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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all, So i'm staring down the gauntlet of mods for my car. Its paid off now, so it's time to start "Accessorizing" so to say...

Here within the next few months i'm going to be pulling the trigger on a set of BBR cams for my 2.0. This will be paired with a corksport midpipe, AEM cold air intake (Not a short ram style), and a 93 octane tune from Orangevirus. Those are the performance biggies since i already have an Ultimate Racing axleback.

My question is does anybody have experience on doing head work on the skyactiv? I've done mechanic work off and on for the past few years, but have never had to actually go in to replacing valve springs which is what the BBR cam will require. There are many valve spring tools, and i'm curious to know which one would work best for this setup.


Edit: Please read the post in it's entirety. I feel as though i'm repeating myself a lot, without any input being given as to the actual question I would like answered.
 

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Why wouldn't you just sell your car and buy one with a 2.5L? or will your mods be less expensive than that AND produce more power?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Because the car is already paid off. And yeah, im looking at flirting with 200 horsepower with around 2200 spent, maybe more ponies if im lucky.... so yeah. I'm doing all the work myself which saves quite a bit of money, hence why i asked if anyone had a tool recommendation for the valve springs.

There are no cams that i know of for the 2.5
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That was considered but i decided against it. The cost would be more than just the engine, you would have to factor in intake accesories, intercooler, etc. This is my daily driver and the amount of work to get that engine to work would simply take too long and would most likely be more expensive. Plus i would most likely need a new ecm. At that point you may run in to canbus problems, as im sure like most other cars the VIN is coded in to the ecm and all other modules in the car.

Trust me, i've considered the options. Gaining 50 horse and more tuorque for around 2 grand is more than acceptable to me. I'm simply looking for a recommended valve spring tool.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I wont lie though, the idea did seem tempting. But i believe I can get enough horse cost effectively out of the 2.0 to justify leaving it in. Plus i'll be a "Guinea pig" so to say, as i don't think anyone else here has done the cam upgrade. BBR claimed with their tune, cams, and an intake an axleback that 190-195 should be expected. I talked to Matt from OV and he recommended going with a midpipe too ontop of him being able to get more power out of the cams than BBR could. So i'm pretty excited! Now to just save up all the money.
 

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The 2.0 is a solid motor in it's own right. Modding it to 200hp is really the most you want to run through that motor. Much more and the reliability goes out the window. Good luck finding cams though. Especially with the Varible valve timing on both the intake and the exhaust sides. You'd really be better off going the bolt on route, Intake, exhaust, chip, tune, brakes, and suspension. If you cam it, you can probably make it get more power way up top after 4k up to around 7k but your low end will go away. Cams typically run around 300-400 a piece. Upgrading the springs or retainers shouldn't be needed unless you plan to rev it out past 7k. Or, you are getting really really high lift cams at which point your idle is going to be terrible and livability is going to suck. I don't see the cams netting you 50hp increase unless you couple it with 8000-8500 rpms

However bolt ons with a tune, 30-50hp all day long.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The 2.0 is a solid motor in it's own right. Modding it to 200hp is really the most you want to run through that motor. Much more and the reliability goes out the window. Good luck finding cams though. Especially with the Varible valve timing on both the intake and the exhaust sides. You'd really be better off going the bolt on route, Intake, exhaust, chip, tune, brakes, and suspension. If you cam it, you can probably make it get more power way up top after 4k up to around 7k but your low end will go away. Cams typically run around 300-400 a piece. Upgrading the springs or retainers shouldn't be needed unless you plan to rev it out past 7k. Or, you are getting really really high lift cams at which point your idle is going to be terrible and livability is going to suck. I don't see the cams netting you 50hp increase unless you couple it with 8000-8500 rpms

However bolt ons with a tune, 30-50hp all day long.

Actually i'll be doing all the usual bolt ons, plus the cam, which i believe i posted up top on my opening post. Other than drivetrain mods, it will also be getting Tien Flex-z coilovers with the EDFC active system for on the fly dampening adjustment, as well as Some OZ racing ultraleggera 17 inch rims that weigh in at 14.5 pounds each.

As i said in my first post, BBR in the UK makes a set of cams for the 2.0 skyactiv. They will require new springs due to binding problems. Apparently they said that the skyactiv valve springs are perfect for the stock cams, but anything more than the stock cam makes them bind. They sell new springs and keepers, which i will be installing.

They also make a turbo kit for the miata 2.0 skyactiv that nets out 235 horse reliably. They say they had to limit it to that, otherwise there was a risk to reliability due to bottom end problems. They do also say that there is quite a margin after that point, but thats as far as they want to push it. On their site it says they are doing research into stronger bottom end components for more power, but im not taking it that far.

I am well aware of the issues posed with long duration cams causing "loping", but these cams don't strike as ones that are excessive in that regard.


I've done my research in to this guys ;)
 

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it sounds like you're well prepped for this
is there a specific tool called out in the factory maint/repair manual?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
See, that's the thing. There is a special service tool used in the Mazda youtube videos. But, it looks like it would be difficult to use while the head is still on the car. I don't intend to pull the head off whenever i do this. I've been doing some research since i posted this and I believe i have found a few suitable possibilities. I knew with the engine being this new of a design, most people probably haven't had a reason to pull the valves or valve springs... So its looking like I get to be a guinea pig! I'll probably end up ordering 2 different styles of tool and do a big fancy writeup on the cam install once all is said and done.
 

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can you rent the tools (both styles of compressors) from the local auto parts store?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I may be able to, it just really depends on what styles they have available. I have room in my big roller toolbox for more tools, so aslong as I dont spend too much on 2 different types it wont really bother me that much.

I figure whenever I do the Cams I'll also prepare a writeup on what all is involved. Just looking at diagrams right now it doesn't appear to be that bad of a job. The timing cover looks like so much easy to deal with. Literally the slowest part will be actually replacing the valve springs.
 

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Actually i'll be doing all the usual bolt ons, plus the cam, which i believe i posted up top on my opening post. Other than drivetrain mods, it will also be getting Tien Flex-z coilovers with the EDFC active system for on the fly dampening adjustment, as well as Some OZ racing ultraleggera 17 inch rims that weigh in at 14.5 pounds each.

As i said in my first post, BBR in the UK makes a set of cams for the 2.0 skyactiv. They will require new springs due to binding problems. Apparently they said that the skyactiv valve springs are perfect for the stock cams, but anything more than the stock cam makes them bind. They sell new springs and keepers, which i will be installing.

They also make a turbo kit for the miata 2.0 skyactiv that nets out 235 horse reliably. They say they had to limit it to that, otherwise there was a risk to reliability due to bottom end problems. They do also say that there is quite a margin after that point, but thats as far as they want to push it. On their site it says they are doing research into stronger bottom end components for more power, but im not taking it that far.

I am well aware of the issues posed with long duration cams causing "loping", but these cams don't strike as ones that are excessive in that regard.


I've done my research in to this guys ;)
The most livable power I've ever gotten out of a 2.0 n/a has been around 230hp. I've seen some get 300hp but they weren't livable. They only did the quarter mile .8 seconds faster.

Though, if I were you, I'd start with the bolt ons, see if they make you happy first, then slowly add more. I'd make the cams in this case your last mod. That way all the breathing mods are done by the time you add a big cam and it will make tuning a bit easier at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I doubt my car will see 230 horse! I was planning to drop the intake in with the midpipe whenever i take a weekend to do the cams. Get it all done in one go, you know? Ill go back and forth with Matt as far as drivability is concerned. This is pretty much all the power mods i will do to the car. No forced induction for me! This should make it a tad bit peppier and overall a more nice expeirnece to drive.... plus my occasional treks to NCM's racetrack in bowling green will benefit from it as well.
 

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I doubt my car will see 230 horse! I was planning to drop the intake in with the midpipe whenever i take a weekend to do the cams. Get it all done in one go, you know? Ill go back and forth with Matt as far as drivability is concerned. This is pretty much all the power mods i will do to the car. No forced induction for me! This should make it a tad bit peppier and overall a more nice expeirnece to drive.... plus my occasional treks to NCM's racetrack in bowling green will benefit from it as well.
If you are going cams and bolt ons, I'd expect to be close to that at the crank.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have no experience on these skyactiv engines from a performance standpoint so i could be wrong. Who knows? I was under the impression to go much past 200 would require forced induction or a really aggressive tune utilizing some super high octane fuel.

Just coming from my research in to everything, I'm optimistically expecting around 215. According to the makers of the cam, BBR, i should be flirting around 200 HP (if not just a bit past that) with my Intake and midpipe additions along with their tune. Matt seems to know the cams and knows tuning them, and he says he can irk out a bit more than they can on average. So with all that being said, that's why im optimistically looking at 215.

Now just as a numbers game, if we were to take average gains for each mod and add them up, then yeah it would probably come out to around 230 ish at the crank. But the gains of one item alone do not add up to the sum of all the mods combined especially if you look into just how much air a 2.0 liter engine can suck in, squirt some fuel, make it go kaboom, and turn in to energy. With some cars and some mods, the sum of all the parts added total gain can be more than what they are individually... It just depends a lot on a case by case basis. I simply dont believe that I will see 230 without forced induction... Which I will not be doing. The poor 4 banger can only suck so much air in.

My desire to Cam the car comes from observing dyno sheets from before and after on a stock engine coupled with the dyno charts of matt's tunes both on stock cars on ones with bolt on breathability mods. I'm looking to expand the powerband and push it up some. The unique VVT system of the skyactiv should be able to deal with some, if not a fair amount, of any loss of low end torque you would see with a slightly longer duration or higher lift cam.



But of course, this is all pure speculation I'm doing here. I won't know until i get all the parts ordered, in the car, and have it tuned up. I'll be the guinea pig in that regard, and I will gladly share all my logged dynos from my laptop once the tune is set and in place! :D



Also if anyone who is fundamentally more knowledgeable in the skyactiv motors, or in engine performance in general would like to chime in and offer suggestions or corrections on my thoughts, i'm all ears! I worked as general mechanic, not a race car builder or master tuner afficionado. :D
 

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I didn't do it on a Skyactive. I did it on a zetec motor which is very similar motor having vvt on the exhaust side. I've also seen a number of honda motors with similar things.

Plus the added bonus of the compression on the skyactive combined with higher revs really should get you some serious gains up there in the power band. 200hp at the wheels is about right. At the crank, it's a bit more once you take into account the drivetrain losses.
 
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