Diagnosing Lean Air/Fuel Mixture Codes

What Does It Mean?

At CorkSport we are glad to be a source for help with those that have questions about their Mazda. I personally enjoy helping with drivability problems or Check Engine Lights! P2187 is a good example of a common code in the Mazda world. Especially those with Mazdaspeeds. “System too lean at idle.” Now you may be asking, what does this mean, and how is it fixed?

There are other lean codes all of this could apply to; this is a typical example.

It’s quite easy to figure out yourself, and I’ll be walking you through the simple procedure to track down the cause! Using my Mazdaspeed 3, we will go through some of the diagnostic steps of Boost Leak testing, and touch on some other common causes of a lean at idle code.

Let’s get started!

AFR/Fuel Trims

AFR – Measured by your primary 02, your air-fuel ratio is vital to watch and monitor if you are modding or trying to make more power.  Your Mazdaspeed is tuned to hit certain AFR targets, and relies on the 02 sensor and the MAF Sensor (Mass Air Flow) to adjust fuel delivery accordingly. However, there are things that can interfere with how these sensors communicate with the ECU, and if this happens, it will throw your system out of whack.

Examples are vacuum leaks, boost leaks, leaking nozzles/injectors, exhaust leaks, etc.

Fuel Trims – The measurement of how much your ECU needs to adjust fuel delivery. There are two kinds of fuel trims.

Short Term Fuel Trim (STFT) – Cars immediate Reaction To AFR Fluctuations, and responsible for keeping LTFT in check. This is constantly switching around. At Idle you should see close to 0 once it settles. Meaning that the RPMs are not fluctuating, and its steady.

Long Term Fuel Trim (LTFT) – Cars long-term reaction, which will change over time-based off how the short terms are doing. When you get a custom tune, your tuner will do what’s called a MAF calibration, to get this number as close to +/- 0 as possible. The less your ECU has to correct its fuel delivery the better.

Anything (-) means it’s taking away fuel, so the AFR’s its seeing are slightly richer than what it thought they would be.

Anything (+) means its adding fuel, so the AFR’s are slightly leaner than it should be. If you are seeing high or pegged STFT, the ECU is trying it’s very best to correct AFR to target.

How To Fix

Now that you have the basic understanding of what these mean, it will be easier to read the Accessport and see just what is going on. You will be able to watch how the computer is compensating for whatever the problem is, and be able to make a more educated decision on how to track it down.

Assuming the issue isn’t caused by something on the exhaust side, the most popular method would be the boost leak test. Creative name, right?

You can make one of these testers yourself, and it only costs a few bucks. All it consists of is a properly sized (And closed off) PVC section that you clamp onto your intake using a silicone coupler. It looks a little something like this.

 

Notice that there is a Schrader valve on top (Tire valve) This allows you to pressurize the system with air. You can use a bike pump or an air compressor. Obviously, the air compressor will be a bit easier as you can fill it up much faster.
Pinch off the line running from your intake to your valve cover or oil catch can, you don’t want to be forcing air directly into your crank case.

Attach the coupler to your intake, and start filling it up. Take small intervals to listen for any air escaping. You will want to ensure that the pressure your system holds is above or equal to your boost target.

If you hear air coming from the seal for your VVT solenoid on your valve cover, this is normal.

Once you start hearing excess air escaping, or your gauge on the air chuck is not showing that it’s holding steady pressure, then you know you have a leak. The best way to visibly spot the leak is by spraying the suspect area with soapy water. It will reveal the leak as shown.

In this case, it was an FMIC coupler. However, these leaks can originate from a bad vacuum line, stuck open BOV, bad gasket. This method will expose any of these things.

What If It’s Not This?

If you have tested your system and found no source of a leak, then the next obvious things would be to inspect your MAF sensor, O2 Sensor, EVAP Solenoid, and exhaust system.

MAF – Sometimes these sensors fail, or get dirty. Cleaning them can sometimes render results but not always. Take it out and inspect it for grim or build up on the wire. MAF cleaner can be purchased at your local parts store.

O2 Sensor – Sometimes O2’s can get sleepy or go bad. Typically, when they do go bad, the readings are a bit more all over the place, or extreme. But it does happen sometimes.

The one responsible for AFR is an expensive Wideband sensor, so unless you’ve tried everything else, don’t throw money at a new one unless you’ve eliminated other variables.

EVAP Solenoid – This is responsible for allowing gas fumes from your EVAP system to be purged into your induction system to be burned off. However, the solenoid can sometimes be stuck open, and allow unmetered air in at the wrong times. Check to see if air passes through, or swap on a friend’s and see if it fixes the problem!

Exhaust – Cracks in the manifold, or downpipe before the 02 can trip up the sensor, thinking there is more air in the mixture than there is. The stream of the exhaust can pull in air from outside and confuse it. Look closely and listen for an exhaust leak. It’s typically easy to distinguish the sound.

 

Check out our latest CorkSport youtube video to catch a little more detail on this subject!

If all else fails, our staff at CorkSport is here to assist you over the phone the best we can for any of your Mazda or Mazdaspeed needs. Give us a call anytime for quality technical support at 360 260 2675.

Regards,

Brett@CS

 

Mazda 3 TCR

Mazda 3 TCR

An interesting article popped up a few days ago in which a John Dagy a journalist with Sportscar365 was discussing the TCR class of car with John Doonan who is the head of Mazda Motorsports program.

I have been following the TCR series for a while now with some interest in it as the car Mazda offers which fits best is the Mazda 3, and I enjoy the time I have had racing CorkSport’s Gen3 Mazda3.

What is nice about the series it is meant to race four-door saloons, all with a 2.0 turbo motor and a price capped ceiling of 135,000.  Most people would freak out a bit with that price but what you are getting is a fully developed car with a spec sheet.  Each manufacturer designates a builder whether it be themselves or a shop to assemble the cars and provide support.

Mazda is in an interesting spot, they have their successful Global MX5 cup series and the IMSA Prototypes with Joest, but there is a middle ground hole that has been filled with the older NC Miatas.  With the NCs not being a current production model, it makes sense to get something in there to fill in the blanks.

 In the past, Mazda had used the Mazdaspeed 3 as the basis, and it did well capturing the championships in PWC and IMSA ST class, but the lack of a turbo model makes this a challenge.

One option out there would be to use one of our upcoming 2.5 Skyactiv Mazda 3 turbo kits and bridge the gap so to speak to have a powerplant.  Granted the turbo kit is for the 2.5 but with enough encouragement and feedback from people, the 2.0 kit is looking likely.

 

Work on some aero and really good suspension, and you would be set.  Maybe I am just daydreaming too much at work again….

-Derrick

 

How to make 400 WHP…

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.

Don’t Be That Noob Guy!

Don’t Be That Noob Guy!

Herrrrrro CorkSport family! This is Luke blogging for you from CorkSport HQ.

I was out doing some logs about a week ago for my tune, and my Mazdaspeed3 started to not boost the way that it should. So I got curious, popped the hood, and found something I normally wouldn’t discuss publicly, yes it’s a bit embarrassing, but hopefully, it will help prevent future issues for someone else.

Before I ruin my reputation with this, I wanted to make sure and point out that everyone makes noob mistakes, and I wanted to bring some of these to light. Perhaps with the only outcome being a good laugh at my expense, and perhaps a learning experience on Mazda troubleshooting for the token few.

Dipshit Dipstick:
Well, here it ladies and gentleman. I had not fully put my dipstick back into the tube the last time I had checked my oil, and when the car started to make all the boosts, the dipstick popped out and shot engine oil all over the engine bay. Not only is there a chance of hot oil igniting in the hot engine bay, but engine oil on top of the block is a pain in the ass to clean off. So here I was with oil all over my engine, and the decision was made to go to the car wash to clean it off.

Don’t Be That Guy – the “Dipstick Dipshit”!

So after experiencing that noob mistake, I decided that anyone who is new to the Mazda platform might need a few “Don’t be THAT GUY” tips and tricks from CorkSport’s team and customer stories. Would love to hear yours if they’re not included… I’m well aware this isn’t an exhaustive list of Noob Mistakes.

Gap Bigger Than The One In My Teeth:
When you start modding a car to make more power, there will always be something that needs to be added to run well. In this case, the noob (anonymous to protect reputation lol) had bought a set of NGK spark plugs under the assumption they came pre-gapped. Slapped them in the Mazda, went to do logs, and the car started to stutter under wide open throttle. Pulled the plugs to realize the plugs that were thought to be pre-gapped… weren’t. They were .044 when they should have been .026. The lesson here is always to make sure and check your gap. Don’t Be The Guy With the Gap!

No Soldier Left Behind:

Have you ever worked on your car, and then six months later find a nice surprise in the engine bay? It happens around the CorkSport Design Shop when we have too many hands on the project. We have all been there, where you popped the hood of the Mazda, only to see that you had left a nice 10mm socket in between the coil packs, or a socket head just under the hood.

I have even lost a pair of pliers; to find them about a year later stuck to the hood latch. The only time I have ever left a tool in my engine bay, and not forgotten about it was when the hood would not latch properly, which is a good indication you’re leaving a soldier behind. That forced me to find out what was wrong. Don’t Be That Guy That has a Tool Set Under The Hood!

Drinking Jose When It Should Be Patron:
When driving a performance enhanced Mazdaspeed, we all need to make sure and feed our ladies with the best type of liquids. When we don’t do that, the women can become upset and not drive properly, and they’re not quiet about it that’s for sure. I have never personally made the mistake of giving my girl the wrong type of liquid, but I have seen it happen before.

Make sure to get all the quality fuels! Don’t Be That Guy That’s Too Cheap To Pay for Good Drinks!

Just remember that everyone makes mistakes, however, just as long as you keep these things to yourself then you will be fine ☺ Just kidding, but really, now that you know… don’t make these silly noob mistakes!
Cheers,
Luke

The First and Only Performance Mazdaspeed Throttle Body with NO Sacrifices

The First and Only Performance Mazdaspeed Throttle Body with NO Sacrifices

Many have tried, but few have succeeded to retrofit or modify an existing throttle body to work with the Mazdaspeed DISI MZR platform.

As you know, CorkSport does things a little differently, and as a result, we started from the ground up to create the best performance throttle body possible with no sacrifices to drivability or reliability. Introducing the CorkSport 72mm Throttle Body for 2007-2013 Mazdaspeed 3, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed 6, and 2007-2012 Mazda CX-7.

Starting from the ground up means 100% brand new parts, no reworked or refurbished components anywhere.  

We start with an aluminum investment cast body that is made to our specific design specifications.

A flat faced throttle plate is added to gain a little bit of extra flow by avoiding the bump of a traditional round pivot shaft.

Finally, new electronics are added that are based upon OE logic to avoid any tuning and calibration issues.

To retain easy installation, we knew we had to keep the OE bolt pattern. With this, we wanted to maximize the throttle plate diameter for maximum flow. We ended up increasing from 60mm to 72mm. This may not sound like a huge increase, but the OE Throttle Body fits inside the CorkSport Throttle Body with plenty of room! The 72mm size also fits well with both 3” and 2.5” intercooler piping to fit almost any TMIC or FMIC setup. Finally, we did away with the OE gasket (which is too small anyway) and replaced it with a durable O-ring that will hold up to oil, gasoline, methanol, and other fueling options that it may come in contact with.

The CorkSport Throttle Body underwent extensive testing to ensure that it will not fail during daily use and to ensure it performs as well as we expect. The throttle plate underwent endurance testing to validate the D-shaped pivot can stand the test of time. During flow bench testing, we found that the CS TB flows about 150CFM (~33%) better than the OE throttle body when 75% open (accelerator pedal fully depressed).

Check out the graph below for the full data.

In daily driving testing, we noticed better throttle response with no CEL or choppiness. In power testing with a midsized turbo (~GT30 size) we found the throttle body caused faster spool, but when we moved to a big turbo, things got interesting. With a GT35R, the CorkSport Throttle Body caused 100-200RPM faster spooling and an increase in power. Check out the dyno graph down below to see the difference between the CS Throttle body (blue) and the OE throttle body (green).

Each throttle body ships with fresh stainless steel mounting hardware, a 3” stainless t-bolt clamp, and your choice of silicone. We have options for FMIC, MS3 TMIC (which also works for you CX-7 guys), and MS6 TMIC.

If you’re looking to take your Mazdaspeed3, Mazdaspeed6, or CX-7 to the next level, or squeeze that last bit of power out of your big turbo build, the CorkSport Throttle Body can help you meet your goals.