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The Turbo Guy
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205 Posts
Discussion Starter #41
In hindsight I should have, but did not -- everything was fine though, the car's fans stayed on no longer than they would after a harsh canyon run. Myself and other Skys have made it through trackdays without incident, fear of god hasn't, uh... taken hold yet lol.
That's good to hear. I was specifically interested in you since you have the automatic transmission, and I know your 285 tires can carry speed. I signed up for an event in early May. Let me know if these pictures are what you wanted.

On the OEM strut, the lower spring perch is only pressed on so it can be hammered off.



OEM strut, GC lower spring perch with threaded sleeve, 2.5" ID coilover spring, GC upper spring perch with GC bearing, CorkSport camber plate with top nut, new GC bump stop



Installed



Since the coilover spring is so small, the OEM dust shield cannot be reused. I opted for Eibach spring bags.

 

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On the OEM strut, the lower spring perch is only pressed on so it can be hammered off.

OEM strut, GC lower spring perch with threaded sleeve, 2.5" ID coilover spring, GC upper spring perch with GC bearing, CorkSport camber plate with top nut, new GC bump stop
Joey and Brian are why I keep coming back here. It's these hard-core, all about the suspension kind of antics that make me wish I had a little more money and a lot more time. :tongue: Keep up the good work! :thumbup 1:
 

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The Turbo Guy
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205 Posts
Discussion Starter #43 (Edited)
Joey and Brian are why I keep coming back here. It's these hard-core, all about the suspension kind of antics that make me wish I had a little more money and a lot more time. :tongue: Keep up the good work! :thumbup 1:
Thank you for the kind words. Brian's cutting edge work definitely motivates me to tinker with the Mazda 3. I wasn't supposed to modify the Mazderati, but I'm addicted... Speaking of which, I couldn't resist the local sale.

TR Motorsports MT1 18x9.5 +45 wheels
Hankook RS3 (v1) 265/35/18 tires
The tires are well used, and the tread noise is insane. I will replace with 265 Michelin Pilot Super Sports.

 

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The Turbo Guy
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205 Posts
Discussion Starter #45
I installed Hawk HP+ brake pads front and rear in preparation for a track day. Right away, you can see that the contact patch is much larger than the CorkSport pads since there is no chamfer. With 265 tires and the OEM big brake kit, we have some serious stopping power. I collapsed the 300 lb/in front springs enough to rub the fender on the tires so I need to increase the front ride height. I will also increase the rear height to match as well as provide margin if I load up the hatch with stuff.

In addition, I added KNS Brakes titanium brake pad shims on the front inner pads. I did not understand their cut-out pattern so I trimmed a slot and drilled some holes, which allowed the shim to slide underneath the piston clip. I already have DOT 4 fluid so I hope that gives me enough high temperature operation without brake ducts. Only one way to find out, which was the whole reason I shelled out for the track time.

 

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The Turbo Guy
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Discussion Starter #46
I took care of a few things like bleeding the brake fluid, increasing the ride height, resetting the static camber, adding unique hubcentric rings to the TR Motorsports wheels, and further trimming the rear mudflaps.

Since I already need an alignment, I began trying to stiffen the rear bushings. Unfortunately, I'll run out of time and won't get all the suspensions parts taken care of before this alignment. I switched from SPC rear camber arms (advertized OEM bushing stiffness) to the new version of JBR links. I am nervous about the spherical bearings withstanding the test of time, but there's only one way to find out. I also added Hardrace rear toe arms with stiffer rubber bushings and coilover thrust bearings on the rear springs. The bearings are a bit overkill since I don't have any spring preload with the rear tires in the air; I thought the bearing would help perch adjustment if there was preload.

 

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The Turbo Guy
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Discussion Starter #47
HPDE weekend, alignment scheduled for Friday afternoon, and the new front sway bar showed up on Thursday evening.
I couldn't help it. I stayed up until 2AM installing it and kept going until 3AM to adjust the rear sway bar and test drive.

I am really happy with the improvement in ride comfort.
Assuming the same material properties, the 24 mm Whiteline bar is 1.7x stiffer than stock, yet it's still 50% softer than the 28.5 mm CorkSport bar, which is 3.4x stiffer than stock. The increase in body roll has not resulted in any fender rub since I already raised the ride height for compression under braking. Let's see how she does.
 

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Aspiring Mad Scientist
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1,716 Posts
WOW. The new wheel setup is gorgeous! I still owe you thanks for putting up the pictures of your GC install. I had to drill out the Koni perches and JB Weld the sleeves on to make it fit so I'm at least glad you don't go through my shenanigans. :laugh2:
 

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The Turbo Guy
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205 Posts
Discussion Starter #52

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The Turbo Guy
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Discussion Starter #53
Here are my notes from the HPDE weekend. Feel free to comment; I am always open to suggestions.

Recall that I had finished the sway bar swap at 3AM on Friday morning and got a toe alignment that evening. With the new front sway bar, my calculations suggested putting the rear sway bar on the softer setting, but I was worried about understeer with the front wheel drive and open differential so I set it on the firmer position. Silly me - I must have gotten the rear end out at least 3 times on Saturday. Every time I pushed it, even heavy throttle on a decreasing radius corner, the rear end would break loose. On Saturday night, I readjusted the rear sway bar to the softer setting, and it felt very balanced all day Sunday.

- 300F & 350R lb/in linear coilover springs
- Whiteline Mazda3 24 mm front sway bar
- CorkSport MazdaSpeed3 28.5 mm rear sway bar

Suspension: I feel the suspension has now reached a good level of compromise between a daily driver and an occasional canyon carver / HPDE toy. The springs offer a decent amount of deflection over potholes yet they are just stiff enough to limit body roll and compression under heavy braking. Because the spring rates are towards the softer end, the suspension response is a bit slow for a true track toy. I really have to concentrate on driving the bathtub and making my inputs slow enough that the weight can transfer and the body roll can shift. Because of the body roll with 265 tires, my ride height is likely higher than most.

Brakes: The Hawk HP+ pads chirp and squeak, but the volume is only as loud as the radio so it is forgivable when considering their purpose. They perform well on the street (in the summer thus far) and haven't over-heated on track. The dust is generous, and the initial bite is hard, which takes some finesse when modulating the pedal in the driveway and parking lots. I have plenty of capability to lock up the 265 Hankook RS3 tires. If the ABS is triggered, the pulsing continues even after letting off the pedal; this kills the car's cornering speed as well as the next corner entry. Consequently, I tried to err on the side of braking too early than trying to brake late and gain a fraction of second.

Transmission: The feel the 6AT transmission is quite good for an automatic. It shifts quickly and is idiot proof in terms of gear selection. My only gripe is that it will refuse to downshift if the ABS brakes are triggered.

Engine: The engine ran without a hiccup. I am tuned on 87 octane, but I used 93 for the track for extra peace of mind. On the street, the coolant temperature is ~182*F in the summer. On track, it was running around 192*F with ambient temperatures in the high 70s / low 80s. That was without the cabin heater turned on to help reject more heat. I'll keep an eye on the coolant temperatures when the weather gets hotter. I felt like the car would run out of gas before something broke or seriously over-heated; however, the lack of power is the main shortcoming. This lack of power also comes in the form of a 3,000 lb brick. While it may not be a screaming Corvette or dancing Miata, I found the car very enjoyable.

 

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The Turbo Guy
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Discussion Starter #54
I installed an Ebay Racing front tow hook. It is a multi-piece aluminum design so it's likely not as strong as the OEM unit, but it is the flashiest mod on the car.

Ugh, I made a stupid mistake yesterday. I was driving on a narrow, unpainted residential road at 25 mph. I was focused on not hitting the oncoming car and did not realize that the grassy shoulder turned into a raised sidewalk. Bam! I sacrificed a wheel and tire to the tuning gods. I will install the track wheel and tire setup for now. I am leaning towards trying to sell the remaining 3 tires as opposed to getting a new, shaved tire from TireRack. As mad as I am with myself, I try to remember that color0 has an entire wardrobe of "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" apparel.

 

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On that college budget
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Glad to see you had a good track experience. Also, sad about that wheel :(

I have to agree with you about the rear end of this car, it loves to get loose at higher speeds. I had two issues with it once I got wide, sticky tires. I think a little down-force or stiffer spring rates will help alleviate the issue at least it has for me so far (stiffer rates). I will know for sure in July how it will deal. I may step my rear sway down just like you though to the softest for track days I just hate understeer.

The power yeah it isn't really exciting at all haha. But, on the other hand it will surprise you and others; at least in my experience it has. These cars will be easily competitive with other lower hp, fwd cars (civics, integras, etc...). If you have NASA around you I'd look into TTE. I think you are ruined for power from your rex.

These cars cool well. We have a higher pressurized cooling system than a few cars that I've seen. 190s isn't bad if you are using the stock radiator blend usually closer to 50/50 and not something like 70/30 (water/antifreeze).
 

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Ouch...if it makes you feel better, this is happened recently and why I am back on my volks for the summer. Is @color0 going to be sending out our shirts? ?

ImageUploadedByAG Free1432919287.659803.jpg
 

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Aspiring Mad Scientist
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Oh my god! I'll have to start making you guys shirts indeed. :(
 

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The Turbo Guy
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Discussion Starter #59
ughhhhh. I bet you had tons of fun on 265s and those brakes... I can't wait until July's HPDE event at VIR. Makes me want to move up to 255s next time.
Yeah, the brakes and grip are the best part. You already have the nice 17x9 wheels as well as the stiff springs, and your sights are on the Bridgestone RE-71R -- I would definitely get the 255s.

The power yeah it isn't really exciting at all haha. But, on the other hand it will surprise you and others; at least in my experience it has. These cars will be easily competitive with other lower hp, fwd cars (civics, integras, etc...). If you have NASA around you I'd look into TTE. I think you are ruined for power from your rex.
I never considered competitively driving the Mazda 3 since it is my daily driver and the family car. However, it does seem like a pretty good car to learn how to drive at the limits. The Subaru has about 400 lb-ft and 375 bhp and never gets into boost unless I am cleared for takeoff. The visceral sound of unequal exhaust pulses and a whistling turbo is more enjoyable than the actual feeling of being pushed back into the seat. I have always preferred lateral grip and being glued to the road.

Ouch...if it makes you feel better, this is happened recently and why I am back on my volks for the summer. Is @color0 going to be sending out our shirts? ?
Oh no! I hope Rav Spec still has some left.

Oh my god! I'll have to start making you guys shirts indeed. :(
I'm glad the master could stop showing off his Big Wang to all of America and join our misery for a moment. Too bad you didn't get lost and wake up in Indiana. :blush:
 

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On that college budget
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However, it does seem like a pretty good car to learn how to drive at the limits. I have always preferred lateral grip and being glued to the road.
This is why I love this car. Super forgiving and something about beating the living snot out of a slow car and making it go fast is awesome. A great feeling just ripping around turns with cars 2-3x what you paid and keeping up.

You are basically already halfway out of a family car and daily driver with what you have done haha. You already tracked it :thumbup 1:. The only sad part is the auto. I wouldn't think these auto transmissions like the track. I guess it is something you'll get used to though.

Hoping to see you out on the track more. I think your spring rates are low for your 265s and that's your issue with your suspension right now. Lowering sway bars is just a band-aid.
 
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