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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I wanted to post some new pictures but decided not to clutter up the various forums I've already posted in, hence from now I'll be consolidating everything, pics, data, reports, etc. in this thread. I humbly present my Indigo Lights Mazda3 Skyactiv. :)



Modification list:

Power/MPG:
  • Cut-airbox short ram intake
  • JBR Skyactive Panel Filter
  • Custom Magnaflow 11132 exhaust w/ 3.5" exit
  • Ford E-Focus Rear Motor Mount
Chassis/Suspension:
  • BC Racing ER Coilovers w/ custom digressive valving
  • Hyperco Springs 550lbs, 6" in front w/ helper
  • Hyperco Springs 600lbs, 6" in rear
  • SPC Rear Camber Arms
  • Corksport 28mm Rear Sway Bar
  • Hotchkis Billet Aluminum Sway Bar Brackets
  • Corksport Rear Toe Links
  • Tri-Point Rear Endlinks
  • Powergrid Front Endlinks
  • GTSPEC Front Strut Tower Bar (cut to clear Skyactiv engine lines)
  • Corksport Mid-Chassis Brace
Brakes:
  • Mazdaspeed3 front brake caliper conversion
  • Mazda5 rear brake caliper bracket conversion
  • Centric 125 Series front rotors
  • Centric 120 Series rear rotors
  • Stoptech Street Performance pad set for Mazdaspeed3 F/R
  • Stoptech stainless lines F/R
  • Edelbrock speed bleeders
  • Motul RBF600 brake fluid
Wheels/Tires:
  • Enkei NT03+M 18x10.5 +30 F/R
  • Dunlop Direzza ZII / Bridgestone RE-11 285/30/18 F/R
  • Adaptec 12mm spacer F
  • Eibach 10mm spacer R
  • ARP extended wheel studs
  • Muteki SR48 Burning Blue Neon lugs
Exterior/Aerodynamics:
  • Garage Vary Front Lip (Replica for '10-11, force-fit)
  • Custom birch plywood front splitter
  • 240ZG Fender Flares
  • Bayson R side skirts
  • SPMS P1 Spec Rear Wing
  • Custom hatch-mount wing risers
  • Custom Voltex replica Evo IX rear diffuser + subframe
  • VG Sharkfin Antenna
Interior:
  • Flush-mounted BC rear damper remote adjuster
  • Custom eccentric aluminum shift knob
Lighting/Electrics/Misc:
  • Hella Optilux Extreme Yellow 65W 9005 high beams
  • Hella Optilux Extreme Yellow 55W H11 low beams
  • Corksport LED Hatchback Brake Light
  • Brake light flasher circuit
  • Hella Supertone (1x) horn
  • Rear wiper delete

Chassis setup (will update numbers as I find information):
  • Front Dampers: 8 Bump/14 Rebound (clicks from hard)
  • Rear Dampers: 0 Rebound (clicks from hard)
  • Springs: 9.8k F/10.7k R, 6" all around (1/2" tall helper in front)
  • Front strut height setting: Max Low
  • Preload from Max Low (# turns): 2 FL / 4 Fr / 4 RL / 2 RR
  • Droop: 1.5" F/1.5" R
  • Front Sway: Stock
  • Rear Sway: 28.5mm bar @ 1025lb/in setting
  • Front Endlinks: +0" length from stock
  • Rear Endlinks: +1" length from stock
  • Bumpsteer Correction: None
  • Ride Height: 25.4" F/25.5" R (Fender-to-ground measurement; half tank gas, stock-diameter tire)
  • Camber: 2.5 F/2.3 R
  • Caster: 3.0 F
  • Toe: 0.00 F/0.02 R
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10/5/2012: Story begins. I had a Graphite Mica 2012 Skyactiv3 before the current blue one, however the 6AT decided to leave gear as I was trying to leave the freeway. With techs not finding any error codes and Mazda not offering any help at all (too new of a problem), I decided to bite the trade-in depreciation and swap the 2012. Turns out, Sierra Mazda had a gorgeous 2013 Indigo Lights Blue fresh from the port. The specs were right, the negotiated price was fair enough, I jumped on it.

1/21/2013: 18x9.5 +45 with meaty tires? No problem. With a 1/2" fender pull and an Eibach 10mm spacer, it looks great. We just needed extended studs so I could actually drive lol.



The rear worked too, with space to clear in case of passengers, bumps, or going slammed for the show car look.



1/31/2013: Everything was going well so I pulled the trigger on a pair of custom 8mm spacers from Adaptec Speedware. I had Evasive Motorsports install some RX-8 10mm extended studs into my front hubs to allow the use of the spacer.



Upon driving the car though I found a LOT of rubbing when cornering, and isolated the problem to the fender/bumper junction. With a knife, a drill, and a little heatgun work we got that sorted out.



Useful trick I discovered: putting shims between the fender and bumper mounting bulkhead outwards will widen the entire face of the Skyactiv3. Way more clearance than before and cleaner looks to boot!





2/19/2013: Learned to hammer in my own fenders with a ball peen in order to move the last corner of metal (where the paint was rubbed off) out of the way.



Rubbing solved! At least on the 245's.





I started to drive canyon roads a lot more as it was fully functional despite the ride height, and not slow for the 340 treadwear RE760's. I learned somehow that I could flick out the tail without wiping out or any real screwup. Driving this thing is intoxicating! Entering a corner at 2x the speed limit is entirely safe and there is reserve grip left to avoid accidents.



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Of course, it had to go wrong somewhere. Dom and I decided to have a run in the canyons, and everything was a blast up until we were about to leave the mountain, when a rock showed up out of nowhere (wasn't there during our scout run)! Long story short, the rock was 4" tall, I misjudged my own ride height/lack thereof. The rock seemed to deflect off my undertray into the front left wheel, shattering the rim and bending it upwards, bringing my strut clearance to zero and my night to a rather abrupt end. The broken wheel still hangs in Dom's garage.

My next week becomes pretty fun, as in the span of 72 hours I order -- and receive -- one new RPF1, four new Michelin Pilot Super Sports (yep... caught the traction addiction) and generally prepare to have stuff overhauled....

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3/09/2012: With my car repaired, upgraded (the Super Sports are BIG!) and somewhat up and running (and a chip in my front strut... -_-), plans commence for a custom axle-back exhaust. I hated how the stock exhaust system seemed to go full retard after crossing the rear axle line, not only turning a full 360 degrees but also dropping tubing size from 2" to 1.75":



So I did something about it, designing this:



Making sure Chris at Castro Motorsport knew what I was looking for. I spec'd 50mm piping all the way through in order to maintain high exhaust velocities at partial throttle, all in a bid to maximize partial-throttle torque and fuel economy.

Sorry for lack of pics (old host down), but it came out exactly as planned. I have just the right amount of aggression to let people know I exist, yet it's not obnoxiously loud and not super-deep like most options you'll see for this car.



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4/13/2013: The Pilot Super Sports I ordered were not 245/35/18, but 255/35/18 as I wanted to avoid stretching tires. However, not only are they taller and wider than the RE760's but PSS also run wide on their own, effectively making it a 265-wide tire. Great if you can fit it, but terrible if you are already pressed for space like I am. Rather than banging more on the fenders, I raised the car back up using SWIFT springs, 8k/178mm/65mm up front and 6k/152mm/65mm in back. Picture by DomTheGhost of the front springs. Swift = orange, BC = black.



The old BC springs were 160mm long in front and 130mm long in back, so the new springs (178/152) necessitated a lot of collar adjustments in order to preserve my corner balance, damper preload/droop/static position and allow the springs to be wedged in there in the first place.

At the end of the day, the final ride heights that I'm sitting at now (averaged left/right because of corner balancing) (ground to fender measurement):

Front: 25.6" (~1.5 finger gap)
Rear: 26.0" (~2 finger gap)

There is still a good drop, but nowhere near extreme anymore. The car became stable to a point that my balance again shifted towards understeer, so I put the 24mm rear sway on the stiffer setting. I am thinking I may want to get a stiffer rear bar at some point but am pretty happy with where the car is for now.

4/21/2013: And here we are today. I do wish it were low still, but this setting is the fastest downhill I have tested so far and it is nice being able to clear speedbumps while toting passengers.



It's still quite understated looking and sounding, and the cops don't give me much attention for it.



Camber is -2.5F, -2.0R. With the underinflated tire pressures I like to run in the canyons it promotes progressive oversteer without rolling the tire onto its sidewall and possibly damaging it.






I will stop here for this first post. :) All updates from here on out will be full-flavored! To continue reading my story you'll have to scroll through all the pages of this thread, sorry! :D

 

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Hadn't ever heard your setup before, that actually sounds REALLY good!

I still just very much like the way your car looks; only missing some window tint (not a crap ton, just some). But it does just go to show how boring a stock car looks stock, and how little it takes to truly look really good.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks man! I actually don't like the sound of it all that much, it's smooth but lacks "attitude". Now on the other hand I know I'm rocking less than 170hp crank so I have no right to advertise any speed anyways lol...

What I am good for is working with what I got in regards to chassis tuning. This update is from pretty recent.



For whatever reason, since getting the RPF1's my rear left wheel has always poked out a nice 1/8" more than the rear right. It also rubs in the canyons, so I used the eccentric bolts that normally control rear toe to shove the LCA as far inwards as it would go, then shortened the toe links and camber arms to compensate. Effectively I increased my wheel offset in the rear left, making the car (finally) symmetrical.

So this is the right side of the car, which remains unchanged:



And the left side. You can kind of see that the left eccentric is more "down" than "in" in this before shot, and that's where the gains are to be made.



The Corksport toe links themselves seem OK well built, the steel is pretty beefy but the blue powdercoating does not hold up to repeated tool use.



After moving the eccentric as far in as possible, we shortened the left side toe link to try and re-zero the toe. I discovered later we weren't even close lol, it was in the neighborhood of 0.5deg toe in. Seems like I got the 2-3mm of inward movement I asked for though!



With that done, I got the last alignment I'll be doing for a long time. The new specs are -2.5F/-2.2R camber, and -0.05F/0.00R toe. The increased camber gave me a little more clearance and doesn't seem to change the handling balance too much. It's a little bit too much for daily driving duties but it works in the canyons.



That's more like it!



I also discovered while under the car that I'm seriously out of room in the rear right haha. Not sure how you're supposed to fit 18x10 back here without poking out a good amount of wheel.



With that done, I continued fine-tuning my fenders to get everything squared up post-crash (long story). It's hard to show until you're here in person but the fender widths, contours and angles are all symmetrical left/right now, and the wheels' relationship to the fender is also symmetrical. No heat gun here, just spent a few hours pulling, pushing, re-mounting till it fit just right.





Most recent parts mod now, the Hotchkis brackets went in to replace the crummy Energy brackets that are perpetually at risk of bending. Beefed it right up, although I ended up re-using the original bushings (they fit better on the CS bar and they seem to be the exact same outer dimensions and material as the Hotchkis ones anyways!) with some Prothane grease.



I've skipped over several phases like the 3 times I've nearly died running the Tri-Point RSB instead of the CS 24mm RSB, but now I'm all up to speed here and continue on to the current goodies in wait, like a Chargespeed lip that I am re-forming to fit on the pointy 2012+ front bumper. :)
 

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I don't know why Corksport decided to powdercoat that toe link when they anodize everything else when it comes to similar style parts, I guess because they powdered their camber arms as well like most other companies, so you can "see it".. is all I can imagine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
You can't anodize steel (easily, at least) so that's probably why. Their aluminum parts look like custom machined designs while I suspect their steel parts (camber arms and toe links) are cast/forged parts from stock hardware suppliers, I have found similar individual components like the rod ends and the reverse-threaded turnbuckles just looking around Alibaba. And if you're gonna powdercoat your product... might as well make it visible. :wink:

Here are some more recent pictures, most for reference rather than showing off.



These two are for you Nuse, this is maxing out the Skyactiv chassis (zero poke at least). There's a surprisingly little amount of room in the back. For your car I definitely recommend the toe link/eccentric adjustment, but be warned that you can only gain so much depending on how your eccentrics are with your current alignment.



With narrower struts (KW?) 18x10 +32 in front should fit, that would stress the wheel bearing a little more but extract more grip from the front 255's.



This pic I do show off.



I got called out here for being too high lol... figures, damn ricers. :chuckles: What is most interesting is that as we were moving the car around for the photoshoot, you could see that the suspension travels significantly, even at a standstill, even though the terrain was just slightly uneven. That's probably my cue to go to 10k/8k springs if I ever want to seriously track the car.

 

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Wow man, your car is looking great. Can't believe you stuffed those tires under the fenders and got them to fit. Inspires me to go larger, especially now that I am not limited by my AutoX class.

I really need to update my BC setup too. Not that I want to slam my car but the fronts are currently as low as they will go. Really, all I need is the retrofit for the back so the height adjustment is at the top and not in the LCA pocket. As is, I have to disassemble the rear suspension to adjust the ride height.

I must say, even though I am not a big fan of the gen pu Mazda3, the Skyactive model looks pretty sick.

Perhaps I should just by a Skyactive for my daily and go crazy with my '07. LOL.
 

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lol motor did you do what I did?

I know they changed it at some point, but the old(er) model rear spring setup has the rubber boot at the top and the adjustment at the top. You can't really adjust it very well still on the car, but..

I didn't realize mine was upside down until a few weeks ago lol.. oops.



Bear in mind they did change it, if your base has a notch in it, then yes I believe it is supposed to sit on the bottom. But if it is smooth all around then it should be inverted like that.

I hadn't seen the one that Color has that bolts to the bottom as well.

But even better now they have a rear setup that uses 2.5" ID springs, that is what I would go for because there you have a very cheap and easy replaceable spring. I would love to go to that just to be able to swap springs so easily with springs I already have... instead of these.. weird Mustang or whatever springs.
 

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lol motor did you do what I did?

I know they changed it at some point, but the old(er) model rear spring setup has the rubber boot at the top and the adjustment at the top. You can't really adjust it very well still on the car, but..

I didn't realize mine was upside down until a few weeks ago lol.. oops.



Bear in mind they did change it, if your base has a notch in it, then yes I believe it is supposed to sit on the bottom. But if it is smooth all around then it should be inverted like that.

I hadn't seen the one that Color has that bolts to the bottom as well.

But even better now they have a rear setup that uses 2.5" ID springs, that is what I would go for because there you have a very cheap and easy replaceable spring. I would love to go to that just to be able to swap springs so easily with springs I already have... instead of these.. weird Mustang or whatever springs.
Whoops! Good thing you caught that. I think mine are the first gen BC's. Bought them used for a great price.

Not the best pics but here are the rear's before I installed them:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would go measure the diameter of those rear perches -- it looks like they're the same top and bottom, in which case, you can likely find a better "coilover" spring that will fit.

If you need specs, my springs are

8k / 7" (178mm) / 65mm ID
6k / 6" (152mm) / 65mm ID

I don't remember if the collars-on-top version of the spring perch has any bolt to secure it to the subframe -- if it doesn't, avoid! It looks like you and I have the same lower perch actually, so you might as well control your ride height with the length of the spring you get. My kit originally came with a 130mm long spring which would have easily let me drag frame, but of course I'm on the 6" Swift now for a more handling-oriented setup. To maintain your height, a 5" spring with your original lower perch set all the way up should probably do the trick. :)
 

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I would go measure the diameter of those rear perches -- it looks like they're the same top and bottom, in which case, you can likely find a better "coilover" spring that will fit.

If you need specs, my springs are

8k / 7" (178mm) / 65mm ID
6k / 6" (152mm) / 65mm ID

I don't remember if the collars-on-top version of the spring perch has any bolt to secure it to the subframe -- if it doesn't, avoid! It looks like you and I have the same lower perch actually, so you might as well control your ride height with the length of the spring you get. My kit originally came with a 130mm long spring which would have easily let me drag frame, but of course I'm on the 6" Swift now for a more handling-oriented setup. To maintain your height, a 5" spring with your original lower perch set all the way up should probably do the trick. :)
Thanks for the suggestions Nuse and color0.

Looks like I have several options.

I knew that the default springs with the kit are more geared for street use but I haven't researched them much.

I don't have the diameters but here's the specs on the springs I have now:
Front: 62 180 007
Rear: 190L-4KG

Perhaps new springs are in order before the start of next years AutoX and/or Track day sessions.
 

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I don't remember if the collars-on-top version of the spring perch has any bolt to secure it to the subframe -- if it doesn't, avoid!
Honestly I've seen some setups go through hell and I have yet to see anything bad happen to the rear spring setup. There are plenty of people that don't even have a perch, just the spring sitting in there; when you jack up the car the springs literally want to fall out, and you can pull them out entirely.

Unless you managed to get air, having nothing else in there could possibly be dangerous... but I have yet to see anything happen to anyone yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've nearly lost a spring before. :) My car goes full droop over any curbs, so before I tuned the suspension, the rear dampers were far longer than the spring's max length would allow, and when the car came back down I noticed that the spring was no longer in the lower perch! I've been saving my setup details for a very long-winded post soon but I run my rear dampers very short partially to prevent loose springs under full droop.
 

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Just realized you live in my old town. I live in Pasadena for almost 7 years, right at the foot of the Los Angeles Crest Mountains. God I miss that place. I want to move back to Cali but its just so expensive and the economy is still not stable out there.

I was studying Car Design up at ArtCenter. It rocked, but got too expensive and way to many sleepless nights. Long story.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Updates! I'm now poor.

- Imported Garage Vary 2012+ front lip from Japan
- Bought a Ford Focus Electric RMM
- Prototyping custom adjustable shift knob

The GV lip itself wasn't too ridiculous pricewise but holy moly shipping was rich. :screwy: The upside is that it is genuine JDM parts, supporting the company and whatnot, fitment will be great and since Nextmod is too lazy to import one on their own, I'll probably be the only guy in North America rocking this lip for a while. :)

(From Garage Vary's website)

By now though you guys should know that I don't like simply bolting parts on, so I'll be taking this lip one step further with a WRC-style rubber/plastic air dam.


new DIY bugeye front lip - NASIOC

I'm in the midst of sourcing the necessary brick paver edging to bolt up to the bottom of the GV lip. Honestly if it were at all possible to cleanly bolt the edging up to the stock bumper, I would've done that (instead of blowing $$$ importing JDM parts!), but I needed the GV lip to give me a flat under-surface to work with. That and the GV lip really does look good.

All in all this should drop the front edge of the air dam 1.75-2" closer to the ground than the stock bumper, such that I can 1) make the car look a little lower, 2) improve overall mpg's and 3) reduce front end lift for high-speed cornering. It will be balanced out in the rear by an undertray/diffuser that I'm also designing to cover up the hole left by my lack of a big muffler.



Aero work aside, here's Electric Focus RMM:



It's supposed to be ~60A rubber and solid too, so NVH not too bad for my 6AT Skyactiv.



And lastly, yes, new shift knob -- well, the design I have to keep secret till the prototype comes in, but I've designed and am having manufactured in China a shift knob that allows me to move the entire shift pattern about 3/4" away from its stock location. In my case, I need to move my shift pattern 3/4" directly forward so that my right arm can be less cramped when driving in manual mode. This should make mid-corner shifting (a necessity with the 6AT's programming and poor ratios) quicker and more stable for me, thus I go faster. Once I confirm it works well, I'll have a larger batch made and will have them available for sale (at which point I get banned for violating advertising rules lol). :)
 

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Oh you got the 12+ GV grill.

I'm pretty positive you'll be the ONLY person with that grill in the US. A few people have the nextmod 10+ GV grill, but I have yet to see anyone with the 12+ GV grill (can the two years even be swapped? The bumper got changed so much..)

I'll be doing an air dam like that and have been planning on it for quite some time but have yet to get around to getting any of the materials besides the lip itself, I'm not sure if I'll be using a PVC styrene, or a dibond aluminum sandwich material, probably the dibond but have yet to get around to it... it'll be done before the end of the year, but not there yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I didn't get the grill actually, just the lip. :alaugh: Still should be the only one in the US though.

As far as air dam materials go I can't see a good reason to use anything stiff. Just pick a material that isn't jelly and the shape of the dam will support itself. A dam like this is going to scrape (at least on my long front bumper) so I'd rather scrape plastic than dibond lol.
 

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That's why I also got a PVC styrene material as well haha, I just need to cut myself a strip of the black stuff instead right now all I have is white but I have the stuff at work, I just happened to have dibond at the right size in scrap and just took it home and after giving it time to cook realized it would be not a good idea of something bad happened hahah

Just the lip? Yeah, definitely still have yet to see any 12+ with a lip; so much to say I hadn't even noticed it had a lip lol, not to mention all 12+ owners complained enough because they said they had no lips and the 10-12 model lips didn't fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I fixed my clunk! I did NOT crack another wheel as I feared.

Context: I haven't posted about it before but this last month I have been struggling to deal with an odd single clunking incident per drive -- start the car, roll out of the driveway/parking lot and within the first 200ft of driving there will be a single clunk from the rear. No more clunks after that until the next drive. I had literally taken apart and re-tightened my rear suspension twice to no avail, and this also prevented me from doing much spirited driving as I didn't know if I'd die any minute.

Turns out, my RSB wasn't centered, and this caused the Tri-Point endlink on the right side of the car to interfere with itself -- the heim-jointed linkage was banging on the aluminum bracket once per drive, and I could see evidence of that on the bracket, there's a bite mark from where the linkage contacts it over and over again. So I broke the collars loose on the CS RSB and re-centered the bar before adjusting the endlinks again and tightening those up, and voila, no more clunk. :)




Now in other news, I need to refinish my RPF1's now, all four of them -- yes.... -- so, does anybody know a good wheel refinishing shop that will fix bends/curb rash and REPAINT wheels (no powder coating -- not for RPF1's)? Since all four need to be repainted anyways, I plan to go highlighter orange and have a little fun with the wheels. There will be another cool surprise later on if the orange actually happens, so if you know a good repair/refinish shop, please point me their way! :)
 

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Updates! I'm now poor.

- Imported Garage Vary 2012+ front lip from Japan

The GV lip itself wasn't too ridiculous pricewise but holy moly shipping was rich. :screwy: The upside is that it is genuine JDM parts, supporting the company and whatnot, fitment will be great and since Nextmod is too lazy to import one on their own, I'll probably be the only guy in North America rocking this lip for a while. :)

(From Garage Vary's website)

By now though you guys should know that I don't like simply bolting parts on, so I'll be taking this lip one step further with a WRC-style rubber/plastic air dam.
Hot Damn! That is one nice looking kit. And I will support you on spending the extra money to buy a legit part. I might have saved some money buying the spoiler extension from NextMod but in hindsight, I should have coughed up the extra money and bought the part straight from RE-Amemiya.

Looking forward to seeing all these new parts installed. Keep up the nice work.
 
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