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Project 2007 Mazdaspeed3

2007 Mazdaspeed3 Project Car, JSC Speed
                                     Project Mazdaspeed3
2007 Mazdaspeed3 jsc speed 2007 Mazdaspeed3 jsc speed
Because so many new parts have become available for the application, we have decided to start Project Mazdaspeed3 as a 'test mule' to install and review as many parts and brands as possible and report our findings. Keep in mind that this project is a daily driven car, so all of the reviews will reflect how the parts we tested stand up through real-world driving. Check Project Mazdaspeed3 frequently for dyno and road test information as we install and test each performance upgrade.
Stock Specifications:
Engine: MZR 2.3 Liter Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) turbocharged and intercooled.
Stock Output (Mfr.): 263 horsepower, 280 ft/lb torque.
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Suspension: MacPherson Strut (front), E-Type Multilink (rear)
Curb Weight: 3153lbs.
Project 2007 Mazdaspeed3 Stock Dyno
Project 2007 Mazdaspeed3 Stock Dyno

Current Modifications & Tested Parts:
1. Defi BF series boost gauge & control unit
2. TurboXS Cold Air Intake
3. TurboXS Turboback Exhaust
4. AEM cold air intake
5. HKS Hi-Power catback exhaust
6. MSD DashHawk vehicle information display
7. Hallman Pro RX Manual Boost Controller
8. GT Spec Underbracing
9. HKS SSQV Blow-Off Valve
10. ATP Mazdaspeed3 Specific HKS bov flange
11. Cobb Tuning Rear Swaybar
12. Cobb Tuning AccessPORT
13. NGK 1-step colder Iridium Spark Plugs
14. Goodridge Brake Lines
15. Cobb Shift Weight
16. Cobb Tuning Turbo Inlet
17. Cobb Tuning Front Mount Intercooler
18. Cobb Tuning SR Intake

Defi boost gauge install project 07 mazdaspeed3
Defi boost gauge install project 07 mazdaspeed3
Defi BF Boost Gauge & Control Unit: In my opinion, a boost gauge is a must on any factory or aftermarket turbocharged car. A well visible, quality gauge will allow for instant boost feedback and can instantly notify the driver of a boost leak or overboost condition. I decided that the drivers side air vent would be the perfect place to mount a 60mm Defi boost gauge. I tapped the boost line at the bypass valve connection, mounted the boost sensor to my battery box, and ran the sensor line into the cabin through the firewall with the hood latch cable. Then I went to work the vent with a dremel tool, carefully removing just enough plastic material to snugly hold the 60mm gauge. I tapped the necessary power sources at the interior fuse box, which was very easy to access by removing the plastic hatch under the glove box. One tip to note: connect both the illumination and the switched power to the same source. This ensures that the gauge will be illuminated and visible whenever the car is running. I decided to mount my control unit inside the glove box to keep it hidden yet easily accessible. The result, as you can see, is an attractive gauge install that matches the OEM interior gauges perfectly!
Boost T installed in BPV line Grinding vent cup to fit the 60mm Defi gauge Mounting location for the Defi boost sending unit on the Mazdaspeed3 Mounting location for the Defi boost sending unit on the Mazdaspeed3 Defi Control Unit II mounted in the Mazdaspeed3 Glove Box

TurboXS Cold Air intake installed on an 07 Mazdaspeed3 TurboXS Cold Air Intake: The first intake that I tested on the Mazdaspeed3 was the TurboXS cold air unit. Unlike most other units on the market, the TurboXS is a single piece pipe, allowing for better interior flow and an easier install. Constructed of polished aluminum, TurboXS even polished the interior welds to a smooth even finish. Unit comes with a bracket that mounts to one of the transmission bolts, a 45 degree silicone elbow and a replacement crankcase vent hose. Also included are the necessary brackets needed to relocated the fuel pump ballast. The TurboXS cold air intake really wakes the car up and gives the car the extra grunt that it should have come with from the factory. It also allows you to get rid of the bulky stock air box, which will come in handing when working on the car and doing future installs.
TurboXS Cold Air intake installed on an 07 Mazdaspeed3 Fuel Pump Ballast relocation with supplied brackets project Mazdaspeed3 transmission mount point for intake piping project Mazdaspeed3 filter orientation in drivers side fenderwell project Mazdaspeed3 45 degree silicone elbow and valvecover breather project Mazdaspeed3

Video demo of the turboxs turboback exhaust on Project 2007 Mazdaspeed3 Dyno chart for the Turboxs turboback exhaust on Project 2007 Mazdaspeed3 TurboXS Turboback Exhaust System: Once I had the intake on, the next obvious step was to swap out the restrictive downpipe and catback system, so I decided to go with the TurboXS full turboback exhaust system. The TurboXS TBE features a bellmouth downpipe and deletes both catalytic converters out of the system. The install was pretty straightforward as turboback installs go-- it was a bit tricky getting the stock pieces out of the car, especially the downpipe bolts. However, once the stock system was removed, the TurboXS system bolted right on without issue. One word of warning: to remove the stock catback you do need to either cut the pipe or drop the rear suspension (thanks Mazda). Make sure you are ok with this before attempting any catback install. The TurboXS catback section deletes the factory muffler so this exhaust was LOUD to say the least. To hear it just click on the video link to the left.
Power Gains:
19whp & 15ft/lbs
Removal of factory primary 02 sensor Downpipe removed TurboXS catback exhaust tip Comparison of stock downpipe vs. TurboXS catless version TurboXS downpipe installed

AEM Cold Air intake installed on an 07 Mazdaspeed3 The HUGE AEM intake filter shoved into the Mazdaspeed3 fender AEM Cold Air Intake: I decided to be a bit more versatile and test out the new AEM cold air intake for the Mazdaspeed3 as well, which is still currently on the car. What many people do not know is that AEM actually manufactures the Mazdaspeed brand cold air intake and the two parts are almost identical with a few important differences. The AEM version includes an air straightener insert that is installed in the piping before the MAF sensor. This ensures that the intake air flows properly over the MAF sensor and ECU retain the proper factory fuel trims. The AEM version also includes a much larger air filter, possibly the biggest I have ever seen on a cold air intake. This intake was a bit of a tricky install compared to the TurboXS mainly because it is actually two pipes that need to adjusted perfectly to fit correctly in the tight engine compartment, while still allowing for enough fender space for the massive filter. So far, the AEM cold air intake has endured over 3,000 miles on Project MS3 without a hitch. The larger filter also adds a sporty turbo spool and bpv medley to the normal engine and exhaust note. Overall a very high quality part, as only you would expect from AEM.
AEM Mazdaspeed3 cold air intake airflow straightener AEM Mazdaspeed3 cold air intake filter orientation 45 degree coupler elbow connects to stock turbo inlet CNC machined MAF housing Engine bay after installation

HKS exhaust for the Mazdaspeed3 HKS Hi-Power Catback Exhaust: After driving for a few weeks with the muffler-less TurboXS catback exhaust, it became obvious that I needed a change. While TurboXS sounded great, it was just too much for a daily highway commute. After going over my other options I decided on the HKS Hi-Power as a replacement, which incorporates a rather sizable muffler. The install was very basic, the HKS uses standard 2 bolt flanges to connect each of its three exhaust sections and bolted up to my TurboXS stealthback perfectly. The result is a much more mellow exhaust tone (yet still quite aggressive) that is very tolerable for extended hatchback freeway cruising.
HKS exhaust for the Mazdaspeed3 HKS exhaust for the Mazdaspeed3 HKS exhaust for the Mazdaspeed3 HKS exhaust for the Mazdaspeed3 HKS exhaust for the Mazdaspeed3

MSD Dashhawk displaying boost temp, boost pressure, actual AFR, and fuel pressure OBD2 Plug Location MSD Dashhawk: For any modified car with a CAN-bus ECU system, the MSD Dashhawk is an invaluable tool. It plugs directly into the OBDII port under the dash and can be set to read literally any sensor that is wired directly into the ECU-- anything you can think of from ambient air temp to fuel injector duty cycle. The dashhawk can also log up to five parameters simultaneously for up to 90 seconds. Depending on your model car, there are also model specific Parameter IDs (or PIDS) available for free download on the MSD website. If you car is like the MS3 and has an onboard wideband 02 sensor, the Dashhawk can even be set to display real time wideband AFRs. It also functions as a performance timer (0-60 and quarter mile), triple stage shift light, can read and clear CEL codes, and can be custom backlit to match your interior lighting. I mounted my dashhawk near my windshield, behind my main gauge cluster and for daily driving I have it set to read out AFR, boost/vacuum, manifold air temp, and fuel pressure. I really consider this a must have 'mod' if you are serious about upgrading a newer style CAN-bus equipped street car.

Hallman Pro-RX boost controller Hallman Pro-RX boost controller Hallman Pro-RX boost controller Hallman Pro-RX boost controller Hallman Pro RX Manual Boost Controller: For most turbo cars, adding a manual boost controller takes a matter of 10 minutes, removing the stock solenoid and plumbing the MBC line. Not in the MS3 however. Due to the 'hidden' turbo and tight engine bay, installing a MBC is a much more time consuming affair. To even get to the turbo you need to remove the intercooler cover, intercooler, battery, ECU, battery box and if you have large hands, you will probably want to take off the turbo inlet as well. The stock K04 turbo is also a bit nontraditional- the compressor nipple has a restrictor pill built directly into it and the wastegate actuator has TWO nipples instead of the standard one. Because of these little features, not all brand MBCs will work configured in the same way. To hook up my Hallman, I removed the vacuum hose from the upper wastegate nipple to the boost control solenoid, as well as the hose from the compressor nipple to the lower wastegate nipple. I then capped off both the compressor, upper wastegate and boost control solenoid input nipples. For a boost source I tapped the BPV line from the intake manifold and then ran the MBC outlet to the lower wastegate nipple. This configuration works perfectly. The stock boost control system was a bit laggy and suffered from boost spikes up to 20psi when only running a max boost of 15.5psi. With the Hallman now taking care of my boost control needs, the car is now running a solid 17.5psi max boost with absolutely no spikes or surges. The turbo lag has also been significantly reduced, my little K04 now spools up faster and holds boost much more efficiently. For the money, a Hallman boost controller is a great upgrade even if you aren't planning on running higher than stock boost levels.

HKS Limited Edition Black SSQV Blow-Off Valve/ATP MS3 flange: When I saw the HKS 'Limited Edition' black bypass valve, I knew that I wanted upgrade the flimsy plastic valve that has been known to leak of the Mazdaspeed3. The only problem is that there is not a Mazdaspeed specific kit for the Limited Edition version and to install it would require a good bit of elbow grease. The ATP MS3 specific flange is needed to adapt the universal valve to the intercooler on the 3. Installing the C-Clip from the universal valve to the ATP flange was by far the most frustrating part of the process- if you attempt this make sure you get a good set of the proper sized C-Clip pliers. You also need to make sure that the bypass valve is rotated to the proper position on the flange (which can be seen in the photos, left) or the valve will make contact with the hood when its closed. Another thing that is necessary is to 'reclock' the vacuum nipple on the valve to the 5 O'clock position so that the manifold pressure source hose does not rub. Even when reclocked, the hose still rubbed a bit so I used a Dremel tool to shave away some of the plastic material where the hose was making contact. Because of the inherent MAF issues when running a atmospheric blow-off valve, I decided to get the HKS 29mm recirculation fitting and run the HKS in recirculation mode. Because the new valve changes the positioning of the fitting, modification to the stock rubber recirculation hose is necessary, but that isn't anything that a trip to Home Depot can't fix. I used a small length of copper piping and some hose clamps to extend the recirculation hose into the proper position. Last but not least, the intercooler cover does need to be trimmed slightly in order to reinstall correctly and clear the HKS valve. I did notice a slight difference in boost response on the car with the HKS valve installed, but overall I consider this an aesthetic mod. In full recirculation mode with the AEM cold air intake, the HKS valve is surprisingly loud, to the point where many people think it is a full 100% venting valve! I would definitely recommend this valve if you are looking for the sound of a VTA blow-off valve but don't want to deal with all the negative drivability issues that they can cause. If color isn't important to you, I would say go for the Mazdaspeed3 specific HKS valve, but if you HAVE to have the limited edition black, keep in mind all the extra little tasks involved.
HKS SSQV blow off valve HKS SSQV blow off valve HKS SSQV blow off valve HKS SSQV blow off valve HKS SSQV blow off valve

GTSPEC underbracing, front GTSPEC underbracing, rear GTSPEC Underbracing: Before the Mazdaspeed3 was available, GTSPEC had designed multiple underbracing components for the 04+ Mazda 3. Because both cars share the same chassis, I thought I would test fit the GTSPEC parts to see if they also fit the MS3, and as I expected they bolted up seamlessly. I was able to install the GTSPEC 4-point ladder brace, 4-point mid brace, mid-chassis brace, rear lower tie brace, link reinforcement panel and rear V-brace. The GTSPEC bracing is very easy to install once some of the stock bracing is removed, and all the hardware needed is included and even powder coated for added durability. The GTSPEC bracing does delete some of the factory bracing, but because the OEM braces are heavy pressed steel, I actually saved 8.5lbs of weight by swapping out the two factory braces with the five aluminum GTSPEC braces. Each GTSPEC brace component is powder coated to give the underside of the chassis a splash of color amongst the gray and black of the MS3 underbelly. Performance on the street is improved with less NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) than I had anticipated. The car feels much firmer and more stable at speed and through aggressive turns.

What comes in the box Mazdaspeed3 AcessPORT flashing screen OBD2 connection Cobb AccessPORT: Once the basic bolt-on parts were covered, I knew the next step for the MS3 would be some sort of tuning. Being a relatively new car, not many options were available. Cobb Tuning, a company that I had much experience with when I had my Subaru, released a Cobb AccessPORT for the MS3 in April 2008, however initial map reviews were less than stellar. The reflashes seemed to only make very slight gains when compared to untuned cars w/ similar modifications. Once a few map versions had come and gone, the Cobb v.1.03 maps seemed to really get great reviews and make significant differences on the car. In early 2009 with the great 1.03 map reviews plus the promise of full datalogging capabilities and custom tuning software on the horizon, I knew it was time for Project MS3 to get 'ported. The installation of the AccessPORT couldn't be easier. You simply connect the AP to your OBDII port on the lower drivers side dash. The AP will recognize your car and ask if you want to copy your stock map or simply overwrite it (there is a generic stock map pre-loaded on the unit if you ever need to flash back to stock and did not save your map). I saved my stock map just to be on the safe side, this takes about 15 minutes. Once that is complete you choose the map that is representative to your modifications. For my car I chose the Cali 91oct. Stage 2+ MSCAI2, designed to run with the Mazdaspeed or AEM cold air intake (with air straightener) and a turboback exhaust system. I installed the 91oct. map on my car because I unknowingly have the California model MS3 as opposed to the Federal version and unfortunately Cobb only has a 91 Cali map available. Once the maps is loaded, that's it, you pack up the AccessPORT and you are done. As recommended by Cobb, I also swapped out my stock spark plugs for a set of one step colder NGK iridium plus to combat the possibility of detonation with more aggressive mapping.
The AccessPORT has many features that go beyond just a flashing device. The newest version of the AccessPORT firmware unlocks full datalogging capabilities, allowing the user to log up to five engine parameters, actuators or sensors at once. It has a live engine data function that allows you to display one parameter in real time during engine operation. A performance timer lets you log 0-60, 1/4 times, program a shift light and the AccessPORT can check and clear all vehicle trouble codes (CELs). Cobb has also released the AccessTUNER Pro (ATP) and AccessTUNER Race (ATR) software. The ATR software is available for free download by application from Cobb's website and allows you to custom tune your Mazdaspeed3 starting from the ground up. The AccessTUNER Pro software is very similar to the ATR but allows shops to lock their proprietary custom maps.
Driving Impressions: With the new Cobb reflash, the Mazdaspeed3 was much improved all across the board. Off boost power was much smoother with an even power delivery across the low end of the RPM range. Boost comes on faster and hits much harder, slamming you into your seat and pulling all the way up to 5800 rpms when the stock turbo and exhaust manifold pretty much run out of breath. The engineers at Cobb tuned out the notorious cold weather fuel cut that many MS3 owners have learned to fear, as well as raising the peak boost from 15.6 psi to 18psi tapering to 16psi at redline. Because I am running a catless exhaust system, my boost spikes to 20-21psi before settling right at 18psi, but I imagine with a high flow cat the boost targets would be dead on. When datalogging a gear pull the map shows a safe AFR in the 11.0 to 11.3 at wide opened throttle and fuel pressures in the 1400-1700psi range. Cobb recommends upgrading the factory fuel pump if pressures lower than 1300psi. Our MS3 is in the safe range but we may do a high-flow fuel pump in the near future just to be on the safe side. Overall, the AccessPORT stage 2 reflash has made a huge difference when compared to the stock Mazda tune, however I can feel that there is more power left on the table. Tweaking Cobb's base maps with the AccessTUNER Race or getting the car pro-tuned could make even more power and improve drivability further by holding more boost to redline and leaning out the AFR. NGK Iridium Spark Plugs, One Step Colder Cobb AccessTUNER Race

Cobb Turbo Inlet Hose Cobb Turbo Inlet Hose Cobb Turbo Inlet: After installing a high-flow cold air intake on the car, the remaining restriction in the pre-turbo intake path becomes painfully obvious. The hard plastic stock turbo inlet was designed to be more compact than high-performing as you can see from the photo to the left. Where the turbo inlet snakes past the battery and ECU, you can see where it was 'pancaked' to clear the other engine components. Another huge problem with the stock inlet is that the clamp on the compressor housing has a tendency to come loose, even on stock low mileage cars. Post MAF intake leaks are bad news and can severely affect fuel trims and the overall health of any boosted platform. The Cobb inlet is sized perfectly for a tight seal on the compressor housing and includes silicone clamps so leaky connections will be a thing of the past. The Cobb turbo inlet is full reinforced silicone and has a smooth, gradual reduction from the intake connection to the turbo allowing for more volume and less turbulence. The inlet bolted up cleanly to my AEM intake and HKS bypass valve and installed without issue. Because the MS3 engine bay is so cramped it will take a bit of time to install, the battery, battery box, ECU, intercooler and intercooler cover all need to be completely removed from the car to install the turbo inlet. I would guess that the car gained a solid 5-10hp from this mod alone.

Cobb rear swaybar compared to stock Cobb rear swaybar installed Cobb Adjustable Rear Swaybar: The rear 28mm stock swaybar for the Mazdaspeed3 does perform great, but if you are looking for a bit more stiffness and cornering ability, a thicker and stiffer swaybar is a something to consider. The Cobb 32mm rear swaybar for MS3 is a relatively simple install that took less than an hour and just a few tools. It is always recommended that you install swaybars with the rear suspension compressed on ramps, instead of a jack or jackstands. Two endlink bolts and two bracket mount bolts and the stock bar was free clear. The Cobb swaybar bolts in just as the stock bar came out and includes new bushings and brackets with zerk fittings for easy greasing. I added some lithium grease to the bushings and lactate to all the nuts and bolts before I buttoned it all back up. Because this car is daily driven I decided to leave the bar on the softer of the two settings. Overall this is a great modification to any street or track driven MS3 and installs easily in under an hour, start to finish. Of course you get that great Cobb blue powder coating for an added visual que under the chassis.

Cobb shift weight installed Cobb Shift Weight: The Cobb Shift weight is hands down the easiest modification I have ever done to any car. With an intake already on the car the shift linkage is completely exposed from the top of the engine bay and easily accessible. If you are still using the stock airbox, the install will take a bit longer because the linkage sits directly below it, but still a very easy job. A 12mm socket, socket wrench and an extension made breaking the two shift weight bolts quick work.
A squirt of loctite on each bolt and the weight was swapped out in well under a half hour start to finish. The lighter shift weight makes the much scrutinized stock shifter on the Mazdaspeed3 much easier to snick through the gears, especially when driving around town and in traffic. In the future I plan to add a short throw shifter and some bushings for a more complete upgrade, but for now the lightened shift weight is a great little mod and well worth it for 20 minutes of my time and $25.00.

Goodridge SS Brake Lines for the Mazdaspeed3 Goodridge SS Brake Lines for the Mazdaspeed3 Goodridge SS Brake Lines/Redline RBF600 Brake Fluid: With a good chunk of miles on the clock, project Mazdaspeed3 was due for some 30k routine maintenance. The factory brake pads and rotors still have plenty of bite but I still thought the car could use a bit of a brake upgrade. In the end I decided that upgrading the stock lines and doing a full brake system flush would keep the modding bug at bay and compliment pads and rotors well when I upgrade them in the future. Whenever you do any work on brake lines, it is highly advised that you get your hands on some quality line wrenches. Because most hard lines use a soft brass lock nut, a standard open end wrenches can chew up the brass and cause a disaster, believe me I know. So just take my advice on the line wrenches you will thank me later. On the MS3 front lines I managed to separate the soft/hard line connections relatively easy, however the line connection at the caliper was another story. The rubber soft line widened too much at the point that the threading was crimped on, making it impossible to get a line wrench on the nut. I am sure this is Mazda's (or Ford's) way of telling you that you shouldn't mess with their brake lines or they just want to sell use special tools for the job.
After some failed attempts with a standard wrench, I grabbed the vice grips which mangled the stock line to the point of no return. In the rare case that I have to go back to the stock lines, a trip to the dealership will be in order. Lets just hope that never happens.
I did not have any issues with the rear brake lines when using the line wrenches. The only slight hiccup I had was threading the new lines into the rear calipers which are positioned at a very odd angle. After a bit of cursing and sweating I eventually got them started. Goodridge brake lines provide all of the necessary mounting hardware, clips and bushings so the stainless lines had a very OEM-like fitment. Ones the lines were done, I needed to bleed the lines. Because the MS3 uses a single master cylinder for the brakes and clutch, I needed to not only bleed all 4 lines but also the clutch line. For fluid I went with some Motul RBF600 D0T4 fluid for a higher boiling point that will hopefully add some bite when the brakes are good and hot. To make bleeding easy, I used the Motive Power Bleeder. As it turns out the 'Euro' bleeder is a perfect match for the MS3 master cylinder cap threading so hooking it up was a snap. The Motive bleeder pressurizes the whole hydraulic system and simultaneously adds fresh fluid without letting air in the lines. Once the Motive reservoir is full and pressurized, all I had to do was crack the bleeder on all 4 calipers and the clutch slave to let the old fluid and bubbles out. Gone are the days of brake bleeding being a two man job. Once back on the road, the brake pedal is noticeably stiffer and more responsive under heavy breaking and feels progressively stiffer as the pedal is pressed in more. It gives the brakes a very good gradual performance increase rather than a on/off switch feel. Tune in next time for a rotor and pad upgrade! Goodridge SS Brake Lines for the Mazdaspeed3 Goodridge SS Brake Lines for the Mazdaspeed3 Goodridge SS Brake Lines for the Mazdaspeed3

Cobb FMIC Cobb FMIC Cobb FMIC: Unfortunately the mod path on the MS3 is a slippery slope. Once you add colder plugs and a more aggressive tune, the weak link in the chain is now the stock intercooler. After doing a ton of research it was obvious that for the best fitment, quality and performance I had to go with Cobb. Cobb did extensive R&D on this kit before releasing it for sale, making sure that they offer an optimally sized core and charge piping to compliment the 2.3MZR and K04 on the Mazdaspeed3 without excessive lag. The kit includes custom mounting brackets, powder coated piping, silicone couplers and heavy duty t-bolt clamps for a complete package down to the last nut and bolt. I have never installed a FMIC on any car before but I have to admit I was expecting it to be much more difficult. As long as you set aside enough time (I would clear a full day to be safe) anyone that can turn a wrench should be able to install an intercooler with no problem. Performance is much improved after the install with much colder BATs and more consistent power delivery. The Cobb FMIC maps bump the boost up 20psi peak and the car is now a complete beast at full throttle. I have not gotten it dynoed yet, but based on cars with similar mods I would estimate it at 300-315whp.
Click here for my full Cobb FMIC install guide.
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©2016 JSC Speed Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

1635 Bustleton Pike,
Suite B
Feasterville, PA
19053

Tel: 215.489.2820