Drag Racing: Just Like the First Time

Ask any of my friends or coworkers and they will quickly tell you “Barett Loves Curves!”

 I’ve always been the first guy to dive into the corner, hit the apex and power out with just a touch of wheel spin.  My car follows suit with its build; upgraded sway bars, big brake kit up front and the steering wheel to hold it all together.  Of course, my friends were always there with the peer pressure to hit 1320Luke McCarvel being the biggest offender (check out his “Drag Strip Checklist”).   However, one day my opinion changed.  

At some point I realized that I can’t knock it until I try it, so I finally succumbed to the straight line life.

So let’s go through the first line up:  Do a burnout…that was much easier than I expected.  

Ok now roll up to the staging line…don’t be that guy that rolls through and has to back up.  Knuckles white on the steering wheel, heart beating in rhythm with the launch control, closely watching the tree light up…GREEN LIGHT!  Launch…wheel spin to redline. Shift…wheel spin to redline. Shift…try to modulate the throttle, but still tons of wheel spin. Shift…finally the car hooks, builds speed then it’s over in the blink of an eye.  

All that build up waiting in line, doing the burnout, staging, launching and rowing the gears for a few seconds of intense adrenaline.  It was an absolute blast; I couldn’t believe how intoxicating just a single pass was. I wanted more and I wanted it immediately. Back in line, I went.  

My first pass was an awkward 14.37sec @ 119.8mph.  I say awkward because that is a slow ET for the trap speed.  It shows just how much tire spin I was fighting and how much time I was giving up because of it.  With full interior and street tires this was to be expected, however, the crowd thought it was quite funny either way.  

I proceeded to make 3 more passes as the night progressed.  Each time making a small change to the car or to my approach and control of the launch and throttle modulation.   Each pass rewarded me with a small improvement for my efforts. Each pass down the strip left me wanting more from the next pass.

The third pass was the most frustrating of them all.  At the start of the night, I set a personal goal to break into the 12s.  I didn’t know if it was realistic or a complete dream, but I had to start somewhere.  That third pass was also the one that drove me to get my shit together because it teased me with a 13.000sec @ 120.95mph.  So Close!

Alright one more pass, this was the one I could feel it.  30 minutes later I’m staring at the burnout box, line up drop 2nd and get the tires nice and hot.  Pull up to staging next to a real crowd killer (I mean Mustang).  

Yellow… yellow…yellow…….GREEN LIGHT!

Launch…little wheel spin to redline.  

Shift…little more wheel spin to redline.  Shift…modulate the throttle with only a tiny bit of wheel spin.  Shift…now the car really hooks but I’m a few lengths behind that Musta…oh shit there’s the turbo…I’m reeling him in…it’s so closeI fly past him with the rev limiter dancing.

 It’s over…deep breath…that was it I know it.

Now the quick jaunt to the end of the strip then back to the little building and the old guy that’s been racing since flatheads were a thing.  

“Car 610?”

“Yes Sir”

“Here’s your slip.  Is that a Maaazda?”

YES! Hit my goal for the night and the car can still drive me home.  I call that a success.

I parked my car, picked up my 120+mph club sticker and enjoyed the rest of the night with my good friends from Idaho Mazda Takeover.  It was a great night and one I plan to top in the near future.

Anybody have some stock brakes and drag slicks I can borrow?

 

-BS @ CS

Auxiliary Methanol Fueling for Your Mazdaspeed

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.  

380-440whp Goal:

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.

440-500whp Goal:

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.

500+whp Goal:

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

The Top Five Things YOU NEED to Know Before You Buy a Mazdaspeed

The Mazdaspeed 3 and Mazdaspeed 6 are some of the most unique, exhilarating, and frustrating sport-compacts out on the market today. If you’re reading this, then it’s because you are in the market for a Mazdaspeed or you have one already and are looking for a good laugh. For you are newbies to the Mazdaspeed game…listen up; we’ve got some words of advice and things to check as you are shopping around.  

First, let’s start with the top two must do inspections when shopping around.  

One: Has the car been modified?  If so then what parts are on the car and has it been properly tuned for the parts.  This also means the car should have some type of tuning tool such as the Cobb Accessport or Versatune Tuning Solution.  

Two: You MUST check the engine compression!  This is the easiest way to get the overall health of the engine and know if you are getting a solid Mazdaspeed to start your journey with or a Speed on it’s last leg.  Most auto parts stores can loan an engine compression tool for a small deposit then only basic hand tools are need to do the test.

Now let’s get the top five things you should know before buying a Mazdaspeed.  

Maintenance is KEY, but that’s really not special to just the Mazdaspeed, all performance engines/vehicles, especially turbocharged and direct injected ones, will require a higher level of care and cost when it comes to routine maintenance.  This means better quality oils, oil filters, premium grade fuel, and an acute awareness of the vehicle itself; if you’re ready for that than let’s move on.

Next up are the three “not if it happens, but when it happens” about the Mazdaspeed engine.  

The variable valve timing (aka VVT) system is prone to failure from the factory so this should be on your radar for an upcoming replacement.  You may get lucky and find a car that has had the VVT system replaced, but I wouldn’t plan out. It’s a medium difficulty project that can be done over a weekend and cost around $400 in parts. If you are not mechanically inclined, it is going to be expensive to have a shop perform the work.

The poor little OEM K04 turbocharger just never had a chance on the 2.3L DISI MZR engine!  Sadly, the OEM turbocharger is an honest to gosh ticking time bomb. The OE turbo will fail at some point and need to be replaced.  Fortunately there are a lot of exciting options on the market to take you and your Speed to the next level. For example check out the CorkSport Drop-In Turbocharger.  It bolt’s in like OE, but packs a punch in the performance department, supporting up to 450 horsepower. Note: Updating your turbo requires tuning.

Lastly for the Mazdaspeed quirks; the high pressure fuel pump internals (HPFP).  Like the name states, these parts provide an upgrade for the camshaft driven high pressure fuel pump so your engine does not experience fuel starvation during wide open throttle (WOT). These are absolutely required if you plan to make in modifications to the engine that would increase power and for any performance tuning.  Honestly, we recommend the HPFP internals for 100% stock Mazdaspeed as well because the drop in fuel pressure is even an issue for stock cars.

So you read all that and you’re probably thinking “damn I’m not buying a Speed, sounds like a total PITA”.  Well hold on, I didn’t mean to shine a poor light on the Mazdaspeed platform, but it does have its quirks to overcome.  However, after those few concerns are taken care of the platform is A LOT of fun and probably one of the best bang-for-the-buck sport compacts available.  Just a few thousand dollars can net you a Mazdaspeed around 350whp and more smiles than you’ll know what to do with.

The last thing you need to know before you buy a Mazdaspeed…jump straight in and don’t look back because you won’t regret it.  From the late nights in the garage installing the latest performance parts, to the early mornings at the car show, and then the midnight highway pulls making V8s owners second guess their purchase. The community, the journey of building YOUR car, and of course the car itself is so awesome.  

-Barett

Oil Filter Changes Made easy for your 2007-2009 Mazdaspeed 3 and 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed 6

The GEN2 Mazdaspeed 3 has a lot in common with the Mazdaspeed 6 and the GEN1 Mazdaspeed 3 when referencing the engine and transmission.  However, there were a few things that Mazda did change and improve when they gave the Mazdaspeed 3 a facelift in 2010.

Some of these changes include the valve cover, the gear ratios in the transmission, the power steering system, and the oil filter assembly.  This last one is the one I want to talk about today.

Perhaps you just ran across this blog while googling how to change the oil in your Mazdaspeed for the first time or maybe you’ve already done a handful of oil changes.  Either way, you can benefit from this info, unless you already have a 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3 you lucky bas****. All you Mazdaspeed6 and GEN1 Mazdaspeed3 owners listen up.

This is what you’ll find on your pre-2010 Mazdaspeed 3 and all Mazdaspeed 6; it sucks.  This design uses an internal filter element only which is fine, but the OE housing cap is a real PITA to remove from the car which makes a simple oil change a much more frustrating process than it should be.  

Along with the difficult disassembly, there is a limited number of filter options compared to the modern canister design.   Luckily, the oil filter housing found on the 2010-2013 MS3 utilizes a modern canister oil filter and is a simple bolt-on affair.  

Mazda part # L311-14-311A is the part you’re looking for and can be found online or at your local Mazda dealership.  It’s also wise to get a new gasket for the installation; nobody wants to do a job twice. This is Mazda part # LF02-14-342.

Once you get your parts and all your oil and new modern oil filter, you’re ready for the big install.  It’s actually really simple, only adding about 30 minutes to your oil filter change. Remove the fluid-to-fluid heat exchanger (the black thing on top with the coolant ports), then pull the housing off the engine and swap over the sensor.  Back on the car with the new gasket and you’re good to go.

Another great benefit of the modern oil filter canister is the ability to use an oil filter plate to provide sensor ports for gauges such as oil pressure and oil temperature.

This sums up the oil filter housing swap; it’s really just that simple.  So if you have an oil change coming up and aren’t one of the lucky ones with the GEN2 Mazdaspeed 3, then consider this before you get started.  I promise you won’t regret it.

-Barett @ CorkSport

Alcantara for Your Mazda

Yes, I said the “A” word, but before we dig into the detail let’s talk steering wheels in general.  

The steering wheel in your Mazda (and most all other cars) is probably one of the most used yet disregarded parts of the vehicle.  Its round, it has buttons for controls and the horn, and in modern cars and airbag which could save your life one day. More or less we don’t notice because it just works, but what if we could make that a much more exciting part of your Mazda?  

There are few, if not any, other components that you interface with more than the steering wheel so why not give it the attention it needs without sacrifice?  At CorkSport we did just that.

Every CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel is designed with you, The Driver, in mind.  We want you to be connected to your car and the experience it can provide you every single day.  The performance design is inspired by race only steering wheels without the sacrifice. Thick grips with countered thumb grooves provide a secure and comfortable control surface.  High quality smooth and perforated leather is used for durability and breathability in tense driving situations. These all come together without compromise, retaining your OEM controls, horn, and most importantly the airbag.  

Now back to that “A” word…

A few years ago we introduced the CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel for the 2nd Generation Mazdaspeed 3.  We were super excited to bring such an awesome performance part to the community and even more stoked by how much love that steering wheel has received over the years.  Today we are happy to announce that a select few of the CorkSport Performance Steering Wheels are getting some extra awesomeness real soon.

Say it with me…Alcantara…

That’s right; we’ve heard you and we’re calling you out.  In a very short time, we will be launching the Alcantara Leather option for the 2010-2013 Mazdaspeed 3, 2016+ MX-5, and 2014-2016 Mazda 3.  

If you’ve been on the edge about a CorkSport Performance Steering Wheel; well the wait is over.  I can’t say enough what a change a steering wheel makes to the driving experience. It really is like getting a whole new car and now it can be even better with Alcantara.  

Don’t wait or it might be too late!