there are only 4 clips that hold it in.
Leave glued-on emblems on the car. These are a pain to remove and then reposition. If you clean your paint well enough, the dip will peel right off and “cut” itself around the emblem. Give yourself about 1”-2” around the edge of your emblem before your masking. The video below is also a great example of one of the pearlescent colors.
Prep, prep, and more prep. The cleaner your surfaces are the better quality your dip job will be. More protective, better looking, and longer lasting dip all come from good prep work. Using a good degreaser that doesn’t leave any residue works best. Also, make sure parts are completely dry before starting any plasti dip application.
Use the notecard trick for wheels. This works better if your wheels are off the car. Instead of masking the tire, place notecards between the tire and outer edge of the wheel. This gives good protection for the tire while being much quicker to apply and remove than tape.
Apply plenty of coats. This is one of the biggest reasons people have issues removing plasti dip-not enough layers! Your first layer should be a dust coat with pretty poor coverage. Then you should have at least 4 coats on top. These later coats should be wet coats-that is, apply the dip pretty heavy so you have an even, glossy/wet appearance for each coat.
Other simpler tips/tricks:
Get the hard to reach portions of wheels first, and then finish the coat with the face of the wheel for a more even appearance.
Use nickels/quarters in the tapered part of the lug nut holes. This prevents tearing when you reinstall your wheels.
Get plastic “spudger” tools like the ones below. They make it easy to peel hard to reach areas like the inside of emblems without having to worry about scratching the paint underneath.
Do your research beforehand. There is a ton of useful information out there to make sure you get your job done right.
Now, I have mainly done wheels and emblems as they are very inexpensive to do and DIY friendly. There are plenty of people out there who do entire cars though. I would highly recommend getting a proper sprayer and liquid plasti dip to prevent the streaking that seems to always show up when rattle canning an entire car. Even with this added cost, you can get a full paint job for only a few hundred instead of a few thousand.
Where plasti dip can get really interesting is the creativity that comes with it. Personalizing some of the CorkSport parts on your Mazda can really give it that finishing touch. How about a custom color Aluminum Shift Knob that has the added bonus of extra grip? Or even some extra protection for your CorkSport Front Lip or Carbon Fiber Hood Scoop during the winter months. I think some plasti dipped CorkSport Gauges could look great in the right color. That is what’s great about plasti dip though – try whatever you want, and if you don’t like it, simply remove it and try again!
Let us know what you have plasti dipped down below, and include any other tips if you have them!
A Color Change for Your Mazda June 12th, 2018CorkSport
The Mazdaspeed platform is a great place to start if you’re looking for a fun tuner car that offers awesome power to money spent ratio. This holds true until you hit the capacity of the OEM fuel system. If you don’t know it already, the DISI MZR was one of the first gasoline direct injected engines offered in a passenger car. For its time, the Mazdaspeed was a powerful and capable sport hatch right off the showroom floor, however, this type of fuel system quickly reaches it’s limits and is not easily modified for higher power.
In this blog, we are going to take a look at auxiliary fueling with methanol and my personal experience taking this path.
Damn, I’m out of fuel… You got your Speed setup with all the hard parts (aka fully bolted) and finally pulled the trigger on that big turbo. Just a few revisions and your tuner is telling you you’re out of fuel and more or less stuck at around 350-380whp (depending on turbo and octane). It’s time for auxiliary fueling.
Now when considering auxiliary fueling it is critical to consider your goals with the car; the level of complexity and cost are drastically different depending on these goals.
With this power goal you most likely have a fully bolted Mazdaspeed and an upgraded turbo such as the CorkSport 18G. To achieve this power the auxiliary fuel system can be fairly simple. From my experience, a single nozzle with the appropriate flow rate positioned just before the throttle body can get the job done. This setup is very simple, consisting of a progressive rate controller, fuel cell, some tubing, nozzle and ideally a check valve on the nozzle. This will cost you around $450 to get started.
I personally started with the AEM Methanol Kit, but there are many other kits available such as Devil’s Own, Auqamist, Snow Performance, and ProMeth. I recommend doing some research to find the best kit for your needs before jumping in.
Once you break past that ~440whp mark you should really start to consider adding nozzles. There’s a couple ways to do this.
First, you could maintain your basic system by adding another nozzle with a splitter and another port in your intercooler piping, just before the throttle body. This can get you close the 500whp mark but is not ideal as you will need to run two very large nozzles. With nozzles, this large the fuel has difficulty atomizing and instead can condense into relatively larger droplets. This is not ideal; however is only the added cost of a splitter and nozzle.
The other option is running a single nozzle on each intake manifold runner. Check it out below.
By doing this, you can now run a smaller nozzle that will atomize much better, but since you have four nozzles you can still flow the appropriate volume for your power goal. However, with this nozzle location, we have made a drastic design change to the system. In a pre-throttle body set up the nozzle never see vacuum, however once located in the intake manifold they will see vacuum which requires additional components to operate correctly.
To avoid the risk of hydro-locking your engine and awful driving characteristics, we must add a check valve to each nozzle and a solenoid controlled valve to the hose that feeds the nozzles. Check valves (which you see a close up of in just a bit) allow fuel to flow in only one direction. Along with that, a properly design check valve will have a crack pressure (minimum pressure to allow flow) that is slightly greater than the vacuum force in the intake manifold. A solenoid is a valve that opens and closes and is controlled by the controller. This allows fuel to flow only when commanded by the controller.
Let’s take a closer look at the nozzles and distribution block necessary for a per-runner nozzle setup. Looking at the nozzles you’ll see silver cylinder between the nozzle and the black fitting that connects to the hose. This is the check valve. A simple, but critical part of the system for proper function. Up towards the top of the image, you see a single hose entering a black block along with four separate hoses leaving the block to each nozzle. This is the distribution block; this can be configured in many ways, but more or less it allows you to direct fuel to each nozzle from a single hose.
So, as you can see moving to a per-runner setup includes a lot more complexity and cost. This added cost is approximately $300 on top of the methanol kit you already purchased and not including an intake manifold that is already setup for nozzles. You could cut a little cost by using nylon tubing versus stainless braided hose, but not much.
It’s also worth noting that the pump that comes standard with most kit will not flow enough fuel to support just under 500whp, so depending on your goal you may need an upgraded pump as well. If this is the case I would recommend the pump from ProMeth only because it’s the only pump I’ve found that truly flows more.
At this point, I would simply recommend moving to a true port-injection system. Like the per-runner nozzle setup, a true port injection setup sprays fuel in each runner, but the systems, in general, are very different. Since port injection alone could be a couple blogs on its own I will give the quick and dirty here. A true port injection setup uses conventional style gasoline injectors that control flow amount directly in the injector itself. This allows much more precise control and reduces a lot of risks. However, the cost is much higher starting around $1500-$2000.
Lastly, I wanted to mention some things I love about the using methanol for auxiliary fueling. Methanol is expensive, about $8-$12 per gallon which is a real bummer, but it does not get used for all driving situations. You don’t use the methanol unless you are pushing your car to the point that the extra fuel is needed.
The methanol is contained in a separate fuel cell like the image above verses in the OE fuel tank. Therefore it’s only used when you want to use it. Unlike E85 blends or other exotic fuel that must be mixed and/or used through the standard OE injectors and therefore used for all your commuting.
I hope my lessons learned were useful for you and your exploration into methanol auxiliary fueling. With that, I sign off.
-Barett @ CS
Auxiliary Methanol Fueling for Your Mazdaspeed June 7th, 2018CorkSport
A year ago we were all complaining at Mazda saying “where is the forced induction?” and it looks like Mazda was listening.
First up is the Mazda 6 turbo which Mazda has priced to sell as you can get into a GT Mazda 6 turbo for $29200. Granted there is no manual gearbox but I can say first hand they are fun to drive and the torque from the boost is really addictive. I find it hard to not want to screw with people in the 6 since it has no visible exterior queues that it has a turbo. I will say we have already been tweaking on the car and found that it does respond well to modifications.
Second up is the SkyactivX which Mazda says will be available later this year. This engine is supercharged to allow it to be an HCCI engine, aka compression gas motor. The forced induction setup is pretty tricky and the initial look I have done with it I get we can crank it up a bit more to improve the efficiency of the intercooler to give it more heat capacity to allow you to use the boost longer in the car for high performance driving. Until it shows up we won’t know for sure but we are looking forward to trying it out.
Third is the Mazda 6 diesel which uses 2 turbos. Mazda tried to release the 6 in the past but when they couldn’t match what VW was doing they declined to just “Send It” as the car didn’t perform as they needed it to and still hit the emissions targets without urea injection. Later we all found out VW was a cheating bastard which kept us from having the Skyactiv diesel engine here to crank up the boost on. About every publication in the planet has posted up about the 2018 Mazda 6 diesel being seen in the EPA parking lot for testing along with a pile of other diesel models. This is a good sign if Mazda says it will pass the US emissions and handed one over to the EPA we can expect it and soon.
I am going out on a limb here and saying that besides the announced Mazda 3 Skyactiv we are going to get something fun in the new Mazda 3 ~ a year after the initial release. If you are reading this Mazda, please give us a Mazda 3 GT with a turbo motor.
3 Turbos and a Supercharger for Mazda June 12th, 2018CorkSport
You may have seen some funny looking parts floating around on the CS channels that did not look like the typical aluminum or steel parts you install on your Mazda or Mazdaspeed.
These plastic parts are made through 3D printing, a method we use often in R&D to really understand the ins and outs of a part. We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on our 3D printers so I thought I’d run through what they are, how they work, and what we use them for.
3D printing is quite a simple process even though it may not seem so to start. In normal manufacturing, you start with a block of material and cut away portions until you achieve the shape you want. In 3D printing, you add material (usually plastic) layer by layer until the shape you want is achieved.
For a lot of 3D printers, including both of the CorkSport printers, you can visualize a hot glue gun attached to a robot. The robot controls where the “glue” is extruded and once the first layer is complete, the robot simply moves the object downward slightly and another layer begins. The second layer attaches to the first and you slowly gain height and shape until your part is completed.
This method is uses plastic “filament” as the material fed into the machine. Think of a spool of wire but instead of being made of copper, it’s made out of a recyclable plastic. This material is fed into the machine where it is melted and extruded like the glue in the above analogy. Other 3D printers use liquid resin that is solidified layer by layer or a powder material that gets bonded together layer by layer. The image below shows an almost empty vs brand new filament spool for our large 3D printer. To give you some scale, that is a 4 inch inlet air filter next to them– 10kg is a lot of filament!
We have two printers at CorkSport, a large Gigabot, and a small MakerBot 2X. The Gigabot can print anything that will fit in a 2-foot cube which is more than enough space for the majority of CorkSport parts. The MakerBot is much smaller, only about 9.5” by 6” by 6”. We typically use the Gigabit for most of the R&D testing and the MakerBot for making cool stuff for you all! However, the MakerBot uses a different plastic material that is stronger and more resistant to heat, allowing the parts to be tested on a running Mazda (albeit for a short time).
Barett and I use our 3D printers as tools to aid in R&D. We can take apart directly from a design in SolidWorks to a physical object extremely easily. Once we are happy with a design, it gets saved as a “mesh” made up of hundreds or thousands of tiny triangles. This is imported into a “slicer” program that does just as its name says: slices the part into layers. The part information as well as the settings for the print is exported to an SD card, which we use to upload the information to the printer.
Once we hit “print” all we have to do is wait. Smaller parts like brackets and fittings can be printed in an hour or two while large parts like manifolds or intercooler piping can take multiple days. 3D printers enable us to start a print on a Friday afternoon and leave it like this:
When we show up on Monday, the print is complete, ready for a test fit, and looking like this (Mazdaspeed 6 FMIC Piping):
I can’t express enough how much easier it is to have a physical part to test fit than to try to measure in all of the awkward angles and spaces that exist in a Mazdaspeed engine bay and hope your design will fit.
Having the capability to make a quick and inexpensive prototype to throw on a car can save countless hours and headaches down the road. This is why we use 3D printers so extensively: it makes producing great parts for you all so much easier. Some of our manufacturers even use our 3D prints to help understand the part, help with quoting, and even use them for mold/jig making. At CorkSport, our 3D printers are used almost as much as our 10mm sockets!
I’ve just scratched the surface on 3D printers, their uses, and capabilities so, if you have any questions post it down below!
3D Printing at CorkSport May 24th, 2018CorkSport
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