Apr 16, 2009 update to the Mazda Mazdaspeed3 project car

Mazdaspeed3 Project Series Begins

The June issue of GRM is at the printer now, and contained within its pages is part one of our project series on our 2008 Mazdaspeed3.

In this first installment, we go looking for some easy power. We find it by pressing a few buttons and turning a few wrenches. Actually, we were surprised at how much power was available thanks to some simple digital tuning and a cold-air intake.

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JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
4/16/09 1:58 p.m.

The June issue of GRM is at the printer now, and contained within its pages is part one of our project series on our 2008 Mazdaspeed3.

In this first installment, we go looking for some easy power. We find it by pressing a few buttons and turning a few wrenches. Actually, we were surprised at how much power was available thanks to some simple digital tuning and a cold-air intake.

matt
matt New Reader
4/16/09 9:18 p.m.

GRM does ZOOM ZOOM! sweeeeet.. wheres the suspension tuning? j/k

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
4/17/09 8:01 a.m.

Next installment covers the suspension. We did the factory Mazdaspeed coil-over kit. Long story short, we were worried that it was going to ruin the car for the sake of handling, but it really improved it in every way. Very few of the usual compromises associated with street coil-overs (clunks, harshness, etc.)

Relatively easy installation all around. The rear camber corrector links are a bit of a pain, because you have to take down the entire rear subframe, but I managed to do the entire thing without the benefit of a lift, so it certainly isn't rocket surgery.

I shot video, and I'll try to get that up soon as well.

chknhwk
chknhwk HalfDork
4/18/09 6:32 a.m.

I really like these cars and was considering one but I couldn't pass up the price on my X-Type. Looking forward to the updates, though! =D

southbay
southbay
4/20/09 2:25 p.m.

When you say it "improved it in every way," would you include ride comfort? Or was there a substantial loss of ride comfort?

I'm one of those people who use my Mazdaspeed 3 as my daily driver as well as track car. I'd love to improve the handling for the track, but would hate to give up too much ride comfort.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
4/22/09 7:58 a.m.

Personally, I would say it improved ride comfort, because the system seems to control the tendency for the car to pitch quite a bit. The stock setup felt way too undersprung in the back for me.

Now, having said that, I'll also say that we have very smooth roads in Florida. On a rougher surface it could be a little firm for folks.

It's really not a crazy-aggressive setup, though.It's more of a "well-matched" system than a "let's just make everything firmer" system. The dampers have a nice digressive feel to them which seems to eliminate a lot of initial harshness.

wherethefmi
wherethefmi Dork
4/22/09 4:47 p.m.

I love the saying Rocket Surgery that always make me smile, that MS3 looks sweet.

Parkeway
Parkeway New Reader
4/29/09 6:53 a.m.

I will follow this project at home to verify results - JG, this may be the reason I end up single and homeless.

dcomiskey
dcomiskey
4/29/09 9:12 p.m.

Guys, THANK YOU for taking on an MS3!!! I got mine as soon as they came out in late '07. Since I have a short commute, I only have 14k miles on my GT. Anyway, as a busy father of 2 small kids and having a FT job, I've fallen behind the curve on what to do for my MS3. Part 1 was JUST what I needed to see.

I have the Cobb sway bars which worked wonders for the handling, but I'm very eager to see part 2. One thing that makes me nervous driving the MS3 at high speeds as that it feels extremely unstable. Meaning, it feels like it's "floating" and doesn't have that planted feel. Going from a VW 337 with 8" wide wheels (why didn't you give us 8" wide wheels Mazda???) riding on coilovers, I've never been completely satisfied with the MS3 handling since I got it. Sounds like you guys already figured it out. One question: is the coilover ride quality too stiff for having two young kids in the car?

One suggestion for part 3: brakes & tires. I recall the MS3 getting raves about the brakes on the track. My (lone) visit to the track suggested otherwise. The stock pads, fluid and tires overheat very easily. I've so far invested in SS lines and brake fluid, which helped with pedal feel. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to the track this year and see how much of a difference that makes. Perhaps even a set of track pads will do wonders. But I was left driving a very nervous car last time I took my MS3 to the track (NHIS isn't the ideal track for this car anyway, but...)

Anyway, you made my subscription renewal way worth it with this project!

Raider
Raider None
5/1/09 1:23 p.m.

I cannot wait to see this, either! Having owned one since 2006, and have already put a lot into mine, I am interested to see what you all do to yours! I hope you have invested in the transmission mount! The OEM bolt tends to back out, snap, and then bad things happen.

jstein77
jstein77 SuperDork
5/8/09 2:36 p.m.

Parkeway wrote: Apr 29, 2009 6:53 a.m. I will follow this project at home to verify results - JG, this may be the reason I end up single and homeless.

No problem - just fold down the back seat and sleep in the car.

div2
div2
6/3/09 12:01 a.m.

I bought a 2007 MS3 a couple of years ago; it's not nearly as much fun on the track as I had hoped. I'm debating whether to fit some sticky rubber and the MS coilovers or to simply unload the heap and pick up a more engaging track toy.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
7/10/09 5:59 p.m.

I understand the Mazdaspeed Sport Springs paired with Koni shocks work very well also with probably better ride quality over rough roads than the coilovers.

6darkmistress
6darkmistress
10/6/09 12:01 p.m.

I just had my local shop install it (I don't have a garage, just gravel) and haven't had a chance to start a dial-in. Whatever the setting is, the ride is like a Toyota 4 X 4 pickup and handling already much better. Used the Cobb tuner 2 days ago and the car is a screamer. Unadjusted the car is bearably stiff. Time to see what some adjusting will do.

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