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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a leased 2016 manual 2.0l that I'll be buying out in the next few months. I also happen to have some extra cash laying around, so I think it's time to make this baby faster. I'm thinking lowering springs+SRI+exhaust+plus ECU tune. What would you guys do? I have around $2k budget but I don't necessarily want to spend it all. What are the best brands for aftermarket parts? Should I tune for 91 or 93 octane? If I buy the orangevirus tune, do I get unlimited tunes? (ie. if I were to buy the tune first, then SRI and exhaust a few months later, I can retune for free)
 

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I've got a leased 2016 manual 2.0l that I'll be buying out in the next few months. I also happen to have some extra cash laying around, so I think it's time to make this baby faster. I'm thinking lowering springs+SRI+exhaust+plus ECU tune. What would you guys do? I have around $2k budget but I don't necessarily want to spend it all. What are the best brands for aftermarket parts? Should I tune for 91 or 93 octane? If I buy the orangevirus tune, do I get unlimited tunes? (ie. if I were to buy the tune first, then SRI and exhaust a few months later, I can retune for free)

usually people will buy the after market parts like the intake and exhaust before they get an ecu tune.
But it would be a great knowledge and learning experience for everyone on the forum if you tuned a stock car and how it compares to a car with no tune but lots of after market parts.
as for if you can re-tune or update the tune for free or not, I would advise you to just email the company that you are buying the tune from.
 

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Custom OVtune $560 ideally on 93 if you have it, RSB $150, and either some lowering springs ($230) or a nice set of coilovers (1-2k probably).
Intake and exhaust are relatively worthless in comparison to the money spent, but I do like the sound and looks.

Thinking back, I'd rather you then go for better tires/wheels if you haven't upgraded those already if you're looking for pure performance.

As far as unlimited tunes, that's something Mat used to offer; however when you look on his website now, there seems to be a charge for additional re-tunes.
 

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Tune: $560 Get your intake/ Exhaust sorted first - Stock intake is plenty according to OV as it is the most consistent, if you want the noise of an SRI put a drop in K&N filter and remove the stock air box resonator it just comes right off. Tune for the highest available octane as you will get full results, any future tunes after 3-6 months you will need to spend another $60 as they are constantly developing. You have possession of your tune files so you can always go back to stock. You WILL have a better driving experience.

RSB: $150-220 - I went with corksport as it is the stiffest one available and it puts the car on rails, this is generally regarded as the best bang for your buck upgrade.

Intake / Exhaust 650-900 (if catback)- Generally noise makers, see above, but do provide some higher RPM power when tuned.

If you are manual, consider trans/rear motor mounts, short shift plate, and solid shift bushings as they really tighten up the whole experience if you can handle minor vibrations. ~750

Lowering springs ~200-250, depending on how many miles you have I would consider doing the whole suspension as with corksport springs (lowest available?) people go between 45-70k before needing replacement.

All of these prices are without labor, Tune,RSB,Intake/Exhaust should get you between $1300-1500
W/springs ~1700
w/full suspension ~2300
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thinking back, I'd rather you then go for better tires/wheels if you haven't upgraded those already if you're looking for pure performance.
Yeah I'll be upgrading wheels and tires later on but I bought a new set of Pirelli P4s on sale 5 months ago so I'd like to wear those out first. I'm on the base model 16" steel wheels so I would definitely like to upgrade but I will say its nice to not have to worry much about curbs with my thick ass sidewall >:)


Tune: $560 Get your intake/ Exhaust sorted first - Stock intake is plenty according to OV as it is the most consistent, if you want the noise of an SRI put a drop in K&N filter and remove the stock air box resonator it just comes right off. Tune for the highest available octane as you will get full results, any future tunes after 3-6 months you will need to spend another $60 as they are constantly developing. You have possession of your tune files so you can always go back to stock. You WILL have a better driving experience.

RSB: $150-220 - I went with corksport as it is the stiffest one available and it puts the car on rails, this is generally regarded as the best bang for your buck upgrade.

Intake / Exhaust 650-900 (if catback)- Generally noise makers, see above, but do provide some higher RPM power when tuned.

If you are manual, consider trans/rear motor mounts, short shift plate, and solid shift bushings as they really tighten up the whole experience if you can handle minor vibrations. ~750

Lowering springs ~200-250, depending on how many miles you have I would consider doing the whole suspension as with corksport springs (lowest available?) people go between 45-70k before needing replacement.

All of these prices are without labor, Tune,RSB,Intake/Exhaust should get you between $1300-1500
W/springs ~1700
w/full suspension ~2300
All good to know. Is there any downside to having the stiffest possible RSB? Is it worth installing a FSB? By "full suspension," are you referring to coilovers? I currently have 46k miles. Also I'm sure there are dozens of threads for this but which brand is generally considered the best sounding exhaust?
 

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Yeah I'll be upgrading wheels and tires later on but I bought a new set of Pirelli P4s on sale 5 months ago so I'd like to wear those out first. I'm on the base model 16" steel wheels so I would definitely like to upgrade but I will say its nice to not have to worry much about curbs with my thick ass sidewall >:)



All good to know. Is there any downside to having the stiffest possible RSB? Is it worth installing a FSB? By "full suspension," are you referring to coilovers? I currently have 46k miles. Also I'm sure there are dozens of threads for this but which brand is generally considered the best sounding exhaust?
are you sedan or hatchback?
if you want catback system go for borla (if hatchback) or magna flow (if sedan)
for axle back or muffler upgrade go for racing beat. (basically just for sound)
if you plan to only daily drive your car, rsb only is a noticeable upgrade, stiffer or not its a easy adjustment for the mazda 3.
if you plan to track it or you plan to go 60mph+ off the highway ramps, then go both fsb and rsb (yes probably at the stiffest settings). I hear whiteline is one of the best suspension parts makers.

In order for most noticeable performance upgrade would be.
1. lighter wheels + slightly wider summer tires.
2. strut + lowering springs OR coilovers.
3. rear sway bar.
I think 2 and 3 are debatable on whats more noticeable upgrade, but usually both are done around the same time haha because once you try better handling, you just want even more handling
4. front sway bar. (not needed if street and daily driving, and might be due to law of diminishing returns) you can only feel so much of better handling unless you take it to a track.
5. strut tower brace (also not needed, but essentially make your car more stiff, good add-on to after you get front sway bar.)

make that mazda sound nice upgrades(will be noticeable upgrade after a ecu tune)
1. high flow catback exhaust
2. short/cold ram intake
 
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Discussion Starter #11
are you sedan or hatchback?
if you want catback system go for borla (if hatchback) or magna flow (if sedan)
for axle back or muffler upgrade go for racing beat. (basically just for sound)
if you plan to only daily drive your car, rsb only is a noticeable upgrade, stiffer or not its a easy adjustment for the mazda 3.
if you plan to track it or you plan to go 60mph+ off the highway ramps, then go both fsb and rsb (yes probably at the stiffest settings). I hear whiteline is one of the best suspension parts makers.
sedan. I'm assuming I'll go with catback since that gives a real (but negligible) performance upgrade, unlike the axleback which is only aesthetic. I should also mention that I'm more focused on making my car sound better than just louder. Of course I want to make it louder than stock but I don't want to be waking my neighbors up and I definitely don't want it to sound like a fart can. I've never heard a 3rd gen with an exhaust in person, so I honestly don't know what to expect. It's very hard to judge exhaust sound based on youtube videos.
 

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For what it's worth, this is what I've learnt after messing around with cars for decades:

It's a Mazda 3, it's a 2.0L. Its not a performance car. Don't waste your money on useless mods that net negligible HP difference and will probably ruin your power and torque curves.
 

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I think that some decent upgrades could make the car more FUN that is all...
Perfectly said, at the end of the day this is an ecobox, tuned or not this car was never mean to be a performance car. But as you said adding some upgrades definitely makes the car a lot more FUN than stock :laugh2:

I also think that these performance “hopes” are related to high expectations, many people expect too much from a NA aspirated 2.0L / 2.5L with high compression ratio... Mazda engineers didn’t leave too much on the table to improve on.

If a real aftermarket Turbo kit for this gen 3 ever appears then we might be talking real performance numbers and also about too much $$$$$ >:)

Now regarding OP, I would definetely recommend upgrading to new and better tires first , OEM Dunlop’s are average / mediocre tires, that’s where I would definitely start...
 

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performance wise... I heat shielded the stock airbox, and aem filter...

changed the stock tires to better tires...

going to do a mail in OVT (he will offer that soon), especially for the over rev and also that in the tune the power at hi revs it does not fall, it keeps making and acceleration pedal tune...

rear sway bar.

but going $$ on this car does not make sense....
 

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Yeah I'll be upgrading wheels and tires later on but I bought a new set of Pirelli P4s on sale 5 months ago so I'd like to wear those out first. I'm on the base model 16" steel wheels so I would definitely like to upgrade but I will say its nice to not have to worry much about curbs with my thick ass sidewall >:)



All good to know. Is there any downside to having the stiffest possible RSB? Is it worth installing a FSB? By "full suspension," are you referring to coilovers? I currently have 46k miles. Also I'm sure there are dozens of threads for this but which brand is generally considered the best sounding exhaust?
Corksport has 2 holes for adjustment, 125% stiff and 220% so you win either way as you have the option. I loved having minimal body roll.

By full suspension i mean struts/shocks with springs. At 46k I would consider doing all of them as 1: oem isn't meant for lowering springs, 2: they are getting to that point that wear will begin to show rapidly with mods and you don't want to go in twice within a year or two worth of driving to do it again.

Most of the exhausts will have similar tones with a full catback being a little bit louder, I had the 2.0 and the 2.5 and the 2.0 definitely has some highway drone at 70-80 that can get tiring. It is not super loud but not ideal for really long trips.

As far as wheels, I would consider this when possible but consider not cheaping out on wheels if you decide to purchase. I'm not saying go high end, just not something that will break or bend on a pebble. I see you already got new tires so that aleady helps as far as safety and performance.
If you do wheels, consider weight. The OEM 16's Steelies are 23 LBS without tires so around there or less even if you go to 17's or 18's won't make the car feel slower.
 

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yeah seems like everyone agrees the first upgrade would be your wheels, save your steelies for winter driving, get some nice lighter tires probably upside to size 17 and go slightly wider for a noticeable performance increase.
 
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I have the K&N SRI on my 2016 iSport and I like the sound it makes, it comes with the heat shield as well. I have a RSB from cork sport on the stiffest setting and it really helps keep my car flat while turning. I put on vogtland lowering springs on the stock shocks but planning to upgrade them soon to some performance ones and I took off the 16’s for some Koenig control 18x8 on pirelli pzero 225/40/18
 

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1. Transmission mount (Don't get the rear motor mount). Really locks down the drivetrain and improves throttle response. Slight buzz at idle, but really not noticeable unless you try to feel it. No added vibrations at speed. You will hear more engine sound, but it's deeper tone than what you hear now.

2. wider and stickier tires. I'm on BFG gForce comp 2 all seasons in 215 45 18

3. Racing Beat springs on stock shocks and struts. Feels stock for 80%. Doesn't look lowered, but looks like how it should have come stock. I also put on camber bolts and got around -0.7 all around
 
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