Magnuson, Moss, and What They Mean for You

The most frequent question we get on any of our products for newer vehicles is ‘How will the installation of this part effect or compromise my vehicle’s factory warranty?’. Our parts have seen a lot of mileage and a lot of trips to the dealership and we have seen a lot of different scenarios as it relates to factory warranty claims. The bottom line is -your experience all depends on your dealership, and different dealerships have different attitudes when it comes to aftermarket parts. We have seen dealerships do factory warranty replacements for Turbocharged Mazdaspeed engines and put our downpipe and intakes right back on the car when they’re finished without batting an eye. We’ve also seen other dealerships just take a single look at a car with a full turboback exhaust, intake and front mount intercooler and cry ‘void.’

Anecdotal evidence and your experience with the dealership process aside, the bottom line is the law. In this case, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act is the end all -be all when it comes to aftermarket parts on a factory warranty car. This act requires that there is substantial evidence by the party offering the warranty to link the warranty claim to some cause of the modification prior to denying a claim to the warranty -meaning if you put an intake on your Mazda3 and your oil pump fails, the manufacturer needs to be able to tell you how that the addition of the intake was the actual cause of the failure of the pump. What this means from the anecdotal perspective is all those ‘boy who cried wolf’ episodes of dealers seeing a Peterbilt intercooler on the front of a Speed6 and screaming ‘VOID!’ are nothing but posturing and are in effect an illegal violation of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. Especially when these posturing episodes are not even linked to a warranty claim in the first place.

But hey, if you come in with a hole the size of Alaska in your #2 piston and a giant slice out of the block when your connecting rod took a vacation from its duties at 7000rpm and you have a manual boost controller installed or have obviously forgotten to connect the boost control solenoid line and were running 26psi of scalding hot boost, you’re going to be in for an uphill battle. Further investigation and pressing your dealer in such a situation to provide the connection between the modification and the warranty claim to show causal relationship between the modification and warranty claim will generally motivate higher degrees of cooperation. Some of the links at the end of this blog post will give you further information on contesting warranty claims and the unique options that the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act provides for mediation of these disputes -they’re very consumer friendly methods of resolution.

The best thing to do to prevent heartache and investment of unnecessary time and effort is to find a local servicing dealership who is amicable to the addition of bolt on parts for your car. Many dealerships sell aftermarket equipment in their parts departments. We even have a number of Mazda dealerships who are regular customers of ours and install our parts for their customers. It is really in the best interest of any dealership to make their customers see the car they have purchased as custom and their own, and most dealerships realize this and do their best to take advantage of the opportunity. Some ways that you can find the best dealerships in your area are to ask around on local and national enthusiast forums like http://www.mazdas247.com or http://www.mazda3forums.com and other more regional (like our own local http://www.mazdasnw.com) and model specific forums for your area and model of car. Often times these forums have permanently linked threads discussing reviews of shops and dealerships for their members.

For futher information on the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, you can read up on it in a few articles linked below:

SEMA Action Network Article on Denied Warranties and Consumer Recourse

CarCraft Article re: Magnuson Moss Warranty Act and Provisions

Hopefully this information provides you with the peace of mind necessary to make decisions on which modifications you’d like to accomplish on your vehicle and the confidence you need to work with your dealer if they have any issues with the choices you have made in customizing your vehicle.

All of the FACTS aside, it’s important to remember that whichever dealership you choose, your professionalism and courtesy toward their concerns will go a long way in garnering a decent amount of mutual respect. Treat your parts and service guys and gals right and they will take care of you. Whether it’s just a smile and friendly conversation to establish a relationship with the people who work on your car or a box of Krispy Kreme donuts*, the respect you show to your dealership should be commensurate to the amount of respect and cooperation you would expect from them. They work hard to keep your car in tip-top shape and a lot of times I think their work is taken for granted -but if they know you’re not one of the people who’ll only talk to them when your dissatisfied, they’ll go the extra mile for you.

Jason

*Great idea on the donuts from Ryan up in Seattle…

MZR Turbo Inlets -Comparing Apples to Apples

There are a lot of factors that go into purchasing any part for your car, and a turbo inlet pipe is no different. With a wide variety of materials and configurations on the market, it can be a difficult decision.

I think the major discerning differences between metal and silicone are that silicone is an insulator, which is why there are claims that the silicone is a) quieter and b) less prone to heat soak. I’m not sure if a) is true to a consequential amount, haven’t done a dB comparison by any means…but I seriously doubt that b) is true either. All materials have thermal properties, all materials transmit thermal mass at different rates. You can deduce all sorts of theories as to how this effects the boost air temps, but I really doubt that there is any discernible power output or boost air temp difference between a silicone, aluminum or stainless inlet pipe from one pull to the next. These vehicles push enough air to fill an office cubicle through that pipe in the span of under a minute. Then they run that air into a turbocharger that superheats the air. It takes 3 degrees of inlet air temperature change to result in one degree of boost air temperature change with a stock intercooler based on thermocouple datalogging that I’ve done on a number of different cars (Speed6’s and 3’s). With air traveling through a tube at insane velocities (like lets say…60 meters per second…or better yet 134 miles per hour), I find it hard to believe that there is any major detriment to having the turbo inlet pipe made of a more thermally conductive material than another.

The reason you buy the pipe is so you get rid of the stock pipe, which sports an oh so stylish, effectively square profile that changes cross sectional area erratically and is made of plastic which is also pretty thermally benign. But that’s not where the power or quickening of spool up happens when you add the inlet -it’s the flow of the air and the smooth transition from the intake to your turbo that you want to optimize. Simple as that.

If it were my car, I’d get one that a) works reliably, b) has quality construction and c) has a reasonable price tag. I can’t point out any on the market that fail a) or b)…all are excellent from what I have seen. Ours is $89….because designing and manufacturing any piece of tubing and/or silicone doesn’t cost much. Period. It’s a pipe. Every turbo inlet pipe on the market is a pipe -with three pipes in factory locations connecting into it. A few have factory like brackets that attach to the valvecover, some don’t. Some are aluminum (CorkSport and RPMC), some are stainless (Protege Garage), some are silicone. They all do the same thing.

Our system certainly gives you a few options that you should be familiar with when purchasing . But the first thing to remark on is -our intake includes these parts. If you’re in the market for an intake, this information is of benefit to you, but if you really want a good deal on all of these bits, grab our Power Series Short Ram Intake for your MS3 or MS6 or CX-7.

So back to the configurable differences if you already own an intake and want to get a turbo inlet pipe to match. Our turbo inlet pipes have a few toggles: Valvecover breather (yes/no) and Recirculation Valve Port (yes/no). The valvecover breather is almost completely unnecessary if you have an aftermarket intake that is not made by us -as most intakes include this provision in the CAI pipe or the coupler. So that’s almost always going to be a ‘no’ unless there’s some other reason why you want an external intake vacuum source to plug into (catch can, etc). The other is the recirculation valve. If you have chosen to do a strictly vent to atmosphere configuration on your bypass valve (not necessarily recommended), you can choose this option and clean up your engine bay a bit.

The final dial on these is the silicone color – for the silicone coupler between the turbo and inlet pipe, as well as the valvecover breather and boost control solenoid lines. These are available in Red, Blue and Black. Finally, in the near future we will be offering one or more powdercoating options starting with black.

Any questions, leave us a comment or shoot me an email.

Jason

Upgrading Your Engine

Just like the suspension on your Mazda, you need to have a plan when upgrading your engine. There are several areas to consider when upgrading the existing engine in your Mazda and all play a big part. If you were to call me up and ask “What should I do with my engine in my Mazda?”, I would ask you what you are going to be doing with it. There is a laundry list of components in your engine, and when added up can range from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. We are going to stick with piston engines for this article. Sorry RX-7 guys!

Starting with the base of the engine the block is the center of everything. Oiling is handled in the engine block which then feeds the cylinder head and in some cases the turbocharger or supercharger. One thing I tell people is when doing any work with the block or bottom end of the motor is to change the oil pump with a new one. Why risk several thousand dollars of a newly built engine on a critical component. If the oiling system fails it can mean throwing out everything and starting over, which no one wants to do. If an upgraded oil pump is available purchase it.


Mazdaspeed Oil Pump for the B6 DOHC

Located in the engine block is the crankshaft. Mazda has been good with supplying most engines with a strong crankshaft. I recommend that you have the stock crankshaft inspected if it is out of the engine. Options for upgrading the crankshaft are cryo-treating and shot peening (stress relieving).

Connecting rods are also located in the engine block. They attach the crankshaft to the pistons. Thankfully, if there are no upgraded connecting rods on the market you can have some made. Most manufacturers of rods will custom build a set if you send them one of your stock rods. When choosing a connecting rod there is two general paths. If you are going with an engine that will not see forced induction you can normally go for a lighter rod which is made from better materials than stock. If you are going with forced induction you will want a connecting rod which is sturdy and can survive detonation in the event a mistake happens.


Carrillo Connecting Rod

Pistons play a big role in how your engine is going to be used. Lower compression pistons are normally used with forced induction engines. High compression pistons are good for a normally aspirated build. With EFI systems both stock and aftermarket making use of knock sensors, it is possible to build a forced induction engine with a relatively high compression engine. Regardless of the compression ratio, forged pistons are the strongest. There are also squeeze cast pistons which are strong as well but not quite as tough as the forged pistons. Some high compression pistons are squeeze cast which results in a lighter piston, and can be strong enough for high RPM use.

Engine bearings can make or break your motor. We recommend the best quality bearings you can buy. Factory Mazda engine bearings are really good as are some aftermarket brands like ACL. For setting clearances of the bearings make sure you speak with your engine machine shop to see what they recommend for your application. Most performance machine shops have years of experience and can provide you pointers for the assembly of your engine.

Cylinder heads carry several parts to look at for a build. Camshafts need to be selected to match your engine build. Normally aspirated performance camshafts and forced induction camshafts have different timing and lift profiles. I recommend speaking with the manufacturer of the camshafts to make sure they will be appropriate for your engine. Installation of performance camshafts may require upgrading the valve train. Some require valve springs to be upgraded along with the lifters and retainers. Again speaking with the manufacturer of the camshafts is a good idea. Performance machine work of the cylinder head should be looked at. Porting your cylinder head for better flow, volume, or efficiency should be looked at as well, as it can get you more gains from the camshafts and other upgrades. Adjustable camshaft gears give you another option for doing fine tuning in your engine. Cam gears can let you extract the last bit of power from your engine with cam tuning.


CorkSport Camshaft Gears for the B6/BP DOHC Engines

Upgrading the fasteners should be considered when upgrading your engine. Critical components like the cylinder head bolts and main cap bolts can be upgraded with a stronger fastener like ARP studs. The advantages they offer besides strength is the ability to re-use them multiple times without fatiguing the hardware.

Manifolds for both the intake and exhaust need to be selected to match the use of your engine. Manifold lengths can affect the power band of the engines. Shorter runners on intake manifolds are normally better for mid-high RPM engines and longer runner manifolds normally develop lower end power and torque. Exhaust manifolds in non turbo motors can be setup for different power bands as well. 4-1 headers are generally for mid and high RPM power. 4-2-1 manifolds are better for mid range power. Turbo manifolds range from log style to elegant custom tubular creations. I will cover more on turbo manifolds in a later post.

Gaskets are the last part of the engine I will cover. Mazda supplies most of the engines with good gaskets from the factory. There are exceptions to look at for a few of the engines like the FS engine in the 99-03 Protege. The factory head gasket is ok, but better parts are available. Upgraded head gaskets from companies like Cometic are available for several Mazda engines including the DISI, FS, and the B6 DOHC/B6T.

Make sure you take a look at all of these areas when upgrading your engine to get the best results. All of the areas listed above, the block, oiling, rods, pistons, gaskets, fasteners, and bearings work only as well as the other parts in the engine. Selecting an exhaust manifold for top end power and not getting the higher compression pistons to get the most for the header can sell your build short. Send us an email if you have any questions on building your Mazda, we have years of experience and would be happy to help.

Derrick

CorkSport Contingency Program

After spending some time with a number of Motorsports Marketing minds at the SEMA show last month, we have been contemplating starting a CorkSport Contingency Program to help sponsor successful enthusiasts who are out there campaigning their cars in activities such as AutoCross, Drag Racing, Rally Cross, etc. The program would work similar to other contingency programs with decal placement requirements, sign up in advance and a schedule for contingency awards based on being enrolled in the program and achieving a specified goal.

With this in mind, we’re looking for your input. If you’re a racer and would like to see your sport be the initial run for our CorkSport Contingency Program, drop us a line and let us know.

Jason

Get Your Swap On

I frequently get calls asking “What should I do with my car?!” and asking what engines a customer can swap in. Engine swaps are a good thing to think about, but there are a wide range of items to consider before you decide on doing a swap. Doing an engine swap can be a simple bolt in to the factory mounts or as sophisticated as having to notch the frame rails, fabricate all of your own mounts, custom axles, and major wiring. There are several things to consider. Will the new engine get you the power you want? Will the engine fit? Will it work with the transmission in your car? Will the swap require different wiring? Has anyone done the swap before? Do you need to pass emissions, and if so will your swap pass emissions?

The first thing to take a look at is whether or not someone has done this swap before. This can help you get the job done quicker and help you avoid hidden problems that someone else has already encountered. The internet makes checking to see if someone has done the job before much easier than in the past. Forums are also another big help, and a great place to look. Not everyone publishes an engine swap but if you can find someone on a forum who has done the job they might indulge you and offer up a few pointers. Let’s look at the big picture: If the engine you are installing requires everything to change, like the engine, transmission, wiring, axle, shifter, etc. there is probably going to be a lot of time and money involved with the swap.

Engine fitment is what you should look at next. If the engine you’re planning to swap won’t work with your transmission, make sure you get the all dimensions of the engine and transmission together. One dimension to remember is the height which often gets overlooked. The engine will move in the engine bay and the last thing you want to do is get the engine installed and then discover your engine hits the hood under acceleration.

If the engine you are mounting is not a bolt in make sure you take a look at how the new engine mounts. Find engine bay pictures online or a car to look at with the engine factory installed. Most manufacturers like Mazda keep similar mounting points. There are exceptions to engine mounting so you need to make sure you address this. If you are installing a different transmission with your engine, look at the mounting for it as well.

Transmission mounting is critical. You need to have the transmission located perfectly to get the axles to line up. Check and see how the new transmission is shifted. Does it use a cable shifter or a rod shifter mechanism? How does the clutch operate if it is a manual transmission, hydraulic or cable type? Are the axles larger in diameter and do they have a different spline count? You might have to consider getting custom axles done if you are not able to find a bolt in part.

Cooling is also an important item when considering a swap. Do the radiator hoses come close to lining up with your radiator? Does the radiator you have carry enough capacity to cool the new engine? Forced induction engines will generally require larger radiators. If the new engine is turbocharged, make sure you remember that you will need an intercooler and a place to run piping for it.

Wiring is the part that scares most people out of doing an engine swap. Most swaps are using engines from newer cars and thus include some extra systems that your car may not have in it. Make sure you have the wiring books for both the cars you are swapping the engine from and to. Engine wiring normally is the most difficult. If you can get the engine wiring that belong to the new engine it will make the job easier. Sensor changes, plug differences, and wiring routing all are important items to look at. A nice side advantage to keeping the newer wire systems is emissions. This can also be a drawback with OBDII systems and the level of complication they can present. Most states will allow you to swap to a newer engine if you keep the emissions controls intact. Make sure you check with your local EPA for emissions info before you do the swap.

Exhaust is the last thing I will cover. It is normally straight forward to get the exhaust connected up to the existing system on your car, if it is adequate for the new motor. If it is not, look at building or getting a new one built. Make sure to add a catalyst if you are going to be driving your car on the street and required to pass emissions.

To review the swap check list:
Engine fitment
Transmission fitment
Cooling
Wiring
Exhaust

So have I scared you off? The items I have brought up above are all things I have learned from experience doing engine swaps. My goal is to make sure you have everything covered before you start a swap. I have had quite a few calls of people wanting to swap a DISI MZR engine into Proteges, MX-6s, and other cars. I think this will be the next big swap we see once someone takes on the challenge.

Derrick