3rd Time’s the Charm

We all know the saying the 3rd time is the charm and this year’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs was no exception to the rule.  The past 2 runoffs I have not made it to the finish.  In 2016 at Mid-O I was hit on the first lap and punctured my left front tire.  At Indy, I retired as we developed a fault in the ECU from some beta software we were running and the car dropped into limp mode and I wasn’t able to maintain full throttle.  

We have been working on the brakes for the past 3 years and during the season it limited us from running the car as much as we like.  We have also been chasing a fault/error with the ECU/control system of the car. We were still able to get the car enough starts and race finishes to get qualified for the runoffs in Sonoma.   Granted the car was not happy at most of those races and it was a struggle to get the finish.

2 weeks before the runoffs we sorted out the ECU problem and were confident enough in the car to race it.  The backup plan was to race my Spec Miata if we couldn’t get the Mazda 3 fixed as I ran it this past season as well and had enough starts/races.

With the Runoffs at Sonoma it was within 1-day driving distance unlike the past 3 runoffs at Daytona, Mid Ohio, and Indy so I got to try out the new (to me) truck and trailer.

I had raced at Sonoma one time prior, so the track wasn’t totally unknown like Mid-O and Indy, which all I had was simulator time so I was able to get up to speed quickly on a test day and find out what I needed to work on for chassis setup and driving.  The driving was easy to adjust, look at the data, see where the driver was sucking and had to man up to keep a foot to the floor in some sketchy corners.

The car, on the other hand, had what we call “a good problem to have”, too much power.  We have been running a torsen style differential in the car which works pretty good in a straight line and relatively flat tracks.  Sonoma is not a flat track which unloads the car 3-4 times per lap. With the Mazda 3 and the amount of torque it makes means I was unloading the tire enough for it to spin the inside tire.  Most people think what is the big deal with a little tire wheel spin? It is a problem when you enter turn 10 at Sonoma at 97MPH and you start lighting off your right front tire. Look at the picture below and you can see that front inside tires is barely on the ground and the rear isn’t.  The speedometer would jump around and you could see the right front wheel speed turning at 5-10 mph more in the data.

We tried several suspension changes and driving style changes to make the best of it but in the end, we were way off the pace by 2-3 seconds of the rear wheel drive cars in the class.

The good part about not being at the front of the field, there was zero stress when race day came.

Like any race there was a fun challenge, we would be heading into turn 2 blind as the race was at 4 pm in the afternoon and the sun would be shining directly down the hill.  Since I wanted to see the end of the race I a little cautious at the start and Ali in the other Mazda 3 got around me at the start.

We fought it out for 8 laps and he went into turn 6 too hot and I was able to get under him and pass him on the inside.

After a few laps I put a 4-5 second lead on Ali I was basically in no man’s land, slower than the front guys and faster than the back half of the field so I spent my time working on tire management (it is easy to overheat your left front tire at Sonoma) and made it to the end of the race.

My official finishing place was 10th but after some adventures in tech, I was moved to 9th in the final results.  This isn’t where I wanted to be by any means but the 3rd time was the charm and I made it to the end of the race.

Huge thanks to the support we get racing the car from CorkSport, BFGRacing, Monarch Inspections, G-Loc Brakes, and Mazda Motorsports.

 

Derrick Ambrose

Exhaust Scavenging

In this blog, we are going to SHOW a demonstration of exhaust gas scavenging.  Instead of a lengthy blog full of text, we’ve opted to create a video that demonstrates the effects of exhaust gas scavenging for both good and bad designs.  

We will be comparing the prototype CorkSport performance exhaust manifold, developed for the Mazdaspeed 3 and 6, to the OE exhaust manifold.  

Exhaust gas scavenging within a manifold is the process of one cylinder runner, pulling (aka scavenging), the exhaust gas from an adjacent cylinder in a continual cycle.  Now enough talk, to see an awesome example and an awful example of exhaust gas scavenging check out the video below. BONUS! Not only do you get to see what optimal scavenging looks like, but this is also the first sneak peek of the CorkSport Performance Exhaust Manifold…

Video Link: https://youtu.be/RtydboDbwpQ

We hope you found this as interesting as we did!  Stay tuned as we continue developing the CorkSport Performance Exhaust Manifold for the Mazdaspeed platform.

 

-Barett @ CS

Safely Upgrade Your Mazdaspeed Turbo

It doesn’t take long for those building power to use up the stock K04. They are prone to fail, especially when you start shoving that extra air through it. A common question is, “My Mazdaspeed is smoking, is my turbo bad?”

First things first. There is a BIG difference between replacing a bad turbo and upgrading to a more efficient one for more power. If you want to replace it, go with OEM and just plug and play, you’re good to go, wash your hands and get on with your life. This will have your car up and running pretty quickly. However, your maximum power output will be limited and you will eventually have the same problem – the KO4 will fail.

If you are saying to yourself, “It’s time to upgrade…I NEED more power in my life!” Then this blog is for you. Below, we lay out the basics needed to successfully install a CorkSport Mazdaspeed Turbo, highlighting the required supporting modifications to keep your Mazdaspeed safe. And as an added bonus, we keep our installation instructions on each of our product pages, so you can preview how easy the install will be for your experience level.

Here it is, the list is comprised of the BARE essentials to run the 18G CorkSport turbo.

 

HPFP INTERNALS

Giving you 50% more efficiency with your fueling system, as well as, a strong base to build power for your Mazdaspeed. The CorkSport Max Flow Fuel Pump Internals are built to directly replace your stock fuel pump internals and perform with immediate improvements.

CorkSport fuel pump vs. competitors

ACCESSPORT (or VERSATUNE if you have a CX-7)

The Cobb Accessport will give you the basis for tuning, and since this is required with the CorkSport turbo – you’ll want to make sure you have this in hand and ready for when you install your turbo.

These are the basic foundation to our Mazdaspeeds, without these two items you cannot operate your Mazda after installing an upgraded turbo.  You will need your Mazdaspeed tuned, and your tuner is going to say the same thing.

That’s it, that’s all you need to run the CorkSport Mazdaspeed turbo safely. With this proper foundation, you can put yourself in a position for efficiency, or more power.

Now the question is do you want to make it go fast and harness the power that this turbo is built for? Keep reading and we’ll provide some other awesome upgrades that are the next step once you have your turbo installed and running.  Oh, and if you are looking for a proven path to make 400WHP, check out our Chasing 400 WHP Blog here!

CorkSport Upgraded 3.5” Intake

The CorkSport turbo is rated for up to 450WHP with the right set up. Unless you are going for the MOON and shooting for over 700WHP a 3.5” intake will be more than sufficient for this turbo. Giving you some extra airflow to increase your power range, and harness what your Mazdaspeed3 is capable of. Note: Will require additional tuning!

 

CorkSport Mazdaspeed Downpipe

Doesn’t matter if you go with a high flow catalyst or opt-in for one without, the choice is yours. However, if you want to utilize its flow you are going to have to upgrade to a bigger diameter. Our 80mm one does really well, plus it sounds GREAT.  Note: Will require additional tuning!

The CorkSport Cat Back Exhaust System gives your new 2016 Miata the power it needs without the annoying drone.

CorkSport Cat-Back Exhaust

It’s no secret that car engines are just big air pumps, the faster you can shove air into the engine and how fast you can expel it efficiently is what it takes to make more power. No need to run the stock 63.5mm exhaust when you can run our 80mm (like to wake up the neighbors every morning, go with our non-resonated, you can’t beat the cold start)

CorkSport Top Mount Intercooler

If your power goal is 450whp or less you can get away with just upgrading your TMIC and be on your way and they look great in your engine bay.  Note: Will require additional tuning!

If you have the 2nd gen you can really utilize that hood scoop from the factory.  Not only that but you can even see a noticeable performance gain with our larger hood scoop and a TMIC set up.

 

When it comes to your Mazdaspeed we know you want to create safe power and harness the true potential of your ride. Be sure to build upon the proper foundation and head in the right direction for your build. Our techs are available for any questions you have and are ready to assist with planning your Mazdaspeed build path! Any questions – give us a call directly – (360)260-2675, email to sales@corksport.com or leave a comment and we’ll get back to you!

Tuning – What Are Your Options

Pretty much since I joined this platform, I’ve noticed a pattern of people asking the same questions about tuning their Mazdaspeed. There is a lot of information out there, but it’s not always consolidated or easy to find. So, in the effort to assist newcomers, this will be a write up explaining the ins and outs of tuning; when you need it, OTS vs. Pro Tunes, and how you can proceed.

*There are other options for tuning the vehicle besides the Cobb Accessport, such as Versa Tuner. But, for the ease of explanation throughout this blog, I will be referencing the AP*

What Is Tuning & Why Do You Need It?

Without getting too elaborate for this specific blog, “Tuning” is just the remapping of the tables in the ECU from OE specs to something different. It is a key aspect of your car’s engine health and the easiest way to make more HP. You can even tune a bone stock car and will typically see gains, especially when they are boosted from the factory. Bolt-on parts free up even more headroom in airflow, and when tuned accordingly you make even more power. The relationship between bolt-on parts and a tune is a beautiful thing, and hopefully, by the end of this blog, you will understand how they work together.

“So when should I get a tune?”

I’m so very glad you asked that! Well, let’s look at it like this… Mazda spent a long time getting their factory tune for the Speed 3 as good as possible. But they dialed it in around one set up, and one set up ONLY. That’s 100% OEM parts. In this form, the ECU knows what to expect, how everything should respond, and most importantly when something is wrong. It doesn’t have a mind of its own though, it only knows what it’s been told. So, if other parts in the system are replaced, and the ECU isn’t told how to react to that, things start to get a little weird.

The ECU has an ability to adjust itself within reason for variations in fuel, oxygen content, etc. But in a perfect world, it shouldn’t have to adjust itself at all. Tuning for the mods you do will not only let you have more fun, but it will get it as close to this perfect world as possible.

Minor things like an intake upgrade (Retaining stock MAF) BPV, or Catback usually won’t throw off the ECU enough to cause problems or CEL’s but it’s obviously not ideal. That being said, its best to get an Acessport or another means of tuning your Mazdaspeed prior to putting on bolt-on parts.

So here is a basic FAQ

“I want to add a turbo back exhaust, but I don’t want to get an AP and tune the car. Can I do that?”
– No, you are not able to do this for two reasons.

  • Deleting the factory cats opens a huge restriction. Without a tune, the car will risk overboosting.

  • Without fuel pump internals you also risk running lean and blowing the engine. Even if you have the internals with no tune, the drivability of the car can suffer because of how it affects the turbo.

“Can I get an intake with no tune?”

  • If its factory size, then you can usually get away with it. The turbo isn’t trying to make more boost, and the MAF housing should be accurate to the OE. If it’s a larger one like our 3” or 3.5” then no, you cannot.
    However, I always recommend tuning the car.

“Can I get a catback with no tune?”

  • Yes, you will be OK, the catback is not monitored by any sensors, and you’re not deleting any cats.

“Can I change my intercooler without a tune or fuel pump internals”

  • You should not. Just like the cats on the downpipe, the factory intercooler is a restriction. The ECU currently is tuned to fight this restriction to make a specific boost level at a specific RPM. If you remove this restriction, and you don’t tell the ECU, you risk over boosting. Over boosting mixed with no fuel pump internals can be a risky combo for running lean as well.  

“Can I upgrade my turbo without tuning the car?”

  • Definitely not, any turbo that moves more air than the factory one automatically needs a tune. The ECU is tuned to coincide with the factory compressor map. If you don’t want to tune for a turbo, make sure you get a factory replacement. These are just some of the common questions we get, but if you have more specific scenarios you can always email or call us! On to the next section.

OTS maps vs a Pro-Tune

I remember when I first got my hands on an Accessport. Trying to make sure I selected the right map and learning how to read all the parameters. I know a lot of newbies that are just getting an AP probably are asking themselves which OTS tune is the right one to use, and when should they get a Pro-Tune and how.

It’s no news to anyone that’s been in the community for a minute that the Cobb OTS maps are not the best Long-Term Solution. The reason for this is because they are:

(A) Very conservative, and not letting you get the full potential you can.
(B) Meant for a large population of cars, and aren’t really dialed in. Essentially, they are just rough around the edges.

 

However, OTS maps do serve a purpose. For someone who is planning on doing their basic bolt-ons in stages over the course of a few months then it works out well. These maps can be viewed as basic stepping stones “Stage 1, Stage 1+, Stage 2, Stage 3, Etc” that allow you to put on your first bolt-ons and flash the corresponding tune. So, as you are putting on your fuel pump internals, intake, downpipe, Intercooler, you can flash those readily available maps.

 


In a nutshell, the OTS Maps work great during the transitional phase of your modding Journey. But, once you know you are done with your bolt-ons for a bit, that’s when you want a map that is 100% dialed in, and specific for YOUR car. The difference between a custom tune and the Cobb OTS maps are truly astonishing, and you’ll see once you’re there.

Something to also note….

If your K04 ‘Sploded and you are looking at a larger turbo, an OTS is no longer an option, it’s off the table. Cobb made those OTS maps solely for a factory turbo’d Mazdaspeed. If you buy a bigger turbo like ours, a Pro-Tune is needed (along with fuel pump internals)

“Don’t I have to get the car on a dyno in order to get a Pro-Tune? There’s no Mazdaspeed tuners in my city!!!!”

If you’re not one of the lucky ones that live by a Mazdaspeed tuner, then fear not. The days of having to get it on the dyno to get a tune or over. With the Accessport, Maps are sent/downloaded over email.

To Start the process, you need to:

  1. Buy the tune

  2. Give them your full engine Mod List

  3. The tuner will instruct you on taking your Data Logs

  4. Over the course of a few weeks, you will go back and forth with new tune revisions and the car usually gets smoother and faster with each revision.

By the end of this process, you will have a dialed in tune and a smooth-running car. But, please note that if you add another part to the car or change parts. You may need to get a revision tune done to account for the new mod. Talk to your tuner about this and get their thoughts.

Recap

I hope that this helped some of you to better understand the processes you should take, and to wrap it up we will hit some of my main points.

 

  1. The first mods you should get for your Mazdaspeed if you plan to mod it is the upgraded fuel pump internals and an Accessport

  2. If you just want to run an SRI and a catback, you can get away with it, but a tune is Recommended.

  3. You should NOT run a downpipe without fuel pump internals or a tune.

  4. OTS maps are great during a transitional time with your car while bolting on parts. After this, you should get a Pro-Tune

  5. You shouldn’t run a larger turbo on the stock map or on an OTS map. Communicate with a tuner before the install and have a new base map ready.

  6. Pro-Tuners are able to tune you, even when they aren’t local.

 

To conclude this blog, it’s important to know how critical the proper tune on the car can be. It can make or break the engine, literally.

If any of you still have questions, you can always give us a call, and remember to have fun as you begin your journey down the path to making power, and giving WRX’s the L.


Happy Boosting,
Brett@CS

 

Intake Valve Cleaning – A Dirty Job Made Easy

Introducing the CorkSport Intake Valve Cleaning Kit. While designed specifically for the DISI MZR engine found in the Mazdaspeed 3, 6, and Mazda CX-7 turbo. Our kit is versatile enough to be used in a variety of direct injected (DI) applications and alleviates many of the pain points associated with cleaning your intake valves. For an explanation on why DI engines need their valves cleaned, check out our blog on cleaning Mazdaspeed intake valves. Read on as the CorkSport Valve Cleaning Kit could make your next maintenance job much easier.

Despite its interesting appearance the CorkSport Valve Cleaning tool was carefully designed for ease of use. Starting at the large end, the cone shape was selected to accommodate a wide variety of vacuum hose sizes (1.50-2.5- inch OD) – it even works with the oblong-shaped hose we have in the CS shop! A clamp is included to keep the tool secure on the vacuum. Due to the slightly flexible nature of multi-layer silicone, clamping the hose creates a seal useful to get great suction from the vacuum.

To provide the best fit for both the large and small intake ports of the DISI MZR, the opposite end of the valve cleaning tool also is flared. When in use, this flare compresses slightly, making for another great seal. This keeps the cleaning chemicals, media, and any carbon deposits from getting all over you and your engine bay.

Last but not least is the small diameter offshoot on the side of the CorkSport Intake Valve Cleaning Tool. This is the port for a media blaster that helps make quick work of dirty valves. It is positioned for easy use, where one hand holds the CS valve cleaning tool while the other operates the media blaster. An abrasion resistant hose is included to fit on the end of your media blaster and travel down into your intake ports for direct blasting. Unlike doing this without the tool, you do not have to permanently modify your vacuum just to do valve maintenance.

There you have it, folks, quite possibly the weirdest looking CS product ever created but it’s quite useful!  Check out the listing for more details and to see the CorkSport Intake Valve Cleaning Tool in use.