Preparing your Mazdaspeed for Tuning

Preparing Your Mazdaspeed For Tuning

CorkSport was just hit with snow again today…boy are we ready for winter to be OVER!

Are you ready? What do you have left to get ready before the weather breaks, and racing starts? 

Winter months exist so us Mazda people can spend all of our hard earned money to make our Mazdaspeed’s faster. It all starts with an AccessPort, and CorkSport Fuel Pump Internals.  Before you know it, your Mazdaspeed is now fully bolted with an upgraded CorkSport Turbo.  

People sometimes seem to forget that quality of your tune is just as important as the quality of your parts.  So how do you get a solid tune on your car?

CorkSport wanted to make sure to lay out exactly how to prepare your Mazdaspeed for tuning services.  This helps streamline getting your Mazdaspeed ready, and it also helps your potential tuner so they don’t have to worry about tuning with a potential mechanical problem.

Cobb AccessPort

The very first step in getting your Mazdaspeed tuned would be to get the Cobb AccessPort tuning device.  This is the gateway to access your ECU and to make adjustments to your tune. You will use your AccessPort to record logs and send those logs to your tuner.  Not only can you make adjustments to your ECU, but you can also read/clear CEL’s ( check engine lights), and you can also monitor up to six different parameters in real time.  

When you do apply for a tune, your tuner will tell you which parameters to monitor so they can have the correct information to get you a reliable tune.

CorkSport Fuel Pump Internals

The stock high-pressure fuel pump internals has proven to randomly lose pressure during a fourth gear wide open throttle pull.  What we have seen is the pump spike pressure up in the 1800’s, and by redline, the fuel pressure has dropped below 1600psi. This creates lean situations which have lead to engines grenading themselves.  Before a tuner will touch your car, you will have to make sure to have these upgraded. These will increase flow and allow your fuel pressure to stay above 1600psi keeping you in the safe zone.

Spark Plugs

Double check what your tuner will want you to use, but in general, people will use one step colder plugs gapped down to a .026.  The trusted spark plug in this platform would be the NGK Iridium IX plugs (part # 6510). The idea behind using a more quality plug with a smaller gap is to keep the spark from blowing out when you increase boost pressure.  If you do have too large of a gap, then you will start to misfire, and you should get a code on your AccessPort for either random misfire, or cylinder specific. Keeping that spark in check will prevent delays in the tuning process.

Compression Test

Making sure to double check the engine health is probably one of the most important things to do before modding and tuning your Mazdaspeed.  Doing a quick compression test to make sure your cylinder rings can still hold pressure will tell you if the engine is healthy or not. Ideally, you want to see all of your cylinders read approximately the same numbers.  

You also do not want to see your compression go below 140 across the board. Mazda says that anything 140 or below is poor compression. If you end up having an unhealthy engine, then the car will not make the desired power, and you could potentially ruin your engine even further.  Make sure to check out our misfire blog where we show you how to properly boost leak test your car!

Boost Leak Test

Every tuner is going to be targeting a certain boost pressure based upon current modifications.  A lot of times the turbo has to work harder because of a few boost leaks that are not closed off before tuning.  This can affect your fuel trims, and it will also affect how much wastegate duty cycle is needed in order to reach desired boost targets.  Having zero boost leaks is important so your tuner does not have to work around those leaks.

Ghost Knock

A big question we always see in the forums, and on Facebook would be people wondering why their AccessPort shows knock values.  The most important thing to remember is part throttle knock is nothing to worry about. My own Mazdaspeed see’s values of 8.0 all the time on part throttle.  The only time to worry about knock values is when you are at wide-open throttle. As long as your knock values stay below 2.0 then that is nothing to worry about.

Doing these few simple things for your tuner will not only save time for both of you, but your tuner will love you because they don’t have to try and diagnose an issue from thousands of miles away.  CorkSport hopes this really helps the community as a whole, and we also hope that people can use this as a tool to get their car dialed in much faster.

Stay happy, and stay fast CorkSport family!



CorkSport Versatune

We are excited to announce a powerful and unique release to the CorkSport Product catalog.

Starting off 2018 with a bang; CorkSport is now an official distributor and reseller of Versatune Tuning Software.

If you are unfamiliar with what Versatune is, then have a quick read and check out what it is, how it works, some of the unique features, and why you should consider purchasing it for your daily driven or high-performance Mazda.

Versatune is a powerful engine tuning solution featuring a modern and easy to use interface. With just a simple few mouse clicks, you can unlock the full potential of your Mazda using the intuitive wizard guided install and ECU flashing process.

Versatune software makes engine calibrations as easy as 1, 2, and 3. Backed by an online tune database that provides easy access to free pre-built tunes for typical configurations of performance parts VT makes it easy to get power from recent upgrades on your car. Installing of the pre-built tunes are as simple as selecting the desired tune from the online tune database and following the flashing wizard. No tuning skills or extensive knowledge is required.

If custom tuning is more your style or you need to get into the finer details of calibration maps, then the Versatune software will work for you as well. VT software also includes a powerful tune editor that exposes the critical performance and drivability related tables in the ECU. You can custom tune your car to accommodate your specific modifications and tuning goals. 3D visualizations, table descriptions, and data manipulation tools help speed up the custom tuning process.

The best part is even if you are requiring a custom tune but don’t feel comfortable performing it yourself, Versatune has a growing network of professional tuners and e-tuners that can provide custom tuning services to help you meet your specific needs.

Over the past few months, CorkSport has had the opportunity to work closely with Versatune to further develop and grow the support for several vehicles in the Mazda lineup. Including but not limited to the 3rd gen Mazda 3, 2nd gen RX-8, and the new 4th gen ND chassis Miata.

With each of these Mazdas, we have spent countless hours on the dyno, street, and race track to fine tune calibrations and settings in this easy to use software. Each Mazda has shown consistent and reliable gains across the rev range all while still retaining OEM like drivability.

We are working on packages with the CorkSport parts you love, a custom tune to make the most of them, and a bit of a discount to get you rolling.

You can expect to see a few packages for 2016+ Mx5 in the next few weeks.


Why You Should Consider a Custom Tune

Get a custom tune to help your Mazdaspeed perform best.

Get a custom tune to help your Mazdaspeed perform best.

When I first bought my speed, I had zero knowledge of the MZR platform, and turbo cars in general. I’ve owned my Mazdaspeed for almost three years now and have learned a lot. Since I bought the car, I’ve met many awesome people and turned it into a fully bolted machine. I’ve learned a lot about my car and what it takes to reach certain goals with it. Building the car has been very rewarding, but meeting new faces along the way has been just as enjoyable. Other people have taught me a lot about my personal goals and where I want to stand with the Mazda community. That being said, I’ve turned myself into the type of person that’s always willing to give advice when it’s needed.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned from talking with other Mazdaspeed owners is that everyone sits at a different power level and has different functions they use their car for. One of the biggest questions I see in the Mazdaspeed community is whether or not someone should consider a custom tune. The answer to that question is yes.

The OTS maps that come preloaded are definitely a decent upgrade over the stock mapping, but you don’t really know what the car can do until you actually make small tweaks. That’s where it makes a big difference. Seeing increased boost levels makes you think your car is much faster, but how much faster is it actually going to be? Most of the Stage II maps allow you to run around 17-18 pounds of boost, which is definitely a decent increase, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not until you get a custom tune that you realize how much more you can get from your Mazdaspeed.

Why you should get a custom tune:

The biggest reason is so your car can be tailored to all of the modifications you’ve done. I like to look at it like a suit. If you bought a suit from a store without having any alterations made, the suit would fit, but it wouldn’t fit well. If you were to get every part of your body measured, then the suit would fit perfectly. That’s the way I look at OTS maps versus custom tunes. The OTS maps will work, but not that well. A custom tune will be tweaked for every modification you’ve done, which means the car will run perfectly with maximum performance.

Additionally, a custom tune will make sure your car doesn’t sacrifice reliability. It will allow you to unlock the true potential of your car without having any huge issues with the motor. There are a handful of tuners that maximize performance without sacrificing reliability. Here are a few popular tuners on the market, in alphabetical order not based on preference.

These are some of the most popular tuners that the Mazdaspeed platform uses. Any of these would be a great choice.

I’d suggest getting a custom tune once you reach a certain point of modding. If you order the CorkSport Turbo Back Exhaust, CorkSport Front Mount Intercooler, and CorkSport Big Intake, then you should definitely get a custom tune to maximize performance. Pick the one that sounds best to you and go for it!

Reasons why you should get a custom tune.

My car has been on a custom tune from Purple Drank Tuning for almost two years now. During the 20k miles I’ve driven in the last two years, my car and turbo has been pushed to the limit for the stock KO4 turbo. I was tuned on E85 running around 23 pounds of boost, and tracking the car at any chance I could. Some people ask how the heck my motor or turbo hasn’t crapped itself out yet. I can honestly say the reason she still runs well and pulls just as hard as when I first starting modding, is because of good maintenance and having a great tuner to make sure the car runs the way it should.

Luke McCarvel-01

Top 10 New Years Resolutions for a Car Guy



It’s about that time of the year where we tear out a piece of a paper and jot down all of our New Years resolutions. Most forget about these resolutions halfway through the year, but this year is your year. It’s time to grasp your resolution with your bare hands and get it done! Here are some New Years resolution ideas that you can incorporate into your own list:

1. Hit the local Autocross event this year.

We all love going in the straight line or hitting the racetrack, but there’s nothing like the accessibility of an Autocross. An autocross gives you more of a visual of your driving abilities and gives your car less of a beating than if you were on a full-length race course or a quarter-mile drag strip. Of course this depends on how smoothly you go through the course and whether or not you lodged any cones in your wheel-well.

2. Buy the Corksport Adjustable Struts & Shocks Combo you’ve always wanted.

We’ve all been here. Every session online you get distracted by visiting the Corksport web store and stop by the Corksport adjustable struts and shocks combo product page. You keep looking into the Mazda forums, doing research, and dreaming how that pesky wheel gap makes your car look like it’s a monster truck. Now is the year to save up and finally treat yourself. Try getting a jar and commit to saving a small percentage of your paycheck to work towards paying off the suspension kit (or any other awesome modification) with straight-up cash.

3. Attend a Mazda Meet.

Butch Bender

There’s nothing like attending a Mazda Meet and talking cars with other Mazda owners. This is where you can get inspiration, connect with other local Mazda owners/enthusiasts, and even local tuning shop owners. Have an issue with your Mazda? We bet you can find somebody at the meet who had the same problem and knows exactly how to fix it. Checking out the forums is a great step but there’s nothing like a Mazda enthusiast actually seeing what the issue is in person. Besides, who doesn’t want to make more Mazda friends?

4. Learn to Race.

We’ve all taken on-ramps at a faster than suggested speed, trying to establish a race-line. It’s fun to think of yourself as a race car driver. What if you can actually be one? There are a lot of opportunities at your local track to get instruction from professional race car drivers. A great place to start is the SCCA website. Maybe it’s time you actually became a race car driver?

5. Let somebody change the radio station or playlist.

Most people hate it when a passenger starts messing with the radio. Who wants to listen to a slow jam with four dudes in the car (maybe some of you do)? From the great words of the most played out song in 2014: let it go! Relax. One day just let a passenger do whatever they want to the radio. Only once of course.

6. Finish that project.

Everybody has that one project that sits untouched in the corner of their garage or shop for what seems like forever. It’s collecting dust, and you’re starting to pile stuff around it. Time to get it out and finish it up. Whether it be plasti-dipping the valve cover, finally getting an alignment after lowering your car, or actually installing that Corksport Transmission Motor Mount that’s been sitting in your garage for a few weeks. Maybe it’s time you set everything aside and just do it.

7. Take a noob out to the shop.

Shop Life

We all have a friend that is very eager to learn more about working on cars or just about cars in general. This person can be just one of your friends or even your 7-year old nephew (it’s never too early to learn how to turn that wrench). It’s time to pass on your knowledge, because, to be honest, everybody remembers that one person that taught them everything to help them get started in tuning and modding. It’s time for you to be THAT person.

8. Help a friend with their project.

We all have that friend who buys a ton of parts and pays for an auto shop to install it for them. It’s time to lend your services and give your friend a helping hand. If you think about it, you can technically complete resolution number 7 and 8 at the same time.

9. Give a friend a bluetooth device.

With all the laws being passed in every state regarding hands-off communication devices in the car, this can not only prevent your friend from receiving a ticket but also keep them safe on the road. Buy one for yourself if you haven’t already!

10. Participate in the next Mazda toy drive.

Mazda Toy Drive

It’s time to give and have fun doing it. Every year a local car club runs a toy drive to benefit needy kids in the area. It’s also a great time to meet other Mazda owners and just talk cars. Most car clubs will do a food drive in November and a toy drive in December. You’ll be doing a good deed and you get to see some awesome local Mazdas.

Don’t forget to put your New Years resolution somewhere that’s highly visible. To be honest it’s hard to complete all the resolutions you ever make but there’s nothing like that accomplished feeling you get when you do complete one.

Good luck this year and don’t forget to keep reminding yourself about your resolutions by posting notes EVERYWHERE!


– Corksport


Dear Car Guy: the Things Mazda Noobs Say

Dear Car Guy,

I’ve been thinking about how we’ve all experienced what I will refer to as ‘NOOBING’. When you’re faced with a situation with a NOOB and would love to call them out, but instead you opt to give them the benefit of the doubt that they’ll grow out of it or wise up! The following are for a few laughs, groans, and reminders that some of us have even “been there”:


What Noobs Say:  “Looking for advice”

What it really means: Hi all, I’m new here and haven’t even clicked the search button. I am hoping that because I stumbled upon this site, that if I post a question, you’ll all dump your wealth of knowledge into my lap in an organized and specific manner.


What Noobs Say: “Mod Experienced”

What it really means: I bought LED’s had my car crew ‘help’ me install an intake. I’ve plasti-dipped my Mazda emblem and wheels. I’ve attended a few car shows and chatted with a few slightly more experienced guys (who’s cars were borderline in terms of intimidation). I can regurgitate what they’ve said about their builds in a single breath.


What Noobs Say: “Getting ready for a Car Show”

What it really means: I’m gonna go through a car wash and pay for the ‘deluxe-all inclusive’, so the inside will be detailed and the outside will shine with generic wax. I will then drive over to the show and park in the parking lot instead of the line, but take sweet pictures to put up on my facebook and Instagram.

Duct Tape

What Noobs Say: “I’m stage 1+”

What it really means: I have an intake, that I may or may not have installed myself.


What Noobs Say: “I am going big turbo next year”

What it really means: I have no clue what I need, and I can’t afford the supporting mods to do it anyway. I’m just trying to make it sound like I’m gonna be around for a while, and will make a name for myself ‘real soon’.


Whether you’ve been there, or are still there, don’t worry there is still room for improvement!

Stay safe, stay happy, stay fast!

Kim Russell-01