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|12-01-2008, 03:08 AM||#1|
Eatin' Your Tuna
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Cobb Tuning 3" 07-08 MazdaSpeed3 Street Downpipe Review
Just a few weeks ago, Cobb Tuning sent us their Catback Exhaust system to review. We had a very good experience with the quality, fit, finish and tone of the system. The only thing missing, was the downpipe, to make this a full turbo back system. Cobb Tuning came through and sent us their 3" Mazdaspeed 3 Downpipe with High Flow Converter well over a week ago. Unfortunately we had a few issues when we attempted to install it last week. These problems suffered were not Cobb's fault... they were of course, Mazda's...
For some, you probably haven't heard of the headaches Mazda brought upon our niche platform. For starters, their Oxygen Sensors ( Wideband up top side, Narrow Band Post Cat ) have a fine thread pitch. Unlike most vehicles out there that use a NPT type thread on the O2 sensors, Mazda had to be a bit different... But, it doesn't stop there. The material that Mazda chose to use for the threads is the weakest metal I've ever seen on an exhaust system. What do i mean by weak? I'm talking about the metal being extremely soft. Whichever method Mazda has chosen to install these sensors, surely can wreck havoc on your beloved install. Mazda either used extremely high torque to install these pieces in the exhaust system or they designed the threads to self destruct upon removing these pieces.
For awhile now, our community has been trying to caution the end user when removing their O2 sensors. We have gone to great lengths by telling people to use a can of PB Blaster to soak the threads and use extreme caution by going 1/4 turn in and out to work the sensor out. However, you have a 50/50 chance of the threads becoming destroyed while you remove them, despite, how careful you are. This is what happened to us, but... We are lucky. Our Wideband sensor, which by the way is the most expensive, came out effortlessly. The Narrow band which is post converter, was our problem child. i devoted over 60 mins to working this monster out of the pipe, only to be greeted with complete & epic failure. Since i wanted to get this install finished and the Narrow band was destroyed, i gave a call to 5 local Mazda dealerships in my area. The most amazing thing happened, each quoted me a price of $198 and guess what? NOT IN STOCK. Amazing, each and every time I've needed a gasket or something along those lines, everything seems to be special order. I'm guessing Mazda only stocks air, cabin and oil filters for our cars, nothing else.
At any rate, i stuck a plug in the O2 bung and called it a day. Thank god this car can drive trouble free on that sensor since its a non heated sensor. In the meantime, Robert over at EDO Performance saved our butt by locating a Bosch replacement sensor for only $60. Funny thing is, it arrived quicker than Mazda could get one to me and the threads aren't like the OEM junk one's Mazda is pawning off on us for double the price.
All of this occurred on the day before Thanksgiving. 3 days before that, the first attempt to install this downpipe failed. Yes, failed... You see, mileage doesn't seem to matter on these cars. It all boil's down to who assembled the car on what day. When I attempted to break the flange bolts loose on the stock downpipe, i broke a stud in the manifold. It was the lower right stud which wasn't all that difficult to remove. At the time, i thought i was the only who broke one of these suckers. However, I'm hearing from our community, that some other owners had some issues with theirs as well. It seems, some days Mazda put something on the threads during assembly, other days, nothing... as if they ran out of the gogo juice or something. I guess our car was a non gogo juice day because something this simple, ended up being, the most difficult thing i have faced on this car. Out of 5 flange bolts, 4 studs came out with the bolt still attached. With the help of Logan at EDO, we made an attempt to remove the bolt using a vise to lock the stud in. We just wanted 2 studs to hold our gasket in place while we got the bellmouth attached to the manifold. 4 turns into removing the bolt from the stud, it wasn't coming out & it stopped backing off the thread. Again, Mazda used some kind of anti enthusiast glue on their studs/bolts. So, we said screw it and used it as is.
I don't want to try to scare anyone who is going to install their own downpipe on these cars. I'm all about shade tree installing performance parts and persons new to this whole thing really should dive in and lose your newb status... but these are things you must know in case you have a similar problem like we did. All i can recommend to you is a lot of patience and time on the table to do this. Some members have done a DP in two hours, others 6 - 8 hours. Total hours for our install spread over two separate days was 15 hours.
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